Though it has no Grand Cru vineyards, the wines of Meursault are some of the most sought after in the world. Traditionally Meursault inhabits the decadent, opulent end of the white Burgundy spectrum, drawing on clay-heavy soils to produce muscular, mouthfilling white wines.
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It seems that hot, dry growing season are now the norm in Burgundy. Twenty years ago these vintages would have been unusual – a challenging outlier requiring some careful adjustments in the cellar. But as warm, sunny conditions have become the new normal, both growers and vines have begun to adapt more permanently.
Winemakers have adjusted their growing techniques and cellar practices to manage riper grapes, higher sugars, and earlier harvests. Now with several years of practice, growers manage to maintain balance and freshness with the new crop. Despite the heat and lack of rain, the 2019 red Burgundies are some of the most exciting we’ve tasted. And nowhere is this more apparent than at a top domaine like Michel Gros.
The Salomon-Undhof estate dates to 1792, and is currently on its 7th and 8th generation winemakers, father and son Bert and Bert Salomon. Their terraced vines overlooking the Danube have long been an excellent source, with the country’s preeminent wine guide calling them a “figurehead of Austrian wine history.”
With winter weather here for the foreseeable future, we’re pleased to be well stocked on rich Southern Rhône reds. We have plenty of ideas from Séguret and Gigondas, but sometimes the most obvious answer is also the best. With that in mind we’re suggesting Châteauneuf-du-Pape today: the vinous equivalent of comfort food.
In the dozen years since he took over his family’s domaine, Romain Collet has elevated its reputation as fast as any new generation we’ve witnessed. We’ve noticed it ourselves, but we’re not alone — writers from Vinous, Burghound and Robert Parker have noted a “higher level of refinement” and a “significant upsurge in quality.” Jasper Morris MW writes that Romain Collet “is moving towards joining the pantheon” in Chablis.
Cornas is a tiny appellation. It covers 145 hectares (compared with Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s 3,000+), and is home to fewer than 50 vignerons. The name comes from the Celtic word for “burnt earth,” and it’s an appropriate moniker: Cornas is pure Syrah like the rest of the Northern Rhône, but the feel is of something sunnier from further South.
We like to judge a vigneron’s talent by his simplest wine. Great wines from great terroir of course involve a steady winemaker as guide, but the material undoubtedly provides a head start. With humble fruit from an unsung plot of regional-level vines, winemaking skill comes even more into play.
Côtes du Rhônes are a dime a dozen. They’re cheap, reliable, and abundant — you’ll find them everywhere from a fine restaurant to your local supermarket. Most are mass produced, with low tannin and lots of fruit — they may lack flaws, but they’re short on character too.
Last week we wrote about how the 2019 vintage produced outstanding wines in red Burgundy, white Burgundy, and the Rhône valleys. Today we suggest that the success of this vintage stretched further still, across the Mont Blanc and into Tuscany. We were at last able to taste our sample of the 2019 Chianti Classico from Poggerino this weekend, and it didn’t disappoint.
Aligoté is having a moment in Burgundy. Vignerons have grown the grape here for centuries, but for most of that time it’s been considered an afterthought – a high-acid grape producing humble, refreshing, unserious wines. But as summers grow ever hotter and growing seasons shorten, Burgundian growers perennially in search of freshness have begun to rethink the grape’s potential.
Readers of these posts will know of our enthusiasm for the 2019 reds from Burgundy and the Northern Rhône Valley – a hot, dry growing season produced wines with excellent concentration and gorgeous fruit. Provided growers could manage to achieve balance through harvest timing and vineyard techniques, the wines are some of the most exciting we’ve tasted in years.
Even by Burgundy standards, the Boursot family has been around awhile. They began making wine in Chambolle-Musigny back in 1550, and nearly five centuries later they’re still farming many of the same soils. The most recent generation has upgraded the facilities and the focus, and their wines have begun to gain substantial critical interest.
If a good Pouily-Fumé bursts from the glass with energy and life, winemaker Frederic Michot is a perfect embodiment of his wines. He talks and drives fast, and sports the same no-nonsense attitude found in a glass of his Pouilly-Fumé: pure Sauvignon blanc, no oak, clean and crisp.
The changing climate has caused dramatic shifts amid the tiny microclimates of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. In a region where a few meters makes the difference between four-figure Grand Cru and $60 village, a couple degrees of warmer weather can have profound effect. And as with the rest of the world, there are winners and losers in this new reality.
We like to talk about wines that are just off the beaten path. Particularly in Burgundy, the best values can be lesser known wines just a few meters from the famous vineyards. But in most instances, famous vineyards are famous for a reason.