Complex Bourgogne Blanc That Needs a Little More Time

Today’s Story: Domaine Roulot

Domaine Roulot is a renowned Burgundy wine estate situated in the village of Meursault in the Côte de Beaune sub-region. Though Roulot’s history dates back to at least 1830 when Guillaume Roulot registered as a vigneron, the modern domaine traces its roots more directly to a 1930 founding and growing success following WWII under Guy Roulot. Guy came into some vineyard property through his marriage to Geneviève Coche, though he quickly set about purchasing additional vineyard parcels of village and 1er Cru classifications. Unique at the time, Guy vinified and bottled his wines by single vineyard, also mastering the lieu-dit practice of bottling a named vineyard without its own “legal” classification within the larger village. Guy made some of the greatest white Burgundy at the time, even later having his 1973 Meursault Charmes place second for the white wines at the Judgment of Paris in 1976. Sadly, Guy passed away suddenly and far too soon in 1982 and left his domaine in a precarious situation since his son Jean-Marc was in Paris studying acting. Though Domaine Roulot had several winemakers come in until Jean-Marc returned home, it wasn’t until 1989 when he fully took the reigns.

Shortly after taking over, Jean-Marc transitioned fully to organic viticulture and he has not used any herbicides since. Further, any treatments used in the vineyards ensure minimal if any impact on the natural microbial life amongst the vines. In the cellar, Jean-Marc crafts wines based on a philosophy that they should be what he likes to drink, not necessarily what the “modern palate” likes to drink. While many of the wines of Meursault can be rich and concentrated, Roulot’s wines are often described as chiseled, linear, precise, restrained, tense, and transparent. He achieves these descriptors through incredibly rigorous harvesting, very gentle pressing of the fruit, indigenous yeast fermentation, barrel aging for 12 months on lees followed by 6 months in stainless steel, and modest use of new oak of between 10% and 30%. Roulot even minimizes stirring the lees (and mainly does it in vintages of higher acidity), which is a practice more common with producers who like adding richness to the wines.

I previously reviewed the 2017 Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Roulot.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Bourgogne Blanc

100% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV

The 2015 Bourgogne Blanc is pale straw yellow in color and crystal clear. This shows at its best after at least 45 minutes in the glass. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of green apple, lemon, crisp pear, white flowers, flint, gunsmoke, limestone, saline, raw almond, and a hint of vanilla. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium intensity and the palate offers notes of green apple, lime zest, white peach, pear, white flowers, dried gravel, limestone mineral, a hint of smoke, and almond. This dry white is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium length finish. The wine seems to hollow out on the mid-palate, and the finish leaves one wanting for a bit more. Perhaps a dumb phase? Nonetheless this is a solid white Burgundy and offers up the classic reductive characteristics of Roulot.

Price: $140 (I paid $66 one year ago). At current market prices I think this struggles in value terms. There are quite a few lesser known Bourgogne Blancs well below $100 per bottle, and I am glad for the price I paid last year. While still an enjoyable wine, I would focus my efforts on the 2014 or 2017 Roulot Bourgogne Blanc if you’re spending the money.

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