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 2015 Bourgogne Blanc and 2017 Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Roulot.
Today’s Wine: 2015 Bourgogne Aligoté
100% Aligoté; 11.5% ABV
The 2015 Bourgogne Aligoté is pale straw yellow in color. The nose is rather delicate and aromas are of medium intensity, offering up classic notes of green apple skins, lemon, white peach, honeysuckle, flint, saline minerality, and a touch of cream. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity, with the palate showcasing notes of green apple, grapefruit, lemon zest, dried white flowers, mild green herbs, chalk, a hint of smoke, and stony mineral. This dry white is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, medium (-) alcohol, and a medium length finish. A great representation of the variety while incorporating that classic Roulot reductive character.
Price: $70 (I paid $37 a year ago). Pricing on this bottling continues to rise alongside Roulot’s others and Burgundy as a whole, so the value proposition is of course narrowing or evaporated. At the price I paid this is screaming value, for it’s bright, precise, delicious, and a great representation of the variety.