Profound Bourgogne Blanc From Perhaps the Greatest Name in Meursault

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.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Bourgogne Blanc

100% Chardonnay; 13.2% ABV

The 2017 Bourgogne Blanc is transparent pale gold/straw yellow in color with water white variation around the rim of the glass. I decanted this for 2 hours due to its youth, and to be honest it probably could’ve decanted for longer. Once open, the nose showcases aromas of peach, green apple, apricot, white florals, matchstick, flint, wet river stone, dill, and almond. Meanwhile on the palate I get notes of golden pear, lemon zest, green apple skins, white peach, honeysuckle, crushed rock, light green herbs, flint, and hazelnut. This very linear and precise Bourgogne Blanc is medium- to full-bodied with gorgeous high acidity into a long finish. Not as intense as I was expecting, but give this at least 4-5 more years of cellaring before touching it.

Price: $90. This is no doubt a fantastic Bourgogne Blanc, and though I opened it young I think there are better values out there. If you can find this closer to $65-70 (and I know a few locations are still priced that way) I would be more intrigued. We shall see if I am proven wrong with more bottle age.

Breathtaking Precision and Quality in a Bourgogne Blanc

Today’s Story: Domaine Vincent Dancer

Domaine Vincent Dancer is a small, rising star estate located in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet in Burgundy, France. Established by Vincent Dancer, the domaine consists of about 5-6 hectares under vine and was the first certified organic producer in Chassagne-Montrachet. Vincent is originally from Alsace, and though he studied engineering in school he picked up a passion for wine along the way. After some urging from his father, Vincent spent time in Burgundy to learn viticulture and oenology before taking over small acreage of family vines in 1996. Known as a quiet and humble winemaker, Vincent quietly expanded his vineyards and today has holdings in Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Pommard, and Beaune. A staunch proponent of hands-off winemaking, Vincent hand-harvests his fruit from fairly low yielding vineyards and refrains from adding any commercial yeasts, enzymes, or acid adjustments during natural fermentation. He also resists bâtonnage, the practice of stirring the lees which is practiced by many producers in Chassagne-Montrachet to add flavors, aromas, and texture to the wine. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, with common descriptors of “tense,” “precise,” and “graceful.” Total production is I believe still under 2,000 cases annually, and not a lot of Vincent’s wines make their way to the US.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Bourgogne Blanc

100% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV

The 2018 Bourgogne Blanc is a beautiful, transparent, pale gold in color turning water white near the edges of the glass. Now before the infanticide police come after me, I do have more of this which I am already laying down for at least 3-5 years and I did decant this wine for 2 hours. My inability to have patience is both reprimandable but rewarded. The nose steals the show at this stage, blossoming into aromas of peach, juicy pear, charred pineapple, cotton candy, freshly picked white florals, flint rock, gunpowder, smoke, toasted hazelnut, and lees. While the palate is a bit tougher to pull apart (I attribute it to youth), I can still decipher beautiful notes of golden apple, white peach, grapefruit zest, tropical citrus, limestone, freshly struck flint, dill, smoke, and dried vanilla. This is medium- to full-bodied with gorgeous high acidity, a fully-rounded and opulent mouthfeel, and a long, long finish that lasts for over a minute.

Price: $49 (about $10 cheaper in France). This is one of the greatest values I’ve had all year, and I truly do not think it will remain this price for long. I’ve read a lot of hype around Vincent Dancer and I can confidently say after tasting this young bottle (not easy for me to find anything older and I spent enough time tracking down 2018s) that what I read is true. Do not pass up an opportunity to buy Dancer’s wines.

Beautifully Refreshing Bourgogne Blanc

Today’s Story: Domaine Pierre Boisson

Domaine Pierre Boisson is one of three family domaines who all work together and make their wines in the same cellar located in Meursault. Pierre, alongside his father Bernard (Domaine Boisson-Vadot) and sister Anne (Domaine Anne Boisson) watches over the family domaine which encompasses 8.5 hectares primarily situated in Meursault but with smaller holdings in Auxey-Duresses, Monthelie, Pommard, and Beaune. The family doesn’t use any chemical fertilizer or pesticides in their vineyards and, at time for harvest, everything is accomplished manually. Pierre, like Bernard and Anne, practices traditional Burgundian winemaking methods and accomplishes fermentation using only native yeasts. Though the wines will see some new oak (typically never more than 25-30% for the high-end and lower for village bottlings), there is no set percentage and it varies vintage to vintage and wine to wine with the goal of never masking a wine’s true character. All wines are bottled unfiltered at the domaine.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Bourgogne Blanc

100% Chardonnay; 13% ABV

The 2017 Bourgogne Blanc is a beautiful pale gold in color with hues of straw and water white. On the nose, this emits aromas of lemon zest, white peach, pear, tangerine, white florals, hazelnut, saline minerality, and light oak. Once on the palate, this displays notes of lemon and lime zest, green apple skins, golden pear, tropical citrus, honeysuckle, saline mineral, and dried vanilla bean. The wine is medium-bodied with vibrant high acidity into a crisp and refreshing finish.

Price: $40 (much cheaper in Europe). I thought this was an outstanding value for White Burg and this bottle was perfect for the hot weather I enjoyed with it yesterday. Pair this with roasted chicken, Dover sole, or crab.