Fresh, Elegant, and Budget-Friendly Red Burgundy

Today’s Story: Marchand-Tawse

Marchand-Tawse is a Burgundian négociant created through a collaboration between Pascal Marchand and Moray Tawse. Both Pascal and Moray are French Canadians, making their success in Burgundy somewhat unusual.

Pascal Marchand comes from a background in wine (after working a few years as a merchant sailor on freighters in the Great Lakes), having taken over Clos des Epeneaux in Pommard in 1985 at the age of 22. Pascal was one of the early adopters of organic and biodynamic viticulture in Burgundy, bringing heightened quality to Clos des Epeneaux and world renown to its name. Jean-Charles Boisset later approached Pascal to run his family’s Domaine de la Vougeraie in 1999, and he remained there until 2006 when desiring more freedom in his ventures. Pascal took over at Domaine Jean Fery, all the while setting the stage for his own label that would eventually become Marchand-Tawse.

Moray Tawse, on the other hand, has a background in finance and co-founded First National in Canada which focuses on real estate lending. He has had a long-standing love of wine, however, which led him to establish Tawse Winery which is one of Canada’s leading wineries. Thanks to his love of Burgundy, Moray approached Pascal in 2010 and the two established their partnership.

Marchand-Tawse sources fruit from a great number of vineyards, most of which are either organically or biodynamically farmed. The négociant produces a wide range of wines, spanning appellation and village bottlings up to some of the greatest Grand Crus. Pascal’s winemaking style is rather traditional, seeking to have the fruit and terroir express themselves in a most honest and transparent form. Much of the fruit is left 100% whole cluster and not destemmed before fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Furthermore, aging for many of the wines occurs in minimal or even 0% new French oak barrels and there is no fining or filtration before bottling.

I previously reviewed the 2016 Coteaux Bourguignons from Marchand-Tawse, which is a lovely Gamay offering exceptional value.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Côte de Nuits Villages

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2017 Côte de Nuits Villages is pale ruby in color. This needs about 45 minutes to open up at this point, but once it does you find an elegant, fresh, and vibrant expression of Pinot Noir. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of cherry, strawberry, red rose, cured meat, dried gravel, underbrush, and white pepper. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium (+) intensity and the palate displays notes of black raspberry, cherry, strawberry, red licorice, dried tobacco, dried green herbs, and crushed rock minerality. This dry red is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. 133 cases produced.

Price: $40. This is a red Burgundy that offers very, very good value. It’s incredibly difficult nowadays to find quality red Burgundy for this price-point, and the expression of variety and terroir here is very well done. This is no doubt young, but the elegance and vibrancy are already hard to resist.

Remarkable Expression of Terroir in an Incredibly Ageworthy Red Burgundy

Today’s Story: Domaine Armand Rousseau

Domaine Armand Rousseau is one of the most highly-regarded wine producers in all of Burgundy, established during the very early 1900s by Armand Rousseau in Gevrey-Chambertin of the Côte de Nuits. Rousseau inherited several plots of vines at the beginning of the 20th century, however he was able to expand his vineyard holdings, build a winery and cellar, and sell the wines following his marriage in 1909. Rousseau continued acquiring top quality vineyards, including several Grand Crus, up until the time his son Charles joined the family business in 1945. In 1959, Charles took full control over the family’s domain following the unfortunate death of Armand in a car accident. Charles was instrumental in adding additional vineyard sites to the family holdings mainly in Grand Crus, and he also further built out their export markets to include Britain, Germany, and Switzerland before ultimately reaching Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia by the 1970s. Charles’ son Eric joined the business in 1982, beginning in the vineyards by instituting green harvesting, leaf stripping, and avoidance of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Eric was instrumental in steering the estate toward organic viticulture, and since 2014 he has been joined by his daughter Cyrielle who will ultimately carry on the family legacy one day.

Domaine Armand Rousseau consists of about 15 hectares (37 acres) of vineyards in some of the choicest plots in the Côte de Nuits. Dedicated entirely to Pinot Noir, Rousseau produces 11 wines from Gevrey Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazy-Chambertin, Ruchottes-Chambertin, and Chambertin. Of the 11 wines, they do however produce one from the Grand Cru of Clos de la Roche located in Morey-Saint-Denis. These wines are made in a very traditional style and are meant to be elegant expressions of each unique terroir, with minimal use of new oak depending on wine and vintage. Total production is around 63,000 bottles per vintage, with about 75% being exported to some 30 countries.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques

100% Pinot Noir; 13.5% ABV

The 2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques is medium ruby in color. I normally don’t decant red Burgundy or Pinot Noir in general for that matter, however given how young this wine is we decanted it for about an hour. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of black cherry, black raspberry, licorice, rose petal, gravel, sun-dried earth, sandalwood, and mineral. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity and the palate displays notes of cherry, strawberry, blackberry, eucalyptus, rose, mild baking spice, and stony mineral. This dry red is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Very precise and already gorgeous, but I would wait probably 5 more years and then drink this over the following decades.

Price: $600. It’s difficult to address value at this price-point because there are so many better “values” out there and pricing on Burgundy is sky-high. There’s no doubt this is one of the greatest red Burgundies I’ve had though, and since me and my tasting companions had never tried Armand Rousseau before we were incredibly glad for the experience.

Unmatched Elegance in Gevrey-Chambertin

Today’s Story: Domaine Fourrier

Domaine Fourrier is a family wine estate located in Gevrey-Chambertin of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits. Previously named Pernot-Fourrier, the domain was established by Fernand Pernot during the 1930s/1940s who, since he had no spouse or children, brought in his nephew Jean-Claude Fourrier for help. Jean-Claude took over the domain in 1969 and Fourrier was one of the first in the region to export their wines to the US. Coupled with very highly-regarded land holdings, Fourrier commanded a great reputation and the wines were very high-quality. During the late 1980s, however, Fourrier went through a “dumb phase” of sorts until being rejuvenated by Jean-Claude’s son, Jean-Marie Fourrier, who took over in 1994. Jean-Marie was a pupil of the great Henri Jayer, and brought Domaine Fourrier to preeminent status with wines of elegance and finesse not often found in Gevrey-Chambertin. Jean-Marie remains at the helm today alongside his wife Vicki and sister Isabelle.

Domaine Fourrier consists of about 9 hectares (22 acres) of vineyards planted predominantly in Gevrey-Chambertin, augmented by small plots in Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-Saint-Denis, and Vougeot. Fourrier’s vines typically fall in the 50 to 70 year-old average range, and only their own cuttings are used to replace failing or dying vines. With a strict belief that vines need lengthy periods to fully grow and mature, Jean-Marie never produces wines from his vines aged younger than 30 years and instead sells this fruit to négociants in the region. With his belief that terroir is of utmost importance, Jean-Marie farms his vineyards without the addition of chemical fertilizers and only uses herbicides or pesticides when absolutely necessary if the vines or harvest are in danger.

Come harvest, fruit is hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard before being transferred into small baskets to take to the winery. Jean-Marie’s winemaking philosophy is minimal intervention, and the wines ferment separately by vineyard using only native yeasts and no sulfur additions. Fourrier’s wines age with minimal amounts of new oak (typically no more than 20%) to preserve the delicacy of the aromas and flavors, and remain in contact with their lees for anywhere from 16-20 months depending on vintage and bottling. All the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal or no SO2 added. Taking from his training with Henri Jayer, Jean-Marie aims to make all of his wines the truest sense of terroir possible while offering an elegance and balance that are often unmatched.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echezeaux Vieille Vigne

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echezeaux is pale to medium ruby in color. This requires a good 45 minutes to an hour to open up in the glass due to its youth, but once it does this is already a gorgeous wine. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of black cherry, strawberry, leather, forest floor, savory green herbs, and gravel. The flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, and the palate displays notes of tart cherry, strawberry, black raspberry, tobacco, leather, charred herbs, and peppery spice. This dry red Burgundy is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. While already very elegant and enjoyable, this has decades of life ahead of it.

Price: $110. This is very reasonably priced in my opinion given a red Burgundy of this quality level. Burgundy prices have gone to sky-high levels over the years, and finding one around this price-point especially from a producer like Fourrier makes for an easy decision.

Killer Bourgogne From a Rising Star Micro-Négociant

Today’s Story: Chanterêves

Chanterêves is a very small domain and négociant located in Savigny-lès-Beaune of Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, and it was established in 2010 by the husband and wife team of Tomoko Kuriyama and Guillaume Bott. Tomoko was born in Japan, but cut her teeth making wines in the Rheingau wine region of Germany after graduating with an engineering degree in oenology & viticulture from Geisenheim University. Guillaume, on the other hand, is a native of Burgundy and began his wine career with Domaine Etienne Sauzet in Puligny-Montrachet before moving to Domaine Simon Bize in Savigny-lès-Beaune.

Though Tomoko and Guillaume now own about 5 hectares (~12 acres) of their own vineyards, they continue to purchase small quantities of organic fruit from vineyards throughout Burgundy. All of their owned fruit is also farmed organically, though they utilize biodynamic principles as well but are not certified. Working with the classic Burgundian varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Aligoté, Tomoko and Guillaume practice minimal intervention winemaking with large percentages of whole cluster fermentation, only native yeasts, and very low SO2 additions. The wines age largely in used oak barrels with very little new oak, and SO2 is added only if necessary during aging and prior to bottling. The reds are bottled unfined and unfiltered, while the whites are bottled unfined but with occasional light filtration.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune Paris l’Hopital

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2018 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune Paris l’Hopital is pale to medium ruby in color. This really opens up nicely in the glass over 45 minutes or so, showcasing aromas of medium intensity. The nose displays notes of dried cherry, black raspberry, red rose, leather, crushed rock, and underbrush. There’s a gorgeous stream of minerality on the nose as well, and overall it’s downright pretty and pure. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity, with the palate showing notes of black cherry, stemmy strawberry, cranberry, dried green herbs, and crushed rock minerality. This dry red is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Certainly young and therefore not too complex yet, but this is so unbelievably pure it’s nearly crazy.

Price: $46 (less in Europe). This offers incredible value for red Burgundy, and is well worth seeking out. The purity, freshness, and mineral backbone paired with this wine’s elegance and honest representation of its terroir is truly impressive, especially for the price.

Young but Promising Bourgogne Rouge

Today’s Story: Domaine Méo-Camuzet

Domaine Méo-Camuzet is a very highly regarded domain in the Côte-d’Or of Burgundy, situated in the heart of the prized Vosne-Romanée appellation. The domain was established by Étienne Camuzet, a political figure who represented the Côte-d’Or as mayor of Vosne-Romanée and an MP in Paris. Étienne purchased the Château du Clos de Vougeot in 1920, but due to his political commitments did not live there or farm the vineyards and instead leased it out to tenant farmers. Though he sold the château in late 1944 (it was heavily damaged during the war), 20 hectares of vineyards went up for sale and he retained 3 hectares for himself. Upon Étienne’s death in 1946, the holdings passed to his daughter Maria Noirot and she kept the tenant farming system in place. Having no heirs of her own, with Maria’s death in 1959 the domain passed to her nephew Jean Méo who was in General de Gaulle’s cabinet. Jean Méo took over the domain with help from his parents, but kept to the tenant farming system with the legendary Henri Jayer being one of them. In 1981, the domain was named Domaine Méo-Camuzet, domain bottling and labelling commenced with the 1983 vintage, and Jean Méo proposed passing the reins onto his son Jean-Nicolas in 1984.

Jean-Nicolas took several years to pick up the task, immersing himself in the domain in 1989 following education at the University of Burgundy to study oenology. He also studied at the University of Pennsylvania to build his business acumen. As he was nearing retirement in 1988, Henri Jayer agreed to coach Jean-Nicolas alongside Christian Faurois, a son of another highly regarded tenant farmer. As Jean-Nicolas learned, grew, and experimented with new techniques at the domain, the Méo-Camuzet wines gained great appreciation around the world, particularly in the American markets where Jean-Nicolas used his business savvy to his advantage. By 2008, all tenant farmers had retired and Jean-Nicolas took complete management responsibility over the vineyards. As he struggled to keep up with demand, he and his sisters established the Méo-Camuzet Frère & Soeurs négociant business to expand their portfolio into wider and more accessible bottlings. Today, Jean-Nicolas runs Méo-Camuzet with his wife Nathalie and they have three children who will perhaps one day carry on the family legacy. Christian Faurois remains a right-hand-man as well.

Domaine Méo-Camuzet today consists of 14 hectares of vineyards which include holdings in a range of villages, 1er Crus, and several Grand Crus. Practically all viticulture is organic, though the domain does not seek certification so in their most difficult vineyards or vintages they can react prudently if needed. For instance, some of their sites that are difficult to farm may need small amounts of occasional herbicide or anti-rot treatments. Harvesting is completed entirely by hand, and sorting first occurs at the vineyard level where fruit deemed below quality standards is dropped to the ground. Fruit is sorted again and destemmed at the winery, before fermentation begins in concrete vats with temperature control only ensuring the temperature doesn’t cross over the critical 95 degree Fahrenheit level. The wines mature in new oak barrels, ranging from about 50% new for the lower level wines up to 100% new for the Grand Crus. Come bottling, the wines see no fining or filtration.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Bourgogne Côte-d’Or Cuvée Étienne Camuzet

100% Pinot Noir; 13.5% ABV

The 2018 Bourgogne Côte-d’Or Cuvée Étienne Camuzet is pale to medium ruby in color and transparent. This took a good hour to open up in the glass, eventually showing aromas of medium intensity. The nose showcases notes of ripe red cherry, cranberry, black raspberry, red rose petal, leather, dried herbs, crushed rock minerality, and a hint baking spice. Meanwhile the flavors on the palate are also of medium intensity, displaying notes of black cherry, red plum, crunchy cranberry, brambly black raspberry, anise, tobacco, cola, stony mineral, clove, and a touch of smoke. This dry red is light- to medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Overall pretty complex for its youth and very well-balanced. Purity and freshness of fruit here is gorgeous, as is the minerality.

Price: $65 ($40-50 in Europe). Given where the pricing of Burgundy has headed, I think this is actually pretty decent value. I certainly think this drinks about the regional Bourgogne level, and should only improve with several more years of bottle age.

Delicate and Elegant Chambolle-Musigny With a Long Life Ahead

Today’s Story: Domaine Cecile Tremblay

Domaine Cecile Tremblay has a very interesting history, partly because she did not start making wines until 2003 though her family owned vineyards for several generations. Cecile is the great-granddaughter of Edouard Jayer, uncle of the famed Henri Jayer (go Google some of his wines, and perhaps sell your car to buy a bottle). Cecile’s family inherited vineyards from Edouard, though the two generations before her leased out the land to other producers and did not make their own wine. In 2003, however, with the expiration of a lease on three hectares of vines Cecile started making wine under her own label with a plan for further growth. For instance, the Domaine owns roughly 10 hectares of vineyard land and while more of this becomes free from leasing agreements in 2021, Cecile rented or purchased land along the way in communes such as Gevrey-Chambertin.

When Cecile took over her family’s land for her own use, the vineyards were in no standing to produce high quality wines. The producers leasing the land, for instance, used too much fertilizer for Cecile’s taste and utilized herbicides instead of ploughing. Throughout her time thus far as a winemaker, Cecile transitioned to organic farming and many of her practices include biodynamic farming measures as well. During maintenance of her vineyards, Cecile ploughs the soil mechanically and with horses while using copper sulfate to prevent mildew and other fungi.

Similar to her views on caring for her vines, Cecile is very traditional in her winemaking process. She presses her grapes with an old-fashioned vertical press and her wines see only a moderate amount of new wood during fermentation and aging. All of this effort culminates into wines that are refined and elegant, though built for the long haul.

I previously reviewed the 2011 Chambolle-Musigny Les Cabottes and 2011 Vosne-Romanée, so feel free to revisit those tasting notes if you want a more side-by-side picture.

Today’s Wine: 2011 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Feusselottes

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2011 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Feusselottes is translucent pale ruby in color with garnet hues. I didn’t decant this, but the wine took a full 1-2 hours to really open up. The very delicate and feminine nose showcases aromas of black raspberry, strawberry, cherry, a hint of plum, red and purple florals, leather, delicate grilled herbs, and gravel. Meanwhile on the palate I get notes of cranberry, cherry, black raspberry, boysenberry, violets, sweet tobacco, savory green herbs, and rocky mineral. This is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, refined medium tannins, and a long finish. Similar to Tremblay’s other 2011s, I do not get the green notes prevalent for the vintage. This is a beautifully elegant wine and it has a long life ahead of it.

Price: $480 (I paid $160). The price of these wines has really skyrocketed over the past several years, and unfortunately these are at a price-point where it is difficult to discuss value. While these are phenomenal, there are better values out there. I’m nonetheless glad to have snagged a good deal of her wines from $90 to $160 depending on bottling.

Solid Aged Volnay, but Over the Peak

Today’s Story: Maison Nicolas Potel

Maison Nicolas Potel was established in 1997 as a négociant business by Nicolas Potel following the passing of his father Gérard Potel of Domaine de la Pousse d’Or. Thanks to his father’s influence and respect within Burgundy for helping to improve quality, ripeness, and concentration in the region’s wines, Nicolas was able to access some of the great 1er and Grand Crus of the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. For example, Roumier, Lafon, and Jean-Marc Boillot (all who looked up to Gérard) sold Nicolas fruit to help jumpstart his namesake venture. By 2002, Nicolas was making wines from 50 different appellations. Shortly thereafter, however, Nicolas ran into cash flow issues during the global economic uncertainty and sold his Maison (including naming rights) to the Cottin brothers of négociant Labouré-Roi in 2004. Nicolas stayed on until 2009 when tensions boiled over, with the Cottin brothers saying his side projects competed with Maison Nicolas Potel and Nicolas saying they disagreed with his philosophy of quality over quantity. Though Nicolas moved on and established Domaine de Bellene with his own vineyards, Maison Nicolas Potel continues making wines under his name to this day.

A traditionalist and staunch proponent of quality over quantity, Nicolas worked with 35+ year old vines whose growers often practice organic or biodynamic viticulture. In the cellar, he practiced minimally invasive winemaking which included pressing with a vertical wine press, maturing the wines for 12-16 months on the lees without racking, and adding minimal SO2. All told, Nicolas adapted each wine to the vintage but at his core wanted to make wines as naturally as possible so they could express each terroir in the truest sense. Though this philosophy remains at Maison Nicolas Potel after he left, the wines bearing Nicolas’ name naturally don’t seem to be the same.

Today’s Wine: 2002 Volnay 1er Cru Pitures

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2002 Volnay 1er Cru Pitures is translucent medium garnet in color with slight bricking (though not too bad). This needed about an hour to blossom in the glass, helping to lift the fading nose to showcase aromas of forest floor, earthy mushroom, leather, grilled green herbs, and gravel followed by red fruits of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry all on their way out the door. The fruit is slightly more alive on the palate but is certainly still fading, displaying notes of tart red cherry, black raspberry, cranberry, truffle, tobacco, leather, loamy earth, garden herbs, and slight smoke. This is light-bodied with medium acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a medium length finish (shorter than I’d like, but that’s the age). There’s still decent structure here, but overall the fruit is fading fast. Drink up if you have any.

Price: $130 (looks like it used to be $70 when last priced on wine-searcher in 2017). I think at its peak drinking window this would’ve been a fantastic bottle for the price. However, given how advanced this is now I would pass on it if you come across it.

Aged Nuits-St-Georges Perhaps Just Past Its Prime

Today’s Story: Domaine Henri Gouges

I wrote about Domaine Henri Gouges around Thanksgiving 2019 when I reviewed the 2012 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges and am excited to be returning to the domaine again today.

Though the Gouges family has deep-rooted history in grape farming going back 400 years, Henri Gouges didn’t form his domaine until 1920. When he no longer liked the idea of selling his fruit to négociants, Henri started producing, bottling, and selling his own wine in an effort to make higher quality wines. By 1933 this transition was fully complete and the domaine existed in similar fashion to its current status. A family endeavor throughout its history, Domaine Henri Gouges passed from Henri to his sons Marcel and Michel, then to Pierre and Christian, and finally to cousins Gregory and Antoine Gouges who manage the domaine today.

Undivided since its founding as a domaine, Henri Gouges today sits at roughly 36 acres of vineyards. Several of their holdings include Nuits St. Georges 1er Crus, though Henri Gouges does produce village wines as well. Though the winery and vineyards have been updated over time (including the use of organic viticulture and transition to a gravity flow winery), the domaine’s goal is to produce wines that truly represent and express the terroir. The harvest is carefully inspected and all fruit is completely destemmed, while vinification begins in lined cement vats for approximately 15 days depending on wine and vintage. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred to small oak barrels (typically 25% new) and each is fined with egg whites before light filtration and into the bottle.

Today’s Wine: 1996 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets – St. Georges

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 1996 Clos des Porrets – St. Georges is translucent medium ruby in color and actually almost deep garnet. This was great as a pop-and-pour, with the nose filled with aromas of barnyard, mint, menthol, forest floor, truffle, stemmy underbrush, black olive, and mineral followed up by black cherry, black raspberry, and red florals. The palate is nice as well, but starts to fall apart on the mid-palate with notes of stemmy strawberry, black cherry, cola, rose, sous bois, earthy mushroom, granite, and mineral. The nose steals the show with this bottling. This is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $140 (shared by a good friend who paid $180). I think if the palate was firing on all cylinders, this would be a great value Burgundy. The nose is profound and decidedly the star act, though perhaps this could be a slightly off bottle since the last enjoyed by my friend was said to be exquisite.

Beautifully Aged Morey-Saint-Denis

Today’s Story: Domaine G. Roumier

I previously wrote about Domaine G. Roumier when I reviewed a much younger 2014 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Clos de la Bussière back in November, 2019.

Domaine Georges Roumier originated in 1924, however most of their production at that time sold to wine merchants. This changed though, in 1945, when Georges Roumier started bottling wine at the domaine. I’m thankful Roumier made this change, as I’m sure many throughout the wine world are, because the reputation of this domaine has soared higher and Roumier sits as one of the upper-echelon producers in Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-Saint-Denis, and Corton-Charlemagne.

Christophe Roumier and his father Jean-Marie became partners in 1981 to manage the domaine, which as it currently stands covers 11.52 hectares in some of Burgundy’s premier appellations. Christophe has been instrumental in the continued rise of Roumier’s wines, immeasurably due to his very strict and dedicated care for the vines and winemaking process. Christophe produces 11 different bottlings ranging from the village level to Grand Cru, each wine made with this same rigor to produce high-quality, luxurious, profound, and always delicious wines.

All of Roumier’s fruit is hand-harvested and sorted, the village wines are typically made with destemmed fruit (the rest of the wines vary), punchdowns occur during fermentation, all yeasts are natural, and minimal new oak is used for aging (Christophe says he never goes above 30%). I’d love to dive deeper into the farming and winemaking practices, but I believe this Decanter article does an incredible job and suggest you read it if you’re interested in learning more.

Today’s Wine: 1995 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Clos de la Bussière

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 1995 Clos de la Bussière is transparent pale to medium garnet in color with slight bricking around the edges of the glass. This took about 45 minutes to blossom, and I decanted it to remove some sediment and cork that broke off in the bottle. The beautifully tertiary and well-integrated nose showcases aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, rose petal, dried red licorice, forest floor, mild green herbs, and prominent black truffle. Meanwhile on the palate, I get notes of black cherry, dried cranberry, underbrush, black truffle, sous bois, wet gravel, and pepper. This is light-bodied with still lively medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a long finish. Absolutely gorgeous aged Burgundy that is perfectly balanced and perfectly aged, with the structure still a tour de force.

Price: $700 (I paid $315). I never turn down an opportunity to taste Roumier, particularly one with this much age and especially the provenance of having one owner before me. If you don’t like old wines that are dominated by forest floor and truffle, this certainly wouldn’t be for you. But for me, it’s well worth the $315 paid.

Balanced and Easy-Drinking Vosne-Romanée

Today’s Story: Domaine Cecile Tremblay

I previously wrote about the fantastic Domaine Cecile Tremblay in November, 2019 with the 2011 Chambolle-Musigny Les Cabottes. As these wines are fantastic and prices have skyrocketed since I started buying them, I am excited to try her Vosne-Romanée today.

Domaine Cecile Tremblay has a very interesting history, partly because she did not start making wines until 2003 though her family owned vineyards for several generations. Cecile is the great-granddaughter of Edouard Jayer, uncle of the famed Henri Jayer (go Google some of his wines, and perhaps sell your car to buy a bottle). Cecile’s family inherited vineyards from Edouard, though the two generations before her leased out the land to other producers and did not make their own wine. In 2003, however, with the expiration of a lease on three hectares of vines Cecile started making wine under her own label with a plan for further growth. For instance, the Domaine owns roughly 10 hectares of vineyard land and while more of this becomes free from leasing agreements in 2021, Cecile rented or purchased land along the way in communes such as Gevrey-Chambertin.

When Cecile took over her family’s land for her own use, the vineyards were in no standing to produce high quality wines. The producers leasing the land, for instance, used too much fertilizer for Cecile’s taste and utilized herbicides instead of ploughing. Throughout her time thus far as a winemaker, Cecile transitioned to organic farming and many of her practices include biodynamic farming measures as well. During maintenance of her vineyards, Cecile ploughs the soil mechanically and with horses while using copper sulfate to prevent mildew and other fungi.

Similar to her views on caring for her vines, Cecile is very traditional in her winemaking process. She presses her grapes with an old-fashioned vertical press and her wines see only a moderate amount of new wood during fermentation and aging. All of this effort culminates into wines that are refined and elegant, though built for the long haul.

Today’s Wine: 2011 Vosne-Romanée

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2011 Vosne-Romanée is pale to medium ruby in color and translucent. Given some time to blossom in the glass, this opens to showcase a nose of black raspberry, strawberry, cherry, pine, leather, tilled earth, mint, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and a hint of baking spice. Meanwhile on the palate, I get notes of black cherry, plum, cranberry, tobacco, green herbs, gravel, and truffle. This is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a long finish. This was much less complex compared to her Chambolle-Musigny bottling I reviewed last year, though it is very well-balanced and enjoyable to drink.

Price: $460 (but this was shared by a good friend who paid $120). While no doubt a delicious wine, I can’t see this being worth the $460 I see it going for nowadays online. For my very fortunate friend who spent $120, however, I’d say it’s worth that price.