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.

Young but Immensely Promising Puligny-Montrachet

Today’s Story: Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils

The history of Domaine Bernard Moreau began in 1809 when Auguste Moreau built a cellar near the Champs Gain vineyard for ease when farming his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It wasn’t until the 1930s, however, under Marcel Moreau that the family’s holdings started to grow exponentially. For instance, the domaine today operates on 14 hectares of vineyard land (9 hectares they own, 5 hectares they farm) and about 80% of that land was acquired by Marcel. Bernard Moreau took over the vineyards and cellar during the 1960s (at the age of 14!!) and the name “Domaine Bernard Moreau” came in 1977 under guide of Bernard and Françoise Moreau. With Bernard and Françoise at the helm, the domaine updated their winery, farming methods, and equipment in addition to buying more land to get to that 14 hectare total number. Their sons Alex and Benoît joined the team to help with winemaking and in the cellars, with their first vintage being 1995. From 1999 onward, Alex took over winemaking responsibilities and Benoît specializes in the vineyards.

The winemaking style at Domaine Bernard Moreau is best described as “hands off.” Like most estates producing exceptional wines in Burgundy, Alex and Benoît take a view that terroir should be the forefront of a wine and therefore they must care for the vineyards. While the farming practices at the domaine are characterized as sustainable (not organic or biodynamic), they use organic fertilizers with the soil and do not use pesticides. Also like many great estates, Moreau utilizes rigorous pruning, debudding, and green harvesting in an attempt to lower yields that are more expressive of the terroir. During aging of the wines, Alex uses 10-50% new French oak barrels (depending on wine and vintage) for 12-20 months (also depending on wine and vintage). For the Pinot Noir, Moreau does not rack, filter, or fine the wines at all.

Domaine Bernard Moreau produces a broad range of wines, and I highly suggest trying some of them. From the Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge to their Aligote and up through the multitude of 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet to the big-daddy Bâtard-Montrachet, I have not met a wine I didn’t like.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Puligny-Montrachet

100% Chardonnay; 13.5% ABV

The 2017 Puligny-Montrachet is medium golden yellow in color and fully transparent. Given about 45 minutes to an hour to blossom in the glass, the wine showcases a nose of golden pear, lemon zest, white peach, stone fruit, white lily, light smoke, brioche, and hazelnut. Moving to the palate, I get notes of green apple skins, honeydew, lemongrass, honeysuckle, mild green herbs, flint, and roasted nuts. This precise wine is medium-bodied with high acidity and a long finish.

Price: $105. This is a great bottling from the wonderful 2017 vintage and I certainly recommend picking up a bottle or two. The quality and promise of this wine will reward those who are patient, but this is already an incredible wine for the price.

Breathtaking Chassagne-Montrachet

Today’s Story: Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey

To say Pierre-Yves Colin was a rising star turned legend in Chassagne-Montrachet over the last decade or so might be an understatement. Pierre-Yves started working with his father Marc Colin (the Burgundian legend in his own right) in 1994 and became winemaker until the 2005 vintage when he decided to branch out into his own venture. Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey was established by Pierre-Yves and his wife Caroline Morey (daughter of Jean-Marc Morey) and spawned out of a negociant business the couple started in 2001. Pierre-Yves inherited 6 hectares from his family and purchases fruit from carefully selected growers, but there is no question he knows all of this terroir like the back of his hand. When making his wines, Pierre-Yves presses the fruit very slowly and at higher pressures than normal, racks directly into 350L barrels for natural fermentation, never stirs the lees, and diverts his wine by gravity into his cellar. Pierre-Yves’ wines spend two winters aging in the cellar before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Whether it be thanks to the intense attention to terroir, his winemaking practices, or any minute decision he makes throughout the year, there is no question that Pierre-Yves’ wines are something special.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes

100% Chardonnay; 13% ABV

The 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet is transparent pale gold in color with water white variation near the rim. I recommend decanting this wine due to its youth, but try to keep it a few degrees below cellar temperature as you do. The nose showcases aromas of ripe golden pear, yellow apple skins, white lily, matchstick, incense, cotton candy, white pepper, and crushed stone minerality; the matchstick and incense are most pronounced. Once on the palate, the wine displays notes of lemon, honeydew melon, stone fruit, white wildflowers, smoke, white tea, and saline mineral. The wine is medium- to full-bodied with beautiful and vibrant high acidity into a long, well-rounded finish. This continued to get better as it opened up over a couple hours, but will be unbelievable with a few more years of cellaring.

Price: $100. Though not an inexpensive bottle of wine, the PYCM Chassagne-Montrachet is actually quite a good value because it drinks significantly better than even the highest quality village wines. Though I certainly popped the cork too soon on this, the precision, depth, complexity, and quality are all there to make this a necessity in your cellar. Pair with lobster, foie gras, or blue cheese.

Mouthwatering Village Level Chablis

Today’s Story: Domaine Moreau-Naudet

Domaine Moreau-Naudet is a small estate located in the Chablis region of northern Burgundy. Though Moreau-Naudet has been a family-run domaine for quite some time, it was 1999 when Stéphane Moreau joined his father and drastically shifted the winemaking practices. Stéphane transitioned to fully organic viticulture alongside biodynamic practices, started harvesting his vineyards completely by hand, and practiced a minimal intervention winemaking style that includes natural yeast fermentation, slow élevage in large oak barrels, and minimal added sulphur. Stéphane was a nonconformist for Chablis in this sense, and took significant inspiration from Vincent Dauvissat, Didier Dagueneau, and Nadi Foucault. Sadly, Stéphane passed away incredibly too young (in his upper 40s) in 2016 and the future of the domaine fell to questioning. Shortly thereafter, however, Stéphane’s wife Virginie and his assistant winemaker displayed great adeptness by stepping in and remaining steadfast to Stéphane’s philosophy and style then and to this day.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Chablis

100% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV

The 2017 Chablis is medium gold in color with water white variation near the rim. Give this 30 minutes to an hour to open up and you will be handsomely rewarded. The nose showcases aromas of white peach, lemon peel, stone fruit, summer melon, honeysuckle, and chalky mineral. On the palate, I get notes of lemon zest, baked pineapple, quince, green apple skins, white florals, flint, and saline mineral. This is medium-bodied with vibrant high acidity and a well-rounded mouthfeel into a long, mouthwatering finish. While the wine doesn’t have as much depth as I was hoping for, its precision makes up for that and makes me excited to try it again in a few years.

Price: $35 (though you can find this cheaper, especially in Europe). This is a great value and it’s hard to believe this is a village wine thanks to its finesse and precision. Would love to try this again in a few years. Pair with oysters, snails with garlic butter, or gougères.