We have a friend in the wine trade who will tell you in all seriousness that the world's greatest white wines are made from Riesling in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, and whilst the wines from here are often extraordinary, there can surely be few who would argue that they outclass the great Chardonnays of the Côte de Beaune. The monks of the great medieval monasteries of Cîteaux and Cluny knew a thing or two and it is no accident that, for reds and whites, the finest vineyard sites were in monastic hands until the monasteries were despoiled by the revolutionaries. Some of the Mosel's best sites were also owned by monasteries, but nowhere can this have been so comprehensive as in Burgundy, where the 11th and 12th century monastic movement was so extraordinarily successful.
Today, white wine production is focused mainly on the three famous villages of Meursault, Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet, with the Grands Crus, apart from the more northerly Corton Charlemagne (and one (Musigny) in the Côte de Nuits), divided between the communes of Puligny and Chassagne. As so often in Burgundy, the most sought after lends its name to the village - hence the profusion of 'double barrelled' village names. However, most producers in the Côte de Beaune make red and white wines - and many villages (Savigny Les Beaune and Pernand Vergelesses for example), while better known for their red wine production, also make very fine whites, which cannot command the prices of their more famous neighbours. The same is true in reverse - reds from Chassagne can be stunning - as produced by Fontaine Gagnard and Gagnard Delagrange.
2005 Meursault, Domaine Henri Boillot2008-201412 Bottles£393.00£500.40
- "A notably ripe nose of orchard fruit, particularly peach and apricot is nuanced by hints of hazelnut and wood spice that continue onto the rich, generous and full yet there is a real sense of class and refinement here. This is flat out terrific for its level and absolutely worth a look. 90" Allen Meadows
Run by Georges Pico and his son Thomas, the domaine grew out of Georges' grandfather's domaine Pico Race, based in the village of Courgis, just south west of Chablis. The 20 hectares of vineyards are farmed organically, and the wines express beautifully the steely and mineral qualities of Chardonnay which are classic to the Chablis region.
2007 Chablis 1er Cru Montmain, Domaine de Bois d'Yver2010-201312 Bottles£153.50£213.00
- Similarly classic, but with an extra dimension thanks to the greater weight and concentration of fruit.
The Bouzereau family is one of the great wine-making clans of Meursault, and this estate of 11 hectares is run by Michel and his son Jean-Baptiste. Tradition rules here, though it would be fair to say that Jean-Baptiste has brought a slightly more modern approach to elements of the winemaking. Most importantly, the wines are given 9 months to a year on their lees, and the use of new wood is kept to a relatively modest level, allowing the personality of the individual terroirs to show (the domaine makes seventeen different wines).
2010 Meursault Grands Charrons, Domaine Michel Bouzereau2012-201712 Bottles£338.50£435.00
- “A much more restrained nose of white orchard fruit, hazelnut and floral hints introduces rich, round and borderline creamy medium-bodied flavors that culminate in a dry, energetic and delicious finish. This should drink well almost immediately. 87” Allen Meadows
2010 Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières, Domaine Michel Bouzereau2013-201812 Bottles£738.50£915.00
- “A touch of mineral reduction sits atop cool and airy aromas of white flowers, pear and green apple before merging seamlessly into pure, detailed and ultra-refined flavors that do a slow build from the mid-palate to an explosive but well-balanced finish. This is sneaky long because just as it feels as though the finish is attenuating, it returns. Lovely and if this can add depth in bottle my score could be conservative. 92” Allen Meadows
The website for Domaine Louis Carillon can be found at http://www.louis-carillon.com
2006 Puligny Montrachet, Domaine Louis Carillon2011-201612 Bottles£260.00£340.80
- "A moderately exotic yet very fresh nose features ripe melon and white flower aromas that complement nicely the rich, full and voluminous flavors that are delicious, intense, mouth coating and impressively long for a villages level wine. 89" Allen Meadows
Grégoire Bichot put this domaine together with the help of his father Bénigne, having decided not to join his family's famous négociant firm in Beaune. He began working out of small cellars in Vosne Romanée which belonged to the firm, but his possession of the buildings proved rather less secure than he had imagined, and his occupation of them ceased in 2008. Out of adversity however came a great opportunity - when Grégoire heard that a fine 19th century négociant's building (with deep cellars) was to be demolished, he raised the money to buy it and took it over shortly before the 2009 harvest. He now has a marvellous space in which to work, with wonderful deep cellars, and much of the necessary restoration has been completed. The future of this fabulous source of Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru and Nuits 1er Cru once more seems secure.
2011 Chablis, Domaine des Clos2013-201512 Bottles£131.00£186.00
- Ripe, honeyed aromas. Full and concentrated on the palate. Lovely chalky acidity on the finish.
1998 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru En Remilly, Domaine Colin Deleger2005-201412 Bottles£345.00£442.80
- Huge mineral complexity.
Didier Darviot and his wife Genviève (née Perrin) run this important domaine which has brought together the vineyard holdings of two Meursault and Monthélie families. This has created one of the few domaines to have vines in the three most important 1er Cru vineyards of Meursault: Perrières, Genevrières and Charmes. In addition to this, they also have vines in Chassagne 1er Cru Blanchots Dessus - Chassagne's only 1er Cru vineyard on the north side of the N6, immediately abutting Le Montrachet, where the ground falls away, and opposite Criots Bâtard Montrachet. Didier is a winemaker of prodigious talent, and if his administration leads to frustrations (particularly the fact that he makes his wines available for shipment a year or more after most other growers) that seems a price worth paying for such sublime wine making.
2006 Bourgogne Blanc Les Magnys, Domaine Darviot Perrin2010-201312 Bottles£278.00£362.40
- Complex and mineral and real freshness and zest.
2007 Meursault 1er Cru Charmes, Domaine Darviot Perrin2010-201712 Bottles£340.00£436.80
- “Here too there is a discreet touch of wood toast that highlights the ripe, airy and more elegant aromas of acacia blossom and white-fleshed fruit aromas that complement generous, rich and racy flavors that possess a silky texture and a palate drenching mouth feel. This is very Charmes in character with excellent length. 89-92” Allen Meadows
A house with a long history and today the largest vineyard owner in Burgundy, Faiveley was founded in 1825 by Pierre Faiveley. The foundations of its modern success however were laid by Georges Faiveley, who saw the firm through the difficult inter-war years when it was said that a new barrel cost more than the wine which filled it. His grandson François, handed control over to his own son Erwan – the 7th generation – in 2005. A new team was quickly put in place – most significantly perhaps including Bernard Hervé as Managing Director – who supervised the transformation of Bouchard after Joseph Henriot’s purchase, and an extremely talented winemaker, Jérôme Flous. Faiveley's winery and principle cellars are in Nuits St Georges - the nerve centre of a genuinely world class operation.
2010 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Domaine Faiveley x 62013-20186 Bottles£210.50£267.00
- “This is almost Riesling-like with its petrol character that combines with notes of mineral reduction, oyster shell, citrus zest and a distinct saline element. There is excellent intensity with all of the drive that one expects in a classic vintage with firm acid spine shaping the medium-bodied flavors. I very much like the underlying sense of tension on the notably dry, clean and racy finish. 91-93” Allen Meadows
One of the oldest established families of Chablis, the Fèvres have been making wine in the region for more than 250 years, and had already established a formidable reputation for this 47 hectare domaine by the time that it was taken over by Joseph Henriot in 1998. Henriot, from Champagne, had already transformed the fortunes of the great Beaune house of Bouchard Père et Fils and, since 1998, has taken the wines of William Fèvre to even greater renown, thanks to the incredible talents of his winemaker, Didier Séguier.
2005 Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre, Domaine William Fèvre2009-201412 Bottles£250.00£328.80
- “An unmistakable step up on almost every dimension as this is more elegant, more refined, more sophisticated and more complex, particularly on the airy white flower fruit and menthol nose that introduces powerful, concentrated and gorgeously intense flavors that feature an explosively long finish. This has real energy to it plus grand cru caliber class. 91” Allen Meadows
Richard Fontaine continues to produce among the very finest whites of the Côte d’Or. His extremely capable daughter Céline is now working with him, and the future of this first class estate has never looked better. Demand for these wines has become enormously strong in recent vintages, and production of the Grands Crus in particular is always very limited. The domaine produces wines of exceptional richness, finesse, and kaleidoscopic mineral complexity. While Fontaine's stellar reputation is based primarily on the immense quality of his whites, the domaine also produces very lovely reds, which are not only beautifully pure expressions of Pinot Noir but also very attractively priced.
More information can be found on the domaine's website: http://www.domaine-fontaine-gagnard.com/
2004 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Clos St Jean, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2008-201612 Bottles£250.00£327.60
- "A completely different aromatic profile is present here with an exotic nose of peach, pear, apricot and mango that leads to textured, sappy and notably sweet flavors that are extremely rich but not heavy as this finishes with real verve and punch. It is largely fruit-driven at present though additional complexity may well develop with time in bottle. 89" Allen Meadows
2006 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru La Romanée, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2009-201612 Bottles£478.00£602.40
- "A lightly exotic nose of peach, pear, spice and mango merges into very rich and notably full-bodied flavors brimming with dry extract as well as a fine mineral streak that adds lift to the deep, powerful and mouth coating finish that is wonderfully pure. This is a lovely wine and while it normally doesn't trump the Caillerets at this address, it does so in 2006. 92" Allen Meadows
2007 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2010-201612 Bottles£303.50£393.00
- “A pungent and expressive nose of resin oil, lemon zest and soil tones leads to textured, fresh and precise flavors that culminate in a dry, clean, tangy and persistent finish. An attractive villages. 88” Allen Meadows
2007 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Clos St Jean, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2010-201712 Bottles£363.50£465.00
- “As one would reasonably expect, this is notably more elegant with a cooler and more reserved nose of white flower, green fruit and lemon that introduces sappy and more obviously concentrated flavors that display a beguiling minerality on the intense, long and palate staining finish. This is impressive. 91” Allen Meadows
2008 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2011-201712 Bottles£291.00£378.00
- “A more complex but not necessarily prettier nose of resin and ripe orchard fruit aromas gives way to nicely voluminous and textured medium-bodied flavors that are delicious yet serious with good mid-palate fat and an agreeably dry finish. I like the balance and depth for a villages level wine. 88” Allen Meadows
2009 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2011-201612 Bottles£291.00£378.00
- “Very mild reduction does not materially impinge on the resin and yellow orchard fruit suffused aromas that give way to rich, round and nicely voluminous middle weight flavors that possess plenty of energy on the sappy if not especially refined finale. 88” Allen Meadows
2009 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru La Maltroie, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2012-201812 Bottles£371.00£474.00
- “Very mild reduction diminishes only slightly the expressiveness of the ripe yellow orchard fruit aromas that are nuanced by a pretty note of minerality that can also be found on the pure and silky middle weight flavors that possess excellent detail and even better intensity, all wrapped in a slightly exotic finish. While this solidly complex effort is certainly very attractive at present, indeed it could easily be enjoyed now, I would advise drinking it early as it may turn heavy with more than a few years of bottle age. 90” Allen Meadows
2011 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2013-201712 Bottles£291.00£378.00
- Very impressive wine – full of sweet, white-fleshed fruit flavours. Stunning length.
2011 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru La Maltroie, Domaine Fontaine Gagnard2014-201812 Bottles£371.00£474.00
- Lively, fresh, citrus character. Fabulous intensity.
Since the death of the wonderful Jacques Gagnard in July 2009, this domaine has been run by his widow Marie-Josèphe (daughter of Edmond Delagrange) and their grandson Marc-Antonin Blain. Over the last fifteen years or so, most of the vineyards have been handed on to their two daughters (Laurence, married to Richard Fontaine; and Claudine, married to Jean-Marc Blain). However, the domaine continues to produce outstanding, long-lived wines from the approximately 3 hectares it retains. These include a 1er Cru red Chassagne from vines planted in 1928, the year of Jacques' birth.
2005 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Morgeots, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2009-201612 BottlesTBA£480.00
- Stunning. Lively and fresh with very fine structuring acidity. Intense, long and complex – superb.
This case is lying duty paid and is not therefore available for sale under bond.
2007 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2010-201612 Bottles£303.50£393.00
- Fresh, vibrant and full of minerality.
2009 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2011-201612 Bottles£291.00£378.00
- A lovely richness of fruit supported by vibrant acidity.
2009 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Morgeots, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2012-201812 Bottles£391.00£498.00
- Complex, rich and long.
2009 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Boudriotte, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2012-201812 Bottles£418.50£531.00
- Fabulous length and complexity - the wine really sings on the palate. Superb.
2010 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Morgeots, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2013-201912 Bottles£391.00£498.00
- Fine, elegant and with lots of minerality.
2010 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Boudriotte, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2013-201912 Bottles£418.50£531.00
- Intense, citrus fruit and wonderful length of flavour.
2011 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2013-201712 Bottles£291.00£378.00
- Very pale lemon colour. Tight and compact, with a lovely sweetness to the fruit. Superb length.
2011 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Boudriotte, Domaine Gagnard Delagrange2014-201912 Bottles£418.50£531.00
- Concentrated and with a hint of honey on the finish.
This 9 hectare estate, with its cellars in Chassagne Montrachet, is run by Sabine Mollard, grand-daughter of Marc Morey, while her father Bernard retains an overseeing eye. Along with the Gagnard family (see above) the Morey family dominates the village; Bernard and Sabine have made this the finest of the various Morey estates. Winemaking is traditional in style, with great emphasis placed on the quality of fruit produced in the vineyard.
2008 Puligny Montrachet, Domaine Marc Morey2011-201712 Bottles£308.50£399.00
- Fine aromas and lovely flavours of rich, ripe white fruits.
2009 Puligny Montrachet, Domaine Marc Morey2011-201612 Bottles£308.50£399.00
- “This is slightly riper than the Chassagne villages with an elegant nose of acacia, pear, citrus and apricot aromas that merge seamlessly into precise and utterly delicious medium-bodied flavors that possess a bit more overall complexity if not quite as much energy on the lemony finish. A choice. 88” Allen Meadows
2011 Bourgogne Blanc, Domaine Marc Morey2013-201612 Bottles£153.50£213.00
- Charming fleshy fruit, and supple acidity. Excellent freshness.
2011 St Aubin 1er Cru Charmois, Domaine Marc Morey2013-201712 Bottles£248.50£327.00
- Really intense and fresh with lovely length of flavour.
2011 Puligny Montrachet, Domaine Marc Morey2013-201712 Bottles£308.50£399.00
- Pretty lemony scents. Full of creamy fruit on the palate with intense, mineral power on the finish.
Jean, originally from Belgium, and his wife Régine own vineyards in the Mâconnais and also in the Jura, due east of Beaune. In addition, Jean buys grapes from a small number of growers with whom he has forged close links, some in the Mâconnais and some in the Côte de Beaune. Régine is largely responsible for the vineyards, while Jean’s great genius is as a winemaker and ‘eleveur’ – his work is the cellars, learnt in part from the renowned Jean-Marie Guffens and considerably refined over the years, is extraordinarily hands-on, and profoundly personal. More than almost any other grower we know, Jean illustrates how intelligent vineyard management, winemaking and élévage can produce spectacular results from vineyards that more often underperform in the hands of others.
2007 Mâcon Lugny Crays Vers Vaux, Jean Rijckaert2008-201312 Bottles£116.00£168.00
- “Conspicuous wood still allows the citrus rind and green fruit aromas to harmonize with the precise, pure and stony flavors that are racy, pure and very dry as the firm acidity packs a punch on the long and fine finish. This isn't for everyone but if you enjoy cuts-like-a-knife acidity without being excessively austere or aggressive, this will be of interest. 89” Allen Meadows
2009 Viré Clessé L'Epinet, Domaine Jean Rijckaert2011-201412 Bottles£131.00£186.00
- Vibrant and fresh, with a lovely long, zesty finish.
2009 Meursault Les Narvaux Vieilles Vignes, Jean Rijckaert2011-201612 Bottles£273.50£357.00
- Clean, fresh, lemony and intense, with lovely ripe fruit and superb balance.
2010 Pouilly Fuissé La Roche Vieilles Vignes, Jean Rijckaert2012-201712 Bottles£203.50£273.00
- Fresh, complex and mineral. Great length of flavour.
2011 Côtes de Jura Les Sarres Chardonnay, Domaine Jean Rijckaert2013-201512 Bottles£118.50£171.00
- A touch of honey gives complexity and generosity to the fruit.
2011 Viré Clessé L'Epinet, Domaine Jean Rijckaert2013-201612 Bottles£131.00£186.00
- Crisp mineral aromas. Persistent citrus fruit on the palate.
2011 St Véran En Faux Vieilles Vignes, Jean Rijckaert2013-201612 Bottles£141.00£198.00
- Concentrated, ripe and long.
2011 Pouilly Fuissé Vers Chanes Vieilles Vignes, Jean Rijckaert2013-201712 Bottles£203.50£273.00
- From the Fuissé side of the appellation. Wonderful ripe fruit, and really nice freshening acidity. Superbly balanced finish.
Sauzet is among the greatest of Burgundy's white wine producers. Gerard Boudot, with his daughter Emilie and son-in-law Benoit Riffault, runs this immaculate operation. We always think that the hosepipe illustrates the extraordinary precision and attention to detail in the cellar! The wines are sensational.
2007 Puligny Montrachet, Etienne Sauzet2010-201612 Bottles£376.00£480.00
- “A notably more elegant nose combines white flower, citrus juice and a touch of anise that gives way to clean, intense, detailed and lightly mineral-infused medium-bodied flavors that are very Puligny in character and culminate in a balanced, vibrant and equally persistent finish. This is not overly dense but the balance and depth are lovely. Worth a look. 89” Allen Meadows
2009 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Garenne, Etienne Sauzet2012-201812 Bottles£583.50£729.00
- "An exceptionally fresh and airy nose offers up notes of lemon-lime, pear, acacia blossom and wet stone where the latter element is also reflected by the beautifully well-delineated, intense and mouth coating middle weight flavors that culminate in a balanced and even racy finish. I very much like the underlying sense of tension that is present on the backend. 92" Allen Meadows
2011 Puligny Montrachet, Etienne Sauzet2013-201712 Bottles£376.00£480.00
- A wine of great focus and intensity.
2011 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Garenne, Etienne Sauzet2014-201912 Bottles£583.50£729.00
A fine producer of Mercurey, with cellars in the heart of the village almost in the shadow of its extraordinary medieval church.
2005 Mercurey Blanc, 1er Cru En Sazenay, Domaine Tupinier Bautista2008-201312 Bottles£161.00£222.00
- Lustrous straw gold. Lovely mineral maturity on the nose. Ripe and honeyed on the palate while retaining excellent vivacity. Very long lasting on the palate.
A co-operative winery founded by a group of growers in the Mâconnais village of Prissé in 1928 the Cave de Prissé (as it used to be called) has become one of the most successful of its type; since it merged with the co-operatives of the neighbouring villages of Verzé and Sologny, it sources grapes from more than 400 small-scale growers who together own almost 980 hectares of the surrounding vineyards. Success on this scale is the result of one thing – consistently high quality.
2011 Mâcon Villages, Esprit des Lieux, Blasons de Bourgogne, Prissé2012-201512 Bottles£78.50£123.00
- Very pale straw colour. Fresh and precise Chardonnay fruit aromas. Lovely balance and weight of fruit on the palate. Great easy drinking white Burgundy.