As much as I would love to drink wines of this calibre everyday, it’s rare that my pocket book allows for such indulgences. However, whenever I feel like bringing a bottle of something a little special to a dinner party (or when I feel like I deserve a wee treat myself!) I’ve found that if your budget allows there are some seriously terrific Bourgogne wines to be found at the LCBO.
In part one of a two part series we take a look at some bottlings from slightly lesser-known white Bourgogne appellations that we feel are surefire bets, offer good value, and come highly recommended by Good Food Revolution.
Savigny-Lès-Beaune Blanc, 2015, Le Grappin, France (alcohol 13%) LCBO Vintages $75 (750ml bottle)
If you are familiar with this Village appellation, located between the hills of Corton and Beaune, then you have probably tasted some of the Pinot Noirs, but Savigny-Lès-Beaune also makes some damn good Chardonnay wines, and this is a seriously great example.
Le Grappin is a reasonably new micro-negociant house founded by an Australian Winemaker called Andrew Nielsen, whose ambition with the project was to make unique wines from tiny parcels of land that were often previously overlooked. I’m always attracted to well-designed packaging and all of the beautiful (and certainly untraditional) labels are designed by Brooklyn artist Louise Despont. These wines always sell out quickly, so grab a bottle wherever you see one. You’ll discover that they are worth every penny.
Pouring a pale straw in the glass, one will find defined aromatics of Anjou pear, Golden Delicious apple, orchard blossoms, roasted nuts, and a tiny hint of more tropical fruits. On the palate the wine is considerably weighty, fleshy, and round, with a little butteriness, but is elegantly balanced by a lovely thread of acidity. The long finish rewards with both mineral and fennel elements. Really very good indeed.
(Five apples out of a possible five)
Rully 1er Cru, Molesme, 2015 Domaine Jean Baptiste Ponsot , France (Alcohol 13%) LCBO Vintages $43.95 (750ml bottle)
Over my years as a Sommelier, Rully has often served as my go-to appellation for better values in Bourgogne white wines, as they always seem to punch above their (relative) weight. Located in the Côte Chalonnaise district, the historied appellation harbours some 23 Premier Cru with named “Climats”, such as this excellent “Molesme” example from one of the young rising stars of Bourgogne, Jean Baptiste Ponsot.
Showing a deeper yellow in the glass, the bouquet is one of pungent honeysuckle, lovely rich and ripe stone fruits, with intriguing nutty nuances. These ripe fruit characters give way to a wonderfully balanced and textured palate with excellent structure from beginning to end. There is a definite mineral edge on the front end which carries through the mid-palate and on to the extremely dry and persistent mineral-led finish. This linear mineral factor from the clay/limestone soils of the terroir makes the wine most appealing to my palate.
(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)
Chorey-Lès-Beaune, Clos Margot, 2015, Domaine Michel Prunier et Fille, France (Alcohol 13%) LCBO Vintages $41.95 (750ml bottle)
This village appellation from the Côte de Beaune region produces very few white wines, and so this bottling really caught my eye. In doing some research I discovered that Chardonnay plantings are increasing in the region as growers discover the potential for the grape in these alluvial soils on the lower slopes of the Côte de Beaune.
A delightful light gold colour, this “Clos Margot” from family-run winery Prunier exhibits a fascinatingly earthy nose of mushrooms, honey, quince, kumquats, under ripe pear, and hazelnuts. The 2015 vintage made for some rich wines, and although this wine is certainly that in spades, this is tempered by some gorgeous juicy acidity, making this a wonderfully balanced and integrated effort. Serving this wine blind I’d say that it could easily be mistaken for the neighboring Meursault appellation, which speaks to the quality of this wine.
(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)
To clarify a few points about Bourgogne vs. Burgundy, here are a few words from the good people at Bourgogne Wines.
Bourgogne vs. Burgundy – What’s in a name? (Shakespeare again; – Romeo & Juliet)
To re-affirm its identity as one of the most iconic French ‘brands’, the region and its producers are reverting back to the original French iteration of its name – Bourgogne. Historically, Bourgogne is the only French appellation that adopted an alternate identity for export markets with the use of the ‘Burgundy’ appellation designation for the English speaking markets, or Burgund for the German speaking and many other translations according to the country.
Today, this ‘Bourgogne’ designation has already been adopted by nearly all the wines produced there – either via appellation designation or wine region labeling. By maintaining this one true identity, Bourgogne returns to its historical roots as the consummate ‘brand’ treasured by consumers over the world.
Bourgogne is a big family and with Bourgogne as its family name and the appellations as its first names.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And those were really quite delicious.