Bourgogne Rouge, the basic regional appellation of Burgundy covers a multitude of qualities, but when it's made just at the edge of village level appellations in the Côte d'Or, by some of the great growers and winemakers, and harvested by hand and made in barrel like a village Gevrey, Vosne, Volnay or Pommard, it can offer outstanding value. Click on each wine to see all the reviews.
Domaine François RaquilletThe Chalonnais proved to be a happy hunting ground for the 2017 vintage and Mercurey was no exception. Francois produces a number of different labels from 11 hectares of mainly old vines and has recently been concentrating on reducing yields and increasing the quality of oak barrels. One might think that all this would send prices shooting north, however, this producer remains one of the true bargains in Burgundy. The 2017 vintage was a pleasure to taste and will be an immediate hit for our not so patient clients! Energy, pretty fruit, mineral and structure. These wines are excellent options for early to medium term drinking.
2017 BOURGOGNE Pinot Noir Domaine François Raquillet
Always well priced, the Raquillet Bourgogne has an attractive red cranberry nose. Sappy dark fruit joins on the palate. Quite simple in its approach but with balanced acidity and tannin, this anAlways well priced, the Raquillet Bourgogne has an attractive red cranberry nose. Sappy dark fruit joins on the palate. Quite simple in its approach but with balanced acidity and tannin, this an attractive and easy wine. One to buy in bulk and enjoy guilt-free over the next two to four years. Drinking range: 2018 - 2023L&S(Oct 2018)
Domaine Joël Rémy
A family domaine that extends back five generations to 1853, but which Joël has modernised considerably over the past twenty years, installing new fermentation and ageing equipment. Over the years his vinifications have changed, and the wines have a lot more immediacy and precision. The quality of fruit is not in doubt, as lovers of his Bourgogne Rouge from year to year will attest, and a lot of work in the vineyard contributes to this, including leaf-thinning towards the end of the growing season. In the winery he has installed a vibrating sorting table, and the only filtering is by a lens filter at very low pressure to avoid de-naturing the wines. All offer quite striking value.
In 2016 Joël was joined full-time by both his children, Maxime and Manon. There is a renewed air of excitement and ambition here, and the 2017s continue to show the confidence that Joël has brought to the winemaking.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Pinot Noir Domaine Joël Rémy
Joël has absolutely nailed it once again with this. It smells youthful, but the palate is impressively intense. The fruit is nice, pretty, 'just' well-ripened. Red berries. Good lick of acidity too.Joël has absolutely nailed it once again with this. It smells youthful, but the palate is impressively intense. The fruit is nice, pretty, 'just' well-ripened. Red berries. Good lick of acidity too. Easy, balanced and juicy. What more can you ask for with Bourgogne Rouge at this price? Drinking range: 2019 - 2024L&S(Nov 2018)
Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot
The origins of the Pillot family in Chassagne can be traced back to the eighteenth century, when they seem to have been coopers more than vignerons. In the nineteenth century they abandoned barrel-making in favour of enlarging the property in Chassagne. Fernand and Laurent, who is the fourth generation, added to it again in 1992, and then in 2001 Laurent's wife Marie-Anne inherited half of her family's property, the Pommard domaine of Pothier-Rieusset, and Laurent and his father bought the other half. The domaine now stands at 14.5 hectares of vines across almost the whole length of the Côte de Beaune from Santenay to Beaune.
The Domaine is worked according to organic principles and are ploughed – no chemical weedkillers are used. They have also been members of the Dephy-ECO-phyto group, which works to reduce the number of treatments using copper sulphate, since 2012.
Laurent has always managed to pack in a lot alongside his running of the vineyard. He has a sophisticated microlight which he flies to all corners of France, he keeps and hunts hawks, and conducts the Chassagne brass band as well as dabbling in Mayoral duties - on top of being a father of three, Anaïs, Adrien and Eugène. They are all mad about the alps and disappear up the mountains at regular intervals.
Laurent's eldest son Adrien has been travelling the world making wine all over the place for the last few years having completed his training in Beaune. Bringing back lessons learnt in Australia, South Africa and California (and from a stint at Lea & Sandeman) - he now helps Laurent with all aspects of the wine-making and viticulture at the domaine. The wines have long been L&S favourites in both red and white - they represent excellent value, and they age very well too, despite being attractive young. The whites are precise and pure, and not lacking for body and generosity, while the reds are velvety and juicy, beautifully balanced even if drunk young on their expressive Pinot fruit. The domaine was rightfully heralded in Decanter Magazine last year as 'an address that deserves to be better-known'. Great value and real pleasure across their range.
2017 BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot
Lots of good concentration to the Bourgogne Rouge. Some crunchy red fruit in the mid-palate. A smooth seamless wine that has you reaching for another sip. Cherry on the finish. Joyful fruit. VeryLots of good concentration to the Bourgogne Rouge. Some crunchy red fruit in the mid-palate. A smooth seamless wine that has you reaching for another sip. Cherry on the finish. Joyful fruit. Very drinkable already. L&S(Oct 2018)
Domaine Nicolas RossignolAfter hail and frost had savagely cut the production here in four out of the previous five vintages, it was smiles and relief all round this year. In 2016 Nico had just five barrels of 'Village' Volnay, but the 'perfect' 2017 vintage has yielded 39 barrels form the same ground. How Nico has managed to keep smiling through the last few years is anyone's guess, but that's Nico. It can only be hoped that with the only slightly smaller 2018 harvest now in barrel, these troubles have come to an end. Now in its second year, he could not be happier with his new winery. A fantastic bespoke build, admittedly in a ZI (Zone industrielle) on the outskirts of Beaune, which he recognises is not ideal for the folklore aspect, but it is a perfect tool for the job, and does have a good view of all 'his' bits of the Côte - from the roof.
As we wrote last year, the wines in this cellar reflect his bounding optimism - they are generous and bouncing with energy. He describes the 2017 vintage as 'Gourmand, Friand, Fruité', which is marvellous, but at least partly untranslatable - come on chaps, we need a word for gourmand that is better than 'greedy', and another for friand which does not involve a long explanation - but 'easy to love' might do. But you get the idea. It's delish. 'Not the density of 2015, but just as well-balanced', as Nico went on to say, and 'a vintage which respects the identity of each terroir. The kind of vintage you can drink from the word go, and at any time for ten years, but which will surprise if you then find a bottle you've forgotten in the cellar, when you see it has aged brilliantly - like the 2002s'. From a Bourgogne you can drink now, through to an incredibly serious Grand-Cru-level Pommard Rugiens, this is a great set of wines.
2017 BOURGOGNE Pinot Noir Domaine Nicolas Rossignol
Mineral nose joined by a little toast. Sweet cherry fruit on the palate with gravel evident in the background. The Bourgogne has a lovely mouth feel, light and crisp with no hard edges. VeryMineral nose joined by a little toast. Sweet cherry fruit on the palate with gravel evident in the background. The Bourgogne has a lovely mouth feel, light and crisp with no hard edges. Very attractive - a great all rounder that won't break the bank. 60% aged in wood, 40% in tank to retain freshness. Drinking range: 2018 - L&S(Oct 2018)
Domaine de Courcel
One of the great domaines of Pommard, with a 400 year history in the same family. The domaine produces a small amount of Bourgogne Chardonnay, a completely over-performing Bourgogne Rouge, a village Pommard (Vaumuriens, 1.44 ha), but the biggest part of the domaine consists of four great Premier Cru expressions of the terroir of Pommard, Fremiers (0.79 ha), Croix Noires (0.58 ha), Grand Clos des Epenots (4.89 ha) and Rugiens (1.07 ha). These represent a very different style to the Clos des Épeneaux of Comte Armand, for example. Yves Confuron, the régisseur, describes the difference between the two top wines by saying that the Grand Clos is 'terreux' while the Rugiens is 'aérien'.
The aim is to limit yields to around 25hl/ha, to attain optimum ripeness. The vines are ploughed, and pruned carefully to suit each one, then de-budded in spring and green-harvested in August to keep the fruit load balanced. Following Yves' usual practice the harvest is late and the vatting is long - usually around a month, with a cold maceration leading into a cool fermentation, and a long post-fermentation soak under the protection of the carbon dioxide given off by the fermentation. The wines are developed in barrel over 21 to 23 months, with a third of the barrels being replaced each year. After racking they are bottled without fining or filtration.
The domaine produces wines with astonishing depth and density that still retain the freshness, just like Yves' own wines at Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot. They are classic vins de garde and patience is advised - and will be amply rewarded.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Domaine de Courcel
This has guts and bite. Nice grippy intensity. Great dark fruit. Full of black currant and plum skin. sleek tannins and juicy too. Impressive punch and savour for a Bourgogne.This has guts and bite. Nice grippy intensity. Great dark fruit. Full of black currant and plum skin. sleek tannins and juicy too. Impressive punch and savour for a Bourgogne. Drinking range: 2020 - 2024L&S(Nov 2018)
Domaine Henri Boillot
A domaine which dates back to 1885, but which began properly in the early years of the 20th century under the current Henri's grandfather (also Henri). His son, Jean, was the one who really developed it. Henri arrived in 1975 and worked his way up, becoming the winemaker. In 2000 he began the building of the new winery at the bottom of Meursault, and he then bought out his brother and sister to keep the domaine as one, renaming it from 'Domaine Jean Boillot' to 'Domaine Henri Boillot' to avoid confusion with his brother Jean-Marc's domaine.
After six years working alongside his father, Guillaume is the 'chef de culture', i.e. heads up the vineyard team, and has been entirely responsible for the vinification of the reds since 2012. Henri continues to make the whites which he likes to be 'straight, taut, precise, pure and elegant'. Guillaume's input has resulted in red wines that have gained in definition and energy, without losing the luxurious velvety richness and fruit depth that they have always had.
The Domaine totals around 14 hectares, with roughly equal surfaces of red and white, and of which just under 4ha is the Monopole vineyard of Clos de la Mouchère, a walled enclave within the premier Cru Puligny Perrières. The 2017 vintage saw the arrival of two new parcels of Grand Cru red, in Échezeaux and Latricières Chambertin
In November 2018 we tasted with Henri while Guillaume was busy in the cellar, working on the just harvested 2018s, and he was very upbeat about the 2017s - rightly so. They harvested the whites between the 27th and 30th August - going early to preserve the energy which is increasingly a hallmark here.
Henri says this year is quite like 2016 but with a bit more weight he thinks. There is lovely acidity like the 2013s. He explains that 2017s have the same acidity as the 2016s - but with a note more glycerol which pads out the middle. The results are delicious, delectable wines you want to drink.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Domaine Henri Boillot
'Un Pannier de Framboise' says Henri - he is right the nose explodes like a direct hit on the Tiptree Raspberry Jam production line. Delicious and very easy to like. Pure fruit, ripe and so generous'Un Pannier de Framboise' says Henri - he is right the nose explodes like a direct hit on the Tiptree Raspberry Jam production line. Delicious and very easy to like. Pure fruit, ripe and so generous and sleek. For drinking early and taking great pleasure from that plump, juicy dark fruit. Not complicated but very joyful.L&S(Oct 2018)
Domaine de la Douaix
Mark and Gilles Moustie are Belgians, huge fans of wine and in particular Burgundy. The family rented a gite for many years in the Hautes Côtes village of Arcenant, straight up the hill to the west of Nuits Saint Georges, and gently graduated from buying wines at domaines up and down the Côte to wanting to make the wine themselves. Eventually they bought some vines and a house with cellars, and set to.
Most of their wines are from vines they own, but they do make a little wine from bought-in fruit to supplement what is still a tiny domaine. It is his Gilles who is hands-on on a daily basis and is really running the domaine now with ever-growing confidence and the wines seem to improve year on year. He is now working organically across the domaine.
There is lovely fruit in these 2017s, as well as the depth and gutsiness which attracted us to this domaine in the first place.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Vieilles Vignes Domaine de la Douaix
Although this has certainly 'put on weight' since we tasted in November this retains a positive, fresh feel - lots of nice pretty fruit. Soft, richer strawberry juice and some good earthy spice too.Although this has certainly 'put on weight' since we tasted in November this retains a positive, fresh feel - lots of nice pretty fruit. Soft, richer strawberry juice and some good earthy spice too. The delicate feel we noted in November has been replaced by a slightly more weighty and satisfying core. Not massive but a good depth of fruit and very nicely delivered. Gilles explains that even at this level they do really do try and intensify things here and get the most out of their vineyards. He evidently feels they need to make serious wines wherever they can as they lack premier or grand cru sites. This is fun but also quite a sophisticated starter here. Drinking range: 2019 - 2026L&S(Jan 2019)
Domaine Thierry Mortet
The domaine dates back to 1992, when Domaine Charles Mortet was split between Thierry and his brother Denis, and Thierry set up on his own with just 4 hectares of vines. Today he has 7.3 ha, of which 6 are red and 1.3 white. Only 4.36 hectares are Gevrey or Chambolle, the rest being a small parcel of Marsannay Blanc and regionals - Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc, Aligoté and Passetoutgrain.Thierry continues to be praised in the French press without ever quite seeming to crack the influential American journalists. It may be simply because he is a bit short of fancy appellations - one little cuvée of Grand Cru would no doubt do his reputation a lot of good - but might also put his prices up, and these remain very modest.
In the vineyard, Thierry has been certified organic since 2007, but really this was just an official stamp on what had been the practices of the domaine since the beginning, and he is working towards biodynamic certification. In the cellar, the grapes are entirely de-stemmed, and given four or five days of cold maceration are followed by the fermentation, with just a touch of cooling to keep the temperature around 31-33C (below 35, at least), and two pigeages a day. The total time in vat can be as little as 17 days. The wines then go into barrel, all second use or older for the Bourgogne, with 30% new wood on the Gevrey, and 50% on the Clos Prieur, for a period of around sixteen months.
Thierry's wines are fine and precise, tangy and long, never massive, but not insubstantial all the same.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Charmes de Daix Côte de Nuits Domaine Thierry Mortet
Like Thierry his wines have great energy and this Bourgogne from his vines to the north in Daix, is no exception. Bright and peppy, but with good intensity and edge too. There is a weight to theLike Thierry his wines have great energy and this Bourgogne from his vines to the north in Daix, is no exception. Bright and peppy, but with good intensity and edge too. There is a weight to the fruit. It is almost baked in feel - and some Christmas spice too. A whiff of 'speculoos' biscuit. Great Bourgogne Rouge, sprightly yet with a nicely ripened fruit core. But precise too, a great opener to this tasting.L&S(Nov 2018)
Domaine Stéphane Magnien
Stéphane's is a small domaine, a mere 4.5 hectares, with one full hectare of that in regional wine - Passetoutgrains and Bourgogne - but it is blessed with two Grands Crus and also a long history of not messing with nature. No pesticides have ever been used on this land, and the plants are nearly all the old 'Pinot tordu' - twisted Pinot with its gnarly stems which are less vigorous than the modern clones and said by many to make wines with more finesse.
Stéphane chaptalizes only to extend fermentations - these are wines which his father Jean-Paul used to describe as 'sage en alcool' - from 12 to 13% - the old vines do not make much alcohol. Wood use is also discreet, never exceeding 20% new wood on the Grands Crus, 15% on the Premiers Crus and on the village appellations, 10% new wood for one year only, then all into older barrels.
Stéphane says that he aims to make wines with more richness than his father's, 'but not black angular wines which have less relief. Wines which leave your mouth clean and clear, refreshed and revived and, above all, wanting another glass'. He destems 100%, gives the grapes a six-day maceration, then a classical fermentation with just two pigeages, and a little remontage (pumping over) at the end.
2017 CÔTEAUX BOURGUIGNONS Pur Pinot Noir Domaine Stéphane Magnien
Stéphane used to make a Passetoutgrain, but in 2016 his Gamay was all frosted and so he was left with 'Pure' Pinot. Chatting with him in the cellar you could sense that this opportunity was somewhatStéphane used to make a Passetoutgrain, but in 2016 his Gamay was all frosted and so he was left with 'Pure' Pinot. Chatting with him in the cellar you could sense that this opportunity was somewhat relished - and the result was impressive - and it is again this year, as he has decided to make the Pinot separately again. The fruit comes from a village Morey plot right down at the bottom of the hill near the road. The fruit is bright and fresh - but has the unmissable supple middle of the vintage. So the wine is really attractive and enjoyable from the off. 60% is raised in inox with the balance in older, neutral barrels. A lovely fallout from 2016's tricky cold spring! Drinking range: 2019 - 2022L&S(Nov 2018)
A domaine of 11 hectares, 25% regionals, 50% Villages, 20% Premiers crus and 5% Grands Crus. Virgile Lignier worked at the domaine with his father Maurice from 1988, beginning to bottle some of the wine from 1992 (it had previously been sold to the négoce), taking over in 2000, which was the vintage when he first bottled all the domaine's production.
In the vineyard Virgile made significant changes, stopping the use of herbicides, and beginning to plough instead. Green harvesting to limits yields followed, along with greater attention to grape selection. The domaine works organically except in extremis.
The wines have a lovely combination of enough body and richness, combined with a lively clarity of expression. The old vines village cuvées are seriously good, and great value too. Going up the scale each site seems to speak very clearly of its source and there is a brightness and energy along with full, seamless fruit.
Virgile's 2017s were all showing brilliantly when we visited in November, and repeated at our Jan 7th tasting - this domaine is in our view one to follow very closely as the prices have not yet caught up with the growing quality.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Domaine Lignier-Michelot
What an opener from Virgile. There is a richness on the attack, a broad intensity that grabs your attention immediately. Deep red fruits - no hard edges or firm lines beyond the generous, intenseWhat an opener from Virgile. There is a richness on the attack, a broad intensity that grabs your attention immediately. Deep red fruits - no hard edges or firm lines beyond the generous, intense fruit concentration. Impressive Bourgogne. He has calmed down his extraction in 2017 and this had very gentle Pigeage. He says that this year this is more of an infusion than an extraction. 50% whole bunch. Drinking range: 2019 - 2022L&S(Nov 2018)
Thibault Liger-BelairThe lack of the word 'domaine' in the name signals that this is a négociant wine from Thibault Liger-Belair. Thibault buys the grapes he picks having tended the vines with his own team, so that the wines are domaine wines in all but name.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Les Grands Chaillots Thibault Liger-Belair
Thibault has really refined this great value wine in 2017. Some of this fruit comes from Chambolle - he uses 20% whole bunch in 2017 and the very slow, delicate vinification avoids pigeage. 20% newThibault has really refined this great value wine in 2017. Some of this fruit comes from Chambolle - he uses 20% whole bunch in 2017 and the very slow, delicate vinification avoids pigeage. 20% new wood. The results are super, a delicate and supple fruit weight builds here - there is gentle drive and great intensity. From an easy attack with some pep and the slow-burning gentle fruit - the wine builds up to a fully satisfying, sleekly elegant Pinot Noir. Clever stuff and very good to taste. Drinking range: 2021 - 2027L&S(Jan 2019)
Domaine Georges Mugneret-GibourgThe sisters Marie-Christine and Marie Andrée have been firmly in control of this exceptional domaine for some years now. With one a pharmacist and the other an oenologist, the domaine was always going to be in safe hands as far as the wine-making was concerned and in 2017, Lucie, Marie-Christine's daughter has joined the team officially. These are top-flight burgundies with that elusive balance of enough concentration allied with delicacy of expression and the capability of ageing well. The exciting news here is that Fabrice Vigot is giving up his métayage, so another four hectares of vines, in Bourgogne, Nuits 'village', Vosne and Échezeaux will come back into the management of the domaine and the amount of wine available should increase a little from 2017 vintage. These wines are as good (and as sought-after) as ever.
2017 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg
Crisp and fresh red cherry on the attack Perfumed and seriously inviting. From vines at the Nuits Saint Georges end of the village. Good weight to the fruit. Nicely ripe. Just a touch of grip toCrisp and fresh red cherry on the attack Perfumed and seriously inviting. From vines at the Nuits Saint Georges end of the village. Good weight to the fruit. Nicely ripe. Just a touch of grip to this beautifully full and heady weight of deep red and purple fruit. Drinking range: 2019 - 2024L&S(Nov 2018)
Domaine Bernard Dugat-Py
Domaine Dugat-Py's wines are far from shy and retiring, but they do require patience to show their best. Old vines, tiny yields, viticulture with minute and constant attention, all lead to a magnificent concentration and purity in the raw material. Without extracting harsh tannins, Loïc (who despite his youthful good-looks, has overseen the wine-making since 2012) gets an astonishing density into the wines, and they take on the high percentage of new oak quite casually. (The village wines get 55-65% new wood, while the Premiers Crus and Grands Crus are all aged in 100% new barrels.)
The wines are every bit as good as you'd expect from this domaine in 2017 and for once may not be as devilishly long-lived as usual. As Loïc said the wines have an openness and a more aerial feel this year - and are deeply charming for it. The season he says was unusual and with the vines recovering from the loss of so much fruit in 2016 to frost (almost 30%) they went in to overdrive producing lots of grapes in 2017. Taking counsel from his father and grandfather he resisted the urge for a bountiful harvest and spent August thinning out the crop with a thorough green harvest. 'No holiday for me' he said cheerfully - and kept smiling as he explained they dropped enough fruit to fill another 20 barrels - ouch! There were, said Loïc, some problems with 'blocage de maturité' where young vines really suffered in the 36/37-degree heat. The harvest was early - starting on the 2nd of September, they were among the first. Neither in 2017, nor in 2018, was there really anything to do on the sorting table. The understanding and skill from the three generations of Dugats was crucial in such fine results. When you taste these mesmerising wines, you realise that all the right decisions were made. A real highlight on our tour of the region. Dense and intense but with a lovely softness in 2017, truly extraordinary.
These wines are in high demand, but it is still well-worth making requests, especially if buying other wines. Likely to be released in March.