We often talk about Chablis’ seductive “oyster shell” or “sea air” quality, but that appellation isn’t the only place in Burgundy where you can find this enchanting aroma in Chardonnay. You can also find it in a cluster of villages, including Chassagne-Montrachet, in the Côte de Beaune, where fourth-generation Bruno Colin farms some of the most coveted parcels in the entire region. This cuvée is a blend of nine lieux-dits from around Chassagne-Montrachet, although, when you taste it, you might easily mistake the class for that of a premier cru. The wine’s faint hint of the sea makes me yearn for grilled lobster or trout amandine.
Pierre Boillot, fils of Lucien, is the epitome of a Burgundian classicist. He doesn’t turn to makeup—excessive ripeness or oak—to enhance his gorgeous old-vine Pinot Noir. Rather, he relies on his sixty-year-old vines and veteran judgment regarding when to harvest and how long to ferment and age the wine in his cellar. The resulting Volnay is both elegant and exuberant, defined by notes of succulent, impeccably ripe red fruit and blood orange. Decant this beauty for an hour to enjoy it today, or stash it away in a cool space for five years.
Franck Follin tends vines from the famous hillside of Corton-Charlemagne all the way down to his property just outside the village of Aloxe-Corton. This rouge—a blend of fruit from two parcels that abut premier cru vineyards—delivers such finesse and pleasure that it makes you wonder why this village isn’t mentioned more often in the same breath as Volnay, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Nuits-Saint-Georges. This silky Aloxe-Corton is in a stellar place today, although I imagine it will continue to drink beautifully over the next five to ten years.
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