If a handful of Côte d’Or villages, like Volnay, Meursault, and Gevrey-Chambertin, have been consistently prestigious for centuries, Marsannay lies at the other end of the spectrum. Despite having been preferred by the dukes of Bourgogne as far back as the fourteenth century, it has largely been overlooked throughout the last couple of centuries, and its reputation has been on the rise only in the past few decades with the accumulation of talented vignerons such as Régis Bouvier. Why did Burgundy’s northernmost appellation languish in obscurity and misunderstanding while its neighbors prospered? The recent history begins in the nineteenth century, when Marsannay producers broke from the rest of the Côte and generally ripped out their Pinot Noir vines in favor of Gamay to satisfy the market of neighboring Dijon. After phylloxera completed the damage to Marsannay’s Pinot Noir production, Joseph Clair replanted the grape and, in 1919, made a Pinot Noir rosé, launching Marsannay’s legacy as Burgundy’s leading source of serious and delicious pink wine. Nearly five decades later, in 1965, wines from this commune were finally allowed to bear labels stating “Bourgogne Rouge de Marsannay” and “Bourgogne Rosé de Marsannay.” In 1987, Marsannay was granted AOC status, placing it in the same hierarchy as village-level Gevrey-Chambertin and Volnay. Since then, ambitious Marsannay producers have bottled their wines by lieu-dit, highlighting notable parcels. Today, many Burgundians believe that conferral of premier cru status to the best sites is imminent. If this happens, the sloping vineyard Les Longeroies will be among the first to be officially elevated.
Even though most of Marsannay is planted to Pinot Noir, a small amount of Chardonnay is grown there as well. This distinct, nutty blanc evokes pretty orchard fruit and citrus, and possesses great acidity and a little grip. It is begging to be paired with grilled white fish or chicken.
Arguably Régis’s most over-delivering wine—and coming from his oldest vines—the Longeroies rouge showcases notes of black cherries, black tea, and baking spices. It stands among our most versatile red Burgundies, regardless of price.
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