Bruno Colin crafts this heavenly Chardonnay from one of the smallest terroirs in Puligny, perched high on the Côte de Beaune. Great wines, especially premier and grand cru Burgundies, often need time in the cellar to fully mature, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with this one. Its energy and intensity are enhanced by a gentle kiss of oak, which produces a warm hint of cinnamon-like spice that beautifully complements its crystalline fruit. Colin’s restrained winemaking approach delivers a grand wine that can be enjoyed now without the fear of missing out on something, but collectors, fear not—this bottle will unveil many pleasant surprises in years to come.
Michel Colin was the third generation in his family to grow grapes in Burgundy within the prestigious Côte de Beaune. When he retired in 2003, he handed the property over to his sons, Philippe and Bruno, who split the holdings between them to bottle under separate labels. With the help of his wife, Stéphanie, Bruno farms eight hectares of land, in thirty different parcels scattered over five communes.
Bruno bottles Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet, Saint-Aubin, Santenay, and Maranges. He vinifies nineteen cuvées separately, twelve of which are premier cru! Bruno’s style shows beautiful balance, both aromatically and texturally, while showcasing the delicate minerality and nuanced complexity of each vineyard.
In eastern central France, Burgundy is nestled between the wine regions of Champagne to the north, the Jura to the east, the Loire to the west, and the Rhône to the south. This is the terroir par excellence for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The southeast-facing hillside between Dijon in the north and Maranges in the south is known as the Côte d’Or or “golden slope.” The Côte d’Or comprises two main sections, both composed of limestone and clay soils: the Côte de Nuits in the northern sector, and the Côte de Beaune in the south. Both areas produce magnificent whites and reds, although the Côte de Beaune produces more white wine and the Côte de Nuits more red.
Chablis is Burgundy’s northern outpost, known for its flinty and age-worthy Chardonnays planted in Kimmeridgian limestone on an ancient seabed. Vézelay is a smaller area south of Chablis with similar qualities, although the limestone there is not Kimmeridgian.
To the south of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise extends from Chagny on its northern end, down past Chalon-sur-Saône and encompasses the appellations of Bouzeron in the north, followed by Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny.
Directly south of the Chalonnaise begins the Côte Mâconnais, which extends south past Mâcon to the hamlets of Fuissé, Vinzelles, Chaintré, and Saint-Véran. The Mâconnais is prime Chardonnay country and contains an incredible diversity of soils.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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