Just west of Meursault and the twin throughways—the D974 and A6—that form Burgundy’s spine lies Auxey-Duresses, one of the less-well-known villages of the Côte de Beaune and home to a population of 350. Christophe Buisson makes a red from this village as well as a red and a white from neighboring Saint-Romain. These wines—and the Auxey-Duresses, in particular—might be the most immediately charming red Burgundies we import. Christophe organically farms his .55 hectare of Auxey-Duresses vines, planted in 1962, and ages the wine in old oak barrels for eighteen months. This red is bright, polished, and extroverted, coating your palate with flavors of cherry, pomegranate, strawberries, and raspberries. A highly versatile wine, it pairs especially well with roast lamb, chicken, duck, beets, or a mushroom risotto.
Christophe Buisson is a young, passionate vigneron with all the skills for success. From his home base in Saint-Romain, the little known and thus underappreciated (and undervalued) appellation in the hills behind Meursault, Christophe has been honing his craft for the last decade. Christophe owns land in some of the best sites in Saint-Romain, Sous le Château and La Perrière, sites that would likely be premier cru in a village such as Chassagne-Montrachet.
Christophe’s beliefs, meticulous work in the vineyards, fermentation in cement cuves, élevage in medium age barrels, minimal racking and pumping, and a gentle bottling with no filtration or fining for the reds, all combine to give wines of impressive depth and complexity.
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.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171
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