The reasons to drink Burgundy are bountiful, but motives like carefree bliss, midday refreshment, and the sun came out are rarely cited. No, the great whites and reds of Burgundy provide a more somber, serious type of satisfaction—they gratify on an introspective level, in which a sophisticated, almost intellectual allure supplements a stirringly emotional component. Crisp whites from Savoie or the Loire, in addition to juicy chilled Beaujolais, are more typically summoned when the goal is to simply whet one’s palate.
That is, until you splash some of Régis Bouvier’s Marsannay rosé into your glass. Hailing from the only rosé-producing village on the Côte d’Or, it radiates a bright perfume of pomegranate, cranberry, and cherry before a bone-dry, chalky finish. The Pinot fruit is fine and nuanced—as it should be, coming from these hallowed slopes—but Régis has also captured a whimsical element that is often lacking in wines from this area. The perfect quaffer for warm fall evenings, it has even been known to inspire giggles as it races down the hatch.
Régis Bouvier in Marsannay achieves a rare hat trick in Burgundy, the mastering of all three colors–red, white and rosé, through reasonable yields and high quality terroirs. Bouvier makes the best Burgundian rosé that we have ever tasted, his whites are delicious, with their own particular character completely unlike other Chardonnays from Burgundy, and his reds are his crowning achievement, managing to be wild and exciting while refined and elegant at the same time.
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.
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.
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