Perhaps no family knows Chassagne-Montrachet as well as the large, extended Colin family (which interestingly enough traces its origins back to Ireland, drawn to Burgundy several centuries ago by the wine trade). Bruno Colin grew up in the middle of it all, the fourth generation of vignerons in his branch, and one of the most recent Colins to break out on his own. This Chassagne-Montrachet cuvée is important for anyone interested in the typicity of the various Burgundian appellations. Here you have six different parcels spread out over all sides of the appellation, some with deeper clay soils, others with limestone predominance, some with younger vines, several with older vines. It’s essentially a blend of a bit of everything Chassagne has to offer. There is citrus and minerality as well as the generosity, depth, and density we love in a Chassagne.
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.
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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