In the land of Her Royal Majesty Montrachet, the crème de la crème of all things Chardonnay, the Colin family looms tall with their history, holdings, and impeccable reputation. Within this large clan, we have worked with two, a father and his son, who have managed and run two distinctly different estates. Up until a few years ago, father Michel made just a handful of barrels of his rustic, voluminous whites under the label Colin-Deléger. Son Bruno, meanwhile, has a wide palette of small parcels covering all facets of Montrachet country. Whereas Michel liked his blancs with more fortitude—the brioche, hazelnut, and truffle side of things—Bruno’s wines tend toward the white fruit, citrus, and pronounced minerality side of the spectrum. They show tremendous class and charm, true to the Colin prestige. Bruno’s generic Bourgogne blanc is anything but generic: aged in barrels alongside his top growths, it delivers a blast of clean, pure, chalky Chardonnay fruit with plenty of complexity. It makes for a wonderfully approachable introduction to the great whites of the Côte de Beaune.
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.
A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!
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