As I enjoyed a bottle of François Lumpp’s Clos du Cras Long over a couple of days, I marveled at how pleasing it is to drink. The nose is a heady mix of ripe cherry, raspberry fruit, and spicy oak. It feels decadent, even a bit naughty, like cashmere undies or putting truffles on everything. Each sip is full of flavor, delivering on the promise of the alluring nose and offering pure, effortless deliciousness. The wines from the Côte Chalonnaise appellation of Givry have long held “great value” status. François is entering “great at any price” status.
In the late 1970s, François Lumpp and his brother inherited their family property, located in the Côte Chalonnaise. In 1991 he founded his own label with his wife, Isabelle. Using sélection massale cuttings, François developed his domaine around Givry's best premier cru sites, which, as in most of the Côte d’Or, are situated on the mid to upper level slopes of the rolling hillsides. The Lumpp domaine is an especially good fit here at KLWM because it embodies exactly what we look for in Burgundy: a true vigneron in a specific village. Every wine François makes is from Givry, from vineyards that he planted and nurtured himself–something that is exceedingly rare in Burgundy today, and will become more and more so over 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.
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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