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Burgundy

For Burgundy enthusiasts we really hope our extensive Pinot Noir selection will thrill, we are constantly fine tuning it!  Our Cotes de Nuits offering features some great growers from Vosne Romanee, Echezeaux like Domaine Michel Noellat, Denis Mortet from Gevrey Chambertin. For Côte de

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For Burgundy enthusiasts we really hope our extensive Pinot Noir selection will thrill, we are constantly fine tuning it!  Our Cotes de Nuits offering features some great growers from Vosne Romanee, Echezeaux like Domaine Michel Noellat, Denis Mortet from Gevrey Chambertin. For Côte de Beaune fans our Volnay from La Pousse d’Or should prove thrilling or for our top tip we highly recommend you explore the wines of Jean Marc Vincent in Santenay.


Our direct import Jean Marc Vincent Santenay les Gravieres 2018 attracts the following review:


“As is routinely the case, Vincent's 2018 Santenay 1er Cru Gravières Rouge has turned out brilliantly, delivering incipiently complex aromas of crushed wild berries, cassis, dark chocolate, peonies and spices. Medium to full-bodied, velvety and layered, it's deep and concentrated, with powdery tannins, succulent acids and a long, expansive finish. This is a gourmand but impeccably balanced Gravières that will offer a broad drinking window.


As I've written before, this small but exceptional five-hectare Santenay domaine is one of the Côte de Beaune's finest and deserves to be much better known. Training his canopies higher, planting at high densities—up to 14,000 vines per hectare—and working the soils, the viticulture at this address is painstaking and cutting edge; and the result is, unsurprisingly, wines of exceptional energy and concentration that smash the glass ceilings frequently imposed on appellations such as Santenay and Auxey-Duresses. It's no surprise that Jean-Marc Vincent numbers producers such as Bruno Lorenzon, Olivier Lamy and Thomas Bouley as friends and inspirations; and like their wines, Vincent's own are the fruit of two decades of serious reflection and hard work. In short, readers looking for wines that subvert Burgundy's traditional hierarchy of appellations should beat a path to Jean-Marc and Anne-Marie Vincent's door. The 2018 vintage has turned out brilliantly at this address, and everything reviewed here comes warmly recommended.” Parker 93+ rating.


Of course there is such a temptation to continue to wax lyrically about the wonders of the Pinot Noir grape. An unbelievably challenging but wonderful grape variety. Most wine commentators would see this as the grape of the Holy grail. A grape that demands a very particular terroir and climate to produce truly exciting wines. It is a grape with a long history with references back to this grape variety back to  the middle 1300’s. It is a relatively thin skinned grape so classically the wines don’t have deep colour extraction and typically have soft tannins and high acidity. Enough on Pinot Noir. Let the spotlight fall on the great white grape of Burgundy, the Chardonnay grape. Where to start!


We have a very wide range starting at the top of Burgundy in Chablis and of course finishing in the Macconais. We are delighted to ship the Chablis of Domaine du Colombier whose wines offer truly great value and of course deliver much pleasure.


Domaine du Colombier is a thoroughly family affair. It sprang into life in 1887 and still continues under the stewardship of the Mothe family. This traditional Chablis house owns 55 ha of vineyards from which they craft some truly thrilling examples of Chablis. It is not surprising that this Domaine produces the Berry Bros. house label Chablis.


Domaine du Colombier Chablis Grand Cru Bougros 2018

This indulgent wine, of which 20% was matured in French barrels, has glorious white flower aromas with notes of citrus, honey and of course an intense flintiness. The oak is not evident on the nose. The palate is intense with a wonderful texture, vibrancy and of course incredible length. This is racy, thrilling and exactly how a great Grand Cru Chablis should present. Tim Atkin rates this vintage 92 points.


We also of course carry some other exciting reference Chablis including the Jean Marc Brocard premier cru Chablis Vau de Vey 2018 and the championed Chateau Grenouilles 2016 from la Chablisienne. The Chablisienne Grenouilles 2016 attracted the following review:


The 2016 Chablis Grand Cru Château Grenouilles is a very impressive achievement in this challenging vintage, wafting from the glass with aromas of lemon oil, white flowers, crisp green apple and wet stones. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and pure, with a satiny attack, excellent concentration and an elegant, complete profile. It's a decided overachiever.


La Chablisienne is a force of nature in Chablis, vinifying and bottling fully one quarter of the entire appellation's production and offering 13 premiers crus and six grands crus. Sometime winemaker and long-time ambassador Hervé Tucki, joined by director of winemaking Vincent Bartement, characterized theirs as "a somewhat traditional idea of Chablis." Tucki stressed that La Chablisienne works with their growers throughout the year, offering advice on farming and prohibiting certain chemical products that are permitted by the law. Musts are tasted and analyzed to determine their quality and are fermented in numerous small lots. While some 80% of La Chablisienne's wines come into contact with oak, there is no notable new oak influence. In general, the wines see between 12 and 18 months on their lees before bottling, with one single bottling for each cuvée to minimize variation (something that's surprisingly uncommon in Chablis). Both 2016 and 2017 represent below-average harvests, with 2016 some 50% less and 2017 down by some 30%. I was impressed by this tasting, finding the wines classical in profile, with good cut and concentration. Certainly, some cuvées are better than others. But it's clear that La Chablisienne is comfortable with their scale and in control, their size arguably imparting advantages in terms of consistency in heterogeneous vintages such as 2016. There are definitely wines in the portfolio that are well worth the attention of serious Chablis lovers, especially those with an eye to value, and I look forward to covering La Chablisienne in future issues.”Parker 93 points


Moving into the Cote de Beaune where to start of course the spotlight has to go back on to Jean Marc Vincent and his brilliant Auxey Duresses, the premier cru les Hautes. The Jean Marc Vincent Auxey Duresses les Hautes 2018 attracted the following review:


TheJean Marc Vincent  2018 Auxey-Duresses Blanc Les Hautés has turned out brilliantly, offering up aromas of crisp Anjou pear, blanched almonds, white flowers, pastry cream and struck flint. Medium to full-bodied, it's deep and layered, built around an elegantly muscular chassis of chalky dry extract and underpinned by lively acids. Its almost tannic grip lends it supplemental freshness and structure in this warm vintage. This is another brilliant wine from Jean-Marc Vincent.” Parker 91 points.


When it comes to Puligny Montrachet we needless to say have a huge fondness for what this great appellation can deliver with it’s whites.  Our glorious Jean Marc Vincent Puigny Montrachet Corvees des Vignes 2018. The heralded wines of Etienne Sauzet. The Etienne Sauzet Puligny Montrachet La Garenne 2018 attracted the following review:


“Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru La Garennr 2018 . “A cuvée produced with purchased grapes from a parcel farmed and harvested by the Sauzet team, the 2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne wafts from the glass with scents of pear and green apple complemented by nuances of hazelnut and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, it's satiny and enveloping, with a pretty core of fruit, lively acids and chalky back-end grip.


Benoît Riffault, who has directed this important estate since the 2002 vintage, describes the 2018 vintage as "surprising"—both for the wines' abundance and for their fresh, lively profiles. While the year can't match the concentration and energy of 2017, it is shaping up very nicely, and these wines merit a place on even the most fastidious of shopping lists. I also took this occasion to revisit some of the domaine's 2017s from bottle (for already published reviews of Sauzet's lower appellations from bottle, see our End of November 2019 Issue) which roundly confirmed that this is a great vintage at this address, indeed it's arguably Riffault's best to date.


What are the rudiments of winemaking at this address today? In short, hand-harvested fruit is pressed without crushing, the press cycle lasting around three-and-a-half hours and performing "quite a few," which is to say more than 20, rotations. The must is sulfited at the end of the press and settled for 24 hours, but Riffault retains most of the lees, fermenting in wood with ambient yeasts. The wines are racked to tank in July-August before the new vintage, whereas the premiers and grands crus spend as much as six months on their lees before bottling. All Sauzet's wines are closed with high-quality unbleached and unwaxed cork.


Also topping the list in Puligny are the wines of Jean Louis Chavy. The Jean Louis Chavy Puligny Premier Cru les Folatieres 2017 attracts the following review:


Jean Louis Chavy Premier Cru les Folatieres 2017 :“Seems more closed than their village Puligny on the nose, but the palate is loaded with powerful green-apple fruit and delicious burnt-sugar character on the long finish. There’s great length too – this is just a trailer for the main feature, coming soon…” Jancis Robinson 18 points


For lovers of Meursault, fear not as we have the glorious wines of Domaine Latour Giraud, a real Meursault star. But a little inside tip don’t overlook their Bourgogne Chardonnay.


 A quick by the by: Domaine Latour-Giraud is a family run estate in the Côte de Beaune. The current wine-maker is Jean-Pierre Latour, alongside his sister Florence. Their production is 80% white wines. Domaine Latour-Giraud Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018  “2018 was the hottest vintage in Burgundy since 2003, as well as one of the driest ever, with 55% of the average annual precipitation over the last 30 years. The word in region, at least in public, is that Burgundy 2018 is one of the greatest ever vintages. One local négociant, Philippe Pacalet, compared it to the mythical 1947 harvest and the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) described the year as ‘ideal’. A thrilling white made from fruit grown very close to the village of Meursault. This is a delicate supple wine, showing many of the qualities of an excellent Meursault.


Before we move towards the Maconnais the wines of our very own Irish Roisin Curley demand a look in.  Roisin Curley MW is one of the shining lights of the Irish wine industry and has managed to do almost the impossible work in Ireland and also craft some exceptional wines in Burgundy. We particularly love the Roisin Curley Saint-Roman 2017. 


We have some really interesting offerings in the Maconnais and are particularly pleased to import the wines of Domaine Guerrin & Fils. This domaine produces thrilling Pouilly-Fuisses and Saint Verans. Domaine Guerrin attracted this glowing words about their wines from Parker:“As I wrote last year, Vergisson-based Domaine Guerrin et Fils still flies under the radar, but it's an estate on the rise. Harvested by hand, fermented in stainless steel and oak barrels according to the cuvée and matured on the lees for a year, these are beautifully balanced, concentrated wines. Bastien Guerrin has been working with ambient yeasts, correspondingly longer fermentations and extended élevages, refining the domaine's barrel program too. These endeavors, among others, are bearing fruit in the form of wines of greater cohesion and quality. The 2017s are fleshy, generous and sun-kissed wines, typical of this vintage in the Mâconnais.” All the 2017’s are sold out but the 2018’s are arriving next week, 1st week of February 2021.


Let us not ignore the Gamay grape which can more than delight from a good grower. As a company we are big fans of good Beaujolais and we continue to grow our range. It might be worth drawing your attention to the Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Puy 2018, quite special and demonstrates the ageing potential of the Gamay grape. The Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Puy 2018 attracted the following review:


“The 2018 Morgon Côte du Py is showing very nicely, offering up a classy bouquet of raspberries and plums, mingled with hints of orange rind, violet and cardamom. Medium to full-bodied, deep and complete, with a fleshy but elegantly understated core and an expansive finish. Impressively integrated—indeed, it was only after spending half an hour with the bottle that I noticed that it's labeled at 14.5% alcohol—with powdery tannins and succulent balancing acids, it's another fine rendition of this iconic cuvée.


As I wrote last year, it's an open secret that this is one of the region's finest as well as most consistent addresses, and followers of the estate won't be disappointed by the newly released 2018. Jean and Agnès Foillard's first vintage was in 1981, but it was in 1985 that Jean began to work differently, influenced by his neighbor, the late Marcel Lapierre. Lapierre followed négociant and microbiologist Jules Chauvet in rejecting selected yeasts and manipulative winemaking in favor of minimal effective sulfur dioxide and carbonic maceration at comparatively low temperatures. Today, Foillard remains true to that approach: His Morgon cuvées see some three weeks of maceration in tank before gentle pressing and élevage in used Burgundy barrels. Chaptalization is eschewed. He also gives his wines a little bottle age before release. Despite his identification with the natural wine movement, Foillard has no tolerance for slovenly winemaking practices or flawed wines, and his bottles are typically models of aromatic purity and graceful aging. I regularly purchase these wines for my own cellar and warmly recommend them to readers. Parker 94 points.

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