May 27, 2017. In search of tidbits of information about our habits over Memorial Day Weekend, I came across one which purports that 75% of Americans participate in some sort of barbecue activity over the three day period. Sounds about right, as my recollections of the unofficial start to summer are full of memories of good eats, good friends, and yes, good wines. A fortnight ago, I wrote a bit about Carolina Furque’s 2015 Malbec, and last week, Anya showcased a stunning 2014 value in the form of Château Sénéjac. If you purchased either one (or both), you’ve got some great grillin’ wine on your hands. But let’s have a look forward. Summer IS coming. There will be plenty of wines to chill and enjoy over the warm months, but some wines warrant stocking up on. David just slashed prices on a whole lot of our Burgundy selections, and two of these wines strike my particular fancy: The 2012 Auxey-Duresses Les Boutonniers and Les Hautés.

Auxey-Duresses is located in the Côtes de Beaune, just west of Volnay and Meursault. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are planted there, the former planted on the Volnay side and the latter near Meursault. Gilles Lafouge is the 6th generation vigneron for the property which can trace its lineage back to the 17th Century. He makes good, honest Burgundy, wines with wonderful expression and balance. 2012 was another very good vintage for white Burgundy, joining a long line of high-quality vintages going back to 2004!

Though both vineyards border Meursault, it is the Les Boutonniers which is most like its neighbor. The 2012 Auxey-Duresses Les Boutonniers is awash with orchard fruit aromas mixed with dusty minerals with a soft, inviting palate. There is balance and lively acidity midway, with the ever-present Meursault-like softness caressing the palate throughout. The Les Hautés vineyard is further up the slope from the valley floor, and its soils are rich with limestone. The 2012 Auxey-Duresses Les Hautés is a lively, mineral driven expression of Chardonnay, much in the direction of a village Puligny-Montrachet. It has fresh aromas of citrus blossom, stony minerals, and hints of apple/pear fruit. The palate is sleek and nervy, and the fresh white fruit falls right in line with the wine’s structure. The finish is crisp, complex, and harmonious. These two wines are well worth their retail price of $39.99 per bottle, but now that they’re marked down to $19.95, it’s time to stock up. Warning: We don’t have a whole lot of either wine, and a little educated guesswork has me thinking that they both will sell out in the coming weeks. If you want to stock up on some delicious go-to white Burgundy for summer 2017, we suggest you act sooner than later.

Yep. Summer is on its way. The signs are everywhere. Just today on my drive in, as I passed St. Mary’s Cathedral (which was built on the site of a former Lucky supermarket where I remember grocery shopping with my parents as a small child), there were scores of caps and gowns roaming about, as Sacred Heart College Prep was holding their graduation ceremonies inside the church. Our local baseball team is not giving us any reason to be excited or optimistic this summer, but if one can stock up on some quality white Burgundy for an entry-level price, and enjoy them throughout the season, that is good reason to be excited and optimistic! – Peter Zavialoff

A Taste Of Burgundy – February 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016 6:38 PM

2014 Puligny-Montrachet
1er Cru Chalumaux
Domaine Paul Pernot et ses Fils

2014 White Burgundy. In a word, the wines are sensational! The vintage had its challenges, there was millerandage, and some hail hit the Côtes de Beaune, yet the harvested fruit was superb. In general terms, the wines are pure, lively, elegant, and harmonious. TOB subscribers need little introduction to Paul Pernot. He continues to crank out the quality from his various Puligny-Montrachet vineyards. His vines in Premier Cru Chalumaux are 61 years old, and the complexity derived from such old vines is evident. The aromas are fresh and pure: apples, lemon custard, and vanilla with an underlying stony mineral core. The palate is zippy and fresh with a sleek, mineral-driven mouth feel. Its finish is complex and persistent. Similar to Pernot’s Premier Cru Champ Canet, the Chalumaux exhibits all the charm, albeit with a tad more nerve. All in all, it’s a great wine from a great vintage made by a great producer. That’s a win-win-win! It can be drunk in the near term (decanting recommended), or should hit its peak from 2018-2028.

2013 Auxey-Duresses
1er Cru Les Duresses
Domaine Lafouge

The father and son team of Jean and Gilles Lafouge represent the 4th and 5th generations to run this 9 ha domaine which can trace its roots back to 1850. They farm sustainably and neither fine nor filter their red wines. The 2013 vintage for red Burgundy started out a bit rough with cold and damp conditions. There was hail in places, so again production was lower than the norm. Conditions greatly improved in July and August trimming one week from the projected three week delay to harvest. After some serious sorting, what was left was of fine quality. There just wasn’t much wine. For their Premier Cru Les Duresses, the Lafouges only made 7 barrels in 2013, two being new. That’s 175 cases for the world. It is impressive. Made from 100% de-stemmed fruit, its nose is full of berry fruit with a hint of earth and Old World charm. The palate has a degree of intensity with structure and length. The finish is balanced and complex with the soft tannins gently caressing the palate. Charming now, this will be best from 2019-2030. –Peter Zavialoff

Auxey-Duresses From Domaine Lafouge

Thursday, June 19, 2014 7:19 PM

In the last few years, David’s prospecting trips to Burgundy have been quite fruitful. One by one, we’ve added the likes of Domaine Michel Bouzereau et filsDomaine Sainte BarbeSylvain LangoureauDomaine BartMichel-AndreottiGabriel Billard and Claudie Jobard, Genot-Boulanger, and Stephane Magnien to our roster of producers from that magical strip of land between Dijon and Lyon. And when you’re talking about producers that stay true to their craft, make excellent wine, and keep their pricing somewhat fair, there’s always room for more! Well, we’re happy to report that joining our stable this year are the wines from Domaine Lafouge in Auxey-Duresses.



Auxey-Duresses is a valley that juts west in between Volnay and Meursault. Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are planted here, the former on the slope adjacent to Meursault, the latter on the Volnay side. Historically known for producing lower-priced table wines, modern innovation has upped the quality level here, as the wines resemble those of their prestigious neighbors. Auxey’s microclimate is cooler than its neighbors, and the wines generally have healthy acid levels and old school charm.


Gilles Lafouge is the 6th generation vigneron of a property that can trace its lineage back to the 17th century. What he makes is traditional, honest Burgundy. He de-stems all of his fruit and employs both hand harvesting and hand sorting. It may be interesting to note that his sister is the wife of TWH Meursault producer, Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau. Both Lafouge’s Chardonnay vineyards border Meursault, and he only uses 20% new barrel for his whites. Les Boutonniers is the more Meursault-like of the two with round, fleshy fruit aromas and flavors. It’s complex, yet balanced, with a hint of that Meursault softness. The fruit for Gilles’ Les Hautés comes from the upper slope of the all-limestone vineyard. The wine is sleek and zippy with plenty of chalky mineral framework. For his 2010 Village Auxey-Duresses, Lafouge used less than 20% new barrel and the wine is an absolute charmer. It’s good, honest, old-school Red Burgundy. The aromas are of cherries and savory berries with traces of herbs and earth. It has a rustic charm on the palate, with a light body and fresh finish. His 2010 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Les Duresses has a little more oomph to it. The oak regimen is a little more than 20%, but the structure of the wine is able to work with the barrel, and the result is a complex, medium bodied, honest Burgundy that will bring pleasure today, but will drink well over the next 10 years and beyond. Note: the alcohol level on all 4 wines is 13%.

Domaine Lafouge: 2010 Auxey-Duresses

Monday, January 20, 2014 10:39 PM

Who wouldn’t want red Burgundy that is full of cherry fruit, pure, aromatic, ready to drink and costs under $40 a bottle? Looking around our store and reflecting back on our most popular offerings of 2013, it is obvious to me that TWH customers do! So here is another gem, newly arrived and unloaded off the pallet, the 2010 Auxey-Duresses red from Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge. It will satisfy your craving for red Burgundy that is bright with red fruit flavors with distinctive minerality and is not in any way rustic for $33.99 a bottle.


David, once again, gets credit for recognizing the quality and value of this charming 6th generation domaine in Auxey-Duresses. After visiting several times, with consistent notes indicating how much he enjoyed their wines and felt they consistently delivered quality Burgundy at a fair price, David placed his order for their 2010 reds and 2011 whites. To introduce us to Lafouge (and Dampt), David guided us through a staff tasting last week. Staff tastings are one of the great perks of working at TWH! They are especially exciting when we get to taste wine from a new producer, then share our assessments only to see David’s pleased demeanor as we give praise to the wines. Domaine Lafouge is a welcome addition to our stable of quality,affordable Burgundy. 


My first whiff of Lafouge’s 2010 Auxey-Duresses revealed red cherry aromas-unmistakably Burgundy- and a dusty, mineral note that complimented all those fresh red fruit scents. Clear and vibrant in the glass, the flavors on the palate reflected what I was getting on the nose: succulent cherry fruit and a pebbly, earthy finish. Medium-bodied and fresh, the brightness of the fruit carried smoothly to the end. In this price range, red Burgundy can often be, well, rustic. Of course there is good rustic and bad rustic, but this 2010 Auxey-Duresses is neither. And because it is so elegant, it is a wine to drink right now. Will it age? Probably. But the point is, you won’t need to cellar this wine to smooth out any rough edges; it has none. The pleasure here is in the vitality of its youthful fruit.


Gilles, the son of Jean, is the winemaker, with his father acting as the consultant. Gilles explained to David that Auxey-Duresses has a cooler climate than its neighbor Meursault and as a result has a distinctive minerality. Of the 30 barrels of Auxey-Duresses red that he makes, only 5 to 6 barrels are new. The grapes are 100% de-stemmed. Gilles intent for the Auxey-Duresse is to make it approachable. If it happens to age well, that is a plus but not the goal. The 2010 Auxey-Duresses is not going to fall apart any time soon, but chances are you’ll drink it up way before you find the time to move the bottles from your kitchen to the cellar. It is that tasty! 

I spent a little time online searching for additional information on Domaine Lafouge. I came up with some good stuff: (a) they do not have a website and, (b) all blog entries about Domaine Lafouge make it a point to describe their wines as having outstanding quality and value. The takeaway here is that Domaine Lafouge’s reputation for making delicious quality wine at affordable prices allows them to easily sell through their production without having to sell any at their cellar door. This helps keep them under the radar and that is a good thing for Burgundy drinkers. 

This week a school field trip to Sonoma’s Mission San Francisco Solano got me heading out of the city and suburbia through wine country only to find the drought conditions severe. Typically you would begin to see light green cover crop in between vine rows. I only saw brown dirt and dried leaves. At home, showers are shorter and being shared with a bucket to trap wayward droplets. My plans for putting in landscaping around the house is going to have to be postponed yet again. This is life in the Bay Area. What else can I do? Oh yeah, drink more wine. Ok fine. How about the 2010 Auxey-Duresses from Lafouge for Sunday dinner with a slice of rare leg of lamb? Red Burgundy to the rescue! – Anya Balistreri

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