A Taste Of Burgundy – February 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 11:58 AM

2014 Viré-Clessé Thurissey – Domaine Sainte Barbe

Jean-Marie Chaland founded Domaine Sainte Barbe in 1999. He farms 8 hectares in and around Viré-Clessé organically, achieving certification in 2006. He has old vines, as 75% of his holdings are over 50 years old. Chaland’s vines in the lieu dit Thurissey are over 90! Thurissey is a tiny vineyard, consisting of half a hectare facing due south. Jean-Marie makes a mere 200 cases of his showpiece wine, and no new oak is used. The vineyard has a reputation for producing wines that are rich in minerality, and we imagine the roots of Chaland’s old vines are deep into the clay and limestone subsoil. There’s no doubt that 2014 was an exceptional vintage for white Burgundy, and the 2014 Viré-Clessé Thurissey from Domaine Sainte Barbe is one special wine. Its aromas are of citrus blossoms, snappy apples, and stony minerals. The palate is rich and bright with a hint of a saline/mineral quality, and the wine intensifies at the mid-palate. It’s tightly coiled and ready to spring. Drink this from 2020-2030.


2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Aux Petites Noix – Domaine Stéphane Magnien

Stéphane Magnien is now the fourth generation winemaker at this domaine in Morey-Saint-Denis which dates back to 1897. He took the reins from his father, Jean-Paul in 2008, and farms 4.5 hectares in the Côte de Nuits. Though his holdings may appear small, they include some fancy locales. Stéphane’s Aux Petites Noix is actually a blend of his holdings in Premier Crus Les Greunchers and Clos Baulet, two tiny vineyards just east of the village. One doesn’t need to do much research to understand that 2010 was an exceptional vintage for red Burgundy, particularly in the Côte de Nuits. In general terms, the wines are teeming with expression and are structured sufficiently for a long life in the cellar. Magnien’s 2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Aux Petites Noix is in a beautiful place at the moment, showing aromas of briary red berry fruit, earthy mineral, and forest floor. It’s medium in body with great balance and expression. It’s open for business and can be enjoyed from today through the 2020’s. – Peter Zavialoff

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Q. Does one need to paylarge amounts of money for a tasty bottle of white Burgundy?

 

 
Regular TWH customers already know the answer to that one.
 
A. Nope.
 
As importers, we have the luxury of meeting the producers, making the right deals, and getting the wines into the hands of our customers for less expenditure than the majority of wine merchants nationwide. Take our experience and our many relationships into consideration, and it’s not long before our showroom resembles a treasure chest of wine value. As if that’s not enough, every now and then, we have a sale where an item is marked down even further! That’s what we’re going to do today (and this weekend)with a solid white Burgundy which is now the best white wine deal in the shop. The 2012 Domaine Sainte Barbe Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes was another great direct-import value at $24.29 per bottle. Starting now, this weekend only, we’re going to slash that price by 35%.Starting now it’s $15.75 per bottle. Ready, set, go!
 
 
No apologies. All too often we hear about wines from humble, farming appellations being compared to wines that come from fancy, well-known, well-marketed origins; as in “The Meursault of the Mâcon.” No apologies. This wine is not Meursault. If you want Meursault, we have Meursault that we can sell you. No, this is Viré-Clessé.And you know what? It tastes like Viré-Clessé; and that’s a good thing!
 
 
I wrote a little blurb this past spring about Jean-Marie Chaland and his Domaine Sainte Barbe. So did Anya, here.Mentioning the 2012 Viré-Clessé, which comes from vines that are 55 years old, I went on to suggest that it will “hit its happy zone in 2017”, and no doubt, it will be great then, but judging from the bottle we opened this afternoon, I don’t think it’ll be around in 2017! It’s all tank-fermented, so it’s fresh and pure. The aromas are opulent. I got big-time apple-y Chardonnay fruit. I really couldn’t get past this apple characteristic, but I hadn’t yet tasted the wine. I asked Anya and Chris to give me their impressions. Chris and I are on the same page with the apple thing, Anya dug a little deeper. She explained thatit was a bit of a surprise as to how the rich aromatic profile lulled us into thinking it would be super opulent, but it wasn’t. The wine has racy acidity that keeps the fruit in check in fine harmony. The more I sat with the glass, the more nuances I picked out. There arehints of stony minerals as well as a kiss of citrus blossom. Pretty classy stuff for $24.29 per bottle. Wait. Make that $15.75! Ready, set, go!

Peter Zavialoff

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Spring=Chardonnay=Domaine Sainte Barbe

Monday, April 13, 2015 5:26 PM

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2012 Viré-Clessé from Domaine Sainte Barbe

Now that it’s officially spring, we can look ahead to all of the excitement that comes with it! Of the many great things about springtime, especially here in SF, is the warmer weather. And when it warms up, it just makes sense to enjoy a little chill in your vino! Anya recently regaled usabout Jean-Marie Chaland’s unoaked Mâcon VillagesLes Tilles, citing its sophistication for an entry-level offering. Jean-Marie also makes wines from Viré-Clessé,and if you love pure Chardonnay expression for a very fair price, you’re not going to want to miss out on these …
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Viré-Clessé is a recently created appellation (1999)in southern Burgundy, singling out a small parcel of land outside of Mâcon’s Pouilly appellations which is capable of producing high-quality Chardonnay. It’s interesting to note that the appellation’s rules dictate that only the dryest (3g residual sugar per liter or lower) wines are allowed to bear the Viré-Clessé label, andChaland makes some sensational wines from this slice of southern Burgundy.
 
For his 2012 Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes, Jean-Marie’s sources are vines all in excess of 55 years old planted in clay and limestone soils. All tank vinified, the wine is aged on its lees for 14 months and bottled. It’s pure, unadulterated Chardonnay, all business, no pretense. Its structure suggests it should be hitting its happy zone from 2017, but an hour or so of decanting now will have it dancing effortlessly on your palate.
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Only 250 cases of Saint Barbe’s 2012 Viré-ClesséPerrière were made. The vines from this vineyard are 35 years old, and typically, the Perrière shows plentiful amounts of mineral notes. It’s aged in barrel, mostly 1 and 2 year old, with 10% being new. The 2012 is a wine marked by rich, ripe, fleshy white fruit flavors. The palate is full, expressive, and accessible; game on!
 
The vines in Chaland’s L’Épinet vineyard were planted in 1940! The soil consists of gravel upon red clay, and it sits on top a hill with southeast exposure. Jean-Marie uses one new barrel and the rest neutral in aging his l’Épinet, giving it a little texture to complement the dazzling, bright yellow fruit. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, the amalgam of complexity in the 2012 Viré-Clessé L’Épinet drinks well beyond its modest price-point.
 
Wow! Exciting times indeed. Springtime is here, warm weather straight ahead! Here are a trio of tasty Chardonnays that will impress your palates without “Burgundizing” your pocketbooks. Enjoy!
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