6 Villages of Burgundy

6 villages you've probably not heard of and why they should be in your glass

 


When in uncharted territory, most wine buyers stick to the well-trodden path. That means there is plenty of room for discovery, even in a fairly small region like Burgundy. A lucky benefit of taking the road less traveled is that road's lower prices.

Up for adventures in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir? From north to south, here we go!

Photo courtesy of Bumpy Tours via Flickr/cc

Épineuil

Twenty kilometers northeast of Chablis lies the petit village of Épineuil, where wine is made in all three colors. These wines are whisper weight with racy acidity. NB: These wines aren’t easy to find but are truly perfect for summer sipping.

Domaine de l’Abbaye du Petit Quincy Épineuil Rouge Cuvée Juliette 2005

A nicely aging rouge from a ripe vintage, this Épineuil boasts amplified aromas: winemaker Dominique Gruhier always uses a significant portion of whole clusters during vinification. Blackberry and black cherry fruits are sprinkled with tart cranberry undertones. Fine but moderately firm tannins structure the innate succulence of this cuvée.

P.S. If you happen to find recent vintages from Olivier Savary, Domaine du Val Grevin or Domaine de Marsoif, do snap them up!

Photo courtesy of Mathieu Thouvenin via Flickr/cc
 

Marsannay

At the northern tip of the Côte d’Or sits Marsannay. Marsannay produces predominantly red and rosé with a smidgen of white. I find the reds the most enticing. Marsannay rouges sport an appealing rustic side – earthy and gamey – supplemented by a juicy mid-palate. They’re loaded with color, often purple-hued.

Sylvain Pataille Marsannay l’Ancestrale 2010

Mineral, floral and exuberantly youthful, l’Ancestrale shows lighter fruit flavors of yellow plum and red raspberry. The wine’s nervous acidity and slightly coarse tannins make the palate feel tight-knit, but this is balanced nicely with a lovely vinosity. Spice undertones appear on the short-plus finish. Produced from vines averaging 80 years in age.

Photo courtesy of budaipasa via Flickr/cc

Pernand-Vergelesses

Upon arriving in the Côte de Beaune, climb into the hills east of Beaune to arrive at Pernand-Vergelesses. Aesthetically charming, this village makes elegant and fairly delicate reds and whites at the village and Premier Cru level. These wines are mid-weight and definitively mineral, exhibiting ample ripeness.

Dubreuil-Fontaine Pernand-Vergelesses Sous Frétille Premier Cru 2008

Sous Frétille comes in white and red, but only the blanc can be Premier Cru. Fresh squeezed lemon and lime mingle with pink grapefruit pulp on the nose. Hay and blanched almond join on the palate. The core is simultaneously solid yet plump, and the vivacious acidity carries the mineral-driven palate to a fruit-focused medium finish.

Photo courtesy of PhillipC via Flickr/cc

 

Saint-Romain

It’s been said that Saint Romain is the poor man’s Meursault. While there are no Premier Crus here, there are a handful of producers whose wine quality challenges that AOC limitation. Production is rather evenly split between red and white, but it is the white that ignites my taste buds. Top Saint-Roman possesses a creamy palate, refreshed by marked acidity with aromas of lime pulp, white flowers and minerals.

Deux Montille Soeur-Frère Saint-Romain 2008

First and foremost, this wine is pure, mineral and taut, firmly corseted by vivacious acidity. The aromas include ripe white peach and fleshy melon with bamboo and fresh mushroom. This wine shows a particularly powerful energy considering its provenance. Produced from vines averaging 30 years of age in Les Jarrons and Sous Roches.

Photo courtesy of worldoflard via Flickr/cc

Saint-Aubin

Perched above and west of Puligny-Montrachet’s famous vineyards, Saint-Aubin produces extraordinary whites. You’ll find lean, Chassagne-Montrachet-esque reds here, too, but it’s the whites that really enchant. Beguiling, if sometimes restrained, in their floral and mineral notes, they range in body from lithe to supple, but are never voluptuous.

Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin En Remilly Premier Cru 2008

En Remilly is, in my view, the ultimate expression of Saint-Aubin. I’ll take it over many Puligny-Montrachets any day. Lamy’s wine explodes with peony and acacia, preserved lemon and ripe peach. Bracing acidity structures the round and mid-weight palate.

Photo courtesy of vitruve via Flickr/cc

 

Givry

Slipping into the Côte Chalonnaise, the large cliffs to the west disappear and the landscape rolls into gentle hills. Our last stop is best known for its reds. Givry reds are more perfumed, graceful and charming – and more to my liking - than the huskier, meatier, more drying style of neighboring Mercurey.

Clos Salomon Givry Premier Cru Clos Salomon 2009

Overt pastis and Kirsch liqueur aromas figure prominently on the nose with freshly turned earth lurking underneath. Seemingly polished on the nose, the lightly chunky tannins show that this bottling is a few wipes short of being perfectly polished, which lends additional charm and authenticity.

Photo courtesy of Max xx via Flickr/cc

Enjoy!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Burgundian route less traveled. Check back soon for a walk through the best-known villages of the Côte de Beaune, when true to the character of this blog, I’ll give each a special spin. Until then, please drop a line and share what you’ve discovered from these lesser-known villages!

Check out Christy Canterbury's latest article on the Down and Dirty of Burgundy to get up to speed on your Burgundy education!

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Comments

  • Snooth User: badbobby
    200769 15

    nice article

    Jun 27, 2012 at 1:15 PM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 70,008

    Thanks! Santé!

    Jun 27, 2012 at 1:25 PM


  • Thanks for offering a tour of the lesser-known villages! I'll look for these wines!

    Jun 27, 2012 at 4:02 PM


  • Snooth User: winedogs
    478829 8

    prices (range, at least) would be helpful. Nice article.

    Jun 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM


  • There's also the reds of Irancy, a small AC southwest of Chablis, producing nice light slightly acidic reds, that age remarklebly well

    Jun 28, 2012 at 6:58 AM


  • Snooth User: ps
    70694 347

    Beautiful photos. I hope the old wine regions of the world always stay the same.

    Jun 28, 2012 at 7:21 AM


  • Having traveled to the region, I would also add a few more Cote de Chalon regions. We found Rully in particular a delight to visit. Picamelot Cremant de Bourgogne especially delightful.

    Jun 28, 2012 at 7:31 AM


  • Snooth User: Oude Singel 160
    Hand of Snooth
    1048383 24

    Thanks for this nice overview, but I do miss Santenay, its white and its red!!

    Jun 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM


  • Snooth User: mfurrer
    276836 2

    bravo. could not agree more on the "en remilly" of hubert lamy. our family's favourite white burgundy that is still half-way affordable. cheers

    Jun 29, 2012 at 6:47 AM


  • We sampled some Irancy a couple of years ago, and I agree it's light, slightly acidic and we still have a bottle in the wine cooler. Santenay has been a favorite as well--a little more full-bodied than Irancy with some of the richness of more expensive Burgundies.

    Jun 29, 2012 at 12:28 PM


  • Outstanding piece of work, You can't cover Burgundy in one article and some of the lesser known (and there are many) villages was given due tribute. Santé!

    Jun 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM


  • Snooth User: duncan 906
    Hand of Snooth
    425274 1,716

    Another interesting article on the world's best wine region.A while ago I had a Givry premier cru by Vincent LOump which was gorgeous

    Jun 29, 2012 at 6:34 PM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 70,008

    Thanks for all the commentary! Wish I could cover more than 6 villages but.... Yes, Irancy, Santenay, Rully, Givry...so many other villages can make super, too.

    With regard to pricing, just click on the wines i mentioned to get an idea. Prices always range by producer and specific wine, of course!

    Jun 30, 2012 at 10:46 AM


  • Interesting article, informative. My only regret is the photo of vineyards is redundant, it would have been nice to see photos of the villages and perhaps a locator map.

    Jun 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM


  • Just wrapped up a tour of this region and both tasted and purchased some wonderful reds and whites! The problem now is getting them home with me! I'm still in Germany, having left Macon, yesterday with the car loaded.

    Jul 02, 2012 at 3:27 PM


  • Snooth User: Pfificus
    600233 29

    Bravo for such an informative gathering about a very complex region!
    I also would have appreciated a few locator maps. Volnay: be aware that there are a lot of differences between wines coming from vineyards being a few hundred yards apart, especially between the bottom, the mid section and the top of hills.

    Aug 14, 2012 at 4:54 PM


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