François Raquillet, the 11th generation of grape growers in Mercurey, has 10 hectares of superbly sited, mostly old, vines. He believes in low yields, mature (rather than super-ripe) fruit and a severe selection at the sorting table. The depth, richness and concentration which characterise his wines are a result of this, rather than any over extraction.
The Bourgogne Rouge is from 3 parcels of 60 year old vines aged in old (1-3 year) wood – delicious, juicy and seductive.
Originally created in 1946, the domaine is now run by Marie Jacqueson who took over from her father in 2006.
The property has long been recognised as one of the very best in the Côte Chalonnaise and its wines adorn the lists of many of the finest restaurants in France. They have 13 hectares of wonderfully sited vines, many of which are very old, and prune hard to reduce yields to around 35 hl/ha. They only work the vineyards manually, with very minimal vine treatments. They are one of very few producers in the village to hand-pick everything. Extremely proficient winemaking and judicious use of new oak (20% for whites and 25% for reds) make for beautifully crafted, ripe, intense, sensual wines which have the class to belie their origins.
“Chaponnières” is on quite deep clay/limestone soils, planted in 1985, and has generous, crunchy fruit.
Natalie Theulot inherited her share of the Juillot family domaine in 1987and is today ably assisted by her husband Jean-Claude Theulot. Their estate comprises 10 hectares of red and white Mercurey. Harvesting is by hand, the fruit is 100% destemmed, given a light crushing and cooled to 10°C for 4-5 days before being fermented at a maximum of 30°C. Ageing is for 12-15 months in barrels from Tonnellerie de Mercurey and Seguin-Moreau.
The Vieilles Vignes is from three lieux-dits; Clos Laurent, Vaux & Montelons. It is rich and generous with lovely red and black fruits, a sumptuous texture and sweet finish.
Alain Gras has long been acknowledged as the pre-eminent vigneron in Saint-Romain – a village of wonderfully sited vineyards and a greater proportion of limestone than any other commune in Burgundy. It has also benefited greatly from recent climate change – meaning that previously overly cool sites, due to their high altitude, are now routinely achieving full ripeness and physiological maturity.
His stunningly situated domaine comprises 12 hectares of Saint-Romain (8ha planted to Chardonnay and 4ha to Pinot Noir). He has 42 separate parcels in all, but prefers blending the grapes from the individual sites to ensure complexity and consistency.
His Saint-Romain Rouge, from 35 year old vines, offers an abundance of beautiful, vivid, bright, juicy red and dark cherry fruit. The grapes are 100% destemmed then fermented on the skins for 12-14 days before maturation for 12 months in 80% lined cement tanks and 20% new oak.
There are presently 26 restaurants in France with 3 Michelin stars and Alain’s wines are listed in 21 of those gilded establishments.
Bernard Bouvier has 17 hectares under vine in and around Gevrey and Marsannay.
He has recently moved to new state of the art cellars just north of Gevrey and the quality of his wines has improved even further.
Yields are extremely low and never exceed 30 hl/ha and no chemical sprays are used in the vineyards and everything is hand picked. Fermentation of the reds involves a long, cold maceration and a gentle extraction – what Bernard calls an infusion. About one third new barrels are used. They are bottled without fining or filtration and are fine, pure, concentrated and subtle.
He is currently undergoing organic conversion.
The site of the vineyard “La Justice” is, in theory, on the wrong (east) side of the RN74. However, the soil of small stoney scree, gives a wine of pure, elegant, fine minerality from 45-50 year old vines.
Deep ruby red in appearance with hints of purple – clear, bright and strong. The elegant nose is of ripe black fruit with floral hints of violet, and a delicate touch of spice. The palate is ripe, supple and full with lively fruit and gentle tannins. The finish is long and persistent with excellent balancing acidity – very elegant.
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