As a consumer, it is so easy to get lost in the world of Burgundy wines. Unlike the Californian single vineyard model which most of today’s wine enthusiasts are more familar with, Burgundy can get quite confusing because of the extreme vineyard/parcel fragmentation over the centuries, mainly due to the country’s inheritance laws.
Even for the wine professional……..keeping track of who owns what….or who it is share cropped with/for (metayage)….or who the grapes were purchased from….is a daunting task. AND, with every generation of the family, this complex matrix inevitably changes.
There is NO easy, quick fix answer.
For me, I just try & focus on more estate grown programs & from there base my selections by taste.
Two estates who, over the past 6 or 7 years or so, have come onto my radar screen is Domaine Bizot & Domaine Follin-Arbelet.
Domaine Bizot works out of Vosne Romanee (their home town). Jean Yves Bizot is also a professor of viticulture & oenology in Beaune. His domaine’s portfolio include some very prized Old Vine parcels in Vosne Romanee, as well as some recent purchases further north near Dijon, as well as in Marsannay & Ladoix Serrigny. Bizot specializes in mainly Pinot Noir, which Jean Yves is a believer in whole cluster fermentation at cool temperatures in conical wooden vats, bottling by hand,…..bottle by bottle….barrel by barrel…..without filtration or fining & using no sulfur. The bottom line? His wines are like no other! They remind me of a champion black stallion—underlying power & strength, yet so graceful, classy, majestic & well balanced. Yes, these wines are pricey….BUT they are REAL good!
2007 Domaine Bizot Bourgogne “Les Violettes”
Jean Yves Bizot currently produces ONE white wine (at least as far as I know), which is simply labeled as Bourgogne Blanc. The selection massale vines (planted in 1940 & 1965) are grown in limestone-clay-marl-sand soils in the Vosne Romanee appellation along the wall of the bordering Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot. I was so impressed with the depth, surprising class, majestic sophistication, profound character & structure of this wine!!!! Certainly one to search out for!
Proprietor Franck Follin-Arbelet is producing some of my favorite red Burgundies today. They are stellar & unlike Bizot , fashioned more in the Old Style–use of wild yeast, open top fermentors in cool, humid conditions, bottled without filtration or fining…..& sees a LONG, cool elevage.
Francks’ wife, Christine, is from the iconic Latour family, AND her father Andre Masson, at one time was the regisseur at Hospices de Beaune. When Franck took over the domaine, it came with 1 village, 4 Premier Cru & 4 Grand Cru parcels in Aloxe Corton (their home town), Pernand Vergelesses & Vosne Romanee, which they farm sustainably without synthetic fertilizers or weed killers.
I find their Pinot Noirs have such great purity, class, soul & integrity…..wonderful intensity, well structured, impeccably balanced…..all done with just the right touch. After my first taste, this domaine jumped to the top end of my list of favorites. Well worth checking out!!!