The Mâconnais’ star is rising. Quality is creeping up year after year, and within the broader context of Bourgogne whites it’s a region that offers excellent value for money. The Mâcon-Vergisson ‘La Roche’ of Domaine Daniel Barraud is great example. It’s a southeast-facing slope of shallow, white chalky soils, with vines climbing up to 350m altitude. This elevation contributes a freshness and vibrancy which is welcome in a hot year like 2017. This family-owned estate has over 100 years of history. They only make white wines, and only in the Mâconnais.
This cuvée has a gentle savoury element to the pear aroma, more reminiscent of apricot stones than the flesh. A strong acid line gives shape and focus to the fruit. It’s rounded and ripe enough to work well with food and partner dishes such as plaice with capers and brown butter. Delicious now; will be even better in 6 months’ time.
One of the things I like about the reds in this vintage are their sense of vibrancy and sheer drinkability, and this Mercurey Premier Cru ‘Les Vasées’ has both in spades. I kept wanting to go back and taste again. It has a good sense of ripeness and generosity, and although light in body it has intense red fruit flavour, all redcurrant coulis and raspberry. There’s a patina of fine tannins on the finish and it ends with a mineral glint. It’s a beautifully balanced red that really shines. Although irresistibly drinkable already, it’ll glide on for several years quite happily. The Côte Chalonnaise is one of my go-to regions in Bourgogne for value, and Domaine François Raquillet is a consistently high-quality performer, a real class act.
Patrick Javillier’s Bourgogne Côte d’Or ‘Cuvée Oligocène’ is a sure-fire winner. It’s particularly fine in 2017, a lovely vintage for whites. The appellation Bourgogne Côte d’Or is a new one, only established in 2017, and it allows growers to blend across Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits terroirs but retain the Côte d’Or regional descriptor on the label.
Javillier’s ‘Cuvée Oligocène’ is made from vineyards around the southern part of the Côte de Beaune. It has an intriguing nose, with some violet and almond detail. Quicksilver in the mouth, it flows fast and fresh, and may be light-bodied but has no lack of flavour. A zippy acid line cuts through a little oak richness on the palate. Tense and vital, it punches well above its weight. So drinkable, it couldn’t fail to seduce. This would be highly versatile with food, but I’d happily drink a glass standing in a bar, anticipating a good meal to come.
Marsannay is the most northerly of all the Côte de Nuits Village Appellation, and the only one to produce red, white and rosé. It can get forgotten sometimes next to its more illustrious neighbours, but in the hands of top winemakers like Charles’ son Cyril Audoin it can be well worth seeking out. Representing the fifth generation of winemakers in the family, he holds true to traditional ways of working with the aim of best expressing his various terroirs.
His Marsannay ‘Les Longeroies’ 2017 has a perfect sense of ripeness: not too little, not too much. It draws you in with perfumed raspberry fruit, then a determined acidity brings focus on the palate, all balanced with appealing sweet ripeness of fruit. A fine, pure and silky Marsannay. Incidentally, his Marsannay ‘Clos du Roy’ 2017 is equally as good, and stylistically just a little weightier and darker in fruit. Both are worth tracking down.