Few regions are as important to understanding contemporary trends in wine as Burgundy, not only in France but throughout the world.
That’s a problem, because Burgundy is relatively scarce and fairly expensive. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand the history of Burgundy, as well as the thought that goes into making the wine.
Rather than studying its most famous regions, our approach at Wine School has been to snoop around the less-exalted edges, where the prices are a bit less daunting. Among the whites, we have looked at Chablis and aligoté, while among the reds we have examined Marsannay.
Now it’s time to return to another peripheral area to Burgundy, the Côte Chalonnaise, a large area just south of the Côte d’Or, Burgundy’s most celebrated region.
More specifically, we will look at three wines from Mercurey, the largest of the five villages in the Côte Chalonnaise important enough to be considered appellations in their own rights. The others are Bouzeron, Rully, Givry and Montagny.
The three wines I suggest are:
Domaine Faiveley Mercurey 2017 (Frederick Wildman & Sons, New York) $27
Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Premier Cru Clos des Myglands 2017 (Frederick Wildman & Sons) $45
Domaine de Villaine Mercurey Les Montots 2016 (Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif.) $55
Faiveley is a venerable négociant that owns quite a bit of vineyard land in Mercurey, so I chose both its straightforward wine and its Clos des Myglands, a monopole, meaning that the company owns the entire vineyard. In the hierarchical structure of Burgundian appellations, the basic Mercurey is considered a village wine — that is, it is capable of expressing the essential characteristics of Mercurey. The premier cru is a step up from village wine because the Clos des Myglands vineyard is deemed to have the potential for expressing more distinctive characteristics.
The third wine comes from Domaine de Villaine, the family enterprise of one of Burgundy’s most distinguished vignerons, Aubert de Villaine, who is co-director of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, one of the top Burgundy producers.
If you can’t find these wines, consider exploring the wider Côte Chalonnise, including Michel Juillot of Mercurey, Joblot, Clos Salomon and François Lumpp of Givry, and Dureuil-Janthial and Jacquesson of Rully. You could also choose another Côte Chalonnaise wine from the producers I selected.
Feel free as well to get different vintages.
You know the drill: Find some food that you think would go well with an aromatic, not particularly tannic red wine — personally, I see a roast chicken in my future, but I might try skirt steak, pork chops or a heartier seafood dish.
These wines deserve larger glasses to help release their aromas. As usual with reds, don’t serve them too warm. Strive for lightly cool.