Red King, White King: Burgundy

  • Christian Navarro

It has been said that Bordeaux is for the rich, but Burgundy is only for kings. Indeed, the region’s history reveals regal ties: One of its grand crus, Corton-Charlemagne, is named for the first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. Despite its glorious past, however, this illustrious swath of French countryside frustrates oenophiles as often as it delights them. Thanks to a plethora of microclimates that can leave one vineyard to bask in sunlight while its neighbor is pelted with hail, quality varies markedly not only from vintage to vintage but from vineyard to vineyard. Nevertheless, these selections are fit to lay before even the most particular sovereigns.

Bouchard Père et Fils 2008 Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte
Bouchard has some of the best vineyard holdings in all of Burgundy, but the microplot called La Cabotte may be the négociant’s very best. This wine has notes of lily flowers, ripe lush peach, and pear made more piquant by a hint of slate. This Chardonnay is truly amazing. ($570)

Camille Giroud 2008 Chambertin
This négociant, founded in 1865, had a longstanding reputation for using traditional winemaking methods to produce wines that cellared exceptionally well. The firm, however, was sold several years ago, and the new owners turned over the winemaking operation to a Burgundian young gun named David Croix. He has since brought his own influence to the house’s style, creating fresh, exciting wines that still respect their true terroir. This shimmering red offers essences of bright cherry, dark earth, and plum. ($200)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2007 La Tâche
Perhaps the most magnificent vineyard in Burgundy, this property produces Pinot Noir that has the potential to age for decades. This exuberant vintage possesses concentrated flavors of sweet ripe cherry, saddle leather, Asian spices, and granite. The 2007 La Tâche is a rare luxury not to be missed. ($1,200)

Domaine d’Eugénie 2007 Clos Vougeot
Located in the Côte de Nuits, Domaine d’Eugénie is owned by François Pinault and managed by Michel Mallard and Frédéric Engerer, president of Chateau Latour in Bordeaux. This delicious wine reveals notes of star anise, rich dark soil, red plum, and hints of maraschino. ($250)

Domaine Faiveley 2008 Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley
The Faiveley family produces some of Burgundy’s most consistent wines, but with this release from the 2008 vintage, they have outdone themselves. This red wine has powerful aromas of kirsch, chalky soil, and leather. On the palate, loads of rich, sweet cherry fruit combine with notes of dried herbs. ($125)

Domaine Leflaive 2007 Bâtard-Montrachet
Domaine Leflaive is known to bottle some of the richest, most enchanting, most complex whites in all of Burgundy. This pure Chardonnay has aromas of melted butter, honeysuckle, and lemon zest. On the palate the wine is viscous, revealing intense flavors of lemon meringue, wet stone, and tropical fruit. ($425)

Joseph Drouhin 2008 Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche
This white is one of the great wines of Chassagne-Montrachet. This vintage was the first in which the Drouhin family added the name of the Morgeot vineyard to the label. The wine saturates the palate with delicious flavors of apricot, lemon peel, and blonde tobacco. ($90)

Louis Jadot 2008 Beaune Clos des Ursules
This walled vineyard was purchased back in 1826 by Louis Henry Denis Jadot, and its Pinot Noir fruit perfectly represents the style and essence of Maison Jadot. The color of its 2008 vintage is a translucent ruby red, and it gives off delicate aromas of bing cherry, limestone, and cedar. The wine’s tremendous balance and grace ensure that it will age extremely well. ($80)

William Fèvre 2008 Les Clos Chablis
A fine architect of crisp whites from Chablis, William Fèvre delivers in this multifaceted 2007 Les Clos delicious flavors of pear, flint, and saddle leather. ($90)

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