Burgundy 2016: From Bargains to Ballers

Our very last tasting of the year is coming up this Saturday and it’s a doozy: all Burgundy, all grand, all 2016 vintage. This was a tricky vintage that was high in quality but low in quantity. A mild winter had people initially optimistic, especially after the gangbusters 2015, but frost and mildew came in hard and heavy. The good news is that the smaller crop was one of excellent fruit, and the wines all show super singing acidity. The frost delayed harvest until late September when it was very cool, and so the grape acids were high. The other good news: some of the lesser-regarded cuvées have been bolstered by blending in a bit from the superior vineyards, according to Jancis Robinson. The reds, especially, are bright, fresh, and expressive. These will be great for laying down, and, with the small quantity available, will prove to be a good investment. But, who can wait? They’re drinking so well right now. Stephen Tanzer said of them: “Burgundy-loving civilians… will derive great pleasure from the precise, perfumed, suavely tannic 2016s from the outset.”

We tasted through a bevy of our Direct Imports with Sharon on Wednesday, across all price points, all from the current releases. She poured some great value whites from Mâcon and Pouilly Fuisse and St-Véran, made by the family-run Domaine Renaud. Bright and fruity, clean, high acid, precise. These are excellent go-to whites, running between $15.99 and $24.99. Put ‘em on your weekly roster. (Read more about them in a previous post.)

Demeter-certified Domaine de L’Abbaye is a new Direct Import for us. They practice biodynamic and organic farming, minimal intervention in the cellar—all the buzz words, but it’s not “flash-in-the-pan” wine; it’s solid and affordable. We carry their 2017 Bourgogne Rouge for $19.99, and it’s charming—bright cherry and raspberry fruits with some floral notes, plus great high acidity. A perfect weeknight pork chop wine.

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Domaine de la Charrière, located in Santenay and run by the Girardin family, is producing classic juice, and I particularly liked their bottling from the 1er Cru “Les Gravieres.” It’s sexy: a touch smoky, with rounded black cherry and spice notes, integrated oak and a touch of hedonism. Santenay fared relatively well with the weather in 2016, and is a good place to look for value. This bottle comes in at $29.99.

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If you have a bit more to spend, try the $59.99 2016 Vosne-Romanée “Les Chandlins” from Domaine duBois, a tiny domaine in Chorey-Les-Beaune. Grown on 60-year old vines from the base of the Vosne slope, this is seductive with baking spice and big ripe black fruits, silky texture, and serious structure.

Beaujolais current releases are killing it, too, from the fresh and fruity 2017 Jean Michel Dupre “Vignes de 1940” Beaujolais Villages—for only $10.99, folks!—to the more cerebral 2017 Morgon from Marcel Lapierre. Dig into this one for sure if you can get your hands on a bottle. It’s complex and intricate with notes of black licorice, anise, and sweet cherry—totally fresh and alive but with brooding aromatics ($32.99).

We’re looking forward to seeing you all at our Grand Burgundy tasting this week. Tickets are sold out, so if you haven’t purchased one, you can still pick up some of the wines on the docket (below). Or try something from one of our wonderful Direct Import producers. These under-the-radar winemakers are really the heart and soul of K&L, and you’ll find some absolute gems on our shelves (at a fraction of the cost of the “big guns”).  

2016 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes $64.99
2016 Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny $74.99
2016 Domaine Louis Michel Chablis Grand Cru "Les Clos" $79.99
2016 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 1er Cru "Genevrières" $89.99
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Bouley Volnay 1er Cru "Clos des Chenes" $89.99
2016 Domaine Jean-Marie Fourrier Vosne-Romanée "Aux Réas" $89.99
2016 Domaine Perrot-Minot Morey-St-Denis "En la Rue de Vergy" $109.99
2016 Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Champ Canet" $139.99
2016 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru $199.99
2016 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru $239.99
2016 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Bonnes Mare Grand Cru $339.99


- Kate Soto