Value Burgundy at Its Best! 2017 Jean et Gilles Lafouge
Prices have steadily climbed throughout the Burgundy regions that were once stalwarts of everyday drinking like St. Aubin, and the more high-rent areas like Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet have priced themselves out of the daily drinker market. Burgundy-lovers have been left to find new villages that could offer that tell-tale Burgundian experience without emptying their wallet. The domaine of Jean et Gilles Lafouge is making some of the best values I have tasted in Burgundy from Auxey-Duresses, Pommard, and Meursault. Both William Kelley (Wine Advocate’s Burgundy Reviewer) and John Gillman have expressed their admiration for the immense quality of these wines. John Gillman went as far as to compare the wines to the style of Roulot’s whites.
I knew we were off to a great start when, during a recent buy trip, I tasted the 2017 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Bourgogne Aligote ($17.99) which sang from the glass with aromas of green figs and dried herbs with cool menthol and stone fruit flavors on the palate. This zesty and lively white is a quintessential example of what the grape Aligote should be like. Another winner was the 2017 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Cote d’Or Bourgogne Rouge ($23.99)—a lively red that showcases tart red cherry, macerated strawberry, and spice notes in a perfectly balanced package. It’s the ideal entry-level red that is ready to drink, accessible, and yet distinctly Burgundian. These two wines represent both harmony and value, as well as an inexpensive insight into what you can expect from Jean et Gilles Lafouge.
Auxey-Duresses borders the wine regions of Meursault, Monthelie, and St-Romain. It is easily one of Burgundy’s up-and-coming villages, and, after tasting through four offerings from Lafouge, I can wholeheartedly say this is a village to buy deep from. At $29.99 the 2017 Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Rouge (90 points from John Gillman) is a great introduction to Auxey-Duresses with loads of black and red fruits including cherries and plums. This spicy and chocolatey red has admirable depth and precision given its humble price. The lone white offering from Auxey-Duresses the Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Blanc "Les Boutonniers" ($34.99, 90-92 points Wine Advocate and 91 points from John Gillman) is reminiscent of a Meursault with pear and white flower accents along with citrus oil and crushed stone nuances. There’s fascinating depth and complexity here given its drink-now price. The Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Rouge 1er Cru " Climat du Val" ($36.99, 92 points John Gillman, 89-91 points Wine Advocate) is the first of two 1er Cru reds from Auxey-Duresses. It literally sings from the glass with pomegranate, cherry, and cocoa flavors. Exotic and spicy, this is a gorgeous red that exemplifies the high expectations I have for the future of Auxey-Duresses. Even better is the 2017 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Rouge 1er Cru "Les Duresses" ($36.99, 92-93 points John Gillman, 90-92 points Wine Advocate), a wine loaded with sweet cherry and strawberry fruits as well as licorice and cocoa spice notes. Velvety smooth and layered, this complex and seductive red is impossible to resist.
We concluded our visit with several Meursaults that really gave context to the great wines that Domaine Lafouge has been making. The wines were delicious and unique and under $50 a bottle. I personally love Meursault and when I tasted these and realized they could be offered to you below $50 I was blown away! The 2017 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Meursault "Les Casses-Têtes" (91-93 points Wine Advocate, 92 points John Gillman) was gorgeous from the very first sip. A variety of fruit flavors sprang from the glass and included pear, apple, peach and passion fruit. Hazelnut, vanilla, and oak accents surged through the finish to give this full-bodied offering substance and balance. The 2017 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Meursault "Meix Chavaux" (93 points John Gillman, 91-93 points Wine Advocate) is elegant and precise, leaning more toward citrus leaning as well as mineral and white flower. This complex and elegant offering was my favorite wine of the visit to Lafouge.
- Alex Pross