Exploring Burgundy on a Dime - It Can Be Done
Prices on Burgundy wines can pretty much be summed up in two words: outrageous and unfortunate. Outrageous because they’ve become astronomically expensive, and unfortunate because it’s scaring even the most intrepid (and wealthy) of enthusiasts away from this beautiful region. Unfortunately, this go-big-or-go-home attitude has monopolized our attention, but in fact there are still plenty of ways to stick your toe into the world of Burgundy without sacrificing your retirement. You just have to know where to look.
A great place to start is by finding a reliable producer you can trust and with a style you like. One of our favorites in this area is Château de la Charrière. A consistent producer out of Santenay, this domaine easily gets you the best bang for your buck. Not only do they have a diversity of wines in their portfolio, but they are also one of the few domaines that offer Premier Cru wines for around thirty dollars. The added bonus is that we’ve been direct importing these wines for years, which means minimal markup on its way to your glass.
With a long history that dates back for thirteen generations, the Girardin family is firmly rooted in the Santenay region of Burgundy, affording them some pretty amazing vineyards. In the last few years, an emerging house style has come firmly into focus under the reign of the newest winemaker, Benoit Girardin. Since he took over from his father in 2011, Benoist has evolved the style of the wines from rustic to refined. The newest vintages, 2015 and 2016, have a lovely elegance and grace unmatched in previous years.
The domaine and wines really took shape under Benoist’s father, Yves, who built up the winery over the last few decades. As a child, Yves grew up on the property, spending time in the cellar and among the vines. Although he only inherited 3 hectares from his family’s 12 hectares estate, he knew he wanted to build the business into something bigger. He began to purchase additional vineyards in Chassagne-Montrachet and Pommard, and today he owns approximately 21 hectares in the three regions. In 2003, he acquired the family domaine, Château de la Charrière, where he updated and expanded the cellars. When Benoist returned from studying in Beuanne and Bordeaux, he joined his father in the winery, bringing fresh perspectives and modern techniques. Through this slow evolution, in the cellar and in winemaking, Château de la Charrière is really starting to show the beauty of their vineyards.
As a producer, Château de la Charrière has a deep portfolio of wines across a wide range of regions and vineyards, which makes them a great place to start your exploration of Burgundy. You can start with regional Bourgogne and move through Villages and into Premier Crus, all within a reasonable price range and all within one winery. And at this price, it is easy to return to the wines time an again.