Day Four: The Boys in Burgundy

It's taken a few extra days to get this out. Our intrepid adventurers are now home and required a little rest. But, here we are, the road trip continues... 

Domaine Bouley | Volnay

A predawn start for the chaps today with some stunning wines made by Wunderkind Pierric at Domaine Bouley. A little blurry eyed after a short night’s rest, Mark and Bill arrived to the scented swirl of Gauloises smoke in the morning air. Pierric had just briefed his team of pruners on the day’s duties, so they dutifully stamped out their cigarettes and headed off to the vineyards to follow the strict instructions on how best to tend the dormant vines.

The chaps were treated to yet another fantastic breakfast in the heart of Volnay. And “heart” was the order of the day as our explorers were treated to the very heart and soul of Domaine Bouley’s wines from the village. Simply put, they were amazing.

Pierric's passion when describing the viticulture and vinifying techniques was compelling. He spares no time and effort in creating the perfect wines. From working the vines to develop the best grapes he can, to handpicking the best European wood for his barrels, the work speaks for itself.

The whole world of wine is watching this talented young man, and we at Caviste hope to have some of his wines available to share with our customers soon.

However, as is the case all over the region – and indeed France – the 2021 vintage is in short supply. A few serious threats of arm-wrestling were delivered by the wine merchants in the room, all vying to have an allocation of wine made by the enigmatic and clearly gifted wine maker Pierric.

The challenges went unanswered for the moment as the time had come to head off to the next stop on the Burgundy adventure.

Domaine Maréchal | Bligny-Les-Beaune

Claude welcomed the visitors with a huge smile and a gentle manner. Having spent a career as an electrical engineer, he found himself drawn to a somewhat different line of work, and took control of a tiny lot of five hectares to begin his wine-making journey in 1981.

As he was relating his history to Mark and Bill, his engineering past made a lot of sense as a hiss of air and whine of a compressor broke the wine-reverie every couple of minutes or so. An ingenious system of pipe-fed air flow to rubber tubes atop his barrels to create a perfect seal on top of his fermentation barrels. This offered a stark contrast to the decidedly less technical green bucket that the tasters had gathered around to spit out their samples.

In spite of this, the wines proved themselves to offer a fantastic point of difference through the range. From his simply fresh Aligoté to the wonderfully floral Savigny-lès-Beaune, Claude usually picks his grapes a full two weeks after his competitors, ensuring full ripeness before partially destemming and creating his masterpieces.

And the best part is… he offers a good selection of magnums too! With dreams of Volnay in extra large format on their minds, Mark and Bill had to jump in the car once again, waving fond “adieus” as they pulled away.

Domaine Remoriquet | Nuits-Saint-Georges

On the road once more, this time back to quaint Nuits-Saint-Georges and the wizened figure of Gilles Remoriquet, of Domaine Remoriquet. Wizened and aged as he may have appeared, Gilles is incredibly forward-thinking in his techniques.

Never resting on his Laurels, Gilles is constantly looking for ways to do change the way he grows and makes his wines. His hearty laugh is in direct contrast to the seriousness of his passion for kinder, more earth-friendly ways of doing business in Burgundy. He has been an advocate of weed control without the use of industrial sprays, as well as a pioneer of the “floating sorting table.” A device that allows under ripe grapes to sink, as the perfectly ripe fruit heads to the surface, a far gentler method of sorting grapes than the traditional hands-on approach.

With this ingenuity in mind, his wine styles impressed Mark and Bill as the perfect hommage to their creator. Gentle, traditional and endlessly interesting, culminating with a Vosne-Romanée for the ages. With lingering red-berry fruits and soft, playful tannins lingering on their palates, the explores popped to the centre of Nuits-Saint-Georges for lunch of Boeuf Bourgignon and Hautes-Côtes de Nuits rouge by Noeillat. Perfection.

Rémi Jeanniard | Morey-St-Denis

Lunch couldn’t last forever, alas, and it was on to the next stop. What greeted the explorers was the home of Rémi Jeanniard and his charming wife. With the house to the right and a purpose built, albeit small, cave to the left, the property is nestled within the vines with stunning views across the plane to the heights of the hautes-cotes beyond. The weather had been kind so far and the views were stunning with atmospheric clouds to highlight the stunning landscape in an otherwise bleak January day.

Rémi had inherited his estate from his grape growing father, who in turn had inherited from his own father. However, Rémi’s grandfather had been a grower of blackcurrants and herder of cattle before the true potential of the land for grapes had been realised. Remnants of the family history can still be seen, as Rémi delighted the visitors with stories of finding the odd blackcurrant bush poking up between the vines when he was younger.

Focussing more on Pinot noir, his range of village level and premier cru Morey-St-Denis gave the chaps a huge lesson in terroir and just how different wines can be from seemingly similar plots of vines. A tasting tour of different “clos” and a variety of vine ages was a fascinating lesson to learn.

But as was becoming far too regular, Mark and Bill couldn’t rest to let the lesson settle as it was once again time to head off to the next visit.

Domaine Olivier Guyot | Marsannay

Olivier has a smile as wide as the Cotes D’or itself and proudly talked of his previous career as a motorcycle racer and the spectacular crash that resulted in two broken legs and a much more successful career in grape growing and winemaking.

There was no ceremony here, as Mark and Bill were poured sample after sample from Olivier’s cuvées and suggested that the drain in the middle of the courtyard was the perfect spittoon.

As a variety of reds and whites joined the morning’s rain in the pipes beneath the yard, Olivier proudly announced that his two sons had come back to the business after a few years away, starting families before realising just how much they wanted to join their father’s business and make wines in the same vein.

After tasting through the available range of 2021 vintage, a woefully low offering in most areas due to the same problems the chaps had been hearing about all week, it was down to the cellars to try something new. Olivier’s son has taken control of some of their vines and made the properties first ever domaine-labelled Fixin from the more productive 2022 vintage. A fun and expressive wine, leaving Mark and Bill excited to see what the future will hold for Domaine Olivier Guyot.

The visit to Olivier was the last of the day, and the last that Mark and Bill would spend with their fellow visitors in Burgundy. For the next day, the long and winding journey home – via the Jura - would begin…


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