An extremely long day for Bill and Mark on their second full day in Burgundy, and third on the road.
The weather wasn’t ideal as the sun had yet to rise and a damp mizzle had settled over the vineyards. But nothing would dampen the spirits of the travellers as they hit the road to meet with a total of seven suppliers. Starting off with three special visits in the historic and picturesque village of Meursault.
Domaine Bellang, Domaine Sylvain Dussort, Domaine Belleville | Meursault
Now… drinking Meursault for breakfast may seem like a dream for most. But not for our intrepid explorers, it’s all par for the course as they visited some of our favourite suppliers. A predawn meeting with Christophe at Domaine Bellang was followed by a short drive to Domain Sylvain Dussort, a real Caviste champion, to meet with fifth-generation winemaker Caroline who works under the tutelage of her father, Sylvain. Domaine Belleville was next, at their newly refurbished work space and tasting centre. Head winemaker Charles was joined by apprentice Max and representative Hugue to talk us through the detailed and serious business of working biodynamically through a difficult harvest.
Domaine Moingeone | St Aubin
After a wonderfully traditional auberge style lunch, it was on to the quaint village of St Aubin, or more specifically the hamlet of Gamay to meet with Florent of Domaine Moingeone in his slightly heated barrel room. The warmth was in part due to the still-fermenting 2022 juice that filled the oak barriques, but came as sweet relief to the tasters who were feeling the cold from the wind in the higher altitude village.
Eleven wines were sampled with Florent, from his St-Aubin staples, to village level Chassagne and Premier Cru single vineyard from several of the family’s plots around the Côtes de Beaune.
Domaine Billard, Domaine Bergeret | Hautes-Côtes de Beaune
Once more it was back into the car and on to the heights of the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune and the village of Larochpot, complete with its ancient chateau. The team were met by the young and talented Louis, winemaker for Domaine Billard and the son of Gerome at their family home to taste through the range of wines of Hautes-Côtes and other appellation wines. Louis is a well travelled young man, having spent time in both South Australia and South Africa to widen his horizons and hine his winemaking skills in some of the top producers in those areas, including time spent with Gary Farr of Geelong.
The corks of eight bottles were pulled before time ran short and the journey had to continue to the new premises of Domaine Bergeret, a short drive away in Nolay. A slightly late arrival did nothing to assuage the charm of the brilliantly quirky Clothilde who greeted the tired travellers with a big smile and plenty of wines to keep the chaps going.
Again, a blur of Chassagnes, St-Aubin and Beaune wines were poured, sipped, tasted and spat to give the Caviste duo plenty to mull over as they consider the 2021 wines they want to offer to our customers, and where the quality, the value and the “too good to miss” can be found.
Domaine Sorine | Marange
Tired, dehydrated and hungry, there was but one stop left on the longest day of the trip so far. Domaine Sorine in Marange. Not quite sure if they’d found the right place, a cheery “hullo” was hailed, to try and find some guidance in the quiet and sleepy village of Marange.
Out of the gloom came a cheery reply and a head-torch, as Mark and Bill were happily greeted by… Mike from South London (via Oxfordshire). Alas, not who they were meant to meet. However, egg finally wiped off their faces, they turned around and saw the perfectly lit chateau in the background that promised to hold the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
Sorine held a cornucopia of delights on which to end the day. The gem among them being a beautiful red from the village vineyards within the Maranges itself. Although officially within the Côtes de Beaune, the village falls out of the area of Côtes D’Or and is closer to the Côtes Challonaise. Floral, robust and generous in style. The last wine of the day proved that even in a traditional region in one of the worlds most traditional winemaking countries, there is always something new and exciting to find. A first for both Mark and Bill, they can’t wait to get an allocation of this incredible wine to share it with customers, as well as the story of the journey of that incredible day in the Southern Côtes de Beaune.
All that remained was the drive back to Beaune town, supper and sleep!