Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again: White Burgundies from the Soul

Posted on: 09/12/19 2:18 PM

This past Sunday we completed a massive inventory count and, finally, have some very good data to work off of. In the process, we discovered wines we forgot we had, and in a store the size of ours, there are some real gems that can be uncovered.

As the principal buyer, I was able to take some perspective. In some senses, the various producers, verticals and extraneous quantities felt like strata in an archaeological dig, each layer dating to a period during my tenure here. We didn’t go so far back in time as to gaze into the gleaming, golden mask of Agamemnon, but we did travel through time, and it was nice to reminisce on what we’ve built over the last decade or so, and contemplate what the future might hold.

One of the producers of white Burgundy most well represented in the cellar is Jean-Marc Pillot. I know several customers for whom Jean-Marc Pillot was their own personal Huxley, opening the doors of perception, and revealing the technicolor world of white Burgundy to them in all its resplendent, richly mineral glory.

And why not? Pillot’s style has a magical quality that seems to offer everything equally to the sensualist and cerebral drinker alike. At once, rich, layered and creamy, the wines have a hedonistic bent, with their supple fruit and lush palates, but never going overboard or veering into the international style. And yet, simultaneously, each wine offers exactly what we expect from the vineyards, marshalling their expression in the discipline of formation and structure, minerality and backbone. The Morgeot offering depth and power; Vergers, tension and minerality; Maltroie, savory, earthy tones; and Caillerets, the perfect synthesis of all of these.

Burgundy expert Jasper Morris has an excellent quote on Jean-Marc that well defines the Domaine’s deeply attractive style: “These wines seem to possess everything – richness and depth of fruit, the classic firmness of a great Chassagne and a long, smooth and harmonious finish.”

There’s a reason he’s so well represented in our cellar. The wines are really good. And ultimately that’s what our work here is about. I was going to bang on, discussing the state of the Burgundy market, the various fads and predilections for certain styles or producers, but I think ending here is just fine.

Jean-Marc Pillot is delicious wine. The wines from this Domaine are among the first white Burgundies that brought me pleasure when I got into the trade. They still do. It is an honor to sell them and I am delighted we have so much in our cellar. Take advantage while you can.

A word to the wise: Jean-Marc’s Chassagnes Rouges are among the best values in Burgundy.

Posted in Burgundy List By Ian Halbert