In 2018, Burgundy reached record prices and market share as wines on the secondary market shot up an astonishing 35% on top of already inflated prices. Demand for the rarest wines has pulled up prices across the board with village wines in the Côte d’Or now pushing the R1,000 mark. View our full list of Burgundies online.
There is relative value to be found outside the famous appellations, however. Take some time to discover these outer regions where producers show a renewed focus in traditionally lesser-regarded terroirs. We have assembled 6 of our favourite white Burgundies, all Chardonnay, of course, that will challenge the status quo. From the classic 2016 vintage and slightly richer 2017, these elegant wines will drink well over the next 5-6 years.
WHAT AM I BUYING?
Bourgogne Blanc – A generic appellation which can contain grapes from all around Burgundy. The Château des Rontets is sourced mostly from Mâcon-Verzey however, and offers beautiful depth and character. It’s an absolute knock-out for the price!
Mâcon-Villages – A broader appellation of 26 villages within the Mâconnais. Héritiers du Comte Lafon is arguably the leading producer and the 2017 is a fruity expression with lots of citrus and minerality.
Rully – A stone’s throw from Chassagne-Montrachet, this is a real up-and-coming appellation. ‘Les Cailloux’ is a rock-strewn single vineyard and Domaine Rois Mages, in the town of Rully, produces a serious and chiselled beauty.
Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Varambon – A single vineyard, of solid limestone at 350m above sea level, that dates back to 1945. The Château des Rontets has structure and minerality akin to Puligny-Montrachet with scores to match – 91/100 Wine Advocate.
Chablis – Closer to Champagne than the Côte d’Or, Chablis wines are a lighter, fresher style of Chardonnay with fine aromatics and chalky, oyster shell characteristics. Joseph Drouhin saw the potential of Chablis in the ‘60s and has been producing classic terroir-driven wines ever since.
Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaillons – This leading Premier Cru is known for its calcareous soils that give the wines a powerful, taut style. The family of Daniel Dampt has a 150-year history in Chablis. Using stainless steel ageing and produced from 35-year-old vines, this will age well for up to a decade.
Rontets, Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Varambon 2016
Bottled in March, the 2016 Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Varambon unfurls in the glass with aromas of peach, green and yellow orchard fruit, almond paste and anise. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, pure and satiny, with an elegantly textural attack, tangy acids and a stony, saline finish. Meager yields of 18 hectoliters per hectare show through in above-average concentration this year. As readers may know, this cuvée is produced from the vines within the Clos that were planted after 1945: it’s the château’s largest bottling. – Wine Advocate, 91/100
Daniel Dampt, Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaillons 2016
60-year-old vines, east-facing. Bottled. Smells a little richer and riper on the nose than the Lys. Cedary lime and green fruits plus all that benchmark Chablis dusty/stony character. Intense citrus fruit, severe in its freshness but balanced by the greater fruit depth here. Creamy aftertaste. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 16.5/20
Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Villages Blanc 2017
A fresh, cool and pretty citrus-inflected nose gives way to racy, delicious and delineated flavors that terminate in a lightly saline, clean, dry and refreshing finish. To enjoy immediately. – Allen Meadows, Burghound.com, 87/100
Rois Mages, Rully Blanc Les Cailloux 2016
A little more expressive than the Thruyer, chalky textured and compact but fresh. Very nice citrus fruit, softened by a lees richness. Straightforward, honest pleasure. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 16/20
Joseph Drouhin, Chablis Vaudon 2017
So Chablis! Dusty, grapefruit, lemon. Perfect combination of tangy fruit and chalky finesse. Unexpected and marked intensity on the palate: purity and precision and fruit intensity without strident fruit flavours. Creamy, long finish. – Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson.com, 16.5/20
Rontets, Bourgogne Blanc 2016
The 2016 Bourgogne Blanc ‘du Sud’ was produced from purchased Mâconnais grapes. Offering up notes of fresh apples, orange blossom and mandarin, it’s glossy, medium-bodied and open-knit. It was vinified in foudre and will drink well on release. – Wine Advocate, 87/100