Log in for prices and ordering

Producer Visits in the Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise.

Also in this series:

Wine Traveller Diaries - Loire Valley
Wine Traveller Dairies - Chablis
Wine Traveller Diaries - Burgundy 2022: An Introduction
Wine Traveller Diaries - The Côte de Nuits

A visit to Domaine Antoine Jobard

Antoine Jobard has extended his cellar just in time for two generous vintages. No, Antoine didn't predict 2023’s large crop, but just happened to need more room for the new wines from his recent vineyard additions; namely his new red wine sites in Beaune and Pommard (holdings of the former Domaine Mussy in Pommard). These vines have doubled the size of Jobard's domaine from 6 to 12 hectares. Most of the new vineyards are red, which has turned a predominantly white wine estate into a fully-fledged, 50/50 red and white producer.

We don’t have the full allocation of wines in Australia yet—the new red vineyards were in pretty poor shape when Antoine took them over, so he is nursing them back to health and has even replanted some of the vines. We should see more of his reds as time passes. They are genuinely outstanding. If you haven’t had the chance to try any of them, get on your bike! Antoine destems all his Pinot, gives the wines a cold soak for seven days, and then gently macerates them with only short pump-overs. The wines then age in 400-litre barrels. The style is fine, juicy and seductive.

So Antoine Jobard is no longer ‘simply’ a great white Burgundy producer but also a more than handy red Burgundy producer! My picks of the reds from 2022 were his Beaune Epinots and Pommard Epeneaux.

As for the Jobard whites, 2022 is outstanding here (you would expect nothing less). Interestingly, Antoine prefers his ’22s to his excellent ’20s, the most recent warm vintage. Time will tell. I can’t separate them for quality. He also believes ’23 is shaping up to be similar in style to his ’22s. Great news! We tasted both ’21s and ’22s with the two groups of wines sticking to the script: 2021s being superb yet tightly wound, while the 2022s are much more open and juicier. Both are top notch, but 2022 is clearly a more open and seductive vintage at the same early stage.

A visit to Domaine Vincent Dancer 

The Domaine Vincent Dancer wines from 2022 are also very, very good: full of juicy fruit and mineral drive and with a surprising delicacy at this stage. It’s already clear that they will offer a lot of pleasure early on. There is also the full range of wines on offer after the tiny, restricted 2021 vintage, where Théo combined his top vineyards into the Oskar cuvée. Volumes, however, are still lower than in the past. 

The style of Dancer's 2022s reflects the precise picking dates. Théo Dancer is sometimes classified as an ‘early picker’, but his low yields, discussed below, also mean that his fruit gets riper earlier. Even in a very high-yielding vintage like 2023, Théo only harvested 30 to 35 hl/ha in whites and 20 hl/ha in reds! Nonetheless, it's true he focuses on capturing freshness with his picking dates, like many other great white producers these days (Lamy, Pillot, etc.). And he follows this through in the cellar. He uses no new wood (now he buys three-year-old barrels from top growers), and nearly all barrels are 350 litres or larger.

In other news, Dancer has converted about half his vines to bush vine pruning on stakes (échelas, or paisseaux as it was historically known in Burgundy), which he says takes two to three times more work than cane pruning. He is fully convinced in this type of trellising for Pinot but ‘only 99% convinced for white grapes’. Still, he has converted half of his grand cru Chevalier-Montrachet and Perrières and one-third of his Tête du Clos to this approach. It’s one of the strategies designed to keep the yields low naturally. Vincent Dancer used short pruning on canes (guyot) to achieve this, but Théo is seeking a system that would lead the vine to naturally achieve these lower yields through both competition and spur pruning (shoots on spurs naturally produce less fruit than those on canes). 

Finally, I know there’s interest in “Whatever happened to Vincent Dancer?” as I get asked that question regularly. Théo told me his dad still works harvest in the cellar with him and is around if Théo needs a hand throughout the year. But Théo is left to do his own thing, with Vincent focusing on other adventures, including, but not exclusively, working as a fireman. You heard it here first!

Théo Dancer & Roc Breïa

Théo Dancer’s second release of négociant wines is a big step up on the excellent first release. I hinted at this perceived progress to Théo, and he responded simply: “Of course! We must progress and improve.” There is also a slight change to his range for this second release. The full offering is now: Aligoté from Meursault, Savagnin from Rotalier in the Jura, Gamay from Chiroubles and Grenache from Sainte-Cecile-les-Vignes (between Orange and Montélimar). According to Théo, that’s the complete range, and it will stay this range going forward if he has his way. And yes, you read it correctly: Théo Dancer is making Grenache! And it’s a very good one at that.

For those who are unaware, Théo has also taken on an exciting new project in the Mâconnais called Roc Breïa. The short story goes like this; in 2021, Théo was invited to visit a mature vineyard in the Bray district of the Mâconnais. The vineyard—a 10-hectare block on a limestone slope—had recently been purchased by two investors, one of whom was the courtier who used to sell the vineyard’s crop in the past. Dancer immediately saw the potential and agreed to manage the project, but only on the condition that he would control the whole affair. Taking over in July 2021, with the help of full-time vigneron Bastien Cubillé, Dancer is now well on the way to getting the vineyard to his standards, bringing the soils and vines back into balance, planting cover crops and cultivating inter-vine, etc.

The new 2022 releases from Théo Dancer and Roc Breïa are currently being allocated to previous buyers. Please let your rep know if you would like to join the waiting list. 


A visit to Domaine Henri Germain

I am sure you don’t need me to remind Bibendum clients of Jean-François Germain’s standing among the best growers of white Burgundy. This humble, discreet producer is a strong favourite of many of our growers—think Olivier Lamy, Benjamin Leroux and Thierry Pillot. Of course, Germain’s reputation is not limited to growers in our portfolio; we recently heard Jean-Marc Roulot singing the praises of this grower’s grower on Levi Dalton’s “I’ll Drink to That” podcast. In short, for lovers of concentrated yet crystalline white Burgundies, there are few better addresses on the Côte. 

Jean-François Germain has now been joined by his (and wife Sophie’s) daughter Lucie. That’s the most significant change in recent times. Lucie seems passionate, driven and more than content to challenge her father where she disagrees with him! The 2022s are, again, outstanding. Deep, fleshy, yet vibrant and racy. A new village parcel came online in 2022, a forty-year-old plot of vines in Les Corbins. And there’s the possibility of another Meursault village lieu-dit being bottled separately from a climat called Moulin de Judas (just below Les Chevalières, so a great terroir).

A visit to Domaine David Croix

As I said in a recent Instagram post, David Croix is one of the finest growers in Burgundy and is, therefore, arguably, the region’s most under-the-radar producer. Croix is such a humble guy (perhaps that’s part of the problem?), but his wines are magnificent and only getting better. His work in both the vines and cellar is simply first-rate, and he has also been a pioneer by focusing almost exclusively on the wines of Beaune and Corton (with some Savigny and St Romain). His rarely-used Instagram handle, @drink_beaune, says it all. Croix’s mission has long been to put Beaune back on the fine-wine map, and he’s well on the way to doing just that. At eight hectares, it’s still a small domaine. This year, it’s become even smaller as the St Romain vines have just been replanted. As for 2022, Croix interestingly picked a little later than many of his peers, telling me, “I’d rather accept a little of the reality of the vintage than pick too early.” It wasn’t overly late—Croix picked from 1st September to 6th. The wines certainly showcase the depth and flesh of the vintage but maintain the delciousness and balance for which David's wines are justifyably known. Our allocation of 2022 has now been finalised, and I’m pleased to report that we’ve managed to get an allocation of each of David’s five Beaune 1er Cru reds. Happy days!


A visit to Domaine Bachelet-Monnot

Marc and Alex Bachelet are making magnificent wines—worthy of being compared with Burgundy’s elite producers. Their 2022s are super; deep yet racy and mineral, and there is some staggering value here in both colours. The Maranges and Santenay wines at this address have been getting better and better, and in 2022, they seriously outperform their appellation. Smart buyers will be onto these in a flash. They will drink well young and old. There is no need to discuss the Puligny-Montrachet wines; these have long been benchmarks of the village, so you know what to expect in 2022 and 2023. 

Tasting with Benjamin Leroux

We sat down for a marathon 2022 tasting with Benjamin, looking at over 40 wines (from the 52 he made). As always, tasting chez Leroux gives us a very detailed overview of the vintage across the Côte, and also of Ben’s incredible talent! The ability to source and produce so many, mostly small, batches from so many varied terroirs and then produce such even, high quality is truly a gift. 

I was going to list my favourite village wines from the tasting, but when I reviewed my notes, there were too many! It’s undoubtedly a great year for the Côte de Beaune (like all solar seasons tend to be these days), but it’s equally good in the Côte de Nuits. Notably, following the low yields of 2021, some of our favourite white wines are back in the portfolio (not least the Chassagne Tête du Clos and the delicious Auxey-Duresses).

In these warmer, lower-acid vintages, you really see the value of Leroux's move to large format oak (foudre). He now ferments and agesa whopping 50% of his white in foudre, and 20% of his reds. He also has an ever-growing stash of Wineglobes (glass vessels), in which he’s getting great results.


A visit to Domaine Hubert Lamy

Olivier Lamy has an impressive new cellar extension with one wall cut into the mother rock, revealing multiple versions of the Saint Aubin geology. Olivier only offers tastings from bottle these days, so we tasted a range of 2021s. The style of the wines is tightly wound, reductive, low in pH and super racy. Lamy believes the vintage is similar to some top years from the 1980s and 1990s, noting that average temperatures and sunshine duration were well within the 30-year average. So, a classic year in which the grapes were able to ripen slowly, particularly between mid-August and mid-September (especially if the clusters were few and well-ventilated). 

The quote-of-the-day came from Olivier responding to how much SO2 he used (a question that didn’t come from me, for the record). Olivier replied, “I use about the same amount as my neighbours. Only my number is “total”, theirs is “free!”

I’m saying nothing new if I point out that this is, today, one of Burgundy's very finest white domaines, but what should not be missed is how much the reds have progressed. The quality now on offer, is quite remarkable, and no detail has been missed. Order them with total confidence. 

 A visit to Domaine Theulot-Juillot

As you might know from our recent offer of these wines, we came across this producer thanks to Vincent Dureuil. Dureuil is, to me, one of the finest growers in the whole of Burgundy, so when he told us he loved this producer’s wines and preferred them to the more famous wines of the region, it was a call to action! Owners Nathalie and Jean-Claude are lovely, humble vignerons whose pricing is just fantastic. Organic too. The wines are deep, generous and ageworthy. Nathalie Theulot inherited the family estate directly from her grandmother in 1987 and, with the support of her husband, Jean-Claude Theulot, has piloted the domaine from strength to strength. 

We tasted the 2022s this trip, but it’s the 2021s that arrived recently. The pricing is incredible, and yet this is one Burgundy grower where we have a little wine in stock! Anyone looking for outstanding value from Burgundy (aren’t we all?) should take a look.


A visit to Domaine Paul Pillot

Not a lot to say here that’s new. The wines are as brilliant as ever! We once repeatedly described this producer as “flying under the radar” or “grossly underrated”. This is no longer the case. In fact, on this trip, the wines of Thierry Pillot came up a number of times with local sommeliers and restauranteurs and with other top Burgundy growers (always a good sign). Thierry has fashioned a profound set of 2022s in both white and red. Buy whatever you can (as we will—sadly, we won’t get much).

A visit to Domaine William Kelley

Yes, the most influential Burgundy critic also makes Burgundy! In fact, William Kelley’s dream has always been to be a winemaker. And he has been making wine in Burgundy and California (Beau Rivage) since 2018, and has spent more than a decade closely studying the best Burgundy, Champagne (and Californian) growers. Using this experience and inspiration, he's managed to devise a novel and detailed winemaking approach that places a lot of emphasis on producing deep yet low-pH wines. Having had the chance to observe a little of his work and engage with him on his approach, I think it’s clear he’s both a wunderkind and a perfectionist. Hard to see how these two features won’t ensure greatness at this address.

2021 is the first vintage to reach our shores, and we have a tiny allocation of two reds. These wines are currently being offered, so if you are interested, please drop us a line. The whites (which we won’t have till the 2022 release) are deep, layered and reductive (the 2022s reminded of Leroy and are at least partially inspired by Jean-Marie Guffens, who Kelley admires deeply), while the reds are really a style of their own: tightly wound, medium-weighted, yet with depth and ageworthiness. The 2021 reds are immensely pretty and fine.

A visit to Domaine Dureuil-Janthial

Vincent Dureuil is a superstar in Burgundy these days, albeit an unassuming one. Whenever his name comes up in conversation with other great growers, everyone nods and talks about how remarkable his wines are, how much they love them and how great the prices are. The whites have long been some of my favourite Burgundies, and the Reds are now at the same level. Both ’21s and ’22s are Rully, Rully great! (Sorry!) However, our upcoming allocation is for the 2020 wines, on which William Kelley has written: “[Vincent Dureuil’s 2020s] have turned out predictably brilliant, combining much of the cut and tension of 2017 with some of the charm and grace Dureuil realised in 2018 (few did better in that vintage, incidentally).” While we didn’t discuss the 2023 harvest in detail, there is a glimmer of hope that our allocation from this domaine may rise thanks to the year’s healthier yields. We can only hope! If you would like to join the waiting list, let us know.

— Rob Walters