It’s said you can judge a domaine by its simplest wine. Making great wine from a Grand Cru vineyard certainly takes talent, but the raw materials provide a considerable head start. As one vigneron put it to us once, “with the Grand Crus, we just get out of the way.”
In a Beaune restaurant last April we stumbled upon that most elusive of wine merchant targets: an unknown Burgundy domaine. Formed in 2002 with just 1.5 hectares of vines, the Domaine Bohrmann has no other importers, zero critical reviews, and hard-to-reach winemaker.
A good French restaurant takes pride in its wine list. The restaurateur will curate a thoughtful collection of interesting wines, often from winemaker friends and acquaintances. And so when two of our favorite Beaune restaurants featured several bottles last year from a domaine we’d never heard of, we had to give them a try.
Meursault is one of Burgundy’s largest appellations. Though it has no Grand Crus, its wines are among the most respected and sought-after in the world. With chalky soils and a low water table, Meursault produces prototypical white Burgundy: golden, rich, and perfect balance between roundness and mineral tension.
We’re often asked how we discover new winemakers. The answer is a combination of recommendations, wine journals, and critical reviews, but the most enjoyable way, or at least the most delicious, is through local wine lists.
Burgundy is a tough place to find new winemakers. It’s a tiny, well-trodden region, with limited supply and ever increasing demand. It often feels like the best producers have all been discovered.