Come along with the French #winophiles (a group of French wine loving bloggers and wine writers) as we explore the Burgundy wine regions of Côte Chalonnaise, Maconnais, and Beaujolais. Join the conversation every third Saturday on Twitter at 11:00 a.m. EDT using hashtags #winophiles. (Check out my fellow French #winophiles and their discoveries at the bottom of this post).
Learning about the wines of Burgundy can be overwhelming and at times downright confusing. Since my visit to Burgundy last fall my interest was peaked- I wanted to learn more about the wines of Burgundy. My visit had taken me to the Côte d’ Or, there was still four other regions of Burgundy to discover; Chablis, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, and Beaujolais.
With an understanding of the Burgundy wine classification system, I felt I could decode a Burgundy wine label and at least know the level of wine I was purchasing; Bourgogne Rouge or Blanc, Village, Premier Cru, or Grand Cru. But to know how a wine from a certain region, appellation or climat would taste, that will take a life time! So off to the my local wine shop to purchase a few bottles from either Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, or Beaujolais. I came home with two bottles from Côte Chalonnaise; Domaine de Villaine Bouzeron Aligoté and Domaine de Villaine Rully Les Saint-Jacques. At that point, I had no idea just how interesting the wines I chose were…
First I referred to a map of the Côte Chalonnaise and located Bouzeron and Rully.
Then I researched Domaine de Villaine, Bouzeron, and Rully. Here’s what I learned-
- Aubert de Villaine and his American wife Pamela own Domaine de Villaine located in the village of Bouzeron.
- Aubert is co-owner and co-director of the acclaimed Domaine Romanée-Conti.
- Domaine de Villaine farms from 3 appellations in the Côte Chalonnaise; Bouzeron(Aligoté), Rully(Chardonnay), and Mercurey(Pinot Noir).
- Domaine de Villaine follows biodynamic and organic farming practices and is certified organic.
- Domaine de Villaine controls yields through selective plantings, serve pruning and occasional pre-harvest thinning. The harvest is manual with strict sorting, natural vinification, and maturing is in tuns, oak casks and tanks, with a limited use of new oak.
- Aubert is also the director of Hyde de Villaine Wines in Napa Valley.
- Aligoté is the second white grape variety in Burgundy. It is produced as a varietal white wine and also used as a blend for Burgundy sparkling wine- Crémant de Bourgogne.
- Bouzeron is the only village in Burgundy where Aligoté is grown on the slopes versus flatter regions.
- Aubert de Villaine was instrumental in Bouzeron being awarded its own independent Aligoté specific appellation in 1997.
- Wines carrying the AOC Bouzeron designation are 100% Aligoté.
- Bouzeron is known for producing the best Aligoté in Burgundy.
- Domaine de Villaine uses the Aligoté Doré clone over the lesser Aligoté Vert clone. The Doré clone produces smaller yields and more aromatic wines.
- Rully Les Saint-Jacques is located at the foot of an east facing slope just below Clos Saint Jacques- one of Rully’s most famous premier cru vineyards.
- Rully produces both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, 2/3 of the production is Chardonnay and 1/3 Pinot Noir. There are 23 premier cru vineyards in Rully AOC and no Grand Cru.
My Tasting Notes
2015 Domaine de Villaine Bouzeron
100% Aligoté , 13% ABV $32.99
Light lemon in color with a spicy nose. On the palate clean with medium juicy acidity and notes of lime.
2015 Domaine de Villaine Rully Les Saint-Jacques
100% Chardonnay, 13% ABV $38.99
Lemon color with aromas of acacia and vanilla. On the palate a silky mouth feel with citrus and toast, a beautiful lingering finish.
Food Pairing – Copper River Salmon with Herb Butter
Copper River Salmon is in season right now and I can never get my fill of this flavorful fish. I decided on a simple preparation to highlight the salmon and also not to distract from the nuances of the wines.
- 1-1/2 lb Copper River Salmon Fillet
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 oz unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/8-1/4 cup finely chopped basil, chives and thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Making Herb Butter
Note: Make the herb butter at least 4 hours before roasting salmon.
1. Mix the butter in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth. Add the finely chopped mixed herbs and lemon juice mix until well blended.
2. Lay a 12 inch square of plastic wrap on a work surface. Spoon the butter mixture in a 1 inch wide band down the center. Tightly roll up the butter in the plastic, twisting and turning the ends to form a round cylinder. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 300F
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the salmon on the pan skin side down and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-18 minutes or until flesh flakes when poked with a fork.
5. Slice a 1/2 inch coin shaped piece of butter from chilled herbed butter cylinder. Spread the butter over the hot salmon. Serve with extra butter.
My Fellow French #winophiles and their discoveries in Burgundy~
Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick serves up “Salmon and Morels with the Domaine Wines of Louis Max.”
Jill Barth of L’Occasion shares “Historic Vineyards of Burgundy.”
Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog regales us with: “A Journey Through Burgundy Part 2, Exploring Mâconnais with #Winophiles.”
Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Wine Predator takes on: “Bourgogne with Beef Bourguignon from an Instant Pot.”
Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest steers us through “Navigating Southern Burgundy: Mâconnaise and Beaujolais.”
Camilla Mann of Culinary Adventures with Cam tipples through “Touring Burgundy by Glass: It’s the End of the School Year and I Need a Drink!”
Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous explores “Discovering Rully Chardonnay + Bouzeron Aligoté in Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”
Nicole Ruiz Hudson of Somm’s Table schools us with “Cooking to the Wine: Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Chablis with Clam and Burrata Pizza.”
Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm dips her toe in “Provence meets Burgundy.”
Lauren Walsh of The Swirling Dervish swirls up “Mercurey Rising: Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”
L.M. Archer of binnotes.com pours forth on “Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine.”