Burgundy can be a cruel mistress. The region and relevant wine laws are highly complicated. The wines can be hard to appreciate and for the wine consumer on a budget, the often-stratospheric prices can be daunting. And yet, despite such cruelty, we are inextricably drawn to the mysterious wines of Burgundy. Which is why, when a wine arrives that represents a tremendous value, ears prick up with interest.
Domaine Vincent Dureuil-Janthial is a relatively young estate (1994) that has a long family history of wine making. Vincent Dureuil the proprietor is regarded as one of the finest artisans of traditional Burgundy, producing wines of exceptional focus and character. According to their website, the family has been making wine in Burgundy since the 13th Century. The estate owns about 42 acres principally in the Côtes Chalonnaise, with small amounts of vineyard land in Côtes de Beaune and Côtes de Nuit. They produce wine in about twenty appellations, again primarily in Rully or straight Bourgogne. However, they do have a 1er cru offering in Puligny-Montrachet, as well as a 1er cru offering in Nuit St George. Some of their vineyards are sporting vines as old as 70 years, while others are quite contemporary. Since 2001 the estate has been actively moving towards organic certification, eliminating herbicides and ensuring that the work of vineyard is strenuously conducted on the lunar calendar.
I recently had the pleasure of encountering some of their white and red wines from properties in Rully. I tried their Rully Blanc, Rully Blanc 1er Cru Raclot, Rully Rouge 1er Cru Le Fosse and Rully Rouge 1er Cru Vauvry and all of them were wonderful.
The Rully Blanc is 100% Chardonnay harvested from four estate-owned properties at village-level. Soils are primarily limestone and the vines average 40 years in age. All this translates to classic, white Burgundy with stone fruit, citrus zest and great minerality. Best news? Average retail is about $24-pre-discount.
The Rully Blanc 1er Cru Raclot is another 100% Chardonnay wine made with grapes from a single, estate-owned property, Raclot. The plot is in the west part of Rully and is at the highest elevation of any of their properties. As a result, the wines are more refined with a lightly-floral nose and beguiling texture. One does not think Rully when one tastes the Raclot, instead one is drawn to something further north, like Puligny. More good news… All this wine for an average retail cost of about $35-pre-discount.
The Rully Rouge 1er Cru Le Fosse is 100% Pinot Noir harvested from a relatively high-altitude vineyard, with vines averaging 70 years of age. The wine has a spicy character, with more mineral-driven notes and firm acidity. Traditional in spirit, but with very modern fruit elements. Average retail is $46-pre-discount.
The Rully Rouge 1er Cru Vauvry is also 100% Pinot Noir, but from a warmer vineyard with vines averaging 40 years in age. As a result, the wine is lusher with darker fruits and a velvety texture. Like the Le Fosse, the wine is clearly Burgundy, but with a sense of modernity. Average retail is $32-pre-discount.
Overall, the price-to-quality ratio is high on these wines, especially given that some of them are 1er Cru Rully. Aging potential is solid, given their structure, so there is no rush to drink any of these wines.
Even the cruelest mistress can show a bit of love now and then…