New Burgundies from Wine Route

Wine Route's Burgundy catalog has always behaved like an accordion, expanding and deflating periodically. It makes it hard sometimes to track a favorite producers, but there's always the excitement of discovering new names. The portfolio is on the upswing in 2020, and I tried a few of the relatively affordable prospects.

Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine, Beaune Premier Cru, Montrevenots, 2016

I'd never heard of the domaine, but apparently it's about 150 years old. The fruit and tannins are still at odds, although the acidity is perfect. The nose is very complex, exotic and classic and the body, despite the awkwardness, is broad and full, with a very good structure. There's a litheness and funky freshness of fruit that needs time to unfurl. (Jan. 3, 2020)

Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine, Aloxe-Corton, 2016

Aloxe-Corton doesn't have enough of a name to draw consumers to the basic village wines, but this is lovely for what it is, with red fruit, violets and roasted herbs. It's quite a pleasure to sniff and the texture is clean and friendly without being soft. It's a little thin right now but I hope it will develop a bit more complexity in the next few years, maybe pick up some body, but it's a good drink today as well. (Jan. 4, 2020)

Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine, Pernand-Vergelesses, 2017

This is still a little raw, but is a good example of the good pickings in the slighter Cote de Beaune villages. The nose is apples and pears and dried grass, the palate more of the same, but a bit of uncomfortable bitterness from the pear component. Good value in need of a couple of years - the complexity is evident in the texture and nascent complexity. (Jan. 13, 2020)

Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine, Bourgogne-Aligoté, 2017

Of all the trendy, hipster grapes, Aligoté is my first love, but you have to try it from a good producer if you want to share my adulation. De Villaine's Bouzeron and Leroy/d'Auvenay are the ones every Bourgogne-head knows, and I would add Buisson-Charles, Matrot and my favorite, Benoit Ente. Like Chardonnay, it can express terroir quite well, but it does so with a leaner frame and set of aromas and flavors that lean towards citrus and earth and mushrooms. This is a good-plus Aligoté, more than a few notches above average, but the nose is more interesting and nuanced than the palate, which is clean and direct with a tense, electric vibe. (Jan. 5, 2019)

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Bourgogne-Aligoté, Sous Le Chemin, 2017

This is a step up and an example why Aligoté is not only a trendy grape but a delightful one as well. The profile is the same: citrus, earth and mushrooms. The difference, though, is in the details. The aromas are more nuanced, the flavors linger longer on a better defined frame and the acidity is more pronounced. At the same time the balance of fruit and acidity is better because the flavors are full and broad enough to complement the acidity. (Jan. 9, 2019)

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Bourgogne, Hautes Coutures, 2017

I guess the name means this is actually a declassified Meursault village red, as Hautes Coutures the name of a Meursault lieu-dit. (Which might explain why it still seems to need time?) It's an earthy, spicy wine with clean fruit and bright acidity, but it seems more like a Mencia than a Pinot. So not a New World Pinot, but not exactly typical Bourgogne. (Jan. 10, 2019)

Domaine Heresztyn-Mazzini, Bourgogne, 2016

Also another new producer for me. Their site says this is sourced from the Gevrey lieu-dit Champs Franc, so this is in fact a declassified Gevrey-Chambertin. It's still in a mostly primary phase, fruity and floral, but it's already showing an earthy aspect with subtle hints of truffles and an excellent backbone of acidity. Lovely and one of the best of the lot. (Jan. 11, 2019)

Gallois is not really a very new name in the catalog, but still...

Dominique Dominique Gallois, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2016

At this early stage, the color is very dark for Burgundy, the nose only hinting at Gevrey character, the palate ripe and modern - although, in its defense, not quite unbearably so, just not what I'd expect from Gevrey. I'm inclined to hope for a more classic form to show once it sheds its baby fat in, say, five years. (Jan. 25, 2020)