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One New Star Producer For White And Red Burgundy, Revisiting An Old Favorite Producer For Affordable White and Red Burgundy, And Trying To Get Back A Best In Class Rosé

John Tilson • 4/13/11        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

Domaine Ballot-Millot is a rising star for the production of gorgeous White and Red Burgundies. If you love, Burgundy you really need to try the wines from this Domaine. Likewise, Domaine A. & P. de Villaine is a stellar producer of White and Red Burgundies with a long track record of producing stunning wines that are great values. If you have have missed these, this is yet another Domaine that deserves your serious attention. Finally, I am sending out an SOS in an attempt to find someone to bring back what is perhaps the most consistently outstanding fruit forward Rosé anywhere. It is the terrific Charles Melton Rosé of Virginia from the Barossa Valley in Australia. All Rosé lovers unite and let’s see if we can find someone to bring this fabulous wine back to the USA!

Domaine Ballot-Millot

I wrote about the 2007s from this Domaine last year. The wines were fabulous. And, now the 2008s are here and they too are very special. Located in Meursault, this estate consists of some 30 acres of mostly Chardonnay with some Pinot Noir in Pommard and Volnay. Young Charles Ballot took over from his father, Philippe, in 2001. The wines have been consistently brilliant. Work in the vineyard utilizing severe pruning results in low yields and concentrated wines. The winemaking is unmanipulative and new oak is used sparingly. The result is wines that are pure and expressive with great finesse, balance and flavor. These are still under the radar Burgundies and are wines to buy.

Domaine Ballot-Millot is now on my list of White Burgundies to buy every year (there is also a small amount of Red Burgundies produced and these are worth buying also). In this regard, they join Pierre Yves Colin-Morey and the Clos de Mouchere from Jean Boillot as the most recent additions to my buy every year list. Since the late 1970s my buy every year list has included Raveneau, Coche-Dury, Leflaive, Ramonet, DRC, and Jobard. My advice to all of you who are buying and cellaring wine is that when you find something you really like, buy it every year. Forget about vintages and forget about numbers. If you buy what you like, you can watch the evolution over time and, if the wines meet your expectations, you will be well rewarded. Certainly, the White Burgundies on my list have consistently met and even exceeded my expectations. The real surprises come in some of the off years (such as 1968 and1977) and some of the years that were proclaimed early on to not be capable of prolonged aging (such as 1982). The wines of Domaine Ballot-Millot are imported by Atherton Wine Imports, Atherton, CA.

 

2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot White Wines

Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault. Vineyards in the appellation Meursault represent nearly 20% of the Domaine’s holdings. The vines here average 33 years of age. This is a stunning village wine! It is light yellow gold in color and has a lovely perfume showing hints of peach, spice and almond. There is a lovely intensity of fruit with hints of peach, spice, and citrus and the wine is supple and flavorful, yet with good backbone. Balanced with great finesse and a lovely finish, this wine shows the house style brilliantly –- Outstanding. $38 Best Buy
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Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault Les Criots. The vines here are 25 years old. The wine has a light yellow gold color and a faint perfume showing hints of minerals and spice with citrus and peach undertones. With lovely fruit and flavor, it is rounded, balanced, elegant, and delicious with great early appeal as well as having the ability to age –- Outstanding. $40 Best Buy
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Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault Les Narvaux. Here the vines are 40 years old. The wine is light yellow gold in color with a lovely perfume showing hints of peach, citrus, and spice. It is elegant, finesseful, and balanced, but with great flavor showing just a tinge of citrus and spice –- Outstanding. $40 Best Buy
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Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault Charmes 1er Cru. The vines here are 40 years old. The wine has a light yellow gold color and has a subdued perfume with hints of citrus and tropical fruit. It is lush and rounded with lots of flavor showing pineapple and citrus with a faint spiciness. Long and crisp on the finish, this wine is delicious now, but will age gracefully for many years –- Outstanding Plus. $75
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Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault Genevrieres 1er Cru. The vines in Genevrieres are 65 years old and are the oldest vines in the Domaine. This is a stunning wine. It has a light yellow gold color and a complex perfume of peach, citrus, and spice with a faint floral nuance. These components follow thorough on the palate with a nice minerality. With great flavor, depth, balance, and style the wine is finesseful, yet racy, and has a long crisp finish. Interestingly, the Genevrieres in this vintage seems a bit racier than the Perrieres. It will be interesting to watch the evolution over time, but this 08 Genevrieres may prove to be a real long distance runner –- Outstanding Plus. $75 3-n-half-yellow-stars

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Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru. The vines here are 35 years old. The wine has a light yellow gold color and a lovely perfume with hints of citrus and mineral and a faint tropical nuance. It has great fruit, flavor and structure, with a tropical, citrus, mineral complexity and a long crisp finish. This and the Genevrieres are wines that should evolve beautifully and keep a very long time –- Outstanding Plus. $80
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2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Red Wines

Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Pommard Pezerolles 1er Cru. The vines here are 35 years old. The wine has a deep color and a lovely perfume of cherry fruit with a faint floral spiciness. The fruit is very pure with cherry, spice, and floral notes and is very flavorful, but the wine is a bit withdrawn and backward just now. With time this should make a lovely, elegant, complex Burgundy –- Highly Recommended/Outstanding Potential. $55
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Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru. Here the vines are 40 years old. This is a gorgeous wine. With a very deep color, it has a lovely perfume of berries, cherries, and spice. On the palate there is lots of pure fruit and the wine is very flavorful and balanced with good backbone and structure. This Rugiens should age gracefully for many years. Buy this, try a bottle, and put it away for 5-10 years –- Outstanding Plus. $60 Best Buy
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Ballot-Millot2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot Volnay Les Taillepieds. The vines here are 30 years old. This wine is all about finesse, but is loaded with complex flavors. It has a deep color and a gorgeous perfume of Rosé petals, berry fruit, and a tinge of spice. On the palate the wine is elegant, yet richly flavored with great balance, good backbone, and a long finish. This Taillepieds, like the Rugiens, should be long lived. And, while the Pezerolles needs some bottle age, this wine, again like the Rugiens, can be enjoyed now and laid away for future years –- Outstanding. $50 Best Buy
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Domaine A. et P. de Villaine

Aubert de Villaine is the co-proprietor of Domaine de la Romanée Conti. But, aside from that, he and his wife, Pamela, own Domaine A. et P. de Villaine in Bouzeron. Bouzeron is the first village in the Cote de Chalonnaise which is just South of Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay in between Rully and Mercurey.

Vines in Bouzeron were first planted by the monks of Cluny in the Middle Ages. The Domaine A. et P. de Villaine consists of over 50 acres of vineyards planted to Aligoté, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Since 1986, the vineyards have been organically farmed. Yields are controlled through selective planting, severe pruning, and occasional pre-harvest thinning. As a result, yields are typically about 20% below the yields authorized by government regulations. This produces wines that are flavorful, yet refined.

I first started buying and drinking wines from this Domaine in the late 1970s. They have always given me great enjoyment. They are wines of great harmony, balance, and finesse. The wines are attractive in their youth, but most of the wines can be aged for an extended period. They are also attractively priced and represent very good value. If you are seeking wines that are harmonious and balanced with moderate levels of alcohol (the 2009s are all 12.5%) and are great accompaniments to a wide variety of foods, then these are definitely wines for you to try. These 2009s are really lovely, but wines from this Domaine are very consistent and can be bought with confidence year in and year out. The wines of Domaine A. et P. de Villaine are imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, California.

2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine White Wines

Villaine Bourgogne2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Aligoté Bouzeron. Aligoté is the ancient white wine variety of Burgundy. After the Phylloxera vine disease destroyed most of the Aligoté vines that were planted in the Cote d’Or, they were replanted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Today there is very little Aligoté planted in the Cote d’Or (Domaine Ponsot and Domaine Ramonet make two very good ones), but it thrives in Bouzeron where it has been revered for centuries as the Golden Aligoté. Today Bouzeron Aligoté is the only Aligoté with its own appellation which was awarded in 1998. The wine has a distinct crispness and is attractive young, but with some age it develops more richness and complexity with floral, hazelnut nuances.

This 2009 is produced from 25 year old vines. The Aligoté vineyards emcompass 22 acres. The wine is light yellow in color and has a lovely floral, citrus, faintly spicy perfume with a kiss of vanilla. It is elegant, fruity, and very crisp with lovely flavors and a nice finish. This is a wine to drink now and lay some away for future years –- Outstanding. $26 Best Buy
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Villaine Bourgogne2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Bourgogne Les Clos Cote de Chalonnaise. This vineyard is 7 acres with 20 year old vines. The wine is light yellow in color with a faint golden hue. It has a gorgeous perfume with floral and citrus nuances and is finesseful and balanced with floral and citrus notes and a lovely crisp finish –- Outstanding. $32 Best Buy
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Villaine Bourgogne2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Rully Les Saint-Jacques. This vineyard consists of 4 acres of 17 year old vines. The wine is light yellow in color and has a lovely complex perfume with floral, peach, citrus nuances and a faint hint of mineral and pineapple. With lovely complex fruit flavors accented by a flinty, Chablis-like quality, this is delicious to drink now. As the wine ages I would expect that it should show even more depth –- Outstanding. $35 Best Buy
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2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Red Wines

Villaine Bourgogne2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villane Bourgogne La Digoine Cote de Chalonnaise. This vineyard is 12 ½ acres with 15 year old vines. With a deep color, this wine has a lovely raspberry, cherry perfume and has lots of fruit on the palate. With a faint spicy tinge and lovely flavor and finesse, it is rounded with good backbone and a very nice finish –- Outstanding. $39 Best Buy
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Villaine Bourgogne2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Bourgogne La Fortune Cote de Chalonnaise.This vineyard is nearly 6 acres with vines that are over 20 years old. With a deep color, this wine has a complex perfume of plummy fruit accented by hints of green olive, spice, and a faint smokiness. Lush and rounded, yet with good backbone and structure, this is a balanced flavorful wine to drink now or keep for many years –- Outstanding. $32 Best Buy
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Villaine Bourgogne2009 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Mercurey Les Montots. This vineyard consists of 2 acres of nearly 50 year old vines. This wine is gorgeous to drink now, but should also keep for an extended period. This should be really something in 10 years or so. With a deep color, the wine has a stunning perfume with plum and berry fruit accented by floral and spice nuances. It is loaded with fruit, has rich, lush flavors and a nice spicy, floral undertone. The finish is long and flavorful. This is a terrific wine –- Outstanding Plus. $42 Best Buy
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Charles Melton Rosé — The World’s Greatest Fruit-Forward Rosé?

Charles Melton RoséAs I have said many times, I love Rosé. It is one of the most versatile and food- friendly of all wines. Rosés are particularly suited for consumption in warmer climates where, well chilled, they are most refreshing. Over the years, my favorite Rosé in the fruit-forward style has been the Charles Melton Rosé of Virginia from the Barossa Valley in Australia. It is consistently delicious with an intense fruitiness that is fresh and balanced. Each vintage has a slightly different blend of the different grape varieties, but Grenache, followed by Shiraz and Cabernet and a small amount of Pinot Meunier are always major components. Annual production is around 4,000 cases.

I am sad to report that the wine is not available in the U.S. at the moment because there is no U.S. distributor. The winery is looking for one and if any of you out there know of some one who would be interested in importing this wine in the U.S., please contact Charles Melton at www.charlesmeltonwines.com.au .

This 2010 is the current vintage. Other than Australia, the closest place where it can currently be found is in Canada. Let’s hope that it is available here soon. True to form, this 2010 is delicious!

2010 Charles Melton Rosé of Virginia Barossa Valley. Light red in color, this Rosé has a stunning perfume of strawberry and cherry with floral, and spice nuances. It has gorgeous fruit with flavors of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry intermingled with floral, and spice notes. Lush and rounded, but with a nice crispness and a lingering finish, this is a balanced fruit-forward Rosé that is absolutely delicious – Exceptional.
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