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Unlike its New World counterparts, the pleasure of white Burgundy lies neither in power nor in the judicious use of new oak. Instead, one finds in good Bourgogne Blanc a wine of blithe spirit, a potion imbued with ethereal charm, finesse, purity, and subtlety of flavor. The 2009 Vignerons Réunis de Buxy Cuvée Réserve Bourgogne Blanc possesses all of those characteristics as well as eminent drinkability to complement its caressing flavors. Visually appealing, with a glint of afternoon sunshine, this Bourgogne Blanc starts off right and continues to ingratiate from the first sniff until the last sip. It willingly offers a light, haunting fragrance of spring flowers, lemon oil, summer apples, and pure, unfettered Chardonnay fruit. Moreover, all of this 2009 Bourgogne Blanc’s aromatic profile follows through on the palate, leaving the mouth clean and refreshed, and most assuredly eager for more. Oh . . . how easy this wine glides over the tongue and slips down the throat! As is the case with most white Burgundy, we strongly suggest only moderate chilling (40º-50º F) of the 2009 Vignerons Réunis de Buxy Bourgogne Blanc, so as not to obscure the wine’s delicate flavors or detract from its light, lovely texture. Santé.
Although most hors d’oeuvres and light starters offer excellent accompaniments to the 2009 Vignerons Réunis de Buxy Cuvée Réserve Bourgogne Blanc, shellfish and the fruits of the sea provide our favorite pairings with this friendly, quaffable Côte Chalonnaise. Scallops, shrimp, and prawns make good partners to this wine, but a bowl full of first rate mussels, sautéed in a cream sauce that is lightly infused with saffron, remains our perennial favorite. Baked, grilled, poached or sautéed flounder, sole or sea bass pair beautifully with this elegant white wine, too. And for those who eschew the fruits of the sea, there is chicken fricassee, light pastas, and salads. However, the glory of any good white wine is its ability to shine unadorned, and there is no doubt that the 2009 Bourgogne Blanc from the Vignerons Réunis de Buxy has the ability to do just that. Indeed, this Bourgogne Blanc shines on its own to become the aperitif extraordinaire. However, before you know it, the glass and the bottle will be empty. Consider yourself forewarned!
Once in a while, life presents us with a pleasant surprise. It may come in the form of a windfall, an unforeseen visit, an unexpected inheritance, or even as a minor miracle. Finding and choosing wines of quality and unequivocal value from one of the planet’s most expensive wine regions at a time when the dollar is fairly weak against the euro certainly fits the abovementioned criteria and constitutes a most pleasant surprise, especially if that famous and often overpriced wine region is named Burgundy. Yet, life is full of unexpected delights and minor miracles, especially if we take the time to savor each day and put aside pre-conceived notions.
A small growers’ cooperative in Buxy on the Côte Chalonnaise of southern Burgundy fashions a little gem of a wine. We were initially less than euphoric about tasting yet another Bourgogne Blanc at what we figured would be a stratospheric price. Year after year we seek to find white and red village Burgundies that merit inclusion, and more often than not we are disappointed. Nonetheless, we remained determined to keep an open mind and adhere to the adage that “one can never drink a label or a price tag.” And are we glad we did! Vignerons Réunis de Buxy has once again fashioned a beautiful Bourgogne Blanc. In fact, this group of thirty small growers continues to shame many of the big names in Burgundy with exemplary 2009 Côte Chalonnaise offerings, most notably the cooperative’s superlative Bourgogne Blanc, which comes from vineyards surrounding the tiny Burgundy village of Buxy.
The Côte Chalonnaise is perhaps the least known of Burgundy’s wine regions, but this sequestered set of low hills and tiny villages is not likely to remain unnoticed for much longer. Increasingly, the Côte Chalonnaise is becoming the source of many unexpected pleasures and a veritable treasure trove of beautiful wines at affordable prices. Situated to the east of the sleepy little town of Chalon-sur-Saône from which the region inherits its name, the Côte Chalonnaise is for all intents and purposes a continuation of the fabled Côte de Beaune to the north.
As in all of Burgundy, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir comprise the predominant grape varieties on the Côte Chalonnaise, with allowance made for small amounts of Pinot Blanc for white wines and Pinot Liebault and Pinot Beurot for reds. The latter two Pinots are nearly identical to Pinot Noir. Four important communes dominate the region: Givry, Mercurey, Montagny, and Rully – all bona fide Burgundy appellations. In Givry and Mercurey, the emphasis is on the production of excellent red wines, as Pinot Noir reigns supreme in their vineyards. Meanwhile, Rully and Montagny specialize in fashioning from Chardonnay white Burgundies that are both flavorful and easy to drink. The tiny town of Buxy is part of the Montagny appellation, which in recent years is fashioning wines that can compete with many of the more renowned names of the Côte de Beaune, where wines of comparable quality cost two and three times the price. The wines of the Côte Chalonnaise that are grown just outside the boundaries of the four major communes or exceed the legal production for their respective communes are sold as Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne Rouge, and they constitute some of the region’s best values and unexpected pleasures, too. Enjoy!
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