Burgundy: The Cult Bottles
With the stellar 2005 vintage and the rise of supertalented young winemakers, world interest in Burgundy has reached a fever pitch. Here's the lowdown.
Made in tiny quantities by the best domaines, these are among the most sought-after Burgundies in the world. But greatness doesn't come cheap, especially in Burgundy, and prices for the best wines continue to climb. If these bottles are available at all, they will likely be found at auction rather than in stores.
1985 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti A case of this wine sold for a record-setting $237,000, or roughly $20,000 a bottle, at a Christie's auction in May. Its outstanding quality and minute supply mean it tops any list of the most sought-after Burgundies. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is one of the most famous domaines in the world, and the grand cru Romanée-Conti, an ineffably profound red, is one of its absolute best.
1996 Domaine Leroy Richebourg Proprietor Lalou Bize-Leroy is a perfectionist's perfectionist whose closest rival is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti—where she was codirector until 1993. She makes splendid wines, and her 1996 grand cru Richebourg is an extraordinary red, the very pinnacle of her winemaking prowess.
1999 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux The late Henri Jayer was the sage, mentor and guru for a generation of idealistic young vintners. While he made a complete range of red Burgundies, his most treasured wine was made from a tiny premier cru parcel in Vosne-Romanée, the legendary Cros Parantoux.
1999 Comte de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes One of the oldest and most celebrated domaines in Chambolle-Musigny, Comte de Vogüé owns 70 percent of the grand cru vineyard Le Musigny. A profound, structured and immensely concentrated red, this 1999 might just be ready in 2008—that is, if you can find it.
1999 Comtes Lafon Montrachet Although this domaine is mostly associated with Meursault—where it produces truly noble wines—its most sought-after cuvée comes from the legendary grand cru vineyard Le Montrachet. The gorgeously seductive 1999 white is drinking beautifully now.
1996 J.F. Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Top wine mavens call Meursault-based Jean-François Coche-Dury the best white-wine maker in Burgundy, and they have likewise declared this complex and intense grand cru Corton-Charlemagne from the stellar '96 vintage "perfect."
2002 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet This domaine is the most celebrated producer of Puligny-Montrachet, and its wines are much admired for their consistency, majesty and age-ability. Its grand cru Bâtard-Montrachet is a complex, long-lived, minerally white of great depth and purity.
2002 Clos de Tart The wines from this domaine have become more stylish and more accessible in their youth without losing complexity or elegance. The 2002 grand cru Clos de Tart, a racy and vigorous red, is a star of the vintage.
2002 Bernard Dugat-Py Mazis-Chambertin Bernard Dugat makes thrilling wines in very small quantities—in a number of Gevrey-Chambertin's most privileged plots. Always intensely concentrated and ultraripe, his red wines, especially this grand cru, are pure, fresh and majestic.
2002 Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Bèze The Rousseau style can be described as discretion itself. The wines are haunting, finely tuned and distinctly terroir-driven. They also age remarkably well. This Clos de Bèze, which is marked by penetrating aromas of dark fruit, is a monumental Pinot Noir.