Burgundy is NEVER easy to import. And lately it’s become even more challenging….
Historically, production is excruciatingly small. Many estates have as little as one or two acres in vines, yielding only a few barrels. A graphic example: It’s not unusual for producers to ask visitors (the few they even admit to their properties) to pour remaining wine from tastings back into the barrel! After all, each glass is worth several hundred dollars and, since it’s so scarce, every drop counts.
Unpredictable weather is another complication. Burgundy is frequently hit with frost, hail and late-season rain — all of which reduce already small harvests even further.
To add to the importer’s dilemma, these small yields are highly allocated. Distributors and importers the world over fight to grab a share of these gorgeous wines. For many consumers, the Burgundy Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs represent the best on the planet.
But now, the scenario for U.S. importers is even more formidable. In October 2019, the U.S. Trade Representative Office placed tariffs on all French wines 14% alcohol and under. Because most Burgundies are under 14% the region bears the brunt of the tariffs. (For those not aware, the most recent announcement from the USTR regarding French wine maintains 25% tariffs until mid-August, when they will be reevaluated. Tariffs associated with digital tax issues were not imposed, but will be reviewed in January. Click here to see more.)
What does this mean???? If you, like us, are Burgundy lovers, the situation is disheartening. Along with many, many other importers, we’ve worked hard to develop relationships with Burgundy estates and distributors to offer these extraordinary wines to our customers. Quick example: We were particularly gratified when we procured a few cases of 2017 Rousseau for our Texas market — the first in the state!
Now, with the added tariffs, U.S. importers are turning down allocations and, because Burgundy wines are in such high demand, they are quickly being re-routed to other markets in Asia and Europe. This turn of events is particularly demoralizing for importers like us — and customers like you — who treasure these beautifully-made, silky Pinots and unequaled Chardonnays.
Some good news: We’ve spent hours and hours working out deals with distributors and producers to purchase a number of pre-tariff wines, priced at 2019 rates. Additionally, because we’re crazy about Henri Boillot and his exceptional wines, we’ve imported the 2018 vintage and paid the 25% additional cost — a big hit — we’ll be honest. But, we have a sensational collection of Burgundies to offer you.
So, after all of that, we can finally say “Cheers! Bring on the BURGS!!!”
DOMAINE HENRI BOILLOT
Those of you who follow us regularly know how much we admire and respect Henri & Guillaume Boillot. We count ourselves privileged to be one of the few U.S. importers for Domaine Boillot.
Currently the Boillots produce 32 different wines and own 12 properties, including the Premier Cru Monopole Clos de la Mouchère — a particularly stunning wine you’ll want to collect if you’re not already a fan.
2018 Domaine Henri Boillot
Bourgogne Blanc. $26.99. 384 bottles
Meursault Village. $52.99.32 bottles
Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots. $85.99. 30 bottles
Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes. $89.99. 32 bottles
Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières. $129.99. 24 bottles
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère – Monopole. $119.99. 270 bottles
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère – Monopole in magnum. $249.99. 1 bottle only
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières. $119.99. 33 bottles
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes. $119.99. 9 bottles
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles. $129.99. 1 bottle
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. $179.99. 49 bottles
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru in magnum. $389.99. 3 bottles
Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru. $434.99. 4 bottles
Volnay 1er Cru Chevrets. $89.99. 10 bottles
Volnay 1er Cru Fremiets. $89.99. 35 bottles
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. $199.99. 10 bottles
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru in magnum. $419.99. 3 bottles
Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru. $199.99. 4 bottles
Échezeaux Grand Cru. $199.99. 5 bottles
DOMAINE OLIVIER BERNSTEIN
Olivier Bernstein’s seven Grands Crus and three Premiers Crus vineyards have a wealth of old vines, which are fundamental to the quality of his wines. At a recent tasting in Beaune, we were stunned by the quality of Olivier’s production. Pricey, yes, but what incredible wines!
2017 Domaine Olivier Bernstein
Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru. $999.00. 3 bottles
Chambertin Grand Cru. $999.00. 3 bottles
Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru. $785.00. 3 bottles
Clos de la Roche Grand Cru. $575. 1 bottle
Combination Grand Cru Box (7 bottles total ) $5,749.00. 1 set
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Cazetiers. $334.00. 1 bottle
DOMAINE HENRI GOUGES
The big star of our recent tasting in Nuits-Saint-Georges was Gouges — silky Pinot Noirs and a rare Pinot Blanc, with beautiful minerality. Gregory Gouges, the current owner continues to produce brilliant wines in the style of his great grandfather, Henri.
2016 Domaine Henri Gouges
Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les St Georges. $188.99. 6 bottles
DOMAINE JOSEPH DROUHIN
The largest estate in Burgundy, with some 78 hectares (193 acres), Drouhin provides a vast selection of beautifully-made wines. On our last visit, we were impressed with the high quality of the entire line-up, from the négociant collections to the estate wines.
2017 Saint-Véran. $18.99
2017 Pouilly-Fuissé. $25.99
Drouhin Pinot Noir
2012 Vosne-Romanée. $89.99
2012 Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses. $519.99
2015 Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses. $519.99
2015 Beaune Clos des Mouches 1er Cru. $99.99
2015 Chambertin Clos de Beze. $529.99
2016 Chambertin Clos de Beze. $579.99
2016 Aloxe-Corton. $59.99
2016 Corton-Bressandes. $222.99
2016 Mazis-Chambertin. $499.99
BECKY WASSERMAN SELECTIONS
American-born Becky Wasserman has become one of the best-known personalities in Burgundy. None other than Aubert de Villaine, Proprietor of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti calls Wasserman a witness “to the evolution of Burgundy during 50 years. She is still there, a kind of touchstone and has understood it all.” Below is a choice offering from some of the producers imported by Wasserman.
Wasserman Imports Chardonnay
2015 Simon Bize Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2015 $259.99
2015 Camille Giroud Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru. $182.99
2017 Jean-Noël Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Caillerets. $179.99
Wasserman Imports Pinot Noir
2010 Dominique Mugneret Romanée-Saint-Vivant. $448.99
2011 Lignier-Michelot Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru. $255.99
2015 Jean Tardy Echézeaux Grand Cru Les Treux. $222.99
2016 Lignier-Michelot Morey Saint Denis Vieilles Vignes. $64.99
2016 Simon Bize Savigny Les Beaune 1er Cru Vergelesses. $79.99
2016 Bruno Clair Vosne-Romanée Champs Perdrix. $129.99
2016 Georges Noëllat Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Cras. $159.99
2016 Michel Lafarge Volnay Vendanges. $61.99
DOMAINE DE LA ROMANÉE-CONTI
And, since we mentioned Aubert de Villaine, it seems only fitting that we offer his much-coveted DRC. The allure and obsession with this wine belies the simplicity of the tiny, humble plot marked by an ancient, weathered cross. But perhaps no other property exemplifies the sacred French term “terroir” more completely than this modest 1.8 hectare vineyard. Aubert de Villaine has been in charge of the domaine for more than 50 years and has distilled his responsibility into a brief, but profound philsophy: “The talent that makes the wines is not with us…it’s in the vineyards. The more you express the character of the land, the more you are doing your job.” (from “A Rare Peek Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Wine Domaine in Burgundy.”)
OTHER QUALITY PRODUCERS
Chardonnay & White Wine
2016 Meulière Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu. $29.99
2016 Niellon Chassagne Montrachet $68.99
2017 Dominique Lafon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Gain. $157.99
2017 Meulière Chablis. $19.99
2018 Patrick Piuze Bourgogne-Aligoté. $22.99
2018 Patrick Piuze Chablis Terroir de Chichee 2018 $26.99
2018 Héritiers du Comte Lafon Macon. $19.99
2011 Philippe Roty Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champs Cheny Vieilles Vignes. $69.99
2015 Lamarche La Grande Rue Grand Cru. $534
2015 Domaine de la Vougeraie Bonnes Mares Grand Cru. $349.99
2016 Bouchard Chambertin Grand Cru. $299
2016 Bouchard Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cazetiers. $148
2016 Perrot-Minot Chapelle Chambertin. $465.99
2015 Perrot-Minot Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru La Riotte. $144.99
2016 Perrot-Minot Vosne-Romanée Beaux Monts. $221.99
2016 Perrot-Minot Nuits-Saint-Georges Murgers des Cras. $107.99
2016 Perrot-Minot Bourgogne Rouge. $46.99
2017 Courcel Bourgogne Rouge. $48.99