Although Burgundy is best known for its long-standing names and cru-designated growing sites, those in the know are aware that the quality and value to be found goes far beyond the region’s biggest names. As prices for classic producers and popular sites soar, countless talented winemakers are looking toward lesser-known appellations and new ways to reinvent the wheel. For those interested in organic farmers, under-the-radar appellations, and intriguing producers, check out these five winemakers to know.
5 Producers to Buy Now:
Domaine William Fèvre was founded in 1959. Over the last six decades, Fèvre has become one of the largest owners of Premiers and Grands Crus vineyards in the region, boasting 39 acres and 37.5 acres of each designation, respectively. Fèvre has farmed all of his sites organically since the year 2000 and has since incorporated some biodynamic practices on certain parcels. In addition to his Domaine wines, Fèvre also purchases some fruit for a handful of négociant wines. Whether estate or négoce, all wines at Fèvre see minimal use of neutral oak, so as to let the distinct mineral character of Chablis’ signature Kimmeridgian soils speak through his wines.
William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre 2019 (~$62)
Montée de Tonnerre is one of Chablis’ most respected and recognized Premier Cru sites. Here, the region’s signature, chalk-based Kimmeridgian soils lend a distinct minerality and sense of place to the wines produced from it, and Fèvre’s is no exception. This concentrated wine is fermented in a combination of French oak barrels and stainless steel vats, followed by just over a year of aging in the same combination. Expect a rich yet refreshing wine laden with flavors of citrus, white flowers, oyster shells, and a touch of wood.
William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2018 (~$114)
Les Clos is often regarded as the signature Grand Cru of Chablis, as it’s known for producing benchmark wines that strike an impeccable balance between power and elegance. Fèvre’s impressive holdings span six acres, of which vines range from 70 to 75 years old. The wine shows textbook flavors of green apple, pear, white flowers, chalk, crushed seashells, and a hint of white pepper. Racy acidity balances the wine’s powerful palate, leading to a long and complex finish. Drink now or over the next two decades.
Côte de Nuits
Upon Ardèche native Joseph Arlaud’s marriage to Burgundy-born Renée Amiot back in 1942, this eponymous, now highly-regarded estate was born. By 1966, the couple was able to buy a 14th-century building to age their wines – which is also featured on the wines labels. By 1983, the couple’s son Hervé took over and continued to grow the estate’s holdings. At the turn of the century, the Arlauds moved their winery to Morey-Saint-Denis, though the older building is still used to house library bottlings. As of 2013, third-generation Cyprien Arlaud has taken over full control of the family estate, which today comprises 15 hectares of vines across 19 different Burgundian appellations, including four prestigious Grand Cru sites. Cyprien Arlaud is a proud pioneer of organic and biodynamic farming, and minimal intervention is used in the cellar. Arlaud wines are known for their balance, intensity, and terroir-reflective nature.
Domaine Arlaud Morey-Saint-Denis 2017 (~$57)
This village-level wine from Morey-Saint-Denis is produced from vines near the area in which the Arlaud family relocated their winery back in 2003. Fruit for this wine comes from biodynamically-farmed vines in the lieux-dits of En Seuvrées and Clos Solon, which average 40+ years in age. The wine ages in barrel, of which only 15% is new, so as to preserve the powerful freshness and ripe fruit character of the wine.
Domaine Arlaud Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2017 (~$183)
While many Grand Cru wines from Burgundy cost hundreds — even thousands — of dollars per bottle, this meticulously crafted wine is just a fraction of their price. Fruit for this wine comes from 30- to 50-year-old vines and is partially destemmed prior to native yeast fermentation in cement tanks. As with all of Arlaud’s wines, this Grand Cru stunner is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and in accordance with the lunar cycle. Expect a wine laden with floral aromatics and a red-fruited, earthy flavor profile.
Côte de Beaune
Located in the village of Dezize-lès-Maranges at the southern limit of the Côte de Beaune, Alexandre and Marc Bachelet have been making waves across Burgundy’s wine making scene. The brothers created the domaine from family land back in 2005 and, since then, have worked with vines in some of the region’s most sought-after sites, including Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet, and beyond. Bachelet-Monnot wines are known for their structure, precision, and vibrancy. Their wines are some of the best quality-to-price-ratio wines coming out of the region – that is, for now. Although no one can tell the future, these wines are already some of the most in-demand wines coming out of the Côte d’Or.
Bachelet-Monnot Chassagne-Montrachet 2019 (~$63)
Fruit for Bachelet-Monnot’s Chassagne-Montrachet comes from six different lieux-dits in the region, and like all grapes at the estate, are vinified with native yeasts. Aging is done for 12 months in barrels, 20% of which are new, and six months are spent in tank prior to bottling. Bachelet-Monnot’s white wines have been compared to some of Burgundy’s most coveted bottlings from longer-standing estates, as their layered profiles, racy acidity, and long finishes make them an absolute pleasure to drink.
Bachelet-Monnot Maranges 1er Cru La Fussière 2019 (~$43)
Fruit for this impeccable 1er Cru wine comes from the highest-elevation vineyard site in Maranges. The brothers use 30% whole clusters and native yeasts to vinify the wine prior to aging it in 228L barrels, 20% of which are new. Bachelet-Monnot reds are known for their lifted aromatics, fine-grained tannins, and soft-yet-palate-coating texture. These wines are ideal for drinking now or laying down for years to come.
Chanterêves Côte de Beaune
Spearheaded by husband-and-wife team Guillaume Bott and Tomoko Kuriyama, Chantrêves is a hybrid négociant and domaine, meaning that they produce wines from both estate and purchased fruit. Originally from Japan and raised in a food-and-wine-loving household, Kuriyama’s passion for wine was discovered at a young age. She moved to Germany and worked alongside Peter Fürst and Jakob Kühn. She and Bott first met during her internship at Simon Bize back in 2005, where he was employed full time.
Until this year, Bott continued to work at Bize while growing Chanterêves; 2022 marks his first official year solely at the couple’s Savigny-lès-Beaune estate. Although Chantrêves produces wines from a handful of prestigious appellations, their true passion lies in producing world-class Aligoté, of which their first estate vines were purchased. Chantrêves wines are produced with a low-intervention mentality and show an immense precision, as well as sense of place. For those skeptical about the age-worthiness of naturally-vinified wines, these bottles promise to break all preconceived notions.
Domaine Chanterêves Bourgogne Aligoté Les Chagniots 2019 (~$33)
While Chardonnay has long been the favored grape of the Côte de Beaune, Kuriyama and Bott have become committed pioneers of the cultivation of the Aligoté grape in this renowned area. Fruit for their Chagniots cuvée comes from a tiny parcel located north of Ladoix that is organically farmed and basically untilled. The wine is aged in old barrels and is bottled with very small amounts of sulfur, which many believe allows a wine to best speak of its place and show a distinct vibrancy. This wine is tasting beautifully now and is marked by flavors of lemon cream, citrus rind, stone fruit, and crushed rocks, but also shows potential for the cellar.
Chantrêves Pommard 2019 (~$65)
Like all of Chanterêves’ red wines, this Pommard is vinified 100% whole cluster and with minimal sulfur, so as to allow the wine’s vibrancy and energy to speak for itself. Vinification is done in large wooden vats and the wine rests for two winters in the cellar prior to bottling. This lifted and aromatic red is perfumed, fruit-driven, and shows a pleasant sense of stemmy spice that comes from whole cluster vinification.
Domaine de Villaine
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti has long been considered Burgundy’s top estate, though attaining their wines is nearly impossible these days. Thankfully, founder Aubert de Villaine founded this eponymous secondary estate, which highlights the up-and-coming region of the Côte Chalonnaise. Despite DRC’s Vosne-Romanée location, de Villaine and his wife actually settled in the Côte Chalonnaise village of Bouzeron, centrally — and ideally — located between a handful of top appellations. Bouzeron is best known for its Aligoté, and in addition to vinifying said grape, the de Villaines also produce a lineup of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir-based wines from neighboring appellations, including Rully, Mercurey, and beyond. All farming at Domaine de Villaine is done organically and with biodynamic principles.
Domaine de Villaine Bourgogne Blanc Les Clous Aime 2018 (~$35)
Domaine de Villaine’s Bourgogne Blanc is vinified nearly exactly the same as their Aligoté from Bouzeron, save for the fact that 80% of the fermentation and aging is done in foudre and 20% in barrel for this wine, whereas the Aligoté is vinified entirely in foudre. Although Bourgogne Blancs are generally deemed entry-level, this wine is anything but such. Expect a dense, palate-coating wine balanced by ample zesty acidity and floral-driven undertones.
Domaine de Villaine Mercurey Les Montots 2019 (~$49)
Similar to the estate’s La Fortune, Les Clous, and La Digoine reds, which are all Pinot Noir based, fruit for Mercurey Les Montots is carefully sorted in the vineyard and fermented with a generous portion, around two thirds, of whole clusters. Similar to the reds at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, de Villaine ferments his de Villaine reds in wooden tanks. On the palate, the wine is vibrant, earthy, and delicate, marked by freshness, balance, and a sense of place that is undeniably Burgundy, though not Côte de Nuits. This overlooked and underrated appellation is quickly finding appreciation amongst industry folk and reputable collectors everywhere – don’t sleep on this cellar-worthy pick.