Burgundy’s Top Bottles

The wines of the Burgundy region of France are beloved by the most sophisticated oenophiles and considered the crème de la crème of appellations, both red and white. Subtle, well-balanced, terroir-revealing, and often temperamental, the wines are coveted worldwide by those with the finest palates; they’re prized by collectors.

Assembling a dream cellar of Burgundy is an expensive and intimidating proposition—but one that can be oh-so-rewarding if done properly. Such a region, so terroir-, vintage-, and producer-dependent, requires an enormous amount of highly specialized knowledge in order to be properly appreciated, however. How on earth might someone who’s not a master sommelier accomplish such an endeavor?

(Courtesy of Jillian Edelstein)

Fortunately, Jeannie Cho Lee, the author of The 100: Burgundy (Assouline, 2019), the latest in the publisher’s series of “The 100” books, is a Master of Wine, and she’s produced an accessible and well-informed volume to allow readers to do exactly that. She covers the region’s best winemakers, from benchmark domaines to rising stars, and 100 of their most memorable wines, along with tasting notes. She also includes a guide to the region’s vintages and a glossary of wine terms. It’s essentially everything you need to curate a dream cellar of Burgundy or select the best bottles to enjoy with friends or family. Her tasting notes and information are presented in a clear and straightforward manner, accessible by those just discovering the region, and of a high enough level to further educate knowledgeable collectors.

(Courtesy of Assouline)

For instance, “There are two wine names to know in Chablis—Dauvissat and Raveneau—and these two estates are closely intertwined,” she writes. “Those who enjoy a more powerful, intense Chablis experience often prefer Raveneau, whereas those who are looking for cerebral, minerally, beguiling Chablis with incredible crystalline purity need look no further than Dauvissat. … [Tasting Dauvissat’s Les Clos] is a thrilling experience: The aroma is like the salty air at the edge of a cliff by the ocean, with high waves crashing on the rocks; the palate is crushed stones and slate, with layers of white flowers and citrus; the finish is the lingering taste of the sea—salt, seaweed, and ocean rocks brushing past the palate.”

The 100: Burgundy is an essential guide to the region and the extraordinary wines produced there.

Domaine des Comtes Lafon (Courtesy of Michel Joy)