Tasted in Buxy with Alain Pierre, 24th February 2015.
Caves des Vignerons de Buxy
Les Vignes de la Croix
Tel: +33 3 85 92 03 03
Here is a Coop with 270 members, stretching from Santenay in the north, to the border with the Mâconnais – though, as you will see, there’s also a little Mâcon!
1,200 hectares are exploited by the Caves de Buxy. The ‘Cave’ makes all of the elevage and the commercialising of the wines – unlike for instance the Chablisienne who mainly take in grape must from their members – here there are many massive presses for all the delivered grapes. Alain Pierre who is both the house enologist and Technical Director also notes that “Since 2013 we have been working on a ‘Vingneron Durable’ label which marries agricultural, social and economic factors. In the vines our members are mainly lutte raisonée, only one is bio.”
This is pretty much the largest producer of aligoté in Burgundy, despite having no grapes from Bouzeron. Their next most important label is Bourgogne Rouge followed by Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise. They are also the largest producer of Montagny and Montagny 1er Cru with 65% of the total appellation’s production with equal contributions from 1er and villages labels.
About 35% of the production is exported, mainly to northern Europe and to the US. A similar quantity is sold in France. There are two ‘shops’ one in St.Gengoux-le-National and the other here in Buxy.
The ‘Cave’ begain in 1931; a time of polyculture with vines on the hills and general farms with cereal production in the valleys. In the 1980’s people began to specialise, getting rid of cereals (for instance). Cave de Buxy Joined with the coop of St.Gengoux in 1977. And for those with an interest, joining the cave entails signing up your production for the next 15 years, and is then renewed every 5 years thereafter. Payments to the growers is based not just on the quantity of grapes delivered, but the quality too; the ‘Cave’ has a team that works their way around all their producers’, vines checking on the vineyard work – everything from training the bud removal, to ensuring that the best approaches to good grape production are being followed. Alain describes this as an ‘incentivised approach.’
As mentioned, unlike La Chablisienne, there’s no must delivery here, only grapes, peaking at close to 1,000 tonnes of grapes per day, 70% white. Alain noting that the weather is really important, even when 95% machine harvested…
Total commercialising here is 7 million bottles and ‘a little’ (4-5%) in bulk sold in the ‘Place Bourguignone’ to old clients. Despite such massive numbers, there has been a deficit in production since 2010 – often due to hail – but in different sectors each year. Alain also notes that they lose about 3% of their vines per year due to the disease, Esca.
Caves de Buxy has a union with other coops – called the Blasons de Bourgogne – which includes the coops of Nuitons-Beaunoy (Former Cave des Hautes Côtes) and the Chablisienne – in total, they account for about 15% of the total production of burgundy wine. In total the ‘Cave’ produces about 65 different cuvees/labels. Domaine Laborbe Juillot was, since 2003, part of the coop. An employee of the coop works all this domaine’s vines…
They have 3 types of vinification for reds with auto pigeage and temp control, one with auto delestage etcetera. There are 76 tonne tanks, rows of them… Some 4 or 5 domaines have their wines produced separately and whilst commercialised by the coop the labels retain the domaine names, sub-brands of the coop, if you like…
The equivalent of 15 % and 85% of the respective elevages is in wood for whites and reds… The reds include 65hl foudres – only 2 years old some of them, from Seguin-Moreau. Overall it is a mix of 4 coopers, the wood being renewed over time – they buy over 300 new barrels per year. It’s a full 12 months elevage for reds, though it can be as fast as 6 months for some white cuvees…
Indeed, quite a lot of wines, so they are mainly summarised notes. Many are quite average but eminently serviceable – particularly-so if you factor-in their modest prices…
2013 Bourgogne Pinot Noir Buissonier
Medium colour. Modest red fruit, with a strawberry impression. Round and fruity quite expressive, if lacking a little excitement – almost has a rose taste. Really not bad…
2012 Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Pinot Noir Buisonnier
Medium, medium-plus colour. Higher tones but more aromatic depth too, lots more interest to this nose, more power too. More intensity and energy, some sweetness to the fruit and quite a bite of mid-palate intensity. A little tart, but full of flavour and sucrosity. Really quite good!
2011 Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Pinot Noir Millebuis
Medium, medium-plus colour. Nose is deep and dark with a faint pyrazine note. Round, quite large wine with good concentration and intensity. Somewhat spicy and extracted but quite nice in the finish.
2012 Rully Millebuis
Medium colour. Quite interesting, lots of energy to the red fruit – more raspberry than strawberry. Good structure and energy here, the tannin almost completely gone and this is close to drinking. A little minerality and plenty of interest. Very good!
2012 Givry Millebuis
Medium, medium-plus. A nice depth of aroma, this time with fruit that’s a little more redcurrant in character. Sweetness and intensity, with lots of energy. This is lovely – still a little structure to resolve at the backend, but very good with a hint of perfume in the finish.
2012 Givry 1er Clos Jus Millebuis
Medium, medium-plus. Deep, powerful nose, with a floral perfume above and dark red fruit below, that’s edged with a faint oak note. Juicy, mouth-watering, fine high-toned fruit, with (still) plenty of oak below. This has more structure showing but nothing angular. A wine to wait for – mainly for the oak notes to fade, but it’s rather good…
2013 Mercurey Millebuis
Medium colour. High-toned more herby and fresh. Bright fruit some tannin to resolve and a hint of oak in the finish. Nice flavour here, but wait another year for the dryness to round out – it should be good!
2012 Mercurey 1er Millebuis
Three different parcels each with relatively low volume.
Medium, medium-plus colour. Wide, slightly more diffuse nose, with herb and quite some depth and a slowly growing dark raspberry note. Big in the mouth round but fresh – lots of energy here and plenty of concentration too. A little bitterness to the finishing tannin but it’s overtaken by a sweeter dark fruit that had good persistence. This will be good but en-attend!
2012 Laborbe Juillot, Givry 1er Clos Marceaux Monopole
Deep colour. But fresh dark fruit on the nose. Mouth-filling, quite different to all previous wines in terms of its concentration – but plenty of structure comes with it – not too drying though. A relatively massive wine, but less easy to drink today because of that. A wine of density and a structure to wait for – not particularly drying, just plenty of balanced structure.
2013 Laborbe Juillot, Givry 1er Cls Marceaux Monopole
Also a dark, medium-plus colour. A more interesting, higher toned nose, although with a little oak underpinning. Wide, concentrated, a little more direct than the 2012, but a little more drying too. A wine to wait for – 2-3 years at least – as it’s a little mouth-puckering in the finish today. Fine, fresh, finishing flavour though – very tasty finish.
Soil-types of silex, sand and clay-limestone, so three different cuvees of aligote, though it depends how much yield a particular vintage has, as to whether all are produced.
2013 Bourgogne Aligoté Sable Millebuis
Modest, fresh, sugared nose. In the mouth there’s good weight and fine fresh intensity. A good line of finishing flavour. Simple but delicious.
2014 Bourgogne Aligoté Buissonnier
A deeper nose with a more classic fruity top note of warm citrus. A little gas but fresh fruity and very tasty indeed. Also delicious, perhaps more so!
2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay Buissonnier
A deep nose, slightly savoury with tighter, higher tones above. Also some gas here, perhaps a little less than the last Aligoté. But good freshness, direct flavoured and easy to drink with a fine mouth-watering acidity. Very tasty…
The next wines are a mix of barrel and tank elevage: elevage of about 9 months.
2012 Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise Tete de Cuvée
Usually the first vines to be harvested each year, near St.Gengoux le National
Deep aromas, plenty of ripeness that reminds me a little of Mâcon. Round, okay balance, good intensity and mouth-watering too. I prefer a more direct line of flavour but this is quite okay… Just a little perfumed in the finish.
2012 Montagny Buissonnier
Wide, fresh and deep nose that has some ripe melon character. Quite round in the mouth again but seemingly with some minerality and very impressive intensity in the mid palate. I’d prefer a little more energy but this is tasty enough…
2013 Montagny Millebuis
A bigger, more floral nose with an underlay of tarte-au-citron. Round, not super-focused to start but the mid-palate onwards is very good. Persistent too. Just lacking a little focus…
2012 Montagny 1er Buissonnier
Wide a little savoury, with higher herby tones. Round but with insinuating complexity, a good brightness here – nice sweet complexity in the finish and it lingers very well too. A wine with some balanced richness.
2013 Montagny 1er Les Coères Millebuis
”The most mineral lieu-dit in Montagny but with both east and north facing parts – about 4 days separating the maturity.”
High toned aromas over a rather tighter depth. Rather mineral, with a slowly growing acid-led, mouth-watering complexity. Good intensity – today just a little austere but give it time, it’s got plenty of potential.
2012 Montagny 1er Monteuchot Millebuis
Complex, ripe lemon and an undertow of something more mineral. Quite big but fresh and complex, lots of energy. I find this potentially very good indeed.
2013 Montagny 1er Les Chagniots
”Close to Coêres, often structured and dense and slower to come around.”
Deep, some freshness, yellow citrus – quite inviting aromas. Just a hint of gas but with a wide panorama of flavour that gains in intensity. Less obviously energetic than the last wine, but not to its detriment. Tasty wine.
2013 Laborbe Juillot, Rully Les Saint Jacques
Perfumed and fresh but with a not inconsiderable weight of aroma below. Big, round but with good energy and a nice acid-led intensity in the mid-plate. Elevage only in tank yet this is quite round and with a little earthy terroir in the mid-palate to the finish. Quite tasty.
2012 Givry Buissonnier
Round aromas with freshness and a something a little greener below. Faint gas, the first flavour is a little hard and not to my liking but then is starts to offer a little sucrosity and mouth-watering impression. I like the way it finishes though, so I suppose I half like it!
2013 Laborbe Juillot, Givry 1er Clos Vernoy Monopole
100% new oak.
Fresh but with plenty of matchstick reduction – and doubtless a little oak accompaniment. Lithe, concentrated, fine intensity and an obvious minerality. Fine length and a good fine line at that. Certainly some oak character that I’d wait to fade, but this is very good.
And a very fun, actually very excellent wine to finish – a Montrachet!
Since 1300 the monks of Cluny had this large single vineyard and their vaulted cellared cuverie above the vines on the hillside – not far from St.Gengoux. Unfortunately today it’s pretty much an old ruin, but it predates, as far as is known, the use of the name Montrachet in the Côte De Beaune… About 100 hectares has this lieu-dit but 80 of them produce only cereal! Alain says that “It’s a magnificent hillside but very much susceptible to frost – basically every other year is badly affected.”
A very pretty high-toned nose with focused lemon notes and a faint salt. Fine, wide, mouth-watering and with lovely intensity – mouth-watering and sweetness of flavour. Can it be auto-suggestion? This is one of my favourites of the tasting!