2010 Domaine Roulot Bourgogne Blanc
Retail price: approximately $38
Available at Mt. Kisco Wines and Sprits www.MountKiscoWines.com
French Wines: Alchemy in the Cellar and the Glass
Domaine Roulot produces some of the most sought-after French wines exhibiting the quintessential qualities of the exalted appellation Meursault. Jean-Marc Roulot’s style is bright and chiseled, especially for his premiers crus, each one an illumination of the differences between the specific vineyards.
His entry-level Bourgogne blanc, a pale light gold color, is fermented in wooden vats, then aged in oak barrels and finally stainless steel prior to bottling. The élevage, or “bringing up,” of the wine occurs in the estate’s labyrinthine underground cellars, where the wines do not see the light of day for at least 18 months. It is here through the interplay of subterranean conditions and indigenous yeasts that a special alchemy begins to transform the crushed grapes into the thoroughbred wines they will become.
Having just relished the last of the exceptional tomatoes of late August, I can attest to the fact that the Roulot’s 2010 Bourgogne blanc smells like the stem of an heirloom tomato, not the fruity sweetness of the flesh but the antiseptic herbal quality of the stem itself. Alongside the other aromas of pine needles and smoky caramel, this is pretty amazing stuff.
On the palate the wine expands into the world of roasted almonds with a touch of sea salt and tart green apples, and ends with a long silky finish. The whole effect is surprisingly complex and reminiscent of the telltale “nutty” quality that often distinguishes Meursaults from the other Côte de Beaune whites.
Roulot’s Bourgogne Blanc vineyards are just outside the officially designated area of Meursault, which means he is obligated to classify as a regional wine rather than a village wine. Thank you, Jean-Marc Roulot, for giving us what we all hope to find—a baby Meursault from a top producer for under $40!
The smokiness on both the nose and the palate reveals Jean Marc’s deft hand at barrel aging. There are significant decisions to be made about the length of exposure to the oak, and the level of toast or char used to season the interior of the barrel, and each one has consequences for the wine’s color, flavor and texture. Roulot’s custom-made Allier barrels play their part in creating a pronounced yet restrained oak treatment.
While Bourgogne blanc is the lowest classification of Burgundy, Jean-Marc elevates his as close to Meursault classification as one could ever hope to achieve. Just try it against other Bourgogne blancs, and you’ll swear he is a magician.
Serve it with slow-roasted chicken with lots of mellow melted garlic (poulet à l’ail) and a nice snappy herb salad on the side.
Editor’s note: Food and wine lovers heading to Paris might want to try one of the Girls’ Guide’s favorite cooking classes in Paris.