Two expert selections from Michael Adler
Based in Nuits-St.-Georges, the family-owned Domaine Faiveley has been making wine since 1825. Led by the charismatic Erwan Faiveley, the estate has been investing heavily in improving its quality in both the vineyard and cellar, and in the process, it has redefined itself in the eyes (and palates) of wine professionals and collectors. Erwan has committed the estate to a spare-no-expense campaign to increase the estate’s quality in every vintage, and he’s done quite a commendable job. It also helps that the estate has gone on a huge buying spree, picking up several additional acres of grand cru holdings and really strengthening the top end of its portfolio. It also used to be that Faiveley’s grand cru wines needed decades before true approachability, but that’s no longer the case.
It’s quite rare for one Burgundy estate to own the entirety of a classified vineyard and be the sole producer of wines from that site; when this happens, it’s known as a monopole. Domaine Faiveley is much more than your typical Burgundy house, and two of its monopoles, Clos des Myglands and Clos de Cortons Faiveley are outstanding. Today I’m pleased to introduce you to a pair of Faiveley monopoles that will knock your socks off—and do it in style.
The Pinot Noirs of Mercurey are known for being somewhat denser and fuller bodied than the average red Burgundy, and this ‘13 Clos des Myglands is no exception. It shows lovely notes of raspberry, cherry and minerals, with hints of forest floor and a long, spicy finish, and it offers exceptional value for a premier cru monopole. Trust me when I tell you this ’13 Mercurey is an absolute steal under $60, and it’ll be quite versatile in terms of its drinking window.
Perhaps Faiveley’s most prized and sought-after wine is its Corton “Clos de Cortons Faiveley” Grand Cru, a powerful, tannic beast of a Pinot. Dark and intense with an alluring, ethereal perfume, this is a wine that will enjoy a very long life. The ’13 bottling of Clos des Cortons Faiveley is a textbook example of the “iron hand in a velvet glove” cliché, seamlessly balancing finesse and elegance with explosive power and energy. Spicy and woody notes abound on top of its gorgeous red fruit and subtle mineral notes, and this wine will easily live for 20 to 30+ years when cellared properly.
Two expert selections from Michael Adler
It isn’t always easy to find good value in Burgundy, but if you like to get the maximum bang out of your buck, start by looking at some of the region’s lesser-known appellations. Today I selected wines from two outstanding producers whose wines I’ve been following for years, Domaine Faiveley and Lignier-Michelot, and I chose two 1er cru wines that offer incredible quality for their respective price points. These wines can easily compete with the top wines from Burgundy’s more heralded appellations.
Based in Nuits-Saint-Georges, the family-owned Domaine Faiveley has been making wine since 1825 and owns a whopping 24.7 acres of grand cru vineyards as well as 25 hectares of 1er cru, making it one of the most important landowners in all of Burgundy. While most IWM clients who love Burgundy likely know about Faiveley, Lignier-Michelot is a very exciting up-and-coming producer that should be on the radar of every Burgundy connoisseur. Located in the Côte de Nuits, the village of Morey-Saint-Denis is primarily known for its grand cru vineyards such as Clos de la Roche. However, its 1er crus, while not quite as well known, yield captivating wines that offer incredible quality for the price.
Deriving from an almost 15-acre walled vineyard, Domaine Faiveley’s Mercurey 1er cru Clos des Myglands is a monopole, meaning that Faiveley owns the entire vineyard and is the only producer that can make and bottle the wine. The Pinot Noirs of Mercurey are known for being dense and fuller-bodied, and the 1er cru Clos des Myglands is no exception. This ‘12 shows lovely notes of mineral, raspberry and cherry, with hints of wet earth and a long, spicy finish. It pairs exceptionally well with lamb, game and mature cheeses, and while this wine is quite accessible in the near term, it will also evolve gracefully for another 5-7 years.
Deep, opulent and complex, Lignier-Michelot’s Morey-Saint-Denis 1er crus are delightful, eye-opening wines. This 2011 1er cru Aux Chezeaux is a gorgeous expression of the Morey terroir and Virgile Lignier’s (mostly) traditional approach to winemaking. This ’12 Morey-Saint-Denis Aux Chezeaus is just now entering its drinking window, yet it has the structure to age another 10-15 years.
Two expert selections from Robin Kelley O’Connor
The American wine-loving public has come to realize just how good Spanish wines can be. To see the reason why, you only have to recognize the efforts of the historic Bodega La Rioja Alta. This world-class bodega has been a tireless ambassador promoting the wines of their native Rioja, spotlighting the greatness of Rioja and Spanish wines. La Rioja Alta was founded in 1890 in the tiny wine town of Haro—Haro is to Rioja what Barolo and Barbaresco are to Piemonte or Beaune is to Burgundy—located in the heart La Rioja, right in front of the Haro train. Wine pundits, connoisseurs, collectors and wine-lovers alike agree that not only is La Rioja Alta producing some of the finest wines in the Rioja region, but also in all of Spain and, indeed, in the world. Today, I’m excited to present the exceptional La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva ‘890’ 2001, a wine produced only in exceptional vintages and just a few times a decade.
Domaine Faiveley is one of my favorite producers in Burgundy. A classic négociant house located in the Nuits-Saint-Georges in the southern tier of the Côte de Nuits just north of Beaune, Domaine Faively is also one of the top vineyard owners, with holdings that include the monopoles of Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos des Issarts, Beaune 1er Cru Clos de l’Ecu, Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru and superb vineyards in Gevrey-Chambertin, Pommard, Volnay, Puligny-Montrachet, and Mercurey. These wonderfully manicured vineyards average around one hectare per appellation with the production for each wine being very limited. Family-owned-and-operated, the domaine is under the watchful eye Erwan Faiveley, who embraces the modern principles of oenology while holding fast to a dedication to tradition. Faiveley makes over 75 different wines annually and has a near fanatical attention to detail for each terroir and respective cuvées.
A blend of 95% Tempranillo from parcels in Briñas, Labastida and Villalba, 3% Graciano and 2% Mazuelo from the Melchorón I and II vineyards in Rodezno, the 2001 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva ‘890’ derives from vines that average over 40 years of age. This ‘890’ has a bright deep red ruby color with a hint of garnet orange on the rim. Its intense nose bursts with an extraordinary spicy bouquet—indeed a Rioja classic, concentrated and complex nose with very fruity notes, balsamic, vanilla, cocoa, and coconut. The palate offers a silky texture, replete with fruits of dark plum, fig, dates and wild strawberries. This exceptionally complex wine wraps the palate with elegance and finesse. At fourteen years old, it is only beginning its journey into greatness. A wine for the ages, this ’01 Rioja is a must-have wine for those who are intent on having a serious collection.
This magnificent Domaine Faiveley Corton Charlemagne 2012 is world class. One of the single greatest expressions of the Chardonnay grape, this ’12 Corton-Charlemagne shows a bright greenish yellow in the glass with a developing nose of Granny Smith apples, pear, fresh herbs, spice, vanilla and integrated oakiness. Its powerful, dry palate coats the mouth with tons of extract; this robust, super-flavorful wine shows great density, incredible balance, and a finish that last forever. This ’12 is a wine that will be drinking beautifully for the next three decades.