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 Chris Deas
375ml—too often we overlook the simplicity and benefits of the little half bottle. Years ago my wife and I would visit Landmarc Restaurant in the Time Warner building before going to Dizzy’s for a show—it’s still one of the best holiday date recommendations I can make. I always thought the restaurant nailed it by offering a long list of more than 100 half bottles. Recently my wife I started exploring the IWM cellar for half bottles, for multiple reasons: diversity, drinking lighter, accessibility because small-format wines can, and do, mature more rapidly, and value in tasting wines we might otherwise pass over. To the enthusiast who likes to explore in tasting more wine more often, as well as pairing more with each meal, the little guy has a lot to offer.
Here’s an underappreciated Burgundy that makes a statement and overachieves. A monopole wine from an iconic name, but from outside the Cote d’Or in the less prestigious zone of Mercurey, so many enthusiasts might overlook this little gem. The Clos des Myglands has a lot to offer from its vines that go back to 1961. All about aromatics, red fruit, and finesse, this is a lean wine, but it’s packed with subtle nuances of cherry, strawberry, white pepper, herbs, and minerality. There is some tannic grip here accompanying the succulent fruit that will take this little wine until the end of the decade. The wine is best served with some aeration, and I recommend opening the wine at least one hour before consuming.
I have two recommendations here: the half bottle size and the 2008 vintage. I have written about the Lambrays in the past, but what I like about the half bottle is that it allows enthusiasts to experience Grand Cru Burgundy from a historic Burgundy estate at an exceptional price, compounded by the relatively underrated 2008 vintage. Truth be told, many of us gravitate to 2009 and 2010, but there is plenty of great 2008 to be experienced, and at the top of the list is Lambrays. After an absence, the estate has really made a return to its glory years from the ‘40s and with a history that dates back to 1365, this estate is one of the rising stars of the region as it has steadily returned over the past decade to a level worthy of its (controversial) Grand Cru status. Unlike its neighbors that include the iconic Clos des Tart, this near-monopole’s high slopes, multiple microclimates and concentration of limestone deliver elegance and finesse over density. This wine is about tremendous aromatics and nuances of blue and red fruit, crushed flowers, herbs and tea-like notes. And while the 1947 and 1949 are commanding more than $4,000 a bottle, this half bottle is just $72.50. There is not a lot of this wine left, and I recommend looking at the estate’s Morey St Denis 1er Cru Les Loups 2008 as well.