Taste: On the nose, captivating lemon curd, white flowers, and limeade are intertwined with subtle buttery croissant and spice. The palate reveals a deep minerality rooted in Saint-Romain's marl scree and limestone, layered with candied lemon, a hint of bacon, and a harmonious balance of salinity and explosive fruitiness. Vibrant acidity provides a backbone as bracing as a cool plunge, culminating in a complex and refreshingly long finish. An unmistakably top-class white Burgundy that over-delivers for its appellation.
Pairing: Its minerality makes this white wine an amiable partner for delicate fish (fried or, better still, steamed). It may also accompany poached eggs and seared or marinated vegetables. Some specific pairing ideas include halibut with a lemon butter sauce, roasted cod with potatoes, poisson en papillote, steamed mussels in saffron broth, steamed seafood dumplings, and the recipe we’re sharing below: Steamed Clams With Garlic-Parsley Butter and Leeks, by David Tanis.
Steamed Clams With Garlic-Parsley Butter and Leeks
By David Tanis
“They say a rising tide lifts all boats, and with each new vintage, wines from once-overlooked appellations like Saint-Romain are taking serious star turns of their own. This cellar-worthy stunner would cost twice as much if it hailed from one of the ‘big three’ Chardonnay villages.”
—Ian Cauble, Master Sommelier
About. While only a short 3-mile jaunt west of Meursault and technically part of the Cote de Beaune, Saint-Romain sits in an outlying valley just north of the primary escarpment of the Cote d’Or. Its higher altitude and less “perfect” situation originally relegated it to a lower rung on the hierarchy historically, because it was more difficult for grapes in such a position to achieve optimal ripeness. However, given the ever-escalating temperatures in Burgundy over the past 10+ years, Saint-Romain rarely suffers from ripeness issues anymore. In fact, it can offer remarkable depth and vibrancy in warmer vintages, perfectly exemplified by today’s 2020 Henri & Gilles Saint-Romain Blanc “Sous la Velle”. While conjuring a Puligny/Chassagne hybrid, this wine delivers powerful, textbook detail with refinement and depth worthy of Premier Cru status at less than half the price.
This plot, known as "sous la velle", in other words under the village, is indeed very exactly located under Saint-Romain le Haut, 300 meters in the middle of the hill, and extends over 2.5 hectares in the heart of the valley. Aged 60 years, this symbolic vineyard, which has greatly contributed to the reputation of the appellation, is one of the two founding plots of the domain. Planted on Saint-Romain marl scree, the vines take root in the limestone and thus offer a beautiful minerality to the wine. The attack is frank with notes of candied lemon then, this dense wine, fatter than the others, with complex aromas and multiple horizons, opens with a beautiful saline and iodine vibration. The divine alliance of a mineral world and an explosive fruitiness.
About this wine, from Sam Elrich. “’Sous la Velle' faces due east and is another parcel high above the valley. The vines average sixty years old though some are as old as ninety. This is a show-stopping wine. The nose and palate show lemon curd, white flowers, and limeade, with accents of buttery croissant and spice. It's unbelievably tasty. But the mineral spine of this wine is what leaves a lasting impression. The limestone here adds power and presence, aided by incredible acidity. It is as bracing as a plunge into a swimming hole. This is absolutely top-class white Burgundy and not to be missed.”
Jasper Morris 2020 Vintage Report, Visit to Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson
Picking of the 2020 crop began in Corton on 25th August, with the whites following from 3rd to 5th September and the coolest site in the Hautes Côtes completed by 11th September. Overall, yields were just over 30 hl/ha with most alcohol levels between 13.5 and 14%, the whites at the upper end of the range. The reds were mostly vinified with 50% whole bunches (as in 2019) without sulphur, which is not added until after the malolactic fermentation or before bottling. DIAM is preferred to cork for the generic wines. Once again the Buisson brothers have delivered a magisterial range of wines.
This wine. Clear pale lemon yellow. Again, the detail has not yet fully emerged but the wine builds beautifully on the palate, some lime sherbet notes plus white fruit, then a little bacon. Complex and concentrated. Lovely stuff.
100pt score : 91-92
Tasting Date : January 2022 Tasting Location : Burgundy Tasted By : Jasper Morris MW
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