2015 Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Rouge, “Le Chapître,” $63
Winery info: Based in Marsannay, the northernmost appellation of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits district of the Côte d’Or. Sylvain Pataille grew up in his grandfather’s vineyards and began wine school in Beaune at the age of 14. Today he has 15 hectares which he farms biodynamically. He released his debut vintage in 2001.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Le Chapître, a vineyard site that dates back to the 11th century. Its wines were once considered on par with the Grand Crus, but because it is just west of the village of Chenôve, it was excluded from the official Marsannay appellation and is thus classified simply as Bourgogne. But the site is very similar to that of the highly-regarded neighboring vineyard, Clos du Roy (where the appellation stops), with the same white clay, iron-rich soil on steep slopes, but with a slightly warmer setting. Of wines from Le Chapître, Sylvain says they have “more elegance, more finesse, more everything, than Clos du Roy.”
Flavor Profile: Beautifully elegant and nuanced, with soft, seductive texture, and concentrated, yet perfectly balanced red fruit flavors and hints of earth and spice. Allen Meadows, one of the most respected authorities on Burgundy wines notes, “It’s rare to find a Bourgogne at this quality level.”
Availability: The distributor has about four cases left of this wine.
Drinkability: Very accessible now it could develop further for another few years, up to 2023.
Food Pairing: It would be beautiful with game or duck dishes.
2017 Domaine Sigalas, Assyrtiko, $37
Winery info: Sigalas was founded in 1991 on the southern Greek island of Santorini, the remnant of a volcanic caldera in the Agean Sea. Their focus is on indigenous grape varieties, especially the white grape, Assyrtiko, for which they are considered one of the top producers in Greece.
Grapes: 100% Assyrtiko, from vines over 50 years old. The grape is characterized by its Sauv Blanc-like acidity, excellent minerality, and surprising ageability. The vines are grown on ungrafted, original rootstocks, since the sandy, volcanic soil makes them resistant to phylloxera. Aged five months on lees.
Vineyard: From the Imerovigli sub-region of Oia Santorini, where the soil consists of black lava, volcanic ash, and pumice. The winds from the sea and the hot sun are so strong here the vines are trained to grow in small, low, basket-shaped coils to keep them from being uprooted or scorched.
Flavor Profile: Very fresh and vibrant, yet richly textured, with concentrated flavors of stone fruit, citrus, and a hint of sea spray. The mineral complexity and mouthwatering acidity made it very versatile with a wide variety of foods.
Availability: In decent supply at the moment, but will be moving on to the next vintage at some point.
Drinkability: Delicious now, it is also ageable, up to around ten years.
Food Pairing: A perfect match for seafood prepared with acidic sauces, such as lemon and feta cheese. Or with kebabs, hummus, pork, or herbed lamb.