12/8/2023 — Brand new Burgundy for Minnesota: Emmanuel Giboulot

Offer available through Monday, 12/11/2023, or as inventory lasts.

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Hi everyone –

It’s a bit of a unicorn offer this week. Especially the Pinot Gris from Burgundy (say whaaaaaaaat?).

Not often do the words “New,” “Burgundy,” and “Affordable(ish)” come up in the same sentence.

Add to that “Tiny,” “Biodynamic,” and “Cutting Edge,” and you get a sense of my excitement for this one.

These wines became available in the Twin Cities for the first time five days ago. They are brought in by one of our favorite local importer/distributors, New France Wines, and were discovered by their portfolio director, Raistland O’Dell during a buying trip to Europe earlier this year.

Raistland is one of the up-and-coming superstars behind the scenes of the local wine industry. He’s young, hungry, and passionate about he’s doing and tells a great story with each of his wines, which is communicated to the restaurant and retail buyers with consistency via emails every week.

Sidebar: with the three-tier system we have in post-prohibition America (all wines landing in a licensed state distributor before being sold to retailers and restaurants), there is a HUGE opportunity for wholesalers to market their wines with passion and excitement to their customers. I only found out about this week’s wines because New France Wine Company is good at this … sending regular emails to buyers, sommeliers, etc., that actively seek out new, fun, delicious, and interesting opportunities.

Thank you to Ray and his team for being great at communication.

On the other side of that coin are a large number of local wholesalers and importers that NEVER communicate anything to the broad base of their consumers. I bumped into a sales rep from one of these companies earlier this week and mentioned an email I sent seven days prior asking for some info on inventory and pricing on a Spanish producer that I just discovered they have in their warehouse. “Oh yeah, sorry, it’s been busy, I’ll get that info to you as soon as I can.” Two days later, I finally got it.

Why was I asking for info on that particular winery? Because the winery themselves reached out to ME saying they’re having trouble communicating with their own importer, and asked me for suggestions on moving the brand somewhere else.

We’re getting more and more of these phone calls lately from wineries. There’s a bit of a shake-up happening on the distribution level right now as many wineries are seeing flat or down sales numbers, and moving to a different wholesaler is often in the conversation. Nobody will move a portfolio during Q4, but it will be wild to watch what happens during Q1 of 2024.

Many thanks to Ray for letting me use his text to describe this week’s wines. We’ve tried them all and they are OUTSTANDING and SUPER EXCITING.

Onward to the offer! All text below is the story of this winery from Raistland.

About Emmanuel Giboulot

“I like purity in wines. No faults, straight in their glasses, with the fruit and, or, minerality expressing themselves without artifice.”- Emmanuel Giboulot

How do we know when we’re onto something big? It’s hard to say.. But earlier this year while attending a wine fair in France, I was introduced to the wines of Emmanuel Giboulot. I decided to bring the bottles with me to one of my favorite bistros in Paris, Les Arlots (don’t skip the sausage!) and I was met with much excitement by the chef and sommelier as they shouted, “We love Giboulot!” We introduce these today hoping to generate the same excitement in our state. 

Emmanuel Giboulot’s connection to organic farming runs deep, tracing back to his father’s role as an early advocate in Burgundy during the 1970s. Embracing this legacy, Emmanuel embarked on establishing his own domaine in 1985, a formidable undertaking in Burgundy due to the scarcity and exorbitant prices of land. Despite the challenges, he persisted, initially acquiring a modest 0.8-hectare plot. However, his commitment to organic farming created additional hurdles, as prospective landlords were wary of this unconventional approach.

The journey of Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot unfolded gradually, with Emmanuel expanding his vineyards over the next decade in Beaune, Rully, and Hautes-Côtes de Nuits. Today, after four decades of dedication, he manages nearly 12 hectares, cultivating Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay, and the rarely seen Pinot Beurrot. While his vineyards are dispersed across the Burgundy, many are situated in overlooked areas, showcasing his expertise in crafting exceptional wines from diverse yet forgotten terroirs. Emmanuel remains a leading figure in the Burgundy organic grape-growing community.

His winemaking philosophy centers on allowing the grapes to express themselves with minimal intervention. Adhering to the lunar calendar, he practices Biodynamics and he’s making his own compost, employing indigenous yeasts, and using a gentle mechanical screw press. Notably, he has abstained from using new oak for over a decade, resulting in wines that are clean, pure, delicate, and refined.

Emmanuel champions the idea that the best wines emerge when the unique character of each vineyard, as well as the nuances of the vintage, are respected. He values the distinctiveness of every plot, considering factors like orientation, plantation methods, proximity to natural elements, soil composition, and vine age. According to Emmanuel, the character of each vintage—whether warm or cold, early or late—affects the wine’s temperament. This holistic approach, coupled with a commitment to storytelling through winemaking, has produced wines that are not only profound and enchanting but also delightful.

Emmanuel Giboulot produces both red and white wines from various appellations in Burgundy, with a particular focus on the relatively obscure and lesser-known appellations, including the named Côte de Beaune appellation. It is crucial to distinguish this from Côte de Beaune-Villages, the overarching appellation encompassing well-known villages like Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. The petite Côte de Beaune appellation, covering a mere 33 hectares uphill from Beaune but not as high as Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, adds another layer of complexity to Burgundy’s classifications.

While Côte de Beaune might not be widely recognized or frequently encountered in the market, Emmanuel finds it captivating. However, explaining its identity often requires considerable effort. Unlike Meursault, a more familiar name, Côte de Beaune’s wines can be equally exceptional.

Situated between 300 and 370 meters above sea level, the Montagne de Beaune hosts four vineyards tended by 11 winemakers, cultivating both red and white grapes. The rocky soils, characterized by decomposed clay with sand and limestone, offer minimal topsoil. Although lacking premier crus, the challenging conditions compel the vines to struggle, resulting in grapes with intensity and vivacity. Emmanuel crafts three distinct Côte de Beaune wines – Combe d’Eve, Les Pierres Blanches, and La Grande Chatelaine – each showcasing a unique expression of the Chardonnay grape within this terroir.

Les Pierres Blanches, a vast parcel with a panoramic view of Beaune, led Emmanuel to discover a corner with distinct soils consistently producing grapes with a unique profile. This realization prompted him to harvest and vinify this area separately, giving rise to the Combe d’Eve cuvée. La Grande Chatelaine, the parcel where his independent winemaking journey commenced in 1985, holds special significance for him, with historical ties to the 19th-century transformation of prairie land into vineyards.

While Emmanuel cultivates grapes in various regions, including Beaujolais, Saint-Romain, Beaune, and Rully, the focal point for his red grape cultivation is the Haute Côte de Nuits appellation. This Burgundian subregion, west of the Côte de Nuits, features vineyards on valley slopes at elevations ranging from 300 to 400 meters. Single-vineyard bottlings like En Gregoire and Sous Le Mont exemplify the potency and elegance of Pinot Noir thriving in these eroded limestone soils.

Dedicated to biodynamic farming, Emmanuel prioritizes biodiversity and soil health. During spring, he allows vegetation to flourish between rows, creating habitats for flowers and insects. Opting not to mow preserves this biodiversity, offering a ‘safe space’ for organisms. Emmanuel emphasizes the principle of ‘Less is More’ in viticulture, believing that minimal interference with natural soil processes and biodiversity results in wines that authentically express the complexity of their terroirs.

Emmanuel Giboulot’s commitment to purity, precision, and elegance is evident not only in his winemaking but also in his holistic approach to farming and life. His Burgundian wines, characterized by these principles, are a source of delight and authenticity.


Maison Emmanuel Giboulot
2021 Dessine-Moi Un Pinot

(Languedoc-Roussillon, but made in Burgundy)
$

The only “Maison level” wine we decided to start with as the value was there! The remainder of the wines come from vines tended by Emmanuel himself. This is Organically grown Pinot Noir in the Aude (Languedoc), the grapes are hauled to Burgundy and vinified with native yeasts, 100% destemmed, gently pressed and aged in stainless for 8 months to preserve freshness of the fruit. 

Fresh, clean, bright, lively, perfectly balance, and everything you could want from a Pinot Noir under $30.

Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot
2022 Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Sous le Mont

$$$

Speaking of escaping the heat- Hautes-Côtes de Nuits has been on my radar for years. While in the past some of these vineyards could be difficult to ripen, today, they are are training vines on high trellises train using Lyre trellising, which is similiar to a Geneva Double Curtain, though these are trained upwards vs downwards. Essentially you have the fruit set more exposed to wind to prevent against mildew, an important feature for a farmer not using systemic inputs. This is 100% Pinot Noir grown at 300-400m elevation, 20-50 years old, on shallow clay and broken limestone. Grapes are fermented (naturally of course) partial whole cluster, and only the free-run and 1st press juice is used before being aged in neutral barrel. These wines have all of the lift you want without any of the funk of natural wines. 

Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot
2022 Terres Burgondes (Pinot Beurot, aka Pinot Gris)

IGP Sainte Marie la Blanche
$$

Hailing from biodynamically farmed vines grown on the “Marnes de Bresse” substrate, the increasingly rare Pinot Beurot (i.e. Pinot Gris) was planted by Emmanuels father, farmed organic since 1970 and BioD since 1996. Fermentation is in used oak barrels where the Pinot Gris rest on the lees for 12 months with no batonnage to keep a linier focus to the wine. 

(Jason’s note: I LOVE this wine. It’s just plain fun to have a Pinot Beurot on the table, especially if wine-knowledgeable friends are with you.)

Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot
2021 Côte de Beaune La Grande Châtelaine

$$$

The vineyard that started it all for Giboulot in 1985. This was the first parcel he started with planted to Chardonnay on the rarely seen Côte de Beaune AOC (only 52HA). “This was prairie land at the beginning of 19th century, and eventually farmers took away the majority of the rocks scattered in the vineyards to make work easier,” he says. “They used the stones to build walls around the plots.” This plot sits above the 1er Cru’s, and for this I find brilliance as the region warms, seeking higher elevation vineyards can harken me back to a time before.. This is made in the same philosophy of his whites, fermented in used barrel and 12 months on lees with no stirring. While I look for taut wines, Emmanuel delivers that tension wrapped in brilliantly pure fruit and limestone minerality. A knockout wine. 


Final thoughts

New arrivals with this level of quality are always exciting. I especially love popping new arrivals like this with local wine friends, knowing they have never seen the brand before.

All four of these wines are FANTASTIC and this is an exciting new find for the Twin Cities market. Many thanks to Ray and his team for bringing them in!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education


Offer and special pricing are available through Monday, or as inventory lasts

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