Exclusive offer: 5/26/2023 — Burgundy bookends from Baptiste Guyot
Offer available through Monday, 5/29/2023, or as inventory lasts.
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Hi everyone –
A few weeks ago, we had one of our most successful Friday offers ever, focusing on the unicorn affordable Burgundies of Baptise Guyot. Many thanks to all who jumped on that offer.
This week we’re returning to that producer with two INCREDIBLE gems that inexplicably are still hanging out at a local importer’s warehouse. These are top-grade village-level Burgundies from two of my favorite locations. These two villages, Pommard and Monthélie, are bookends in style as I’ll explain in the notes below.
Let’s get right to it.
In case you missed it a few weeks ago, here’s a short background on the producer
We’ve found a unicorn: Baptiste Guyot
Hunting through the catalogs and warehouses of local importers, we were intrigued by a name we had not come across before: Baptiste Guyot.
The more we learned and the more we tasted, the more we liked.
Baptiste Guyot is a small producer, farming tiny plots in various Burgundy appellations and villages. He farms organically when possible, sustainably always, and seems to maintain an ‘under the radar’ personality. Web searches brought up a bit of info, but mostly cut-and-pasted from other websites.
In other words, this guy is not yet known to most wine drinkers, especially in America. The simple labels don’t draw attention, and I sense Guyot is okay with that. Some producers want to quietly do what they do (a very old-school Burgundian personality trait), and that’s awesome for us.
Understanding the Burgundy village of Pommard
Pommard is sacred ground, well known to wine lovers worldwide for producing some of the most captivating and complex Pinot Noirs in the world. Located between Beaune and Volnay, the hallmark of a great Pommard is a complex, beautiful, detailed style of Pinot Noir.
Photo: a view of Pommard from the southeast. Source: Wikipedia/MalcolmCroft
It’s notable that Pommard and its immediate neighbor, Volnay (renowned for its smooth, delicate reds), are less than a mile apart (1400 yards/1.3km, to be precise) yet their wines are so different. Furthermore, the most-southerly vineyards of Pommard are separated from the most-northerly vineyards of Volnay by no more than an imaginary line: the commune boundary that divides the two parishes.
Pommard marks the start of serious Pinot Noir red wine production in the Côte de Beaune. Further north, white wine is produced in quantity only in the town of Beaune, and even there it represents less than 20 percent of total production. Just 8 kilometers (five miles), on the other side of Beaune from Pommard, is the Grand Cru stronghold of Corton, home of the district’s finest red wines.
From Vin de Bourgogne:
Beware of preconceived notions! The fame of Pommard in the 19th century earned it the image of a wine that is both forceful and virile. In reality, time, terroir and methods of vinification have all combined to create a more subtle reality, a wine that is both richer and more sensitive.
Its colour is the deep, dark red with mauve highlights which caused Victor Hugo to speak of it as “night in combat with day”. Its aromas are redolent of blackberry, bilberry, or gooseberry, cherry pit and ripe plum. Often, wild and feline notes develop with age. At full maturity, it tends towards leather, chocolate and pepper.
It needs to be given time to open up to its fullest extent and to display its mouth-filling texture, its firm but delicate structure, its fruit-filled mouth, and its chewy tannins, which by then will be properly smoothed down. A “rich” wine ? Certainly.
Tasting note: Baptiste Guyot Pommard 2020
This wine is crazy good.
It has all the hallmarks of great Pommard: explosive red-black fruits (raspberry and black cherry) and a complex weave of herbal notes, spice box, mellow earthiness, and minerality. It’s medium to medium-full in body, as a great Pommard should be. The attack is immediate and the richness builds in the mid-palate before an otherworldly long finish. I could swear I was still tasting it five minutes later. The flavors are so complete and so round in this wine, and it will be a showstopper at your next wine party.
While many Pommards available today are inching toward (or over) $100 a bottle, this is half of that on our deal price.
Understanding the Burgundy village of Monthélie
In terms of style and consumer knowledge, Monthelie is the opposite of Pommard.
Pommard is well known. Monthelie is not.
Pommard is strong and rich wine. Monthelie is delicate and beautiful.
One is not better than the other, only bookends. And that is what Burgundy is all about!
As you can see on this map, going south from Beaune you go right into Pommard (“iron fist in a velvet glove”) which then swiches instantly into a more delicate and purfumed style when you go further south into Volnay and Monthélie.
The Monthélie red is a handsome ruby colour. Its aromas are of small red and black fruits (cherry, blackcurrant) with sometimes floral notes (violet, peony) which with age shift towards underbrush, bracken and spices. Its firm and velvety texture overlies delicate tannins. Monthélie, like Volnay, is thought of as a feminine wine.
My personal take on Monthélie is that it’s a more affordable version of Volnay (which, all things considered, is one of my favorite Burgundy regions). What’s super interesting about Monthélie is division into two parts as you see on the map. The valley toward the west (upper left corner on the map) is a bit tucked away and not as succeptable to the burning hot sun during a hot growing season (which is becoming more common).
In other words, Monthélie is a bit under the radar and a village that sommeliers seek out as a bit of a secret.
Tasting note: Baptiste Guyot Monthélie 2020
My expectations of Monthélie are always leaning toward delicacy, beauty, elegance, and fineness. This achieved all of those goals but added otherworldly complexity the likes of which I’ve never before experienced in a Monthélie.
Red fruits abound (unlike the black fruits of the Pommard) and weave a complex pattern of spice and herbal components but also with a floral note. Like the Pommard, the attack, mid-palate, and finish are all seamless. This is the single best Monthélie I’ve ever had.
And being a bit more “under the radar,” Monthélie is surprisingly affordable.
In this inflationary world, along with growing worldwide demand for Burgundy, these are unicorns. They are distinctive, artisanal, beautiful, and in terms of Burgundy, highly affordable.
Both wines will age elegantly, so take your time to craft a perfect night around them. Splurge for the fillet mignon.
Orders placed will be available for pickup Wednesday next week.
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education
Offer is open now until Monday at 6:00pm central, or as inventory lasts.