A et P Villaine, Bourgogne, Cote Chalonnaise, Les Digoine Rouge 2011

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By C4

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Directly across the road from Domaine Chanzy sits the domaine of Aubert et Pamela de Villaine. It’s a very discreet operation and that’s reflected also in its reception facilities – it’s really just a working office of box files, a few cobwebs and the occasional empty beer bottle – there are no pretensions here. Aubert and Pamela bought an 8 hectare domaine in 1971 to call their own – and I assume it was a place of sanctuary away from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – particularly as that iconic domaine was still far from profitable at that time.

Today the domaine is 21 hectares, almost half of which is the aligoté d’orée grape of Bouzeron. Organic and eventually biodynamic methods have been followed in the vineyards, with some certification since 1986. It is Pierre de Benoist, Aubert’s nephew, who since 2000 directs the domaine – Pierre originally hails from a domaine in Sancerre. On stems, Pierre notes that “There’s a slight austerity to wines from Mercurey, but all our pinots retain at least half their stems – more if the vintage allows. How we ferment depends entirely on the quality of the grapes that come into the cellar.”

*Outstanding* Burghound

Here the expressive nose is a bit more complex with tis spicy aromas of red berries, plus and earth nuances. This is a bigger and more concentrated wine plus the supporting tannins possess slightly better phenolic maturity as well, all wrapped in a balanced and lingering finish that could be enjoyed young or held for a few years first. This wine has an excellent track record for aging well and the 2011 version should be no exception. *Outstanding* (10/2013)

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