There are wineries which have been driven by craft, tradition, and just deliciousness for years, decades, and in some instances centuries. These wineries are the pinnacles of fine wine. This is our list of the producers we feel are worthy of collecting, worthy of drinking, and worthy of a bit more reading. Our cellar book is here for you to learn, drool, and of course shop. Cheers.
Among sommeliers, no Grande Marque garners as much love and respect as Krug. The style at this relatively small house is broad and oftentimes fashionably oxidative, influenced by aging in oak barrels rather than steel tanks. Even though this often makes the wines more approachable and delicious in youth, even the house classic Grande Cuvée gains from a few years of cellaring, and oftentimes a decades-old bottle of Krug has been the “wine of the night” even among stellar companions.
One of the original grower champagne houses. Rodolphe, the current proprietor, continues the legacy of making some of the greatest blanc de blancs champagne created in the area. Central to the Domaine is the outstanding Chétillons vineyard in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The Péters estate has become synonymous with this vineyard, or perhaps it’s the other way around. In youth, the wines here are piercing with finesse. After a few years of maturity, they blossom out, showing layers of minerality and subtle spice.
It's easy to forget that Domaine Dujac was founded by the now-iconic Jacques Seysses in the late 1960s. It feels like a benchmark that has always been there. The number of winemakers in the region and around the world who model their philosophy on Dujac is impressive. The quality here speaks for itself. Dujac sits at the top of the hierarchy of producers in Burgundy. The Domaine is most commonly associated with the grand crus of Clos de la Roche and Clos Saint-Denis but their plethora of premiers cru and village wines are all worth collecting and drinking as often as humanly possible.
Dominique Lafon took over this already storied family Domaine in 1985 and has realized the potential of an extraordinary portfolio of vineyards. The white wines here truly number among the greatest in Burgundy, while the reds are fantastic values, comparatively, and still somehow flying under the radar. The vineyards, centered around Meursault (Comtes Lafon is the only property to own vineyards in all premiers crus of the village) are cultivated along with biodynamic principles since 1989. The wines here have taken a turn for a leaner, more elegant style lately, and the results are magnificent.
In Burgundy, there are only a handful of icons; the types of wineries who have never steered away from making only the best product from the vineyards historic to their family. Those icons have never sold to larger companies, and with each new generation have maintained consistent quality. Domaine Armand Rousseau is without a doubt, an icon. Armand was at the forefront of Domaine bottling in the 1930s. Simply put, he was one of the first to say, my wine is great enough to be bottled on its own rather than sold into bulk or to a larger distributor.Today Eric, grandson of Armand, is in charge of the vines and cellar, with the help of his daughter Cyrielle. Their vineyards are all in the northernmost town of Burgundy’s prime stretch of land, called Gevrey-Chambertin. Chambertin is said to be the grand cru vineyard with the most richness and power. The larger village of Gevrey-Chambertin and its surrounding vineyards adhere to the same stereotypes. What makes the wines of Rousseau so unique is that they lean towards a more floral, lighter, and elegant style.
Domaine Marquis d'Angerville
Volnay is an enigmatic place. It is nestled between villages that make mostly white wines — or robust, hefty reds. But here, perhaps the most elegant and subtle wines in all of Burgundy are made. That reputation owes a lot to the d’Angerville estate, a fixture of the highest quality Volnay for over two centuries. Guillaume d’Angerville, the current proprietor, took over the estate in 2003, after his father Jacques’ death. He continues the philosophy of low intervention, letting the vineyards express themselves without getting in the way. The result is an exceptional lineup that ranges from the delicious Bourgognes to the singular premiers crus, with Fremiets typically being polished and joyful... Champans, curvier and denser... Taillepieds, structured — and for the lover of a classic, nervous Burgundy. The top of the hierarchy is Clos des Ducs, a mythical vineyard and a wine that deserves a few years of cellaring to really blossom out. Few wines in Burgundy can match its beautiful perfume once matured. And forget what you know about Volnays being light, soft wines for easy drinking – almost none have a track record of being age-worthy like the Clos des Ducs.
Roumier is the equivalent of saying Oprah, Madonna, and the best versions of Kanye in the wine world. It’s a winery with the type of pedigree that only one name needs mentioning. Founded in 1924, the Roumier family has steadily built an astonishing reputation and its wines are among the most sought after in Burgundy. Today, the winery is led by Christophe, a third-generation winemaker who is as charismatic as he is talented. Their vineyards are based in and around the town of Chambolle-Musigny, an area that is most often regarded as producing the most ‘elegant’ of Burgundies. That means they are light, smell like exotic flowers, and are refreshing to drink both young and old.
Domaine Jacques Frédéric Mugnier or more commonly known simply as Mugnier is on the shortlist of France’s greatest wineries. Based in the small town of Chambolle-Musigny in Burgundy, this humble winery has become one of the benchmarks of pinot noir in the world. This is a style of light, floral, and ready to drink Burgundy which has increasingly become emulated as we all seek wines which are more refreshing, pure, and just unique. Fred Mugnier, the man behind this estate makes wine from his family’s historic vineyards which up until 1978 were farmed for others. Those vineyards with the exception of Clos de la Maréchale in the nearby town of Nuits Saint Georges are all within walking distance of his estate and are broken up between grand cru, premier cru, and a bit of village. Wines from vineyards such as Musigny and the super premier cru Amoureuses trade at some of the market’s highest while the Chambolle-Musigny and Clos de la Marechale are only increasing.
A decade ago, Cornas was still somewhat of an insider’s wine. These wines had a reputation for being burly and rustic in comparison with their northern cousins from Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage, but they provided an excellent opportunity to drink pure and hauntingly beautiful Syrah. Auguste Clape (who passed away in 2018, succeeded by son Pierre-Marie and grandson Olivier) was the standard-bearer of traditional winemaking in the appellation. As the pendulum has swung from polish and make-up back to old-school wines, they have gained more of a blue-chip status, but the wines are still frequently good value in comparison, and a must have in any syrah-lover’s cellar.
The Chave family is nothing short of royalty in the world of wine. The current Jean-Louis is the 16th generation in father-son succession who have tended vines in St. Joseph and the fabled hill of Hermitage, possibly the birthplace and arguably the pinnacle of the Syrah grape. While several producers now separate out their various plots in Hermitage (perhaps a nod to the more marketing-savvy neighbors in Côte-Rôtie), Chave is all about the art of blending together these components into a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. The results is a wine that captures the soul of the Hermitage, structured and full, with hauntingly wild and floral aromas. In a handful of vintages, there is another label, Cuvée Cathelin. It’s not intended to be a prestige-cuvée, but rather a way for Jean-Louis to express a specific nature of a vintage that may not work in the Hermitage. Worthy of special mention is the wines from St. Joseph, not to be looked down upon as secondary. Remember that this is the ancestral home of the family, and Jean-Louis has been dedicating all his resources to re-establishing the terraced vineyards here. We will wish we had held on to more of these wines soon.
Cerbaiona, one of the greatest estates in Tuscany, is tiny but mighty: The wines are a top-tier example of traditional Brunello and very small production makes them highly sought after. Diego Molinari, a retired pilot, purchased the estate in the late ‘70s to pursue his dream of winemaking and it’s easy to see why he was attracted to the region — the fruit strikes a perfect balance between the warm ripeness common in the south AND the structure associated with the north. The straightforward process at Cerbaiona uses the traditional techniques of the region. Nothing is taken away and nothing is added. Wine critic Antonio Galloni once said, “If forced to drink only one wine from Montalcino, I might very well choose Diego Molinari’s sumptuous Brunello.”
“Le Pergole Torte” the top wine from Montevertine is both cellar worthy if you’re into that but also one of the easier drinking Tuscan reds. In contrast to the perception of Tuscan wines being big and boozy, this wine is elegant and refreshing. Their focus is on Sangiovese, the grape of Chianti and Brunello. Based in the town of Radda, they have become the benchmark for a style of Chianti which is tart, savory, and essential with a big bowl of pasta.
Soldera was a confident, respected, and very talented winemaker. His style of Brunello endured the hype of an era in Montalcino which was chasing the flavors of California. Today, Brunello is returning back to being identified as elegant, long-lived, and wine of quality rather than brand. Soldera always stood for that. He made wines that are ready to drink young as juicy, tart and with some pasta. They have also proven to age as well as any other iconic region too. The older wines become very elegant, light, and earthy.
If you open up any wine reference book, it will say the village of Meursault produces opulent, nutty wines—the richest in Burgundy. If anyone can be charged with having changed that sentiment, it is Jean-Marc Roulot, whose wines of extreme clarity and elegance have inspired a generation of winemakers. Jean-Marc’s meticulous (some might say obsessive) attention to detail creates a range of wines that provide perhaps the ultimate lens through which one can study the terroirs of Meursault. His other wines, a superlative Bourgogne and a couple of whites and reds from neighboring villages, are usually fantastic buys—if you can get your hands on them.
There may be a couple of individual wines, but there is no single producer, that is more sought after than Coche-Dury. It is also fair to say that no one has influenced the current global zeitgeist of Chardonnay-making more than Jean-François Coche, with his reductive, smoky and intensely mineral style driven by long, slow fermentation and lots of time on the lees. The core of the production lies in Meursault and its premiers crus, but the Bourgogne Blanc is infuriatingly good and at the very top, perhaps of the entire pantheon of white Burgundies, sits the Corton-Charlemagne, at this point the stuff of legends.
Gaja is perhaps America’s most well-known Italian winery. The winery has been family-owned since the 1850s and under the control of the charismatic Angelo Gaja since the '60s. Originating in Barbaresco, their primary wines are all from that area the most notable single vineyards are Sorí Tildin, Sorí San Lorenzo, and Costa Russi. Since working in the winery, Angelo has been at the forefront of change within the region. His wines in the '70s and '80s are considered some of the greatest made in that area and have proven to age at a glacial rate. They’re delicious, big, and still very fresh.
In many industries there are family legacies who are considered the untouchables despite a world obsessed with new discoveries. In those industries, there are also some grandchildren who have inherited fortune only to destroy it upon their control. The Drouhin family are the primary family of Burgundy, who are one of the only large producers who still makes great wines today. Their range stretches from everyday bottles under $20, to some of the more collectible and rare bottling from all of France. With such a large amount of wines made, there are inevitably the gems of the winery. We believe that Drouhin makes some of the best wines from the village and grand cru vineyards in Chambolle-Musigny. They also make consistent white and reds from the southern region of Beaune. Their style is clean, fruit driven, and never overly oaky. It’s an elegant wine that has survived the realities of Succession.