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Episode 5: Vignettes en Blanc




This transcription was created thanks to: Olivia Pierce, Brittany Graham & Ali Massie.



Brenna (Narration): Hi, this is Brenna Quigley, your personal geologist and terroir guide. Join me on a roadtrip through the geologic history of your favorite wine regions around the world. 


This is Roadside Terroir. 


Season 2, Burgundy’s Côte d’Or is made possible by our season 2 partners: Becky Wasserman and Company, La Paulée, and Acker Wines. 


While creating this episode, I found myself absolutely salivating for white Burgundy – and we could barely keep it in the house. So it’s with impeccable timing we feature one of our premier partners: Acker Wines.


Established in 1820, Acker is the oldest wine shop in America, and has a passion for wine and the people who love wine. Acker has carried and offered more of the world’s fine Burgundy than virtually anyone. 


They have been an avid supporter of this season of Roadside Terroir since day 1 – and together we’re committed to bringing the great wines of Burgundy, and beyond, directly to you. 


As the largest fine and rare wine auction house in the world – Acker makes it easy to find the elusive producers we feature, even in rare, back vintages you could never find in a store. 


To celebrate our listeners, Acker is offering a discount code for your first purchase – just use the code ROADSIDE to get 15% off orders of $350 or more.


You can learn more at their website –


We’re determined to keep this content free and accessible for everyone. If you’d like to support our show, please consider becoming an Insider. Insiders have access to lots of cool stuff including extra photos, travel guides, and extended interviews with our guests. 


To learn more, visit our website 


Please, don’t drink and drive… and remember to keep your eyes on the road. 


This episode contains explicit language.

Part 1

1.1 Blagny + Ben Leroux


[Music, guitar, tires on road…]


Brenna (Narration): Our day started early this morning – we left Beaune just as the sun began to rise over the plain to the east – its rays wrestling through a thick wall of autumn fog. We drove along the D974 past Pommard and Volnay before turning off and climbing up through the vines of Meursault to a hidden gem of the Côte de Beaune – the small hamlet of Blagny. 


[Sound of car door slamming shut]


Benjamin Leroux: Yeah, you see this is Blagny. So the little road it’s splitting Meursault  Perrieres and Genevriere, so have the Dos d’Ane here and Blagny starting right there at the edge of the tree… 


Brenna (Narration): I’m here with Benjamin Leroux – Blagny’s most fervent spokesperson, as we prepare to embark on a detailed study of the terroirs of Blagny. We have hired an excavator to dig into the soils and reveal the bedrock below.


Benjamin was named the technical director at Comte d’Armand in 1999 when he was only 24 years old. He remained there for 15 vintages before setting off to focus on his own micro-négociant label. Today, Ben has dropped the micro – prefix and also farms about 8 hectares of organic and biodynamic domaine vineyards, including a suite of classic Meursault Premier Crus and a precious .16 ha of Batard-Montrachet. His true love, however, is Blagny… 


Benjamin Leroux: The hamlet of Blagny is there. After the hamlet, all the vineyards can be called Puligny-Montrachet, and before on that side, uh Meursault. And then after the Puligny side it’s Saint-Aubin.


Brenna (Narration): The first time Ben showed me these vineyards, I could instantly sense the quiet yet profound intensity, and how clearly he resonated with the space.


[Light transitional music…]


Benjamin Leroux: I love Blagny because… I mean just look around you, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful and when you taste the wine you say wow, there’s something. And I think it’s, well voila, it needs to be known, to be recognized as a single terroir, as an appellation by itself.


Brenna (Narration): As much as this place so clearly speaks with its own voice, if it weren’t for Ben, I wouldn’t even know its name. Blagny is not famous…


Benjamin Leroux: Technically Blagny is not an appellation. It belongs to Puligny and Meursault. But it’s like the growers of Meursault *points at map* runs this part, and the growers of Puligny runs the other part.


Brenna (Narration):  Blagny sits one level higher than most of the main slope of the Côte d’Or, hidden behind a forested break in the slope, called the Dos d’Ane – or donkey’s back. Which is actually an outcrop of hard, unplantable limestone. Blagny lies above and beyond the Dos d’Ane, on a small, gentle slope all its own. The Meursault side is concave, cozy, and almost private, whereas the Puligny side is a bit higher, more convex and prominent – overlooking the Côte below. 


Benjamin Leroux: Yeah, it’s complicated because it’s only three generation ago that in Blagny they fight to have the possibility of being called Meursault or Puligny. Because at the time it was making sense economically. Today we see things differently. So fair enough - it’s a part of history.


Brenna (Narration): Blagny is not only split between two villages – but also between two grapes. Most is planted to Chardonnay, but a modest 5 ha is also planted to Pinot Noir – particularly notable in the 1er Cru - La Pièce Sous le Bois.


Benjamin Leroux: So the reds can only be called Blagny. Again at the time, you know like, Meursault was wanting to stay white and Volnay was wanting to stay red. Today we think it’s crazy, but at the time the communication was not like it is now.


Brenna (Narration): If you’re confused, you’re not alone…


Benjamin Leroux: Now if it’s red, there’s no confusion it could be only Blagny - it will take the name of the lieux-dit so here we’re making Blagny 1er Cru La Piece Sous le Bois. From the same vineyards, either you call it Meursault 1er Cru La Piece Sous le Bois and you don’t do any reference to Blagny or you call it Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru and you don’t do any reference of the lieux-dit. 


Brenna: Really?


Benjamin Leroux: Yeah, don’t ask me why. It’s the rules. And but today many estates are using both, we sneak a bit out the rules at the same time. So since two years now, we’ve put Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru La Piece Sous le Bois. You know, like instead of changing the law - we do it.


*Brenna laughs along*


Benjamin Leroux: And to be fair, the wines doesn’t taste the same as the other 1er Cru there, so it’s a different terroir, different taste. To me, in the cellar it probably hasn’t got the largeness, the length of the others, but it has things that the others haven’t got such as the minerality, the saltiness, the zest you can get because it’s higher. I mean even on the autumn sun you still have a part in the morning that’s in the shade, but it will benefit from the sunset. Cooler place but warmer sun.

Benjamin Leroux: Blagny used to be probably fifty percent red, fifty percent white. You know, pulled out the Pinot, to be replaced by Chardonnay. So you know that’s fairly easy, you can produce more with Chardonnay and sell them as Meursault Premier Cru, and it just made the accounting much much better. But voila, our thinking is a bit different. We want to plant Pinot where we have the right geology and you plant Chardonnay where you have the right geology.


Brenna (Narration): Before we start to dig, Ben walks us through his parcels and describes his experiences with this vineyard and the impressions he gets from the wines. This is the information we’ll use to direct our exploration beneath the surface.


Benjamin Leroux: So we can see, some of the, the bedrock is not far, here. Voila - that’s the first row, here.


Brenna (Narration): We begin at the far northeast corner of the vineyard La Piece Sous le Bois, right next to the Dos d’Ane.


Benjamin Leroux: So, we will walk and you will see to the line, that the bottom is Pinot. We have only one block which is Chardonnay on the bottom. 


[Chords and sounds of footsteps on rocky soils]


Benjamin Leroux: Voila, we are in the middle of the first block of Pinot and from here the vines are more vigorous. From where we were, to when we’re starting to go on the slopes. So here we have to restrain the vine a little bit.


Brenna: Uh-huh, yeah they are taller.


Benjamin Leroux: We have more soil and it’s richer. I’ve got… no idea… (fades out)


Brenna (Narration): We continue up to the top of the slope. The gradient gets steeper and the soils become gravelly and dramatically whiter in color.


Benjamin Leroux: And for me, my feeling and when I’m tasting the fruit. It’s where you know, I can see some Chardonnay planted here.


Brenna: Okay.


Benjamin Leroux: And not especially Pinot.


Brenna: It starts to get harsher?


Benjamin Leroux: I don’t see it physically. I see it, on the fruit, on the thickness of the skin, on the pips…


Brenna: And so then, beyond just the soils getting whiter, it’s a little white, chippy, calcareous sort of soft…


Benjamin Leroux: We call it “Lave” - “Lave-Calcaire”. And uh, where here’s it’s like working in butter. Super easy. Here it’s the winemaking side. When you have Pinot on Chardonnay soil, the tannins are just you know, pretty strict. There’s no question of extraction. You know they’re very tight, severe, and very angular.


Brenna: *agreeing*


Benjamin Leroux: And that’s how I define the terroir - with the wines were making. Chardonnay, Chardonnay is going well everywhere. The difference with Chardonnay, is Chardonnay when you are on the Pinot soils, it’s usually a bit rounder, a bit more exotic so to me less interesting, but it’s making good wine. So then you need to do some oenology, which is not interesting. Because either way, we talk of terroir or we talk about enology and you do your same recipe every year and it will work, but to me, the wines are boring and not interesting. 


Brenna (Narration): So if Chardonnay can grow everywhere – what is it that makes the difference between good, and life-changing?


[Rising transitional music]


Chardonnay is kind of a sneaky grape. On one hand, it’s an excellent translator of terroir, producing exceptional wines from drastically diverse geologies. And yet, at the same time, the grape is easily manipulated, a vehicle for winemaking and technique.


So, which is it?


When you think about it, isn't it hard to believe that the same grape responsible for the thick, buttery big box chardonnay in the grocery store is the same as in the liquid gold of Montrachet, or the electrified laser beams of Saint-Aubin?


Is it even possible that these differences really come from the earth?


From our perch in Blagny, we find ourselves at the intersection of some of the most important chardonnay-growing areas in the world. Today we’ll explore Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, and St Aubin to see if we can discover what sets apart the great terroirs of white Burgundy… so grab a glass and settle in for the ride…

1.2 Meursault Vineyard Tour – Anne Morey


[Light music, sounds of car driving on road]


Anne Morey: Where do we start?


Paul Wasserman: Uh, Tesson to catch the fog?


[Car driving sounds]


Anne Morey: Hm, okay.


Brenna (Narration): We set out on our exploration of the vineyards of Meursault in the hands of Anne Morey, of Domaine Pierre Morey. Anne is the daughter of Pierre–who is quietly one of the most important names in white Burgundy. From 1988 to 2008 Pierre Morey was the regisseure or cellar master of the Puligny superstar Domaine Leflaive.


We’ve just arrived in the village lieu-dit Les Tessons – at nearly 300 meters elevation, we feel as though we are at the very top of the slope, looking down over the village of Meursault.


Anne Morey: Yeah, the most beautiful view of Meursault here, and a special magic place. Also we feel the soil, there is something. I don’t know what exactly.


*Anne laughs*


Brenna (Narration): Meursault is the largest village in the Cote de Beaune, and according to Jasper Morris, has a winegrowing history that dates back to Roman times. There are no Grand Crus in Meursault, and the 134 hectares of Premier Cru span a large and sometimes confusing lineup of wines: there’s the complicated red and white situation in Blagny, and a similar debacle bordering Volnay in the north, including the famed Santenots 1er Cru. For all of these reasons, you might expect Meursault to be another one of those underappreciated villages of the Côte d’Or, but instead it’s truly beloved by wine lovers around the world. 


Brenna (Narration): We’re joined once again by our guide, Paul Wasserman.


Paul Wasserman: So for the vast village and the most noticeable thing about it is when you look at the hill rather than the vineyards stopping at the top of what you see, there is a whole other terrace on top of it, which includes Blagny on the south side, and then all the vineyards that are neighboring Auxey on the north side. So you’ve got this extra, kind if like ‘étage’ floor which produces some really phenomenal wines. As soon as the slope starts turning a little more North, there are these vineyards that are in the continuation of the Premier Cru’s because I guess that made a big difference to ripeness back in the day. But they’re absolutely phenomenal, I mean Tessons, Luchets, Meix Chavaux, a little more to the center of that slope - Narvaux, on top of the terrace up near Auxey - Vireuils, Rogeots, Chevalliere on the back on the slope. It’s just full, full, full of insane lieux-dits which combined with a fair amount of talent makes Meursault extremely exciting.


[Light airy transitional music]


Brenna (Narration): I think part of the reason Meursault is so well loved, is that it contains so many excellent examples of the power of terroir, of places with personalities that shine through various artistic interpretations – basically everything we’re looking for in Burgundy. A quick aside: The term ‘lieu-dit’ literally translates to ‘named place’. And though its usage can be a little bit tricky, it’s generally used to describe a specific historical name for a vineyard or parcel, particularly for special village level vineyards’ with their own historic names.


Anne Morey: There is really a stop in the slope, and we are in the middle of it. First floor I would say, here, and then just after Les Tesson - new quarries… Carriere? C’est ca? And then again the slope. 


Brenna (Narration): Tesson sits amongst these impressive village vineyards on the northern edge of the village. Which, as Paul and Anne described, sit up onto the “second floor” of Meursault. Françoise Vannier refers to this break in the slope as a step stair, created by a layer of hard, compact limestone in the middle of the slope, with softer, more easily eroded layers of marls above and below it. This part of the slope is unplanted, and is littered with evidence of former quarries. 


The village of Meursault is rather unique in that it decided not to cultivate these former quarries…for the most part…and the vineyards surrounding this break in the slope are extremely rocky…as human beings worked the soils throughout the years and pulled out the large stones, they piled them up to make walls and little stone houses around and within their parcels. The little stone houses, or cabottes in Le Tesson are by far the nicest anywhere in the Côte d’Or…


Anne Morey: A small village, you know the castles, a chapel, small houses… for a while this small area from Le Tesson was not planted, it was a small garden…I think it was dedicated to spend some good time on Sundays because its very special small houses, not like other cabottes in other places.


Paul Wasserman: That’s Roulots, huh?


Anne Morey: Roulots, yeah. Michelle Bouzereaux, ours.


Paul Wasserman: Of course Roulots is the fanciest.


*Everyone chuckles*


Anne Morey: Of course. And of course he has the castle, he is the master. And of course I have the chapel.


Paul Wasserman: Yes, of course you do.


*Everyone chuckles*


Brenna (Narration): The Morey family has a deep history in Burgundy, which is closely tied to their devout Catholic faith…


Anne Morey: The Morey family came to Meursault in 1793 just after French Revolution…with a winegrower Morey from Chassagne. It was a terrible time in France and masses were forbidden and M.Morey used to hide a Priest, he accompanied the Priest with his son to celebrate masses in a cellar - very protected place, and the son was probably not very concerned about prayer or… I don’t know but, the welcoming family in Meursault name was Millot were winegrowers also, of course, with no son and at this time it was a problem - only 3 girls and the son Morey married one of them, so he established in Meursault and they have 13 children, I think… 11 alive, and I am one of the great great great grandchildren now.


Brenna (Narration): We walk through Les Tesson, admiring the view in front of us and the pile of rocks beneath our feet…


[Sounds of footsteps on soils]


Anne Morey: And when there is no sun, we feel how it’s a cold terroir, protected, but cold. And there are no really nose on these stones, but when you smell the wine, you really feel something cold, but nice.


Brenna (Narration): All of the old books about Burgundy describe Meursault as rich and round with classic tasting notes of butter and hazelnuts… but today the popular expression seems to have become quite the opposite. 


Anne Morey: For a longtime when I started to work, I used to hear something which was very difficult to understand to me, because minerality was reserved for Puligny and roundness and buttery wine and creamy and perhaps fat wines were for Meursault and I used to work in Les Tesson, Forges, Perrieres and buttery and creamy wines was not really my every day, so I didn’t really understand, and finally I think after a few months and years, okay Meursault is really a big area and you can find both. Some mineral places for example Les Tesson and some more creamy and open wine but we don’t really work on these places. And perhaps it’s not… hasard?


Paul Wasserman: It’s not by chance?

Anne Morey: Yeah, absolutely - it’s not by chance.


Brenna (Narration): The Morey’s have been making cut, mineral Meursault since before it was cool… but not because of a stylistic preference, but a reflection of their actual vineyard holdings.


[Light, upbeat piano plays]


Anne Morey: We usually hear that wines are like people and we really prefer my father and the rest of the family are really more comfortable with minerality than generous wines, perhaps because we are not really generous people… but I don’t know. 


*Everyone laughing*


Anne Morey: I’m really comfortable with my foot in the roots, in the soil - it’s why I’m happy to work with biodynamie. It helps me to be a little more in the sky, also but I still have something to work.


Brenna (Narration): From Le Tesson we get back in the car, and almost as if it were a dare, Anne proceeds to up the ante on rocky terroirs…


Our next stop is Chaumes des Narvaux… just above the unplanted section above the 1er cru Genevrieres…


[Sounds of feet on rocky soils, laughing…]


Anne Morey: Here we can come with people saying you know, vines can grow anywhere anything else can grow. When people see that they say wow! Only stones! Meursault I think there was eight or nine quarries and I think the two or three last closed at the beginning of the eighties. And it’s just in this line - it’s why its not planted here for example - it’s just too much stone.


Brenna (Narration): Most of these quarries were built into the Chassagne limestone–which will be the most important rock type for our discussion of white Burgundy today.


[Light, airy music plays…]


The Chassagne limestone is a thick succession of slightly different layers of hard limestone, all stratigraphically linked together. Often over 45 meters thick, the Chassagne limestone underlies many of the 1er crus in Meursault, and is also responsible for the entire unplanted mid-slope ridge, or step stair, that breaks up the slope.


Much of the Chassagne limestone is made up of white oolite. The base is often dolomitized and was exploited for its magnesium (as we discussed in Pommard in Episode 3), and there is also a section of hard, fine-grained limestone that was used for building materials. The Chassagne limestone is named after a huge quarry at the very top of the slope in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet.


Anne Morey: It’s really higher. My father was afraid it was really too high for vines here… it was at the beginning of 2000 years, and I said you know some people start to talk about global warming, it should be interesting, and when we work on the soil a little, not too much but a little to prepare before plantation, we found some roots, so probably it was very very old roots, before phylloxera but it was really interesting and my father were all very surprised…


Brenna (Narration): Next, we head through to the Dos D’ane and wrap back around into the lower section of the slope into the grandest of the 1er Crus, Meursault Perrieres… 


Anne Morey: So here is our plot of Perrieres, which is a special, really special one… it’s not the image you have of Perriere everywhere else, if you have courage enough… we could go through the new wall, because we see one part of the rock. And just here, this plot was probably not planted for a long time because one of the quarries is just here. It was the basket for stones they were not interested in…


Brenna (Narration): Perriere is actually derived from the Latin word “petrierer” (pet-rar-i-a)-- which means stone, and was also used between the 11th and 14th centuries to designate a quarry – so throughout the Côte d’Or, anywhere you have a vineyard named Perriere you know it was planted on the site of an ancient quarry. 


Brenna: I think this is the true, like white oolite.


Paul Wasserman: Ah!


Brenna: If you look closely there’s like, the little little popcorn-y ooides.


Anne Morey: Little what?!


Paul Wasserman: Ooides… l’oolites… *struggles to find French translation*


Anne Morey: Ah ouais, d’accord.


Brenna (Narration):  This white oolite is our first official glance of the Chassagne limestone. Iif you look very closely, you’ll notice that it looks sort of like popcorn, or a little cluster of tiny, white fish eggs…this rock formed on the Jurassic seafloor 165 million years ago, but these ooids aren’t actually fossils – they’re more like tiny limestone snowballs, each formed from a single grain of sand rolling around in the gentle tides of a warm, protected ancient lagoon…


When we get back into the car, and head back northwards towards the village of Meursault Anne and Paul continue to point out the vineyards…


Anne Morey: So here is Perriere on the left, Meursault Charmes on the right, and Genevrieres in front of us.


Brenna (Narration): Followed by Porusot, Boucheres, and Les Gouttes d’Or…Many of these vineyards are split into two parts, an upper part, usually rockier and leaner, and a lower part, usually a bit richer… unfortunately the french terms for above and below are… ridiculously similar.


[Upbeat percussion plays]


Brenna: And just once and for all, can you please explain the “dessus” and “dessous”?


Paul Wasserman: *laughing* Okay.


Paul Wasserman: You mean how you say it? How you pronounce it?


Brenna: How you say it, how you pronounce it, what it means, how it’s spelled differently… how is this still happening?


Paul Wasserman: Okay so… “dessus” means on top, on top of…  and it is spelled with double S, U, S. And “dessous” means bottom and it is spelled with a double S, O, U, S. 


So to make an “U” in French, you have to close your mouth, you have to pucker your lips “U” like that. 


And to make a “OU” sound, you have to open your mouth.


“Dessus” close mouth; “Dessous” open mouth.


Brenna: So which is which?


Paul Wasserman: “Dessus” the closed, the more trebel-y sound one is on top. 


“Dessous” the wider, base-ier one, is bottom. 


I’m not sure I helped you… Just think as the bottom as being base-y.


Brenna: Yeah okay.


Paul Wasserman: Okay, so do you want to try?


Brenna: So kinda like “dessus”... “dessous”


Paul Wasserman: Good! Good!

Brenna: You heard that?


Paul Wasserman: You do hear it.


[Upbeat drumming ends abruptly]


Brenna (Narration): Even without having a Grand Cru, Meursault has held its own next to its famous neighbors for decades, if not longer, and is widely regarded as having the greatest examples of village wines throughout the entire Côte d’Or…


Here’s Jasper Morris… author of Inside Burgundy…


Jasper Morris: Meursault is one for village wines, Puligny there’s a big step up in the Premier Crus, but Meursault unquestionably, and there’s lots of it and there’s lots of good growers and of course it is a village in which, it has had more of tradition of single vineyard village wines then Puligny, it was pretty rare in the past. It’s changing a bit, but it’s still more typically a blend. 


Brenna: Do you have a good sense of why that is? The difference?


Jasper Morris: Because Meursault has been a village that has many more small producers because negociants were much more interested in villages which had Montrachet in the name. I mean there still is, I can nearly get to twenty producers in Puligny, I can count fifty or sixty exciting producer’s in Meursault and there are double that number who exist, but I don’t know them all.


Brenna (Narration): Historically this has included producers like Pierre Morey, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Coche Dury, Arnaud Ente, Jean Philippe Fichet, Henri Germain, Antoine Jobard, and more recently exciting producers such as Bernard Bonin, Benjamin Leroux, Pierre Henri Rougeot, Genot Boulanger, and Francois Mikulski…amongst many, many others.


Jasper Morris: …Even when they started back in the eighties Domaines like Michelot had a whole range of lieux-dits… but now more and more people are having a big range of lieux-dits in Meursault.


Brenna: Yeah, and I mean some of them are just as, famous, now as, like Tesson…


Jasper Morris: Tesson, Narvaux, yep absolutely.


Brenna: Luchets… Thanks to Jean-Marcs Instagram handle.


Jasper Morris: Yeah, and the play he wrote of that name…


Brenna: Really?


Jasper Morris: Yeah! It gets played every so often when they change the vintage. It’s a two man play, based around Luchet.


Brenna: That’s amazing.


Brenna (Narration): Of course, we would be remiss to discuss the village of Meursault without mentioning its resident celebrity, Jean-Marc Roulot. The wines of Domaine Roulot were already widely respected before Jean Marc took the reins, but it was only after he returned to the Domaine in 1989 that the wines achieved the worldwide superstardom that they have today. Jean Marc ushered in an era of fresher, leaner styles of Chardonnay. Before he returned to the domain, Jean Marc was pursuing a career in acting, which he remains dedicated to today


[Light airy transitional music…]

1.3 Meursault Cellar Tasting – Dominique Lafon 


Brenna (Narration): The geology of Meursault is fascinating, and I could spend weeks just exploring the geologic details of each individual lieu- dit – but in a place where the distinct personalities of the vineyards are so clearly articulated, it seems more powerful to do this geologic exploration with the wines themselves…


And there is perhaps no better guide to the wines of Meursault than one of the true masters – Dominique Lafon of Domaine Comtes Lafon…


Here is Daniel Johnnes on his dear friend Dominique…


Daniel Johnnes: Well I think Dominique Lafon is one of the most important producers of white Burgundy, one of the most important producers of Burgundy. Period. And personalities in Burgundy, and not only because of the quality of the wines, but because of the history of the estate, the importance of the history of the estate, the importance of the holdings they have, the continuity from great-grandfather to grand-father to son, and now to daughter and nephew. So you have this line of consistency, through the ages of great quality. His very curious mind and always able to question what he’s doing, able to question, able to make tweaks, able to make better.


Brenna (Narration): As soon as we arrive, Dominique rushes around from barrel to barrel like a kid in a candy store – pouring the next taste almost as quickly as we can taste the first…


Dominique Lafon: Okay, you can empty your glass into my glass, when you're finished, don’t drink it up, we still have a lot of wines to taste…


[Brenna giggling in the background…]


Brenna (Narration): A true savant, Dominique wants to taste and to discuss everything. There couldn’t be anything more refreshing than watching a master of their craft delighted by the nuances of each detail.


Daniel Johnnes: I think that he's one of the more thoughtful winemakers, when you talk to him you're going to get a more lengthy explanation of why and he’s going to be extremely generous in sharing examples of wines. It’s a tasting that you do at Lafon, that you almost go into with a slight bit of dread… and I say that in the nicest way, because you know you’re going to be there for a very long time, you’re going to be late for your next appointments.


Brenna (Narration): Dominique's first job wasn’t actually at the family domaine, but for Becky Wasserman… and to this day he credits this formative time in his life and tasting career to his work with Becky. 


[Sounds of creaking door…]


Dominique Lafon: To me, a great wine, is a wine which… I’m searching my words in English… I like intensity with lightness, which is kind of a bizarre combination, kind of hard to deal with, but I think that the best wines, they are not… lightness could be a defect, but if you add intensity to it, then it’s a quality and to me the best wines give that combination of both things.


Brenna (Narration): We begin the tasting of Meursault 1er crus with Bouchere…


[Transitional music, sounds of bottles clinking]


Dominqiue Lafon: The first one we’ll taste is Bouchere, to me it is the most elegant… to me there are wines are in the soil and some are in the air…this is in the air, there’s no soil…lovely wine… charming, lightness, elegance, easy to drink and not too powerful, early ripening, but also on a light soil like this you can’t ask the vine to build 13 - 13.5% alcohol they go overripe…


[Sounds of glasses clinking]


Dominque Lafon: Gouttes d'Or? So to me when you move Bouchere and Gouttes d’Or its like almost the most opposite wines you can find…my piece of Gouttes d’Or is next to Francois Mikuski and Ente…this place you can pick later, it retains energy and freshness longer…yeah a lot of energy… it’s so different, you almost don’t feel you are in the same village, if you walk from the top of Gouttes d'Or to Bouchere it might take you 5 minutes….  


[Sounds of wine tasting and slurping]


Dominique Lafon: The Poruzot – which uh, is on the northern part of Meursault, with clay, I find with the Poruzot that intensity and energy you have with the Gouttes d'Or… but its like if the subsoil is taking you toward the Genevrieres…but to me the attack when you start is like the Gouttes d'Or, and the finish is so elegant, so high tones… last to be picked on the 1er Cru, the late one, ah we’re in Meursault it’s not like we pick in October.


Brenna: Yeah it's almost like kind of a trick…even on the nose it feels really intense, you’re kind of bracing for it, and then its very soft and pretty


Brenna (Narration): Genevrieres…


Dominique Lafon: You know, it’s almost easier to drink Genevrieres than Perrieres…to be Perrieres can be impressive, where Genevrieres there is that smoothness and elegance and gentleness to it…which I really appreciate, bc um, in the end it's all about drinking and it's very comfortable drinking Genevrieres… you get floral characters, high tones flavors, almost spicy, and it's not only round and seductive you get that tension, minerality whatever you call it salinity in the finish…


Brenna: Yeah but the front of Genevrieres compared to Poruzot is wildly different…oh yeah yeah, like hitting you with a pillow…


Dominique Lafon: You get a lot of lightness and caresses and elegance in Genevrieres when you get more power in the Poruzot….and the length is amazing…it's a lovely vineyard we have… but you know those places  are more tricky to make. Those light soils go from unripe to ripe in a minute, and if you go too ripe you lose everything…when you have more soil, if you're slightly too ripe it still behaves well. As a winemaker it's very interesting to make but it needs a lot of care, a lot of attention. Heavy soil, rich soil that brings richer wine…your mistakes don't show as much…


[Sounds of wine pouring into glass]


Dominique Lafon: Meursault Charmes. That's easier to make Meursault Charmes than Genevrieres…it can stand a good ripeness…it's a more fleshy wine. Always amazing balance in the Charmes we produce…in terms of ripeness and acidity together. You can be quite ripe, quite high alcohol and retain amazing acidity…it's more intense, but I like the power of the aftertaste… 

Brenna (Narration): And finally, Perrieres…


[Sounds of wine pouring into glass]


Dominique Lafon: That was also, first to be picked with, same day as, the Boucheres… it’s um, quite um white-ish soil in Perrieres, marl. Harder to plow than Genevrieres, cause you know like the white marl it's like um, how do you say pottery, so the timing to work those soils is kind of tricky – very floral to me, kind of almost exotic on the nose… but then the mouth is just like pow! 


*Brenna agreeing*


Dominique Lafon: Pushed so much energy. Its less weight than Charmes, more intensity. To me, it's a nice combination of what we had in the Charmes and Genevrieres… but it has the quality of both wines… It’s power and elegance and tension, and you get like everything in a wine.


Dominique Lafon: To me, it’s very important to know what makes that place special. What is the character of the place, cause it’s combined with a lot of other components, which is the exposure, the altitude, the wind or no wind, the protection, the heat. We’re trying to find explanations for why does it taste like this and I think we have to be careful and quite humble. It’s part of the education we all get when we live here. Something you carry from father to son. There’s all that that adds layers to what you see in a wine, which makes it so interesting. Like I’m with two young guys now, and my daughter and my nephew and I’m trying to tell them everything… this belongs to this guy, this is how this is done, this was planted like this, because I have all this information because in 35 years you’ve seen how it was, it’s kind of complex but, it’s interesting. It’s very human also.


Brenna: Yeah, yeah - exactly. 


Dominique Lafon: And I think to put the human, on top of all that, it’s kind of interesting.


Brenna (Narration): Towards the end of the tasting I ask Dominique to tell me about his role in bringing Burgundian winemaking into the modern age…but he insists that the story has already been told, and that today he’s much more interested in exploring the innovations of the new generation, such as his daughter Lea, and nephew Pierre, and expressing his excitement in what they will accomplish.


[Transition music, tires on road]

Part 2 - Puligny + Chassagne + Montrachet

2.1 Puligny (leaving Meursault)


Brenna (Narration): As we drive out of the village of Meursault, we notice something peculiar. Even though we’re at the very base of the main slope, the village itself is on its own little hill– a mound of limestone right where you would expect the deep alluvial sediments of the Bresse graben to begin. Françoise believes that this limestone is most likely, yes you guessed it, the Chassagne limestone, and explains that its presence here is likely due to a major tectonic fault that downdropped a large block of limestone off the the slope and into the valley. 


As we drive across the invisible boundary between Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet it becomes clear that Meursault is higher in elevation than Puligny, which sits even further out onto the alluvial plain.


This has pretty incredible implications. First of all, it means there’s a distinct geologic difference between the villages of Meursault and Puligny, which is clearly reflected in the wines. 


[Piano and drums begin slowly in background]


While Meursault's village wines are amongst some of the most interesting in the Cote d’Or, the village wines of Puligny can be among some of the least interesting. The deep, potentially waterlogged alluvial sediments out on the plain are rich in heavy clay, and can produce wines that feel similar to the textural description of their soils…


…but this geologic difference also influences human behavior…


You see, without this block of solid limestone, the village of Puligny is truly closer to the underground water table, and therefore, none of the buildings have underground cellars, meaning their wines must be aged and stored above ground. Historically, long aging in a cold cellar was not stylistically possible in Puligny, and still isn't possible today without controlling the temperature in warmer months…


Above the village, the slope gradient gradually increases – forming one of the most classic, concave Burgundian slope profiles in the Côte d’Or, with a clear delineation between the 1er and Grand Crus on the gentle, mid-slope and the village wines on the flatter lower slope. 


[Sounds of car driving on road]


Male voice: And we will turn left on top. Direction to Puligny.


Brenna (Narration): To help us explore the terroirs of Puligny and Chassagne we are joined by Guillaume Lavollée of Domaine Génot Boulanger. 


Guillaume Lavollée: So here, this is the Meursault Charmes, Premier Cru. And above the road, this is Meursault Perrieres. Right here. We are now on the border, Meursault on the right, Puligny on the left. This is Meursault Charmes, this is Puligny les Combottes.


So now we are in Pulingy. So you know at the domaine we have a lot of different terroir appellations. In practice we work forty different plots. Which is a lot. So we have different appellations - especially village ones, that we blend. Especially red. So as a result we make about 30 different cuvées.


Brenna (Narration): Guillaume and his wife Aude have been at the helm of the Domaine since Aude joined her father Francois in 2008. Though they are based in Meursault, they own and farm an impressive selection of vineyards throughout the Cote de Beaune as well as a few hectares in both the Côte de Nuits (Chambolle-Musigny) and Cote Chalonnaise (Mercury).


Guillaume Lavollée: So Génot Boulanger was the family name of her great grand parents. They bought several piece of plots along their history, starting in Mercury in 1974, they bought 10 hectares from Chateau de Santenay and the year after they needed to buy something else because they did not have any building for vinification in the first purchase. And they bought the property in Meursault called Chateau de Mason, that was the beginning of the history, first vintage vinified by the domaine and bottled was ‘75. 


So now we are close to Les Folatiers, you can park here, yes.


Brenna (Narration): We arrive in the Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Folatiers…on a cold, rainy, and muddy afternoon in November.


Guillaume Lavollée: So as you can see the slope is quite flat here. Folatiers goes up to the hills, there. So you imagine how different the soil can be here, compared to over there. A specific lieu-dit of Folatieres called Chaignots.


Brenna (Narration): Folatiers lies along the upper mid slope – just one vineyard separates it from the Grand Crus of Montrachet and Chevalier Montrachet. Above Folatiers is an unplanted section of Chassagne limestone, and above that is the Puligny portion of Blagny…


In stark contrast the the bottom of the slope the soils in the upper parts of Puligny can be as thin as 20 cm, or just over ½ a foot deep.


Guillaume Lavollée: So here we have quite a lot of clay. Uh, as you can see here. And the main difference with Chassagne, that I can see, is the quantity of pieces of rocks. That we can find mixed with the clay.


Brenna: There’s lots of different rocks. Everythings like a little different. And the depth of the soil here?


Guillaume Lavollée: So probably 40-60cm. You know it when you plow, and when you touch the rock.


Brenna (Narration): Guillaume explains that this vineyard is particularly rocky, and that the soil is loamier than many of his other sites, this increase in rocks and silt means it is particularly well draining, and even on a rainy day like today our boots are only caked with a modest amount of brown mud…


[Thoughtful piano music transition…]


2.2 Chassagne-Montrachet


Brenna (Narration): Next, we drive south from Folatiers through the cluster of Grand Cru vineyards and into the village of Chassagne Montrachet. The border between Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet goes right through the most famous white wine vineyard of all, Le Montrachet – allowing both villages to call it their own.


Just past the Grand Crus is a large valley with a major highway, the former RN (Route National)  6, that takes you all the way up into Saint Aubin… on the opposite side of the valley is the incredibly steep slope that marks the main slope of Chassagne, with the Chassagne quarry right at the top.


Guillaume Lavollée: So we are driving through the Premier Cru of Chassagne Montrachet… on the right you have Les Chenvottes… turn left, on top here is the beginning of Les Vergers. But in Les Vergers there are several subdivisions, this is the main Verger part where we go now it’s a part called Petangerais… Below Petangerais, we own the second plot in Les Pacelles. All this lieux-dit they compose the full appellation Verger. Quarry over there… and just below the quarry it’s the Clos Saint Jean. We own a small piece of plot in Clos Saint Jean as well. White.


Jerusha Frost: Is Clos Saint Jean mostly red?

Guillaume Lavollée: Clos Saint Jean is mostly red, absolutely. Yes. And famous for being red. Probably one of the most beautiful terroir for red in Chassagne.


*Brenna makes a sound of interest*


Guillaume Lavollée: Keep two wheels on the road.


Brenna: Just in case.


Guillaume Lavollée:  Ya, ok, great, great.


[sound of car doors opening]


Guillaume Lavollée: It is always most secure to have one or two wheels on the road… **chuckles** when it’s wet.


Guillaume Lavollée: So the idea is to show you this plot… which is a special… we can have a look from the top and then go inside. So this is the Premier Cru Les Vergers here and below. This part is a specific Clos inside Les Vergers called Clos Saint Martre that we don’t use on the label because we plant, as I explained in the car, these plots with another plot of Vergers situated in Les Pacelles, below. It’s the Clos in between this murgers and the wall over there. We are three different owners inside this Clos, so we are on the top of the appellation Chassagne and let’s go this way. 


Guillaume Lavollée: Look at that.


Brenna: Yeah! Oh…


Guillaume Lavollée: It’s like iron, we find a lot here in Chassagne and Les Vergers, everywhere.


Brenna: Can we go all the way? Is that ok?


Guillaume Lavollée: Until the end? Of course ya sure.


[Sounds of footsteps on soils]


Guillaume Lavollée: You can see here how red the soil is compared to the top. We planted many cover crops that we just destroyed, recently, before the fall. 


[sound of hatchet hitting soil/rock]


Jerusha Frost: Is it something naturally occurring from the soil?


Brenna: I mean I don’t know, there is a lot of them. See this shape, the geologic description for it is called botryoidal hematite because it looks like a grape bunch.


Jerusha Frost: You can really see it.


Brenna (Narration): Scattered throughout the vineyard are several lumps of dense nodules of pure, iron (metal)– their bubbly bulbous texture looks just like a bunch of grapes, so geologists call it botryoidal hematite. These odd looking globs of iron are often mistaken for meteorites –instead they form from iron rich solutions that circulate through the limestone rocks as they’re buried. Along with the deep red color of the soil here, they clearly indicate that these soils contain a lot of iron…


[sound of hatchet hitting soil/rock]


Guillaume Lavollée: Maybe on these parts we can find pieces of rocks.


Brenna: It’s the Chassagne limestone. It’s appropriate.


Guillaume Lavollée:  Yes, it’s appropriate. And for years we had it in the living room as well, at home.


This is the part of Chassagne where we have mostly Chardonnay, but we could, if we wanted to, plant Pinot Noir here… this is one of the appellations that allows to do it. But the terroir of Clos Saint Jean over there, is more appropriate and famous for Pinot Noir. The type of terroir we find beginning in Clos Saint Jean, not here, is similar to what we find in Côte de Nuit.


Brenna (Narration): South of the village of Chassagne, a major geologic shift occurs beneath the surface, and with it, pinot noir begins to take over the slope once again… tectonic activity has faulted and rearranged the rocks south of the village of Chassagne causing a resurgence of the geologically older rock types typically found in the Côte de Nuit.

Jasper Morris: And the problem with Chassagne Montrachet is that most of the village vineyards should be planted in red not white.


Brenna: In what way do you identify those soils in vineyards?


Jasper Morris: Only by the result.I think they are enough geologically. It’s not in the color of the topsoil as we were discussing the other night, in so far that Montrachet is quite red in color so I think it’s more what is going on underneath but it does depend on what sort of wine you want to make. I mean I think everybody in the marketplace agrees, probably, that too much has been switched from red to white.

Brenna (Narration): Jasper, Paul, and many others are madly in love with the red wines of Chassagne, and each have stories of countless blind tastings where someone has been led into the Côte de Nuit by a well placed Chassagne Rouge…Paul describes the wines as rich in iron, feral, and almost bloody…


And it’s not just Chassagne…The famed white wine villages of the Côte D’Or come to an end here… further south both Santenay and Maranges are more noted for their red wines than for Chardonnay. 


Could it possibly be a coincidence that the grape plantings follow this geologic pattern so clearly? 

Jerusha Frost: You know what it’s like, it’s like frosting a cake and scraping the scraper off.


Guillaume Lavollée: Absolument


Brenna (Narration): As we scrape the red clay off of our shoes before getting back into the car, we’re impressed by the diversity of vineyards that produce exceptional chardonnay…


[Sound of team scraping clay off shoes]


Guillaume Lavollée: You know why we call it terre amoureuse **chuckles**


Brenna: Yeh,It just won’t let you go.


Guillaume Lavollée: Won’t let you go, exactly **chuckles**


Brenna (Narration): Later, when we return back to domaine Génot Boulanger, we taste a vertical of wines from these vineyards spanning several different vintages, Guillaume describes and demonstrates how the terroirs evolve through time…each one remaining distinct from the others, but developing along its own personal trajectory… adding yet another dimension to the idea of the expression of a place.


[Upbeat transition music]

Brenna (Narration): But for now, we have an appointment with the master of Burgundian terroirs, our geological guide Françoise Vannier, in the grandest Grand Cru of the Côte de Beaune… Montrachet is one of the few vineyards in the Côte D’Or that was out of reach long before the wines of Burgundy were world famous.

2.3 Le Montrachet(s)


Paul Wasserman: It’s been famous forever, it’s always been the greatest white wine in Burgundy and the furthest books I have that will actually describe it are from the 18th century. It is just so obviously great.


Brenna (Narration): The Montrachet vineyards are nestled beneath a small, unplanted, convexity on the slope of Chassagne limestone called Mont-Rachet.


Paul Wasserman: Well let's start with that Mont Rachet means basically the bald mountain. It was so stony that very little grew on it.


Brenna (Narration): Above the Mont-Rachet is the village of Saint Aubin…below it the vineyard Chevalier-Montrachet, then Montrachet, then Batard Montrachet, and finally Bienvenues Batard Montrachet.


According to Jasper Morris, there is evidence of vines planted in Montrachet back to 1252. Though it’s unclear when the legends of its greatness spread around the world,  we know its value was prized by the mid 1800s, with even Thomas Jefferson cited as a fan. Dr Lavalle himself wrote that the wines should be considered as one of those rare marvels of which only a small number of the chosen are permitted to appreciate the perfection…and that he who is able to purchase some bottles of the best vintages should be satisfied that whatever the price, he will never have paid too much”.


As of this recording a bottle of 2010 Leflaive Montrachet is listed for sale online for 25k/bottle, I can’t help but wonder what Dr. Lavalle would think…


Françoise Vannier: You see how thin the soil is and how close to the surface the rock is. It is still the Chassagne limestone. Boring. 




And below there is a Grand Cru 


Paul Wasserman: Montrachet split between Chassagne and Puligny, just below it Batard is the same thing, above the Montrachet Chevalier. That’s all in Puligny.


Françoise Vannier: You had, once upon a time,  a long time ago, you've got a fault, a very big, huge fault between the Chassagne limestone to the west and the marl ….. And because the marls were easy to erode, the marls disappeared. So you’ve got le Montrachet, with a little part onto the Chassagne limestone but most of le Mont Rachet is native by the fault planes there.


Paul Wasserman: How do they taste? Montrachet is the most regal, it combines power, it combines minerality, there's a sense of weight but it’s not a warm weight like Perriere has, it’s a big, beautiful, not over the top wine. My favorite and a lot of people's favorite is often Chevalier Montrachet. It’s above it, the slope gets steeper. I’m sure the soils have nothing to do with one another, there’s apparently a fault between the two and it is racy and cutting and full of energy and also has quite a bit of power.


Brenna (Narration): Françoise and I drive up to the very top of Chevalier Montrachet searching for an elusive outcrop of white, fossiliferous marl …


[Driving sounds, Françoise giving directions]


Françoise Vannier: And this is the upper part of le Montrachet, here. You’ve got the… marl. If I am not too bad but I could find…. It’s looking like a hard few centimeters.


So this one is a little jurassic marl and not a -- jurassic marl, it’s not the same.


Brenna (Narration): And we then drive back down the slope, to the road with Montrachet on one side and Batard Montrachet just below it…


Paul Wasserman: Bâtard, definitely a difference in geology. It's a powerful wine, it’s powerful, cuddly, it needs a lot of age to get over its baby fat, let’s just put it that way. It ages effortlessly, because of its weight and old Batard’s can be just incredible wines. 


Françoise Vannier: The alluviums that have accumulated are very rapidly very thick… its funny also but because you have Grand Cru and in the minds of most people from Grand Cru you should have Jurassic substratum, but, to my opinion that's not completely true in Puligny-Montrachet.


Paul Wasserman: North of it is Bienvenue, it’s not very liked because it’s kind of skinny and thin, but that’s why I love it…I think it’s so graceful, so pretty, I don't really care if it fits more with the top of the Premier Crus or not.


And then the last one left is Criot, so Criot is less than 2 hectares I believe, it’s at the south end of Bâtard, and it’s so small and there are so few examples that everybody kind of poo poos it  –it’s powerful, the examples I know are just Lamy and d'Auvenay and they are so brilliant that I wouldn't say it lacks any stuffing whatsoever …part of that may be linked to their farming, those two wines are certainly brilliant…


Brenna (Narration): The fault that separates Montrachet from Chevalier above it has dropped down a tiny, little, sliver of geologically younger rocks– right  into the center of the vineyard…


Françoise Vannier: We can walk quickly to see the fault, if you wish?


[Sounds of getting out of car, car doors slamming]


Brenna (Narration): Together, we walk directly up to the fault plane at the top of Le Montrachet…


Brenna: So this is the soils of the Ladoix?


Françoise Vannier: Yes, once again a typical white soil for white wines… **chuckles** I'm just kidding, it works perfectly, I agree… it’s quite dark but the soil it is dark brown.


To my opinion this is one of the faces of the with ferruginous oolite, this one.


Brenna: Oh wow it really changes.


Françoise Vannier: And I think it is a fault plane, with a crust of calcite and breccia below.


*tink tink*


Françoise Vannier: You see everything has been recemented and broken and recrystalized.


Brenna: And so it is the actual plan of the fault?


Françoise Vannier: Yes, yes.


Brenna: That’s really cool.


Françoise Vannier: Voila voila… you’ve got the road and somewhere after you find the end of the Ladoix limestone and the pinch out of the pliocene and cretonary deposits… so here it is, for once the monks work properly….**chuckle** I’m just joking, as you can see, I’m not convinced the monks did everything…


Brenna (Narration): I love the idea of this phenomenal, spiritual, and indescribably perfect terroir – it’s not a result of the perfect singular piece of limestone perfectly situated on the slope – but of a balance of extremes – Montrachet is not the bald mountain above nor the deep alluvial clay below – it’s both, and so much more… as James Wilson describes in his book Terroir…it’s the royal plasma of a marvelous geologic heritage…

Part 3 - Saint Aubin

3.1 Style, Farming as a Style…


[Light airy transtional music]


Brenna (Narration): Thinking about the wines of Montrachet and the levels of grandeur that surround it really makes you think about what role winemaking has to play in the world of white Burgundy. If vineyards like Montrachet are so exceptional, does it really take a certain skill, or style, to make a Grand Cru? 


Paul Wasserman: Yeah, well actually there’s a little nuance there. You can make red wine, but you age white wine. Because there’s no maceration - you press directly. 


* Paul talking fades out*


Brenna (Narration): In the simplest sense, all you really do to make white wine is pick the grapes, press off the juice, and let it ferment. So, hypothetically, any differences in the wine itself must come from differences in the vineyard… of course, that isn’t entirely true. Though the style of white winemaking might be a little less obvious– maybe a bit more focused on detail and nuance, there are still plenty of stylistic decisions to be made.


Paul Wasserman: The first decision which very much affects the style is whether you're picking early. The harvest date is crucial. Everybody presses in whole clusters, nobody destems whites, but before that you can crush or not. And then, I guess it’s about sulfur and that’s a big thing right now as well. Even people that use classic amounts of sulfur a little later, may today choose to vinify without sulfur whatsoever… 


*Pauls talking fades out*


Brenna (Narration): And there’s more too– such as size and toast of the barrel, settling of the lees, battonage, racking, length of aging etc that all influence the taste of the wine –


As winemaking got more precise, and white burgundy became more coveted, certain styles of white burgundy, such as heavy oak, reduction, and even minerality became more and more popular. Suddenly it began to feel like you weren’t tasting terroir very often at all anymore, just another concoction of oak and sulfur. 


Paul Wasserman: I’m a big believer that sulfur creates this impression of minerality, however it’s not just sulfur.


*Paul laughing*


Paul Wasserman: Minerality is real. I want more of that true density, not the sulfur kind. I don’t care if it comes from Montrachet, but you know… over-tailed, chemical oaked, 100pm sulfur or more, can’t drink it anymore.


Brenna (Narration): There was a time when I really wanted to dig into this idea – to understand each piece of this puzzle, but the more I looked into it… the more I kept hearing the same thing…


Paul Wasserman: Almost even more than reds, what you do in the vineyards with Chardonnay is really important. Because great farming actually is what makes the finish of white Burgundy. Because it’s not tannin. If Chardonnay’s going to remain a relevant great wine for Burgundy - it starts in the vineyards and you see it in the great farmers. These finishes that are lengthening, that are getting salty that are getting so acidic even in warm vintages. You’re going like, no I know they don’t acidify but it’s so surprisingly fresh.


[Light transitional music…]


Brenna (Narration): I heard a very similar sentiment from every grower we spoke to and also during several conversations with the super sommelier turned winemaker Rajat Parr. Sure, there is style in winemaking. But when it comes to white Burgundy, farming just has to come first. 


And although this is becoming increasingly important with climate change today, this isn’t a new idea… it’s actually a concept shared by some of the original great names …such as the Moreys and the Leflaives.


I asked Anne to tell me the story of how her father and Anne Claude Leflaive learned about biodynamics… just to note– the sounds you’ll hear in the background are of a horse getting ready to plow the parcel we’re standing in…


Anne Morey: My father has always been very careful about the vines, and he was really concerned about changes in the vineyard, since the 70’s with every year new products to spray on the vines but he didn’t know exactly which way to go because, you know, at the beginning of the 70’s organic method was, in vines or in general, were usually people who not wanting to work too much, be cool, everything will go perfectly. So he knew for a long time there was something which was necessary to change, but he didn’t know exactly which way to go. 


[Sounds of chains and horse…]


Anne Morey: She’ll go probably in Dominique vineyard… *referring to the horse*


Anne Morey (continues): And uh, when he started to work at Leflaive at the end of 80’s he said okay, some really big domaine with a lot of beautiful appellations and I will probably find all the answers I’m looking for. And he was very surprised it was the opposite, and the soils were in a terrible stage and a few years after Anne Claude arrived, she figured there was something wrong very quickly. Because she was really a person feeling the things, and she met a lot of people Claude Bourguignon, Francois Bucher, the first man to really advise us in biodynamic method)...


*Anne fades out*


Brenna (Narration): Though Leflaive was certainly not the first biodynamic producer in the Côte d’O they were one of the most important thanks to Anne Claude Leflaive, the granddaughter of Joseph Leflaive who founded the domaine. Anne Claude’s presence is legendary in Burgundy, as was her conviction and desire to educate others. 


Anne Morey: And then Anne Claude arrived, and then they started organic and quickly organic and biodynamic and chemical, and then very quickly they stopped all chemical and we did the exactly the same in our own domaine. And he was convinced that it was perhaps not the only way, but a good way. We served each other in that way. It’s really nice.


Brenna (Narration): Over time, Anne Claude became completely committed to the environment and of her role as a steward to these precious pieces of our planet. She even started a school for biodynamics called École du Vin et Terroirs in 2008 along with several other important growers in the region, which was attended by many of Burgundy's great winemakers of today…


Sadly, she passed away from cancer in 2015 at only 59, but left behind a legacy of thoughtfulness and respect for the land that you can still feel in Burgundy today.


Anne Morey: And we use more and more plants sprayed in the vineyards, also, not only biodynamic like Steiner did and advised, we work with everything, it can be fine for life, for example we plow sometimes with horse also. Because we find it’s really interesting to work with horse. It’s amazing really. And probably the influence of the animal itself is important.


[Sounds of horse plowing…]


Brenna (Narration): And so, even though we set out to learn about style in the context of winemaking…we became much more interested in styles of farming…


[Light airy transitional music…]

3.2 Lamy


[Guitar and piano music plays]


Brenna (Narration): Just above the Montrachet Grand Crus, lies a totally different world – the tucked away, high elevation village of St. Aubin. Some of the best vineyards of St. Aubin begin less than 200 meters away from Chevalier Montrachet, just over the Mont Rachet itself…


Olivier Lamy: This is a small piece of land, there is no appellation, you can plant but it’s Bourgogne, but the name of the climat is le Mont Ratchet, *laughs* Mont Rachet, it’s little hill with no hair…


Brenna (Narration): We’re joined in St Aubin by one of the most revolutionary farmers and winemakers in the region, Olivier Lamy of Domaine Hubert Lamy 


Paul Wasserman: So you have Chassagne over there under the quarry and Blagny directly too on the same altitude as we are right now. 


Paul Wasserman: Saint Aubin is very different because it’s like crescent shaped. You have things that look south, almost south-west in some places. Immediately to your right there are very very steep, and above them you have a plateau. When you enter the valley and you make an abrupt 90 degree turn to the left, and then you're staring at a whole hillside of vineyard. That are basically a parallel to the Cote and those are the iconic vineyards of St. Aubin in the sense that your full of white marl, they’re incredibly steep you're in the combe and basically you're producing some of the sharpest most electric wines of the Cote d’Or. You have as serious amount of talent in St. Aubin actually.


Theres Lamy, another one of my favorite domaines is Jean-Claude Bachelet, you have obviously people like Pierre and Anne Morey making a fair amount of St. Aubin, you have natty people too Derain so you’ve got a certain amount of people right now now who are making great enough wine that it’s really dragging the appellation out of obscurity. And nobody does that better than Olivier Lamy, and we owe a great deal of debt to his father who just passed away, because his father basically built the domaine before Olivier arrived and Olivier came along and took it to an entirely different level and yeah, he’s kind of my shining star right now in white wine making, because it’s so different and so energetic. Basically everything he does emphasizes this vertically, this connection to the soil, they’re incredible wines. He’s frankly one of the great visionaries for white Burgundy. 


Brenna (Narration): I first visited Olivier several years ago, and was completely enthralled by his energy, enthusiasm, and profoundly terroir-driven wines. He, however, is still a little bit shocked by how many rocks I collected from his vineyards…


Olivier Lamy: You take some rocks in your pockets. *Laughing*


Brenna: I need more!


Brenna (Narration): We head first to the south west facing vineyards Murgers des Dents de Chiens at the top of the slope, and En Remilly just below it.


Paul Wasserman: That hill has incredible vineyards, some just above Chevalier-Montracter. I could drink either of those two wines for the rest of my life and not need any other white Burgundy. They’re incredibly stony wines. He had to drag stones out of the place. That’s a palace where terroir had to be a little modified by people to plant vineyards. They are racy like hell. I mean like they are so stony. 


[Sounds of walking]


Paul Wasserman: Murger is a small wall, it’s because the rocks that are under here are really jagged and they are called “dents des chiens”


Olivier Lamy: Last time when you visit, ten years ago. You take some piece of rock here. Here, this one, this one, this one… *laughing* And then the wall break in the middle.


Paul Wasserman: It’s not the same as what you find over there, it’s very hard limestone. The limestone that has holes in it.


Olivier Lamy: (in french) Les belles pierres avec les trous? Les gens les ont pris pour faire des décorations dans le jardin.


Paul Wasserman: *translating* There’s almost none of those rocks left because people take them to put in their gardens as decorations.


Brenna: Uh oh.


Paul Wasserman: These are not the “Dents des Chiens” these are “laves”.


[Light piano keys playing]


Brenna (Narration): Dents des chiens translates to the teeth of the dog, and is named after the sharp, odd-shaped rocks that crop out in the cliff face just below us. Dents des chiens is a colloquial term and can actually be several different kinds of vertically fractured, massive, fine-grained limestones that weather into this particular jagged form.


In contrast, the weathering pattern of the rocks beneath our feet is more horizontal, more shaley or platelike and is called laves.


Brenna: En Remilly is right over there?


Olivier Lamy: It’s the same here, you have hard limestone, more like this… ça depend… The bottom is very hard limestone, after this you have more of this in the middle, more on the top… C’est de la roche tres dure avec des petites bulles comme les dents de chiens. C’est au dessus de Remilly, c’est plus proche des Dents de chiens en type de sol mais avec pas la meme altitude, pas la meme inclinaison non plus


Paul Wasserman: *translating for Lamy* Okay so in the geological cut normally there's very hard limestone at the bottom, there's this in the middle, and there’s the real dents des chiens with the holes at the top.


Oliver Lamy: Like this one.


Brenna: Oooh!


Paul Wasserman: The one on top of the wall with the holes.


Brenna: Uh huh.


Paul Wasserman: That’s a dents des chiens.


[Sounds of stones moving, sounds of hammers hitting rocks]


Brenna (Narration): We then head over to the east facing slope of Saint Aubin, almost completely perpendicular to this one…


Olivier Lamy: It’s a mix of white marl and… l’éboulis calcaire?


Paul Wasserman: Skree? Right? L’éboulis calcaire?


Brenna: That’s just so different in color.


Olivier Lamy: It’s more humid so it’s more brown, but when it’s dry it will be white.


[Door slamming, sounds of footsteps walking on gravel]


Paul Wasserman: That’s a little rounder because of the clay, a little more, you know - fat. And then the top is like super mineral. Let’s go drink. Merci, Olivier.


[Sounds of footsteps on soil, upbeat music]


Brenna (Narration): As we drive back to the domaine, we pause right in front of an old stone house in front of the vineyard Derriere Chez Eduoard…


[Inaudible conversations in French with Olivier Lamy and neighbor Eduoard]


Brenna (Narration): Finally, we head into the cellar to taste some wines and discuss what we’ve just observed.


[Light music, sounds of clinking glasses, filling glasses]


Olivier Lamy: Saint Aubin Les Frionnes. One year in the barrique now it’s in vat. The mineral salt gives it a chalky taste, good energy, with the zip that you will, like... pile volt?


Paul Wasserman: 9 volt battery. But in the world of Lamy, that’s a broad wine. 


Olivier Lamy: You see vintage ‘20, it’s more dry.


Paul Wasserman: Very dry. So, because of these conditions you had to pick really ripe to get phenolic ripeness so it’s a broad vintage.


Olivier Lamy: Less classy than usual.


Paul Wasserman: So you get classic Derriere Chez Edouard, and then high density Derriere Chez Edouard to compare. Both in ‘19.


Brenna (Narration): We’re about to taste Lamy’s high density plantings that we just drove past…


In order to appreciate how fascinating these wines are you need to understand the basics of vine planting density. Globally, Burgundy is already known for having high density plantings–with a standard density of 10k vines per hectare – simply put, they plant 1 vine per meter. This density is considered extreme in dryer places like California, with different farming philosophies. Olivier’s standard vines are planted at about 14k vines/hectare, his middle-density plantings are 20k vines/hectare, and his HIGH density plots are at an absolutely astounding 30k vines/hectare, meaning there are three vines planted within every meter! 


Olivier Lamy: That’s a classic cuvée of Chez Edouard.


Paul Wasserman: That’s…


Olivier Lamy: Classic is ‘14 or ‘20. High density in ‘19, is a very - tres beau.


Paul Wasserman: So, he had an intern who focused on high density a few years ago. So he actually has numbers for you, and what it does for the grapes.


Olivier Lamy: A normal size in Burgundy is 150 grams, my ‘17 vintage, on high density was 30 grams.


Brenna (Narration): Another thing to clarify here, is that even though it might seem like planting more vines would give you more fruit, it actually increases the competition between the vines so much that it decreases your overall yield. So more vines, more work, less wine…but…Olivier believes it’s more than worth it in terms of the quality of the wines and their increased expression of terroir and minerality.


Olivier Lamy: But you see, there is not the same weight of grapes, but the same water, but the same skin…


Brenna (Narration): Olivier pours the high density version of Derriere Chez Eduoard…


Paul Wasserman: It’s like you took a wet towel and took all the humidity out of it. That’s how the finish tastes to me. It’s like wrung dry. It’s so… c’est intense non?


Olivier Lamy: It’s like… pump of terroir… high density because more vine, make more competition.


Paul Wasserman: His father planted the first parcel by mistake. His father had 1000 square meters to plant, ordered 1000 plants, but he’d forgotten there was a little bit of a terrace so there was only room for 700, what Olviier says himself, is that it was the concern of a peasant - I want my yield. He put all 1000 vines in, thinking he would get the same yield. It’s not what happened.


*Paul chuckling*


Olivier Lamy: More work, less yield. Maybe it’s not very good for economic business, but the different taste for me, different wine.


Paul Wasserman: It’s more labor!


Olivier Lamy: Yes, it’s three times more work for three times less grapes. We like this wine, for him it’s a good surprise, but after don’t invent anything. For 10 centuries it was like this, in Burgundy.


Paul Wasserman: It was those densities pre-Phyloxera. It was 20-30 thousand, maybe more even. Champagne as well even. When the densities went lower, it wasn’t a qualitative decision, it was for the ease of work. First it was for horses…


Olivier Lamy: In France, it was Napoleon… 


Brenna (Narration): Olivier goes on to say that historically, the planting densities in Burgundy were always this high…and have only decreased since the 19th Century. He explains that during this time much of the water in France was unsafe to drink, and that Napoleon himself was urging winegrowers to increase their yields as much as possible.


Olivier Lamy: Sometimes there is question about quantity. What do you like sometimes people need more volume sometimes they need more quality. But if you like, make more quality you need people to pay this quality. Sometimes it doesn’t work.


Paul Wasserman: You have to be ready to spend more time, three more babies. It’s like having triplets.


Olivier Lamy: With the new climate, more hot and dry. I’m not sure - new vintage maybe not the right way.


Paul Wasserman: You're not sure high density is good for warm vintages. Dry vintages.


Olivier Lamy: In french… manque d’eau…


Paul Wasserman (translating): There’s things you need to look at… hedging, well not hedging.


Olivier Lamy: For long term it’s good. Some vintage could be more difficult then some other ones.


Brenna (Narration): As we’ve learned, farming is key to the expression of a great terroir, but here Paul points out that it's not as simple and just good vs bad farming, there’s a lot of  personality to each farmer’s philosophy…one of the hot button topics of today is concerning the use of tilling and cover crops.


[Light airy transitional music]

3.3 Vin Noe


Jonathn Purcell: So this is… the Chateniere; it’s one of the vines I farm. It’s one of the vines that JJ farmed as well. Everything that I am leasing at the moment, comes from them, actually. 


Brenna (Narration): For our last stop of the day, we are visiting with Jonathan Purcell, of the natural wine sensation, Vin Noé.


Jonathn Purcell: It’s just kind of special in the sense that you can’t really farm it with a tractor – it doesn’t pass at all – so it’s all hand done. I try to keep it pretty wild with a good diversity of plants and kind of in the spirit that Jean-Jacques made his wines.


Brenna (Narration): We’re joined again by the photographer, restaurateur, and importer Michael Sager, who brings Jon’s wines into the UK. 


Jonathn Purcell: In the other two vineyards I’ve taken over… I’ve changed a bit of the soilwork; we do horse plowing now. But this one I’ve just decided to keep it pretty simple, pretty limited plowing. We plowed two times in March, and then since then it was all just either cutting the grass or hoeing by hand.


Michael Sager (distantly): And in what state were they in?


Jonathn Purcell: This is all quite a lot of grass and plants. It was much higher, yeah. All the vineyards were like, no till, organic, really beautiful though; totally different way of farming than you typically see in Burgundy. Everything is typically plowed to the point where there’s nothing growing. I think it gives something to this wine though; it always stands out for me. 


Brenna (Narration): For a long time it seemed as though the natural wine scene was relatively absent from the Côte d’Or, but lately the movement of natural wine and the farming practices that go along with it, have made their presence known.


Aaron Ayscough: For me, it’s simply a new system of aesthetics with regards to wine that takes into account the farming, the vinification, how those things really end up yielding all that we experience when we smell the wine, when we tasting the wine, but also when we integrate the wine into our bodies when we actually drink it.


Brenna (Narration): This is Aaron Ayscough, writer of substack newsletter “Not Drinking Poison” and author of the just-released-book The World of Natural Wine. I asked him how he defines this sometimes controversial term. 


Aaron Ayscough: To some extent it is an acknowledgment that the palate is not just your nose and your tongue. That the palate is the whole organism, and how that relates to how something was farmed and how something was produced. It’s an approach to wine that is sensitive to those things.  


Brenna (Narration): I’m a big fan of Aaron’s fresh perspective and thoughtful outlook on what’s happening in Burgundy today, so we’ll talk with him much more in a future episode, but for now, I’ve asked him to help introduce Jon.


Aaron Ayscough: For me, Jon’s story is like the greatest fairytale happening to the person who deserves it most. {*chuckles*} I love Jon. He’s really got a beautiful touch on winemaking; very intuitive, not trying to imitate certain styles. He’s unusual in how quietly radical he is as well, in that he’s sulfited, he says, one wine so far is ‘17 Juliennas, the first vintage, because it just seems like what you do. So he added 15 or 20 milligrams or something at bottling, and he didn’t feel like it helped at all so he’s since stopped since then. Which, even within the context of all the wonderful, photogenic, cosmopolitan, young, natural winemakers in Burgundy, many of them are not that radical. And then, from what I understand, I think he met Jean-Jacques at a bar. It’s such a beautiful story because for Jon to be able to take on vines that have a twenty year history in organic, low yield, basically unplowed, organic permaculture is just, there’s no one else who’s ever done that. {*chuckles with disbelief*}


[Transition music] 


Brenna (Narration): Jon is from California, but has been in Burgundy since 2012 and worked for the legendary Philip Pacalet for many years. He started Vin Noé as a small micro-negociant in 2017. The label was initially based out of Chris Santini’s collective in Auxey–Duresse and focused on wines from Beaujolais. Through a bit of luck, or perhaps fate, Jon met Jean-Jacques Morel, or JJ, a few years ago. As the two formed a quick friendship, Jon learned that JJ had also been doing something quietly radical for the past twenty years.


Aaron Ayscough: My theory is that he was extremely quiet about his viticultural methods while he was in activity because he was even among his immediate peer-group within organic winemakers, what he was doing was considered lazy, or was considered cruel to the vines, or considered far too strange. I mean, like, his closest peer throughout his career, Jean-Jacques, was Dominique Daurin in Saint-Aubin who’s another hugely important figure in Burgundy natural winemaking. But, Daurin really is a little more, you know, old school vineyard manager in terms of, you know, how he’s applying organics and biodynamics. Whereas, to do the kind of yields Jean-Jacques was doing year after year after year is really a major thought experiment. 


Brenna (Narration): JJ soon invited Jon to lease his wild and experimental vineyards, an incredible opportunity for a young, natural winemaking American in Burgundy. 


Jonathan Purcell: They planted it by hand, no tractor, dug the holes and planted the vines. I think it was plowed maybe once or twice.


 [Highway traffic in the background, cars occasionally zoom past or honk]


Jonathan Purcell (continues): The vines that are here are like, really healthy and really strong. If you give them a little bit of love, they grow really well. Yields are very low but that’s fine, that’s how it is. When you work with a bit of grass and you’re not boosting everything all the time, you definitely lose yield but you gain another thing so, yeah. It’s one of the more storied vineyards in Saint-Aubin, you could say. *Brenna enthusiastically agrees in the background* Chateniere Lamy’s vineyard is right there! 


Before that was put in this was like the old “Nationale 6”, before they had the “A6”, this was the road to Paris. So Paris to Marseille was this road, and they made that highway, and now they have the other road. So we’re pretty much directly south facing here, a little bit southwest. In a really hot year it’s complicated. The soil here is very, very thin, and we’re kind of on a lip of limestone. This is probably the most unique place I’ve worked, just working since the past ten years just because you can’t really use a machine. The plant life here is just nuts! This is a kind of sage, oregano; there’s different types of mint and there’s fennel growing everywhere. It’s a really Mediterranean site in a way. In the middle of winter we have barbecues here, and we're warm, you know. {*Brenna gasps with delight*}


With the sun hitting the rock, if you sit there {*gesture implied*} in the middle of January, you’re fine. It feels like summertime. There’s a sense of abundance and life. And I think it’s also because of Jean-Jeacuqes. I think he gives something to the vineyards that he planted that… *scoffs* I don’t know! Maybe it’s a bit like spiritual or something but consciously I know what he was doing so I kind of have that grain in the back of my mind, it’s always there. I really try to really do as little as possible, to the extreme of sometimes having a lot of work to do!


[*Jon and Brenna laugh together*]


Jonathan Purcell: Because if you let things grow and it starts to get into the vines, it is a bit annoying. But otherwise I really try to keep it pretty minimal, even with spraying. Plowing is the same. Just kind of let it express itself. 


Breanna: But this parcel has been not-tilled for twenty years probably? 


Jonathan Purcell: All three of them were not tilled for twenty years.


Brenna: Oh okay and so…


Jonathan Purcell: (interjects with excitement) He was doing no-till before it was popular. {*chuckles*} Really special. Totally not what you’d expect here or really anywhere. Especially with, like, really high-density plantations. And now that’s kind of in fashion but it definitely wasn’t with his neighbors when he started. He made a lot of enemies, probably, but that’s not his fault. So we try to manage everything with a strong winter cover-crop, which is not revolutionary or anything. That’s still like, pretty modern for here, but the thing is in the summer the soil is still pretty open. That’s something to work on because when you do start plowing it’s a huge intervention, right? You’re turning over the soil; you’re exposing all of those little bugs and worms to the sun, which is not especially good; but you’re trying to promote the growth of your vine. You define that balance. So, here it seems to work to plow very little, and so we’re trying to do that with the horse as well. I think he only went through four times last year, for the whole cycle. But we can improve.


Michael Sager: You’ve got to forgive me, but I don’t know the difference, so the…


Jonathan Purcell: Tilling is like ripping the soil, just like teeth. Your plow will have like four or five teeth on it and you just put it in the ground and rip it; and it makes clumps of dirt and it kind of goes everywhere. 


Michael Sager: So plowing is like just a way of turned mounds… *indistinct*


Jonathan Purcell: Yeah, exactly. More like what you would do with a garden. Every season you, like, turn over your garden and then replant for that season. I think that’s a better way to look at it for the vineyards too than just ripping, and, like, just destroying your complexity. I don’t know if I’m right. I’m not an agronomist, but when you do turn over the soil you have all the plants intact and you have decomposition that’s more interesting, especially with a cover crop. I think that’s what you’re looking for. It creates better soil structure and protects your soil from being burnt up by the sun. The modern thing to do here is to till six, seven, eight, times a year. 


Michael Sager: Just with the aim of destroying all competition.


Jonathan Purcell: Yeah, exactly. That was my job for six years. {*Laughs*} After doing it for that long, you just never win. And not that you should win, but you’re just battling something that doesn’t even exist. I think people view it as, like, a fight against bad grass, you know. In French, they always say “mauvaises herbes”. But there’s not really a “mauvaises herbes”. There’s herbs that indicate certain things that are wrong with your parcel that you don’t want to see. Everybody grows, uh, morning glory and chardon. That’s all they grow here because those are the only two plants that survive when you drive through your vineyard every week with a tractor. I mean, your soil is so compacted and so destroyed that you have to throw on, uh, five times of compost per year, and plow it fifteen times. So yeah, that’s one way to see it and I think that’s going to be outdated quite soon. I think a lot of people that do think about soilwork and farming are changing, and I think the future is looking with your site and the plants that grow there; or, finding a balance between a cover crop that allows you to manage the soil in a way that you feel is appropriate for you to farm your land. The other philosophical divide sometimes, especially in natural wine, is “well, at what point do you let your vineyard survive on its own, and at what point is it ‘farmed entity’ – is it natural?” I think it’s not entirely natural in the sense that we planted these vines here so you do have to take care of it, but there’s different ways to take care of it in a smart way. And I’m not saying that I do it the best but the idea is to always be improving. And with respect to what you guys are interested in with the terroir, I think it’s super important to talk about plants and your diversity based on the site, right, and the soil, mother rock, probably. But that’s also what gives you a good wine. It’s a big adventure, yeah!


Brenna (Narration): We continue walking through this surprising vineyard, snacking on fennel as we walk and feeling as though we are in a different world entirely. It’s kind of like we’re still in Burgundy but a different Burgundy. Like a dream about Burgundy or maybe a parallel universe where this place never became the world-famous behemoth that it is today –  a place where land is passed down, not through family ties but through philosophical ties that feel just as strong, and where the vines grow wild in concert with the plants between them. 


[*sound of a car slowing passing by on a road*]


Brenna (Narration): To end our day, we drive up the hill, right back to where we started. 


Jonathan Purcell: This is where you guys were, right? So that’s Puligny down there.


Brenna: Ah!


Jonathan Purcell: Yeah!


Michael Sager: Do you see the shoot-off over here?


Jonathan Purcell: Today you can’t really see it, but normally you can. It’s a bit cloudy over there, but it’s basically where the horizon is.


Jonathan Purcell: So we’re going to slow down…


[*sound of tires slowly rolling over gravel*]


Jonathan Purcell: A little bit farther. Right here, where the branches are old. 


[*Indistinct chatter & unbuckling of seatbelts from the car. A door opens and shuts.*]


Brenna: And that’s Blagny!


Jonathan Purcell: Exactly. That’s Blagny. Everything up here, in this bowl, on more or less like this plateau behind this forest bit, is all Blagny. So my parcel is like in this triangular section, that’s like a village, otherwise it’s all Premier Cru; it’s all garien. It’s all a garien, ‘fau la tier’and all that stuff is just “after the forest”. 


[*piano music begins playing*]


So this goes down, and goes down pretty steep, and then goes out again down to the town. And then this is probably like you saw in Benjamin’s  vineyard, it’s those limestone chards and then it goes up into that white marne – you call it ‘marne” in English, marne? – 

Brenna: (Corrects) Marl?


Jonathan Purcell: Marl? Yeah, marle. So like the first three quarters… (voice becomes inaudible)


[*lazy drums add to the piano as music grows louder, drowning out continuing male voice explaining land boundaries* ]


Brenna: Standing here looking out over Blagny, Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne allows us to contemplate everything we’ve just seen. Upon first glance, the producers who we visited today seem very different from one another, but in the context of intention and in the context of expressing yourself and your terroir through thoughtful farming, they’re all right in the same lane. I hope you’ll think about this the next time you reach for a bottle of white Burgundy, and that you reach for something with intention, whether it be a charismatic lieu dit in Meursault, a regal Montrachet, or something radical in Saint Aubin. Or better, yet maybe you’ll go for them all because it’s the endless diversity that we find through all of this that keeps us coming back for more.


[*ambient jazz & drums play*]


[*brief pause*]


[*Ambient strings & pop music begins Outro soundtrack*]




Brenna: Thank you to our guests Benjamin Leroux, Anne Morey, Dominique Lafon, Guillaume Lavolle, Françoise Vannier, Olivier Lamy, and Jonathan Parcell. Thank you to Paul Wasserman, Daniel Johnnes, Jasper Morris and Aaron Ayscough for their commentary and guidance.


This episode is made possible by our season two partners, Becky Wasserman & Co, La Paulee, and Acker Wines. 


We want to extend a special thank you to our premier partner, Acker Wines, the oldest wine shop in America, and the largest fine and rare wine auction house in the world. Remember, you can now get 15% off your first order of $350 or more by entering the code ‘ROADSIDE’ at checkout. Check out their website for details, and go snag some delicious white Burgundy while you can. 


Roadside Terroir is hosted and produced by me, Brenna Quigley. 

Recording and sound engineering by Nick Canepa, and original music and sound design by Jeff Alvarez. 


If you like this episode, please share it and give us a review. It really does make a difference! This season wouldn’t be possible without the support from all of you! 


Check out our website to learn how you can stay in touch, and how to help this season by donating, sponsoring or becoming a roadside insider. Thank you to Esa Eslami, Jerusha Frost, Michael Segar, Summer Staeb, Ali Massie, and our amazing Grand Cru Patron Steven Lipin, and everyone else who helped to make this episode a reality. 


*Outro music ends*


Blooper Reel


*casual conversation* *footsteps on a path*

Paul Wasserman: More rocks to take home! We’ll come back and get you!

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