100 Most Iconic Wine Estates:

Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis
The Domaine was established in 1948 by its namesake and today, Francois sons, Bernard and Jean-Marie, run the vineyards and winemaking in exactly the same manner as their father and the results are spectacular.
With 8ha of vines including six superb Premier Crus – Montee de Tonnerre, Butteaux, Foret, Vaillons, Mont Mains and Chapelot and three mind-blowing Grand Crus – Valmur, Blanchot and Clos, this is a very serious operation indeed.
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Domaine Ramonet Chassagne Montrachet
The most famous winemakers in the picturesque village of Chassagne-Montrachet are the Ramonets. Andre Ramonet has passed on his business to his two sons, Noel and Jean-Claude. With three Grand Crus – Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet and Bienvenue Batard-Montrachet; a flight of Chassagne Premier Crus including Champs-Canet, Les Caillerets, Les Ruchottes, Boudriotte, Morgeot, Les Vergers and Les Chaumees, (not forgetting a village level Chassagne-Montrachet that equals many other estates’ 1er Crus) this talented clan is sitting on a goldmine.
They make wines with incredible definition and sense of place added to the fact that they age exceptionally well, too.
With 34ha under vine it is important to note that half of this is red, and thanks to the popularity of the whites, the reds are uncommon value for money. Keep your eyes peeled for 1er Cru Clos de la Boudriotte and Clos Saint-Jean – they are gorgeously fragrant Pinots to drink after you have polished off a few of the majestic Chardonnays.
Etienne Sauzet Puligny Montrachet
Gerard Boudot, his daughter Emilie and her husband Benoit Riffault run this fantastic estate looking directly at the Cote d’Or from their winery door. Gerard augments his own vineyards by buying parcels of fruit from top flight growers and his portfolio represents the greatest hits of his beloved village of Puligny.
With Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet, all Grand Crus and Puligny-Montrachet Premier Crus Les Combettes, Champ Gain, Les Folatieres, Champ Canet, La Garenne, Les Perrieres, Les Referts, Hameau de Blagny, Village Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet, you would be churlish not to track down a bottle and experience the sheer beauty and magnetic attraction of his creations.
With a biodynamic regime in full swing I expect even more finesse in these wines, if that is indeed possible. If you cannot find one of these star wines then his Sauzet Bourgogne Blanc is an eminently affordable sneak preview of Gerard’s genius at an everyday price – keep this advice under your beret!
Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault
By contrast to Coche-Dury’s taut, linear wines, the Comtes Lafon’s Meursault are positively exotic and decorously upholstered. They have the most amazing sumptuous fruit and it makes them desperately attractive even in their youth.
With both red and white wines at this Domaine, Dominique Lafon has cracked both codes at the highest level – something other estates struggle to achieve.
His Volnays are sublime with stunning, intense black cherry fruit and epic, spicy oak. His late-harvested, low yielding Meursault vines make unbelievably sensual cuvees.
From a stunning Village, via the incredible Clos de la Barre monopole behind the house and the delicate ‘lieu fit’ Desiree, to no less than six epic Meursault Premier Crus – Charmes, Goutte d’Or, Porusots, Boucheres, Genevrieres and Perrieres. The Grand Cru Montrachet completes the picture.
Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet
There is a 2000-year vine-growing history in Puligny. It is thought that this quaint, sleepy village, nestling in the Cote de Beaune, and home to the greatest Chardonnay vines in the world, derives its name from a pioneering Roman called Puliniacus who picked the finest spot on earth to cultivate vines. These Chardonnays have come to be recognised as the finest expressions of this variety on the planet.
The Leflaive history dates back to 1717, as the labels proudly state. It was Claude Leflaive who built his house on the square in the middle of the village, nearly 300 years ago, and 10 generations of Leflaives have lived there ever since. Joseph Leflaive, formally an engineer who designed France’s first submarine, revitalised and expanded the estate in 1920, after the phylloxera epidemic had done its damage and land prices hit an all-time low.
Who ones are all celestial, precise interpretations of their exact vineyard locations. They are made with the upmost care and the results are nothing short of life changing. With no less than four Grands Crus-Montrachet (a tiny parcel of 0.08 ha), Chavalier-Montrachet (three parcels of just under 2ha) Bienvenues-Bâtard Montrachet (four parcels of just under 2 ha) as the ultimate portfolio of imperial Chardonnay real estate. The four excellent Puligny-Montrachet Premier Crus include Les Pucelles, Les Folatières, Les Combettes and Le Calvoillon with a Mersault Premier Cru, sous le Dos d’Âne, to complete this level. The ‘village’ Puligny-Montrachet is made from seven parcels across the hillside totalling 4.6ha – so you should, at the very least, be able to track down some of this one!
Domaine Jean-Francois Coche-Dury Meursault
The key to the wines of Coche-Dury is that they are picked relatively early, which preserves high acidity in the grapes and results in raspingly fresh Chardonnay flavours. Because acidity is the life blood of white wines.
Coche-Dury’s Meursaults age unlike any other white wines in the Cote de Beaune. Open a 10-year-old Bourgogne Blanc and it will burst out of the glass with vivacity and zing.
The most famous and expensive wine in the range is the Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne but it is the range of Meursaults that I hunt down. Premier Crus Perrieres, Caillerets and Genevrieres are off the scale and two ‘lieu dits’ Meursault Les Chevalieres and Les Rougeots are also staggeringly serious. J-F’s son Raphael Coche has taken over from his legendary father and the wines continue to thrill everyone who tastes them.
Domaine Bonneau du Martray Pernand Vergelessesy
Jean-Charles le Bault de la Moriniere took over from his father Jean in 1994 after giving up his career as an architect. He has taken this estate a long way in nearly two decades and the wines are finer and more attractive than ever.
He is also edging towards a biodynamic regime in the vineyards which has certainly made a difference to both the Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru and its red brother Corton Grand Cru. The 11ha of vines, all on the Pernand side of the Corton hill, are split up into many different parcels and they are vilified separately before being carefully reassembled to make the finished wine.
Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle Musigny
Christophe Roumier makes wonderfully sensual, aromatically exact wines from his base in Chambolle and he brings us one of the most heavenly scented Pinots imaginable, in the form of the romantically entitled Chambolle-Musigny, 1er Cru Les Amoureuses.
He makes 1er Cru Les Cras and the more structured duo Bonnes Mares and Musigny Grand Cru from his own village.
He also sources fruit from neighbouring Morey-St-Denis where he makes a delightfully chewy, succulent 1er Cru Clos de la Bussiere as well as over the village border into Gevrey, where he owns a tiny slice of Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin.
All his wines are ethereally proportioned; utterly seductive and charming in their youth and they age like clockwork too.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle Musigny
At the beginning of the 20th century, Etienne Camuzet sought out impeccable parcels of land for his fledgling wine business. Etienne’s daughter Maria Noirot bequeathed the estate to a distant relative Jean Meo who continued in his job in Paris and let out some of the vineyards to support the winery. These days, his son Jean-Nicolas Meo runs the business and some of the vineyards are still leased, with the majority now being used for the Domaine’s own incredible wines.
The godfather of modern red winemaking, Henri Jayer was a consultant to the property, which set it out on a great footing. Today the wines are as fine as any on the Cote and with extraordinary holdings including my favourites – Grand Crus Richebourg, Clos de Vougeot, Corton Clos Rognet, Premier Crus Vosne-Romanee Au Brûlées, Vosne-Romanee Au Cros Parantoux, Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes, Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Murgers, and two amazing Village level wines – Nuits–Saint-Georges and Vosne-Romanee, this estate is flying very high indeed. They have also added a negociant arm under the Meo-Camuzet Frere & Soeurs label.
Domaine Ponsot Morey Saint Denis
Laurent Ponsot is one of the nicest men in Burgundy and tasting at his winery in Morey is a sheer pleasure. With a diverse portfolio of a handful of Village wines, several stunning Premiers Crus and a massive 10 Grand Crus which all express their exact origins, it is the perfect place to get an overview of any particular vintage.
Top picks from his amazing range include the white Morey-Saint-Denis, 1er Cru Clos des Monts Luisants made from 100-year-old Aligoté vines which is truly mesmerising.
For the reds, the Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Charmes, the Grand Cru Clos Saint Denis Cuvée Très Vieilles Vignes made from over 100-year-old vines, and the Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes – one of the most impactful and important wines in the Côte de Nuits. He also has a Griotte Chambertain and Chambertain that are mind blowing. This is an unmissable Domaine.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Vosne Romanee
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, virtually always shortened to DRC in conversation, wears the crown in Burgundy. It is without doubt, the most famous Pinot Noir producer in the world.
Originally owned by the Abbey of Saint Vivant, in the 13th century, a prime collection of vineyards in the centre of the village of Vosne passed through several sets of hands before being seized during the French Revolution and sold off. Even Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV of France, fought for the estate with her better enemy Louis François de Bourbon, Prince de Conti and with Conti winning this spat the property become known as Romanée-Conti.
Over time and with various different owners the property grew in size to encompass the finest collection of Grand Cru vineyards ever assembled. The vines average around the 50-year mark and the yields are extremely low and with the biodynamic regime that they follow and ploughing using horses, all of the signs are here in order to make great wine. But if this was the case, all Grands Crus up and down the Côte de Nuits could perform at this stratospheric level and they do not.
It is the exact positioning of these hallowed vineyards which is responsible for making the flavours and longevity of these wine is the most sought-after and expensive on the planet.
There are certainly DRC hallmarks which point to each individual Grand Cru, and everyone has their own favourite, but unless you are on a mission to drink a specific wine from a specific vintage, every single opportunity to taste a bottle should be seized with both hands. With 20ha of vines and a production of around 7500 cases of Grand Cru red wine, and only 200 of Montrachet you should, in theory, be able to track down a bottle or two.

Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertain

The incredible fact about this amazing estate is that it makes one Gevrey-Chambertin village, one Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru – which is a blend – and one which is arguably one of the greatest reds on the planet, Premier Cru Clos Saint Jacques. The other six wines are all Grands Crus – Charmes-Chambertin, Mazy-Chambertin, Close de la Roche, Ruchottes Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes, Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Bèze. These are all magnificent and historic creations. Eric, son of the legendary Charles Rosseau, is now winemaker and the Rosseay style of laid-back, languid flavours with immense length and ‘tyicité’ continues uninterrupted.
Domaine Rene & Vincent Dauvissat
The only rival to Raveneau’s crown in Chablis is the impeccable set up at R&V Dauvissat. With over 25 vintages under his belt, Vincent manages 11ha of pristine vineyards including two Grand Crus – Les Clos and Les Preuses, and three Premiers Crus – Vaillons, Sechet, and La Forest. A shy, modest man with innate knowledge of his craft, Vincent’s wines are the antitheses of the broad, modern, oaky wines from other producers in the region. He prefers to harness the unique materials and elemental power in his soils and reflect them in his lean, high tensile, starkly stunning creations.
Needing a minimum of five years to blossom and living for two decades with ease, these are passionately and intricately assembled wines designed to be drunk by lifelong fans of authentic, reverential winemaking.
Château Thivin Beaujolais
In 1877 Zaccharie Geoffray bought Château Thivin, and his family has run the property ever since. One of the greatest ‘vignerons’ In France and yet the wines are some of the best value you will ever find.
Sensational wines from the Gamay variety; they capture the essence of their village, the history of the region and the drama of top flight Cru Beaujolais.
The entry level Cote de Brouilly, Les Sept Vignes, made from a blend of their seven different parcels of vines is sensational. With wild, red berry fruit and a dusting of earthiness and gaminess, this is one of the most thirst-quenching and yet classy wines I have tasted. Seek out the single vineyard cuvees Clos Bertrand and La Chapelle – they age well and are ‘Premier’ Cru quality. The estates’ ‘Grand Cru’ is called Cuvee Zaccharie, as you might expect.
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