Dom Coffinet-Duvernay's Chassagne-Montrachets

Philippe Duvernay

An under-the-radar producer of well-priced white burgundy.

From $40, €45, £44.68, 419.95 Danish kroner, HK$578, 10,532 roubles, or £185 per case of 6 in bond.

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The late Hilary Gibbs was a renowned taster and Burgundy specialist, as all who heard the tributes at her memorial service last October can testify. She built the London importer Domaine Direct into an enviable collection of names from the Côte d’Or (most of which, including Coffinet-Duvernay, have now been acquired as suppliers by importers Flint, whose retail arm is Stannary Wine).

I was led to what she wrote about Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay by the first tasting of this Burgundy Week in London at wine merchants Goedhuis when ‘working’ my way with great pleasure through the array of 2020 whites assembled by their very experienced Burgundy specialist David Roberts MW.

Sandwiched between the wines of Etienne Sauzet and Domaine Marc Colin were six Chassagnes from Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay. I had tasted a few wines from this domaine before and liked them, but I had never really concentrated on the domaine and its pricing policy before. This is a very serious producer and the prices are so much more attractive than those of many of their neighbours. Goedhuis’s price for their basic village Chassagne 2020 is £185 for six bottles in bond, much less than many similar wines – and yet the quality is superb.

Hilary wrote, Philippe Duvernay [pictured above] eschews the fashion for reduction or as he refers to it “modern techniques” favouring a more traditional approach. We first tasted here in spring 2016 and were completely bowled over by the entire range. It is evident the wines are only given justice with proper cellaring. A 1989 Caillerets served blind was the epitome of why white burgundy is worth all the fuss when properly mature; not a hint of tiredness, just freshness and purity in abundance with multi-layered, intense complexity. Pure joy in a glass. Extremely smart wines, still under the radar, but not for long in our opinion.’

As it happens, they caught the eye of David Roberts of Goedhuis a few years ago, at the Jours de Bourgogne tasting events in Burgundy itself, and they have been importing them ever since.

These are the Coffinet-Duvernay wines currently part of the Goedhuis en primeur 2020 Burgundy offer, with prices for six bottles in bond, although at the time of writing all but the first two are sold out:

Chassagne-Montrachet £185
Chassagne-Montrachet, Les Blanchots Dessous £215
Chassagne-Montrachet, Clos St-Jean Premier Cru £275
Chassagne-Montrachet, Les Grands Clos Premier Cru £275
Chassagne-Montrachet, Les Fairendes Premier Cru £280
Chassagne-Montrachet, Blanchot-Dessus Premier Cru £290

I was impressed by all the wines – all cask samples at this stage, it should be made clear – especially the Fairendes, part of Morgeot. (I’ve just noticed that Goedhuis describe it as ‘the apple of Bastien’s eye on the estate, a favourite vineyard and a favourite wine’.)

Coffinet Fairendes 2020

The domaine is most unusual in that its holdings are confined to a single village. It is one half of the result of the splitting of the vines of Fernand Coffinet and Cécile Pillot between their two daughters – Fabienne, married to Michel Morey of the famous Morey family of Chassagne, who created Domaine Morey-Coffinet, and Laura, married to Philippe Duvernay of Givry in the Côte Chalonnaise, who created Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay. (Part of the value of Jasper Morris MW’s Inside Burgundy book is sketching out the complex web of relationships between Burgundy’s families, and the notes in Goedhuis’s offer are also useful.)

Bastien Duvernay

This seven-hectare (17-acre) domaine was formed in 1989 and now not just Philippe but his son Bastien, pictured immediately above, are involved in this deeply traditional enterprise whose wines clearly have admirable ageing potential. Goedhuis make the point that the fashionable cold soak is not for the Duvernays. They move the healthy fruit straight into cask ‘letting the natural rise in cellar temperature enrich the lees and feed the wine’. They occasionally stir lees but not in the rich vintage of 2020.

Outside the UK the 2020s are not expected to be offered for some time, but I see that Coffinet-Duvernay wines of earlier vintages are quite widely distributed around the world. For their village Chassagne-Montrachet 2019, list several stockists in the US (including at $62 a bottle at Morrell in New York), Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia and Denmark. Most offers are per six-bottle case but the wine is also available by the single bottle in Russia and Denmark.

The least-expensive bottle available seems to be the 2015 village Chassagne on sale at $40 from VinPorter of Napa – a steal!

Our Find this wine link is for the village Chassagne, any vintage.

See our earlier tasting notes on Coffinet-Duvernay wines.