It's the time of year when it's worth pushing the wine-of-the-week boat out. Although, by Burgundy standards, this wine is stunningly good value. Here's something classic and perfect for holiday feasting.
From €44, $63, HK$495, £52.68
I almost decided against running this wine because we seem to be on a bit of a Pinot run with our wines of the week lately, but the moment I tasted this wine, I knew it would be a stunning match for the festive turkey. Or the goose, or the ham. Or Boxing Day leftovers. Maybe even especially Boxing Day leftovers... Or white Alba truffles on tajarin pasta. Or, on the other end of the scale, a simple mushroom omelette, or even a bacon sandwich!
But, more than anything, this is a rare gem: a relatively mature red burgundy that is, by special-occasion standards, genuinely affordable. And elegant and mouth-wateringly delicious. I took one sip of this wine and put the glass down and said, 'Wow. Wine of the week.'
Domaine Génot-Boulanger began in 1974 when Parisian pharmacists Charles-Henri Génot and his wife Marie Boulanger moved to Burgundy, and began to buy up vineyards. François Delaby inherited the 22-ha (54-acre) domaine in 1998; his daughter Aude and her husband Guillaume Lavollée took over in 2008. Jasper Morris, in Inside Burgundy (2nd edition), writes that, 'Guillaume Lavollée met Aude in 2006; the year after he arrived to do the harvest – only to find that the vineyard manager had quit the day before picking was due to start, and that he would also have to make the wine...'
Aude and Guillaume brought about changes in the vineyard and winemaking, farming organically since 2010 (certified since 2018) and becoming more minimal in their approach in the cellar. This wine – a blend of three old-vine plots in Pommard planted in the 1930s and 1940s – undergoes spontaneous fermentation with a little bit of whole bunch, and then ages in oak barrels, just 20% new, for 12 months. It then spends six months in tank.
Pommard is often characterised by four-square tannins, sometimes veering towards rustic, and relatively hefty weight. Génot-Boulanger's Vieilles Vignes is the very antithesis of that. Fragrant and remarkably elegant, the wine has the slender muscle and control of a ballet dancer. The fruit is limpid, transparent, as understated as the nose. I wrote that 'there's a silk-stocking sheer and lightness to this wine which distracts from its complexity but doesn't take away from it. Dignified beauty.'
I realised only after I'd chosen to feature it here that Jancis included it on her list of favourite reds of 2022. And back in 2016, she listed Génot-Boulanger as one of the under-the-radar Burgundy domaines 'whose current performance is greater than their price level'. Going back over the years, both in our articles and tasting notes for this domaine, it's clear that Génot-Boulanger is one of those unicorn-rare Burgundy domaines that consistently deliver exceptional quality at exceptionally decent prices (for burgundy).
If you have the chance to get hold of it, I'd urge you to snap this up for festive celebrations. It's a burgundy that over-delivers purity, pleasure and loveliness at a price that is rapidly becoming something of a distant memory for wines from this region.
The wine is sold by Justerini & Brooks in the UK, by New York Wine Warehouse and Crush Wine Co (NY) in the US, and is also available in France and Hong Kong.
Photos supplied by Génot-Boulanger via Justerini & Brooks.
If you need more red-wine inspiration this holiday season, take a look at all of Jancis's favourite reds of 2022, from £8.49 to £59.