From €25.90, $34.99 (pre-arrival price), £168 a dozen in bond
Olivier Lamy, who is now in charge of the Domaine Hubert Lamy, is one of those producers most responsible for the growing – grown? – reputation of St-Aubin, once a village too high and obscure to be counted among the jewels of the Cote d’Or but now a source of truly fine white wine, as witness particularly the best of Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey and Gérard Thomas. Climate change has played into the hands of this relatively cool commune spread over the villages of St-Aubin and Gamay in an east-facing valley above Puligny and Chassagne – particularly in the warmer vintages – but the ambition of the likes of Olivier Lamy has helped enormously too.
After studying oenology and business and travelling extensively to other wine regions, he has been involved in the family domaine, which now extends to 18.5 ha in Puligny, Chassagne and Santenay as well as St-Aubin, since 1995. His winemaking style is particularly precise. There is nothing fat or careless about his wines yet they have sufficient fruit weight too. I suggested in my recent article Struck match wines – reductio ad absurdum? that he is one of the better practitioners of the reductive style of white burgundy.
His 2013s showed well in our extensive tastings (you can find them via this guide to our 1,800 tasting notes or via our tasting notes search) and I thought this Hubert Lamy, La Princée 2013 St-Aubin Blanc one of the best-value whites on show, provided you are looking for a wine to drink within the next four or five years. For a more serious, longer-lived wine, I’d opt for Hubert Lamy, Derrière Chez Edouard 2013 St-Aubin Blanc, which is being offered at £225 to £240 a dozen. (He also makes a red wine from this intriguingly named vineyard but I have never been as thrilled by his rather light reds as by his whites.)
La Princée is not a lieu-dit but is the Lamy cuvée name for a blend of wines from about three hectares of vines around the commune (whose vineyards have been lavishly awarded premier-cru status). The plantings date from 1985 and 2000, according to the Lamy website. According to Berry Bros, who are offering this wine en primeur, Olivier picked between 20 September and 3 October and managed to produce a normal-sized crop. This wine spent a year in large old oak and is ‘a pure and classical St-Aubin in the making’. I found it beautifully classic too, by no means a blockbuster but carefully sculpted and beautifully balanced. ‘If only you could always find this sort of value from smarter appellations', I noted, marking it VGV for ‘very good value’.
It is already in bottle and is so far being offered in the UK and US en primeur, and in France. Lamy export a good 70% of their excellent wines. The label shown is of course for two vintages back.