Domaine Francois Raquillet
Domaine François RaquilletTransposing Burgundy to London, one could say that Puligny Montrachet is Belgravia and Chambolle Musigny is St John’s Wood – impressive, heritaged addresses but expensive and can often leave you wondering if you are missing more excitement elsewhere. Judicious buyers perusing Cotes d’Or real estate might consider Haut Cotes de Nuits to the west (Kensal Green), Fixin and Marsannay (Camden and Kentish Town) in the north of Côte de Nuits, and Ladoix and Santenay (Bermondsey and Brixton) in the north and south respectively of the Côte de Beaune as interesting alternatives. There is nowhere east of the D974 of great interest although you could strain the analogy and say Comblonchien could be Clerkenwell in a few years… I think that leaves me suggesting that the Côte Chalonnaise is like Tooting or Streatham – which might diminish the argument for some but the rather laboured point is that up-and-coming pockets away from the centre can often provide real satisfaction for less money. Here, Mercurey is one such area that is definitely fulfilling its promise, and Francois Raquillet one of the most interesting addresses. Francois has been harvesting his 12ha (8 planted to red and 4 to white) of increasingly old vines, some 70 years+, at the end of August for the last six years so is far less concerned by climate change than many Côte d’Or growers to the north. In fact the Chalonnais has been a beneficiary of the hotter, drier weather as it has helped reduce yields, and increase concentration and ripeness in the grapes, ultimately leading to richer, more gourmand, better wines. Thinking about it, the Maconnais is definitely Brighton. A little under an hour south, sunny and warm, relaxed, more concerned with pleasure than pretension... bravo indeed on a wonderful set of wines!