“A beautifully-crafted white Burgundy that is a Puligny-Montrachet in all but name.”
Catch a rising star!
The whole range is fantastic, but their Bourgogne Blanc 2014, sourced almost entirely from vineyards within Puligny-Montrachet, is the ‘must buy’!
A brand new domaine, loaded with ambition, imported to the UK for the first time.
2014 was fantastic for white Burgundy and this Bourgogne Blanc has all the ripeness and tension of that great vintage.
Our quest for the Holy Grail
Last month, we set off in the hope of finding of an undiscovered Burgundy producer making well-priced wines in viable quantities. Friends and colleagues gave us the sort of encouragement as one might give a child setting off in search of fairies at the bottom of the garden.
After lunch on the fourth day of our four day trip, things were not looking particularly promising, and a pall of gloom threatened to cast a shadow over our previously bomb-proof optimism. Undaunted by the odds, however, we grabbed our tasting books and headed off in search of an eleventh hour miracle.
It came in the shape of Domaine Decelle-Villa. We are familiar with most of the great Burgundy domaines, but we had never heard of this label before, which made us fear that others had followed this rainbow to its end before us and found, not a pot of gold, but a crock of… well you get the idea.
However, as soon as we met owner, Olivier Decelle, and winemaker, Jean Lupatelli, we knew we were onto something special. It’s a truism, but good people make good wine and a couple of hours in their company, tasting through their phenomenally good range, quickly confirmed that there was not only great commitment and talent here, but serious ambition too. So why had we never heard of them before? “Our first vintage was 2010” said Olivier, almost confessionally. We wondered if he could hear the chorus of Hallelujahs coming from inside our heads. To catch an as-yet unheralded producer at the B of the Bang is every wine merchant’s dream and here we were, staring back in disbelief at our biggest lucky break.
They say that in Burgundy, you don’t always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don’t pay for. Well, here’s a producer whose wines defy that logic, at least for the time being, while they are making a name for themselves. Almost all the wines in their range punch above their weight, but we would like to focus on one, their Bourgogne Blanc 2014, because it’s such a brilliant ambassador for the whole range.
We’re not being glib when we say that it’s a Puligny-Montrachet in all but name. The grapes are sourced from three named vineyards (‘lieux dits’) within Puligny-Montrachet, namely ‘Les Femelottes’, ‘Le Pré de la Dame’ and ‘Les Bluses’, which lie adjacent to Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet. The reason why it goes under the humble ‘Bourgogne Blanc’ appellation is simply because they include a tiny parcel of grapes sourced from a vineyard in Savigny-Les-Beaune, which means they aren’t allowed to use the higher designation. Commercially-speaking, it’s a ridiculous decision, because if they omitted those Savigny grapes, they could call it a Puligny-Montrachet and charge £38 a bottle for it, but they take enormous pride in making a great Bourgogne Blanc, because it’s their calling card, the gateway bottle that encourages you to explore the rest of the range. Olivier explained that the parcel in Savigny-Les-Beaune is such an exceptional climat and adds such a wonderful intensity to the blend that he wouldn’t dream of leaving it out and we doff our caps to his integrity. Well, we would if we wore caps.
Only 13 barrels produced and we have been offered 480 bottles for Vin Cognito customers
Tasting note: “A domaine’s Bourgogne Blanc is their calling-card and should be like an Indian restaurant’s poppadum. Not in flavour, of course, but in the way that it should make an early statement about the intent and the care that goes into every aspect of what they produce. If you get a stale poppadum, it usually follows that the food isn’t great either. This is one fantastic poppadum!
It goes without saying that, as wine professionals, when we taste wines, we use the spittoons provided in order to avoid inebriation. Reader, I swallowed it. It’s a stunning wine, so intense, so tangy, with that wonderful quartz-like mineral sharpness that the great Burgundies express like a birthright. The fruit glistens on the palate, with a shimmering purity that you only find in cool climate Chardonnays. The incisive citrus flavours are counterpoised by fruits with a sweeter nectar, like peach and apricot, laced with notes of brioche, hazelnut and crème fraiche. Put this in a line-up of Puligny-Montrachets and not only would it not look out of place, it would put a few to shame. A beautiful white Burgundy that is ready to drink, but will keep for at least 5 years. All hand-picked fruit. No battonage. Natural yeasts. 12 months in oak, of which 25% was new. 13% alc. Drink now-2021.”
When Olivier Decelle, owner of Mas Amiel in the Roussillon, met Pierre-Jean Villa, a winemaker in the northern Rhone producing cult-status Cote Rotie and Condrieu, they revealed to each other that they were harbouring a terrible secret. Neither of them were making wine in the region that inspired them the most: Burgundy. They both dreamed of working with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, expressing the subtle differences conferred by the patchwork of vineyards of the Cote d’Or, so they took the decision to buy 3 hectares in Nuits St Georges and set up Domaine Decelle-Villa with the intention of working their own vineyards as well as buying in fruit from trusted growers in some of the most desirable villages (Chambolle-Musigny, Vosene-Romanee, Morey-St Denis, Gevrey Chambertin, Meursault). With two such renowned figures backing him, winemaker Jean Lupatelli must have felt like he had just walked out of the Dragon’s Den with, not one, but two entrepreneurs by his side. They farm their own vineyards organically and work in close partnership with their growers to ensure that either organic or sustainable viticultural methods are practised.
"We all loved the new white Burgundy. Can I order 24 bottles?" - Mr. I.W., 7th December 2016
"Lovely wine! Thank you." - Mr. R.G., 12th December 2016
"I just wanted to let you know that we drank the first of the Decelle-Villa at the weekend. It's everything you said about it - a really staggering wine. Depth of flavour, body and freshness - all at the same time. Beautifully balanced." - Mr R.A., December 2016
"You know that Bourgogne Blanc I bought? Have you got any left? We've just opened the first one... OMG Delicious!!! To find a Chardonnay that my wife really likes is a major triumph." - Mr. C.F., - December 2016
"This Decelle-Villa is outrageously good. Can I have another 12?" - Mr N.R., Jan 2017