Mission Codename Saintly salinity
That Vincent Girardin is sold out, sorry. We knew it would happen, never enough white Burgundy, especially when SO affordable.
So, we lined up a tiny bit more of this “puts many Premier Crus to shame” one per Vinous. Shame? It’s downright DISRESPECTFUL to many a Premier Cru costing 2-3x as much.
But wait a minute…
You thought the days of great white Burgundy bargains (Bargaindies as Agent Noir used to affectionately call them) were over?
Oh, HELL NO!
Last we saw one was almost a year ago. Inflation, gas prices, many frosts and hails later, we started to give up, thinking we’d never be able to present another sub-$30 gem from these parts.
Alas, we were wrong. While connoisseurs hunt for the next Meursault find under $100 that’s worth a damn, the savvy look in Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Aubin, or Saint-Romain to find the next doppelganger. Well, here is the perfect example. Oh, and double 90 points to boost.
Fresh as a daisy, from the brilliant white gold color to the last drop of the long lingering finish this is a fountain of youth still. Tons of that unmistakable white stones minerality, just a kiss of toasted hazelnut and every imaginable exotic citrus variety grown under the sun, are all there. The subtleties form up to make the whole a whole lot more than the parts, as that telltale seamlessness overflowing through the vibrant energy within really knocks your socks off, just like wines 10 times its humble price would. Wow.
What Neal Martin said: “A precise finish that puts many Premier Crus to shame.”
Just last year when things started to open up, a visit by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate brought us up to date: “Alain Gras took the helm at this 12-hectare Saint-Romain Domaine in 1979 and is today in the process of handing over the reins to his son Arthur. Pretty and precise, these keenly priced whites and reds are alike framed by a delicate touch of new oak from Gras’s neighbor, François Frères. Alain Gras deserves much of the credit for Saint-Romain’s contemporary visibility and reputation, and it will be interesting to see what the next generation will bring to the equation.”
Vinous adds some great wisdom: “I have adored Alain Gras’ Saint-Romain Blanc and Rouge for many years. That is basically all he produces but that’s enough - they are consistently brilliant… People often complain about Burgundy being too expensive, and they have a very valid point. But a wine that is not expensive or does not originate from a hallowed vineyard doesn’t preclude it from greatness.”
Words to drink by.
Lastly, that unfortunate reminder - at this price especially - there never is enough wine…
90 Points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2016 Saint-Romain Blanc has a fantastic bouquet for a Village Cru, so fresh with Granny Smiths, flint, and pressed white flowers. The palate is vivacious and focused, just the right amount of salinity flowing through. A precise finish that puts many Premier Crus to shame. Superb. Drink 2018-2025.”
90 Points – Decanter
“Alain Gras’ 44th harvest has resulted in a delicious rendition of this reliably excellent cuvée, it’s pretty nose of honeysuckle, citrus, green pear, and subtle hazelnut preceding a glossy, supple and attractively transparent palate with an elegantly glossy texture. Bright and succulent. Drinking window 2018-2026.”
What the Winery Says
2016 Saint-Romain Blanc
- Arthur & Alain Gras
- 100% Chardonnay
- Saint-Romain, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy
- Clay & limestone
- Average vine age
- 40+ years
- 12 months
- 20% new Burgundian barriques