Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint-Romain “Perrière”
Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint-Romain “Perrière”

Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint-Romain “Perrière”

Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$71.00
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Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint-Romain “Perrière”

Courtesy of white-hot Buisson, I’ve just enjoyed the most spectacular Saint-Romain bottling in many years, one that locks horns with the Holy Trinity of Meursault, Puligny, and Chassagne for $65. Did you notice the use of “white-hot?” That phrase wouldn’t have made the cut five years ago, but today, Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson is no longer an insider secret.

Increasingly, these wines are taking star turns on top wine lists across the globe, and while ordering past vintages could be done on your own time—be it two months or two years—I’m afraid the life of Riley is no more. Stateside inventory had already been whittled down to a few dozen cases when today’s stunning 2020 “Perrière” was first brought to my attention. In a matter of days, that number quickly plummeted to 25, then 15. In fact, the demand for this wine was so fierce, the sample was overnighted to my home for an express tasting. After pulling the cork, I fired out a frantic text to secure whatever remained: less than a dozen cases. I could easily regurgitate what Burgundy’s top critics have to say about today’s cuvée, but this is simpler: It is a regal, powerful, and thoroughly convincing substitute for top Puligny-Montrachet. Actually, let’s not call it a substitute—this is a full-fledged, grade-A replacement! Up to six bottles per person. 

I don’t know why Saint-Romain is still largely an afterthought when the discussion is centered around Burgundy’s top Chardonnay-producing villages. At this point, it’s no longer unfair, it’s gross negligence. If you look at a Côte de Beaune vineyard map, you’ll see that most of the luxury real estate skews on the eastern side, but the greatest values can be found higher up in the west, like “lower-rent” Saint-Romain. This village, just northwest of Meursault, is also especially noteworthy because of its altitude: Some of its vineyards reach 400 meters (Perrière lies between 300-350), and these cooler sites—still with the classic Burgundy mix of marl and limestone—have reached a sweet spot as global temperatures warm, especially with the exceptionally warm 2020 vintage.


The Buissons have called Saint-Romain since the 1100s and have rightfully earned a reputation as one of the village’s strongest and most consistent estates. The domaine’s renown is due not only to consistently great wine but also to conscientious farming and an extremely judicious approach in the cellar with regard to additives and modern technology. The family has been farming their vineyards organically since the 1970s and was one of the first estates in the area to become certified (by EcoCert in 2009). This progressive, ecologically aware approach has made Buisson an increasingly hot ticket in all corners of the wine world, but no matter where you’re drinking Bussion, you have my assurance this is some of the region’s most exciting wine.


The site responsible for today’s cuvée, La Perrière, is an organically farmed vineyard dominated by the region’s famed mix of clay and limestone. Here, 40-year-old Chardonnay vines produce what many consider Saint-Romain’s finest whites. There’s a reason why big-name producers like Jean-Marc Pillot venture out of Chassagne-Montrachet into a far-flung vineyard like Perrière just to make two barrels of wine: It’s a unique site, situated at a relatively high elevation that skews northeast, which, in a generous vintage like 2020, delivered superb balance. There’s a sense of refinement, depth, and “seriousness” here that sets it apart from many. There is no extended aging or excess new oak: Twelve months in a variety of French barrels, never exceeding 10% new, is the gold standard.


From the first sip, this beautiful 2020 “Perrière” overflows with powerful green and yellow apple, lime oil, apricot, lemon pith, struck flint, honeysuckle, acacia, lemongrass, deep limestone minerality, and a gentle touch of baking spices from sensible oak use. It’s a wine that contains indescribable balance and concentration, one that drinks 2-3 times beyond its reasonable price tag while challenging any preconception that Saint-Romain’s top sites can’t compete with Burgundy’s marquee vineyards. For near-term drinking, allow it slowly open up in a large stem around 55 degrees. It’s spectacular on day one, but I enjoyed it even more on its second night—which, for me, is a clear indication that it has a long life ahead of it. For such a brilliant and expressive white as this, I can think of no better culinary companion than a charbroiled platter of Hamachi Kama. It’s the ideally elemental and robust counterpoint for this impossibly elegant and detailed white. You can’t go wrong!

Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint-Romain “Perrière”
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France

Bourgogne

Beaujolais

Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France

Bordeaux

Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France

Alsace

Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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