2021 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Bourgogne Rouge
2021 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Bourgogne Rouge

2021 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Bourgogne Rouge

Burgundy, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$38.00

2021 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Bourgogne Rouge

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: you can still find great value in Burgundy, you just have to look around the edges. That is where you might find a single vineyard of organically farmed, 50-60 year old Pinot Noir vines, sitting right at the border of the exalted village of Volnay. The farmer is François Bitouzet, and from this parcel he crafts an elegant, silky red that hits all the same pleasure points as his top Premier Crus, but since it is technically a humble Bourgogne Rouge, the value is astounding. And you don’t need to wait a decade for it to “open up,” just pop the cork, give it a quick splash decant, and revel in the primacy of Pinot Noir!

The Bitouzet and Prieur families have been farming in Meursault (the Prieur side) and Volnay (the Bitouzet side) for hundreds of years. When Vincent Bitouzet married Annie Prieur it was not just a great personal match, it also combined some of the best parcels in the Côte de Beaune under one roof.  The family’s holdings in Volnay, now overseen by Annie and Vincent’s son François, cover an impressive diversity of village-level and Premier Cru parcels, but today we’re focusing on a single vineyard named “Petit-Prés,” where the Bitouzets farm a parcel of old vines planted between 1963 and 1970. By a twist of fate the vineyard sits just below the appellation border of Volnay, and so it can only be labeled as “Bourgogne Rouge.” Translation: this wine offers a tremendous quality to value ratio.

François and Vincent farm all their parcels organically, relying on zero shortcuts with chemicals or systemic treatments, and all of the fruit is harvested by hand. This restraint is echoed in the cellar; juice is vinified gently and slowly with minimal sulfur. The end goal of the entire process is to produce wines that mature in the cellar for many years, and gradually evolve in aromatics and structure. In a region increasingly overrun with estates bottling young, forward, “modern” Burgundy, the Bitouzet family are arch traditionalists. This means that most of the wines born in the Bitouzet cellar require a good amount of aging before they awaken from their old-school slumber. Not so, however, for their Bourgogne, which is aged for 12 months in entirely neutral oak barrels in order to produce a wine that is ready to impress after just a year or two in bottle. 

Of course, like all great vignerons who are focused on terroir transparency, the peculiarities of the vintage are of equal importance to the Bitouzets. In this case we’re talking about 2021–a challenging, low yield year that was marked by spring storms and a cooler than normal (for this century) summer. This return to old-school Burgundy weather combined perfectly with the traditionalism of François’ hand in the cellar, and a beautifully balanced wine emerged. Serve on the cool side, between 55 and 60 degrees, in a Burgundy stem, and enjoy all the classic notes of ripe cherries, Damson plums, red currants, rosewater, mint, anise, and forest floor. Yes, it is delicious right now with just a quick decant, but as with any wine from Bitouzet-Prieur it would be fun to lose a few bottles in the cellar. The pro-move is to buy a case and enjoy this wine’s evolution over the next five plus years. Now that’s value!

2021 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Bourgogne Rouge

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