Burgundy's Côte Chalonnaise is almost more famous for its production of blue-footed chickens, le poulet de Chalon (many chefs here prefer them to the more famous Bresse chickens), than its excellent wines though things are changing rapidly. The wines have always been very high quality but overshadowed by the reputation of the neighboring Côte d'Or. However, Burgundy prices in general have skyrocketed the last few vintages, mainly due to many consecutive vintage of low yields due to unfortunate weather conditions, and with the incredible values we see coming out of these villages it's time we had a closer look.
There are both reds and whites produced in the five villages that make up this small sub region: Montagny, Mercurey, Givry and Bouzeron and finally Rully, the village furthest north and source of the finest whites in the region.The whites here are often preferable to those in much more prestigious appellations like Meursault and at much more interesting prices and this one is about as good as it gets here.
The Clos-St.-Jacques is the furthest vineyard north in the entire region and actually located in the lovely market village of Chagny. The Côte Chalonnaise is a natural extension of the Côte d'Or and the limestone in Chagny, unlike everything else in the Côte Chalonnaise, is the same vein of rock that runs through Puligny-Montrachet. In fact, this is barely three miles away from that storied village. This is also the highest altitude vineyard in the appellation and, like most of Europe's greatest vineyards, it faces east. This steep and stony vineyard is a monopole belonging to the Noël-Bouton family who've owned it for over 300 years along with a number of other excellent monopole vineyards in the AOC. The 4.2 acres of vines are close to 70 years old now and just hitting their stride. This is unquestionably the finest vineyard in the Côte Chalonnaise.
The domain practices lutte raisonnée farming using no chemical fertilizers and plows rather than spraying herbicides. Jérôme Noël-Bouton's daughter Clémence joined the domain full time in 2010 and took over the reins with her husband Baptiste and the wines have been getting even better every year.
It's never easy to generalize about a Burgundy vintage and 2016 was a lot more complicated than most. Catastrophic spring frost followed by a cold and wet period into early summer made life difficult for growers and as usual, the best producers made the best wines which turned out beautifully. Yields were down anywhere from 50-75% across the board making this the shortest harvest in many years so finding 2016's has been a challenge, there just isn't much to go around.
The 2016 Domaine de la Folie Clos.-St.-Jacques is always a fairly understated wine with none of the overt oak notes found in so many Côte Chalonnaise Chardonnays. Delicate notes of orchard fruits and mineral with citrus zest and white flowers on the nose. Unmistakable old vine density and sappiness on the mid palate with firm texture and excellent balance of fruit and structure. Long, clean finish with ripe orchard fruit flavors. Irresistible now but will age effortlessly. Very little to go around.