Two 2008 1er Crus from Phillipe Garrey

Hello friends. We saw a huge response to the Philippe Garrey Mercurey VV offering earlier this month, and it led to a terrific opportunity: the chance to access parcels of Garrey’s Premier Cru bottlings, again at serious discounts (these began their lives as $40 wines).

We liked two of them enough that we bought the entire remaining stock in western Washington, so these are already in the warehouse and ready to go. We’ve already received a bunch of positive feedback on the original Garrey wine, so I suspect these “one-ers” (so-called by many in the trade due to the frequent abbreviation of “Premier Cru” to “1er Cru”) are going to be chased.

And why not? We find ourselves again in the value-garden of Burgundy: the Cote Chalonnaise. As a reminder, this region is the Burg tweener (see its location on the map), with more famous neighbors to the north and south, and with zero Grand Cru vineyards.

But there are 1er Cru vineyards, and Mercurey (the quality center of the Chalonnaise), contains 32 of them amidst its iron-rich marl soil. Of those, 26 are located in the commune of Mercurey itself, and just 6 are located in the commune of Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu (location here). That’s where the Garrey family domaine is located (Philippe took over in 2002 and completed a conversion to all biodynamic farming in 2007), and today’s offering represents two of the six 1er Cru vineyards in Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu.

2008 Philippe Garrey Mercurey 1er Cru La Chassiere

While neither of these is quite as pale as the VV bottling, there is no mistaking this for anything other than Pinot Noir. A lovely nose filled with earth, strawberry, and fennel pollen leads into a mouthwatering palate. Flavors of fresh strawberry and red cherry mingle with forest floor, fresh tarragon and thyme, and citrus-pith acids. But ultimately this is a rock-hewn wine, and what you notice on the palate more than anything is the fat mineral streak running right down the middle.

Our TPU price for each of these is $10 more than the VV bottles, and you get a lot for that extra sawbuck: not only the intellectual thrill of knowing that this expresses one very specific piece of Burgundian land, but also the ramped-up sensory pleasure: more depth, more intensity, more complexity. This is a gem, open and generous and drinking beautifully right now.

2008 Philippe Garrey Mercurey 1er Cru Clos du Paradis

Clos du Paradis (sounds like a nice place, doesn’t it?) on the other hand, is a tightly wound ball of goodness that reveals its pleasures more slowly. I’d drink the Chassieres now and give the Paradis some time to let its freak flag unfurl fully. Ultimately, I believe this will age in more compelling directions than the Chassieres, so it really depends on whether you’re looking for immediate gratification or long-term splendor. Or, if you’re like me, both!

The aromatics here are potent, sultry, inviting: smoke and mineral and pink flowers. While there is some black cherry fruit peeking out on the palate, this is still a baby, and it’s showing all earth and graphitic mineral right now. It also displays lovely, fine-grained tannin structure. Whereas the Chassieres’s structure was mostly mouthwatering acid, Paradis has a stronger sense of chewiness. It’s toothsome in a way that’s deeply attractive.

It’s a lovely twosome, because for two Pinot Noirs treated similarly and coming from vineyard plots within a stone’s throw of one another, they couldn’t me more different. As a comparative expression of Burgundian terroir through the transparent prism of Pinot Noir, this is tough to beat, especially at these tariffs. Please limit order requests to 6 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines are in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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