2013 Sylvain Langoureau Saint-Aubin
1er Cru En Remilly
Have you ever gone to the dry cleaners and picked up your items only to find them hanging on wire hangers with a paper cover that says, “We ♥ our customers?” Now, everyone’s relationship with their dry cleaner is unique, but it’s difficult to imagine engaging dry cleaning staff in passionate discussions about cleaning methods and products. And we’re guessing that the dry cleaning staff, as much as they appreciate their customers, probably don’t want to regale them with tales of new discoveries and experiences in the dry cleaning world. Retail wine merchants appreciate their customers as well, though taking into consideration the conversations and interactions that we have with our customers, we can honestly say that we do indeed love our customers! We have passionate discussions quite often with many of you who walk through our doors, and we were reminded of this just the other day when a long-time good friend of TWH sauntered in looking for a gift for his significant other.
Franck, whose tasting spectrum is wide and diverse, was on a mission. He needed white Burgundy. He seemed particularly fixated on Meursault. Well, from one wine enthusiast to another, no one was going to blame him for wanting Meursault. We love Meursault. He then added that he would like to keep the cost below $40. That’s where it gets a little tricky. At the time, we didn’t have any Meursault below $40. I pointed here and there at some that were a little higher than that, and then some Premier Crus which were much higher, until bang, a flash of recollection had me saying, “Well, Franck, it’s not Meursault, but we’ve got a white Burgundy that is all class, and contrary to the usual cliché, it very well might make you forget about Meursault!” Having been a regular customer for years with countless positive experiences, he was all ears when I showed him a bottle of 2013 Sylvain Langoureau’s Saint-Aubin Premier Cru En Remilly. I got the map out and showed him the vineyard. A very, very small piece of the En Remilly vineyard is actually in Chassagne-Montrachet and it borders the Grand Cru Chevalier-Montrachet vineyard. In fact, the entirety of En Remilly is just around the corner from the cluster of white Burgundy’s Grands Crus vineyards. THAT is prime real estate!
So we knew then we were dealing with some prime terroir, but what about the winemaker? Sylvain Langoureau has been at the helm of the domaine since 1989 and now farms organically. We’ve been working with Langoureau’s wines since the 2008 vintage, and we’re not alone in praising them. Burghound’s Allen Meadows added this about Langoureau, “As the scores and commentaries suggest this domaine should be added to those of Lamy, Prudhon, Bachelet and Marc Colin for high quality domaines based in or near St. Aubin. If you don’t know the wines I strongly suggest you check out an example.” Though the 2013 vintage presented its challenges, and production was much lower than average, the surviving fruit was of such quality that Sylvain called it, “Completely classic with great energy and transparency.” I further commented on the transparency and precision of the wine to Franck adding that sub $40 white Burgundy doesn’t get any better than this. We walked it up to the counter, put it in a bag, wished Franck well, and asked him to report back when he could.
Usually we have to wait for weeks, sometimes months, before a customer returns to report on their previous visit’s purchases. Not this time. Franck was back the very next day! Gobsmacked! His significant other was over the moon about the wine. He went on to tell us that she told him that she had never tasted such an amazing white Burgundy before, and that’s saying something! He was full of praise for the wine, noting its class and pedigree, its precision, its expression, and chuckled to himself about the price, as if he was in on a little secret. He bought more. He came back a week later and bought more again. So if you want to be transfixed by a sub $40 white Burgundy so high in quality that you may forget about Meursault (temporarily), you may want to reserve a couple before Franck returns to buy more!
Imagine, over the course of 38+ years here at TWH, customer experiences such as Franck’s continue to occur with regularity. That just makes all of us brim with pride as that is our aim. That is our responsibility. Yes, I said responsibility because for us, it doesn’t end when a sale is made. It ends when you pop the cork, pour the wine, and enjoy it. Many merchants copy and paste tasting notes and scores to their shelves and websites, and once you pony up your cash, it’s out you go until next time. That’s not the way it works at TWH. We ♥ our customers!
– Peter Zavialoff