Climate change and talent are transforming St. Aubin. Olivier Lamy at Domaine Hubert Lamy is a leading light in this appellation, alongside the likes of Pierre Yves Colin-Morey. St. Aubin, which lies immediately adjacent to Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault, is unlike those more famous villages. Instead, here the soils are rockier, the slopes much steeper, and the orientation of the combe such that the overall climate is cooler. The wines here are thus more cut, direct, and minerally. These days, with the average age of plantings increasing, and improved vineyard practices (such as increased vine density), quality improvements are exponential.
Hubert Lamy started the domaine in 1973, but most of the major plantings and acquisitions were in the 1980’s and 1990’s. His son Olivier joined in 1995. Today, most of Lamy’s holdings are in St. Aubin and so he has a variety of village and premier cru wines, which allows for exploration of terroir. Olivier Lamy believes in the potential for St. Aubin and has openly wondered if the improved practices that lead to better wine (and increased prices due to the extra labour and lower yields) will be accepted by customers in the long run. The success of these wines among a dedicated group of followers, I think, is proof that St. Aubin will find a wider audience as more and more producers embrace the potential for the region. Prices remain much lower than the neighbouring villages and in my view Lamy’s St. Aubin premier crus are better than many wines from the more famous villages.
The En Remilly I tasted was an outstanding example of the Lamy approach: the wine was unafraid of its acid-driven structure, but also replete with beautiful dry-extract complexity and a round mouthfeel despite the linearity. I believe this derives from Lamy’s longer maturations (2 years) in larger oak barrels with reduced oxygen exposure (thus, he says, reducing amount of sulphur required to achieve stabilization of the wine). The En Remilly, a premier cru site planted in 1989, shows similarly to a PYCM Chassagne – with the rocky soils adding extra crunch. It’s an impressive achievement, an exciting wine, and a perfect place for Burgundy lovers to obtain top quality for much better prices. St. Aubin will undoubtedly continue to gain fame and attention – grab them now before they get discovered.
Excellent to Excellent+
~$120 + tax at various private retailers (imported by Lifford) –> note this is the top price level for Lamy’s St. Aubin’s and there are village level wines at half the price.