Vignerons de Buxy
Les Vignes de la Croix – 71390 Buxy
Tel. +33 (0)3 85 92 09 92
Vignerons de Buxy is a very modern cooperative winery, producing really good wines, specializing in the Côte Chalonnaise subregion of Bourgogne. They were initially founded in 1931, following the 1929 financial crisis that disrupted the wine business. Facing no market for their grapes, growers decided to gather together and invest in creating a company looking after vinification, ageing and selling wine – they preferred to keep focusing their efforts on the vineyards. Back in the 1930s there was no AOC system (the first AOC was in 1936). They hired an old-school winemaker and the first thing they did was send him to the Lycee Viticole in Beaune to train him. ‘The DNA of the company since the beginning has been the quality of the wine,’ says Rémi Marlin, the director.
Initially, the role of the coop was to sell wine in bulk, then with the emergence of the AOCs, they focused on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Aligoté – other grapes that had also been grown here disappeared.
In 1968 they hired their first director, and this is when they started bottling wine, too. He stayed until 2000. In 90 years they have had just two directors and five presidents. They prefer to work directly with distributors, reducing the number of people between the winegrower and final consumer. Now they have 220 members altogether farming 1100 hectares. 120 of them are full time winegrowers, 100 part time.
They are part of an organization called La Compagnie de Burgundy, which is a union bringing together several wine cooperatives. They have a logistics platform on the A6 2 km from the autoroute. These seven cellars remain independently responsible for strategy, and between them they are shared owners of Compagnie de Burgundy. It works well in the marketplace.
Buxy do 110 different vinifications and have vineyards in 115 different appellations across the whole of the Côte Chalonnaise. They also have some vineyards in Santenay in the north and the Mâconnais in the south. Altogether they make 7 million bottles, with 35% exported.
Remi says that over the last 15 years the grape prices have risen, but the rise was quite smooth. But the impact of climate chaos has reduced yields in quite a few recent vintages and prices have risen with supply and demand. He says that the very high increases in prices in the Côte des Blancs and Côte de Nuits have shifted demand to wine from the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais.
We even discussed glass. They are involved in a collaboration to produce a lightweight but refillable bottle that can be used seven times. Currently, they have reduced their bottle count to just two: they use either the lightweight Ecoverre Burgundy bottle (395 g) or the traditional bottle (570 g). They are not using heavy bottles any more.
Their number one production is Bourgogne Aligoté, and they have 250 hectares of this variety. There is a lot of Aligoté in the Chalonnaise, and most of its production comes from south of Buxy (85%). They don’t have any Bouzeron, though (the only AOP dedicated to Aligoté). I asked Remi, what are the strengths of Aligoté? ‘Originally in Paris wine bars in the 1960s and 1970s, Aligoté was a favourite by the glass,’ says Remi. ‘It was one of the vin de comptoirs [‘counter wines’]’ The three most popular vin de comptoirs were Muscadet, Alsace and Bourgogne Aligoté. ‘People were drinking 150 litres per capita. They didn’t drink beer, but rather light wines. Then we improved: the way of running the vineyards, reducing the yields. Over the last 15 years climate change has generally been positive for Burgundy. Aligoté keeps its characteristics: fresh, mineral and lower level of alcohol. In the past it was often 10.5%, but now it is 11.5-12.5%. It’s also very adapted to new ways of consumption: with fish, white meat, vegetables.’
Over recent years they have been looking for the special sites of Aligoté and have been paying the growers more for these grapes.
Buissonier Bourgogne Aligoté 2022
Stainless steel fermentation. Mostly clay/limestone soil. Nice texture here with some softness to the pure citrus and pear fruit. Some stoniness, with nice acidity under the rounded white peach and pear fruit. Has nice concentration of flavour. 87/100
Millebuis Bourgogne Aligoté Sable 2022
Sands – decomposed gneiss. Between Buxy and Bissey. Fresh, linear and bright with some citrus fruit: lemon and mandarin. There’s a brightness here with lovely emphasis on the fruit. Has a directness and some floral aromatics. 90/100
Millebuis Bourgogne Aligoté Silex 2022
10% fermented in demimuids. This is bright and vivid with a powerful character: smoky, mineral and spicy with direct citrus fruit and some stony minerality. Bright and vivid with a nice freshness. Direct and mineral with nice acidity. 91/100
Millebuis Bourgogne Aligoté Silex 2021
Some tropical apricot and pear notes here with a hint of cabbage. Lively and vivid with nice citrus fruit showing a nice acid line and some stony minerality. Very 2021 and quite appealing and vivid. 90/100
Domaine L’Echaugette Bourgogne Aligoté 2022
Chalky clay soils from the Mâconnais. Highly aromatic stony, chalky nose. Ripe but fresh with detailed pear, melon and apple fruit. Nice brightness and focus with a lovely melony edge and a lemony brightness on the finish, and some salinity. 91/100
Buissonier Chardonnay Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise 2022
Lovely balance here with some flesh to the citrus and pear fruit with a touch of green apple and some fine spiciness, with some mineral notes. Very stylish. 90/100
Millebuis Montagny 2020 Bourgogne, France
They make 70% of the appellation. Some oak here (40%, and of this one third new). There’s a white peach and pear fruitiness here, together with some creamy hints. Just a subtle cabbage hint with nice sweet crystalline citrus on the palate. Nice fruit here. 89/100
Millebuis Montagny 1er Cru Montcuchot 2020
Mid-slope, south facing vineyard. Lovely intensity here: grapefruit, pear, spice and good intensity with a fine structure and a touch of salinity. Very stylish with a tapering finish. 91/100
Millebuis Montagny 1er Cru Les Coères 2020
NNE-facing vineyard, 320 m. Nice concentration with lovely pear and white peach fruit as well as some grainy citrus. Very fine and delicate with some precision. Mineral and fine. 93/100
Millebuis Montagny 1er Cru Vigne du Soleil 2019
South-facing, lower altitude. Nice concentration with ripe pear and peach fruit as well as a slight creaminess. Has depth and concentration with creamy texture and ripe bold fruit. 89/100
Buissonière Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Pinot Noir 2021
Light juicy style with sour cherry and herbs. Quite stony and mineral with good acidity. Some strawberry notes and mellow structure. Cedar spice on the finish. 87/100
Millebuis Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Pinot Noir Les-Demi-Hotes 2021
50% aged in barrel. Nice freshness and intensity here with vivid raspberry and cherry fruit with some grip. Lively and tart on the finish with good acidity. Bright, showing nice concentration, finishing firm. 89/100
Millebuis Givry 1er Cru Clos Marceaux Monopole 2021
2.92 ha monopole in the hameau of Poncey. Stylish with some well integrated oak providing support to the cherry and raspberry fruit. Juicy and linear with good structure and fine, well balanced fruit. 91/100