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The Wine Mason

Driving down the Route Nationale 74 from Dijon south to the River Dheune is like driving down a wine list: Nuits Saint Georges, Pernand Vergelesses, Aloxe Corton, Pommard, Volnay…all the way down to Chassagne Montrachet.

This is, indubitably, some of the most expensive wine real estate in the world and the vineyards and vintners that live and thrive in this rarified part of the Cote d’Or are passionate and dedicated to what they do, working relentlessly throughout the year to make every vendange special.

Turning right off the RN 74 at the Auxey-Duresses exit, just above Meursault is a little village known as Saint Romain, which also happens to be one of the oldest villages of the Cote d’Or. But Saint Romain is not a star on the Burgundian landscape. It has no premier or grand crus, its importance coming only from being an elder. It is, however, one of the first places in Burgundy where the Celts and Romans started making wine centuries ago who must have recognized that the terroir, by virtue of its location at the foot of a high cliff and elevation was excellent. The vines grow on a slope on soils of limestone and clay and face north and south at varying altitudes that are wonderfully suited to both pinot noir and chardonnay.

That is perhaps why Christophe Buisson chose to base his domaine there…because neither is Buisson your typical Burgundian winemaker. Unlike most born in Burgundy, he did not have wine flowing through his veins at birth, nor is he related to a storied Burgundy wine family. Buisson’s father and brother were masons. He splintered away from the family business and took up agricultural studies in Beaune and after graduation, rented some vines and started his own domaine in 1996.

Over the years, he increased his holdings and today, at the age of 40, he farms a total of 7 hectares, including a parcel in Nuits Saint Georges and Puligny Montrachet that belong to his wife’s family. His philosophy is to respect nature, hence his methods are completely organic and certified so.

Buisson is a true one man band, running his business out of a garage in Beaune and driving around his vineyards in an old, heavy, green pick up truck that goes no faster than 25 kilometres in hour.

He makes both whites and reds. The whites, vinified from 16-18 months in barrel are round and clean, to be enjoyed young. The reds exemplify the fresh and fruity quality of pinot noir, also vinified for about the same amount of time as the whites using 20-25% new oak. They are delicious young and can be cellared for 10 years with no problem.

Eli's List

2011 Bourgogne Rouge $38

2012 Auxey-Duresses $45

2009 Saint-Romain $45

2011 Nuit-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos des Argillieres" $120

2008 Saint-Romain Blanc $47

2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru "Morgeot" $118

Eli's Table

2009 Saint-Romain $20/glass

2008 Nuit-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos des Argillieres" $120

Eli's Wine Bar

2009 Saint-Romain $20/glass

2008 Saint-Romain $75

2008 Nuit-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos des Argillieres" $120

2007 Saint-Romain Blanc $75