THE ROAD TO RULLY

By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 26 November 2016

One of my favourite villages in Burgundy is the pretty rural hamlet of Rully – a hidden gem for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir lovers with its mini Cote de Beaune-style whites and reds.

Rully is one of five wine villages in the Cote Chalonnaise – and in my opinion is its best.  Like other Chalonnaise villages it is overshadowed by its northern neighbours in the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits, but after years of producing indifferent unexciting wines, Rully is now offering some of the best value wines in Burgundy.

Ravaged by the phylloxera louse and neglected during the two World Wars, Rully had just 70 hectares in production in the 1960’s.  Today it has over 350 hectares (which include neighbouring Chagny village), with a burgeoning array of passionate young winemakers focusing on quality – offering remarkably good value Burgundies. 

As you drive south from Cote d’Or into Chalonnaise, the landscape and scenery changes – it becomes more rural and pastoral.  Vineyards are noticeably less concentrated here, compared to the monopoly in the Cote d’Or, as decent vineyard sites in Chalonnaise are much more spread out and aspects vary considerably.  Generally the climate is a cooler here and slopes are more exposed with less shelter and limestone and clay outcrops are less concentrated.

Two thirds of Rully wines are white – and they are their best in my opinion.  A good Rully Blanc has an enchanting mix of minerality and crispness so typical of Chardonnays from the Cote Chalonnaise, but with a depth, softness and richness that I do not find in other Chalonnaise villages (apart perhaps from Mercurey).

Rully has an abundance of Premier Crus – with an astounding 23 vineyards allowed to label Premier Cru (there are 53 Premier Crus in neighbouring Montagny), this name should be taken with a pinch of salt.  The key here is to focus on the producer.

The top two star producers here are Dureuil-Janthial and Jacquesons – two family domaines with contrasting styles.  Vincent Dureuil-Janthial’s family (pictured right) can trace their village history back to C13.  They might be one of the oldest families, but they are not serious traditionalists.  Vincent focuses on old vines (50-75 years), low yields and late picking on his 17 hectares, run on organic and biodynamic principles – and his style is plump, exotically rich, complex and very more-ish. 

In contrast, the Rully family domaine run by Paul & Marie Jacqueson make much more flinty minerally styles – almost Chablis-like in their tightness.  Set up by Henri Jacqueson in 1947, although the family have owned land in Rully since C17, the 12 hectare domaine is now run by third generation Marie.

Another two other exemplary Rully winemakers to watch for are Domaine Michel Briday run by Stephane and Sandrine Briday – and David Moret.  The Briday domaine began in 1976, now run by the founder’s son who farms 15 hectares in Rully, Bouzeron and Mercurey. 

In comparison, David Moret is a relative newcomer and he is not based in Rully village itself, although he buys in grapes from growers here.  Moret did not inherit a family domaine, so after leaving winemaking school he sold winery equipment to local growers in Rully to get to know them.  Having made friends, he began buying in tiny forgotten parcels of their grapes vinifying them in his own cellar in Beaune, using low interventionist techniques with a mix of modern and traditional. 


WHITE RULLY

Rully Blanc 2014 David Moret   ***STAR BUY***
(£24.99/£27.99 Fine Wine Co, Musselburgh; Exel Wines, Perth; Maxwell’s, Glasgow; www.thewinereserve.co.uk)
A high scorer in our tasting for its rich succulent fruits, very balanced use of oak and persistent length.  This is like a mini-Meursault with its honey and oatmeal undertones. 13%


Rully Blanc 2014 Remoissenet
(£20 Oddbins)
Remoissenet’s winemaker Claudie Jobard knows Rully well as she owns land here.  This is a very typical Rully example with a racy lively sleek style with underlying rich fruits from late-picked grapes.


Rully Blanc en Rosey 2015 Maison Chanzy
(£13.99 Majestic Wine)          
Maison Chanzy make a delicate lighter style of Rully with crisp racy lively acidity, but tasters remarked that the oak does not seem as balanced as in other Rully Blancs in our tasting: 13%

                                              
Rully Blanc 1er Cru Gresigny 2011 Briday  
(£19.99 Raeburn Fine Wines, Edinburgh)
The most mature Chardonnay in our tasting; developed honey nose, luscious intense palate with well integrated use of new oak (20%), but some tasters preferred the more youthful style of Rullys in the tasting.  Gresigny premier cru has particularly rocky stony soil making a tight sharp style of Chardonnay which needs time to mature. 


Rully Blanc 1er Cru Raclot 2013 Dureuil-Janthial   ***STAR BUY***
(£22.99 Raeburn Fine Wines, Edinburgh)
A good example of Vincent Dureil-Janthial’s style – very rich rounded and sumptuous barrel fermented Chardonnay with beautifully balanced oak from his very old organically grown vines: 13%


RED RULLY
                            
Rully Rouge en Rosey 2014 Maison Chanzy
(£13.49 Majestic Wine)
Pretty raspberry and red cherry fruit aromas, delicate soft light textured Pinot Noir – preferred this to their white en Rosey: a good value example of red Rully: 13%


Rully Rouge 1er Cru Les Cloux 2014 Domaine Paul & Marie Jacqueson   ***STAR BUY***
(£24.95 www.leaandsandeman.co.uk)
Very accomplished Pinot Noir, quite Beaune-like in its voluptuous fruit and smooth texture.  Its depth and concentration really appealed to our tasters who remarked on its rich dense fruits, spicy undertones and prominent oak on the finish. 13%


Join Rose’s Classic Wine Dinner at Rhubarb, Prestonfield House Hotel on Thursday 8 December www.rosemurraybrown.com


 

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