Sometime around 1930, a pioneering American wine merchant, winemaker, and author, Frank Schoonmaker, convinced a small number of high-quality Burgundy domaines in the Côte d’Or to reserve a portion of their production to be bottled by the domaine and subsequently exported to the U.S. Previously, all of a domaine’s bulk wine was sold to négociants—merchants in the business of buying wines to bottle and sell to customers. At the time, it was unheard of for wine producers to bottle and sell their own wines, in direct competition with the négociants. Famous domaines such as d’Angerville of Volnay, Gouges of Nuits St. Georges, and Rousseau of Gevrey-Chambertin were well-known members of this initial group. But, few are aware that Tollot-Beaut of Chorey-lès-Beaune was another member, having made its first domaine bottlings in 1921.
The 24-hectare domaine of Tollot-Beaut sits in the center of Chorey-lès-Beaune, one of the outlying towns near the larger city of Beaune. Nathalie Tollot is the 5th generation to run the domaine that has been operating there for more than 100 years. In fact, parts of the cellars are 250 years old. Initially the family owned vines only in Chorey, but successive generations have made small acquisitions in Corton Bressandes in the 1930’s, Savigny Champs-Chevrey in the 1950’s, as well as Savigny, Aloxe, and Beaune. More recently, they added a new “monopole” (sole ownership), Chorey-lès-Beaune Pièce du Chapitre.
The wine is medium garnet-ruby in color. A beautiful nose of dark fruit and floral notes co-mingles with fascinating aromas of herbs, celery salt, and white pepper. There’s also a lovely earthy aroma that screams Burgundy. In fact, this wine smells so good it’s almost a shame to drink it. Dry and medium-full on the palate, it has excellent balance and a long delicious finish. It pairs well with duck, lighter beef dishes, roast chicken, or loin of pork. Available locally at Wine Exchange or Hi-Time Wine Cellars for under $42.