As Burgundy becomes ever more expensive, thankfully Chalonnais winemakers in the south have risen to the challenge of fulfilling the need for more affordable, delicious wines. François Raquillet, an 11th generation grower in Mercurey, is widely recognised as the best producer in the village and one of the leaders in the region generally. He has 11 hectares of superbly sited, mostly old, vines and believes in low yields, mature (rather than super-ripe) fruit and a severe selection at the table de tri. The Wine Advocate’s William Kelley is certainly a fan, saying Francois “delivers generous, gourmand wines that are succulent and pleasure-bent but also possess levels of complexity and depth that distinguishes them from many of their peers.” Our tasting of his 2018s was a real pleasure (and not just because arriving in Mercurey the sun finally came out after two days of sold rain!). Both whites and reds here offered impressive texture, freshness and verve alongside fruit at once deep and crunchy and with a lithe spine of acidity, all promising further development. There is a lot of wine here for the money and whether beginning a collection or wishing to augment grander, more expensive purchases, a few cases should be in every cellar.
There is an immediate richness to the nose, which is nutty, and full of yellow fruits, with a touch of butter and honey, but then developing a smoky, stony whiff. Racy palate, crunchy mineral drive, this really comes out of the blocks impressively, delivering bite and zest to back the riper stone fruits that sit on the mid-palate. Really very good indeed. Tom, Wine Guru
92/100, Tim Atkin MW