Burgundian Wine Influence in the USA
As one of the most revered and historically relevant wine regions on the planet, Burgundy is on a pedestal. The vineyard traditions there date back to the Romans, and were further developed agriculturally, in trade, and in prestige by the monks and dukes that followed. The French Revolution and the world wars also impacted the properties and market for Burgundian wines. What we know today to be the “Burgundian style,” is a mix of these old traditions with a relatively modern standard of quality.
At Verve Wine, we interpret this as an emphasis on hand craftsmanship, site specificity, balance, judicious oak use, and restraint. In the glass, this delivers earthy and mineral notes that don’t rely on overly ripe fruit character to deliver concentration and complexity. The methods, traditions, and know-how of this French region are indisputably influential on the New World, but recent signs have shown that the feeling is, in fact, mutual.
Some would say this seemed impossible. Others say they saw it coming. Either way, the trans-Atlantic relationship between wine regions in Burgundy and the United States has never been stronger. French investment in stateside properties and cross-country collaborations are paving the way for more attention to how Burgundy and the United States align to produce fascinating and delicious wine.
One of our favorite examples is Lingua Franca in Salem, Oregon, which was founded in 2015 by Larry Stone, David Honig, and Dominique Lafon in 2015. Lafon is one tie to Burgundy— his family has owned Domaine des Comtes Lafon since 1865, with plots in Volnay, Monthélie, Chassagne-Montrachet, and Meursault. And the ties that bind continue with Thomas Savre, a French native educated in Burgundy with experience at Domaine de la Romanée Conti (Vosne-Romanée) and Domaine Dujac (Morey-Saint-Denis).
But it doesn’t take French expats to deliver Burgundian influence to the New World. These days, many New World producers have turned their eyes towards France in an effort to make clonal, harvest, and cellar choices that allow them to create refined Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the vein of Burgundy. These are exactly the folks that we get excited about and the wines we love to get behind.
We look to producers such as Salem Wine Company and Evening Land—from duo Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman—for Burgundian style wines made with Pacific Northwest fruit, low-intervention, site-specific winemaking ensures that terroir always comes first.
We also vibe with Arnot-Roberts out of California for a breath of Burgundy in their high quality, hand-crafted wine made in the USA. Their efforts are innovative and broad, with their Burgundian style Chardonnay topping the list of fan favorites that never disappoint.
Presqu’ile Vineyard & Winery in Santa Maria Valley is another one of the most appealing cool-climate California producers in our book. The team has a commitment to wines that express each vintage in an elegant and balanced style. Presqu’ile has a strong focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with a handful of other varieties including Aligoté and Gamay, two grapes with Burgundian ties.
With an influence that travels back and forth, across the ocean and across the United States, Burgundian roots have a foothold beyond the Cote d’Or, and that’s fine by us. With more terroir-driven options to go around, we’re able to enjoy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a Grand Cru mindset at a more approachable price. Plus, these are some of the most interesting wines on the market these days, always worth grabbing a few bottles to drink now and hold back for a few years.