Antoine Olivier 2017 Offer

While it is undoubtedly thrilling to taste Burgundy’s most important and coveted wines, these days I get just as much pleasure from discovering wines from lesser appellations and producers that remain a bit under the radar. In other words, wines that the average consumer can still find and acquire without taking out a second mortgage. ANTONIO GALLONI

“Relatively medium quantity for reds, pure and elegant beautiful pinot, I like aging my red wines but this is a fresh vintage with correct fruit and acidity, a vintage for impatient people. But to age I think it will be much more interesting for the whites – traditional whites of acidity in tension.” I think I wrote vibrant and delicious far too many times – be warned! BILL NANSON, The Burgundy Report

I really don’t think I could have said it any better than Galloni in his article published on Vinous in July this year. I love great Burgundy, everyone here does, but these days I find it beyond difficult to spend my hard earned on bottles with price tags that belong more in art gallery than a wine store (before anyone gets on my case I understand the argument for wine like that being art and have used it to justify my spending habits many, many times but I don’t own any art and I think I have drunk my first home deposit, twice over). Some of these bottles are now more commodities or collectors pieces than simply beautiful wines to be enjoyed and appreciated for that reason alone.

One of the great joys in the world of wine is that moment when you stumble across (or in this cases finally lock on to something) you have been chasing for quite a long while. A new producer whose wines resonate with you and where you can see the quality shine through. For me it needs to be more than just a “once off” kind of thing, I mean lots of producers make the occasional great wine. I get excited when I see something that carries through vintages and across cuvees.

That was the case here, we tasted these wines first a few vintages ago and were unanimously impressed. Enough so that we then set about making sure we tasted the following vintage, equally as impressive, enough so we imported some. Finally we scheduled in a visit on our last tour through Europe’s wine country. We had been looking for something like this for a long time so to find a producer this good at this price was a bit of a hallelujah moment.

Antoine Olivier’s wines are the mythical unicorn of Burgundy, they are really excellent but they are also inexpensive and accessible. From his home in Santenay he is fashioning something pretty special. They are wines of class, presence and style which sing loudly of their place and don’t shy away from their origins. Antoine talks about how important it is to find the right sites for both his Pinot and Chardonnay. He explains that he was in part lucky that he inherited plenty of great soil but also that he has worked very hard to find the right climats for Chardonnay, which he loves from the area, and has actively acquired vineyards that he wanted to work with.

It isn’t the most romantic wine visit ever I have to say. He is tucked away in his tiny little town and the facility, which is the best term for his winery, is functional and large by Burgundian standards. He has a huge fluffy mountain dog of some sort, it plays no part in the quality of the wine but he was just so cute. The tasting consisted of his full range of 17s in bottle and those 18s he thought were ready to show. As is usually the case when you visit an estate for the first time we talked a lot about how he started and where he was going. I have to say Antoine is a very ambitious man who has every intention of taking over the wine world one awesome bottle of Santenay at a time. More power to him I say.

As with our previous tastings of his wines it was the whites which really shone through. Antoine makes something like half of all the white wine in Santenay, that’s not a huge amount it is just that he really loves Chardonnay there so has championed it, interestingly a lot of people are starting to do the same. There were a couple of reds that really took our interest as well and we have imported a little of one, which like his whites presents brilliantly and is brilliant value.

The wines are due to arrive at any moment and we are genuinely excited at PWS HQ. His 17s are great and, as I keep mentioning, super value when you look at the quality he is delivering and the prices he is charging. For something of this ilk from his cousins on the Cote you would be double or more, a lot more for some of the wines. If Michael and my excitement doesn’t convince you then hopefully the glowing notes from Bill Nanson (The Burgundy Report) will.