Benoit Ente

Benoit began to harvest on the 29/08 (ban des vendanges day) and finished around the 7/09. His aim was to ensure optimal ripeness in a year which where high degrees were difficult to achieve. Benoit is not a proponent of high alcohol/high extract wines so feels this year suits his style where natural acidity gives the wine structure and focus.

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Charles Audoin

In 2012, Cyril Audoin has a fine but very small vintage in the cellar. He began harvesting a week before most of his neighbours and harvested everything before the rain of 26th September. He observed a normal number of bunches at harvest, but with very small berries. The wines were racked out of barrel at the end of October, and will stay 6 months in tank before bottling. These are very fine and very serious wines, but there is something of a paradox here: Marsannay, as a less exalted village, has a reputation for lighter, and indeed cheaper wines than those from the more famous crus just down the road, but though these wines are 25 – 30% less expensive, they are structured, serious and will certainly be long-lived.

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Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet

Château de Pulingy-Montrachet is now under the full ownership of Etienne de Montille and his sister, Alix, following their purchase of the domaine in 2012. They set about restructuring the vineyard holdings, and as a result the domaine now consists of 15ha of vines spread across the villages of Meursault, Chassagne, Puligny, Monthélie and Saint-Aubin, the aim being to focus on white wines. With this in mind, and knowing that he himself is more suited to red winemaking, Etienne has brought in his sister, Alix, who he feels is more gifted when it comes to making great whites. Alix is the wife of Jean-Marc Roulot, and is responsible for the white wines of Domaine de Montille, so it is fair to say that she comes with a high pedigree! Stylistically, the buzzwords here are purity, focus and minerality. They practice very little batonnage and use no new oak on the village wines and a maximum of 20% new oak for Premier and Grand Cru wines, in order to preserve as much of the minerality and elegance as possible, whilst retaining a sense of intensity and density. In the vines, they have worked organically since Etienne’s arrival in 2002 and the domaine now certified organic by Ecocert and will soon achieve full biodynamic status. His theory is that organic viticulture allows them to achieve better phenolic ripeness without too much alcohol, as they strive towards greater purity and focus.

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Domaine Chanson

The harvest started on the 17th of September at Domaine Chanson. When the grapes arrived at the winery we could confirm that the quality was there (healthy grapes, good maturity, good sugar level and acidity) however because of a limited number of grapes and significant millerandage the production was very small.
For the Pinot Noir grapes, the implementation of a new machine to cool the berries before ”encuvage” has played a decisive role in the winemaking, preserving the integrity of the grapes for the cold prefermentary maceration. As a result, the red wines are showing finesse, good freshness and depth.
Regarding the Chardonnays, the grapes were of high quality and slow pressing helped to collect the best juices. The wines are characterised by good balance and acidity that will soften with time.
In summary: 2012 was an exhausting vintage for the wine makers but the final result reveals a lot of good surprises with both the red and white wines, however the volume will be very small, likely less than half the classic yield in Burgundy.

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Domaine Confuron-Gindre

Confuron is a well-known name in the village. We asked Francois Confuron about the family and he said there are four of them in the village. “Do you get on with each other?” I asked. “No” he replied with a smile. Nothing so unusual about that, it seems.

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Domaine et Maison Henri Boillot

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Domaine Henri & Philippe Jouan

The estate is tiny, only 3 hectares split over 10 parcels for the 5 crus produced. But we are further limited in the quantities we can buy from this tiny 3 hectare estate, as they have a long-standing relationship with Maison Joseph Drouhin, to whom they still sell a few barrels each year. If Philippe can be persuaded to sell everything in bottle, this will mean, in future years that we have a little more to sell.
Both father and now son rely on empirical experience in wine making and élevage and claim that
nothing has changed in these fifty years. The grapes are all de-stemmed, they like a quick malolactic
fermentation (the cellar is heated to have the malos through by Christmas) and they rack off the lees
straight after. Philippe sums up the wines modestly saying they make wine “pour nos clients qui
aiment le fruit”. There seems to be a remarkably consistent style here in the vintages we have
experience of. The 2012s are light in colour, but with lots of ripeness, excellent, rich mouth-feel and
exuberant red-berry characters. Village wines are in 30 % new oak, Clos Sorbé 40% and Clos St Denis
70%. The wines are all bottled, corked and labelled by hand, unfined and unfiltered.

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Domaine Heresztyn-Mazzini

Florence Heresztyn-Mazzini has stamped an immediate signature onto the domaine which she now runs, with her husband Simon, beginning with the 2012 vintage. There are some changes to the
vineyards so the domaine she has taken over has 5.5 hectares of vines, a reduction from the 9ha of
previous years. The other 3.5 ha, which includes all of the Gevrey Corbeaux, are owned by her uncle
and aunt and are being farmed separately, for now at least. So, perhaps temporarily, Corbeaux has
disappeared from the portfolio. New modern labels have appeared, and, most importantly, of course,
there are some new ideas being implemented in both vineyard and cellar. Grape selection has been
intensified, smaller boxes are used for transporting the grapes, and the proportion of whole bunches
has also increased in 2012 towards 50%. Florence is now also following lutte raisonnée viticultural
practices which are taking them towards organic farming, and a reduction of 30% in the number of
spraying treatments previously employed. The wines spend the same long period on the lees as before, with malolactics continuing to take their time.
There are immediately noticeable differences in the wines. Most strikingly, the wines seem fresher, more defined, a touch slimmer, and more energetic. Perfumes are excellent, and tannins are fine,
polished and fit comfortably around the fruit. We have enjoyed the wines of the domaine over the past decade, but we have a new dawn here, and everything is in place to give the domaine a big push forwards.

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Etienne Sauzet

This long established estate goes from strength to strength under the guidance of Gérard Boudot's son in law, Benoit Riffault, whose brother, Stéphane, makes our superb Burgundian-esque Sancerres ! Over the past few years more vines have been bought and less fruit is now bought in, giving greater control over their raw ingredients. It is always fascinating tasting here as no two wines taste alike. If there is a house style it is a non-interventionist one that allows the terroir to speak. Benoit picked nice & early here and the wines are impressive.

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Franck Follin-Arbelet does not come from a long line of vignerons, but rather trained as a geologist and geophysicist. He came to wine by way of his wife, Christine, whose family (Arbelet) had owned vines in the village since the 19th century, although they had historically been rented out. Franck began work at the estate in 1990 and now farms 6.5ha in some of the most prestigious sites in the appellation. In the vineyards, Franck works organically but eschews certification, whilst in the cellar he practices a ‘minimum intervention’ policy, with gentle extraction and subtle oak usage. Franck’s understated style may not be to everyone’s taste; the wines are elegant, and delicate, skilfully demonstrating the subtle differences between each site.
As across the region, 2012 here was a very small harvest (although bigger than 2013, when their
vineyards were hit by the biblical storm on the 23rd July). When we visited to taste from barrel at the end of October, some wines had not yet completed their malolactic fermentation, and Franck explained that whilst he hadn’t had any worries about stuck fermentations, getting the wines through this process had not been quick and easy this year, a story often repeated elsewhere. In spite of this, he has succeeded in producing an excellent range of wines of delicious freshness and purity, with typical Follin elegance.

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Winelist last updated: 27/11/2015 17:51:19

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