Had a hard year? Us too. We put together some fancy wines from our favorite traditional winemaking regions around France. Natty wine might not be top of mind when considering these old school styles, but we’re here to prove that kicking it old school is the true natty. Plus, you’re worth it. - Meri
Jérôme Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée M
For a wine with such cultural cache, it’s poetic justice that the most delicious Champagne is always made by hippy farmers. Jérôme Bourgeois-Diaz is one of those people.
Jérôme harvests by hand according to the lunar calendar and uses a 1920s-style basket press to make his wine. (That’s some crunchy shit.) He does things the hard, unconventional way in a land where overexposed luxury corporations reign, and we’re here for it.
With Cuvee M, Jérôme writes a love letter to Pinot Meunier (Pinot Noir’s underappreciated cousin). This bottle encompasses what we love about Champagne: the painstaking work in the vineyard and the cellar, and a true reverence for the land and its history. The stuffy dudes in suits can have their corporate bubbly.
Lilian Duplessis Chablis 1er Cru 'Vaillons' 2017
It can be dizzying to remember all the classifications and rules of Burgundy (trust me, I’ve tried).
What you need to know is Lilian Duplessis is our favorite Chardonnay savant in Chablis. His family’s been doing this for five generations. The fruit for this bottle grew in a sunny vineyard (Premier Cru, if you’re asking) nourished by prehistoric marine fossils.
The 2017 Duplessis ‘Vaillon’ is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. To lighten up the Thanksgiving fare, it offers all that racy, salty minerality we dig about Chablis, and brings an unexpected dash of tropicality that will make you forget it’s November outside. You could age this bottle for 10 years, but we think you should pop it as soon as the gratin hits the table.
Bottes Rouges Pinot Noir 'La Pépée' 2018
Hailing from a charmingly medieval place tucked at the foot of the Alps, Jean-Baptiste Menigoz is a natty wine hero, former schoolteacher, and overall wonderful human being.
Wine geeks love to nerd out about the culty wines and enigmatic producers of the Jura—it may be the final frontier of the French winemaking wilderness. While the Jura boasts tons of grape varieties that you’ve probably never heard of, La Pépée is made from a familiar one: Pinot Noir. In Jean-Baptiste’s able hands, it tastes like the picturesque hamlet it’s from: crushed rocks, bruised berries, and fields of wild grown herbs.
Skip the canned stuff, this is the high-toned liquid cranberry sauce for the evening.
Clos du Jaugueyron Margaux Rouge 'Nout' 2015
Normally, Bordeaux is a Very Serious Wine. It eats glou glou for breakfast. And yet the genesis for Clos du Jaugueyron’s wines is love.
In the 1980s, Michel Theron began his winemaking studies in the region and planned to move back home to Southwest France. Then he fell in love with someone from the area, and the rest is winemaking history. Like the best love stories, Michel’s wines need a little time and some air, but your patience will be rewarded tenfold.
Sourced from primarily younger Merlot, ‘Nout’ has all the smoky, leathery rigidity that sometimes scares me about Bordeaux, but with a gooey, romantic center.
If you and 2020 need to do some reckoning, this wine will have your back. (And maybe love does win in the end.)