“We should expect some great things from this producer.”
Neal Martin (Vinous)
We are always on the lookout for promising new talent in Burgundy, so when we were welcomed by the immensely engaging Francois Bitouzet for a tasting at his brand new, state-of-the-art winery in Meursault, we couldn’t have been happier to try such a tremendously exciting range of wines. We’ll cut to the chase: with early doors critical praise and a low profile, this is a Burgundian producer to snap up available allocations now, before the word is well and truly out. Mostly particularly, the 1er Crus highlighted below.
Neal Martin of Vinous has been enthusiastic about these wines even before his first official visit to their organically-farmed, 12 hectares premise; “Having tasted Bitouzet-Prieur’s wines blind in Burgfest, I already knew that they could produce excellent whites and reds.”
As we are well into En Primeur season, let us look first at the 2021 vintage. It was not without its challenges for Francois, but the skill with which he navigated the frost and the mildew is exceedingly evident when tasting his fabulous line up of reds and whites from some of the finest sites in both Volnay and Meursault. The whites are stylish and resplendent with intoxicatingly exotic fruits, while the reds are silky, elegant, and teeming with enticing aromatics. Volumes are miniscule, with just 14 barrels of village Meursault (praised by Martin for being “well balanced with crisp acidity, quite taut with orange rind and pear”) produced. And while Francois has managed to fill 13 barrels of his Puligny Montrachet Les Levrons in 2022, in 2021 he has produced only 6 (albeit excellent) barrels which Martin awards 91-93 points for its, “hints of tropical fruit […] a dash of spice on the entry, taut and fresh with a long and sustained finish. Excellent.”
Whilst their Village wines undoubtedly offer exceptional value for money, it is their superb set of 1er Crus which have caught the attention of two of Burgundy’s most influential critics, Neal Martin and Jasper Morris MW in recent years. The 2021 Volnay Premier Cru Pitures is a favourite of Morris, who admires the “wealth of cherry-raspberry red fruit. […] the fruit is both pure and fills the palate nicely, through to a crunchy finish”, while the Meursault 1er Cru Charmes is absolutely unmissable in 2021 with a 92–94-point score from Martin, who highlights that this is “another impressive white from Bitouzet-Prieur”.
To put it simply, Bitouzet-Prieur is a brilliant Domaine whose recent considerable investment of a brand-new winery has resulted in a thrilling range of wines which punch with the very best in the Cote de Beaune. If the last few vintages are any indication, we have no doubt that we will be seeing great things from them in the years to come so there is no better time to secure your allocation than today.
As ever with Burgundy En Primeur campaigns, balanced orders are preferred.
Last Vintage Highlights
In addition to an extremely limited allocation of the 2021s, today we also would like to highlight the small selection of outstanding 2020s which we have available, and which are available for immediate delivery. Allen Meadows, of Burghound authority, was succinct in his praise for their wines in 2020, stating, “I would observe that Bitouzet made excellent reds and equally good whites.” This is a fantastic opportunity to fill your cellars now with the remaining cases (that’s if our team don’t beat you to it).
More on the Estate
As with many of Burgundy’s great Domaines, Bitouzet-Prieur is the result of a marriage which united two Burgundian families, the Bitouzet family that settled in Volnay in 1804 and wife’s Annie Prieur family, with vineyards located in Ladoix and Meursault. Today the Domaine spans 12 hectares across some of the finest 1er Cru Sites in the Cote de Beaune under which approximately one-third has been planted with Chardonnay and the other two-thirds with Pinot Noir. Vincent and Annie had only one son, François Bitouzet who manages the estate today, having inherited a number of prime holdings including Taillepieds, Caillerets and Clos des Chenes in Volnay and Charmes and Perrieres in Meursault, among others. They have practiced organic viticulture without any use of herbicides since 1993.
From the 2019 vintage, vinification has taken place within a state-of-the-art new winery located on the outskirts of Meursault, which comes complete with a customised cuverie as well as temperature and humidity-controlled maturation cellars all under the same roof. The whites are fermented and aged in barrel with no more than 20% of new oak. The reds experience a brief cold maceration, before being completely destemmed (apart from the 2021 Volnay Les Aussy which unusually had 25% whole bunch fermentation) with a twice daily “pigeage.”