Domaine Faiveley is one of the biggest and most storied producers in France’s Burgundy, offering a wide range of wines — from “village” bottlings with down-to-earth price tags, to grand cru wines from some of Burgundy’s most exclusive appellations and vineyards.
One that hits the mark at a relatively inexpensive price is Faiveley’s 2018 Mercurey. If you’re not familiar with it, Mercurey (pronounced mair-coo-RAY) is an appellation in the Côte Chalonnaise part of Burgundy — an area that flies somewhat under the radar but that can produce great-value wines with quintessential Burgundy character.
Mercurey is one of the largest appellations in Burgundy and is known mainly for its red wines, which, like all of Burgundy’s reds, are made from the Pinot Noir grape. Faiveley farms about 67 acres in Mercurey on clay and limestone soils, the latter accounting for a mineral character that defines good Burgundy.
As in all wine regions, climate change has become a fact of life in Burgundy. The 2018 vintage was one of the warmest of the 21st century, and Faiveley therefore notes that it was “an early ripening vintage,” with the harvest starting on Aug. 27. In the not-so-distant past, harvesting in August would have been all but unthinkable.
Faiveley’s 2018 Mercurey is a red Burgundy that’s drinking beautifully in its youth — ahead of its time in terms of traditional standards of Burgundy aging.
A mix of delicious red and dark fruit flavors are joined by notes of red licorice, forest floor, and baking spices. A touch of balsamic emerges as it opens up. The wine received a year of aging in French oak barrels, and gentle tannins frame the fruit.
At about $32, this is a top choice for affordable red Burgundy — a wine to drink now that will get even better over the next several years. I just might have to save up for a case.