“That’s elegance for you,’ says Manu Bautista as he pours a sample from one of his beloved Chassin barrels. Very subtly oaked, as his wines tend to be, this is wonderfully floral and engaging, with lots of tangy, mouthwatering red berry and watermelon fruit, fine-boned tannins and plenty of texture and weight. Classy Mercurey. “93 point Decanter/ Tim Atkins til årgang 2018
“Manu Bautista is making some of the most expressive, complex, ageworthy reds in the Côte Chalonnaise right now.” Decanter
Aromas of cassis, preserved plums, orange rind and rose petals preface the 2019 Mercurey 1er Cru En Sazenay, a medium to full-bodied, fleshy and nicely concentrated wine that’s deep and fleshy, with fine concentration, powdery tannins and a long, succulent finish.
As I have written before, the genial Manu Bautista’s small winery in the hamlet of Touches is one of the Côte Chalonnaise’s finest estates, and I encourage readers wishing to encounter red and white Mercurey at its most gourmand and seductive to seek out his wines. Emphasizing that everything follows from the quality of the raw materials, Bautista harvests by hand in small cases. Whites are vinified without stirring, the naturally rich wines of Mercurey having, he contends, no need for supplemental “fat” from the lees; reds see long cuvaisons with temperatures kept in the mid-80s Fahrenheit to preserve the expression of fruit. Élevage then takes place in barrels and demi-muids exclusively derived from—and made to measure by—the talented Stéphane Chassin, whose Rully cooperage supplies many of the region’s best addresses. Topping up is meticulous, and Bautista’s attention to detail will be evident to anyone who visits his cellars. The results speak for themselves: supple, fragrant reds bursting with vibrant fruit that entirely conceals their velvety tannins and precise, flavorful and harmonious whites. In short, Bautista is one of a small handful of producers that demonstrate just what is possible when Mercurey’s terroirs are lavished with the same attention devoted to their more famous Côte d’Or counterparts. The 2019 vintage has turned out brilliantly at this address, and an informal sampling of the young 2020s from barrel suggests similar levels of excellence.” Wine Advocate