Julien Cruchandeau "Les Ranches" Ladoix 2018
Pinot Noir｜Burgundy, France
As our fans know, we love a good bottle of Burgundy but hate paying today’s inflated prices for it. In our never-ending quest for great juice, we’re thrilled to share this tiny-production Pinot Noir from Julien Cruchandeau at the best price in the nation.
Cruchandeau’s Ladoix (ladd-WAH) is all that we look for in a great glass of Burg: beetroot and mulberry commingle with blood orange, iron-y rich mineral depth, holiday spices, and supple darker fruit just showing hints of leather that will emerge with more time in bottle. Definitely on the darker end of the spectrum, with way more complexity than its modest price point suggests. And yes, $39 is not inexpensive but as compared to its peers, a single-vineyard Pinot that’s been responsibly made from a small family winery such as this is a lot of “bang for your buck."
Julien Cruchandeau took a circuitous route to making wine in Burgundy – before dedicating himself full-time to wine he worked in hospitality in France and London. Fun fact: he was also a professional touring EDM musician for six years, playing across Europe. Today, he’s solely devoted to making minimalist, pure expressions of Burgundy from his home and winery in the Côte de Nuits. All his processes are “in tune” with the land, using natural processes, indigenous yeast, and judicious use of oak.
Ladoix is a villages appellation, part of the twin hamlets Ladoix and Serrigny; they’re not as well known as their neighbors but share a hillside with Corton (yes – of Corton-Charlemagne fame!). The “Les Ranches” vineyard is a tiny slice of old vines, planted in 1980, sitting on a clay-limestone bench at 700 feet elevation looking eastward. And we do mean tiny – the vineyard is a few meters wide and barely the length of an American football field. From that infinitesimal vineyard, they whittle it down further to select a mere .5 hectare-block to hand-harvest the best Pinot.
This is as site-specific as it gets and Cruchandeau is, in practice, the only domaine to produce a Pinot from this vineyard. A beautiful Pinot, well made, that’ll age tremendously or reward drinking straight away. All this, and more, awaits you in this fabulous sub-$40 red Burgundy.