The most northerly village of the Côte Chalonnaise, Rully is a fairly reliable though obscure appellation that makes very good wines of both colors. There are 756 acres of land at the village and Premier Cru level, and massive production each year is split almost evenly between white and red wines. It is important, then, to weed through the lower-quality wines, but very good reds and whites can be found.
Chardonnay is considered to be the better grape in Rully; showing notes of yellow fruit, these light, unoaked styles border on leanness in poorer vintages but sometimes have outstanding fruit character. The reds show light simple fruit and a slightly rustic earthiness, in the style of the Côte Chalonnaise, and can age fairly well. As for prices, these village and Premier Cru wines compete with those of lower-level Côte d'Or villages.
Rully was made an AOC in 1939. Throughout the village's history, both red and white wines were found in varying quantities; over the past decades white wine has gained a gradual advantage and now makes up more than half of production.
Climate and Viticulture
The soil is very composed of sandy clay in Rully; not optimal to be sure, but able to produce light yet fresh Chardonnay. Weather conditions are close to those of the Côte d'Or, which is in fact a major asset, and the village's location right at the top of the Côte Chalonnaise escarpment ensures that many wines are produced at a good high altitude.
- Chardonnay: This unoaked Chardonnay is enjoyable for its lightness, acidity, and simple yellow fruit. Apple and pear win out over more exotic pineapple and spice notes, and plenty of acidity keeps the wines fresh and "crisp." They should be drunk young, but are not incapable of aging. White Champagne-style wines are produced, but these all fall under Crémant de Bourgogne.
- Pinot Noir: Most Rully-labeled reds are inferior to the whites in comparison to other villages, but nonetheless have good fruit. Structured in a rustic, ageworthy fashion, they start out with simple red fruit and can develop to a richer, earthy maturity. They actually should be aged for 3-5 years, and can last up to 15.
A list of six of our favorite Chardonnay producers follows.
- Domaine de Bellene: The Les Clous here can be very good, showing yellow, slightly citrussy fruit in a light, unoaked style. This wine sums up Rully and in the best vintages doesn't have the village's trademark leanness.
- Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot: Boillot, also famous for its white wine production in the Côte de Beaune, has perhaps more Rully holdings than any other producer. Just the basic village wine should satisfy for under $25; it may not be complex but is rarely too lean and has good crisp fruit flavors. The Meix Cadot, Gresigny, and Pucelles are the three Premiers Crus where it has holdings; the wines are of roughly equal quality to the village wine but perhaps have a bit more depth and fruit to them. Drink all wines young.
- Drouhin: The basic white Rully here is a little lean but shows the fresh, unoaked yellow fruit character that distinctly marks the best Rullys.
- Domaine Dureuil Janthial: This producer combines quality and quantity impressively. The most consistent wine seems to be the "Maizières", which actually is just a village-level lieu-dit. Rarely costing more than $30, the wine nonetheless displays more complexity of yellow fruit, as well as spice, than many of its competitors, and rarely has that Rully leanness. Drinking young is possible, but remember that this wine's richer character means it could evolve.
- Domaine Jacqueson: Although all wines made here are well-esteemed, the Les Cloux is a step above the rest.
- Maison Deux Montilles: The village wine is less expensive than the Premiers Crus here and arguably better, with rich, citrussy fruit flavors and a pleasant spiciness to mask the acidity.
Red wines are less widely available, but most are good, and three producers especially are worth mentioning.
- Chartron et Trebuchet: This is one of those few Rully producers where the red is significantly better than the white. Although the Chaume Premier Cru was less obscure in the 1990s, it can be reasonably priced if hard to find and offers typical Pinot red fruit that can be hoped to age to a more complex, gamy earthiness.
- Domaine Dureuil Janthial: Any of the Premiers Crus at this versatile domaine can be picked for good flavor, but flipping the typical script, the blended Premier Cru actually appears to confer higher quality. The red fruit here has a little more depth, and the wine should be plenty complex if given 3-6 years to age.
- Olivier Leflaive: Well known for their white Côte de Beaune wine, this producer for some reason focuses on reds in Rully. The blended Premier Cru is again the best, with a powerful earthy component, and should gain complexity with age.
There are 22 Premiers Crus in Rully, making up around 15% of land and production. What follows is a list of them, with descriptions for the more common and important ones. Find more details about the specific cuvées mentioned in our Major Producers section.
- La Bressande
- Clos du Chaigne a Jean de Fran
- Clos St-Jacques: Don't confuse this Premier Cru with the great Gevrey-Chambertin vineyard of the same name!
- Cloux: Also spelled Clous, this is the most common Premier Cru of Rully for white wine and probably also the best. Bellen, Jacqueson, and Maison Deux Montilles are three major producers; these styles are often rich and ripe with flavors of yellow fruit.
- La Fosse
- Gresigny: Boillot and Jacqueson's wines are good here.
- Le Meix Cadot: Domaine Dureuil Janthial is likely to have the better cuvée here over Jean-Marc Boillot, although neither is the producers' best.
- Le Meix Caillet
- Les Pierres
- La Pucelle
- Rabource: A very common Premier Cru, with generally reliable wines.
- La Renarde