I'll never forget how Le Verre Volé's Cyril Breward once described Nicholas Vauthier's range of low-sulfur north-Burgundian négociant wines to me. The delicate word he used was "perfectible," which is to say, capable of perfection, and by inference, not at all there yet. (This word is a godsend for anyone who must strive to be diplomatic when asked for opinions on friends' wines.)
Vauthier's Vini Viti Vinci wines had appeared seemingly overnight in just about every restaurant and wine shop I frequented. There was nothing not to love about the marginal appellations - Irancy, Bourgogne Epineuil - or the joyously ribald cartoon labels,* which typically depict mustacchioed transexuals and naked women of all races and shapes in suggestive poses. But the wines themselves initially left me a little cold. At best they were stolid examples of their grapes and not great values; at worst they were just plain flawed.
This was a few years back, though. When last June I saw a chance to pass by Vauthier's home-base of Avallon, I lost no time in requesting an appointment. For I'd belatedly learned that Vauthier had co-founded my favorite restaurant, Aux Crieurs du Vin in Troyes. And I'd already noticed his wines had been improving. The Vini Viti Vinci range now contains some very pleasant surprises, both red and white.