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niellon 2006 chassagne-montrachet

niellon chassagne montrachet 2006

2006 Niellon, Chassagne-Montrachet try to find this wine...
Medium-pale yellow. The nose is a full dose of medium-toast oak and additional quite savoury notes – if you give it a couple of hours there’s a little baked apple fruit. The taste is concentrated and likewise savoury and initially wood-dominated. Decent acidity pushes the length a little further – and it is long. I’d like my glass to show a little more fruit, but this has the potential to be a good Chassagne, just leave it a couple of years.
Rebuy – Maybe

jc boisset 2006 morey 1er monts luisants

jc boisset morey saint denis 2006 monts luisants 1er cru

Why not follow a Monts Luisants blanc with a Monts Luisants rouge?
2006 Jean-Claude Boisset, Morey St.Denis 1er Monts Luisants (Blanc) try to find this wine...
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose is soft, heavy with cherry-red fruit that’s accented by faint white pepper. Fills your mouth with ripe red fruit that widens into the mid-palate and takes on a slightly savoury element. The acidity is perfectly balanced, lingering in the mouthwatering finish. Understated concentration and intensity. Very primary for sure though accomplished and tasty.
Rebuy – Yes

burnt skin and mountains

A walk in the mountains this weekend – now I’m a red-neck with bright red forearms to match:

looking toward grindlewald from kleine scheidegg

cow

jc boisset 2006 morey monts luisants blanc

jc boisset 2006 morey saint denis monts luisants blanc chardonnay

2006 Jean-Claude Boisset, Morey St.Denis Monts Luisants (Blanc) try to find this wine...
One of the rarer bottlings by JCBoisset winemaker Gregory Patriat – a single barrel, 295 bottles. Pale lemon yellow. A nose of creamy oak plus bright pineapple fruit that slowly fades. Well textured and with perfect acidity. The flavours are ripe – not too much so – and tasty, but far from simple, I even imagine (perhaps) a little aniseed and coconut. Slowly fades. A super wine, and a fine buy.
Rebuy – Yes Two bottles drunk already, best re-order…

jadot expands

News here.

marc jomain 2006 puligny 1er les perrières

marc jomain puligny perrieres

2005 Jomain, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Perrières try to find this wine...
Medium-pale lemon yellow colour. Width, and after their Combettes a more obvious higher-toast oak depth, with cream-edged pear fruit. The palate is more lithe and linear with better acidity. Good dimension in the mid-palate and the oak is less jarring and textured, super length here. This also needs 3 or 4 years for the oak to lessen, and the higher toast is not my beau, but there’s real quality here. Already after 2 hours open the high toast is transformed. Not as obviously dense as the Combettes but finer balance.
Rebuy – Yes

jomain 2005 puligny-montrachet 1er les combettes

2005 Jomain, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Combettes try to find this wine...
A medium lemon yellow colour and a nose of citrus width, though never developing anything other than a little brioche depth. The palate is a mouth-full and initially reasonably textured, but as it slowly slides to the finish there is a little oaky texture and a lot of oak flavour. Despite concentration and intensity I’m currently missing freshness and a 1er cru mid-palate dimension. It’s a little one-dimensional and far from mouth-watering. I wouldn’t open another for 2-3 years to let the oak subside and hopefully unleash the wine within. If the oak just neads time, where will the freshness come from(?)
Rebuy – Maybe

I won’t quite describe it as humble pie, but after 48 hours in the refridgerator, there’s a nice extra creamy dimension on the nose and palate, and that oak has largely melted. I’d still like more acidity but this is at least a ‘maybe’ now…

ponsot 01 morey st.denis 1er clos des monts luisants vv

ponsot morey saint denis clos des monts luisants vieilles vignes

The thing about a great Aligoté is that (blind) it walks a tightrope between a great red and a great white burgundy – put it in a black tasting glass and see how many people guess wrongly the colour – this 80% old-vine aligoté (the rest is chardonnay, though from 2005 this cuvée is 100% aligoté) is just such a wine, only the lack of tannin might point to a white…
2001 Ponsot, Morey St.Denis 1er Clos des Monts Luisants Vielles Vignes try to find this wine...
A relatively deep yellow. A nose of toasted bread and spices and an undertow of creamy fruit. Lovely texture and singing acidity. The flavours straddle the border between sweet and savoury and have super length and intensity. Despite containing about 20% chardonnay, you’d never mistake it for one!
Rebuy – Yes

béjot takes over thomas-moillard – updated

——————————————————————————-
UPDATED from June 23rd:
I discussed with some of the family; there is (was) a complex holding of many, many family members, so a wide spread of shareholders. A large (majority) block chose to sell, and that block was not represented by those that currently actively manage the company…
——————————————————————————-
Fair to say that this was a surprise…

Béjot takes over Thomas-Moillard
Owner of the Jean-Baptiste Béjot trading company in Meursault and of an estate of over 300 hectares (Chablis, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, and Fabrezan in the Corbières region), Vincent Sauvestre has strengthened his position as a key player in Burgundy by acquiring the prestigious Maison Moillard in Nuits-Saint-Georges. He thus ensures the continuity of this estate, owned by the Thomas-Moillard family since 1850. The two companies should in fact complement each other, both in terms of supplies and sales networks in France and abroad, giving them the opportunity to develop in parallel and allowing the new Béjot-Moillard group to become an important player on the market.
The estate, made up of some thirty hectares in Burgundy and 75 hectares in Languedoc, is part of the deal. However, the 35 hectares in Romania, inaugurated in 1996, remain the property of Denis Thomas, former Chairman of Thomas-Moillard
.

Source: BIVB

gold for grégory

iwc gold medal 2007iwc trophy 2007Grégory Patriat scoops Gold AND the Pinot Noir Trophy for Jean-Claude Boisset with his 2006 Chambolle-Musigny. I happen to think that he made even better wines in 2006! ;-)
Chapeau!

a champagne weekend

A long weekend in Champagne brought together around 1,000 kms of driving, a guided tour and tasting at Moët et Chandon in Epernay, a guided tour and tasting at Champagne Henri Chauvenet in Rilly la Montagne, an alfresco dinner in Epernay, a lunch in Ambonnay, a dinner in the michelin-starred restaurant of our hotel in l’Epine and finally a tour of the surprising town that is Verdun.

moet et chandon

It was a group affair that included 3 Aston Martins, 1 Mercedes and my Subaru – I always consider myself to be a calming influence!

Moët et Chandon
dom perignonVery slick.  Their headquarters on the aptly named Avenue de Champagne in Epernay is very expensively presented – you will also know the names of their neighbours too!  It’s a big place, part 18th century and part from the 1920’s after a bomb destroyed some buildings in the Great War.  Across the road they also own a stunning building set in formal gardens. Over 1,000 people work for Moët, and I’d wager a significant proportion of them are involved in ‘honing the message’ – or marketing to you and I.  Still the place is superb.  Moët (part of LVMH) are the biggest owners of vineyards in Champagne, with around 1,000 hectares of vines – the next biggest is Veuve Cliquot with a ‘mere’ 380!  Including the Dom Pérignon cuvée (which is made only from ‘owned vines’), a bottle of Moët is opened every 1.7 seconds, that’s over 18.5 million bottles per year…  If memory serves, we tasted a brut and a rosé from their imperial range.  The brut was friendlier than my history of acidic Moëts suggested, but it was the rosé which I enjoyed most – serious and complex – a ‘real wine’ if you like.  If you can get a tour it’s worth a visit, particularly in the cellars.

Henri Chauvet
By way of contrast, a ‘grower’ champagne.

henri chauvetJust like in Burgundy, first you have to drive up and down the streets of the village before you find the address – and then find somewhere to park – noting that my navigation software really seems to struggle in this region!  We drank a bottle of his Blanc de Noirs the previous evening and it started as a bit of brute – but that was down to serving temperature i.e.  not really cool enough due to our lack of patience – the last glass was excellent though as it was finally served cold!  Henri runs an 8 hectare domaine of mainly highest rating vines e.g. grand crus.  Like Moët you go down 9 or 10 meters into his cold cellars – dug into the chalk.  I tasted a brut, a reserve and rosé and bought six-pack of each for less than half the price of the Möet cuvées (marketing can be expensive) –  lovely wines.

Aux Armes de Champagne
aux armes de champagneThis hotel is in a tiny village with an oversize church.  The church is called the Notre-Dame de L’Epine and, not surprisingly, the village is also called l’Epine!  A friend uses this a stopping-off point between Switzerland and the Isle of Wight, so we thought we should give it a try – the restaurant having a Michelin star also helped persuade us.  Actually, despite the name, this place has a drawback – it’s about 45 minutes by car to get anywhere in Champagne from here – next time we will find something a little more central.  The experience was also a little bemusing:  The rooms are nice and we had a good welcome.  The gardens are also nicely done and are set with tables so you can enjoy an afternoon or evening drink – but you have to walk all the way to reception to order a drink as there’s no ‘patrol’ – at dusk we had to run indoors as the mosquitos were giants and were very hungry!  The breakfast is okay, but one day we had super service, the next day none – clearly somebody was having a problem somewhere, but the result was that the guests also waited 25 minutes for bread or coffee! 

But what of dinner?  Our food was very tasty, with an number amuse-bouche and ‘pre-desserts’ etc., though I didn’t expect some plastic wrapping to remain around my rabbit terrine or my turbot to have quite so many pieces of bone; the service was ‘okay’.  Okay, let me be more specific, the food service was good, the wine service was less good. 30 seconds after being given the large wine-list our somellier arrived and asked if he could make some suggestions, but I said first I’d like to look at the wine-list myself as I was only on page 2.  I told the sommelier that my choice would be a half of 2005 Viré-Clessé (I forget the domaine) followed by 2002 Clos des Lambrays, but what would he suggest(?) – his answer was that my choice was okay and off he went without a suggestion!  The list is a good size and pricing is reasonable for such a place, and it’s also the first place I’ve seen the 2004 DRC Cuvée Duvault-Blochet, but given that it was 185 Euros, and I’d just spent 250 Euros on Champagne, I chose the Lambrays at two-thirds the price.  With the wine I had two issues; my wife tasted the Vire-Clessé and said it was fine, but after about 25 minutes it developed a very obvious oxidised presentation – nose and taste.  I told the somellier about this but said that I didn’t know the appellation very well, and was it perhaps the style of the producer or the appellation(?) – he replied that it was the appellation and chose not to sniff it himself – he was wrong and we didn’t drink any more of it.  That was bad enough, but our glasses were always drained before he finally re-appeared with a refill and the (decanted) bottle was away from our table.  Maybe the somellier deserved 3 or 4 out of 10 for his performance at our table, but that’s only for offering to decant without a question from me.  The Lambrays was excellent:
2002 Clos des Lambrays try to find this wine...
Medium red only, but the colour looked super in the glass, despite domestic comments about it being a rosé!  The nose was wide and reasonably deep – rather mineral and persisent – not so much fruit but lovely to sniff.  In the mouth it was mainly about balance and persistence; nicely ripe fruit, a little of the aromatic minerality and an intensity that built before slowly fading.  Like many Lambrays, it’s about balance and compexity, not power.
Rebuy – Yes

Verdun
With a hint of embarassment, I have to say that twice a year (and for a number of years) we pass-by Verdun at speed but despite it’s history, we have never previously stopped.  Today we did, and what a surprise the place is. 

verdunWe wanted to take in a little the history and to see what was commemorated.  By pure chance our ‘minor-road’ approach found a cemetery of about 1,100 graves, one with a posy of flowers at the base of its cross, and when we looked, it was exactly 92 years to day that this person met their fate – June 22nd 1916.  We drove on towards the town center, and what a surpise, massive fortifications that were originally Celtic, then Roman etc., etc..  You can walk around these impressive constructions in about 40 minutes and along the way you will meet the Citadelle Souterraine, an underground contrsuction that includes a train-ride and, not to mention, 7°C temperature inside when it’s 28°C outside!

The town-centre is a really pretty place with the Meuse river running through centre, it’s very picturesque and perfect to take a lunch in the open areas by the river – but note – everyone stops serving food by 3:00pm!  We drove out of the town and expected to find signposts to other sites and perhaps museums etc., but we spotted none – this was disappointing.  If we’d searched out the tourist bureau we could have found a list of more than 20 separate sites, but nothing is signposted for the casual traveller – that’s a shame – but let me underline, don’t just pass Verdun by…

bertagna chambolle-musigny le village 2005

domaine bertagne 2005 chambolle musigny le village

Everthing that last week’s Bertagna Bourgogne wasn’t – really super!
2005 Bertagna, Chambolle-Musigny Le Village try to find this wine...
Medium-plus cherry red. Impressive depth of dark, brulée-tinged fruit at the base, slowly becoming redder at the top. In the mouth you have silky texture, excellent acidity and a really super extra dimension of dark fruit in the mid palate. Faint oak texture and coffee on the very good length, but this texture will soon fade. Lots of oak for sure but there is enough power and intensity to absorb it.
Rebuy – Yes and I just did!

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