Tasted with Andrew Nielsen in Beaune 29th October, 2014. Pictured right, Andrew and Emma Nielsen.
Well, there was no point in making you wait 2+ more weeks for the October issue of Burgundy Report EXTRA! to read this – because the Le Grappin 2013 offer closes on the 4th of November – so here you go for a free view of what’s assembled in the EXTRA! The highlighted wines are personal my favourites.
Andrew and Emma were moving, scrubbing and moving (again) everything in sight when I visited. The former cuverie of Fanny Sabre in the centre of Beaune remains their compact and bijou home. It could have been an even tighter squeeze were it not for the hail of 2013: With the addition of a contract for Santenay-Gravières blanc they had the potential to produce roughly 35 barrels of wine in 2013, but of-course their vines were hit by hail – so just 18 barrels of 13s await…
Andrew plans to bottle his whole production next week – he notes that the year he used a contract bottler for his 18 barrels, it took them just a few hours – when he did the same himself last year it took them over a week! I guess the contract option looks rather appealing 😉 Overall, a lovely set of wines – there’s nothing here that I wouldn’t consider buying:
From 60 year-old, organic managed, vines in Aux Fourneau. Really badly hit by hail in 13 so he was able to get a few more rows from the same grower, but they took a whole week, pre-harvest, to drop sub-standard and damaged fruit. That said, they took a further 14 hours to sort the remaining 3 barrels-worth of fruit once harvested. Still, they managed to find about 10% good whole-clusters too. There was no pigeage and just 3 remontages with the whole-clusters on the top of the grapes.
Really great colour. The nose has fine depth of aroma, and is seemingly almost textured – really lovely. Round yet with the upmarket concentration expected of a 1er cru – lovely weight of extract. I think this an excellent result
2013 Beaune 1er Boucherottes
Also hailed, but less dramatically than in Savigny – it was also ‘hit-and-miss’ hail – unlike Savigny where every single cluster was damaged, in this plot some remained perfect. Andrew has managed to make 7 barrels worth, and also include 25% whole-clusters in his recipe. Daily remontage plus 4 days of light pigeage here.
Again excellent medium-plus colour. The nose is darker and just faintly spicy. Despite a little CO2 this is clearly a more direct and transparent wine of good intensity. Lovely width and purity to the flavours from the mid-palate onwards into the finish. Really good!
2013 Savigny-lès-Beaune Blanc
This plot was basically destroyed by the hail: Instead of his normal 4-5 barrels, Andrew was able to assemble only 90 litres of pressed juice. Although he prefers to make only from the same plots each year, there wasn’t enough to properly vinify, so he was forced to buy must from a grower in a neighbouring plot. He now has 3 barrels worth – ‘It had to be done’ he says…
The aromatic here is nicely round with a slowly growing, fresher aspect. Round in the mouth too with a slowly bubbling acidity below. It would be even better with just a twist more of acidity, but the depth of flavour is lovely – it remains a really tasty wine.
The grower tells Andrew that this is the only chardonnay on the terres blanches of Gravières – easy for him to say 😉 Vines have a good age of about 40 years and provided enough for two (older) barrels worth of wine.
Here is a fresher, modestly mineral nose that has fine floral top-notes. There’s faint CO2 on the palate but behind, the wine is clearly lithe, wide and very tasty. I find a fine tension from the mid-palate into the finish. Very lovely!
2013 Beaune 1er Les Grèves Blanc
Again, lower yields due to hail, There’s no new oak used here.
Once-more there’s something floral in the aromatic – but below is more depth of aroma. Lithe and wide in the mouth – the depth of flavour growing all the time and leaving a suggestion of salt on your tongue. Lovely wine again.