It’s much colder in Chablis this week – and it’s supposed to be sunny too – but I’ve not seen much of that yet – maybe this afternoon! Anyway, this week I got here without recourse to any new car-parts – that will come next week when it’s service time!
And the 2020 vintage in Chablis after my first 30 domaine visits? Well, there are great wines – as I had expected – but there are also significant complications which I hadn’t anticipated. This will be an interesting report to write!
Water and cables…
What’s clear in Chablis is: the floodplains are doing their job! The river is high and the low-lying fields are underwater. The reservoirs are looking full and ready, should they be required to combat the frost in April/May. Some areas – particularly in Maligny – are starting to invest in trace-heating. These electric cables are quite expensive to install but the maintenance is low – certainly lower than the plumbing required for the aspiration. The environmental impact is lower than for aspiration too, and clearly, they can be used where there are no reservoirs. Maybe that’s also a way forward in the Côte d’Or; considering that Corton-Charlemagne in many places produced 1 barrel per hectare in 2021 and likewise, Bouchard’s Chevalier-Montrachet produced 2 barrels from 2.5 hectares of vines – that’s multiples of millions of euros lost in a single frost event…
Last Monday, the Chablis Saint Vincent in Fleys was, once more, postponed due to covid. This event, originally planned for 2021, is now postponed for a second time but they don’t yet have a new date. This info automatically last week put the spotlight on Puligny, Blagny, Corpeau who were in exactly the same position, having also postponed from 2021. The team has put in a tremendous amount of work but admitted, last week, that the decision had been taken out of their hands as to whether the event transpired or not. Late on Friday, as anticipated by most of us, a postponement was announced. The new date is for the weekend at the end of the Grands Jours de Bourgogne – itself postponed from last year! Because of covid I haven’t registered for the Grands Jours so am also unlikely to be going to the Saint Vincent – and will either of them actually take place? I’m pessimistic. Just look at the rampant covid-positives from that famous super-spreader event in November – otherwise known as the Paulée de Meaursault. I will say no more on that subject!
I should also, probably, mention a wine or two:
There were a couple that I finished 2021 with:
1996 Darviot-Perrin, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Blanchots Dessus
A wine that Marko de Morey had kindly gifted me which I’d planned to open last Christmas – but last Christmas was a quarantine time (negative, but…) so I left it another year.
Like the earlier (1993) François Jobard, this was in great shape but it was a wine that needed aeration. It started very clean, direct, faintly of lanolin but was a bit austere and unforgiving. 4-5 hours in a decanter – required because the cork crumbled into dozens of bits and 40% of it never made it out the bottle – plop! – brought a broadening of the flavour and highlighted more the fruit. A sweeping, complex but still slightly austere thing which I liked a lot but had very little to do with young Blanchots!
Rebuy – Maybe
2001 Frederic Esmonin, Ruchottes-Chambertin
Easily the best red wine of Christmas – in the classic sense – ie everybody loved Stéphanie Colinot’s Irancy the most!
Deep and impressively aromatic – still clean but adding a depth of sous-bois notes – it’s maturing well. I was most impressed by the combination of concentration but also brilliant finishing energy – this was not just tasty wine, it was dynamic wine – bravo!
Rebuy – Absolutely!
And from last weekend, I won’t bore you with a note on the Thivin – my wife’s favourite label and a house wine of 2021 chez nous – this was just as good as all the other bottles – it’s also, I think, the penultimate of this case!
2010 Jean-Marc Bouley, Volnay 1er Caillerets
Am I allowed to be disappointed by one of Thomas’s wines? Well, what on earth could be amiss with the combination of 2010 and Caillerets in the hands of Thomas?
Well it’s obvious isn’t it – it just smells of vanilla – it tastes of vanilla too – and I really don’t like vanilla. I have nothing further to add…
Rebuy – No