Entries from 2022

offer of the day – henri boillot 2021

By billn on October 12, 2022 #the market

Boillot Puligny Monopole plaque with view towards PulignyDomaine Henri Boillot 2021 – en primeur
As always, from my local Swiss merchant who makes this offer about the same time each year.
I leave you with the 2020, 2019, 2018 and the 2017 pricing in brackets.

With anywhere between minus 90% and minus 50% volume for whites in 2021 – hence so many missing cuvées in this offer – you didn’t expect it to go down did you?
— = not offered

*Bourgogne Chardonnay 2021 75cl 33.00 (29.00, 29.00, 26.00, 23.00) Swiss Francs

St.Aubin 1er 2021 75cl — (55.00, —)

Meursault 2021 75cl 68.00 (—)
Meursault Les Gouttes d’Or 2021 75cl — (105.00, 95.00, —)
Meursault Clos Richemont 2021 75cl 149.00 (115.00, 105.00, —)
Meursault Les Genevrières 2021 75cl — (129.00, 125.00, 115.00, 108.00)
Meursault Les Perrières 2021 75cl — (138.99, —, 125.00, 115.00)

Puligny-Montrachet 2021 75cl 68.00 (58.00, 58.00, 55.00, 52.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Folatières 2021 75cl 149.00 (135.00, 125.00, —)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 2021 75cl — (135.00, 125.00, 115.00, 108.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières 2021 75cl 149.00 (129.00, 115.00, 115.00, 108.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Mouchère 2021 75cl 149.00 (138.00, 128.00, 115.00, 108.00)

Corton Charlemagne 2021 75cl 248.00 (205.00, 188.00, 175.00, 168.00)
Montrachet 2021 75cl — (945.00, 895.00, 845.00, 795.00)

Volnay Les Chevrets 2021 75cl 89.00 (89.00, 89.00, 89.00, 89.00)
Volnay Les Caillerets 2021 75cl 99.00 (99.00, 99.00, 99.00, 99.00)

Clos de Vougeot 2021 75cl 208.00 (185.00, 179.00, 169.00, 158.00)
Echézeaux 2021 75cl 259.00 (239.00, 229.00, 229.00, —)
Latricières-Chambertin 2021 75cl 330.00 (—)
Bonnes-Mares 2021 75cl — (350.00, 330.00, 319.00, 298.00)
Chambertin 2021 75cl — (350.00, —, 319.00, 298.00)

*The price you see is ‘delivered’ but ex 7.7% Swiss purchase tax.

just a few recent wines…

By billn on October 11, 2022 #degustation

As Dan and Mike, in the comments, were interested. Here are some notes from a previous post plus some other bottles too:

2019 Berthaut-Gerbet, Bourgogne Hautes Côted de Nuits
Medium-plus colour. Perfumed with dark-red fruit. Nicely sweeping lines from this middle-weight wine, a wine that was drunk in one evening – elegant and pure. it really hit the spot
Rebuy – Yes

1993 Comtes Lafon, Volnay 1er Santenots de Milieu
A cork that came out like the wine was just 2 years old – a loud ‘pop!’
A wide, structural, interesting and super-clean nose. Like the nose a structural wine, wiry, some minerality here too. Just a little austere but beautifully boned – I wouldn’t hesitate waiting 2-3 more years for this, I have the feeling it’s not going anywhere fast!
Rebuy – Maybe

1999 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Fremiet
Here the nose is showing some leathery characteristics – it’s not got the Volnay purity that I like. On the palate, however, this is lovely; more floral and elegant than the Lafon and simply delicious today – its structure is less obviously visible. Delicious but not the best aromatic.
Rebuy – Maybe

2018 Charles Lachaux, Vosne-Romanée
The current pricing of these wines is eye-watering but we took this from a wine list and tried to keep an open mind. We were rewarded!
Very modest colour – it could be a 2017. Aromatically captivating! What a fabulous and elegant, frankly ethereal, perfume – yes! It’s the same on the palate too – ethereal, intoxicatingly perfumed, elegant wine. It transcends AOC – it doesn’t have the weight or concentration of a grand cru but most grand crus don’t satisfy as this wine did – a little marvel!
Rebuy – I wish!

1986 Romanée-Conti, Grands-Echézeaux
The cork came out in one – not bad with this age!
Another wine with super perfume – more complex and more rugged than the Lachaux – but doesn’t quite transport you to another dimension like that wine. In the mouth, this is an old lady – all in place, easy to drink – not special (like the nose) just a fine and satisfying drink. On its way down, I think, but still very good.
Rebuy – no, it’s no-longer worth the tariff

2001 Georges Mugneret, Clos de Vougeot
I bought three of these on release. The first I opened about 5 years ago and it wasn’t a very interesting bottle. Has 5 more years made a difference?
Not a forceful nose but one with some pretty floral elegance. The flavour profile is similarly floral; the structure present though modest for a Clos de Vougeot. Not an amazing grand cru but certainly a delicious wine!
Rebuy – Maybe

2001 Louis Jadot, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos St.Jacques
Like the previous wine, my last one of these was unsatisfying – in this case seemingly muddied and bretty – this was altogether better.
Airy, partly floral – good complexity with plenty of maturity starting to show. Engaging, open wine. Like the Mugneret a 2001 that’s very much on the elegant scale but delivers satisfying complexity, texture and length. That’s a lovely wine – I have much more hope for my remaining bottles.
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Françoise Andre, Corton-Charlemagne
A little on the young side – both aromatically and from the flavour perspective – just a little tight. Yet, engaging and fun to drink, all the same. The finish impresses. To see again but very good.
Rebuy – Maybe

2x 2017 Chablis
Great to compare and contrast the VV from Gilbert Picq with the wine of Laurent Tribut:
The Picq, as most of my wines from them, is just a bit young and tight – I feel the shape and love the clarity but a wine to be more patient with than the example that I set. To the contrary, Tribut’s wines often seem to have that little extra pizzaz at the same stage – maybe the lack of (stated!) VV in this case – but here’s a wine that is already drinking deliciously; structural and deliciously mouthwatering. For a villages – absolute class.
Rebuy – yes, one to keep and one to drink

2017-2019 Coche-Dury, Meursault
Not everyday drinking, for sure, but with occasional friends in town and a restaurant that sells locally for about 25% of retail, there are some opportunities here 😉
The first I tasted was the 2018; clearly a good wine, in fact a very good wine, but I didn’t really see the Coche-ness with this one. Delicious but a hard sell even at this price. No problem, a couple of weeks later it was sold out! So then came the 2019 – and wow! This is a beauty, subtly rippling muscle and signature reductive elements – now we are talking. But given that my acquaintances had drunk too many bottles of this, our host has removed it from the wine-list, worried that it will be sold out long before it is possible replenish stocks with the 2020s. However! They had done similar with 2017 and there is still some of this, only for an increased tariff, now €300! I can honestly say that this is also the real deal – precise and very Coche. Another beauty.
Rebuy? – I’d happily drink any of them but I’d only buy 2 of them!

2019 Jeremy Recchione, l’Ambroise
An interesting assemblage of aligoté and gamay (70%). Zero added sulfur
Still plenty of colour. A nose that’s not the height of interest but still intriguing. In the mouth this is quite direct and has a flavour profile that’s hard to pin down. Drinkable for sure but just a little anonymous in style – and you know that burgundy addicts like to be able to put their finger on a map when it comes to wines.
Rebuy – No

2016 Maison Harbour, Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice
A nice wax top to this bottle – I know some buyers don’t like this – but I do 🙂
Relatively pale colour. The nose and flavours are hardly even those of middle-weights but the fragrance and perfume in the flavours is lovely. As the wine reacts to the air, structurally it becomes just a little jarring, structurally, in the middle and finishing flavours – a nod to the difficult 2016 vintage – but still great perfume.
Rebuy – No

That’s enough for now – but later today I’ve a 2016 Juliénas to check in on 😉

Goodbye Alex…

By billn on October 05, 2022 #sad losses...

Alexandre Brault 2020I’m very sorry to hear that we lost a good wine friend.

Yesterday, Alex Brault left us tragically early.

For a number of years, he was an integral part of Alex Gambal’s (yes, two Alexes!) operation in Beaune. When Gambal decided his time was up in Burgundy, Alex Brault entertained the idea of making a bid but he soon realised that he had no chance when the Boisset company became the prime suitor.

Alex was undaunted and set up his own operation in Meursault – and he was making some lovely wines.

Only a few hours before I got the news, I’d put him on my list of producers I’d like to visit over the next weeks…

He was one of the good guys…

offer of the day – Robert Groffier 2020

By billn on October 05, 2022 #the market

From my usual Swiss merchant. Prices for Groffier’s 2019s, 2018s, 2017s, 2016s and 2015s in the brackets, — indicates not offered…

Domaine Robert Groffier 2020
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Seuvrées 75cl 119.00 (115.00, 95.00, 89.00, 89.00, 79.00) *Swiss Francs
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Hauts Doix 75cl 209.00 (209.00, 205.00, 169.00, 159.00, 146.00)
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Sentiers 75cl 229.00 (229.00, 205.00, 199.00, 179.00, 158.00)
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 75cl —, (590.00, 399.00, 399.00, 349,00)
Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 75cl —, (590.00, 399.00, 399.00, 349.00)

When you don’t see the price of the last two, you almost have the impression that the wines are cheap 🙂
*As usual, these are delivered prices but without the Swiss purchase tax of 7.7%

offer of the day – Domaine Leflaive 2021…

By billn on October 02, 2022 #the market

As always, from the same Swiss supplier each year. Priced in Swiss Francs (chf)
Image (right) courtesy Domaine Leflaive:

DOMAINE LEFLAIVE 2021 – Puligny-Montrachet
In brackets are the prices for 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015 – though most of the 2018 prices are missing (—), sorry …

Bourgogne 75cl 74.00 (69.00, 55.00, 49.00, 45.00, 42.00, 38.00)*
Puligny-Montrachet 75cl 129.00 (119.00, 99.00, —, 89.00, 82.00, 69.00)

Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 75cl 195.00 (185.00, 148.00, 139.00, 128.00, 118.00, 89.00)
Meursault Sous Le Dos d’Âne 75cl 195.00 (185.00, 148.00, —, 128.00, 118.00, 99.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 75cl — (—, —, —, 198.00, 185.00, 145.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 75cl — (—, —, —, 198.00, 185.00, 185.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 75cl 475.00 (385.00, 299.00, —, 259.00, 245.00, 195.00)

Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 895.00 (—, 595.00, —, 498.00, 459.00, 325.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 1,040.00 (890.00, 648.00, —, 565.00, 498.00, 348.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet 75cl 1,350.00 (1,190.00, 840.00, —, 695.00, 685.00, 445.00)

*As always the Swiss purchase tax (7.7%) is not included but otherwise, these are delivered prices.

Well, not only do they have an expensive new cuverie to pay for, they also have only a tiny, tiny volume of 2021s to sell!

a nice little earner…

By billn on September 30, 2022 #the market

Bouchard Père Le MontrachetWell, it’s been quite some time that a big pile of money has been looking for a new home!

Last week at the press conference of the Hospices de Beaune, a fellow ‘writer’ asked me if I’d heard about a billion euro transaction to buy Louis Jadot and then they jinked and said ‘or maybe Bouchard Père!‘ – Well, what could I do with that?

Then came this yesterday – no links, no other information, and at least as far as Google was concerned, nothing to corroborate. So, still nothing that I was going to go out on a limb to publish. But today, Bourgogne Aujourd’hui and Wine Spectator had the press release:

“François Pinault’s Artémis Domaines—the owner of Bordeaux’s Château Latour, Burgundy’s Clos de Tart and Napa’s Domaine Eisele Vineyard—is buying a majority stake in Maisons & Domaines Henriot, which owns Bouchard Père & Fils in Burgundy, William Fèvre in Chablis, Maison Henriot in Champagne and Beaux Frères in Oregon. The Henriot family will become minority shareholders in the combined company.”

The amount of money involved in this transaction has not been disclosed but the magic billion is on many peoples’ lips.

But let’s turn the clock back to 1995 when the Henriot family from Champagne bought Bouchard Père for an estimated, at the time, $50 million. This was a time when Bouchard was in the doldrums – both the company and their wines – losing money despite having 90 hectares of their own vines – today it’s more like 130 hectares – oh and not to forget their cellar of more than 6 million bottles came with the sale. Three years later, Henriot added Domaine William Fevre in Chablis to their family of wineries. Since the purchase of William Fevre, a whole generation of wine-writers have seen Fevre and Bouchard as domaines joined at the hip.

And the nice little earner?

With a little under 0.9 of a hectare, Bouchard Père is the third largest owner of Montrachet. In the current climate of (Burgundy) vineyard valuations, those vines alone have, possibly, a value of 150-200 million Euros. With that context, a billion Euros might just seem a little cheap don’t you think? I think you can safely expect that the price of (their) Beaune will be on the up!

As an (obvious) addendum to the Artemis/Henriot announcement, on this same day, came the announcement that the previous head of Bouchard Père – Thomas Seiter – was taking on the position of President at Louis Jadot in Beaune, replacing (the retiring) Pierre-Henry Gagey, whose son, Thibault Gagey, will be taking on the role of Jadot’s ‘Directeur-Générale.’

The Domaine Viticole of the Hospices de Beaune in 2022 – Organic wine and their 162nd Auction

By billn on September 23, 2022 #vintage 2022

Hotel Dieu - the new and the old...
Hotel Dieu – the new and the old – ‘influencer’ Margot Ducancel in pink!

It’s that time of year again and the latest wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune will soon be upon us – the 162nd such auction.

On Tuesday 20th September the team of the Hospices made a short press conference (in the Hotel Dieu) to discuss not just the upcoming auction but also from Ludivine Griveau came information on their 2022 harvest and the domaine’s move to organic certification.

In the presence of Alain Suguenot, the mayor of Beaune, François Poher, Directeur & Président of the Hospices Civils de Beaune began the meeting by pointing out that because of the Domaine Viticole of the Hospice de Beaune, Beaune was one of the only hospitals in France that accept no government money for their investments. Additionally “Commerce is important and there is much discussion of the price appreciation of burgundy wine but here, at least, that money has a cause and is used – there is also the link to our movement towards organic viticulture because the health of the people in the vines, around the vines and the general public who drink wine – with moderation – is, for us, paramount.

And so to the comments of winemaker and head of the Domaine, Ludivine Griveau:

First on Organic Certification
This year was the second year of our journey to organic certification. We want to convert the whole domaine – and that’s a tremendously large project of 60 hectares. You might ask, ‘Why not before?’ My answer is that I wasn’t ready! We needed to observe, we needed to fully understand the methods that we would be employing, to have the unity of purpose in our teams, and to adapt our vines for the change to come. But organic or not, our aim continues to be to reduce the dose of treatments. Organic isn’t perfect, we still need to use, for instance, copper, but our objective is to have grapes that have been produced from organic viticulture and we then sell those baby organic wines to the negociants at the auction…

Second on the 2022 vintage at the Hospices
It wasn’t a harsh winter but it was one with ‘correct’ rainfall. Frost brought many worries in April but didn’t affect us too badly. The growth in the vines got underway quite early, indeed the growth became quite explosive before super conditions for flowering. We had only ‘moderate intensity’ from the usual maladies and the vines resisted the dry weather well. The volume was generous as are many vintages that follow a frosty year – like 2021. Growth remained clean and early though the veraison wasn’t particularly fast. In August we checked over 120 parcels for the levels of maturity before starting our harvest in Pouilly-Fuissé on the 25th of August. We waited until the 29th to cut our first grapes in the Côte d’Or. I see nice density but not too much alcohol for the whites. Our 46 tanks of reds were full! There were only 16 tanks of reds in 2021!*
*The smallest number of auction lots since 1977!

So, it seems that at this stage the team are very happy with both the quality and the quantity of wines for 2022. Given the quantity, even if the prices soften a little, it looks like the turnover of the sale will be heading for a record in 2022.

We had a question and answer session after the comments of Ludivine where, unfortunately, both Alain Suguenot and François Poher left the stage – I had a question but it was more for those two gentlemen than Ludivine – so I simply write it below to ‘leave it on the table…’

And my question:
The contacts are both deep and old between the domaine viticole of the Hospices de Beaune and the domaine viticole of the Hospices de Nuits. Do the panel think that, in the future, a single auction would be a more beneficial approach?

This question was prompted by my, long-held, impression the auction of the wines of Nuits has been the ‘smaller brother’ of the same in Beaune and that it, particularly, would be likely to financially benefit.

Thursday September 8 – my last Burgundy harvest day – number 9

By billn on September 14, 2022 #vintage 2022

Our domaine’s last day.

For us, this was the end of the annual harvest that underpins the livelihoods of so much of the region – not just the winemakers but also the ancillary suppliers that support this industry – barrels, tanks, bottles, plumbers and electricians, etcetera…

Generalising about the grapes of 2022:

2022 Savigny Les VergelessesSpeaking of the home domaine in Beaune – though more generally too – in terms of timing we were neither early nor late – today, even 1 week later, there are those who are still active in the vines – today, Wednesday 14th, at least, given the heavy rain in the Côte de Nuits, they might be questioning their later timing.

Instead of the 1-week head start that chardonnay harvesting commonly has over the pinots, the two colours were ripe at roughly similar times this year. Geography has been evident this year with harvesting starting first in the south – Beaujolais – and harvesting is still not finished in the north – Chablis.

2022 is another vintage of ripeness and, so long that they were not compromised by hail, very good quality grapes. The grapes were far from the smallest we’ve seen in recent years but their concentration remains unquestioned. Reds and whites usually lie between 13-14° of potential alcohol i.e. higher than in 2021 and more consistent between colours than in either of 2019 or 2020. We see decent enough acidity in terms of pHs – 3.15-3.35 for the whites and more like 3.6 for many reds – though with extended maceration the acid intensity of the smaller red grapes is slowly coming through, so perhaps nearer to 3.5 will be more common when it’s time to empty the tanks. The quantity, ripeness and easy extraction of the colour and tannins for the reds have been obvious.

As for fauna on the triage table – ladybirds have been only rare visitors, stink bugs and spiders were the most common (as in most years) and in the first few days we saw lots of earwigs but these latter insects became less common as our harvest progressed.

Oh, and there is the quantity! The worries over April frosts are now long forgotten. I previously noted that this is the hot vintage with the most rain in the last years and this has led to gains in volume. Domaines that debudded less assiduously this year after consistently low volumes since 2018 will have been flirting with over-production in 2022 – or perhaps having to decide what to do with their over-production!

There are always differences in timings brought about by viticulture or ripeness preferences – or both – but here lies the middle ground.

Back to our last day:

Grapes from Beaune’s Montée Rouge and Pommard’s Les Vaumuriens brought joy to our triage table. Our north-facing Montée Rouge was one of the rare vineyards where we needed to remove some unripe grape clusters but was otherwise clean and healthy. The Pommard, despite its altitude, had no such issues. There are vintages when the Pommard is only ready after the main group of pickers has disbanded but this year it slotted perfectly into our programme.

So, a perfect finish to our 2022 triage? Not quite, we finished with 2 more bins of the Bourgogne Rouge – triage-table reset to the slowest tempo and a minimum of 6 pairs of hands removing the dried grains as cheering pickers skipped through the cuverie – the pickers keeping our enthusiasm from waning!

Thank you 2022 and my wishes are with Marko who usually provides us with an alternative harvest commentary. At the last moment, he had to cancel his trip to the Côtes for harvesting. I hope he’s well…

Burgundy Report

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