Entries from 2020

chablis trophies and weekend wandering…

By billn on January 20, 2020 #travels in burgundy 2020

Chablis 2020
Chablis ‘centre’

Saturday saw the Concours des Vins de Chablis – a big taste-off of 2018 Petit Chablis, Chablis and 1er Crus, plus the 2017 grand crus!

I didn’t do the tasting. Given that I’m in Chablis for 3 weeks in January, I otherwise wouldn’t see my better-half for the whole of the month if I was there too – instead, the pair of us still took the Autoroute to Chablis, but rather to lunch at Au Fil du Zinc – there’s not much time left, it closes for good before the end of March.

Lunch was actually fabulous – one of my best ever there. If I ask myself, irrespective of price – i.e. if someone else was paying – whether I would rather dine here or at Lameloise, it would be here! Jean-Claude Bessin’s 2016 Valmur was one of my wines of that vintage, so we availed ourself of a bottle of that too – super…

But back to the Concours des Vins de Chablis: a few names that I haven’t previously visited in the list of ‘medals‘ – left – you can find all of the announcements and the list of the winners – enjoy!

And after – just a few photos from the last days / this weekend – picture from and around Chablis mainly, but also a couple from or Sunday morning in Dijon – we had to take advantage of the blue sky 😉

weekend wines – week 2 2020

By billn on January 13, 2020 #degustation

2005 Gambal Dents du Chien, 1999 Bouchard Chambertin

2005 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Les Murgers des Dents du Chien
Golden colour though no browning. A perfumed roasted lemon is my first impression, a little spiced too. Time adds faint lanolin to the nose. In the mouth to my surprise, is a lovely sweeping line of freshness – waxily-fine textured and mineral. Such a difference in the delivery of flavour versus the Chablis of last week. The finish mineral and has some caramel aspects – probably the barrels talking here. Concentrated but alive, beautifully proportioned and very long. A point! Opened on Friday, this was completely stable/robust, such that still delicious on Sunday – narrower, but not a suggestion of tiring in either flavours or aromas. Bravo – I hope it’s not my last!
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chambertin
Not a wine you see very often – it’s a domaine wine – but with only 0.15 hectares, it’s not a wine that they tend to (need to) show in tastings. A couple of years ago the 1998 was brilliant! Here a poor start, but only because the cork breaks in half – the second part coming out in a thousand pieces! I asked Frédéric Weber if he could tell me a little more about the plot and he responded right away! “Yes, it’s a plot of 0.15ha in the upper part of the Chambertin (close to Les Latricières) I think it is a very nice situation particularly in the hot years because we are close to the forest and that permits us to keep freshness and a good balance, the soil is poor and very thin, the yield is low in average, in the best year I produce only 2 barrels. I like to vinify with whole clusters and a soft maceration to express the aromatics and elegance of Chambertin, we do not produce a deep Chambertin in this part.”
What a beautiful nose – not the pure and powerful that I remember from the 1998, rather a beautiful and elegant floral bouquet. Rather silky in the mouth, still a grain of ripe tannin if you search hard enough. Elegant and floral here too – slowly becoming a little more mineral and mouth-watering. Very long. Not a powerful wine but such a beautiful thing – I would say ready but hold for as long as you wish. None of the overt structure remains that you can still see in many of the higher 1999s
Rebuy – Yes

offer of the day – 2018 oliver bernstein

By billn on January 12, 2020 #the market

It’s a long time since I saw an offer for this producer, and my, haven’t things developed! We are now in the DRC orbit!


Offer 1 – the 2018 1er Crus:
3x 2 bottles for 1,740.00 (*Swiss Francs)
Chambolle-Musigny Les Lavrottes 2018 75cl
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Les Champeaux 2018 75cl
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2018 75cl

Offer 2 – the 2018 Grand Crus:
7 bottles for 5,700.00 (*Swiss Francs)
Clos de Vougeot
Clos de la Roche
Clos de Bèze

The prices include tax and delivery – and even a wooden case – thank goodness!
The only cogent thing that I can say is – ulp!

Remembering Mr Beaujolais

By billn on January 06, 2020 #degustation

Julienas, Clos du Fief

2014 Michet et Sylvain T̬te РClos du Fief, Juli̩nas Cuv̩e Prestige
I’m in Chablis today – the start of my 60(+) domaine tour of 2018s – but before I left Swaziland I decided yesterday evening to remember Georges Duboeuf with this very impressive Beaujolais – but I didn’t have any from him – sorry Georges! I decided not to go the dark and obvious route (2015,16,17,18) and didn’t directly find anything more complicated (2012, 2013) so here you go:
Medium-plus colour. A slightly round nose that hinted at a little reduction – but after 5 minutes this was singing – almost a floral/spice note to this nose that’s mirrored in the flavours. Elegant, complex and a delicious winner of a wine. Bravo to Georges!
Rebuy – Yes!

1999 mazy – from fred esmonin

By billn on January 05, 2020 #degustation

Frederic Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin 1999

It was never really going to be possible to beat Friday’s wine on Saturday, was it? – Or was it!

1999 Frederic Esmionin, Mazy-Chambertin
Frederic always preferring the (Maz)’y’ to the (Maz)’is!’ I haven’t opened one of these for 10 years – perhaps now’s the time!
Hmm – now that’s an inviting nose. Only modest amplitude, but a nose with more maturity than the Potel Clos des Chênes and still ‘clean’ & fresh. In the mouth, less innate density than the Chênes, but here is a more open, almost sparkling, complexity – a little mid-palate oomph too – like all good Mazi should have. The middle and finish of this wine are really quite something – energetic and vibrantly intense. Never the same weight of impact of the Chênes but altogether more complex and welcoming – did I mention ‘easier to drink?’ Hmm, this moreish wine didn’t need two days to finish – though in this case, help came from someone else who tends to prefer whites. Less than a glass laid in wait for day two – cloudy with sediment – less good but no brett or unsavouriness. My best wine of 2020 – even after the brilliant Potel, though I think that the more concentrated Potel may have more longevity!
Rebuy – Oh Yes!

Did I mention how much I’m liking 1999s right now? 😉

Thanks to Georges Duboeuf

By billn on January 05, 2020 #sad losses...

Adrien & Georges Dubeouf with Guy Marion, 2017
February 2017, with Adrien & Georges Duboeuf, plus oenelogue Guy Marion who had worked together with Georges since 1976…

Yesterday we said goodbye to ‘Mister Beaujolais;‘ Georges Duboeuf was 87 years old.

I only tasted once with Georges, above, but he was generous with his time if already frailer than all the photos of him that I’d seen – that was almost 3 years ago.

Georges was one of the principal drivers of the explosive growth of Beaujolais Nouveau in the 1970s. But behind that, he was able to create an empire of all the sorts of Beaujolais; make any blind tasting and you would be shocked by how often wines from his Hameau du Vin would be numbered amongst the best.

Today is not a day to critique his efforts, only to remember a man that probably sold more Beaujolais than any other who has existed. My thoughts go to his son, Franck, and all the rest of his family.

a great friday wine

By billn on January 04, 2020 #degustation

1999 Nicolas Potel Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes

1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
It was good on the Thursday too 😉
Even from a baby, this was ‘grand vin.’ On release, it was an absolute quality match for d’Angerville’s 1999 Clos des Ducs and Dom Lafon’s 1999 Santenots de Milieu. Only from the age of ~3 did those other wines start to show a little extra – but not much – and it seems that this wine hasn’t lost much of anything. Plenty of colour. A nose that has power but depth and interest too – only very modestly showing some aromatic excitement of maturity – still a baby it seems. In the mouth this is full and energetic, chiselled – indeed structural – but with no hard edges. A style of balance that 2017s and 2018s can only dream of. Delicious wine, still predominantly of fruit. I drank the whole bottle myself over 2 nights – and it was not a bit worse for wear on day two – bravo – a great 1999 that will easily live 15-20 years more! Actually, I’ve never met a better Clos des Chênes, ever…
Rebuy – Oh Yes!

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