Entries from 2020

a little something(s) to keep us going…

By billn on May 18, 2020 #degustation

some weekend wines

2018 Domaine Longère, Beaujolais Villages Blanc Nos 2 Elles
A Nomacorc seal; a newer ‘select green 300’ but the wine is clearly in great shape.
Modest colour. A nose of some mineral clarity and a suggestion of citrus richness – also modest, but still an invitation. Mouth-filling with a leading-edge that’s part saline part sweetly acidic. Yes, a wine of richness but there is super balance here – it’s completely deliciously flavoured. Simply excellent wine – a rarissimo…
Rebuy – Yes

1994 Bouchard Père, Volnay 1er Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot
I am completely surprised. I bought a small parcel of these perhaps 15 years ago. The started modestly interesting but slowly became more and more monolithic – zero joy and few redeeming features – so what has happened?
Decent medium red colour, not a wine that looks ‘old.’ The nose brings a little Marmite, a suggestion of flowers and a good depth of clear red fruit – that’s a good start! Width, energy and a good acidity keep this wine in control – the width, for while, suggesting some oak. Slowly mouth-watering, with the red fruit of the nose showing well in the middle flavours. It’s not ‘great’ wine but it’s tasty and interesting for sure. There is still a little tannin holding on in the finish but not to disadvantage the wine. A little more closed on day two, but still holding on – a turn-up for the books – more than modest enjoyment here!
Rebuy – Maybe


By billn on May 15, 2020 #degustation

2018 Domaine Carrette, Saint-Véran Les Mures
Cork sealed.
There’s a twist of freshness over a richer width of fruit – a waxy style to this aromatic. Really a width of flavour – there’s some impact here. Layered, rich for sure but these layers of flavour just about avoid heaviness. Tastily long and a very enjoyable SV.
Rebuy – Maybe

2017 Domaine Collotte, Fixin Les Champstions
Not a well-known climat – even if you live in Fixin! Sealed with a darker, what looks like, untreated cork.
Here’s a very much less communicative nose – it suggests depth and perhaps a little salinity – but little else. Wow! Here you see the difference between the lightness of style from many in the Côte de Beaune in 2017 and the fuller concentration and colour that you find in the Côte de Nuits – there is nothing lacking. Lush, deeply fruited – almost a dark cherry cordial in style – there is tannin – but only if you go out looking for it. Accessible sweet fruit – as we have become accustomed to since 2015 – but simply a deliciously moreish wine. Yes!
Rebuy – Yes

restaurants & the elephant in the room…

By billn on May 13, 2020 #the market#warning - opinion!

It’s true of course – how could it be any different? Without restaurants – either ordering or potentially closing for good – the wine-producers of all regions have currently lost a significant part of their client-base. At this point, only Burgundy seems to be openly discussing this and that’s why they have the headline.

Major retail channels are not making up for lost sales.” Again, of course. The orders that have been placed by hotels and restaurants, less than 2 months ago, will not have been re-allocated yet, it’s too soon.

Nobody knows how the restaurant scene will look 2 years down the line, but typically it is the older, more coveted, domaines that have higher exposure to the restaurant trade. The ‘slack’ of unsold/un-ordered wine could easily be taken up by the consumer channels for these sought-after domaines – just look at how buoyant the online sales are during ‘lockdown’ – but it’s the unpaid bills from restaurants that won’t reopen, or who need to ‘re-finance’ – that’s the much bigger elephant in the room…

the making of the 2020 vintage…

By billn on May 12, 2020 #vintage 2020

WP_20160608_10_19_39_Pro (2)Yes, there have been flowers! Already last week (7 May) in Chambolle and Chablis Montmains, this week also in multiple locations in the Mâconnais and Beaujolais. In truth, these are young vines and they are always ‘early’ but the next few days will bring the real, the general, flowering. But there’s no getting away from it – by the end of April, the vines were two to three weeks ahead of where the 2019 vintage was on this date.

Since the start of May, the weather has been cooler and much wetter – which I can also confirm has been the case 280km away in Bern – practically gloves required for jogging today in 5°C!

2020 is now back to being neck-and-neck with the 2011 and 2007 vintages at this stage – still joint most precocious of the last 15+ years. But after this recent rain – 30-50 mm in the last week – and a return to warmer temperatures that should arrive in the next few days, it’s unlikely to lose any ground on those two vintages. Actually, and despite practically 5 weeks of dry weather in March-April, there has been more rain since October than either of 2007 or 2011 – so there could even be a growth spurt in the next week or two! As previously noted, mid-August harvesting remains a distinct possibility!

To date, a few small signs of oïdium have been noted but there seems to be no mildew for now. Sage words from Sylvie Esmonin to end with:

a brace of 02s…

By billn on May 11, 2020 #degustation

Pascal Chevigny & des Chezeaux

Following on from the very successful Potel Boutières, a couple more from 2002:

2002 Pascal Chevigny, Vosne-Romanée
This was a domaine on the ‘wrong’ side of the RN74 that runs through Vosne, but I think it’s no longer producing. A sturdy, if completely unbranded, cork.
Plenty of colour, and no real impression of age to go with it. Now that’s a very good nose; slightly spiced – as it should be – and with a fine floral perfume of excellent purity – a great start. In the mouth forthright – so long as you hold it in your mouth and swirl – the tannins seem almost a little rustic. Simply drink and you have the impression of silk – so I suggest the latter. Lovely mid-palate depth of flavour and fine acidity. This is very accomplished and also holding-up very well. Excellent, provided you don’t look too closely.
Rebuy – Yes

2002 des Chézeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin
Another sturdy and much tighter seated cork than the Vosne – but out in one piece!
A little age to this medium-plus colour. A nose with plenty of fresh volume – more of a width than a depth, and less floral than the Vosne – but still a good invitation – here with just a touch of leafy, Gevrey-earth. Ooh, that has a nice intensity of fresh cherry – red, acid-cherry. The acidity is more to the fore than the Vosne – not unlike the Aloxe from Potel a few days ago. Mouth-watering, delicious and possibly the best of the three 02s – including the Aloxe which had nicer mid-palate fruit but not so good aromatics. Excellent villages, still in excellent, quite youthful shape.
Rebuy – Yes

Potel’s 2002 Aloxe 1er Boutières…

By billn on May 08, 2020 #degustation

nicolas potel aloxe corton boutieres

There was a different type of value proposition when I was ‘peak buying.’ Following my tasting of Nicky’s 2002s in Nuits St.Georges (with his business manager Xavier) I ordered (from memory) 12 Aloxe Boutières, 6 Vosne 1er Suchots, 6 Vosne 1er Malconsorts, 6 Vosne 1er Petits Monts, 6 Vosne 1er Gaudichots and 6 Chambertin. Due to a mix-up there wasn’t any Suchots waiting for me when I came to collect, and the stock had all been sold – c’est la vie – but I still ended up having to pay more as my Petits Monts all wore Malconsorts corks(!) – so I ordered another 6 – i.e. the proper Petits Monts! The result still seemed expensive at ~1,500 Euros (before the extra PMs) but the bottles have brought me so much pleasure – and it goes without saying, such an order would be massively more expensive today…

This may be the last of my Boutières, and it’s been super-interesting to follow this wine through the age-curve; starting deliciously, lushly fruity, then the wine narrowing as it approached 10 years old, finely acidic but hardly with the foil of lush fruit any more. Today it’s much more drinkable than 5-6 years ago:

2002 Nicolas Potel, Aloxe-Corton Boutières
The nose is a little compact, almost suggesting, but never quite delivering a little brett. The palate is a dream – the fat of youth is long-since lost, but here is a fineness of acidity and a clarity of fine red fruit that I can only describe as succulent – oh that’s so good! The texture has some depth of concentration and clearly there’s acidity here, but anyone who appreciates 1996s and 2008s will find this a very easy wine to drink. Simply a great buy – I’ll be sad if I never find another stashed, hidden away, in the cellar.
Rebuy – Yes

David Croix is one of the few that I can think of who makes this cuvée today – stupidly I’ve never bought any – still I’ve plenty of his Beaunes, waiting for the right day!

jean-marc boillot’s 1995 pommard 1er jarollières

By billn on May 06, 2020 #degustation

Well, what a turn-up!

JMBoillot-95-Jarollieres1995 J-M Boillot, Pommard 1er Jarollières
I think I bought a dozen, or so of these in an auction – in around 2008. They were a good price, but frankly, not a single one have I enjoyed. Many have been strongly afflicted by brett or the impression of bacterial spoilage. Not this one! To start with, a great cork – robust and, obviously, a great seal.
Plenty of colour, though with less overt age showing than last week’s excellent ’98 Bonnes-Mares. A fresh brambly nose of width plus a certain invitation to drink – that’s a surprise – and certainly not any overt impression of maturity! Mouth-filling, muscular and showing very good energy. The concentration – the depth of flavour – is impressing me. A little iron in the finishing, slightly saline and impressively long flavours. This is super and with plenty of time on its side. Some of the previous bottles have been so bad that I couldn’t for a second recommend the wine – but if this was my only experience I’d be raving. Even on day two – often the death of older wines – not a bit of brett, plenty of freshness too, though just a suggestion of cloudiness that wasn’t there on day 1. This was delicious.
Rebuy – No

4 B’s…

By billn on May 05, 2020 #degustation

Actually, there were 5 B’s – but I forgot my cunning plan and already posted my note on the Blagny! 4 cracking wines:

2008 Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Le Chapitre
A decent cork.
The nose is fresh, almost graphite and brambly. In the mouth there is some 2008 freshness but it’s not in excess. The structure remains relatively young here, but it’s far more approachable than was the case 3 or 4 years ago. The graphite impression on the nose is, for a long time, on the palate too, but aeration finally delivers a very fine focus of complex red berry fruit – it finishes beautifully! Still very much a youngster, but a wine that became better and better, the longer that it was open. I will confidently wait another 5 years for remaining bottles.
Rebuy – Yes

2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
A sturdy cork, if completely unbranded.
Certainly more than medium coloured. The first sniff yields a little savoury oak – or perhaps reduction, let’s see. Mouth-filling – ooh! – that’s concentrated; indeed many layers of concentration – yes plenty of oak too but woof! This is good stuff! Fresh, incisive, growing all the time with a confident flavour despite the high-dose of quercus. The finish slowly fading. Day two and it’s less obviously oaked, softer, still complex but easier to assimilate – still a super depth of flavour in the middle and finishing flavours. Not really ‘elegant’ but it’s also a baby – but a great one – bravo – have 5 more years of patience!
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Julien Duport, Brouilly La Folie
At last a red with a young colour chez nous – a nose of fresh crunchy fruit too – not overtly 2015, or Brouilly for that matter, in style. Yes – the same in the mouth; energy, fresh, crunchy red fruit and very much fun. I wouldn’t have guessed the vintage blind. Really a super wine, even if it’s put in the shade by the concentration of the Clos des Mouches
Rebuy – Yes

1998 Fougeray de Beauclair, Bonnes-Mares
The Clair family own the only part of Bonnes-Mares in Morey St.Denis, for a long time exploited by this domaine. The vines have since reverted back to Bruno’s domaine, but there is still a contract with Fougeray where they receive 2 barrels of Bonnes-Mares per year. The transformation in this wine has been remarkable – at 2 years old this is about the hardest, most tannic, Burgundy I ever opened – I had no hope, despite having purchased a 6-pack. Quite a good cork – it cracks on extraction but remains in one piece.
What a super nose, a depth of crushed leaves such a width of aroma – faintly floral too – unlike the last bottle this has a faint brett – but not enough to stop enjoyment. Plenty of mouth-filling volume – it’s a grand cru! – the depth and complexity of flavour remains super. The tannin of its youth practically a memory now. Great, fully mature wine – but with no rush to drink…
Rebuy – like a shot! (At the old price…)

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