Entries from 2020

week number 15, 2020 – le easter weekend et les wines…

By billn on April 13, 2020 #degustation

Cathiard already knew how to charge for their wine when this was released en-primeur; £100 per bottle ex-tax in January 2001 versus £41 for Engel’s Grands-Echézeaux – both are great wines, but the latter, so far, unquestionably the greater. Of course, that’s still very cheap versus today! The merchant offered to split a case of 12 for me, so I could merely buy 6 – probably it’s impossible to buy cases of 12 today(!?) With hindsight, oh for the chance to buy Cathiard and particularly Engel at those prices again!

I still think of Cathiard in that period as a more than good producer, who was striving for excellent – since the 1980s, first the André Cathiard labels, then Sylvain’s had always been more than good – and relatively inexpensive too – rarely great wines but always great values. Hints of that lack of detail-conscious approach remain for this 1999 – not least, the unassuming normal length, bleached pale, unbranded cork – just a Burgundian coat of arms and ‘mis en bouteille a la proprieté‘ – that’s all you get, but:

1999 Sylvain Cathiard, Romanée St.Vivant
A practically sombre, if still clean, red colour – no signs of age though. Oh! What a beautifully elegant red-fruit nose – that’s a great invitation – though not the complex class of Arlot’s 99 Clos Arlot right now. In the mouth it’s similarly red-fruited to the nose with a panorama of flavour that rapidly widens – and here is a profound depth of flavour that’s inextricably linked to the upper-class length of finish – clearly ‘bravo’ wine – equally clearly a wine whose performance remains out of sync with the commercial value of the bottle – despite still being a great wine. Today the Arlot is the better wine in all except, perhaps, ultimate length. One of each remain to compare in another 9-10 years – maybe also with the Arlot RSV – wouldn’t that be fun?!
Rebuy – Yes at the old price, definitely not the market price…

2017 Julien Brocard, Chablis Boissoneuse
The penultimate of 28 bottles of this, and the nose seems to have shrunk – still a clarity and freshness but less depth and attack here. In the mouth, well that’s just lovely – as always – fresh, mobile, fine citrus energy. A little sweetness but also saline and with that beautiful ‘Chablis balance’ – just completely delicious – and then it was gone!
Rebuy – Yes

2012 Domaine Faiveley, Corton-Charlemagne
A nose with quite some weight of punch – a faint firework reduction that wraps a creamy, almost creme-brulee, note around the sweetness of the fruit. If it wasn’t so damn impressive, it would be too much! Mouth-filling, oily-silky, intense, radiating sweet flavour wide and long, here is also some mouth-watering minerality. I wine that is just so brilliantly impressive – yet today it lacks a little freshness for the best balance. I just have one more of the original 3 of these, and clearly this has the potential to be great wine. It needs 5 more years – maybe 10 – but it’s sealed with cork, so that’s a worry. This was so nearly great that I’m prepared to wait on the last bottle until 2027 – I hope that the cork is sympathetic…
Rebuy – Yes

Trouble and strife – Chablis

By billn on April 11, 2020 #asides

this week’s sequence of bottles…

By billn on April 10, 2020 #degustation

2006 JF Mugnier, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Maréchale
Of-course, the biggest disappointment is being able to say nothing at all about the wine – the cork was very smelly from TCA – the wine equally so…

2007 Prince Florent de Merode, Corton Clos du Roi
Bought, like the last, on release. The early bottles were rather modest, no faults – except for lack of overt concentration. As this wine gains in maturity, I’m starting to warm to it. The nose is direct, pretty even, not powerful but still with an invitation. The palate starts much the same – a little narrow but has a little extra fat in the middle flavours that I’ve not previously noted. The flavour is pure, has decent depth and is frankly delicious. I still consider this to show the intensity of a modest 1er cru – the 2005 Pierre Bourée is certainly ahead in that respect. But it was a delicious bottle, and just one more example of the difficult 2007 vintage starting to open up in a positive way.
Rebuy – Yes at the old price 😉

2008 des Comtes Lafon, Monthèlie 1er Les Duresses
This was a helpful wine in positioning the previous Clos du Roi. Here’s a similar energy and intensity to that grand cru. This nose has a vibrant depth, and that small hint of youth – still. The mouth – ooh – I love the combination of energy and delicious flavour complexity – a darker more brambly fruit impression here, only missing that extra fat of the mid-palate from the Corton. Very satisfying wine – qualitatively, easily the match of the 2007 Mèrode. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

2009 David Clark, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Au Pelson
This was David’s experiment with stems – previously an avid de-stemmer, David went 100% whole-cluster with this wine – it’s surely time to see how it’s developing.
This was a wine with a strong aromatic profile of whole-clusters – towards the dark-side, the gothic side – today that has been replaced by a more easy-going floral style. In the mouth, also easy-going, indeed modest of flavour. Round, no hard edges, easy to drink – but essentially a proper Bourgogne, well-made, though a wine that has no pretension of trying to keep up with the previous two bottles. Nice Bourgogne, that was probably ready to drink 5 years ago. No-longer a rebuy, but when young, maybe.
Rebuy – No

2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Bourgogne l’Héritière
A very old-vine cuvée – 1922.
Not an ultra-deep colour, but still a certain youth. The nose is silky-smooth, pungently perfumed, certainly a little leathery and with an inky depth too – and that’s despite the red-fruited style. At the base is a little rub of tannin for support, but here is an open and energetic flavour profile – again red-fruited, again a little leather with the fruit but also with an intensity and structure that says that more is to come. Unlike the previous, completely ready, Bourgogne, here is a wine that has plenty of youth on its side, and a much more incisive delivery of flavour. Young, with a power and punch that says much more is to come. Excellent wine, already drinking quite well.
Rebuy – Yes

in the vines it’s not all blue-sky, sunshine and distancing…

By billn on April 09, 2020 #vintage 2020

There are also lots of bugs to be squished – you’re not eating them, so I’m sure it’s both biodynamic and vegan!


By billn on April 07, 2020 #degustation

Having already done a 2002 and a 2003 before the 2005 last week, but not quite being able to force myself to open a 2004, from the image above, I suspect you may still be able to spot my coming (cunning) plan.

This was squarely interrupted by the 2006 from Mugnier being totally corrupted by cork taint – the cork was smelly on its own, but the wine – pooeee! – but yes, there will have to be more beef bourguignone! I didn’t have another 06 ready – in the fridge, it’s already 20°C here – so jumped straight into the 2007. The 2008 will get its cork popped tonight – so notes on the next 4 later in the week…

something(s) from the côte st.jacques…

By billn on April 04, 2020 #degustation

2018 William Fèvre, Chablis
Secured with diam 5
To open with: A nose that’s just a little tight to start, but obviously saline and lime-style fruited – there’s the suggestion of structure. An hour from opening and the citrus is friendlier and brighter and wider. In the mouth a lovely acidity for the vintage, proper Chablis structure and finishing minerality. A wine that gets better and better with air – even better on day 2! Bravo, but what a baby! if you are lucky enough to have some 2017 it’s more drinkable than this today.
Rebuy – Yes

And what about 3 wines from the Côte St.Jacques?

2002 Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos des Varoilles
A nose of smoky width – I have the impression that there was a bit of toasty oak here when younger. Time gives this a bit more fresh energy and depth of aroma – a fine invitation. A direct wine in the mouth – lovely energy and vibration of flavour, but hardly medium intensity. Very tasty and seemingly still quite young. Modest intensity for a 1er cru but tasty wine all the same.
Rebuy – Maybe

2003 des Chézeaux/Berthaut, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
In lower volume vintages their Lavaux St.Jacques is blended with their Cazetiers – as here.
The nose is a little fuller and more complex, lots of depth and no smoke – this is a lovely invitation and one that becomes ever-more floral. A surprisingly nice drive and energy here for the vintage, not far behind that of the 2002 from Varoilles, there’s the sweetness of fruit of 2003 but also with width and depth of flavour. Slowly and deliciously mouth-watering – I was right to order a case of this after tasting the wine young – 5-6 more of these beauties still await…
Rebuy – Yes

2005 Pierre Bourée, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos St.Jacques
A rare wine, but one with a nightmare cork; first welded into place, then two-thirds breaks off. The remaining third eventually comes out though not before I’ve completely drilled through the middle of it with the corkscrew…
The most colour of these three wines. The nose starts a little lactic and with a suggestion vanilla too – obviously there had been plenty of aromatic oak to start with this one. 20 minutes after opening this has a width of very impressive aroma – cushioned, complex, and oh-so inviting – that’s excellent! Fresh, wide, mouth-filling and mouth-watering too – finishing with a mix of sweetness, salinity and mineral salivation – oh yes! Less lush than the 2003 but perfect for the cep risotto! Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

frostwatch 2020

By billn on April 02, 2020 #vintage 2020

I note that there are vigneron(ne)s in the Rhône that have serious frost problems this week. The temperatures have just been dipping below the ‘fire the candles up‘ and ‘start-up the wind machines‘ point in a few parts of the Côte d’Or today – more-so, seemingly than either Chablis or Beaujolais. Of course, it’s a little more pressing this week than last, as more leaves are starting to unfurl – the afternoon temperatures that are 20°C or more in the full sun are hardly helping. It’s largely the same scenario as the last few years – early bud-break, perfectly timed for the Spring frosts…

The third and fourth images in the instagram post of Véronique Drouhin are very impressive…

offer of the day – 2017 de montille…

By billn on April 01, 2020 #the market

The inbox is quite active with new offers – gotta do something while self-isolating, eh?

I like the fact that there’s a pause before the ‘new’ de Montille vintage is released, it was the same timing last year. The price in brackets is the same wine in 2016, where offered…

Monthelie Vin Nature 2017 75cl 35.55 (Swiss Francs)
Beaune 1er Les Sizies 2017 75cl 50.40 (53.55)
Beaune 1er Les Grèves 2017 75cl 72.00 (71.55)
Nuits St.Georges 1er Aux Thorey 2017 75cl 79.20
Volnay 1er En Champans 2017 75cl 108.00 (107.10)
Volnay 1er Taillepieds 2017 75cl 112.50 (112.50)
Corton Clos du Roi 2017 75cl 139.50 (139.50)
Vosne-Romanée 1er Malconsorts 2017 75cl 300.00
Vosne-Romanée 1er Malconsorts Cuvée Christiane 2017 75cl 460.00

Montagny Les Coères 2017 75cl 32.40
St.Romain 2017 75cl 32.85 (32.85)
St.Aubin 1er En Remilly 2017 75cl 43.65
Chassagne-Montrachet 2017 75cl 55.80
Puligny-Montrachet 2017 75cl 62.10
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières 2017 75cl 109.80
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Caillerets 2017 75cl 130.50
Corton-Charlemagne 2017 75cl 135.00 (134.10)
Chevalier-Montrachet 2017 75cl 378.00

Note that these prices include Swiss purchase tax.

Burgundy Report

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