Tasted in Beaune with Gilles de Courcel, 31 Jan, 2014.
With 45 hectares of 1er and grand cru wines, mainly in an around Beaune – 10 different Beaune 1ers – Chanson have been hard hit in the last two vintages; yields were ‘very low’ in 2012 – “Not just fewer grapes, but very small grapes too!”. Yields were even worse in 2013, when almost every one of their Côte de Beaune vineyards was hit.
Note, the winemaker here, Jean-Pierre Confuron, has been gathering awards; recently the Confuron brothers, jointly, received ‘Vigneron of the Year’ trophy from one periodical – “La Revue du Vin de France” – but for 3 domaines; Chanson, Confuron-Cotetidot and de Courcel.
Gilles de Courcel on 2012: “I think that quality is somewhere between 2009 and 2010, but at a higher level than 2010. I think it’s a vintage of refined fresh fruit, with balanced acidity but with this concentration and freshness of aroma. We think they will keep for a long time. Given the vintage conditions, they are an unanticipated success.”
de Courcel on prices: “There will be slight increase versus 2011; 10-12%. The 2011s also had some increases in anticipation of the low yields of 2012 which we already had in the cellar.”
Since this 2012 vintage, they actually cool the grapes before adding them to the vats, so no crushing of the whole clusters is required to get juice to help cooling. After 2 vintages, they are very happy with this approach:
2 hectares owned here.
Medium-plus colour. It’s a fine and deep nose – good detail of dark-red fruit. Plenty of tannin – Oof! This is a monster! For all that, there is balance, and the fresh, dark fruit slowly lingers. What a brilliant first wine!
2012 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Les Vergelesses
Medium, medium-plus colour. Here the nose is more shy – but a little broader. Also rather concentrated – the tannin grabs your gums but it is plenty ripe enough. Lovely fruit underneath.
2012 Beaune 1er Les Champimonts
Medium-plus colour. The dark fruit has a faint spice, though again, this is a shy nose. Here, the basic palate is a little more lithe and direct, despite a ’round-ness’ of tannin in the middle. High-toned fruit in the long, mouth-watering finish.
Fresh, dark and spicy nose. this is just as concentrated but silkier than the last wines. Pretty-much grand cru concentration here, and with a complexity and freshness of fruit to match – simply super! To test my contention, I re-tasted this after the Clos de Bèze – it was absolutely on a par for concentration and structure – but the Bèze had nicer fruit. But still impressive, hey…(?)
2012 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
Here is a beautiful, deep nose of focused dark-red fruit. Cooler fruit in the mouth, plusher textured too – it’s a velvet tannin, and less-so the big ‘block’ in the middle as it shows in many wines here. Slowly leaching, the fruit flavour returns. More elegant – if that’s the right word for such concentration!
2012 Beaune 1er Clos des Fèves
Just a little paler. The nose is more discreet but also with fresher aromas of dark red fruits. There is gradual tightening of focus in the glass; more linear, more lithe and perhaps a mineral dimension. Growing intensity and a strong core of velvet tannin. The fruit is fresh and pretty all the way through the wine, the finish too. Very, very good…
2012 Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Dark colour. The nose has pretty, high tones and some good depth, it’s really rather discrete though. Full, textured, concentrated and complex. Very fine depth of beautiful fruit flavour here. Superb!
These had already been bottled in September. The first wine was a little rich for me, but the others are worth the effort to find.
2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune Hautes Marconnets
Two hectares owned, on the hill above Savigny. It was once planted to pinot, but over the last 50 years it has slowly been transplanted to chardonnay.
Swirling, largely removes a few estery artifacts, revealing fine, sharply focused high-tones. Round and quite rich, with a little salty minerality. This is just a little more ample than I like – particularly from Savigny – yet there’s good, mouth-watering flavour and length in the finish.
2012 Pernand-Vergelesses En Caradeaux
Two hectares on the left-hand side hill, facing Corton-Charlemagne as you enter Pernand – lots of limestone in the soil. So, cooler here than for Charlemagne and because of a cooling breeze too, but it gets the morning sun. All-told, the longest hang-time of any of the domaine vines.
The nose is a little shy, but wide and faintly mineral. Actually, it’s rather mineral in the mouth too. Concentrated and with a growing intensity. It is still a little richer than my preference, but here is a characterful, stony, mineral wine that I’d still drink any day!
2012 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches (Blanc)
“You will have to savour this, as it’s two years wait for the next wine – there was none in 2013…”
Depth, width, interest and faint spice with a little honey. Cool in the mouth, and also rather mineral. This is silky and with good enough acidity and a great finish. Great personality – I really like…
“Two hectares, acquired in 2006 means we are the largest owner here.”
Sweetness, flowers and minerals – this is very fine. Nice acidity, good concentration and a nicely silky palate. The mouth-watering flavours have good sucrosité. This is a very lovely wine. Yum!
2012 Meursault 1er Les Perrières
From purchased grapes, but it’s one of their oldest contracts, running over 20 years.
Width and freshness on the nose – it begs you to take a sip. A hint of CO2, but it’s wide and has great energy. There’s a long, slow development of fresh flavour into the finish. Very good.