Tasted with Nicolas Rossignol in Beaune, January 2014.
Nico’s wines have been assembled for bottling, but those tanks are a sad sight – not all are used and most are only half-full. 2012 yields at this domaine are only 25% of a normal vintage – luckily Nico’s Savigny and Pommard had a normal yield – unlike 2013 where he made a massive 50% of a normal vintage!
2012 Pricing: There’s no beating about the bush, what lies in Nico’s modest tanks is magnificent. Still, he decided not to promote his wines in London, or send samples; “What’s the point of the expense(?) I have almost nothing to promote.” I guess, buoyed by the brilliance of what he has made, the price increases go well beyond what most people are daring to do: +30% for his villages Volnay, though it does contain all the individual 1er Crus that were too small to vinify separately; +50% for the small number of Volnay 1er Crus where he had at least one barrel to make. Some older vintages (07 and 08) will also be offered to try to make up some of the income shortfall, but despite the price increases, Nico notes “We are not making any money here, just, hopefully generating enough cash to keep our banks happy.”
All wines are assembled in tank. Nico notes “There’s not that much difference in my villages and premier crus this year – probably will be so in 10 years, but currently the gap is small.” This is simply an outstanding range of wines – and that’s before you consider the trials and tribulations that Nico had to overcome to produce only a quarter of his normal output. Interestingly in 2012, Nico chose to use no new oak at all – his barrels were 1, 2 and 3 years-old in roughly equal proportions.
Normally Nico produced about 4,000 bottles of this Bourgogne – from vines planted in 1922 near the Château de Pommard – this vintage he had enough yield for 900 bottles.
I find a real depth of aroma, mainly dark fruit / black cherry. In the mouth there’s a big hit of flavour, balanced, intense flavour. Brilliant Bourgogne!
From 50 year-old vines just below Beaune 1er Epenottes – only 3 barrels from 0.5 hectares in 2012.
The tight nose shows dark fruits. The mouth has a luxurious texture and concentration – this seems to show 1er Cru quality today.
All the 1er Crus that yielded too little to vinify separately (eg Taillepieds) were included in this cuvée.
This has just been sulfured, so the nose is rather modest – unlike the flavour: concentrated yet lithe with a beautiful floral flavour – this will be brilliant!
Nico normally has 3 villages Pommards and 8 1er Crus – this vintage, all but 3 of his 1ers and all the villages are in this one cuvée – so includes the likes of Rugiens and Jarolières etcetera – yet there are only 3 barrels.
Deep aromas – probably because there’s a little reduction. In the mouth there’s bright, ebullient dark fruit and a seriously impressive mid-palate
2012 Beaune 1er Les Reversées
The nose offers a wide, understated dark fruit. It seems a little less dense than the Pommard, offering beautiful high-toned fruit that is still very dark-coloured. Lovely personality here.
2012 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
Here is a mix of focused, dark red and black fruit – but there are florals too – very nice! In the mouth this is muscular, yet very fine and lithe. Very, very impressive, with a last note from the glass, of red/blackcurrant.
2012 Volnay 1er Clos des Angles
Only 15 hl/ha in this vintage, but what was harvested warranted 40% whole clusters in the fermentation.
Less super-focused aromas after the Clos des Mouches, yet there is a width of juicy fruit. In the mouth there’s that same juicy-fruit impression – crocquant – and an extra dimension of flavour in the mid-palate. A honey of a wine – just lovely!
2012 Volnay 1er Caillerets
Here’s a vineyard where Nico says he would never use whole clusters.
The aromas have a more cushioned impression, and there’s a slowly evolving and very, very pretty floral note over something deeper. Silky in the mouth, multiple dimensions of flavour, fresh finishing – Yum! A faint dry tannin in the finish – just super wine.
2012 Volnay 1er Chevrets
Although its border is only 10 metres from Caillerets, here’s a parcel that Nico believes does lend itself to whole clusters in the fermentation – in this case, 50%.
The nose has fresh, inviting dark fruits. The palate has a little CO2 but it can’t hide the core of gorgeous fruit. There’s power here too!
From just below Champans.
The aromatic impression is larger and rounder after the Chevrets; faint flowers and black fruits in the mix. There’s super texture with just a faint grab to the tannin. Growing, high-toned, dark flavours yet this is impressively fresh and well packaged. The last drops in the glass have a gorgeous (very dark) redcurrant note – super!
2012 Pommard 1er Epenots
The nose starts wide but just a little diffuse – but magically, all the dark, high tones come into focus with flashes of florals and maybe some chocolate too. Beautiful, incisive flavours – concentrated and dark.