Tasted with Nathalie Tollot, 17th Feb 2014, in Chorey-lès-Beaune.
2012s: The domaine lost 25% of their crop.
2013s: They also lost about the same in 2013 due to the hail – losses were concentrated around Savigny, so they will have no 1er Crus from Savigny. They declassified the Lavières and Champ-Chevrey (that they were able to pick) into their ‘villages’ Savigny-lès-Beaune. “The quality in Beaune is still there” says Nathalie Tollot “but it required the whole family sorting.” For example it took them one whole day for them to complete the picking and sorting of their 0.5 hectares of Beaune Grèves – compare that to a normal vintage where the whole of their 22 hectares are picked in one week. Nathalie also notes that “The effects of hail are more terrible today, than 25 years ago – because given the cost of land/inheritance so much more money is riding on the outcome of the harvests.”
Nathalie on prices: Nathalie said that they would augment their 2012 pricing by 6-8%, but would not increase further in 2013. “We try to be stable, but with the lower volumes it simply wasn’t possible.”
The red wines:
Nathalie on winemaking:“We always used to think of Lavières being a better wine than Champ-Chevrey – at least 30 years go. Certainly the Champ-Chevrey has more tannin but it can also be more elegant and powerful. Perhaps our processes are softer today, we don’t crush our grapes anymore and so maybe the wine is more composed. Though perhaps we have slightly lower yields today too.”
These reds had been in bottle just two weeks when I tasted. Considering the recent bottling, this remains a brilliant range – I could easily have chosen more ‘must buy’ wines.
2012 Bourgogne Rouge
Made from two parcels that total 3 hectares, all from Chorey-lès-Beaune. A part had been classified as ‘Chorey’ before being reclassified as Bourgogne in 2006.
Here is a round, concentrated nose with a rather beautiful fruit expression – very pretty – and it slowly becomes higher toned with something like blood-oranges. For a Bourgogne, this is rather silky and certainly more concentrated than is the norm. Real depth plus a hint of CO2. Very lovely Bourgogne Rouge.
The aromas are less deep than the Bourgogne – at least to start with – but they show good width and a faintly more animal/earthy note. The nose remains narrower, but takes on more depth and richness and the animal is gone. There is a more intense, dark-red fruit on the palate and a quite lovely finishing flavour – more interesting than Bourgogne in that respect. Good wine.
2012 Chorey-lès-Beaune La Piece du Chapitre
Here the aromas need more coaxing from the glass, but there are clean and focused dark-red berries. Lithe and muscular with great mid-palate fruit. There is more oak texture in the mid-palate, but that will be gone in 6 months. Nathalie notes that “All three of the wines so-far have received 25% new oak – always François Frères – bur it is this wine that always shows it the most.” Lovely potential.
2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Lavières
Dark berries indeed blackberries, ripe and with almost no Savigny earth. Concentrated and very silky – here there is riper fruit. There’s a little CO2 so maybe the texture will become even better than is apparent today. Super length, showing a very dark fruit complexion. This is a rather contemplative wine, but an excellent one.
2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Champ-Chevery
Higher tones, fresher than the last Chorey with a few vegetal hints. Yet there is also more energy and a less deeply coloured fruit. There’s a little more tannin, but it’s still fine textured, and there’s more mid-palate intensity too. The nose ends up with good richness but never the ripeness of Lavières. Very tasty and certainly less contemplative than the Lavières.
2012 Beaune 1er Clos du Roi
The nose is wide with soft, ripe, bit fresh dark-red fruit. Round in the mouth and I very much like the depth of flavour here. The tannin is relatively fine but its appraisal is slightly disturbed by a little CO2 on the tip my tongue. Also a contemplative and rather composed wine.
50% new oak here, same as the Clos du Roi. Nathalie notes “The oak almost always more obvious on the Grèves despite having exactly the same treatment – yet in 2012 not.”
This nose is rather shy and seems less wide versus the Clos du Roi. That said, there’s good depth and a certain freshness that promotes a little floral note. Big wine with ripe, velvet tannin, real concentration – massive but composed. There’s a not too ripe, lingering fruit flavour in the finish. A wine to wait for, but it should be brilliant.
An assembly of four different parcels of vines.
Wilder and wider aromas after the Beaunes with a dense core of red fruit. Full and round with plenty of acid/tannin structure – an energetic bundle with a faint saltiness. Ebullient and real fun. “I love these after 7-8 years” says Nathalie.
2012 Aloxe-Corton 1er Les Vercots
Nathalie notes, “Ten years ago we replanted half of this vineyard with a masalle selection and we are very happy with it.”
Wide, fresh aromas of dark fruit with a hint of minerality – very attractive. Quite some density but not overstated. The baseline of tannin has some grip but not much grain. Depth of flavour and it finished well.
The nose is fresh yet with impressive density – I immediately think of Corton. The fruit and tannin seem not perfectly integrated, but both seem excellent in their own right. Penetrating, intense fruit and tannin with the most grain so far. Very good length. This wine slowly comes more together in the glass. This really does seem more like a Corton in 2012. “For my taste, this wine is always better after 10 years” notes Nathalie.
Fresh, faintly spiced dark red fruit, a suggestion of licorice and maybe brûlée too. Layered, concentrated and not a hint brutal. Growing intensity and a super finishing flavour and length. There’s quite some scale here but delivered in a friendly package – excellent!
2012 Corton Bressandes
Wider aromatics but starting shy of depth – only slowly does this get better in the glass – redder fruit, good freshness and a faint marmalade note. The flavours are more direct and intense with another dimension of flavour in the mid-palate. I love the combination of freshness and intensity coupled to sweet fruit. Less rich than the previous Corton but very tasty.
The whites had been bottled in December.
2012 Bourgogne Blanc
1.8 hectares of vines that include small parcels of vines designated as Savigny and Chorey, the rest from Chorey. Two-thirds are young vines planted in 2000, the rest are 50 year-old vines. Bottled in December.
Ripe lemons on the nose – quite nice – but no great interest. There’s a delicious mid-palate of fresh fruit, however, ripe but in a perfectly fresh way. The nose isn’t offering much, but the palate is genuinely tasty.