Tasted high up in the Clos de Haute-Combe with Vincent Audras, 13 February 2019.
Clos de Haute-Combe
Tel: +33 4 74 04 41 09
Vincent on 2018:
“2018 was a special vintage. The warmest since records began. Starting hard because of all the rain to start the year, and a lot of mildew in some parts of France so it was not always easy to get into the vines at the best time with the best products. Then a little warmer and drier then really warm and dry – here were had only 30mm of rain in the best part of 4 months. We talk about the best exposed slopes facing the south, but maybe in the future we talk about northern exposures! But in the end we had a super harvest and the quality is certainly there. ”
Vincent on 2017:
“It’s a lovely vintage, we always compare to the vintages on either side and this is a very gamay vintage – 2015 and 2018 might be the current taste for larger, sweeter wines, but the origin of gamay is in its crunchy fresh fruit. It’s a small rendement though – only 35 hl/ha – but that’s not much less than 2018 where I was at about 40 hl/ha. We are high on the slope here but also directly exposed to the sun – there’s no reserve of water in the soil when you are on a steep slope. It’s a nice expression of gamay with a nice balance, some nervosité, and a mix of red and black fruits – there’s a finesse that is absent in the very hot years. Wines for thirsty people. it’s also the first time in 6 years that we had no hail – here was also the limit of the frost – nothing was particularly damaged but some parts still produced no grapes. The dryness was our biggest problem – steep, draining, south-facing slopes lost quite a lot.”
As ever, assuredly excellent wines.
This bottled in November.
A good volume of aroma, at once perfumed but also of depth of complex fruit. Hmm – vibrant, fresh but with depth and complexity – lots of action here – underpinned with a modest tannin and a little minerality which grows I the finish. Flavour radiating from the core – long in the finish. Ooh Delicious – bravo!
2017 Julienas, Clos de Haute Combe – En Corps et Encore
This is essentially the same wine, 90% the same assemblage, but with an earlier bottling, just before the harvest.
Hmm – a little extra width of complexity – a finer complexity, if less overtly profound fruit. More supple, more composed but still of fine balance, and a vibrant depth of finishing flavour. Ooh – a wine that’s more in place today but less overtly energetic – in some respects more sophisticated than the previous wine but with less direct excitement today. Excellent.
2017 Cuvée Variations de Gamay
On lyre behind the house, but lyre isn’t allowed by the appellation. The 20 year lyre-trained vine ‘test’ has come to the end this year – ”multiple advantages are evident though less visible in the wines.’ The report will head to the INAO, Vincent thinks it’s a good method. This was bottled at the same time as the last wine – just before the harvest.
A nose that’s a little tighter, faintly spiced but not with the broad complexity of the last. Hmm – almost halfway between the last two wines – there is an almost rich depth of texture that reflects the ‘Corps’ but with a little more energy that is more in-line with the ‘Clos’ – overall nearer the ‘Corps’ so perhaps the time in bottle is playing a role. Lovely, quite vibrant finishing flavour. Excellent again.