Frankly I drink almost no Beaujolais – two months ago there was that glass of ‘nouveau’, okay, half a glass – well, almost half a glass…
Putting aside the quality of the ‘nouveau’, it’s not for a lack of available quality that I don’t buy ‘Cru Beaujolais’, rather (for whatever reason) it’s just not in my mind while I’m handing over my credit-card details. Perhaps the merchants need to be more proactive and start listing Beaujolais with all their Burgundy offers – both ‘online’ and in print. Even the most expensive of the wines below will only retail for ~12 Euros – there is far more value here than most regional burgundies.
I had the chance to taste some of the Potel-Aviron wines again this year, wines made in the traditional burgundian way rather than by carbonic maceration. The wines from the 2005 vintage are much deeper coloured than the 2004’s and have an extra level of structure to match – they will need much more time to smooth out. This time last year, the 2004’s were already quite drinkable, I suspect these impressive 2005’s, which were bottled just after the 2006 harvest, will need at least another year before they start drinking.
|2005 Potel-Aviron, Fleurie Vieilles Vignes|
Deep colour. The nose today is hardly elegant – forward, sweet, angular black fruit – but with aeration it slowly takes on a smoother shape. The palate is dense and fresh with plenty of grainy tannin – the flavour completely covers your palate with a thin layer of interesting fruit. Medium length, this is quite unknit, very young and a long way from achieving the typical elegance of Fleurie. I suggest waiting about one year for this serious bottle to come round.
|2005 Potel-Aviron, Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes|
Deep colour. The nose is a little more understated than the Fleurie but also more ‘together’. The palate shows quite the same level of tannin, but this time it’s a little finer and so shows just a little more astringent. There is more than a touch of chocolate to the fruit and this time there is an extra dimension of flavour on the mid-palate. Again this is very, very young and will require at least one year before it starts drinking. Should be super.
|2005 Potel-Aviron, Morgon Côte de Py Vieilles Vignes|
Again this is very dark. A deep, impressive and cohesive nose with fresh high notes and even a little creamy vanilla – very classy. Lots of fine grained tannin and a rush af acidity taking you through the mid-palate to the finish. This is mouth-filling wine that again has about a medium-plus finish.
Finally I bought some!
I always enjoy my visits chez Potel; the wines usually offer value, start with ‘good quality’ as a baseline, and occasional cuvées can be stunning. More importantly, because the house style is largely consistent and neutral (and you have a wide palate of cuvées), you can get a great feel for the vintage in almost half a day, without the wood getting in the way.
First up a few whites that are already bottled. Fabrice Lesne has been working at the domaine for a while now, his prior experience came at the Hospices de Nuits, Domaine Bertagna and also looking after the Meursaults of Bouchard Père et Fils. After going through the bottles Fabrice put me on the spot and asked with a smile, “so, what did you think?” I replied that I preferred the delivery and minerality of his 2004’s as the 05’s seem rather rich at the moment – he shrugged – keeping his big smile and said “of-course, but that’s the vintage!”
There’s a lot of wine packed into these bottles and it will be interesting to see how they settle. Today they all more about rich and poweful delivery, than taught, structured intensity – many will prefer them to the 2004’s – but not me, not yet.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Maltroie|
Medium lemon-yellow. The nose is high-toned with a little citrus and deep segments of fruit. Rich but round flavours expand in the mid-palate and show good length. This is a clean, powerful and quite interesting wine.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs-Canet|
This wine hails from the Meursault side of the appellation. The nose is narrower, tigher and more melon influenced – it really doesn’t give any clues to the label. The palate is quite opulent, almost 2003 in delivery – though with much better acidity. On the finish there is still a texture from the oak – nothing major, and it will probably be gone within 6 months. Again this is a rich, powerful wine that today shows none of the classic Puligny tension.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Meursault 1er Genevrières|
A nose of real width, at it’s centre an intense core of agrumes with (perhaps) just an edge of marzipan. A soft and understated entry, but real mid-palate power is evident that effortlessly carries into the finish which today mainly shows sweet oak flavour.
|The wines below are all Côte de Beaune reds and were tasted after bottling. I have notes from another 3 bottled wines from the Côte de Nuits and lastly 8 sampled from barrel about 2 weeks before bottling which will followin the next days. I’d buy any othe wines below – no problem – but special mention (for my preferences) goes to the Volnay 1er Caillerets.|
2005 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Vieilles Vignes
Medium-plus cherry-red colour. There’s a concentrated core of red fruit on the nose, pure but linear. The palate is very serious; there’s plenty of faintly grained and slightly astringent tannin. The acidity is fine, and leads to a very good, mouth-watering length. Super villages.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peuillets|
Again, medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose is about sweet, focused fruit, plus occasional hints of malo. Sweet and ripe, the palate remains very fresh. Quite narrow in the mid-palate, but much longer finishing than I was expecting. Very nice, but certainly needs at least 1+ year to integrate…
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Volnay 1er Caillerets|
Medium-plus colour – almost purple. A wide and really interesting nose of black-shaded fruit over a base of coffee. The finest tannins yet – they are only faintly astringent, despite their abundance. The fruit on the palate is very clean and understated yet very long. This is a fantastic wine and worth a special search.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Pommard 1er Rugiens|
A nose of real depth with forward black fruit and just a touch of reduction. The palate shows real concentration and plenty of tannin, but the tannin is amply covered by black shaded fruit. The fruit widens and widens into the finish. Large-scaled and concentrated without being over-blown. Impressive juice.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges|
A fresh and forward, though initially slightly diffuse nose of predominantly red fruit – becomes more interesting and ‘coulis’ in style in the glass. The concentrated palate strikes a masculine pose. Good acidity and intensity too. The finish is a good one, there’s nothing wimpy about this rather ‘honest’ bottle of Nuits. Recommended.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Gevrey-Chambertin|
This wine also starts a little slowly the glass, but after a short while the aromatics become quite interesting with faint coffee supporting a nice black fruit profile. In the mouth this is very wide and concentrated with a little grain to the tannin. There’s real mid-palate intensity and just a little oak texture on the long finish. Very high-class villages.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux St.Jacques|
Medium-plus colour. The nose is similar to the village gevrey – if anything tighter, more understated and consistent. Very intense; this is hard to keep in your mouth. Super acidity dovetails with plenty of tannin. Despite the concentration the personality is rather cool, clean, mineral and understated.
|These last wines all tasted in their last week or two in barrel. Xavier Meyney (Nicols Potel’s business manager) was a little disappointed how the wines were showing from barrel – saying that we were out of phase with the moon – despite his disappointment, these wines did little to hide their apparent quality. We started with a good quartet of Nuits – the last was a real cracker – it may be a little dull, but there’s little here I wouldn’t buy:|
2005 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges 1er Pruliers
A tight nose with an undercurrent of bright red fruit. Powerful but with fine tannins and super intense mid-palate. There is just a little oak-derived bitterness on the long finish, but this will quickly fade. Sauve and accomplished for a Nuits
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges 1er Murgers|
This vineyard sits close to ‘Richemone’ from 45 year-old vines. Much more ebullient nose, just an edge of malo to be found but this is wide and interesting. Also very fine tannin and intense concentration. It’s hard to hold in the mouth and has super acidity. Just a little oak-derived texture on the good finish. A wine that impresses.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges 1er Damodes|
A dense nose that still shows a little malo and just a little reduction too – it starts deep and tight, but slowly widens. The palate is well delineated and a little mineral. Good acidity and the tannins are so well covered they are just an after-thought.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges 1er Boudots|
There’s plenty to see on the nose, and it’s not just about fruit – a nice toffee note comes through too. In the mouth it’s all about fresh fruit and acidity followed by a real extra kick of concentration in the mid-palate and into the finish. This really does have an extra dimension vs the last wines and comes across just a little Vosne-like. Really super, bravo.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Petits Monts|
A dark and interesting nose of spice-edged damson and a suggestion of toffee. A subtle and elegant wine, with real depth and quite some complexity. Slightly grainy tannin is a fleeting impression before the acidity whisks you into the long finish.
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Malconsorts|
Understated, edgy, coffee-tinged fruit on the nose – the nose never really expands in our time together. Roll this concentrated wine around in your mouth and you get sweet, dense fruit and many dimensions of flavour. The wine still seems to be opening out as you move from the mid-palate into the finish – a peacock’s tail.
|We sampled both the brassy and forward Echezeaux and the denser, more sullen Clos de Vougeot, both were impressive, but both showed too much gas on the palate for a formal note.|
2005 Nicolas Potel, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
A very fine and sweet nose with well delineated fruits – very impressive. Wow – almost everything is available here; concentration, never-ending complexity and dimension. Marvellous, multidimensional stuff. This wine almost left me out of breath!
|2005 Nicolas Potel, Bonnes-Mares|
A deep nose that also shows quite some width. Warming and swirling fills in the picture with some higher toned notes. Big and impressive in the mouth with chocolate covered fruits and a wave of tannin that keeps abreast of the fruit. Incredibly impressive stuff, but for my own preference it’s just a little brutal today. Really impressive stuff.