After the over-stretching growth of the early years where well over 100 cuvées were elevaged by the Potel team, they have taken their foot off the gas and remained relatively constant at about 80 reds in the last few vintages. Growth still slips in through the back door, coming in the form of an ever-expanding portfolio of whites – now approaching 30 cuvées. Xavier Meyney who is Potel’s business manager states that it is very difficult for any producer to be appreciated for wine in both colours, but their aim is for their wines to do the talking – I can say that anyone who gets to drink the 2006 Criots is in for a super ride.
2006 has been a successful vintage chez Potel and the vintage is close to sold-out. In terms of pricing, their 2005 vintage was up only 5% on 2004, and 2006 is unchanged from 2005 pricing. Most of the regional and villages wines were bottled around harvest time, a few had just been assembled in tank for bottling when I visited and the last of the 1ers and grand crus would be taken from their barrels in the next month and bottled. For the second year in a row, the collection of Nuits 1ers were all a knock-out.
More news is that the domaine aspirations of Nicolas are finally coming together with new premises in Beaune and 14 hectares of vines – mainly under metayage agreement. Nicolas is taking a more holistic approach to ‘bio’ and ensuring that his new operation is a low energy user, solar panels abound in the facility connected to his Cistercian cellars. All very exciting, and as I write this in February, the name of the venture is yet to be confirmed.
A bright nose that mixes forward and clean fruit with toasty brioche and faint nuts. Mouthwatering with quite some savoury extract on the mid-palate. Good acidity but today just a little un-knit – needs a little longer in bottle.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Meursault Peruzots
More fruit and less toast on the nose. The palate has more concentration and smoother texture. The acidity is good and there’s a nice burst of concentration on the back of your tongue. Finishing nicely, this is very good.
The nose is mineral with a citrus twist. Concentrated, the minerality really comes through on the mid-palate and into the finish. Despite the concentration, this wine is all about mineral rather than fruit flavours – very impressive.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chaumes
A dense and wide nose that still manages to retain a little understatement. The stance is similar to the Morgeot, but with just a little less overt concentration and more fruity citrus aspects. Very nice wine, almost showing a little tannic extract on the finish.
A deep and savoury nose with just a little background sulfur. Very mineral, soft in texture and widening into the mid-palate and long, long in the finish. This has some understatement for a Charlemagne but the depth and concentration are obvious.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Criots-Bâtard Montrachet
A much wider and more complex nose, though some faint estery notes too. Super texture, this wine absolutely stands out for its ceamy complexity in the mid-palate and its awesome finish. I’d only once had a white that ruined the next few reds as its flavour had saturated my palate and refused to leave – that was DRC 2002 Montrachet – this is the second wine to achieve it. Stunning, awesome wine.
The Potel signature wine is, in 2006, a compendium of around 12 separately vinified parcels whose vines average out at 60+ years old. The nose is wide with a nice complexity of dried berries; cranberry, redcurrant and black cherries – very nice. The palate has good intensity and a background of ripe tannin. The finish is a good one. – recommended as always.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Côte de Nuits Villages
The nose is a mix of bright red notes and some darker reductive elements. Silky, the tannin is less obvious than on the Volnay VV. Good concentration, ripe fruit and a nice finish. Super for the appellation – I expect this should be very good value.
Some lovely dark red fruits on the nose. The palate is wide and interesting and packed with very fine tannin. Thi is quite long and a very good villages Gevrey.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée
Despite the nose starting a little more diffuse than the Gevrey – faint spice and a trace of coffee – I love it when you sniff a wine and can instantly say ‘Vosne’, and here you can. The palate is at the same time understated, but also quite forward – still well controlled though. Ripe tannins and a tight but lovely length.
From the border with Volnay. Diffuse top notes over a core of bright red fruit – slowly tightening in the glass and becoming more focused if less forward. Ripe with plenty of concentration and energy. Faintly drying tannin and medium length. Unpretentious and very tasty.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Volnay 1er Santenots
A broad, soft red nose with an undercurrent of pot-pourri. Plenty of velvety, slightly astringent tannin, understated, balanced acidity and a good length – it seems to have all the necessary pieces.
Lovely dark, dried fruits on the nose but just needing a little more focus. Ripe and with plenty of tannin that’s a little less astringent than the Santenots but with more grain. A nice follow-through of flavour into the finish. I think this will be very nice.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges
Nicely focused red and black fruit with a hint of coffee. Vibrant, with a good depth of flavour. The tannin is just a little finer than the Pommard and there’s a decent length too.
A fine but very undestated, indeed tight nose – just a faint undercurrent of dried red fruits. Softer, with much more sophisticated tannin than the Nuits. There’s a lovely flavour profile in the mid-palate. This wine shows plenty of potential.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Fuées
This wine is often a favourite: Complex and interesting fruit mixes with tobacco and coffee. A lovely ripe palate of quite some concentration. This is a lovely package, concentrated but no hard edges and a fine finish. I suppose I have to buy some again…
The nose is complex focused and elegant – super. Lithe, vibrant wine with a super finish. This is very, very good. Short note, sweet wine.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Damodes
Seems a ‘younger’ less formed nose. There is a small step-up in concentration versus the Murguers. This expands very well over the palate and has a super finish – faint oak flavours are to the fore, but still excellent wine.
The nose is a little fatter than the Damodes; some spice but overall remains quite reserved. Wide impression over the tongue, very well packaged tannin and reasonable length – but overall a little too tight so say great or not…
2006 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Monts
An understated nose of faint red berries. Whilst this is also a little tight, it’s showing more than the Malconsorts – quite wide an interesting if undemonstrative – no negatives.
Much more depth and density here – this is a grand cru nose. Here is another tight Vosne, but versus all that have gone before, there is an extra creamy density. Only hinting at what’s in the tank, but this will be excellent.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Echézeaux
There is real depth on the nose – like the Gaudichots. More tannin providing extra texture, but there is a more open display of flavour over the palate. Showing much better than and of the Vosne 1er Crus.