The strategy here remains, to source all ‘non domaine’ wines as grapes, the only exception on this page being the Viré-Clessé and it’s the first time that they’ve vinified that wine. They are certainly very effective in their strategy implementation, as it seems that Maison Bichot are now the largest buyers of grapes in Gevrey-Chambertin. As a general vintage appraisal (red and white) the team see more focus in the wines of 2007 versus 2006. All the wines noted below are either already in bottle, or the tasted sample comes from the final assemblage. All of these wines were were tasted on the 23rd March 2009 in Beaune.
It was my first opportunity to really sit with a bunch of ‘finished’ 2007 whites, and whilst I rated the vintage highly from barrel, I have to say that they have exceeded my expectations in how they deliver from bottle – provided! – provided you like their rippling acidity. There hasn’t really been a similar recent vintage (okay 2004 had nice ‘crunchy’ citrus acidity) but I really expect that 93’s and 96’s must have tasted like this at the outset. They are piercing in their quality, yet the acidity is delivered without a sharp edge – wow. These will really need some time, but I suppose the question on everyone’s lips is will they survive the maturation process(?) The team here mention that they are now measuring the oxygen in the wines (particularly after racking or pumping) and if it is above 4mg (per litre) it is removed by blowing with nitrogen. The consequence is that they need less sulfur dioxide to adjust. When the oxygen content is below 4 mg, sulfur dioxide is added such that bottles should have less than 1mg of oxygen and about 20mg of sulfur dioxide. Carbon dioxide is added to between 650mg and 800mg. By balancing these parameters the team believe that the wine should age without a problem. Instead of drinking them all young, maybe I will have to save a bottle or two to check. The whites also only stay 6 months in barrel before being assembled into stainless steel to ‘keep fresh’. They also use an electrostatic method which in a single operation takes away the need for cold stabilisation (avoiding precipitates) and filtration.
For reds, the team try to avoid treatment against botrytis, as they have the impression that it may have a blocking effect towards maturity. They rather de-leaf to improve ventilation. The Albert Bichot Grand Crus receive about 70% new oak in 2007.
Supremely intense and clean whites from the Bichot stable in 2007. The reds are characterful with very ripe fruit and tannins, plus balancing if not bracing acidity. In the main they will drink supremely well whilst young, and I think should remain open a little longer than either 2005 or 2006 managed. Even the best wines are 10-20 year wines rather than 20-plus like 2005. They should offer a very high ‘hit rate’ of pleasure during their life.
A first vinification for Bichot; a wine that was purchased as ‘must’ and saw about 10% oak during its elevage. High tones on the nose with fresh and very pretty pear fruit. The palate is also nicely fresh and shows a nice mid-palate intensity. I don’t expect it will be too expensive, so should be the perfect summer aperitif.
A tiny whiff of SO2 but the nose is wide and very pretty. Ripe and round with super acidity – the slightly creamy fruit has a totally different character to the group of Chablis. Lingers very well.
Denser and more forward, yet the aromatics remain quite fine. There’s a little more fat and excellent balancing acidity. There’s a little mid-palate minerality and a narrow, slowly fading finish. Very good.
Finer, more fruit-driven aromas over a denser core of fruit. Much more intense, your tongue just waters and waters. There’s a creamy edge to the the slow trailing fruit. This is far from easy, but it’s a wow wine!
A tight core of red fruits and a tiny amount of darker reduction on the nose. A hint of dissolved CO2 and deep and lovely cassis fruit. Decent length with just a little barrel flavour.
Medium-plus colour. A little spice, high toned aromas and earth – quite complex. Almost lush with mouth-filling. Decent, fine-grained tannin and a flavour that etches into your palate. A good, quite understated length. Very good.
Higher-toned with faint chocolate. The tannin is a little finer than the Cazetiers’ and there’s good intensity but far more minerality in the mid-palate. A similarly understated finish though everything-else is very different. Equally good but completely different.
Lighter colour. Some reduction with ripe red-fruit aromas – just a little diffuse. Fine tannin that sticks to the mouth, helping prolong the long red fruit and savoury finish. I think this is not showing very well…
A wide impression of dark fruit on the nose – very nice indeed. Good concentration with plenty of dimension to the lovely fruit flavours. The tannin has a little grain though shows no astringency. A long barrel-driven finish today.
(Mazis-bas) Medium, medium-plus colour. Big, open aromas edged with toast – initially needs more focus. More tannin, but not astringent and some dark barrel flavours that dovetail to fresh, dark fruit. I think that this is also not showing its best, but there is a real underlying sense that this is a very serious wine.
Aromas that are wide and complex yet never heavy – almost a salty impression. Super fullness, gorgeous fruit, more tannin. serious, indeed profound – a little mineral too. It’s hard to source great Chambertin and Bèze outside of vintages like 2005 – but here is one.
L-D generally pick quite late and certainly have yields that are below average, with about 40 hl/ha for the grand crus. There is a little batonnage until the start of the malo and none afterwards. Only one racking in July before the assemblage. About 30-40% of oak i the ‘Clos, 20-30 in ‘Blanchot’ and 20% in the ‘Moutonne’ and ‘Vaudesirs’ – but that’s mainly older wood, only about 5% is new wood. I normally choose the ‘Moutonne’ as my favourite, but today I think I’d take the ‘Clos’.
A little savoury biscuit on the nose – it slowly fades to intimate more fruit. Forward but not unweildy acidity and a nice mid-palate punch. Very mineral and slowly lingering. A super, steely value Chablis.
More focused fruit of some depth on the nose. In the mouth it’s faintly riper than the Vaillons and again shows the lovely acidity. Super length and minerality again.
A dense but somehow tense core of fruit. Fat, very good acidity that seems to ooze flavour from all directions. Finishes longer if not showing the same bare rocks of the two 1er crus.
Wider, higher-toned nose of concentrated fruit. A little extra weight and fruitiness and long mineral flavours, very long. This is really super.
Deep, slightly riper fruit aromas. The acidity seems slightly less ripe than the previous grand crus – similar to the premiers, though the concentration is on another level. Less impact than the ‘Clos’ and more understated but just as long.
Very faint brioche and a linear note of worthy depth. More savoury but very intense. The width quickly fades after a short mid-palate burst, but lingers very well.
Domaine du Pavillon
A tight core of fruit, faint SO2. Ripe but not fat, good acidity and the impression of the mid-palate filling out. A quite savoury impression in the finish. Pretty mineral for a villages Meursault.
More depth and density, fruit-driven aromas. Wider and more concentrated, silky yet without apparent fat. Really lovely mid-palate intensity and long finishing. Again, really super.
Wide and ripe with a background caramel note. Fuller in the mouth with plenty of acidity – though slightly tart acidity behind. Quite a savoury burst in the mid-palate before fading. In 2007 a more mineral impression to this Beaune that the norm.
A little paler colour than the last wine. Tighter aromatics, a little citrus and green herb – giving little more away. Concentrated and intense though not particularly fat. There’s almost a sense of dry extract here. Laser-sharp flavour in the mid-palate and a finish that also harks to ‘dry extract’. Very tight showing but clear potential.
Deep and wide aromas of red/black cherry mixed with a little cream. A little more tannin and and dark fruit (versus the Bichot Savigny) in the mid-palate. Good flavour and good length.
Deep colour. There’s a width and density of a dark fruit, a melange of dark fruit plus a little barrel spice – super. Lots of action and great fruit. Plenty of ripe tannin. This will require cellar time, but it is lovely!
Domaine du Clos Frantin
The old Frantin winery which the Bichot team found too small is now sold to Domaine d’Eugénie, and these wines continue to be made at the larger winery of Lupé-Cholet in Nuits St.Georges. Just a few stems in the last two wines.
Higher tones, a little herb and nice red fruit – this is very pretty. Ripeness and good tannin. Velvety with good, high-toned red fruit also into the finish. Pretty wine.
Drunk directly after the Clos de Bèze, this was still a wow! High-toned aromas over a tighter base of very pretty fruit and faint spice – slowly it opens more. Gorgeous sweet fruit, a little tannin ‘grab’ before building in the mid-palate then slowly fading – super.
Broadly a higher-toned nose than the Malconsorts. Narrower entry but it fills the palate with plenty of dimension and faintly astringent tannin. Has a little more density, but not the impact of the Malconsorts. Long finishing with a little barrel flavour.
A gorgeous blend of spice and depth and width to the nose, that’s dovetailed to a melange of black and red fruit – it’s almost a velvety aroma. More tannin, a little grained, but very ripe. The fruit takes over much later into the mid-palate though flows through a very impressive length.