Grands Maisons – Grands Crus – Edition 2018


Tasted in the Clos Frantin cuverie in Nuits St.Georges, 15 March 2018.

​This year heralded a new format for this ‘not to miss’ tasting.

Previous years saw a blind tasting of ‘Maison’ wines in Clos de Vougeot – and no time for chatting or you wouldn’t have the time to taste them all. Then would come dinner – also in the Clos de Vougeot. Although you might consider the dinner a little ‘stuffy’ I liked the tradition behind it and the ethos of the tasting.

This year we moved location to Bichot’s cuverie (for Clos Frantin and other Côte de Nuits wines) in Nuits St.Georges – a number of negociant locations had been in the running to host the event. There were a number of surprises:

  1. The wines were no-longer tasted blind.
  2. Reds and whites were not segregated.
  3. There were also domaine wines mixed with the maison wines.
  4. Instead of a formal dinner, there were a number of small dishes cooked by some star chefs, with older vintages of grand crus being poured to accompany.

The organisers had clearly looked to inject more fun into this event – and they certainly succeeded – it was like an end of term / end of grands jours party. From a professional perspective I had to work doubly hard to make multiple progressions through the bottles to first taste all the reds, and only then start to taste all the whites. For three main reasons I had ‘professional’ reservations about the new format:

  • Firstly, because we didn’t taste blind, I missed the surprise at being able to unmask a great wine from a producer with a ‘modest’ reputation – it’s happened before and it’s a clear signal to take another look at a producer and to ask more questions.
  • Secondly, I know that most big negociants are also vineyard owners – but I come to ‘Grands Maisons’ to taste the Maison wines.
  • Finally, I’m so sad that Bouchard’s Montrachet, so easily the best wine of this tasting, was a decision that wasn’t arrived at blind. Critics of AOC/terroir and or market pricing will say that I was influenced by the label – I don’t want to be influenced by anything at this tasting – I want a decision to be unequivocal. This Montrachet WAS the best, most open, most flamboyant wine of the night, but I wish I’d been able to say that without sight of the labels!

So a massive improvement in terms of ‘fun’ – but the Grands Jours is for professionals. I hope that there is some measure of a re-think for next time…

The wines…

Interesting. 2015 is a greater red than white vintage, and perhaps the average red here may have been a little better than the average white – the amount of reduced wines gives me some hesitation over that statement – but the best showings were to be found in the whites on this evening.

2015 Patriarche, Clos de la Roche
Bright, red-fruited, wide open. Nice line with fresh fruit with a good length. Tasty wine.

2015 Roche de Bellene, Griotte-Chambertin
More aromatic width, though a little reductive. A more structural wine, long of line but with a fine finishing flavour too. More patience required, but I like the line.

2015 Seguin-Moreau, Echézeaux
Some reduction – slowly lifting but only slowly. Round, becoming more direct, a little compact but lovely style here – despite the reduction this is best wine ao far – super!

2015 Seguin-Moreau Clos de Bèze
Also reductive, more open behind. A more structural and open wine. Bigger and with more dimension of flavour, but less enjoyable today.

2015 Perdrix, Echezeaux
Also a little reduction but a bright, more fruited nose. Supple and quite silky, good dimension of flavour. Yum!

2015 Faiveley, Mazis-Chambertin
A big freshness of aroma. Direct, less sweet after the last wines but with fine layers of flavour. Crunchy finishing structure but long, long…

2015 Faiveley, Clos des Cortons Faiveley
A tighter but still fresher, more fruited and more floral nose. Wide, structured, but a beautiful package – great!

2015 Albert Bichot, Clos de la Roche
A deep and vibrant nose. Mouth-filling volume, layered flavour. Long complex and delicious.

2015 Champy, Mazis-Chambertin
Big open nose – inviting. Volume, silky wine. Layers of finishing flavour. I’ve never had a less than excellent wine from this cuvée.

2015 Bouchard Clos de Bèze
A modest volume of aroma, but nice complexity. Supple, concentrated, some fat, layered again. A super finish that’s long, long…

2015 Chanson, Charmes-Chambertin
Profound, whole-cluster perfume – a beauty. Wide, a little more structure, but complex and excellent. Bravo.

2015 Drouhin, Musigny
A little reduction but there’s still a beautiful line of aroma. Hmm, melting over the palate, a shame about the reduction, but this is excellent.

2015 Picard, Clos de Vougeot
A nice floral note here. Structural but tasty and complex – it will be fine.

2015 Henri de Villamont, Corton-Renardes
Open with some freshness. Structural, mobile, fresh, pretty and clean, just at the end a little reductive.

2015 Henri de Villamont, Grands-Echézeaux
A little classic (for ge) almond freshness. Good width, then an enjoyable mouth-watering complexity, long. Good wine.

2015 Jadot, Clos St.Denis
A deep nose with a little saline complexity. Big in the mouth, lots of grand cru complexity – a baby but not too ripe, lovely balance.

2015 Louis Latour, Romanée St.Vivant Les Quatre Journaux
Open and delicate but a nice complexity too. A touch of gas and upfront structure but fresh and complex thereafter – to wait for but it’s looking good.

2015 Chartron et Trebuchet, Bonnes-Mares
Oof that’s a lovely and bright red fruit nose. Oak, a little gas. Long, plenty of mouth-filling volume – tasty wine.

2015 JC Boisset, Clos de la Roche
A little floral accent, some smoky notes – whole-clusters. Full, mineral, complex. A super package.

The Whites…

2015 Brocard, Chablis Preuses
Deep, bright, complex – yes! Round, melting, growing structure a hint of caramel. Yum.

2015 Brocard, Chablis Valmur
A fresher nose – more classic and bright. More direct, more mineral and complex too. A little mid-palate stricture but lovely finishing – bravo.

2015 Laroche, Chablis Blanchots
A sweet freshness on the nose. Direct, melting, beautifully textured. Long , long…

2015 Louis Moreau, Chablis Les Clos
Bright a little aromatic herb. Lots of fresh, structural complexity – a baby, but excellent!

2015 Louis Moreau, Chablis Vaudesir
A deeper nose, more relaxed but equally complex, also a little floral. More depth of flavour. All these chablis have a little a little structural rigour today.

2015 Simonnet-Febvre, Chablis Les Preuses
Hmm smells quite nice and a little floral too. Soft, melting, quite a nice wide, indeed lots of width and length. Tasty length…

2015 Simonnet-Febvre, Chablis Blanchots
This 50% oak, the last was only stainless-steel elevage.
A good freshness, faintly spiced. Wide, depth, a little fat but lots of balance, a lovely finish too.

2015 William Fevre, Chablis Côte de Bougeurots
A little structure on this nose, lots of depth, faint reduction. Some sweetness, long, a little mix of saline and sweet. Excellent!

2015 William Fevre, Chablis Les Clos
This nose, like last year, has something I don’t like – like fungus. In the mouth I find a little something here too. It’s the only vintage of this wine I can remember that I wouldn’t buy…

2015 Chartron et Trebuchet, Chablis Bougros
Deep, woody. Round, woody, lots of flavour complexity, but too much wood – today. The shape and balance are excellent though

2015 J.Moreau, Chablis Valmur
A pretty and freshly complex nose. Supple, concentrated, a little fat, modest rigour. But concentrated and tasty wine.

2015 Louis Max, Chablis Bougros
Very fresh, a hint of oak but very inviting. Good volume, mineral but a little too much oak, a good length though.

2015 Domaine du Pavillon, Corton-Charlemagne
A little oak but this is a big, aromatically fresh, nose. Almost oily, silky texture. Depth, layers and layers, but not easy after the Chablis. A big explosion of finkshing flavour – wait, this is potentially great!

2015 Champy, Corton-Charlemagne
A fine freshness – no oak padding, lovely. Supple, a little perfumed. Long, tasty – yes!

2015 Anne Parent, Corton Blanc
All new oak, 16 month elevage.
Deep but not oaky. Very mineral, growing width and only an anecdote of oak in the finish as a little caramel. Super.

2015 Jean-Luc et Paul Aegerter, Corton-Charlemagne
A big nose. Lots of volume and complexity, a little too high-toned for me but concentrated and complex wine.

2015 Remoissenet, Corton-Charlemagne Diamond Jubilee
Hmm, a little toast and sweetness to this nose. Lots of volume and a little fatted texture. Long and complex, powerful wine. But today it needs to relax more…

2015 Bouchard Père et Fils, Montrachet
Ooh, such a perfumed nose – really a wine apart so far. A little textural fat, melting, by far the best wine tasted so far – I hope that I’d also have said that blind!
2015 Chanson, Criots Bâtard-Montrachet
Just one barrel in 2015
A pretty nose with a reductive struck-match. Wide, mineral, depth of flavour. Great wine, lacking the sweetness of the last but excellent none-the-less – bravo!

2015 JM Boillot, Bâtard-Montrachet
A nose that starts quite compact but grows and grows adding pretty floral notes. Supple, long, delicious wine. Just beautifully proportioned.

2015 Château de St.Aubin, Criots Bâtard-Montrachet
(Prosper Maufoux)
Bright, fresh a little floral. Supple, some fat, layers of flavour. This is pure wine, and excellent wine at that!

2015 Drouhin, Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche
Hmm deep and attractive. Supple, beautiful texture, beautiful wine – much less expressive than the Bouchard tonight so I would take that in preference today.

2015 Au Pied du Mont Chauve, Corton-Charlemagne
Quite a bright and open nose. Good volume, fine stricture. Beautiful flavour – yes!

2015 Louis Jadot, Corton-Charlemagne
Bright and fresh, lovely line, mineral. Melting, needs a little time but less than most of the Chablis.

2015 Louis Latour, Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles
A pretty and fine high-toned nose. Hmm a nice line of flavour but then a great widening in the absolutely mega finish – bravo!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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