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Random Ruminations

The April Report – Dear Subscribers –
This month has some emphasis on a bunch of blind tastings that I wanted to do:

  • Rully Blanc 2013 – to reinforce (or otherwise!) my very positive impression of this label/vintage combination during my previous tastings.
  • Saint Bris 2013 – to extend my knowledge of producers and see if I could add to the meagre list of labels that I would happily drink.
  • Irancy 2013 – Just to keep up, I plan to visit the producers at least every second year, but with the aim to taste every year.

My targets for tastings such as this, are two-fold: Not just to keep a broad idea of a particular label/vintage’s quality positioning, but also the opportunity to extend my list of interesting domaines – ones worth spending the time to visit. I think for all the three tastings about, I will have new addresses that will help me to continuously widen my scope in each region.

Mâcon?

The majority of the rest of the April Report, is the result of a blind tasting that I joined in March. Each year the Union des Producteurs de Vins Mâcon makes a blind tasting with its members, called the ‘ Palmarès de la Distinction Saint-Vincent des vins Mâcon.’ What I can tell you is that, on my table at least, the producers were pretty ruthless in discarding the modest and the faulty – easily so when all is blind! – so I attach quite a lot of credit to the final results (link).

You may remember that I prefer to concentrate on the white wines of Mâcon as I’m not wishing to be any source of ‘authority’ of gamay-based wines. The visits I made in April were to the winners of various the categories of the Distinction Saint-Vincent – and some great wines I encountered too.

Sad losses

Nothing stands still. In April we lost two very different people, each of whom had a strong influence on how Burgundy today is perceived. Anne-Claude Leflaive and Joseph Henriot. The former ploughing a very public, almost ‘cheerleader’ approach to popularising Biodynamic farming approaches, the latter someone who really rejuvenated a seemingly moribund but large producer – Bouchard Père et Fils.

Let us not for a moment forget that this was still ‘business’ for these two individuals, but successful business to very great effect but let us hope that their successors can carry on the search for improvements in the way that their predecessors did…

The change-over period

It’s not obvious in this report, just some very short comments at Castagnier, but April often is the vintage changeover-point for tasters like me; some domaines reluctant to open freshly bottled wines but prefer to show fizzy, partly malolactic wines in barrel – the former being sub-optimal, the latter sometimes a waste of time.

I’ll try and get through it with you!

Overseas buyers

Château Le Crée has been sold to the Americans.’ I read this and thought – so what? It doesn’t matter where people come from, it’s about a passion for, not just burgundy wine, but also making the best burgundy wine.

Though when I look at the owners, I see a couple in their twilight, possibly not hands-on types(?) And does the phrase ‘luxury wine branding‘ fill my heart with joy? I hope eventually to meet them and see that I am wrong – because it looks merely like a business transaction for now. Of-course the proof of the pudding will be in what they choose to do with their purchase!

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

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