Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Etienne Grivot, 19 May, 2014.
Daughter Mathilde is now working in the office and helping Etienne with the vinifications, son Hubert is working with the teams in the vines. An interesting comment on barrels from Etienne “We are now using a mix of three barrel-makers though we’ve moved away from François Frères because given the energy we already had in our wines, I didn’t need more rigidity.”
Etienne on 2013s:
“2013 has given us a small volume but with incredible quality. We harvested very late and interestingly there were very few pips in the grapes this year – the last vintage like this was 1978. There are many similarities between the vintages and while 1978 wasn’t very sophisticated, it was ripe and friendly.
“I did everything I could to make this a great year, but the wines are even better than I could have expected. One interesting thing to note was that the millerande bunches had almost 1° less maturity than the ‘normal’ bunches.”
We made a short tour of 2013s in barrel. It’s still too early to give proper notes, but I had the following impressions:
2013 Vosne-Romanée Les Bossières – Nice texture, lovely length
2013 Nuits 1er Les Pruliers – Harder, more direct.
2013 Vosne 1er Beaux Monts – Less interesting as malo more obvious.
2013 Clos de Vougeot – A little rounder and obviously super!
2013 Echézeaux – starts with a little malo but is round and tasty.
There is even a little négoce Bonnes-Mares in the cellar for 2013.
Etienne notes that “I did make rather monolithic wines at one stage in my career. I think I’ve evolved to produce and try to retain the luminosity of the vineyards. I always prefer to add 0.5% sugar rather than wait another 3 days to harvest, this way I can keep the freshness without over-emphasising the sweetness.” These wines will see 15 months on their lees before assembling for bottling.
Etienne on 2012s:
“We lost 35% volume versus a ‘normal’ crop, which means we’ve lost 1.9 vintages in the last 4. The average production here is 76k bottles but the last vintages have been below 60k. For all that, 2012 is, perhaps, the best vintage I ever made, because I see superlative harmony.”
These 2012s were bottled here during February/March of this year.
“This wine is so good, it is dangerous – people will expect something like this every year!” says Etienne.
The nose has a little floral element. Very silky texture, this is concentrated and shows a beautiful flavour. Easily of villages quality here, this is undeniably excellent.
2012 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts
The nose here is fresher and shows a very fine focus of pretty berries – it’s super. This is larger-scaled in the mouth, rounder and shows super length. A faint density of extract holds in the finish too.
Fresh and wide aromatic with some blackberries. Flighty and fresh in the mouth too with just a faint dryness of tannin. There’s a long line of acid-led fruit that disappears into the distance in the finish. A very direct shape and character but one that begs you to keep taking a sip. I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘Grand Cru’ to a blind glass, but I’d definitely want a second glass!
A higher-toned nose that is intense but grows wider and deeper-still in the glass. In the mouth this is very large-scaled. There’s plenty of, still, blocky tannin but with a width of freshness and considerable length. Slowly there’s a floral dimension on the nose which you can just about pick-up in the flavour too. A baby!