Profile: Domaine Manuel Olivier


Tasted with Manuel Olivier in Corboin, 26 May 2017.

Domaine Manuel Olivier  
Hameau de Corboin
21700 Nuits-Saint-Georges
Tel: +33 3 80 62 39 33

This domaine is Hidden in Corboin high above Nuits and Vosne in the Hautes Côtes de Nuits. It’s actually very close to Vosne, but by road it’s some way out from both Nuits and Vosne – but it is a trip worth making – both for the lovely countryside and of-course to visit this domaine.

The parents of Manuel – Manu – were more farmers than vignerons, he explains, particularly they were known for their cassis. Towards the end of the 1980s when the wall came down there was no-longer protection and the market was lost due to competition from eastern Europe, so Manu planted his first vines in 1990 in the Hautes Côtes, though still with plantations of strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants. Tn 2005 he managed to buy some parcels in the Côte d’Or, then 2007 he also began to buy some grapes – small quantities but widening the range – now he produces up to 27 appellations including some crémant.

Manu explains “I like a whole range of styles and the wines can reflect that. But the central theme is that I’m looking for the best and most harmonious expression.

100k bottles are produced per year, the vast majority is Hautes Côtes, despite the 27 appellation produced. 3O% of production is exported, the rest is sold in France – there is a good passing trade here – the tasting-shop does well.

The wines…

In a general chat, Manu notes “I think 2016 a better vintage than 2015 – it held its freshness more.

Here is a beautiful diversion (on a beautiful day) into the Hautes Côtes, with some good wines, generally well-priced. Worth a visit!

2015 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
All tank elevage, all destemmed, the malo in tank too. Only 2-3 days of cuvaison, majority of grape from the area of Pommard with some Hautes Côtes, “Designed to be approachable from both taste and price.”
A fresh, almost smoky aromatic. Bright, fresh, direct, slowly melting flavour a hint metallic but alive and tasty. Long, long.

2015 Hautes Côtes de Nuits
A mix of barrel and tank elevage. The barrels older than 3 years old. Longer cuvaison, still destemmed, just next to Vosne an area with plenty of hydric stress – near the Clos St.Philibert.
A fine, almost textured nose. Nice layers of flavour here with a slightly dry tannin accent but very fine-grained.

2014 Hautes Côtes de Nuits Vieilles-Vignes
All barrel here with 50% whole cluster (which depends on the vintage) this with a longer cuvaison, no pumping, no filtering. A little soft pigeage. 30% new wood, 30 1 year-old, 30 old.
A smoky nose. But attractive. Extra freshness, fine energy, a hint of coffee, a bitter chocolate on the mid-palate, but not overt. Bright, wine of depth and super interest – very tasty wine – finishing with a well textured tannin. Yum!

2015 Morey St.Denis
Domaine since 2005, a blend of 3 parcels in the bottom of the village. Here all destemmed, looking for a nice softness and roundness. Bottled mainly April-May, some not yet.
A very attractive beacon of aromatic red fruit. Delicious fruit plenty of structure, faintly drying but beautifully fine tannin. This is excellent but will need a couple of years of patience.

2015 Aloxe-Corton
Domaine, clay soil with some whole-clusters and same wood idea. 60 yo vines.
A faint whole-cluster note and a nice depth of red fruit. There’s freshness and a vibrancy of flavour. Like the last, a weight of off-dry micro tannin. A wine to wait for like the others, but a couple of years will be enough. Very good again!

2015 Pommard Vaumuriens
From bought grapes.
A relatively pale colour for the vintage. Slowly growing red fruit notes, and a hint of floral. 70% wc, but aromatically hard to see. Here is a direct red fruit but more wrapped in structure – still it’s the micro-grained tannin profile of the others – just a couple of years in the cellar then enjoy.

2015 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Chaboeufs
100% wc, 50% new wood.
A nose that has width and fine red fruit, only a subtle wc impression. Bigger in the mouth, volume, energy but depth of flavour. The level of tannin is not more than the others but the concentration of fruit is higher, so this is easier today, very faintly oaked on the mid-palate. Fine and very tasty! Long too…

2014 Vosne-Romanée Maizières Bas
50% wc, long cuvaison.
Good nose! Directly this is a wine of Vosne spice. Wide, fresh, fine energy – already starting to drink despite a modest fur of tannin. Super!

2014 Vosne-Romanée Damaudes
All wc, and a little more wood.
Ooh, nice – higher toned, pretty, classic. The palate is more direct, requiring more time but with a fine intensity. Very much more of a Nuits style but a super nose if less easy today than the Maizières

2014 Clos de Vougeot
Right in the middle of the Clos. All destemmed as find austere here, with 50% new oak, looking for roundness and finesse but still grand cru. Not looking for great extraction, trying to find delicatesse and drinkability. Two barrels – so easy to do 50% new wood!
A decent volume of aroma – for a small glass – a little herb too. Supple, silky, nice depth – everything slowly growing – elegantly weighted – structured but actually more drinkable today than the villages wines – very fine tannin. The finish is bright and fresh and with a more overt complexity than the rest of the wine – classy here. A good interpretation – too soft? Probably a little!

The 2015 whites…
Nomacorcs for some entry wines, the rest all cork!

2015 Aligoté
From here in the Hautes Côtes near Conceour – all domaine, the parcel a mix of young and old vines.
Open, sunny fresh aligoté nose – very inviting. Bright, fresh, very easy, very drinkable – a pass!

2015 Aligoté Vieilles-Vignes
No oak – vv here meaning 30+
A bigger nose, still sunny but with more energy. An extra tension and intensity here – faint herb and an overall excellent complexity. This has nice layers of flavour too – excellent finish. Bravo!

2015 Bourgogne Chardonnay
First vintage, all tank, a mix of Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise grapes.
Fresh, bright a little hardness of aroma. But nice in the mouth – almost Mâcon-style here, pure wine almost steely with a warm fruit – its a good balance. Finishing well!

2015 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits
Wide, fresh – a very nice impression – width more than depth. 50% barrel and that part with batonnage. In the the mouth this is fine, with a fine fresh line of flavour, virtually no oak flavour but a certain sucrosity. Very tasty, indeed delicious in the finish! Only about €12…

2015 Meursault
From Pellans near Puligny
Classy nose, very Meursault, no batonnage, very fine with some purity here, modest oak (1-1-1 like many reds). A more mineral, faintly reductive flavour – this has fine and mouth-watering length. Really a nice expanse of flavour in the finish – with a little tannic texture too! Supers!

2015 Meursault 1er Charmes Dessus
Just below Perrières, here with some batonnage again.
A good width of freshness, despite 50% new oak. Hmm, delicate, complex, vibrant, mouth-watering, faintly saline but always mouth-wateringly delicious. This is really great! Bravo! I’m pretty amazed that this has lots of oak and batonnage it’s quite crystalline.

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