Thanks are due to the BIVB in Chablis for helping to organise this tasting.
Taking stock about one-third of the way through these wines; many seemed aromatically a little ‘sub-ripe’ for most pinot purists, that said, those same purists would have nothing to fear from the intense and fresh palate presentations – indeed plenty to enjoy – though I was beginning to think that they seemed more like aperitif-style wines in terms of their stature, despite their evident intensity. Fortunately the random order of the tasting brought much more consistency and maturity to the glass in the final 2/3rds of the tasting.
Overall, it seems to me that it is a rare wine that is obviously ‘Côte d’Or’ pinot, because the complexion of fruit is a little wilder and darker with a few tar notes attached – occasionally phenolics too – though they are much more attractively presented than that might sound! All are fresh and intense though only one or two add a little richness to their texture.
Merchants I spoke with, told me that the label ‘Irancy’ is very hard to sell because nobody as heard of it. Well, I found quite a few that I’d happily drink and recommend. Irancy is an unnecessarily under-appreciated corner of Burgundy that delivers dark-flavoured and exciting wines of characteristic, fine aroma. They would deserve a wider audience even if they weren’t cheaper than many Bourgogne Rouges – but include that small detail and things really ought to change…
Note: All the following wines were first tasted blind and notes made. Afterwards the labels were revealed, so when writing (for instance) I had no idea that the last 4 wines I tasted, and all recommended, were from the same producer!
1. Domaine Felix et Fils, Irancy
Medium-plus colour. The nose is powdery and a little herbaceous but reasonably pretty. Nice intensity, sharp fruit and very good length. Tannin is modest – a little herbal finishing.
Medium-plus colour. Much more aromatic depth and ripeness – if less obviously pinot! Fresh, energetic, good dimension. A little tart in the mid-palate with an intruiging weight of dark fruit in the finish – a little tar too. Wild and very tasty!
3. Domaine Heimbourger, Irancy Cuvée Pierre
Medium, medium-plus colour – less obviously purple than the last two. More modest, slightly herbaceous, with a pretty floral aspect trying to peek through, slowly puts on a little more weight of fruit though. Fresh, good intensity of fruit and it lasts very well too, again with a little tar and again with understated tannins.
4. Domaine Heimbourger, Irancy
Medium, medium-plus colour. More herbs than herbaceous, with growing depth of fresh pinot fruit. Again, fresh, intense and with long lasting flavours. As with the others (so-far) there is a dark character to the fruit – it’s quite exciting but seems only modestly related to pinot noir in the flavour department.
5. Guilhem et Jean-Hughes Goisot, Irancy
Medium-plus colour. The nose is quite heavily reduced – I leave the glass to one side for 1 hour – there’s still a small element of toasty reduction plus some spice and minerality. Quite concentrated, lovely freshness – still a hiint of that reduction on the flavour. Potentially I think this a lovely wine, but that reduction is stubborn.
6. Guilhem et Jean-Hughes Goisot, Irancy Les Mazelots
Medium-plus colour. Not as heavily, but this is also reduced – I leave this glass to one side also for 1 hour (lucky I have 4 glasses!) – less obviously reduced, rather sweetly toasted. Good densiity, some reductive flavour, good concentration too – one of the most dense, but that reduction is stubborn here too. Also potentially very fine.
7. Caves Bailly-Lapierre, Irancy Vieilles-Vignes (Lot B)
Medium colour. A little tight, somewhat herbaceous with a core of something recognisably red. Nice texture – just a little fat – with off-ripe pinot flavour that is actually very tasty and quite long-lasting.
8. Caves Bailly-Lapierre, Irancy Vieilles-Vignes (Lot A)
Medium, medium-plus colour. Deeper, more open nose with dark fruit below and a herbaceous overlay – certainly not unattractive. Intense, fresh as always, just a hint more drag from the tannin. Again the finish is rather persistent.
Medium, medium-plus colour. Quite a deep aromatic and there’s nothing herbaceous about this one, with seemingly solid pinot fruit and a floral component that’s just aching to be let loose. Wide, almost silky, just a little tannin. There’s energy and an excellent flavour profile here. Dark matter in the finish(!) I like this very much.
10. Domaine Verret, Irancy
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose seems ripe enough, though is very modestly showing only a few high tones. Good density and energy here. The intensity grows into the herby mid-palate and ends only very slowly. No obvious negatives here – just that the flavour doesn’t completely ‘wow’ me.
Quite deeply coloured. Wide, brooding, ripe but a little tight I think. A little padding to the palate, depth of fruit that’s rather primary but nothing unripe. Long, slightly mineral, slightly dark flavoured but long finishing. So-far this is a wine apart in terms of it’s concentration but it’s not the most communicative. Good potential I would think.
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is rather mineral and fresh with very good depth and a faint spice. Wide a little spicy, good freshness and growing intensity. A little more tannin than most and a good extra dimension in the mid-palate too. I like this!
Medium, medium-plus colour. Fresh, pretty red fruit that hints at a floral aspect. Lip-smackingly fresh with a lovely pinot fruit behind – very, very pretty – could it be a little on the tart side? I’d take a risk but I’d be drinking it in the next 24 months…
Medium colour. Pretty, transparent, slightly mineral nose with a slowly growing depth of red fruit. Also nicely transparent in the mouth with a lovely fresh complexion to the mid-palate. Far from profound but a lovely drink.
15. Caves Bienvenu, Irancy
Medium, medium-plus colour. A modest nose with a little ripe, red fruit at its core – nothing else to see. Fresh, a little tannic drag on the tongue but fine and refreshing. There’s almost a Chablis-like quinine phenolic here. It’s quite engaging versus some. The modest intensity finish has a little sucrosité. Quite nice.
Medium colour. Another modest nose that is a little dark despite the faint red fruit below. Despite the nose, this has an excellently mouth-watering flavour that has dark notes and some sweetness – actually it’s quite complex and it makes me want to take another sip!
Medium colour. A nose of depth, faint phenolics, tar and some brooding dark fruit fruit at its base. Silky, wide, nice dimension of flavour. Lovely energy to go with the mouth-watering flavour. This is super.
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has some spice and oak notes and quite some depth too – lite on the fruit today though – still, it’s very engaging. Oof! Super-lithe, energetic, complex – a lot from the barrel it’s fair to say, coconut mainly – but this is very engaging, complex and long with great vivacity. Particular in style, but why not…?
Medium, medium-plus colour. Deep, dark fruit that’s very primary. Fresh, wide, very good energy. The fruit is like the nose, quite primary but tasty enough with a faint tar expression. A good wine.
20. Thierry Richoux, Irancy Ode à Odette
Deeply coloured. The nose is wide, deep, faintly spritzy with faint barrel fumé. Yes a little CO2 here, which robs the wine of focus, it doesn’t sit well with the fresh dynamic of these wines. Long finishing, but I can’t really comment on the middle. It seems ripe enough and is probably a good wine. (turns out to be a barrel sample…)
Medium, medium-plus colour. Wide, quite some depth with fruit that borders red-black. Good density in the mouth, great freshness. There’s an undertow of dark fruit an a hint more tannin than the average. A good wine that I’d wait a little time for.
Deep colour. Also a deep nose, darly fruited and one-dimensional today. Good density and rather forward freshness. A little tannin here too, but the overall effect is one of ebulliance. Another good wine.
23. Thierry Richoux, Irancy Veaupessiot
Medium, medium-plus colour. Pretty, reasonably fresh, one of the rare wines that shows some complexity of ripe, fresh fruit – nice. Round, with nice acid through the middle. Good intensity and density of mid-palate flavour. A very good wine.
Medium-plus colour. Modest and fresh, but the fruit is rather tight – little to see. Lovely brightness and mouth-watering flavour here. Slowly growing tannin but it remains modestly left-of-stage. I like this very much.
Medium-plus colour. Higher toned, quite transparent faintly spiced red fruit. Lovely mouth-watering flavour and a growing weight of flavour in the mid-palate. Ebulient and talkative. The finish is fainly astringent but no problem today.
Medium, medium-plus colour. Discreet but very pretty, transparent fruit and a faint spice – lovely! Wide, growing acidity, there’s a super fresh-flavoured impression here. Lovely. Good length too.