Research can be tough, but here is what I was ‘forced’ to sample to bring you this summer’s issue – nobody said it would be easy, but in alphabetical order, 55 premier cru wines, but a mere 22 1ers visited if you take Sur les Grèves separately from Grèves. (I didn’t include all the barrel samples that it was also my duty to try…)
2007 Butterfield, Beaune 1er
Medium cherry-red. Dark, oak-inflected aromas – slightly spicy. Ripe and tasty, velvet texture from slightly drying tannins. The flavours are as dark as the nose but they are lovely in the mid-palate before the very decent finish.
2007 Camille Giroud, Beaune 1er Les Avaux
Medium colour. Ripe red fruits with hints of coffee and minerality. Wide with a little more acid balance after the Cras if not the same density. A very pretty wine.
2008 Bruno Colin, Beaune 1er Les Avaux
Medium colour. High-toned pretty red berries though maybe a hint of ester too. The acidity leads though eventually the intensity of flavour comes to the rescue in the mid-palate. Almost good but certainly not great.
2006 Charles Allexant, Beaune 1er Bressandes
This wine also carries a Tastevinages back-label. Medium ruby-red colour, perhaps already a little salmon shaded to the rim. Deep aromas of macerating, baking red fruit. Slightly astringent tannin but there’s width and intensity here. The dark flavours really cling to your palate. I find this slightly rustic but rather good!
2007 Jean-Claude Rateau, Beaune 1er Les Bressandes
The nose starts much deeper but with a little funk and reduction – it’s slow to open but gradually gains higher tones, some herbs and minerality – mainly savoury notes. The palate is very intense and it’s the first wine where I see absolute balance to the acidity. Powerful, some minerality and very long – this is a very good 2007 indeed.
2008 Domaine des Croix, Beaune 1er Cents Vignes
Medium colour. Here’s a nose with something to say; faint spearmint above very, very pretty red fruit that’s eventually augmented by the perfume of violets – far from over the top, but captivating – the mint eventually becoming just a suggestion of herbs. In the mouth there’s a sorbet-edge to the acidity and understated red fruit – delicate and complex. It seems to fade relatively quickly but holds on well to a final mineral note. The tannin is only there if you search it out, very faintly astringent. This is an achingly pretty wine that blind, who’s to say it’s not from Volnay…
2008 Maison Roche de Bellene, Beaune 1er Cents Vignes
“Forty year old vines from the mid-slope, more tanninc than higher up but very pure.” Plenty of pretty, pure fruit on the nose. Lovely texture of velvet from the tannin dovetails fresh fruit. This is quite long. Good wine.
2008 Ardhuy, Beaune Champimonts
Only just bottled. Medium colour. Very red fruited with a creamy depth. The width and intensity belies the not so intense colour – again it is very red fruit. The finish has less width than the 2009 but it holds very well.
2006 Ardhuy, Beaune Champimonts
Medium colour. The aromas begin quite narrow, slowly adding width and a little muscle in the glass, eventually the creamy padding emerges too. The palate shows width and some silky texture. The tannin is today slightly blocky but the wine is quite supple.. Very good.
2007 Jacques Prieur, Beaune 1er Les Champs-Pimont
Medium colour. Like the Grèves, this is an interesting blend of barrel and fruit notes – you look forward to the next sniff – yet it doesn’t seem to show any different character. Also plenty of tannin in this wine, but it seems ripe enough so will eventually fade from view. Good as it is, other than the colour I found not enough differentiation between this and their Grèves.
2008 Jacques Prieur, Beaune 1er Les Champs-Pimont
Also quite dark colour. The welcoming nose is open showing a herbal accent to the ripe fruit. Plenty of tannin but good intensity of extract that balances very well. Very good.
2007 Coste-Caumartin, Beaune 1er Chouacheax
Medium cherry-red. Understated but fine and ripe red fruits. There’s a hint of astringency and the acidity is just a little forward, yet there is very nice fruit as a foil. I find this very drinkable.
Clos des Mouches
2007 Chanson Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches Blanc
Pale lemon yellow. Riper and denser fruit aromas. A hint less silk, but it is replaced by a concentration of more fruit-driven flavours. Still shows a fine balance and good minerality. This finishes long…
2008 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Les Coucherias
Organic since 1992, whole cluster, 25% new oak and just one month in bottle. Medium colour. Very dark fruit. Good fat, lovely depth and concentration. Very well balanced and showing good length. It’s showing its oak a little but it is a really super Beaune.
2008 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Les Coucherias
From a steep section of vines planted in 1964. Deep aromas that offer very impressive dark, precise fruits. Lots of width in the mouth, the tannin is quite blocky which helps the flavour grab hold of your palate. Overall I’d still wait a year to let this settle a bit, but the aromas are super!
2007 Camille Giroud, Beaune 1er Aux Cras
Medium colour. The nose delivers warm, slightly ceamy red fruits. Width, warmth, plush, unctuous mid-palate. Very tasty though after an 08 you will miss some acidity.
2008 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Les Cras
Medium colour. Soft, comforting but never heavy fruit aromas. Again this is intense, but with a much more pronounced mineral spine. A really good burst of complexity in the mid-palate.
2005 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Les Cras
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a creamy dimension to the fruit. Again, super-silky though this time the structure is less demanding – well to a degree! Very mineral again – super.
2001 Chateau de Chorey, Beaune 1er Cras
Medium colour. The nose is slightly oaky, mushrooms too and quite some depth. Although still a little wood and and astringent this has wonderful ripe red fruits and energy – it’s really singing into the finish. I must admit I was surprise after the nose.
2005 Domaine Parent, Beaune 1er Cru Les Epenotes
Relatively open and fine – this reminds me of the precision of 2008s – there is also a hint of earth. Full and round, just enough flavour though it’s very tight. Plenty of structure – built like a cathedral!
2007 Chanson, Beaune 1er Clos des Fèves
Medium colour. Aromatically very interesting; with a mix of herbs and deeper, darker fruit. Very well made; mouth-filling, enough but not too much fat, a little velvet. Plenty of balance comes from the dark red fruit with a hint of oak. Really lovely.
2007 Chanson Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Clos des Fèves
Medium, medium-plus colour. There is a nice precision to the fruit here – very nice aromas. In the mouth I find this less generous than many from 2007 but there is a lovely high-toned red fruit flavour.
2008 Domaine des Croix, Beaune 1er Grèves
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose shows a faint savoury edge but little else for at least an hour, swirl madly a there’s dark but tight core of fruit with faint oak seasoning. Given plenty of time (2+hours) the nose shows a little inky depth before sticking with a glossy dark red/black fruit personality, only the last drops have a pure redcurrant essence. The palate starts just a little tart, but within 30 minutes it’s opened a little addng both texture and sweetness of fruit – from the start it is intense but it’s a linear intensity. For the life of the bottle it never quite fulfils it’s potential – the acidity remains just-about in balance (sorbet-like), and despite its intensity the wine offers only a very linear experience – even on day two. Everything seems in place, but I don’t know how long we might have to wait to see a ‘wow’.
2008 Joseph Drouhin, Beaune 1er Grèves
A nice, bright medium colour. Understated but very fine and precise fruit aromas. Fresh, wide, intense and complex. Very faint hints of vanilla. Wow – lovely wine – super.
2007 Jacques Prieur, Beaune 1er Les Grèves
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour – almost a 2008-level of colour. The aromas are an interesting and complex blend of barrel notes and perfectly ripe fruit. Mouth-filling and showing plenty of tannin – dark flavoured fruit too for an 07. Here’s an 07 masquerading as an 08 – well, until you taste the 08!
2008 Jacques Prieur, Beaune 1er Les Grèves
Dark colour. The fruit aromas are not too sweet and have a menthol accent. The ripe, sweet fruit is well buffered by the acidity. Some power and intensity is evident here.
2008 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Sur Les Grèves
sited toward Teurons the chardonnay vines, planted by Benoit’s great-grandfather, are about 70 years old. 1.5-2.5 (big) barrels each year. Biscuity, savoury aromas. This is soft and a little fat after the reds. There is really a nice dimension of toffee’d fruit. Long finishing on good acidity. After a few 2005 reds this is a very compelling drink.
2007 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Sur Les Grèves
Similar aromas to the 2008, just a little less rich. Stricter (narrower) impression on the palate though it widens in the mid-palate and shows very good acidity.
2006 Louis DuFouler, Beaune 1er Le Clos des Perrières
Medium, medium-plus ruby red. A little volatile and estery, meaty too. There’s a decent width of flavour, depth and balance too, yet the esters of the nose are part of the flavour profile too. I would say at best ‘okay’.
2008 Louis Latour, Beaune 1er Les Perrières
A bright medium colour. Dark aromas of stones / stoned fruits that are ringed by a fine layer of sweetness – subtle and very pretty. There’s a hintof fat and a well-judged balance to the structure. Overall a rather understated but strikingly pretty wine. Maybe I should drink more Latour(!)
2008 des Croix, Beaune 1er Les Pertuisots
Medium, medium-plus colour. There’s a hint of herb, but essentially the nose starts deeper and darker than the Cent Vignes, perhaps it’s that faint note of reduction, but this certainly has the classical 2008 darker fruit! As the wine opens it more clearly shows the family (cuverie) relationship to the Cent Vignes as the aromas become redder and an more floral – very nice indeed. This is much more about up-front intensity, a hint of oak and much more than a hint of acidity – this will need a little unwinding. I’d say about an hour of aeration is needed for a more balanced interpretation – it’s the Cent Vignes with more ‘bang’ – not necessarily better, just different. I have a slight preference for the CV but wouldn’t turn either of these down…
2007 des Croix, Beaune 1er Les Pertuisots
Medium colour. Warm, ripe red fruit aromas. Soft yet mouth-filling, quite a wide impression from the ripe fruit. The face is friendly and delivers a sneaky extra dimension of flavour in the mid-palate. Very nice.
2007 Pascal Prunier-Bonheur, Beaune 1er Les Sizies
Medium cherry-red. Dark aromas of reduction lift to show perfumed red fruits. Mouth-filling; dark oak and fruit flavours lingering on a good, if not totally integrated acidity. Not a perfect showing, but very drinkable.
2008 Meuneveaux, Beaune 1er Les Reversées
The soil is relatively light coloured in this parcel, with plenty of chalk stones distributed through it. Soft and inviting round red fruit aromas. In the mouth there’s a nice roundeness here too. Mouthfilling with a high-toned impression to the fruit. There is some minerality and a stony fruit flavour that hangs on right through the finish.
2007 Jean-Claude Rateau, Beaune 1er Les Reversées
Some of the vines in this parcel are over 100 years old. Here the soil is argilles and hard to work. The old vines deliver softness to the wine though. The fruit here is more ‘baked tart’ in style. Again fresh acidity but there is also more mid-palate kick and complexity after the last two (2008s), but perhaps less precision also.
2007 JC Rateau, Beaune 1er Les Reversées
The nose offers a high-toned mix of herbs and red fruit. This has a very fine and elegant demeanour for a 2007. The fruit flavour is fresh and, like the nose, framed with herbs. This is very pretty.
2005 Ardhuy, Beaune Petite Clos du Theurons (Blanc)
There’s already a hint of gold here. The nose shows a little baked pineapple. Very silky though it has the much more standard ‘fat’ of white Beaune than either the 08 or 09. A good burst of flavour in the mid-palate.
2004 Ardhuy, Beaune Petite Clos du Theurons (Blanc)
Medium yellow. There’s a hint of toast on the nose. This is largely proportioned with some fat to the texture but enough acidity to keep it on the straight and narrow. There’s a decent burst of interest in the mid-palate though overal I’d like a little more ‘energy’.
2007 Albert Morot, Beaune 1er Teurons
Very fruity – a wide red fruit horizon. Depth of concentrated, almost jammy fruit – lower acidity after the 2008 – but intense and mineral too, particularly the finish. This is super for an 07.
2007 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Les Teurons
A domaine wine. Medium cherry-red colour. Wide, slightly diffuse but certainly perfumed red fruit aromas. In the mouth it’s a nice, not too ripe fruit that’s delivered with good texture that has a velvet feel. It’s a long (oak) tannin-led finish. A very good, slightly too young 2007.
2008 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Les Teurons
Denser, deepr red fruit aromas after the Vignes-Franches. Much more intensity but it is matched by more tannic structure. Not a brute but certainly a wine to lay down.
2005 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Les Teurons
Medium, medium-plus colour. Wide with deep dark-red, fresh fruit. Again silky, then more velvet as the tannin builds. Perfect acidity and intensity though this also very tight.
2006 Couvard, Beaune 1er Les Teurons
Medium, medium-plus colour. Complex, dark aroma notes give way to warm, baking red fruits. Mouthfilling, ripe and sweet giving an impression of velvet. The fruit is not the most stylish – just a hint of esters – but the overall package is rather drinkable.
2002 Albert Morot, Beaune 1er Teurons
This shows a lovely mix of bright and precise berries and currants. Mouth-filling concentration, just enough acidity and full of flavour. It’s a joy to drink now.. Dark-edged fruit, the structure comes in quite late in the mid-palate to make the point that you’ve called early – but the demenour remains friendly…
2000 Albert Morot, Beaune 1er Teurons
More baked fruit aromas but the nose remains forward and fresh. Quite silky, tighter than the 2002, the structure still announces itself quite late though there is less of it. Here I find a little floral addition to the fruit.
2008 Denis Carré, Beaune 1er Les Tuvilains
Bright medium cherry-red. Fresh, understated aromatics that are mainly red though accented with black. Silky. There seems plenty of extract without undue weight or fat. Lovely freshness and still showing a little oak texture in the finish. Very nice wine!
2008 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Les Vignes-Franches
only in bottle for 1 week – it was the only one of the domaine’s wine that had a really extended malolactic fermentation. All the rest of the (red) cuvées had been bottled in March/April. Medium colour. Very high toned aromas, but perhaps that the recent bottling. Full, weighty and showing really good intensity – lovely precision and balance.
2005 Château de Chorey, Beaune 1er Les Vignes-Franches
Medium, medium-plus colour. Perfumed! Super texture but clearly very tight. There is late developing intensity and eventually some good flavour too. Will be great!
2006 Louis Latour, Beaune 1er Vignes Franches
Medium, medium-pale colour. Pretty floral notes float over sweet red fruit. Quite a fat texture with a little velvet then a burst of flavour in the mid-palate. This is really very good.