Tasted with Fabien Duperray in La Chapelle de Guinchay, 05 August 2020 – as always, doing his best to avoid the camera!
Fabien on the sales dynamics of 2020:
“We’re selling less that’s for sure – but the high-end of the market seems to know no bounds – it’s bizarre! Few seem to want Bourgogne but everyone wants Bonnes-Mares and Chambertin.”
Reference wines at this domaine in 2017 – just so many of them. One of my tastings of the year!
We start with the whites:
“With our whites, it’s important to bring pleasure. In theory, to start, the Côte d’Or should be better than us, it’s not so globally but with time I think that we here have little fear; these wines show great quality. We have really kept the volume low. Our entry wine starting with 49mm-long Portuguese cork – at 1.40 Euros each – expensive even for Chambertin! I keep the bottles for 6 months before commercializing, it gives me the chance to verify the quality.
“There are lots of great terroirs, it’s about interpretation, of course, the more the yield the lower the character. You have to make a great, great Mâcon just so that people know that you exist – but you can make an average Puligny and nobody will complain!”
“We have really kept the volume low. The vines are not in the greatest place near Leynes but I think for the price we’ve done well here.”
A modest but inviting nose, nothing harsh – there’s a growing purity of aroma here – a serious invitation. Mineral, mobile, melting with citrus acidity. Ooh, that’s great. Bubbling, faintly saline, complex – refreshing and energetic. For the second vintage in a row, the greatest Beaujolais Blanc that I know.
A small area, very sunny. Vines on argilo-calcaire from higher slopes. No wood, like Chablis and again 22 months of elevage.
More depth and ripeness of citrus aroma – fleshy but not fat – with aeration more freshness and less ‘Mâcon.’ Super in the mouth, wide, complex – energetic – and of-course mineral. The maturity of the nose is not a factor in these juicy flavours. Persistent, agrume style – excellent wine.
‘A great terroir – they should watch out in Chassagne.’ There’s a little wood been used here – ‘but not a lot.’
More depth and weight to this nose – it takes a little time to expand in the glass. Impact, density, and here is some saline power, lots of minerality – but at the same clarity – Meursault or Chassagne without the overt oak! Very long again – Bravo!
‘The schist here needs a little oak to bring out the bitters of the wine, so there’s a little more than the previous wines. We’re now at 2.5 € for the cork!’
Here a faint smoke and bitters on the nose – aeration brings a more overt floral aspect. A little extra sweetness, more overtly mineral – clarity, growing intensity – you could be in Chablis here but with an extra concentration. Bravo again!
‘Great SV has the same quality as great Pouilly!’
A more open freshness, less overtly dense, no less attractive. Incisive – gorgeous, mouth-watering. There’s a dynamic and mineral character to this beguiling wine – such a baby but – not quite aggressive but one that grabs your attention. Bravo!
‘Almost all Pouilly-Fuissé seems to be argilo-calcaire, but there’s a north part where it’s all schist. The producers prefer their comfort zone, but here is a 50-50 mix. I’m looking for wood (but never cheap wood) that supports the fruit, supports my wine, but I don’t want to taste that wood!’
A core of riper fruit, the first with a little oak augmentation, like all of these wines aeration brings a little extra floral character with perfumed higher tones. Ooh, incisive again – at the base there’s the oak-edged ripeness of Pouilly fruit, but the shape and growing intensity are fine – the first of these that I would wait for and that’s due to the oak, but a super-persistent wine in the finish.
Here’s a more transparent nose, less oak is visible here – it’s a very perfumed nose too with a little attractive green herb in the mix. Incisive, bubbling – yes there’s a touch of gas – but what a wine, what a great wine!
2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes de La Côte
‘From the bottom to the top of the hill – 400m high – I like to think of it as a photo of the appellation. All barrel elevage, perhaps 20% new. We rinse our new barrels with hot water to remove some of that young wood tannin, and I use a wood that brings light to the wine, not shade.’
The nose starts in an oaked Pouilly style but widens and deepens and there’s a vibrant middle note that seems mineral-plus. Direct attack, salinity, complexity – there’s oak but wow flavour too! Super-saline, super-wide finishing. Another wine to wait for but the complexity is marvellous here.
To be a 1er cru. Simila DNA to the previous wine with a blend of high, middle and low vines ‘the archetype of Fuissé’
Great nose – it’s open, almost granular in complexity – it’s like a white version of a great Vosne. Again a great attack but here is more finesse, there’s no gas pushing this further. A simply stunning line of flavour, mineral, not quite electric, but you get the picture.
0.16 ha – I try to push all the boundaries, it’s a wine I mainly make for myself to see what is possible.
Here is less direct impact, but a slowly growing width and elegance of aroma. There’s a touch of gas but mineral clarity too – practically you’re looking (tasting!) through a polished glass. Very citrus. Slowly, slowly mouthwatering and at the same time increasing in intensity. There’s not the impact or energy of some of these wines but the clarity is beyond all the others with no lack of vibration or tension. This needs time – you can drink now but what a wine to wait for!
Fabien on 2017: “A small vintage here – there was hail – so a great triage was necessary. It has a little more suave character than 2016 – it’s still a lovely vintage despite the volume, there’s depth and richness not an economically viable vintage in red for us given the work we did – but better than not much wine and not so good wine! For me, it is the terroir that is the king. The only question is whether we, the people, are capable of expressing what the grapes deliver.”
Bottled in 2019, it’s had a year in bottle. This saw no oak.
Lots of colour. Ooh – that’s a fresh bowl of drak-fruited indulgence with a little graphite minerality. Impact, freshness, that’s great wine – bravo – creamy finishing from the old vines. Great Chénas!
Micoux (foot of Py) and Corcelettes in the mix.
Dark colour again. Here’s a little extra meatiness in the aroma, but every other sniff is a wonderful more fruited bouquet – part good, part great. Wide and silken to start, architectural, slowly adding a little tannin texture. Super finishing intensity. Long too. Here definitely needs more patience.
2017 Moulin à Vent
‘All the terroirs of the domaine in this as had to blend due to the hail.‘
A tigher but impressive depth of dark fruit – above are beautiful and open floral notes. Yes! Incisive, intense, energetic – simply mouth-wateringly juicy wine. A wine with the same esprit as the whites here – long, juicy, a little direct.
I invented nothing here, there are neighbours with old wines that are brilliant. Mav is an aristocrat for sure, but Fleurie speaks to you!
Simply gorgeous – fresh, mineral, fruity – there’s no finer invitation. Crystalline, vibrant, accent with much much complexity. Great Fleurie – despite the vintage – indeed great wine full-stop.