Tasted in Paris with Eve and Erwan Faiveley, 11 September 2019.
23, Avenue Junot
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of tastings I’ve been to in Paris – why would I take a €150 (return) train ride to Paris, when all the producers are on my doorstep in Beaune? If I was to take the title of this tasting as the deciding factor in my attendance, then I would have stayed in Beaune, as I already have 2018 tasting appointments with Faiveley in November and December. But this tasting had something extra…
First some pre-amble and 2018 vintage discussion from Eve and Erwan Faiveley:
Faiveley – a Domaine or a Maison?
“For a while Faiveley has been a larger address for domaine wines than for the négoce side of the business – despite most people still thinking of us as ‘Maison Faiveley.’ We have 127 hectares under the Domaine Faiveley label, two-thirds in the Côtes Chalonnaise, and another 17 under the Billaud-Simon labels which remains separate. More and more of the focus for our communication is for the domaine wines, here examples that cover our monopolies from three ‘Côtes:’
The 2018 vintage chez Faiveley:
“2018 is a very particular vintage due to the heat. Early harvested – and it needed to be harvested quickly – the tendance is shorter and shorter harvest times – we used to take 3 weeks. In 2018 all three côtes’ harvests began at the same time – up to 14.8° (in Chambolle). It’s a très grand vintage for the reds, they are extraordinary, the whites are not to the same level, lacking a little depth, and the yield will have contributed to that. The reds didn’t have a large volume, indeed the Mercurey of the Côte Chalonnaise was very concentrated this year.”
2018 Mercurey Framboisière
‘11.11 hectares – it’s vast – it’s a real lieu-dit but other neighbouring vines have been incorporated too. Tank sample – ready for bottling after the harvest – probably not later than the start of November.’
Lots of colour – still plenty of purple. The first nose on pouring is of flamboyantly ripe dark fruit, slowly tightening in the glass. This sits well on the palate – good volume – open and shows just a little tannic touch. Finishing bitters with a nice persistence. Certainly still to wait for but impressive stuff for this previously ‘entry’ label.
Deeper colour still, not quite saturated – but getting there. Deeper impression of fruit, faintly spiced, subtly perfumed and very inviting. Ooh, that’s good – even more mouth-filling, complex, open, showing a little more sweetness than the Framboisière. There is more weight and depth to the mid and finishing flavours. Bitters in the finish but easier – this is actually more forward and easier drinking than the Framboisière today. Delicious wine – Bravo!
2018 Beaune 1er Clos de l’Ecu
Bought in 2003 by Erwan and Eve’s father from Jaboulet-Vercherre, partly to offset the loss of the Clos de Marechale. It needed a lot of work, the 2.37 hectares had many missing vines and (for years) had been ‘ambitiously’ fertilised, but over the years the vineyard has come into better shape.
Deep, more perfumed, just a little powdery aspect. Much silkier, with more depth and complexity to the flavour – a herby character to the middle flavour – which I think is this sample – but more of everything, including elegance to the structure. I’m not sure it’s the best sample, but the structure and depth of flavour are on a high level.
2018 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos des Issarts
0.61 ha, bought in 2003, officially it’s Gevrey 1er cru rather than lieu-dit Issarts.
Higher toned, a much finer nose – direct, almost menthol. Mouth-filling, plenty of width, some drag to the texture – almost but not quite astringent – a good vibration and complexity of flavour. Layered finishing, excellent, long too.
2018 Corton, Clos des Cortons Faiveley
In Ladoix, mid-slope 2.77 hectares, between Renardes and Le Rognet et Corton – originally Rognets, bought from the family Geisweiler. The domaine’s Corton-Charlemagne is the area above the Clos des Cortons, all the way up to the wood.
Lots of colour again – like the Myglands. Very deep, again with a slightly menthol nose, a suggestion of liquor here. The largest volume, weight and shape in the mouth – vibrant and energetic. The flavour clings to the palate – impressive grand cru persistence here.
2018 Mercurey Clos Rochette – Blanc
Touching on the Framboisière – 5.06 hectares – stony and mineral says Erwan.
This has a weigh but also a subtle vibration of minerality. A little gas, vibrant, really rather fresh for the vintage. Nice melting flavour, slight rigour to the flavour but it is fine flavour. Excellent Côte Chalonnaise, particularly in 2018!
And then came lunch – a much-anticipated lunch:
Plenty of colour. A nose with a touch of Comte cheese to start, slowly becoming finer, filling out with truffled white chocolate, eventually a caramel too. Fresh, deep, concentrated, vibrant wine – really fabulous in the mid and finishing complexity. A wine that still needs time – some starting rigour, finishing with concentrated flamboyance. Young, grand vin, that comes to you in the glass…
5 generations of the family made the 4 Musignys: The plan here is to show what is possible from ‘hot vintages’ – like 2018 – there was no 2003 though, there was so little produced that year that it was blended into the Chambolle 1er Cru!
Only 160 bottles in this vintage – Faiveley were the smallest producer at this time. Earlier vintages were en-fermage from Mugnuer, the same as the Clos de Marechale – so there was much more during this era.
Already showing a little age to the colour. Ooh – what a width of fabulously textured, fine-grained, sous-bois aroma – such a sublime, great nose. It’s a pretty wine, elegant, complex and fine. The next taste shows brighter with driving, impressive flavour for the vintage.
I’m not sure that this is really a hot vintage – but I’m anyway looking forward to this!
A little deeper colour, also younger-looking. A much finer texture to this nose, more floral but it’s also a more compact nose than the 2007. Larger scaled, fresher with more obvious energy. A little less sweet and certainly more structured. Here are little finishing waves of flavour – super long. Hyper impressive but clearly a little young for drinking today. Time in the glass brings an impressive spice to the nose – lots of cinnamon! The structure has softened in the glass too, this is much rounder and richer with aeration. Great baby wine…
Floral but a very different beast to the 1999. The structure here is still reminiscent of the 1999, but the flavour is like the 2007 with a little more sweetness. Direct, intense and showing plenty of acidity. Fun but not an easy ride, I would say wait at least another 5 years! The nose keeps getting better and better. Time, or the main dish, brings more perfume plus some silk to the texture – this, like the 99, is very different wine with aeration and food…
From the cellar of Georges Faiveley in the Morvan; hidden from the German soldiers during the war. At the time he thought 1933 a great vintage, the heatwave vintage of the 1930s. This was recorked in about 2012, the level adjusted with Musigny 2009.
There is just something about this wine; a modest volume of aroma to start with but very inviting and very deep. The depth, roundness and elegance on the palate just so obvious, just so delicious, wow! It’s a wine that, colour apart, if you hadn’t seen the label, age wouldn’t be part of your description – timeless wine of absolute stability in the glass. I don’t have enough ‘bravos…’
Hmm – wide, creamy, faintly but attractively accented with vanilla cream. Round, a little richness – a supple and delicious wine. Young colour with aeration. A different format, and older, but behind the 2005 today – perhaps – but really super…