Here’s a compendium of wines tasted with producers between the 1st July 2011 and 11th November 2011. More and more 2010s in the mix now – the CO2 is beginning to subside!
Domaine Buisson-Charles (Meursault)
It’s a while since I visited Patrick Essa – and he was on good form. The domaine seems a hive of social activity, every time I’m there, there are others from Meursault and the rest of the family joining in. This time I tasted with a lady winemaker from Australia.
Clean aromas with hints of gingerbread. Lovely richness that’s allied to perfect balance. Just a lovely wine.
Wide aromas, a little higher-toned than the Vieilles-Vignes, but less depth – very approachable. There is a nice roundness to this wine, slightly less rich but balanced with a little more intensity.
I really like the intensity of the nose with added flower blossom over a fresh, sweet base. Lovely, lovely balance between the richness and the energy, fine intensity to. Beautiful – bravo!
Again a very clean nose. After the Bouches-Chères there is more texture and the flavour seems to grow more too – extending very well into the mid-palate and the finish.
Just a hint of reduction – but frankly nothing could take your attention from a double-dose of cassis on the nose. Quite full and round with a real base of tannin. The flavour has creamy accents – regardless of appellation, just a lovely wine.
More serious on the nose – 30% whole clusters were used. There is plenty of supple structure though I don’t find this quite so masculine as many from Santenots. Very fine…
Very high-toned aromas and quite some intensity of fruit – Patrick used 100% whole clusters. Full, supple structure and a slowly lingering finish. Absolutely bravo! For a Bourgogne Pinot Noir!
There’s a little more tannin here than the Bourgogne shows – no surprise, but the tannin comes with more flavour too, and lovely flavours at that. I’d almost say that there was a ‘finesse’ about this wine!
The round nose has apparent richness and sweetness – just like the palate but here is also a acidity – just enough I think. The flavours cover the tongue with aplomb – long lasting flavour here.
The nose reminds me of a 2010 with it’s clean-cut aromas, in this case underpinned with a clear mineral aspect. Relatively loose, comfortable flavours that are more 2009 but the flavours become more stony and intense in the mid-palate – still a wine with real potential I think.
There’s little iodine on the nose, otherwise this is clearly a wine of Meursault – if find lots of interest here. There is fine intensity here and some biscuit and savoury flavours too. Good power – lovely.
A lovely golden colour. Lots of toasty bread and sweetness on the nose, edged with a faint spicy note. Just perfect wine across the tongue, with flavour leaching from every pore of your mouth. Just lovely!
Domaine Cornu (Magny-lès-Villers)
Tasted 5th November 2011 with Alexandre Cornu. Based in Magny-lès-Villers, here is a domaine whose wines I usually enjoy; they have eighteen hectares that produce 14 different cuvées.
The nose has top and bottom notes; faint pyrazines at the top and warm red fruit below – it’s narrow rather than wide today. In the mouth this is warm and quite concentrated – very tasty indeed. There is decent balance here, I might ask for a hint more acidity but that’s ‘borderline’. Very nice wine, and good value too.
Medium colour. Very pretty high tones on the nose, below it seems tighter but some pretty strawberry notes escape from the glass. Fuller and rounder than you expect from the modest colour – very good red fruit flavours.
3-4,000 bottles a year from 0.6 hectares of old vines (70 years) spread between Marechaudes and Rognet et Corton. High-toned red fruit aromas – just slightly roast fruit – seems quite fresh though. Mouth-filling and shows really impressive width, again some pretty fruit here. Good finish!
A very round personality to the fruit here – both the aromas and flavours. Nice balance with a fresh crunchy aspect to the fruit – nice.
Wide and very engaging aromas that blend high and bass notes. Lovely wine here; understated yet complex – needs a bit more acidity? – it is anyhow complex and contemplative. A wine to curl-up with!
Domaine Dublère (Savigny-lès-Beaune)
There have been a few changes at the domaine; Blair Pethel has decided to drop from the range his cuvée of Charmes-Chambertin; it wasn’t a question of the quality of grapes or the wine, rather that it was a hard wine to place in the market, not helped by the relatively expensive grapes. To balance Blair has added a few wines in the last couple of vintages; a Nuits 1er Aux Bouselots, a Savigny 1er Vergelesses blanc and a little more Charlemagne. This means that (by volume) the domaine is now about 60% white wine.
Because the cellar gets really cold over the winter, Blair had a few late malos from his 2010s; some finished in April and other not until August – it was a case of barrel by barrel. Maybe it’s the electricity sub-station next-door, but this is a set of wines that crackle with energy; über-classic lines that are today shaped by their acidity, yet, minerality and precision of fruit hardly take a back-seat. I find these very engaging wines – indeed I think they demand your engagement – bravo!
From 0.18 hectares of vines that form the backdrop to the domaine. The nose offers very pretty red fruit notes against a subtle reductive tone. There is just the right amount of acidity to give this wine some bite so that it’s not too facile – decent finishing length that has an element of minerality about it. Great start.
Faint garden herbs over a tight red core of fruit aroma – it seems rather shy. Complex, fresh and intense – not too sweet either. Likeable and complex – a wine that demands your attention.
The nose is once-more very red and neither sweet nor facile, it’s edged with faint herbs too. Here is very nice texture with engaging red fruits that have a twist of sour cherry about them. Long and engaging.
The vines are just to the top side of Clos des Ducs. Aromatically there’s a very faint creaminess that supports red fruit and just a hint of something floral. Rather mineral in style, this is a wine that really seems to leach flavour from your gums. Very, very good balance and again a strong mineral aspect shows in the finish.
Inviting, warm red fruit on the nose. There’s an obvious extra density and some cushioning to the texture. Not so much tannin and eventually becoming rather mineral in the finish. Lovely wine.
This has a completely different register of smooth, almost forceful but smooth red fruit aromas. More lithe though less textured than the Taillepieds, but I really like the intensity. Very fine Nuits, rendered through lovely acidity.
The nose has some Morey herbs plus a mineral aspect to the red fruit. A wine that’s very much in Blair’s 2010 vernacular of wiry muscle, tension and a fresh delivery.
Always this cuvée seems to over-deliver. There’s a little fresh pineapple on the nose. Just a little CO2 but that does nothing to displace the mid-palate intensity. Lovely fresh, moreish wine. Yum.
The nose is fresh, wide and interesting, rounded out with a little spice-bread. Lots of acidity, but also an extra edge of sweetness after the Bourgogne. Also, very moreish wine.
A recent acquisition. This 0.6 hectares produced only 4 barrels in 2009 so the owner wanted to move it on. Blair added plenty of compost because he could find almost no organic matter in the soil, pruned close and delivered 7 barrels in 2010, up to 14 in 2011. The nose is very wide with plenty of high-toned notes that overlay impressive intensity. This is rather rounder, with more understated acidity than the previous whites – though seemingly enough. Very long with a perceptible minerality.
Classic Chassagne herbs on the nose. Silky of texture, this wine leaches acidity from the gaps between your teeth. Long, linear and flavourful – very lovely Chassagne.
The nose is high-toned and with a tight core of fruit. A hint of CO2 spoils appraisal of the texture but the intensity grows and grows – borne on lovely acidity.
From the lieu-dit of Le Charlemagne. This will most-likely be blended with a second parcel, but that will be decided much later in the day. High tones are lovely fresh notes but the bass is missing – this seems a little tight. VERY mineral – don’t bother looking for fruit. Very impressive if understated length.
To save himself two trips to Chablis in day, Blair has for the first time allowed the vigneron to press the grapes for him – but with Blair’s specified press program – which is about 90 minutes longer than the average. Looks like it worked well… The nose is fresh and intense, with a tropical, almost lychee fruit – I’m a little concerned as it doesn’t shout ‘Chablis’ to me. In the mouth my confidence is restored; there may be a bit of CO2 but it cannot hide the minerality and strong intensity of this wine – this is a very fine expression of Chablis – which catches me by surprise after the nose. Bravo!
Domaine Lécheneaut (Pernand-Vergelesses)
Tasted 5th November 2011. Some of the wines here were rather oaky – more-so from an aromatic perspective than the flavours.
Sweet aromas that are also rather oaky, but not unpleasantly so. Plenty of acidity and an understated fur of tannin – decent finishing power too. Just a bit too much oaky make-up today; return in 12 months…
There is also plenty of oak on this nose too, set against higher-toned aromas and some herbs. Velvet texture and decent fruit too, very decent! Again the wine is served with plenty of oak, but it’s a very good wine for all that.
Dark oak aromas – mainly. Lithe velvet texture with tannin that is just a little astringent in the finish. Again there’s a little too much oak for my taste but you will find very good finishing flavour.
Two thirds of the grapes come from the 1er cru part of the vineyard. High tones and very modest oak notes overlaid by warm, red fruit. Round, mouth-filling and rather understated velvet tannin – very good width to the flavour. A good lingering finish that might have been even better with just an ounce more acidity – good wine though.
Domaine Michel Mallard (Ladoix)
Tasted 5th November 2011. You might recognise the name of Michel Mallard, he splits his time between this family domaine on the main road through Ladoix , and his ‘other role’ working at domaine d’Eugénie. Versus older bottles from this domaine the wines have clearly put on weight – actually the statement bottles are the main reason – they have elegant new livery too. Michel is clearly looking to position the family domaine higher I think – at least if prices are the best judge.
Medium colour. This has quite full, sweet fruit; some strawberry and very decent acidity. Lingers quite well this – a good start – but the price is a little high.
The fruit here is very pretty and red, dovetailed with high-toned notes. In the mouth this brings a fuller impression with velvet tanning padding out the palate. This finishes very well but balances by being much narrower in the mid-palate.
I think I can re-use this bottle for weight-training – even after it is drained! Medium, medium-plus colour. There’s a faintly roasted red fruit note but overall the nose is rather fine. Across your tongue this is soft and reasonably silky with good depth of flavour. Very good length but overall I think it needs to be more engaging – this is the vintage vernacular, rather than the domaine.
Mischief & Mayhem (Aloxe-Corton)
This négoce chose to minimise their exposure to the vagaries of the market by drastically reducing their off-take of 2008s, but they are back again with the 2009 vintage – roughly they produce about 80% white – and I have to say that they have bought and blended wisely – good freshness across the range here. The 1er Crus were mainly bottled in February to March 2011.
Bottled in July 2010; a blend of St.Romain, Macon and grapes from the Puligny-Meursault border. The nose is fresh and shows nothing obvious of Macon. Mouth-filling, nice flavour and almost an impression of tannin in the mid-palate – serious dry extract here for such a label. The acidity is just about right. Good value here – just €11 ex-cellar.
Elevage was 50% in stainless-steel and 50% 2 year-old barrels. Bottled in September 2010. A whiff of toast and perhaps a reductive note too – but below is a nice mineral impression which adds ripe lemon if you swirl. This is lithe, fresh and nicely intense – another St.Romain winner from this producer – this will be a lovely summer wine, but certainly more than a quaffer.
There’s a nice concentration to the aromas, ripe yellow fruit that’s framed with a hint of spice – 20% new oak here. Fuller than the St.Romain, this is quite concentrated, even a little rich but there is lovely expansion in the mid-palate and it seems completely balanced. A good wine that speaks of Meursault – what more could you ask?
Toasted bread on the nose plus an almost creamy roundness to the fruit aromas. This is both rich and very, very silky. Concentrated too – the overall balance being fine enough. Quite a contemplative wine I think…
There is a faint gingerbread and a very fine width to the nose – it even smells fresh. Indeed this is a fresh and energetic Charmes with good concentration and length too – I would say rather lithe in shape. Well done!
Full and forward notes that offer some minerality. Nicely textured; intense and complex – fun, fun, fun. I like this a lot.
Toasted bread and yellow fruit aromas that tend towards the savoury. In the mouth this holds your interest with a good mineral undertow; perfectly balanced there are flavours of fruit and more stones but they only appear in the mid-palate. Long and lingering, the last drops in the glass offering classic Meursault aromas. Super.
There’s not quite the aromatic depth of the last Meursaults, but the width is excellent, accented with cream. There is some richness, but also a fine buffering acidity that also boosts the intensity. Pure Puligny flavour with a little cream in the finish. Yum!
Intense, waxy nose. This is fleshy wine – well textured – that grows and grows in intensity before the flavour slowly fades. From a flavour perspective it’s clearly a little tight (it slowly puts on weight in the glass) but, it’s love in a bottle!
The nose has more width than depth, but the whole of that width has notable intensity. Likewise in the mouth this seems super-wide; the texture is just a hint plush and the mineral flavour is hard to contain in your mouth as the intensity grows. Flavour very impressively clings to the side of your mouth. Grand Cru standard…
Bottled in July 2010, this wine is blend of grapes from Aloxe, Côte Chalonaise, Hautes Côtes de Nuits and Brochon. A bright and friendly red cherry nose jumps from the glass to greet you – it’s almost cordial. Uncommon weight and concentration for a Bourgogne, the ripe fruit is edged with a hint of tannin – all things you hardly find in a Bourgogne.
The nose offers deeper and darker ripe fruit than the bourgogne. Fuller, more concentrated and with more tannin too which bestows a good character. Classic Nuits – a good wine.
From eighty year-old vines. The nose liberates nicely complex dark fruit. Full in the mouth, with understated tannin that still asserts itself with just a hint of ‘grab’. The tannin even grows a little in the finish, but it is a characterful addition to fruit that has more than one layer. Will be very good I think, but needs a little more patience than the Nuits.
The nose is wide and fine with pretty high tones, yet it is perhaps a little tight as it shows less intensity than the previous wines. In the mouth this is quite lovely; round, not a little brooding you are left with a furry tannin to remind you. This is clearly a little tight today but shows the hallmarks of good winemaking.
Domaine Ponsot (Morey)
Laurent Ponsot was on great form when I visited 10th November – his wines were on even better form! Laurent notes that the wines “are still improving – well, they are changing, I don’t know if they are improving – but when this stops, I’ll know it’s time to bottle!”
If I’m honest, it was an honour to taste these wines!
Just a hint of reduction takes your focus away from the aromas. There’s a strong core of fruit here, full in the mouth with relatively understated acidity but far from understated length…
A blend of three lieu-dits; Laurent will bottle the Bressandes separately “it has a unique character” he says. “This is a bit south for us, but why-not(?)” smiled Laurent. The nose is concentrated and wide – some minerality too. Wow, this is mineral, intense and direct too. I find a superb character here
The nose is full, round and inviting with higher tones and some herbs – very engaging. Faint CO2, a kind of inner strength and gorgeous fruit leaching from my gums and tongue. Lovely understated acidity too.
“We are the biggest producers of Griotte in the world” – Laurent is playing with us! In 2009 (when the financial crisis was biting) LP was even able to buy extra Griotte from three other owners – and there are only six! Ooh! – I’ll say it again, ooh! Depth and width – even more inviting than the Charmes. Very silky wine that plumbs quite some depth. There’s just a hint of tannin in the finish to remind you that you’re in Gevrey. Very impressive and balanced wine.
Hmmm. Perhaps not the width of the Griotte, but the aromas here go even deeper – just gorgeous, with a faint musk at the limits. There are hints of CO2 so the acidity seems slightly elevated. The flavour grows and grows in the mid-palate before slowly decaying. Great Chapelle.
Only the second vintage for this wine, the first of what Laurent describes as his ‘four Clos’. Ooh! (I’ll have to stop saying that!) Less deep than the Chapelle, but with fabulous width and complexity. This has a silky-velvet character; there’s plenty of fine tannin but delivered with virtually no ‘grab’. Long and cool in personality – I want (again!) The last drops in the glass have a gorgeous red-fruited character.
A combination of two parcels that average out at about sixty year-old vines. The first vintage chez Ponsot was 1999, and Laurent has averaged only 26 hl/ha yields in that period. There is a faint whiff of reduction that lifts from the glass relatively quickly. This is a very mineral wine indeed, some tannin too but with only a faint grain. There is a similarity in ‘shape’ to the Corton – lots of muscle and power here. The last drops in the glass offer a pretty blue-red fruit combination.
The nose shows a wonderful depth of individual dark berries – so often this wine is darker fruited than its brethren. In the mouth the depth of flavour is there too, dovetailed to finely grained tannin. An almost perfect young wine – I am smitten.
The nose offers a little more width than the Clos St.Denis, but seems to deliver less focus and depth – it’s just a little tighter. In the mouth the flavour builds as a crescendo. Mineral and long, indeed incredibly impressive, but today just behind the previous wine – tomorrow is always a different game…
Domaine Pousse d’Or (Volnay)
Tasted 5th November 2011. Certainly they are an interesting set of wines – ones that have garnered very high ‘critical’ scores – yet impressive as they are, at this young age I find them all too similar, and that’s all down to their current cloak of oak. In character the oak aromas and flavours remind me of the toasty wines that Michel Gros produces, which, for my taste, this oak seems more suited to Bordeaux than Burgundy. But this fades in Michel’s wines after about 5-6 years; let’s see what happens here.
Just a hint of toasty oak on the nose; dark fruit bubbles below. Fresh, good acidity here though currently offering a rather narrow flavour-impression. There is obvious oak as a flavour component which obscures much of what I’d hope to find in a Chambolle. I like the shape of the wine but time will tell how good it is as the oak fades.
Medium-plus colour. Crystallised dark fruits play on the nose – with less overt oak than the villages Chambolle. The flavour of the oak is obvious but the wine has good tannin with just the right amount of ‘grab’ for a young wine – excellent width and complexity. This is a very engaging wine but without the common minerality of a Caillerets – perhaps it will develop as the oak fades.
Medium-plus colour. There is a more meaty depth to the fruit than was the case for the Caillerets. In the mouth this is very finely proportioned, offering a lovely balance between the tannin and the understated (though just about perfect) acidity. The oak is here as a flavour component too, but it seems to be in a more supporting role than some of the other wines.
Medium-plus colour. The oak is here for sure but there’s very cool and clean fruit too. Decent tannin, understated acidity and quite the most impressive intensity of these ‘Pousse’ wines, so far. I find the flavour still to be significantly of oak, I just wonder for how long.
Medium-plus colour. Notes of ripe dark fruit mingle with equally dark oak – or is the latter colouring the former? After the nose this is much more lithe than I was expecting – really lovely intensity and some ripe tannin too. Long-finishing flavours of dark fruit and licorice; this wine seems to have absorbed the toasty flavours more than the others.
Maison Remoissenet (Beaune)
Tasted in Beaune, 29th September 2011. Does Claudie Jobard ever put a foot wrong? Really super wines – and both colours too – particularly Claudie has delivered some strikingly pretty aromatics. We didn’t taste them all, but there are forty different reds and thirty-five different whites in the cellar in 2010. There is nothing here that I wouldn’t be able to find a place in the cellar for!
I assume there are lower appellation wines in the cellar, but we start with a Beaune 1er Cru. Medium colour. High tones with a lovely floral note. Clean and pretty flavours. Nice wine.
A very fine floral and berry nose. Plenty of flavour dimension, not to mention power too – just a little tannin in the finsh – very good!
Another high-toned and achingly pretty nose. In the mouth this seems beautifully clean then the flavour washes over your palate, growing in the mid-palate. Lovely
Beautiful sweet violets. Lovely texture and flavour; expands in the mid-palate again. Very fine.
Again, lovely aromas and it’s fair to say that the proximity of these vines to Vosne definitely shows. Clarity and beautifully framed flavours. Very classy wine indeed.
A high-toned mix of red and black fruit. Plenty of structure but it’s beautifully balanced. Very long!
From ten different parcels that cover almost 2.5 hectares. Very nice fruit on the nose. Not super-powerful but there is deft balance and beautifully pure flavours.
Never heard of the ‘Trio’ vineyard? Me neither! This is a blend of three different 1ers into a cuvée that’s big enough to sell; Champonnets, Cherbaudes and Craipillots. I find this wine to be super – from both an aroma and flavour perspective – intensity that’s delivered seemingly without weight – super. Today there is only one negative from my perspective; it’s the only wine in the cellar that’s showing an obvious vanilla note – but I expect this will lessen – there’s clearly no rush to drink.
A high-toned nose with hints of orange. Lovely width and acid intensity – but without being acid. Lovely minerality in the finish.
Just a hint reduced on the nose. Just like a racehorse, this wine seems fast and at the same time muscular – intense and with zero fat. Wow – this is a fast ride!
Aromatic width and complexity – this is super. Sorry but I didn’t write any more…!
Quite a mineral nose; like wise mineral flavours too. Far from a ‘simple’ Charmes. Very good wine.
The nose has depth, not so much width but good high-toned aromas. Plenty of intensity to the flavours, though the tannins have a bit of blockiness but I think that’s from the new barrel. Still, a lovely, lovely wine.
Beautifully elegant floral aromas. Silky but with width and depth. Simply a gorgeous wine.
A nose of black gelée fruit and minerality – wow! I wish I’d written more.
High-toned aromas. Slightly full, such that I’d quite like a twist more acidity. Tasty, but without being moreish.
High-toned with a hint of SO2. Ripe but just the right amount of freshness. A good wine.
There is something of boiled sweets to the aroma but with just enough high-tones to give an acceptable roundness. This has a lovely balance of ripe fruit and acidity – Much, much tastier than the nose initially suggests.
This has lovely high-toned aromas, though with a hint too much SO2. Lovely, lovely expansion in the mid-palate – intense too. Yum!
No fatness to the aromas here; hints of SO2 but not excessively so. In the mouth there is a good mineral dimension to the ripe but racy fruit. Very nice…
A typical Chassagne nose of herbs against the underlying fruit. Impact, and very good acidity. Classic Chassagne of good intensity.
Depth of aroma; some herbs, not unlike a Chassagne but with a beautiful overall clarity. Intense and long finishing – this has a lovely balance. Classic Charlemagne.
The aromas are full and intense yet remain fine. Silky with just a little fat. This is a perfectly balanced wine of understatedly impressive length