Tasted in Savigny (sort-of) with Blair Pethel, the 28th October, 2014.
2 Chemin des Planchots
Tel: +33 6 86 92 00 29+33 6 86 92 00 29
It was misty and damp when I darkened Blair’s door at 08h30. “It’s a shame” said Blair, “It’s just wet enough that I can’t get into the vineyard to plough.” Instead he had to make do with me 😉
The domaine is now more white wine than red wine – and certainly so for the 2013 vintage. Blair’s 2014s were long-since introduced to their barrels, and he noted that the quantities were, overall, a little disappointing versus the promise that was shown earlier in the vintage, but he was very upbeat about how he saw the quality.
Blair’s view of 2013 was somewhat focused; “2013 was tough!” was his executive summary. Though clearly he was referring to the work in the vines, the loss of fruit and the hard work sorting – not the quality of the wines in the cellar. He has no cuvée of Savigny-Talmettes in 2013 due to the hail.
Everything is still in barrel here. There are lots of gaps in the cellar too, due to hail of-course, but the reds are fine, and for me personally, I have come to regard this as one of the ‘top 20’ addresses in Burgundy for whites, they are that good – but I’ll qualify that – Côte d’Or whites – I’ve always quite liked the Chablis from this domaine, but I don’t see it/them on the same level! In 2013 Blair has 14 cuvées, of-which 9 are white. Unlike many addresses, and despite some of these cuvées showing a little gas, I really didn’t see any reduction at all. For reds, Blair has stopped using whole-clusters – he notes “I only experimented with whole clusters during the 2009 vintage, and those wines are closed tight shut right now. I can’t, of-course, be sure, but I’m blaming the whole clusters!”
In the last years, Blair has made a Chablis Preuses Grand Cru, but these old vines have finally been dug-up for replacement. To fill the gap, he now has two Chablis Grand Crus; Bougros and Valmur. In 2015 there will also be a 1er cru, Côte de Lechets.
It is usually easy for me to pick out a few ‘don’t miss’ wines to showcase what a domaine could do in a particular vintage, but when every wine in the cellar shows well as you move up the hierarchy, then that can be tougher. Today was such a day!
2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay Les Millerandes
The nose is fresh and bright with a little lime. Round and friendly in the mouth but supported with fine acidity – it really is like biting into fresh fruit. Really Super!
2013 Meursault Les Crotots
Here the aroma is more modest – though wider and with the faint but requisite gingerbread. Still faintly gassy, yet wait, and the texture is smooth and the flavour has super persistence. This is a real beauty.
2013 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Vergelesses
Only about 15 hl/ha in this vintage.
Higher tones on the nose – an inviting freshness. There’s really too much CO2 to talk about the texture, but the fruit’s fine – then it reprises with good intensity in the finish. Very impressive stuff.
2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chenevottes
A softer yet higher-toned nose that also carries more weight. Sucrosité and silkiness before a growing, delicious intensity. Fine finish too. This is a slightly contemplative wine – but easily my favourite – until the next one…
Here is another high-toned nose, but this time more recognisably ‘Chassagne’ with its herby quality. The palate is more lithe and direct versus the Chenevottes but silky, mineral and completely gorgeous. The flavour stains your mouth, such is its presence…
Tight but wide and clearly Meursault. Fuller and rounder. Very silky with penetrating flavour, once more. Beautiful balance despite the heft. This is simply super. One of my favourite Charmes of the year (and there are a few!)
This seems to be just a little tight, but there’s no hiding place for the ripe fruit at this wine’s core. Full and round yet bright and punchy too. Again there’s an insinuating intensity of flavour. This isn’t really my favourite terroir for white, and it will never be cheap, but this wine delivers total deliciousness. Brilliant!
The yield was down 60% on normal.
The nose like a number here is a little tight but clearly with an underlying concentration of ‘material.’ Silky and clearly concentrated – this wine is beautifully balanced. Frankly, a real treat!
2013 Chablis Bougros
The two Chablis are vinified in tank before spending their last 6 months in older oak barrels – without their lees. This wine, the issue of just over 50 year-old vines.
Perfect seashore, cliché Chablis nose. The palate is really more opulent than the nose suggests, but it has fine balance and maybe even a little note of toffee in the finish.
2013 Chablis Valmur
Relatively young vines – just 21 years old.
The aromatic here is higher toned, more open and definitely not cliché-Chablis.
Certainly a more mineral presentation and a wine that likes to flex its muscle. Good growth of flavour in the mid-palate.
2013 Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Planchots du Nord
Only 2.5 barrels, where normally there should be 8!
Super-ebullient, endearing fruit. In the mouth it is the same fruit, forward and charming, indeed downright inviting. Super!
2013 Beaune 1er Blanchfleurs
This red cuvée was the one that came closest to making normal yields in 2013 – 4 barrels were produced versus 5 in a ‘normal’ year.
The nose carries a faintly saline whiff, some minerality and faint sinewy fruit. Round and not a little mineral on the palate – very pretty fruit here and it lasts well too.
Here the nose is complex and engaging – also quite mineral – actually, very mineral. This is a really finely finishing wine that delivers a quietly haunting experience. It starts intellectual then finishes all heart – simply yum!
2013 Volnay 1er Taillepieds
The nose is very tight – almost nothing to see. Versus the Pitures, here is more intensity but this wine really blossoms in the mid-palate, getting wider and wider. Another wine that’s simply delicious.
2013 Morey St.Denis Les Blanchards
Wide, faintly spiced red fruit. In the mouth there’s fine width and a darker-red fruit presence. Very different to the previous wines – lithe yet widely structured, and getting bigger and bigger in the mouth.
High-toned with pretty red fruit yet another wine that gives a tight aromatic impression. Faint fizz but a lively mineral impression. The flavour leaching out from between your gums, full of comely red fruit that seemingly comes at you in waves. Simply super…