Tasted in Beaune with David Butterfield, 20 October 2015.
24 Avenue du 8 Septembre
Tel: +33 3 80 24 69 36
Semi-Canadian, David Butterfield has been living in Beaune for a number of years. Since 2005 he has been making wine under his own name in Monthelie. This year he moved his operation to new premises, just around the corner from his home in Beaune, close to the train station.
To give you a (single!) small example of how stupidly slow your reviewer is: I was aware that David had been making wine with the help of Jacques Lardière, now the ‘semi-retired’ winemaker of Louis Jadot. So I wasn’t completely surprised when I briefly saw Jacques at the new headquarters of Butterfield Wines, but I was quite surprised when he chatted with Mrs Butterfield about going to look after her kids – had Jacques branched out into baby-minding to stay occupied? Fortunately I was able to work out the truth for myself, I would have been more visibly embarrassed if public explanations had been required, but in the end it was quite simple, David is married to Jacques’ daughter, Juliette!
I suppose that was a helpful name to open a few doors to grape supplies!
Markets for these wines are mainly Japan and then a number that are similar in size such as Netherlands, Canada, Bermuda – David’s mother comes from Toronto, but his father is Bermudan. More and more wines are being sold in Paris too.
“I make about 60 barrels, and normally about 60% white – I’ve no ambition beyond 100 barrels. I make about 15 wines, and many can be just one barrel when it’s hailed! You have to love the process, you have to listen to the wines, they speak for themselves, then ultimately you will be rewarded. If there are no faults, the rest is subjective.”
David on 2015:
This is the first year I’ve seen where the sugars on whites were so quickly finished.
David on 2014:
Very small harvests, as mainly the wines come from the Côte de Beaune. So it’s a curtailed selection in 2014, not just in volume, also in the number of cuvées.
Over the years I’ve drunk a few wines with this highly recognisable label but this is the first time I’ve visited and tasted the range, and it’s really an excellent range in 2014.
“I don’t like to manipulate wines”, says David, “One way or another I think the vintage is going to express itself. I used whole clusters in 2005 and 2015 but only when I was happy with sanitary state.”
“‘Smaller’ wines were racked before the harvest, the rest will wait in barrel until 2016. I’ll try to get to May for bottling; the second winter is good but when you’re small it’s a balance with getting wines into the market – but on the other hand, there’s only so much wine…”
2014 Beaune 1er Teurons
This in barrel.
Wide, beautiful fruit, faint floral notes too. Beautiful juicy fruit, with fine intensity of flavour in the mid-palate. The flavour really bursts through.
2014 Volnay 1er Santentots
Deeper fruit, a little darker, a little faint flowers but overall quite a primary nose. Lovely complexity here, really a wine of width rather overt depth.
2014 Nuits St.Georges Les Charmottes
A big weight of aroma here with a growing floral note. Wide, joyous, fruit flavour. Actually there’s not such a massive stylistic difference between this and the Santenots, but both taste great.
2014 Nuits St.Georges 1er Aux Murgers
Higher toned freshness over a tighter, textured, core of fruit. Lithe, direct flavour, here with a different tannin structure, blind I would say Côte de Nuits.
2014 Bourgogne blanc
From near Meursault
A modest, pretty freshness. Full, round, mouth-watering flavour. Excellent Bourgogne.
Usually about 10 barrels but much less in 2014. Mainly from Vireuls usually with Pellans and Grands Charrons too, but not this year.
A finer, more direct aromatic that opens slowly into a proper Meursault vernacular. Lovely, flavour, proper Meursault with a hint of flavour richness as opposed to textural richness – so good freshness. Yum!
Large scaled but not fat, a mineral note close to reduction. Wide and fresh, layered flavour with an undertow of mouth-watering flavour. Covetable wine. There are fresher Charmes in 2014 but you won’t find many better…
2014 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Folatières
A big, wide, panorama of ripe lemon-fresh notes. A bit too much gas today, but after spitting this has a river of flavour running through the core with a mineral base. Undoubtedly, this will be super.
From near Pougets
A big aromatic here, round but not fat. For a Corton blanc here is a lovely freshness, of course there is weight and concentration too. First class Corton blanc.