Artisan Vignerons du Bourgogne du Sud – 2018 Mâconnais

Update 14.11.2022(19.12.2019)billn

It is always a pleasure to visit this group of producers for my usual ‘speed-dating’ tasting. I planned to visit in June, and then July, to taste 2017s – but in both cases, our mutual diaries came up short. Whilst that was a shame, it also opened up the opportunity to taste the 2018s in time for my big white report of that vintage – I’m sorry to have missed out on the 17s, but this was recompense.

As usual, I made the first part of the tasting in the northern Mâconnais, Clessé, before moving-on to Bussières in the south for the second part – it’s a long day, but one that I enjoy very much!


Marc Guillemot, 2019Tasted with Gauthier Roussille
Domaine Guillemot-Michel
Pierrette, Marc et Sophie Guillemot-Michel
Route de Quintaine – Cedex 674
71260 Clessé
Tél : +33 3 85 36 95 88

On 2019:40% less in 2019, though love the quality. It reminds me of 2012 – the quantity is of-course disappointing, but with 11 nights below zero…

On 2018:18 is not yet ready even if it’s bottled, it’s definitive. We bottle with DIAM for the UK Wine Society, the rest is with cork. 2018 was wetter in the spring so much more complicated than in 2017, we some worry about mildew, but we both started and finished well with a good harvest of good quality. Unfortunately before the harvest – 4 July – had a hit from the hail – not so much a hit in quantity, but wasn’t good for the plants, tiring them some. Our harvest started 01-05 September, then a pause, then again between 10-16 Sept – so two small campaigns for the harvest. We had to wait for phenolic maturity, the sugar was already there. I think that the 2017s are a little more austere the 2018s more exuberant…

2018 Quintaine
There is weight but also a freshness here. This has richness all over it, but the wine melts over the palate, lots of mineral, lots of cooking citrus fruit – super-impressive weight of finishing flavour too – very long a touch of salinity.

2018 Viré-Clessé Retour de la Terre
Second vintage for this cuvée – Elevage in amphora, uncoated except for the tartrate of previous wines. From a specific parcel – the largest of the domaine but a selection worth about 1k bottles. Have even started planting some ungrafted vines here – but that’s for down the road.
Another world of freshness but ripe fruit mixed with a more herbed impression. Wide – much more linear, more depth of flavour, richness too, melting, mouth-watering but with a very different in shape to the Quintaine – here is some extra delicacy. Grandiose finish – what a wine!

Domaine Sainte-Barbe

Jean-Marie Chaland, 2019Tasted with Chaland Jean-Marie
Domaine Sainte Barbe
Rue En Chapotin
71260 Viré
Tel: +33 9 64 48 09 44

On 2019:About 34 hl/ha on average, the result of a mix of frost and hail – 50% frosted – then came a difficult period of dry, so half a harvest in 2019. Serious, dense, rich, were my impression of the grapes, but good pH and not too much alcohol – they could be wines for the ages!

On 2018:We started at end of August to harvest, a year with some mildew but ripe grapes – we’ve a lot of old vines so because of that the rendement was not bad – rarely much more than 50 hl/ha – we’re certified so there are some vintages with less wine – it’s as simple as that! Half the bottling was done in July, a few covées remain.

2018 Mâcon-Villages Les Tilles
Vines in one sector – Montbles – with 80% tank elevage
Open, fresh, green fruit. Supple, round, some modest richness, ripe but carries a nice line. Mouth-watering finish, indeed delicious slightly floral finishing – for drinking young I’d expect.

2018 Viré-Clessé Vieilles-Vignes
The Same hill as the last, but the north of the hill in Viré, with redder soil.
Fresher, a touch of oak. Ooh, a more interesting drive and line here – the energy is more exciting, some mineral energy too – long, fine-textured – wait a little for the oak to fade, but this is excellent.

2018 Viré-Clessé Chazelles Vieilles-Vignes
South of Viré, Chazelles is on whiter limestone, oolitic. Lots of clay too, of different colours – and deep.
A nose of less attack but the same freshness and more floral. Hmm – that’s nice – fresh open, beautiful shape, more composed energy, more contemplative, long finishing. A different character, longer finishing too – also excellent – the difference between these two is more about your mood.

2018 Viré-Cless Clos de Buc
A clos only 200m from the last wine, quite high. Probably for bottling in a couple of weeks
A bright, fresh nose, underpinned with oak – but there’s a Pouilly style to this nose. Driving, fresh, energetic, some inner richness, but this is top wine. Fine, mouth-watering finish. Bravo!
2018 Viré-Clessé Thourissey
Extreme north of the appellation, the vines on a high plateau. Vines of ~100 years – only 5% new oak.
Also a fresh nose, underpinned by oak today but less direct energy than the Buc. Ooh, direct again in the mouth, though, beautiful freshness once more – beautiful wine, wait for the oak – this more sinuous and mobile over the palate. More intense and weighted in the finish – extra long again.

Domaine de Thalie

Peter Gierszewski, 2019Tasted with Peter Gierszewski
Domaine de la Thalie
La Moutonnerie
71250 Bray
Tel: +33 6 15 07 65 65

On 2019:19 was half a harvest, but 13-14° with lovely acidity, they look very interesting, but of-course not so much!

On 2018:2018 was quite an easy year, we’re at 400m altitude so could keep plenty of freshness – we had quantity and quality – direct and pure wines – no problems.

Just one red is still waiting to be bottled in a couple of weeks:

2018 Macon-Bray Atout Vent
Not the easiest place to work for a vigneron but the wind keeps the vines aerated and we never see mildew here! Relatively young vines here
Fresh but with weight behind. Round, layered, rich flavour but with balance – that green-tinged slightly herbed fruit of the area. Palate staining finish – ooh, that’s a lovely finish!

2018 Macon-Bray Les Pierres Levées
Vines over 50 years old.
A deeper nose some toast – demi-muids used here. Hmm, lovely, open, fine texture, mouth-watering wine. There’s a delicious calm to this wine – it’s super – mouth-watering, eventually perfumed in the finish – that’s a lovely thing!

2018 Plutonic
Half Syrah and Gamay, old masalle selections of both on granitic soil. Harvested at same time, the syrah destemmed, the gamay not. Judge ripeness by having fewer bunches of syrah so ripens faster.
Lots of colour. Hmm, cushioned, round very attractive fruit on the nose. Round in the mouth too, but with no lack of fine tannin – very little astringency. Coats the mouth – bravo – delicious.

2018 Bourgogne Pinot Noir Balancin
About 30 yo vines, whole clusters.
Deep, aromatic – lots of aromatic power here. Mouth-filling, a nice half-floral impression here – the structure a little more forward – wait a little for this – but the finish is already very tasty!

2018 Macon-Bray Les Pierres Levées
60 year-old gamay, this with a south-facing aspect – vs the west of the chardonnay. This with demi-muids elevage.
Plenty of colour. Wide, perfumed, pretty dark red fruits above. Ooh, plenty of structure here but the fruit that holds it all together is perfumed and delicious, slowly mouth-watering through the structure.

Nicolas Maillet

Nicolas Maillet, 2019Tasted with Nicolas Maillet
Domaine Nicolas Maillet
La Cure
71960 Verzé
Tél : +33 3 85 33 46 76

On 2019:Half a harvest – a big frost 05 April and then lots of dryness so 25 hl/ha – a small half harvest. But great quality, we harvested relatively early to keep the acidity to balance the concentration – I don’t think the wines too hot.

On 2018:It was a pleasure as we had lots of grapes – which we didn’t have in either 17 or 19 – a year that is simple but with a certain tension – fermentations were fast and easy, bottled largely just before the 2019 harvest.

2018 Mâcon-Igé
‘All tank as always, I like pure and don’t like things that modify the taste. Bottom of the hill’
Deep, almost a faint reduction, deep and ripe. A mouthful of of round ripe but balanced flavour – that little Igé rigour in the middle before the mouth-watering tasty finish – here’s a pretty vibration of flavour that lasts long and ends up quite perfumed.

2018 Mâcon-Verzé
Middle of the hill – this fermented over 8 months.
A little swirling removes some herb and gets to the core of this more open, pretty and delicate nose. Open, fresh, nicely energetic, faintly plush but mobile – a super finish, really, bravo! And it will last, I only just finished my 2014s – and they were young!

2018 Mâcon-Verzé Chemin Blanc
Older vines – 80 years
Open and fresh – it could almost be Chablis 😉 A faint gas – but open, energetic, relaxed muscle, and certainly mineral, A stronger finishing wave of flavour – wait a little longer for this one, but it’s super impressive.

Domaine Merlin

Domaine Merlin
106 Chemin du Lavoir
71960 La Roche-Vineuse
Tel: +33 3 85 36 62 09

Olivier Merlin was away, so his vines were tasted without him:

2017 Macon Roche Vineuse Vieilles-Vignes
2017, not 2018
Round, oaked but with freshness – Pouilly style. Supple, layered, great texture – some sweetness, plenty of oak – I wouldn’t touch one for another 2-3 years. But the finish is fine and mineral – really good.

2018 St.Véran
More floral and interesting. Drive, fresh, very mineral, mouth-watering – a floral component in this and very mouth-watering. I like this and the finish is super.

2018 Poully-Fuissé
A more discreet nose, some oak below of-course. Hmm, but this is wide, driving and mineral, the oak supports but doesn’t hide anything, some tannin – this is excellent and another super finish.

Domaine Pierre Vessigaud

Françoise Vessigaud, 2019Tasted with Françoise Vessigaud.
Domaine Pierre Vessigaud
Chemin des Concizes
71960 Solutre – Pouilly
Tel: +33 3 85 35 81 18

On 2018:Wines to be bottled next spring after 12 months in barrel – they are now in tank. A year with lots of sun, so blocked the malo to keep some freshness.”

2018 Mâcon-Fuissé Les Tâches
A nice fresh, ripe, slightly green herbed nose – a good invitation – slowly adding a little touch of perfume. Open, ripe, melting with lots of flavour. Supple – this really a super wine, a little contemplative but delicious!

2018 Mâcon-Fuissé Vieilles-Vignes
Fresh, nice energy – more open, also more oaked. Nice weight – but also open and approachable. Delicious finishing again, also again with plenty of oak, but still completely delicious – long – a saline touch to remember the wine by.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Ver Agnière
Another nicely open nose – fresh – framed with sweet oak. Some gas but there’s a fine and open character to this wine – no lack of energy though in the middle the richness of the wine starts to show through – but it’s never too much. Easy and mobile flavour complexity in the finish. Again a delicious mouth-watering finale!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Vers Pouilly
Good, not exceptional width, supported more modestly by oak, a pretty invitation. Gas. More open, a broader landscape, less overt richness. Mobile, complex, always delicious. Potentially bravo wine here.

Domaine Guillot-Broux

Emmanuel Guillot-Broux, 2019Tasted with Emmanuel Guillot-Broux
Domaine Guillot-Broux
Le Bourg
71260 Cruzille
Tel: +33 3 85 33 29 74

On 2018:Several things – a sunny year, two different maturities as one zone has more rain – 6 ha had over 80% hail though – the entry wines particularly, Perrières, Beaumonts not touched, so still plenty of damage. But we also started with a négoce Pouilly and there will be 3 wines in 2019. The first week of harvest was fine, in the second week the sugars grew massively to 14° so we chose to declassify as Côteaux Bourguignone. Fermentations were fragile, worries about volatiles during fermentation too, some needed racking, others not. I’m sure we gained a lot in finesse using whole clusters in a vintage like 2018, they are not too massive.

2018 Maison Guillot-Broux Mâcon-Villages
Three partners, they work well, but the harvest and vinification is done by the home team. Half barrel the rest tank
Wide, interesting and inviting muscaté style to the nose. Round, cushioned, a touch of reduction, really super texture, a certain richness, but completely delicious – the minerality a little hidden by the coating of fruit.

2018 Maison Pouilly-Fuissé Les Plessys
A nicely perfumed width – the oak very discrete. Wide, nicely open and cushioned minerals. The oak is present but will quickly fade. Long and delicious, round and very floral finishing with a little tannin too.

2018 Mâcon-Chardonnay Les Combettes
Sweet, faintly oaked. Much more mineral, faintly cushioned, mobile, changing flavour – contemplative but very well balanced. Love this with such a lovely line of finishing flavour too!

2018 Mâcon-Cruzille Les Genèvrières
Just 50 metres away from the last
A fine width of aroma – not full power but a full invitation. A touch more freshness, beautifully mineral and textured. The oak offering a very discrete extra cushioning. Long, mouth-watering – a great finish. Bravo!

2018 Mâcon-Cruzille Les Perrières
Some width but here is more depth of aroma. A little more volume in the mouth, a little more mobile clarity, the oak is showing a little more here – but the barrel regime is exactly the same as the last. But the cut of the minerality is a little different here, more precise – still the oak is masking some of that today – wait 2 years…

2018 Maison, Côteaux Bourguignone
50% gamay and pinot. Plenty of whole clusters but not all.
A nose that grows in the glass a whole cluster cushioning to the aromas. Fresh, driving, super acidity, a touch of tannin grabs the tongue but no grain – dark fruit accented with florals. Deep and satisfying. This is a great, great buy in 2018 Bravo!

2018 Bourgogne Les Genèvrières
Bottled just about 1 week ago.
A pretty depth of clean and attractive, wc-infected fruit. Fresh, drive, energy, a drag to the texture, faintly astringent, but practically no grain. Wait 12 months for some of the structure to relax, but this is super.

2018 Bourgogne La Myotte
A fuller, directly inviting and attractive nose – open and full of roses. The structure frames the wine, slightly dry, but the depth and open delicacy of the fruit flavour is top – really something. Bravo!
2018 Mâcon-Cruzille Beaumont
All gamay
An open, fresh nose, slightly pyrazine-floral, becoming ever more enticing. Open and complex, this is a beauty, flavours that charge around the palate. Melting, mouth-watering. Great freshness in this warm vintage – bravo Gamay – such a great finish!

Domaine des Vignes du Maynes

Domaine des Vignes du MaynesDomaine des vignes du Maynes
Rue des Moines
71260 Cruzille
Tel : +33 3 85 33 20 15

Julien Guillot was bottling so couldn’t join – but sent his wines to taste anyway:

2018 Domaine des Vignes du Maynes, Mâcon-Cruzille Au Quin Château
A small impression of yeastiness when opened, but this is not long present – a lemon-quince seems the main fruit(s) with time. Plenty of volume in the mouth and a fine finishing line of acidity too – the fruit has a slightly apple style but is long and delicious. The bottle would easily and quickly disappear!

2018 Domaine des Vignes du Maynes, Bourgogne Les Crays
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is rather smoky to start – surely from the barrels – but below is an attractive red fruit too. Wide, fresh, lots of flavour energy here and some layers of flavour to this wine in the finish too – mineral, crystalline red fruit but plenty of smoke. Still delicious!

2018 Domaine des Vignes du Maynes, Mâcon-Cruzille Manganite
A different oak here – gone is the fumé smokiness, replaced by a more creamy barrel note – it’s in the flavours too, so have a little patience if you want to avoid that. Lovely complexity on the palate, more intense and vibrant than the Bourgogne – really brilliantly vibrant in the finish. This will be great!

Domaine Héritiers du Comte Lafon

Caroline Gon, 2019Tasted with Caroline Gon
Domaine Héritiers du Comte Lafon
Les Cartelees
4 rue Lamartine
71960 Milly-Lamartine
Tel: +33 3 85 37 78 09

On 2019:2019 about 70% was lost. Frost in Mâcon-Prissé and St.Veran – both 90%. Then a difficult flowering everywhere, too hot and too cold, the best flowering was those late flowers in Milly. The rest of the year was relatively easy and the ploughing was simple as it was always dry. But I have to say brilliant grapes, more acidity than 18, a little more sugar too.

On 2018:18 not always easy in the vines was hard in the wet start of the year then was hard in the hot part of the year – a lovely harvest though with easy fermentations. All bottled. All a mix of foudres and demi muids except the Pouilly-Fuissé

2018 Mâcon-Prissé
Bottom of Prissé
Round sweetly inviting. Round in the mouth too but with a nice structure. Some tannin, mouth-watering, easy and perfectly put together – lovely beautifully judged wine with a fine length.

2018 Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine
Higher altitude vines here
A fresher width of aroma. Gas. Open lovely freshness, layered, super in the middle – love this flavour and intensity with ever being too intense – really excellent wine.

2018 Mâcon-Uchizy Les Maranches
A foudre of young and another of older vines – assembled before bottling.
Here a very discrete nose – giving nothing away. Nice shape – an architecture – open, I love the flavour – a little muscaté but long, gorgeous flavours – finely balanced. Excellent!

2018 Mâcon-Chardonnay Clos de la Crochette
South-facing hillside with some wind which helps in warm years.
Really a modest nose but with fine, faint hints of complexity. Hmm, in the middle the flavour is a little different, more green fruit. Balanced, textured, layered even. Tasty but different.

2018 Mâcon-Bussières Le Monsard
Same geology as Pouilly, very little soil directly onto the mother rock.
A very faint reduction, slowly showing some floral impression too. Open, nice clean energy, mouth-watering, a suggestion muscaté again. Deep and delicious finishing…

2018 Mâcon-Milly-Lamartime Clos du Four
Mid-slope, plain east-facing.
Hmm – more open, more floral interest here. Attacks the palate, mineral, energetic, complex, slowly becoming more mouth-watering, almost juicy. Bravo – a great finish too!
2018 Saint-Véran
In Prissé but one parcel is higher placed yet more precocious for harvesting.
A nose that’s a little more herbed and less inviting than the last wines. Beautiful first impression, fresh, nicely direct, lovely texture, slowly melting more flavour over the palate – of-course this is a mineral mine. Really this takes off in the second half – a great, great middle and finish but currently rather guarded in the first impressions.
2018 Viré-Clessé
From Viré – from Chateau Viré since 2009.
A small nose but one that grows a very fine floral top note – lovely. Ooh – beautiful, pure, fresh, mobile changing flavour, delicious finishing again – like the Saint-Véran – ooh, that’s great! Bravo!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé En Chatenay
The only wine that also uses some barrels in elevage – together with demi-muids and foudres.
Some weight of aroma but it’s a little tight. Really a nice shape, it’s nice to have Pouilly that’s not too marked by its elevage at this stage. Beautiful finishing – like the last two – a wine that’s certainly a little tight today – vs the others – but absolutely class in the finish!

Frantz Chagnoleau

Tasted with Caroline Gon.
Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau
Le Carruge
18 Chemin Des Prés
71960 Pierreclos
Tel: +33 6 80 65 13 19

Caroline is the ‘better half’ of Frantz and showed his wines too:

2018 Mâcon-Villages Clos St Pancreas
A clos of over 2 hectares
Airy – wide, nice energy. Nice volume and shape – energy too – this has a lovely melting flavour over the palate. Delicious finishing – ooh that’s so good!

2018 Viré-Clessé Les Raspillières
A more overt oak accompaniment to the nose. Hmm, this is lovely, complex and nicely modest energy – some fainter oak (than the nose). Lots of potential with a touch of floral here – I’d wait 18 months and then onwards…

St.Véran Prélude
Hmm – open attractive, almost suggesting a little reduction. Fresh – a wave of energy and mouth-filling flavour. A great finish – bravo!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Pastoral
A fuller nose, plenty of freshness, not really showing much oak. Mineral, wide, slow delivery of more complexity – ooh, this is really super – but I prefer the energy of the last wine. But a lovely melting, gorgeous finish here.

Domaine des Gandines

Franz Chagnoleau, 2019Tasted with Florent Dananchet
Domaine des Gandines
Route de la Vigne Blanche
71260 Clessé
Tel: +33 3 85 36 95 16

On 2018: In 2018 we got all the storms so had some mildew despite plenty of treatments – two waves of mildew so it’s lucky we had plenty of grapes in the year but the result was only about 35 hl/ha so a modest volume harvest here vs many domaines in 18 – wet, wet, then dry, dry – 40°C. Hand harvesting everything meant that some of the last vines were close to 14°.

2018 Mâcon-Villages
No limestone here, there’s clay and limoneux, bottled in May after tank elevage.
Hmm – that’s a big and attractive nose. Round, easy fruit, a little muscaté style. Long finishing. Nice shape and a strong finishing.

2018 Viré-Clessé Terroir de Clessé
7 ha in VC, so this is the most important cuvée, typically between 40.-50 hl/ha for 60 yo vines – so small newer plantations included – stainless steel elevage for 11 months and bottling before the harvest.
A nice volume of aroma. Supple, concentrated, nicely textured is the first impression. There’s an aromatic character to the flavour – long, easy and mobile heading towards the finish. Very long finishing – impressive and very tasty here.

2018 Viré-Clessé Les Gandines
Great grandfather planted some of these. Elevage in 500 litre barrels some newer but none new. In bottle about 3 weeks.
Ooh – open, aromatic and inviting – a big impression. This is muscular, a little mineral, wide nicely layered in the middle. Floral aromatic complexity augments the finish – delicious, composed, concentrated wine – excellent!

2017 Viré-Clessé Cuvée Mlle Agathe
Name of a niece – 18 months of elevage for this. Usually 30 hl/ha from these vines.
A nice vibrance of yellow fruit – almost quince. Some faint gas. Complex – really complex, muscular but lean, mineral, always with the yellow fruit of the nose. Lovely finishing, long and delicious – understated but present acidity. Excellent and delicious.

2017 Vireé-Clessé Cuvée Loris
Brother of Agathe. 70 yo vines, this on calcaire blanc in the south of the appellation. 18 months elevage all new oak – needs 5-6 year for the oak to fade.
Yes there is oak, but I’m sometimes more bothered by 5% new oak – wide, interesting a certain freshness to balance the density. Mouth-filling, faintly tannic, layered, wine again of quince fruit – the style of the last, too.

Cork for the ‘cuvées’ but the first wines DIAM style and DIAM…

2018 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Planted in Perone by grandfather currently 1.5 ha and another 0.5 ha to be planted. No sulfur during vinification, some before bottling. All destemmed.
A big, airy, waft of pinot fruit. Mouth-filling, fresh, framed with some tannin of relatively fine grain. Slowly fading on a delicious note. Wait up to 12 months for the faint astringence to fade, but this delicious!

Domaine Robert-Denogent

Nicolas Robert, 2019Tasted with Nicolas Robert
Domaine Robert-Denogent
Le Plan
71960 Fuissé
Tel : +33 3 85 35 65 39

On 2018: The 2017s are the only wines bottled so far, the 2018s won’t be done until spring. But this is a strong vintage, tasty with a good freshness despite modest acidity, they should last well, we did lose about 30% to hail so did no more than 30 hl/ha. This vintage changed style of elevage a little having moved to more concrete tanks from barrel. Vinified with elevage without sulfur up to 36 months, no intervention then racking with the CO2, a little sulfur before bottling.

2017 Viré-Clessé En Châtelaine
A contract but from old vines, still organic. Chardonnay-muscaté, 14 months elevage in concrete tanks.
Hmm – not a big nose but a pretty floral. Round, open, really a nicely structured but open wine. A little twist of intensity in the finish – almost a little lime – super!

2017 Mâcon-Fuissé Les Tâches
Will be in bottle in a month or so. A small parcel of not too ols ’30 ish’ year. A concrete egg and some 2-10 year-old barrels.
Opens from a little herb, slowly adding an attractive floral – like the last. Bubblingly, mineral, super-citrus intensity – alive and impressive – yes! Bravo!
2017 St.Véran Les Pommards
0.50 ha – about 45 yo vines, bottled from old barrels in September.
Nicely vibrant nose. Ooh – now that’s a mineral, concentrated, fresh wine – really a monster but completely balanced – flatly mineral and intense. Bravo – but I’m not sure if this will be drinking for a couple or three years!

2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Reisses VV
Lots of Clay in this area, also 0.50 ha, here of vines that are 70 years old.
A deep nose – fresh but concentrated. Mineral, cool fruit, more composed to start but growing like the last to fill the mouth. Ooh that’s fine – really a brother to the last wine in style.

2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras VV
More than 80-year-old vines, some marne and more limestone here.
A concentrated, brooding nose aeration relaxes it but only a little. Driving, just a small suggestion of more sucrosity, but this is the lest in the trio of intensely mineral, perfectly shaped wine for waiting for ! Bravo!

Château des Rontets

Fabio Gazeau-Montrasi, 2019Tasted with Fabio Gazeau-Montrasi
Château des Rontets
814 Les Rontes, 71960 Fuissé
Tel: +33 3 85 32 90 18

On 2018:A relatively easy vintage versus many and a big one with just over 50 hl/ha. The spring was wet but it turned out beneficial as we had a stock of water in the soil. The elevage was slow as many wines took their time to finish fermenting – we had to be attentive with one or two barrels. Some wines came close to 14° despite starting 28 August.

In 19 we lost about 25%

2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Actually contains a little Pouilly to make up the volume of the Mâcon-Villages! Elevage in tanks – should be bottled before Christmas.
A nose of freshness and quite vibrant too. Round, supple, lots of intensity and full concentrated for label. Impressive round with a good texture – quite balanced despite the concentration.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Varambon
Hmm, deep, faintly reductive but with an extra freshness despite that. Open – lovely shape, no overt oak, complex and energetic – this is a super 18 – bravo a wine of vitality!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Pierrefolle
This on granite
A different nose, a little extra vibrancy, Fresh mouth-filling wine. Perhaps a little more elegant in flavour a little more rigour in structure. Ooh that’s nice wine – interesting and delicious!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Birbettes
The last to finish fermenting, vines from 50-100 years old.
A little more weight, of width, of aroma. Super shape in the mouth again, the first wine with perceptible oak on the flavour, but very little. Great potential.
2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Birbettes
Was bottled in July
Hmm, a reductive start but swirling is efficient as the nose opens and widens. Ooh, such a refreshing and mineral style. Really like taking a slug of iced water after the 18s – a touch of tannin and a mobile mineral style – this will be great – only a little citrus fruit showing in the finish. But wait 4-5 years. Bravo!

Domaine du Clos des Rocs

Remy Lassata, 2019Tasted with Remy Lassata
Domaine du Clos des Rocs
Clos des Rocs
71000 Loché
Tel: +33 3 85 32 97 53

On 2018:2018 was a lovely year, warm a good quality – there’s a nice line to the wines.

All corks are tested for TCA before use. Some 17s are testing with DIAM but it’s too early to change. The following have 12 month elevage, so were all bottled in September:

2018 Pouilly-Loché Les 4 Saisons
Elevage all barrel but none new.
Wide, mineral, a suggestion of barrel. Hmm, a nice, easy entry, good texture, lovely freshness – a mineral intensity, almost rigour. Super start – lovely persistence of flavour!

2018 Pouilly-Loché Les Barres
A small east-facing parcel in Les Barres
A more open and inviting nose – no oak visible. A little more drive to this wine – the minerality is obvious – but it’s less with rigour than the last. Bubblingly and deliciously complex.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Pierrotes
About 75 yo vines here.
A tighter nose but the depth opens with swirling – nice ripe citrus here then an attractive floral burst – yes! Open, less rigour again, an ease over the palate about this minerality. Wide, salivating – gorgeous finish – bravo!

2018 Pouilly-Loché Les Mûres
A more vibrant nose with an inviting mineral side, still with some floral aspects. A little fuller, just a little more points of sucrosity. The most delicious yet. Excellent wine.

2018 Pouilly-Loché En Chantone
1910 vines
More depth of mineral aroma but a little tighter. A little extra silk to this texture – mouth-filling, a little more 2018 in terms of concentration, a wine to wait longer for but the finish is already great – lots to be patient for here – excellent!

2018 Pouilly-Loché Monopole
Here with 18 months elevage – the last 6 in tank – for bottling in spring, the previous wines are all done.
A vibrant width of aroma – plenty of minerals and a citrus almost suggesting lime. Gas. Bright, alive, nicely complex – a freshness more like a 17 – love this. Bravo!
2018 Pouilly-Loché Révélation
Comes from Clos monopole but a wine without sulfur. About 1,200 bottles only with elevage in ss barrels.
A deep nose, vibrant, a strong nose but not particularly different to previous wines. Hmm – wide, a little extra salinity. Really this is impressively ‘unchanged’ vs the sulfured wine. Perhaps a suggestion of extra softness in the middle, but practically nothing different.

Domaine Jacques, Nathalie et Anthony Saumaize

Jacques Saumaize, 2019Tasted with Jacques Saumaize
Domaine Jacques, Nathalie et Anthony Saumaize
746, route des Bruyères
71960 Vergisson
Tel: +33 3 85 35 82 14

On 2019:Some frost, poor flowering then dryness – the lowest ever harvest at the domaine at less than 20 hl/ha – directly after the biggest.

On 2018:All wines with a year in barrel, racked in August and bottled in October. A vintage practically ideal, wet to start an attack of mildew but a lovely harvest that was certainly abundant compared to other recent vintages – the first time we ever requested VCI in my time at the domaine. But the wine tasted great after bottling though perhaps they are tightening a little now – the fermentation passed easily no delays -ideal!

2018 Màcon-Bussières Montbrison
Half barrel half 400 l barrel
Hmm – that’s a lovely width of aroma – a little attractive rigour included. Supple, concentrated, layered in delivery but at the same time open, and showing plenty of flavour. Only in the finish – and it’s strong finish – is there some oak showing. Big bold but balanced 2018.

2018 St.Véran Le Vieille Vigne de Crêche
Vines from early 50s near the lycée of Davayé
Another nose of attractive and quite vibrant width. Fuller, rounder, less dense, more open. Like the energy here, fizzing along – this is excellent – just a little barrel in the finish again, but much less than the last.

2018 St.Véran Les Cras
A plateau of limestone, in the domaine since 2016 with a conventional culture before, but old south-facing vines that are being brought back to life.
A wide nose, one that slowly releases a nice extra floral something. Supple, layered, a richness of texture – certainly more than the previous wines. Yet a mineral freshness is the character of this wine with a beautiful, almost haunting finish – excellent!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Sur la Roche
400m high so not a 1er.
Hmm – a lovely and inviting nose – it vibrates. Open, vibrant wine, mineral but energetic too – This is top. Bravo!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé La Marechaude
Plain-south facing here.
A less forward nose but with a lovely clarity and very-much still inviting. Like the nose – a more concentrated, less ebullient start, but beautifully wide, fine-textured, and with a latent weight of flavour waiting to escape. I just prefer the extra energy of the previous wine. Here is something to wait, with reward, for… Really a long and contemplative finish. Will be excellent.

Domaine Chateau Lavernette

Xavier Boissieu, 2019Tasted with Xavier Boissieu
Domaine Château de Lavernette
Château de Lavernette
71570 Leynes
Tel: +33 3 85 35 63 21

On 19:It’s a small vintage – the frost – less than half a 2018.

On 18: A year that was easy to work and had a great flowering – most vignerons dream of a year like that. No problems with fermentation for instance, 18 has good balance. Happy!

Racked before harvest into tanks bottling likely before the end of the year:

2018 Bourgogne-Blanc
Vines next to the house in Leynes
A nice freshness and depth to this nose – inviting. Round, supple shape, layers of flavour, plenty of freshness. A very good Bourgogne – I love the finish!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Maison du Villard
In Chaintre, have 4 parcels and make 2 cuvées this with elevage in concrete tanks, about 15 months sur lies.
That’s a nose with pretty citrus complexity – lovely. Gas. Open, good energy, the texture is fine and the wine is mouth-watering. Almost a little green citrus in this one. Super, indeed bravo!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Cuvée Jean-Jacques de Boissieu
With a different label. Vines planted in the 1970s.
A little more lime-style rigour to this nose, but wide and fresh. Rounder but full of freshness – of-course there’s extra barrel flavour here too. Super texture, long again – it’s a very different style – I prefer the first style.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Vers Chênes
Just near Chateau Rontets, south, south-east facing. The highest vines of the domain so take longer to ripen, but ba good tension characterizes the wine from here. Barrel elevage and for over 20 months.
A touch of reduction, but there is width, and concentration in this depth. Wide, mineral, really a beautiful minerality, I really don’t notice the barrel, but I do notice the combination of freshness and depth of flavour – bravo!

Domaine Saumaize-Michelin

Christine Saumaize, 2019Tasted with Christine Saumaize
Domaine Saumaize-Michelin
51 Impasse du Puits
Le Martelet
71960 Vergisson
Tel: +33 3 85 35 84 05

On 2018:A happy vintage with plenty of grapes but we trembled with every drop of rain before we harvested as the grapes would grow but we really did a big triage to keep the best – we haven’t really triaged since 2014 but it was a good time. For us it’s a vintage that has energy in the wines.

2018 Mâcon-Villages
Vines in Bussières, this bottled just before the harvest, the rest in the last couple of weeks.
A good invitation if modest in volume. In the mouth there’s freshness and volume with no overdone richness. A lovely M-V.

2018 Mâcon-Vergisson Sur le Roche
We’re lucky to have some iron oxide here in the limestone!
Hmm – a much more open, wider and very attractive nose. Open, energetic, ooh this is good – deliciously complex. Downright delicious wine – bravo!

2018 St.Véran Les Creches
A large proportion of ‘active’ limestone here. Some of this with elevage in a concrete ‘egg’
Hmm – even a little more aromatic complexity than the last. A littlöe more concentration, more supple but energy and intensity are here too. Long, more saline, beautifully citrus, simply excellent

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Vigne Blanche
All domaine’s PF are in Vergisson, but the soil is different everywhere. This a majority on argilo-calcaire
A little less aromatic impact but still a good width. Here some barrel flavour, but layered, beautifully active freshness and fine texture. The finish is wide if still modest in size – not modest in length – a little contemplation here for this wine…

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Ronchevats
A vein of blue clay here
Not a big nose but one of very fine and open inviting manner. Fresher and fuller, there is more direct action here, more energy that has to do something, The finish is more complex and melting, that’s a lovely finish really some extra fruit complexity here – excellent, perhaps more.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé La Marèchaude
Turning to the south-west
A lovely nose – medium volume – some oak cushioning here. The wine has a nice and fresh shape in the mouth, less overt energy than some but more than others – suave-suited with a lovely texture. Very gently fading in the finish – a more contemplative finish again.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Sur la Roche
White limestone, plain south facing, only 20m from the last.
A beautiful nose, finely vibrant at the base. Wide, really mouth-filling, there’s energy too but not at the expense of texture – really the synthesis of all the previous wines. Great finishing, great wine!

2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Ampelopsys
‘Wild vines’ in Greek! Bottled just before harvest 2019, long elevage a barrel selection of the different terroirs. Normal time in barrel but then all assembled into barrel for the long wait for bottling.
Not a big nose, but one that mixes depth with a good width of aromas. Wide, really wide, perfect form and fine texture – practically a small grain of tannin. Ooh the finish has a little intensity, then releases extra flavour before slowly fading – a long diminuendo here…

Domaine de la Soufrandière

Jean-Philippe BRET, 2019Tasted with Jean-Philippe Bret
Domaine de la Soufrandière
125 Rue aux Bourgeois
71680 Vinzelles
Tel: +33 3 85 35 67 72

On 2018:The most genererous vintage we’ve seen since we started in 2000 – up to 55 hl/ha and we normally aim for 45. You can see on our labels – because the technical specs of each wine are all on the labels now – we have great pHs in 2018 – 3.1 for instance, I’m pretty sure that we can thank biodynamics for that. In 18 it was about harvesting with a good maturity too – we have 13.5-14° but also with great balance – so 45-48 pickers as we pick our contracts too!

It’s now 4 years of tests with some cuvées without sulfur before bottling, since 2017they decide to make a cuvée apart – an that’s the aligoté Zen – as below – but there’s also the non-zen version – it still receives a little sulfur before bottling, this zen also has a test with a beeswax capsule – this capsule might migrate to all the others too – watch this space. In the vines making more and more treatments with milk to replace other treatments…

Key: Soufrandière is domaine, ‘Bret’ are maison wines:

2018 Soufrandiere, Aligato Zen
Name started as a joke in Japan around 2005 after tasting a wine from de Moor. Just 20 mg sulfur at bottling time.
Deep notes with more crystalline fruit above. Ooh, this is great over the palate, beautiful texture – planted in St.Veran Vergisson, 40 yo vines. Just a beautiful to drink indeed just to hold in the mouth. Bravo! This is, I think, the single greatest aligoté I’ve ever tasted…

2018 Bret, Mâcon-Chardonnay
One tank and one barrel! This is one wine that really took its time to ferment – nearly a year, then they promptly bottled it.
Hmm – that’s an amazingly attractive, vibrant nose. Hmm, deep, layered flavour, so deep, slightly muscaté, generous but delicious flavour. A mouthful of deliciousness!

2018 Soufrandiere, St.Véran La Combe Desroches
Largest cuvée of the domaine – there’s 10k bottles of this in 2018.
A lovely width, Really a great invitation to drink. Fine, crystalline, a wave of great flavour freshness over the palate. Very slowly fading, so well balanced – bravo!
2018 Soufrandiere, Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat Les Quarts
17-18 months of elevage.
A depth of vibrant aroma, slowly widening in the top notes too. Great texture and freshness again, driving flavour with a beautiful line of acid-led finishing flavour. More than excellent.
2018 Soufrandiere, Pouilly-Fuissé En Chatenay
A new wine here in 2016, just below the forest and the soils still has the humous of the forest.
Another nose of freshness and vibrancy. Bigger volume, perhaps more energy but all remains calm – the balance is so good. Beautiful, it’s an overused word but not here, line of finishing flavour. Bravo!

Domaine Barraud

Martine Barraud, 2019Tasted with Martine Barraud
Domaine Barraud
Le Nambre
71960 Vergisson
Tel: +33 3 85 35 84 25

On 2018:They are mainly bottled – though some just 7 days. In 2018 we had a year that had great weather conditions. The vines grew very well and had nice grapes. No maladies, good flowering and we could use all the grapes! It was a year that brought a surprise of-course as we had all these beautiful grapes at harvest – the clusters weren’t so big – but there was plenty of them. It reminds us very much of 1982.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Alliance
4 different parcels two limestone, 2 more clay – with 50-60 year-old vines in general.
A good freshness. This has a little rigour but also plenty of attractive freshness. Some green citrus mixed with the rest, also some phenolic finishing texture – a wine that needs a little more time but the balance of flavour and freshness are super.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Chataigniers
From high in the village, very stony about 45 yo vines
More freshness and a certain floral perfume in the mix here too. Hmm, this has a more relaxed structure – all is easier – but the open freshness and fine texture are a great mix too. Love the finish – excellent, potentially more!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé En France
In Vergisson but really a very clay-based soil with some blue clay and plenty of sand too.
Here the nose is just a little more compact, but there’s concentration at the core. Fuller, plenty of concentration here, riper fruit to see too. The acidity is good, but really this is more contemplative than the previous 2 wines. Lovely all the same.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé La Verchère
This in potential 1er Marechale – might have to change the name to wear the 1er cru label (eventually!)
This is more crystalline and pure a faint touch of oak here. Hmm, this is lovely – really melting with fresh, cool but faintly sweet complexity – soo good. Really a finish to savour too – bravo!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Sur la Roche
Just bottled. On altitude, always small grapes surrounded by the wind here. Two plantings – 1970 and 1980.
Not the biggest nose, but a lovely and open depth of attractive aroma. Nice volume and energy in the mouth – a small grain of tannin here. Long, narrow but delicious finishing – excellent!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Crays
Steep here.
A more elegant nose despite a little ripe fruit. Mouth-filling, lots of energy here. A driving wine of lovely energy – so long… Excellent again.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé En Buland
Oldest vines of the domaine at 85. North facing so not a 1er cru.
A tighter nose. Lovely freshness, open, complex mobile wine – really a tension like a Puligny. Long. Gorgeous finishing. Bravo – what do the people who decide the 1er crus know!

Domaine Sébastien Giroux

Sébastien Giroux, 2019Tasted with Sébastien Giroux
Domaine Sébastien Giroux
Les Molards
71960 Fuissé
Tel: +33 3 85 35 63 64

On 2018:This was a year that was relatively simple compared many around it – the work in the vines was easy, ie without climatic complications. In some sectors there were a lot of grapes but we’ve plenty of older vines so had quite correct yields – I had some worry about hydric stress but the wet spring and some small later rains helped us a lot. Harvesting in hot weather in the last days of August. Fermentations are always long for me as the cellar is cold and because of that I have longer elevage.

2018 Mâcon-Fuissé Vers Chânes
Only tank elevage here. Nothing is bottled yet. About 1 ha here
Hmm. That’s a nice nose, suggesting a little reduction. Gas. Golden fruit style, but energetic freshness too. Super balance for the vintage. Holds tenaciously. Excellent.

2018 Pouilly-Loché Au Bûcher
1 ha in Loché the rest in Fuissé for the domaine. 12 months barrel then assembled for 6 months in tank
The fermentation aromas dissipate quickly with swirling. Open, pure, ripe fresh citrus. Open, this is lovely in the mouth – growing in mineral style at the base. This is excellent

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé
Many small parcels of 0.2 ha as he’s the 5th generation and divided with each change – this is the assembly of all those small parcels. Half barrel, assembled after 12 months then remains in tank for another 6.
Hmm – that’s a vibrant nose – golden almost quince-fruited. Nice volume and plenty of freshness. Reaslly a beautiful finish – there’s a gap in the middle but what a great line of intense mouth-watering finishing flavour.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé La Raidillons
Hmm – a wider mineral vibration from this nose. Attack – great freshness, bubbling with energy, perhaps a hint of gas. The finish is lots of small waves of fine citrus – a little phenolic texture to finish. Excellent

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé VV
Planted 1942, plain-south facing vines. Tiny grapes that change from unripe to too ripe too quickly!
An even more vibrant width of aroma. So full of energy, complexity – delicious complexity – a base of accessible minerlaity, not hardshness or rigour, just a wine that delivers and delivers – bravo!

Domaine Dominique Cornin

Romaine Cornin, 2019Tasted with Romaine Cornin
Domaine Dominique Cornin
Savy le Haut
71570 Chaintré
Tel: +33 3 85 37 43 58

On 2018:An impressive year – sunny, hot even, we were expecting a small concentrated vintage but were really surprised by the quantity – it wasn’t a stupid amount though, not at the limits. Because of the lack of water nothing to attack the vines – no maladies. Some wines took their time in the cuverie though – some are still not yet finished so I’m not showing them. But most tasted very good quite early, I don’t think that they are aromatically that ready yet, but they taste good.

2018 Mâcon-Chaintre
This has an open nose, though tighter in depth. Nice shape and concentration, delicious flavour with a fine energy too. Lovely balance – the finish with nice layers of citrus. Excellent

2018 Mâcon-Chaintre Les Serreuxdières
A more vibrant nose – inviting. Hmm, lovely wide and energetic – love the citrus-led energy here. Deliciously finishing – great Macon-Chaintre!
2018 St.Véran Les Serreuxdières
Only the type of soil is different here vs the last.
A touch of reduction but also of flowers. Hmm – a calmer version of the last wine, silkier, more direction, ooh that’s so good in an understated way – bravo!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé
This the last of these that were bottled before the harvest. Mainly Chaintre vines also mainly with tank elevage.
A tiny reduction quickly dissipates, almost a smokiness here. Bigger in the mouth, a slight grain more like the 2 ago, but lovely mouth-filling flavour, with a delicious finish.

Two 17s that are not long in bottle! :

2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Plessys
Very old vines with a fine clay topsoil.
Really a vibrant width of aroma – mineral – practically electric. Very open, faintly oaked, a nice intensity, deliciously mouth-watering. Ooh – that’s sooo good! Bravo!
2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Chevrières
Only 10-15 cm of soil before hitting the rock, all demi-muid elevage.
More composed but still vibrantly ripe. A more composed version of the last – full, intense energy, but with a little more self-confidence, if less demonstrative. Brilliant finishing – sooo good again – bravo.

Domaine Nicolas Delfaud

Nicolas Delfaud, 2019Tasted with Nicolas Delfaud
Domaine Nicolas Delfaud
Rue de l’Ancienne Cure
71960 Sologny
Tel: +33 6 16 77 06 18

On 2018:A vintage with some complications but also simple! The vines pushed very fast to start but then came the dryness – so I didn’t expect the volume but we have some fine things I think. Some wines were done in November, others needed more time to ferment – but then I think 19 took even longer!

2018 St.Véran La Boisserole
First vintage of 0.4 ha from a larger clos.
Hmm – not a big nose but here is an elegant invitation to drink. Some richness but really very well balanced with the freshness – what a great combination. Love – bravo!

2018 Mâcon-Verzé
Young vines 2002-2017
Hmm – a nice width of aroma here calm, ripe but also fresh. Hmm – open, easy, labile wine with a nice line – calm, delicious easy drinking – too easy drinking!

2018 Mâcon-Verzé Le Bien Heureux
Mainly barrel, but old barrel elevage.
More amplitude and certainly more higher tones and florals. A little more rigour here – more volume and structure – but nothing hard. Really delicious again – hard to resist – bravo!

2018 Mâcon-Verzé Rouge
Gamay from the mid- 1970s, concrete tanks with whole clusters. Had for a while but first time vinified.
Plenty of colour. Depth of textured aroma here – high tones. Round super-fresh, a frame of modest tannin, virtually no grain though. A great finish, almost suggesting chocolate.

Domaine de la Sarazinière

Guillaume Sarazinière, 2019Tasted with Guillaume Trebignaud
Domaine de la Sarazinière
1081 Route Alphonse de Lamartine
71960 Bussières
Tel: +33 6 11 96 85 27

On 2019:Low volume but that was largely the flowering.

On 2018:Certainly generous but a horrific rendement as we’ve lots of old vines – nicely ripe, no bad surprises, also not much to triage in the reds. Some of the reds have a lot of material, the whites less concentrated than in 2017 of-course, but I think we have arrived at a lovely balance – juicy with a little tannic bitters. The aromas less explosive than 17 but rounder, more mouth-watering and easier to drink.

2018 Bourgogne Aligoté
All tank elevage. The last harvested vines of the domaine
Hmm, a that’s a beautifully inviting fresh nose, slightly cushioned. Supple, layered, concentrated but also fresh. Completely delicious! Bravo!

2018 Mâcon-Bussières
Old vines (1930-50) planted by great-grandfather next to the domaine – all barrel elevage.
That’s very aromatic and very inviting – a lovely purity. Drive, direction, some barrel, but this is very tasty wine – wait six months and enjoy – excellent.

2018 Mâcon-Bussières Rouge Cuvée Colleen
Younger vines all tank elevage. This was all destemmed
Hmm – that’s such a juicy and inviting nose. Mouth-filling freshness, complex, faintly spiced, almost a pinot style of finish here. Delicious wine. Bravo!

2018 Mâcon-Serrières Rouge
A granitic soil here but also destemmed – ‘even in a great vintage I only add about 10% stems but it needs a later vintage to get some ripeness in the stems.’
Darker colour. A less juicy nose but of more depth and texture. More drive, more direction, a little more tannin, intense finishing too. Long – impressive driving wine

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