Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Caroline l’Estimé, 22 October, 2020.
Caroline on 2020:
“I most remember the warm and the dryness – we really lacked water and the heat even burnt some of the leaves – for me, it was even warmer than in 2019. But the rain we’ve recently seen has really regenerated the vines; the colours, the leaves not falling prematurely – they seem to be in quite good shape despite the stress of the summer. Otherwise, we had no problem finding pickers for the harvest and covid certainly didn’t curb our work in the vines.”
Caroline on 2019:
“We only had alerts for frost in 2020 unlike some proper frost in 2019. Economically we lost some yield that’s for sure but it’s the dry summers that worry me more. Of course, there was a poor flowering and oïdium too, but the oïdium was mainly in the Hautes Côtes. The end result for us was 26 hl/ha for our whites and 33 hl/ha for our reds – so clearly a small vintage for volume – it varied a lot by sector of-course. We started harvesting quite early – 5 Sept.”
It was such a pleasure to meet up with Caroline, for whatever reason we didn’t get together last year – I can see (get a taste for) what I missed. There’s any number of wines here that I could recommend to you, and many, in the context of the vintage are downright great. The wines were really singing today – Caroline laughed when I said that – “That’s good,” she said, “Because they weren’t last week!!!” A top address in 2019…
A couple of wines were bottled after 12 months – just before the harvest – the rest wait, mainly in barrel. Except for those wines that are available with a screw-cap, all are still sealed with natural cork:
A few seconds of air are all that are needed for this liberate a lovely freshness of aroma. Incisive, vibrant, practically insistent acidity but blended with a little cushion to the texture. Long, fine, almost lime-inflected finishing flavour that’s a great start with a great Bourgogne.
Villages, near Morgeot, bottled last week.
Deeper, more concentrated but finely vibrant too, just a faint suggestion of barrel here. Mouth-filling – super shape and depth of flavour coupled to fine energy – wait for the oak to fade – 2 years will be enough. But this is particularly successful and expressive Chassagne villages. Bravo!
Under Champs Gains
Here’s a width of aroma – a little more vibrant and suggesting minerality. Bigger, more intense, completely deliciously mobile, ever-changing flavour – the intensity and shape of a 1er cru here – bravo!
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chaumées
A little finer, a little less intense but no less vibrant. Wider, finer, more intense – the palte is like the nose. Rippling with finishing energy. A super extra intensity of finishing flavour. Excellent!
Here the fresh width of aroma is evident, but in this case with a little extra impression of salinity. Faintly tannic texture, muscular and concentrated but beautifully balance – a wine that’s fast on its feet. Always tastily complex. A great weight of finish top!
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Champs Gains
A more vertical nose – deep and high toned though less wide – floral above, rippling with minerality below. This is airy and complex – very attractively elegant – floral and with a finely grained complexity of citrus. Super again – so long too!
A rounder nose of very finely divided complexity – the style change is similar to that of a Genevrières in Meursault with it’s finely grained complexity vs its neighbours. Mouth-filling, textural, mouth-watering. I can give you a big list! But essentially a complete 1er cru that grows and grows in finishing flavour. More composed than most but bravo.
Back to a little more vertical style of nose. More direct, cool-fruited, mineral – a completely different character – a wine I’ve bought in previous vintages – and here is why. Subtly textural wine. Seductive whilst remaining cool. Special!
Pulled out half the vineyard for replanting after the 17 harvest. The vines behind the largest building bought 1892 and divided by the grandmother of Caroline to her father and Delagrange – on the Puligny side of their vines are those of the Pernots.
Quite compact but surprises me with a fine floral note just as I’m pulling away from the glass. There’s a super energy here – concentration for sure but depth and layers of flavour are on full display. That’s a great finish too. One of the most energetic Bâtards of the year – Soooo good – that little floral anecdote cropping up in the finish too, with a little salinity.
Mainly in les Morichots.
An instant ‘hit’ of crunchy, bright, red fruit – take your time with the wine and it goes deeper and slightly more opulent at the base – a nice combination. Bright, like the nose, crunchy fruit, a little textural tannin but not really any astringence. The structure/shape is first-class for the vintage. Bravo villages – Again!
Not a deep colour but the nose suggests otherwise with a deep almost truffly width of fine red fruit – it just keeps getting better and better with aeration – great aromatics – this is one of those wines that I practically don’t need to drink – I’m quite happy just smelling! More volume – rounder but fully fresh, mobile, energetic but not a bit oppressive despite good intensity. A wine of shape and complexity with impeccable balance too. A wine to savour for the years ahead!