Profile: Maison Harbour

Update 9.12.2017(1.12.2015)billn

DSC08337Tasted in Savigny with Nick and Colleen Harbour, 21st October 2015.

Maison Harbour
24 Rue Chanson Maldant
21420 Savigny-lès-Beaune
Tel: +33 6 95 59 08 55

Nick and Colleen Harbour are American and Canadian. They worked together in the finance industry in Luxembourg, but neither were really enthused with that life. They had a heart to heart and decided that they might enjoy themselves more if they swapped finance for wine, so they decided to try school in Beaune.

A business project in the Beaune wine school elicited the suggestion – ‘well why not do a winery project for real?’ And why not indeed! They talked with many brokers, but when it came down to it, the grapes never materialised. Just when it looked like their project might founder, their classmates (many from family domaines) began to offer some grapes; their 2013 vintage was to be born with 6 wines. The quantities were normally just a barrel, but what a brilliant start.

Nick says that ‘Vinification was just waiting to see what the grapes bring and then decide how to ferment, after triage on a static table.‘ Despite that, their compact cuverie in Savigny is quite well equipped with nice wooden Grenier fermentation tanks, some stainless steel tanks and a pretty, and old, mobile wine-press. Quantities are small, but they are up to 25 barrels in 2015.

Mostly the bottles are hand-sold in the US market. The pair even created their own import company to facilitate this – “But it’s never easy! We want to stay small and connect with people” notes Colleen.

Nick on 2015:
“Oh it was so great. When we look back and compare it to 2013, 2015 really was so easy, there was hardly any trie – though normally its nice to do triage with friends!”

The wines…

I like the packaging very much here, the smart, black wax topped, bottles are all hand numbered and seem to offer a certain gravitas. Young winemakers or not, these are credible, tasty wines that deserve their respective vineyard labels. I can only say ^well done!’

The wines were racked about 2 weeks earlier, and tasted in the order below – the pair seemed just to choose their next favourite wine to open, rather than follow a particular hierarchy – don’t try that at home kids – but I thought it kind of cute 😉

2014 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er en Remilly
They even had Caillerets in first year.
Gets fresher and fresher in the glass, yet stays quite modest. Here is a nice lithe wine of energy but not too much energy. Rolls over the palate nicely, with a little richness, then some dry extract that ingrains into your gums – the flavour clinging on, long. A tight nose but very yum!

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Combe Aux Moines
Virtually no new oak in their three vintages so far, ‘just a couple of new ones out of necessity.’
Again a tight nose but with floral suggestions. Round, with a very fine, silky texture. Here is great material and a big hit of floral ‘mouth perfume’ as Allen might say. A reticent nose but beautifully tasty, just tending to a little minerality in the finish.

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice
Their biggest cuvée, amounting to 4 barrels.
Hmm, this is a little more open and smells gooooood. Lithe, flavour flowing like a river over the tongue, beautiful acidity and joyous fruit. A lovely wine – fresh, direct but really amply sweet and tasty. Yum!

2014 Vosne-Romanée Champs Perdrix
A deep, almost textured nose with a little vanilla from the (2 year-old) barrels and plenty of spice too. Impressive! Excellent in the mouth, good texture and no dryness to the tannin, only a little textural drag. Wide, spicy flavour that is again accented a little from the barrel. But picture-perfect Vosne – lovely.

2014 Bourgogne
Côte de Nuits fruit from near Vosne.
Quite a nice width of aroma here though much more modest depth after the Vosne. Round, a nice sweetness of fruit, indeed for a Bourgogne good texture and cushioned intensity – this is actually very, very good from the mid-palate onwards, a wine that opens out from narrow beginnings. Super-good length.

2014 Pommard 1er Chanlins
A really lovely, relatively open nose; flashes of dark fruit with good clarity. Fills the mouth, there’s a little tannic texture, but not really any cushioning. This is all wine – lovely finishing – great flavoured wine. Excellent Pommard.

2014 Corton
Their first vintage, they also have this in 2015.
A rather tight nose. Big in the mouth again – a little bit more large-scaled than the Pommard but similar in the style of the cool fruit delivery and texture. More direct and mineral flavoured from the mid-palate onwards. But this opens out again on the palate after swallowing, stony elements, and a subtle mouth-watering style. More closed than the Pommard yet beautifully proportioned, if relatively slight, or simply tight for grand cru Corton.

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