Ambroise – 2016


Tasted in Premeaux with François Ambroise, 04 December 2017.

Maison Ambroise
8, rue de l’Eglise
21700 Premeaux Prissey
Tel: +33 3 80 62 30 19

François on 2017:
A lovely year. I think a year more for whites, as they had great maturity, the reds were more a classic vintage a little under 13° for all except the Corton. I’ve been here since the 2005s and this is the first time I’ve made a good yield in all the domaine’s vineyards. Good acidities, plenty of malic acid, so see how that is after quite fast malos – 70% are already done – that’s very quick here. This might help to bottle some a little earlier to make up for a lack of 16s. There’s not the structure of 2015 but the wines look good nonetheless.

François on 2016:
2016? Nuits and Premeaux were catastrophic in terms of yields; 80% red lost, not much better in whites, 75% was lost. Started 29 sept. Fine yields in Vosne, 50% lost in the Clos de Vougeot, there’s virtually no Bourgogne and lots was also lots to frost in the Hautes Côtes – the Vosne side of Nuits was fine. We needed about 30% extra time to make the pruning. ​We even had hail in the Hautes Côtes, not just frost – 10 hl/ha on average

“But if 2015 is superb, 2016 is better – that 10 hl/ha brought really concentrated wines with lots of colour too! My Father said it’s better than 1981 (the last big frost), because at least in 2016 the small amount lf grapes harvested were actually ripe!

The wines…

Deep, dark wines, but some fabulous wines, wines that have eaten their oak with relative ease. Some great wines in 2016, but like a number of domaines, there will be so few bottles…


2016 Bourgogne Rouge
They own almost 7 hectares of Bourgogne, all from Premeaux. Les Chaillots, les Grands Chaillots, 20% new oak, the rest in foudres, to bottle in three days.
A nice broad nose, deep, and faintly herbed. Lots of volume, concentrated but fresh, layered. A massive, brilliant wine for the label – feel lucky if you find some. Very faintly saline. Almost a faint chocolate tannin in the finish.
2016 Cote de Nuits Villages
Mainly from the commune of Comblanchien – Vaucrains and Trelles next to the Clos de la Marechale, 50% new oak.
Not just super-deep but a super floral top note too. More supple, more finely textured, in the mid-palate a hint of tannic grain but ripe, no astringence – such a massive width of finishing flavour and such length too.

2016 Beaune 1er Tuvillains
30% new oak, like the last two to bottle this week. Only -50% here
Also really deep colour. Slightly floral, a vibrant depth, great depth! Volume in the mouth, nice deep flavour, certainly more elegant than the last two wines, growing in concentration – muscular, but very fine texture followed by a long holding finish. Lovely…

2016 Vosne-Romanée aux Damaudes
‘The one place that we made some wine.’ Will bottle end of January – still in barrel
A little depth of reduction, but becoming more open and floral, becoming beautiful. Volume, a bold concentration, very fine tannin, almost absent grain, wide and mouth-watering. Dark and concentrated as all the wines here, but it’s hard to put my finger on the 50% new oak. Soon to be great wine…

2016 Nuits St.Georges
Mix of young and old vines 1,800 liters – normally they make 9,000. To bottle this week.
A broad nose of flowers and dark fruit. More direct, more fresh a little hint of astrignance, quite mineral in the mid-palate. Floral in the broad, long finish. Here with a little tannin grain, very fine… long, long, mouth-watering…

2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Rue de Chaux
In barrel for January bottling. 100% new oak – but only 2 barrels, normally there are 4…
A hint of reduction quickly fades, has more depth, almost a textured depth, less floral but there’s a suggestion. Supple, concentrated, just a little blocky texture in the mid-palate from the oak, but micro-grained without astringance. Lovely, fresh, layered finishing flavour. Great wine again…
2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Vaucrains
Next to the St.Georges of Thibaut Liger-Belair. 100% new oak – only one barrel! Probably only in magnums….
More width and complexity on this nose – fine high tones and a depth of more elegant notes. Multi-dimensional complexity, depth of flavour. Radiating wider in the finish. A great wine.

2016 Corton Le Rognets
Domaine, a 0.66 hectare parcel. ​Like many, lost 50% and what remained – 100% new oak…
Like all the wines this year super-deep colour. Less depth of aroma but a lovely width of complex fresh, inviting notes. Less overt volume and less overt tannin, but fresh, intense modestly cushioned, more direct wine. Holds a great finish, only very slowly fading…

Les blancs…

2016 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Vines in Premeaux, just 0.21 hectares of chardonnay near the Côteaux Bourguignone, elevage in foudre. On limit of BGO, 25-year-old vines – just a little less frosted! Half barrel and half foudres.
Round, deep, almost an oily nose – not overly fresh but very inviting. Supple, faintly saline, wide, plenty of ripeness here, almost a suggestion of tannin. Bright in the finish – a wine that could benefit from a hint more freshness, but it’s very tasty all the same…

2016 Hautes Côtes de Nuits
A little behind the Clos de Marechale – 10% pinot gris in the mix.​ Like the last, already bottled. All foudre elevage.
This has a different nose, a hint savoury – the pinot gris! plus it’s a little more resistant to the frost so maybe there’s more in the mix this year – not as attractive as the bourgogne. Fresher, more energy, ripe fruit in the middle, faintly saline, tasty wine. I like the flavour, I’m less interested in the nose…

2016 Saint Romain
50% new barrels, to be bottled tomorrow.
A nice volume of aroma, depth and even a faint mint here. Good volume in the mouth, fresher, this is probably a more direct wine but padded out with some barrel. Today I find neither fish nor fowl. Its tasty but I don’t see the village here.

2016 Ladoix 1er Les Grechons
30% new oak, also to bottle tomorrow. Not much frost here, just under the quarry of Magny les Villars. Bought for many years from this grower.
Ooh, this smells good – big, some freshness, and plenty of complexity – it invites me to drink. Supple, good freshness, a concentration that melts over the palate with lovely mouth-watering flavour. This has power and plenty of weight – but so much pleasure too – excellent! Lovely finish too…

2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Terres Blanches
All chardonnay, next to Patrice Rion above Perdrix. Also to bottle tomorrow, only one barrel so new. 8hl/ha
A deep and complex nose with some richness, clean and floral too. Bright, complex, fresh enough that the richness is never an issue. A smoky mid-palate to finish but still complex and really interesting, long, long, the smoke holding – individual but really delicious…

​2016 Corton-Charlemagne
Some florality here, deep, less width of aroma. Supple, deep, great freshness and definition, super complex, indeed beautifully complex – this is really great – certainly less rich and more subtle finishing but with more class.

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