Tasted in Mercurey with Julien Bordet, 08 November 2017.
Domaine de la Framboisière
1 grande rue
Domaines Faiveley have 73 hectares in the Côte Chalonnaise, 20 of which planted with chardonnay; the majority is in Mercurey, 55 hectares, but they also have 5 in Montagny, 5 in Givry, and the rest in Rully. Most of the Mercurey vines are from the same sector, sitting between Mercurey and Rully.
Julien on 2017:
“Spring was ideal following a real winter – it’s a long time since we’ve had a winter where the vines can probably rest. So, quite an early start and it kept on this line with an early harvest. Good flowering, the biggest problem was the dryness of the summer but fortunately the vines were never blocked in terms of their maturity. We started harvesting 29th August, and I’ve never seen such maturity in terms of sugar – its my 9th vintage – and the reds were practically perfect, like 2014 but more concentrated with that crunchy fruit – it will be a vintage that can definitely be enjoyed young. We had a little more red but a little less white as they lacked some juice, but it’s not a big volume vintage here.”
Julien on 2016:
“2016 brought us very good yields for whites; straight after the rain the grapes seemed a little diluted but we waited a few days and it worked well, because these are the best whites I’ve made here – I started in 2008! Similar in style to 2014, possibly. I consider the 2016s much more of a vin de garde style of wine versus the 2017 – so far. Those frosted vines were really difficult to train afterwards some would push and others did almost nothing.
“Because lot of our vines lie between Rully and Mercurey, and also because they are later maturing, we were much less impacted by the frost. Those vines closer to the domaine suffered much more and we sometimes had only 8hl/ha of yield. In the end we only lost 10% of our reds in 2016! Some were 13° natural and completely clean…
“We are a big domaine with 80 workers, so we can’t play at this; we started the vintage bio, changed in the middle – but still raisonée – then back to bio again towards the end. We started our treatments quite early, so had very little problem with the mildew. 140 pickers did the whole 73 hectares in 8 days.”
Volume and quantity don’t always seem to go hand in hand, but at this address they usually do. Great stuff!
Bottled just before the harvest. A large cuvée that’s worth 25 hectares, with the exception of the Frambiosiere all the villages vines are assembled in this wine. 11 months of elevage, 55% sold in France
Quite a volume of aroma, dark red soft fruit. Really a supple, beautifully soft textured wine. Pretty red fruit of very good depth – I think that sophisticated is the best word to describe this wine, with a little floral impression in the finish. A beautiful package.
2016 Mercurey Framboisière
Bottled only 10 days ago. 11 hectares on a villages appellation, 25% whole cluster and a little more new oak – 20%. The vineyard is in a small valley so has multiple exposures and sub-plots so it’s not all picked at the same time, though elevage is all together. The oldest vines date from the 1940s. Some mid-slope vines are on limestone and the bottom has red soil and clay where the tannins come from.
Less width. More depth of red fruit with an accent, an overlay, of spice. A little more volume and structure, but very fine tannin, much more complexity, a little less cushioning – this has a little extra serious side versus the last and whilst delicious today, will repay some modest patience – but I think I might be already drinking them after 1 year!
Julien says that “We think this very much on the level of a premier cru.” I suppose versus some producers’ 1ers that would be the case, but here, I see this more as bridge between their villages and the 1ers. The following reds have not yet been bottled:
Like Framboisière this is another monopole, only about 100m from Framboisière, extending over 6 hectares. Possibly to bottle in December, this has now been racked into tank.
Another small step in the direction of deeper aromas, a little darker fruit, still. Supple, the merest trace of gas. Really an extra depth of flavour, a subtle accent of oak, very fine tannin. A burst of fresh, more floral finishing flavour that’s very persistent. This is really excellent, and more than a match for many Beaunes this year.
2016 Mercurey 1er Clos du Roy
White soil, facing directly south. This also in tank.
Once more a little deeper and darker, this time with an accent of salinity – there is also a little more width but less delicacy of fruit. More tannin – there’s no grain, it’s just a textural drag, but here is a touch of astringency and salinity. Fine and floral-inflected finishing flavour. More-so than the Myglands, this is a wine for patience, but the quality is self-evident – super.
This is still in barrels, a particular parcel within these vines at the top of the vineyard facing south-east with a super plant selection with small grapes – ‘the first time I saw it, it looked to have a higher quality than the other vines so since 2014 I bottled it separately’ – there’s only 4 barrels but I think it a very high quality wine. About 30% whole clusters included here, ‘it’s really a manual operation to make in a small wooden fermenter, all done by hand.’
A fine nose, a little higher toned that betrays a little more wood but with an interesting mix of whole cluster spice too. Fine volume, really ethereal, there’s not much weight despite the scale of the wine – the flavours are complex – oak inflected today but that will fade. More is not necessarily better, but this has so much potential. Of-course I’d drink the villages or the Framboisiere today, but tons of potential here – wait 10 years – it’s that good!
The whites are not yet bottled – will start in January/February – “I like the extra tension and precision that the extra winter of elevages brings,” says Julien.
2016 Montagny Blanc
All from same hillside. No frost in this sector. 15% vinified in barrel, now all in tank.
A really inviting nose of sweet but fresh, fine citrus, almost sherbet. A good width of pretty, and fresh, pure flavour. Not the biggest wine but one with a nice bubbling complexity and very tasty style. Particularly the finish is very engaging – the best part of the wine. Yum…
20% vinified in barrel, assembled just before the harvest and still in tank. Also no frost here.
Less overt aromatics but fresh and fine – a nice delicacy here. Good volume in the mouth, the flavours being rather typically Côte Chalonnaise – though with good delicacy. It’s a delicious wine, but I had hoped for a little more…
50% of elevage in barrel and like the other now assembled in tank.
A more profound nose – a depth of highly attractive, mineral notes and some reduction. A trace of gas. A freshness and a transparency that’s really on another level to the last wine – there is tension, not overt concentration but a delicious and pure width of fine flavour. Bravo. Have I tasted a better Mercurey Blanc?