Tasted in Premeaux with François Ambroise, 12 December 2019.
8, rue de l’Eglise
21700 Premeaux Prissey
Tel: +33 3 80 62 30 19
François on 2019:
“This year no hail but a little frost. The climate was complicated; no water, we even started the year low on Water – massively vs 2018. Then it was too warm, the vines already growing before the cold spell but we were only touched by the frost a little in the Hautes Côtes. The summer was more of the same – no water – plenty of oïdium in the whites – but not in the usual places – maybe that was the problem, I was treating the normal places but got hit in the places I treated less as I wasn’t expecting any! Started harvesting late – 21 September, there was a Beaune on 14th September, but the main start was later. It was positive for us that it rained Sunday the 22nd – by Wednesday we could see lower alcohol and fewer millerandes – I think the extra balance was much more important than the extra volume. I say extra, but we are still 50% down in volume – I think I can blame almost all of that on the poor flowering – millerandes are great for reds – but not for whites. The fermentatons were much easier than for the 2018s – probably due to the different balance vs 2018. The fermentations actually went quite fast, our cuvaisons were a little shorter than normal – about 21 days – as extractions were so easy.”
François on 2018:
“We had hail, losing about 1 ha – on day of the World Cup final! We started harvesting very early – about 4 September – the Beaune as in 19 a couple of days early with family and friends. Both colours with fine volume and combined with a top maturity too – they could they have been more balanced, perhaps, the alcohols are high. Reds I don’t like to go over 40hl/ha but the average was 45-47 in 2018 – but looking at the wines they don’t seem to have suffered. Really only one cuvée didn’t finish its fermentations in normal fashion and it was easy to shepherd so I’ve no complaints.”
Almost nothing here is below 14° but vs other addresses, you would rarely know – the floral balance is quite something – there are no black wines either. Overall, this vintage is about balance here – 14.5° may be common in François’s range of reds, but the wines have balance, they have freshness and they have beautiful perfumes – this is a great result. The white were generally a little less ready to taste when I visited.
Only the first red is in bottle – the bottling of the rest will start in one more week:
2018 Côteaux Bourguignone Lettre d’Eloïse
In 2018 it’s all pinot. Half foudre, half tank elevage. The only red in bottle.
Good but not saturated colour. Ooh – that’s a lovely nose – the fruit is ripe but it has juicy freshness too. Supple, wide – ooh – delicious juicy wine. Bravo.
2018 Bourgogne Côte d’Or
They own almost 7 hectares of Bourgogne – all grapes from the Premeaux sector – Les Chaillots, Les Grands Chaillots
A deeper fruit, still of freshness and a little pepper. Fuller – more mouth-filling, unctuous but mouth-watering too. Despite some richness, this is open and fresh – super Bourgogne.
Half wc, half new wood from around 75-year-old vines, lots of iron oxide in the soil here.
More wc freshness to this nose, but it’s not just perfume of wc here – it’s full of fruit too. More direct, sleek, fine energy and freshness. More structured but juicy finishing. Great Bourgogne!
2018 Cote de Nuits Villages
The most affected by hail – 80%. Lieu-dit Vaucrains next to Retraits and Clos de la Marechale, plus Les Trelles.
A fine, pure, fresh fruit. As fresh as the last but rather than direct, this is wide – really mouth-filling. Chewy, fine fruit, structured but not more than the last – very floral in the finish – violets. Excellent!
2018 Beaune 1er Tuvillains
Made this wine with the same contract for 15 years, but not owned vines. Half new wood.
This a little alcoholic but with a nice spice too. Full, layered, still with freshness – here combined with structure Beautifully mouth-watering in the finish again – practically the same violets as the last! Super.
2018 Nuits St.Georges
Three parcels but all the same sector between Nuits and Premeaux
Floral, perfumed – what a great nose. Wide a certain silky slowly mouth-watering – there’s concentration and a little tannin the middle but the fruit is delicious here.
2018 Nuits St.Georges Vieilles-Vignes
Les Longecours, not yet racked – probably end of December for that. This with 70% new barrels, mainly large-format
A more compact nose, spiced but not showing much more. Mouth-filling, structural – proper Nuits but with no hard edges. Patience required but the finish is subtly fine.
2018 Vosne-Romanée aux Damaudes
‘It’s the wine that’s least ready at the moment’
A very faint reduction – it’s a compact nose. Fresh and wide – mouth-filling, fine energy too but compact from the perspective of flavour too – only the finish is showing some subtlety and interest today. This needs elevage time…
2018 Nuits St.Georges 1er Rue de Chaux
Hmm – some creamy width of barrel in the aroma – redder fruit. Gas. Open, nicely shaped and structured – open flavour – it’s barrel infused today (it’s all new.) A very juicy finish and depth of flavour. Much potential!
2018 Nuits St.Georges 1er Vaucrains
Next to the Les St.Georges of Thibaut Liger-Belair. Also all new barrels, mainly large format.
Deep, slightly reductive – swirling brings fresh, high-tones, even florals – nice! Bigger, but less overtly structured – lovely mouth-watering finish. More elegant structure at this stage – this should be delicious relatively soon – but don’t underestimate its power!
2018 Clos de Vougeot
A fermage contract. All new oak. Grands Maupertuis – not on the label.
Oof – here is some colour – practically saturated. Yet a nose of calm, of modest width and attractive darker fruit. Fresh, a wine of drive and direction sweeping but braked by a little dryness of very fine tannin. Another wine that is juicy and has super length.
Domaine, a 0.66 hectare parcel. 100% new oak.
Similarly dark colour. It’s a tighter nose but there is still some floral complexity escaping the glass. Wow – this is so sleek, so fabulously textured – concentrated, sweeping lines. Big wine but completely balanced – already drinkable – there’s no astringency – it will live longer than me! Bravo!
All DIAM – it’s about 1/3 of the domain the white production here.
2018 Bourgogne Aligoté
Half tank, half foudre elevage – 10 months. 75-year-old average vine age planted by grand-father – not much more than 35 hl/ha.
Hmm, interesting, a clear liquorice note despite a white wine. Sweet but structured too, full of middle energy and saline complexity. This will get better and better – lovely.
2018 Côteaux Bourguignone Cuvée Eloïse
No new oak but some larger format barrels. Also 10 months of elevage.
A little more structure and width to the nose. Clean, structural, layered, open flavour. This is a lovely wine – fresh but with a friendly richness of floral chardonnay.
2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Domaine vines in Premeaux, just 0.21 hectares of chardonnay near the Côteaux Bourguignone, also some declassified Hautes Côtes in here so no Côte d’Or label. Larger barrels.
Hmm – a very attractive and perfumed nose. Fuller in the mouth, good mineral impression within the structure, slowly, juicily finishing – sweetly finishing.
2018 Hautes Côtes de Nuits
A little behind the Clos de Marechale – there’s 10% pinot gris in this. Plus vines in Villars le Faix and large format barrels.
A little more sweet pineapple here. Super fresh, deliciously driving, super flavour – not big but bubbling along deliciously – this is excellent.
2018 Saint Romain
A single parcel.
More punch of fresh aroma, this framed with some oak – 50% used here. Nice mouth-filling shape – a certain richness for a St.Romain. Saline, long, the finish is the best part despite a little oak here too.
2018 Nuits St.Georges 1er Terres Blanches
All chardonnay, next to Patrice Rion above Perdrix. The only white so far not bottled (apart from Ladoix Grechons which was too hard to fetch the sample!) but will be done next week. 70% new oak as always larger format barrels.
A suggestion of oak but also vibrant, ripe, concentrated citrus. Nice shape as it almost fills the mouth – more mineral, a little less energetic – like the St.Romain – but less overt richness to the texture vs that wine – composed, calmer fruit but fruit with a certain vibration.
2018 Meursault 1er Poruzots
This in barrel, not yet racked, looking to bottle in March – probably. A single new barrel.
Here the wine is not quite ready on the nose. Supple, rich but fresh and silky too. The flavour reflects the nose – depth and concentration – but not yet ready. Super shape, super length too…
Also still in barrel unracked.
A little touch of firework reduction here. In the mouth too – otherwise this is much readier to taste with shape and flavour of scale, and a fine, layered, delicious depth of middle and finishing flavour. Long, vibrant – ooh – this has the potential!