Tasted with Pierre Meurgey at the Château de Bligny, 09 October 2020.
Pierre on 2020:
“Right from the start it was clearly going to be an early vintage, yet it still seemed to speed up for the whole year – even the dryness and the wave of heat didn’t slow things down! The maturities were very different for reds and whites – volumes much lower on reds – a little pressure from oïdium in the Pernand whites but by the time we got to the harvest there was no real need to triage for that. The impressive thing is the volume difference between the colours and profiles – the acidity is impressive in the reds, low pHs, the fruit is generous – despite starting 20 Aug – very little below 14° – whereas the whites have lower degrees but still great pHs. What we taste right now makes me very optimistic – the richness is not that Burgundian but the balance certainly is.
“The main issue with the market in 2020 was/is its softness, while at the same time the price for grapes and wine stays very high. I aim, as much as possible, to have grapes that are organic, though these are, often, 20% more expensive…”
Pierre on 2019:
“A little frost in the Mâconnais, a little hail in that region too – but a little here a little there. The yields here quite low for a number of years – 20-35% down versus a ‘complete’ year – and most of the recent vintages were ‘complete.’ We still had plenty of grapes, but the amount of juice was relatively low. We were early pickers, 9 September, but we were always questioning ourselves over the maturity – but the maturities were starting to increase quickly – I think it was the right timing decision to pick. In the end, about half the volume of 2017 or even 2018. One or two had longer malos, but mainly all were done quite early.”
Always an interesting range from Pierre and 2019 is no exception. It’s easy to pick out the Côte de Nuits Villages and the Epenots as the stars this year…
2019 Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Balliards
Organically certified grapes but low volume so added more whole clusters than normal – about 50% – just to have a decent volume in the tank. This to be bottled in November.
Medium, medium-plus colour. An obvious but perfumed (not a gothic) rendition of stems here – rose-flowers and width of easy red fruit of good clarity. Open, lovely texture. Intense, a little stony finishing. This is lovely but I would suggest waiting 2-3 years in the cellar before approaching. No hard edges and very well made.
This and all following reds in barrel for bottling in Feb-March:
Also certified organic grapes. Hillside vines on a very draining soil. Early harvesting needed here. One-third wc.
A deeper, more fleshy nose, still with the rose/herb whole-cluster impression. Ooh – that has a lovely clarity, fine energy, mouth-watering with good fresh crunchy intensity. Proper Burgundy – bravo! Still, wait a little as there’s a faint halo of tannin – but no grain.
2019 Beaune 1er Vignes Franches
Third vintage, all destemmed – for various reasons, including not organic grapes.
Open, fresh, a little oak spice here – there is 50% new. Hmm, a depth of sweet fruit but without any suggestion of fat – juicy, lovely fruit. Drying in the finish – but that’s just young tannin that will quickly fade. Long – a fine clarity here – completely delicious!
2019 Beaune 1er Les Vallières
Part Beaune Cras and Vignes Franches. The third vintage, the first was as a VdF. A brand name that mixed the names of Pierres’ 3 children.
Medium-plus colour. Floral with just a little wc rigour – that’s a lovely perfume. Juicy, nice shape in the mouth, sweet but not overdone. Just a little barrel-cream in the middle flavours. Bigger finishing – that’s a fine peak of flavour. Today I prefer the previous wine, but with time in the cellar to work on the excess of barrel flavour, this could very easily overtake it…
2019 Nuits St.Georges
A new vineyard, harvested by the team here, Pierre buys the whole production, not organic but he likes what it produces – all destemmed.
A little more compact nose – nicely red-fruited with good clarity to the fruit. More structure but again a very juicy style to the fruit. The finish is energetically rewarding, quite long too. A little structure accompanies but that won’t last more than a couple of years – Nice character, excellent wine.
2019 Vosne-Romanée Aux Communes
More depth of aroma, less directly of fruit – good but not great. A little gas, good volume in the mouth, shape and freshness are good, the finish is excellent but a wine that needs a bit more elevage – the (rare) late malo probably to blame for that.
2019 Pommard 1er Grands Epenots
Another late malo.
A little more colour. A compact nose – interesting in most dimensions – just not very large dimensions! Classic width and shape of Epenots – darker fruit. Super mouth-watering flavour. This is still short of elevage but the class is completely evident. This will be Excellent – as a minimum!
All grapes, like the previous vintages, were bought from friends of the family. The Macons were all bottled in the Summer and are sealed with DIAM:
‘Wines can be heavy in Uchizy but this place has a minerality that slowly brings balance.’ A May bottling. All tank elevage, 100% malo done.
A wide, slightly musky nose but perfumed. Fresh, mouth-filling. Lovely energy, perhaps a little gas helping this. This is complex, beautifully structured and with a long delicious finish. Excellent
2019 Viré-Clesse Vieilles-Vignes
A friend of Pierre’s mother – they were at school together – is a proprietor so this comes from him. Lieu dit Le Monts (not on the label) near Peronne/Quintaine. All 65-85 year-old vines – a little later ripening at this altitude. 4-600 litre barrels. Bottled July.
Also a little perfumed, but not musky. Lovely line, ripeness of fruit. A wider, easier, slightly plush texture – but plenty of balancing freshness. Easy and tasty wine – a strong finish too.
2019 Saint Veran
As always here, from Leynes south of the appellation next to St.Amour.
More mineral freshness and width in this aroma. Fine, fresh, driving wine – again a suggestion of gas – a little riper fruit in the middle but interesting not distracting. That’s a delicious mouthful of wine – excellently finishing with a small touch of tannin on the tongue.
2019 Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles-Vignes
Old vines from Pierre’s cousins. All barrel elevage. All from Pouilly, hillside middle and low parcels. About 30% less than a normal vintage, some of the areas has a little frost.
A nose of volume and just a little reduction. Mouth-filling, freshness and clarity in tandem. The reduction subtly visible in the middle flavours too. That’s a super finish – energy – extra complexity too!
The following not yet bottled:
2019 Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc
A mix of various parcels.
Nice width of aroma here, a certain roundness too – there’s no new oak but you have the impression of some oak. A nice little framing of the flavour with tannin – a wine that plays beautifully over the palate – certainly some oak flavour too, but this is fine and elegant over the tongue – quite distinguished actually – delicious but I’d wait 2 years for the creamy barrel notes to fade.
2019 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Sous Frétile
More south-east facing vines – just one barrel. Like the last, currently in tank.
Hmm, more mineral, very faintly reductive. Plenty of gas today. Open, fresh, once-more a nice clarity but in this case with no obvious oak-augmentation. Ooh, after the modest minerality of the entry and middle flavours the burst of citrus fruit in the finish is something of a surprise – of course, a lovely surprise. Lovely wine.
Effectively a domaine wine (co-proprietor) but easier to retain the négoce label of the other wines. Pernand side, en Charlemagne, second vintage of conversion to organic, lost some yield as the depth of roots not yet fully in place to combat the dryness of the vintage – a one year-old barrel.
Some similarities to the last wine – except – that this is a little larger in all directions. Silky, easy, a little richness – not quite the same energy though with multiple extra layers of flavour. A contemplative wine today but also showing none of the gas of the previous samples. A great finish. It’s a proper grand cru but I’d like to see a bit more energy.