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Louis Max – 2014

DSC08867Tasted in Nuits with Jean Francois Joliette, Éric de la Broise and David Duband, 01 December 2015.

Maison Louis Max
6 Rue de Chaux
21700 Nuits-Saint-Georges
Tel: +33 3 80 62 43 01
www.louismax.com

The former CEO of Louis Max, Philippe Bardet moved to Jean Loron at the end in 2014, but this (the 2014s) is already the second vintage where significant changes have been enacted, David Duband tasked with bringing a different character to the wines.

Jean Francois Joliette is the son of Beaune vigneron, who worked with Michel Laroche since the 1980s, followed by Champagne Mumm and Heidsieck. It was he, who in 2006 recruited Philippe Bardet.

Jean Francois Joliette, whose father used to make wine, says that he wanted wines that reminded him of what his father used to produce, so David Duband was the man to deliver that; these are obvious ‘whole-cluster’ fermented wines, but they have a certain savour-faire. I don’t know how the previous customers of Louis Max will take to them, but I found the wines terrific. To be honest, I found previous vintages of the wines, fine, well-made examples of their vineyards. The fact that they had no particular house-style/character was something of a positive – but now we have a house style, and in spades.

The team here are keen to point out that David Duband is not just a visiting winemaker, he is actually director of wine-making and fully involved with the operation. “David Duband not a consultant, rather Director Technique, has the keys to the building and is here making the decisions,” says Jean François.

The wines…

Apparently they have reduced the number of cuvées a little.

Starting with the blancs: A 2h45 press of the whole clusters. Not much debourbage, very little battonage. Racked in June and tested for collages. The bigger wines will be bottled at the start of 2016. The produce about 30% white, mainly with elevage in 350 litre barrels.

2014 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Domaine grapes from Mercurey.
Tight but appealing, freshly ripe nose. A good weight here, intense and ripe but far from fat. Concentrated but with fine energy. Big, broad finishing, very good and there’s a certain minerality here.

2014 Rully Le Plantenay
Faint oaky reduction. A little more direct, widens with lovely acidity and fine texture too. This is excellent, really excellent – there’s lots of material here.

2014 Mercurey Les Coudroyes
A fresher, wider nose. Very mineral here, very wide too with excellent intensity and acidity. Lovely silk to the texture. Very, very good.

2014 Mercurey les Rochelles
All these in barrel with 25% new.
A more pinched yet deeper nose. Lithe, muscly, direct less overtly mineral, easier yet full of material. Long finishing . Excellent wine.

2014 Ladoix 1er les Grechons
Totally different, a hint of reduction but open and overt, big, intense, mineral, super mid-palate intensity, indeed great in the mid-palate. Almost Charlemagne here. This is excellent!

2014 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot
In bottle 1 week, from 4 different parcels from the same supplier in must.
A little tight, but with a lovely floral top note. Large-scaled, some minerality, some padding, but hardly any fat. A super and intense line of flavour going running through the finish – really fine!

2014 Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru
Still in barrel.
Deep, fruity, ripe, some faint gas, but this is classic 2014 with waves of flavour – agrume, intense, bravo!

Les Rouges…
David Duband: “Typically 50% whole clusters, no cold maceration, 17 days average fermentation, 6-7 times pigeage by foot – to respect the stems. It’s simple, but its hard today to do things simply.”

A super set of florally-inflected wines – really worth your time!

2014 Mercurey Clos de la Marche (monopole)
Racked in September, ready to bottle in a couple of days. Really old vines with millerandes
Deep, pretty red fruit, a big aromatic. Silky, concentrated, very concentrated – bravo. Massive but balanced. Brilliant!

2014 Mercurey 1er Les Vazées
Deep, round and welcoming. Fills all the mouth, the texture remains supple, lots of concentration here, a peak of flavour before melting over the tongue. Very faintly salted – super. Less up front concentrated, but more flavour in the mid-palate and seems longer too.

2914 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Au Forneaux
Bio since 2007
Wide and floral, deep dark fruit – reminds me a little of Morey. Complex, more structure, but no grain, more architectural. Super finishing… Yum, slightly salted finishing flavour too.

2014 Chambolle-Musigny
From Les Chardannes
Perfumed and floral – its not the same as the Savigny though. Becomes more and more fruity. A bit of gas. Direct, complex, floral in the mouth, beautifully lingering flavour. Gorgeous..!

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin
A part from Brochon another from Gevrey.
Deep red floral-inflected fruit – nice. Large but lithe, fresh, cool fruit. Long and wide finishing. Lovely…

2014 Nuits St.Georges
Deeper and darker red fruit. Grows a fine floral nose – a beauty. Big, structured but the tannin is very friendly. Lots of depth of flavour, nothing to hold against this wine – it’s simply super.

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos Prieur
Deep, faintly musky, a tighter nose than many. Very slowly growing floral note. Very wide, beautifully textured, perhaps a hint of oak here for the first time. But sweet fruit, long and lingering – I love…

2014 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Damodes
A little less formed this nose, there’s lots here, a little reduction a little spice, a little oak. In the mouth a little stricter too. But grows wider and wider… Needs more time.

2014 Echezeaux
From Rouges du bas
Super floral, super gorgeous nose – deep too. Large-scaled, sweetness of fruit melting across the palate, weight of concentrated fruit in the mid-palate. This sits and waits for you to ask questions, it not full of energy but it is really, really complex. Spicy finishing too. Excellent.

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