Albert Bichot – 2017


Tasted in Beaune with Christophe Chauvel, pictured with Albéric Bichot, 11 December, 2018.

Albert Bichot
6 Boulevard Jacques Copeau
21200 Beaune
Tel: +33 3 80 24 37 37

Christophe on 2018:
2018 – I remember it with happiness, with positivity – from a volume perspective it was the whites that were a surprise – in a number of villages they asked for an extension to the allowed yields – so we can say prolific. We actually thought the volumes would be catastrophic a few weeks before the harvest as there was no juice. We were not in the first wave, neither were we in the last wave of pickers – we think there are certain ‘balances’ that we should respect. Of-course for those with lower yields the grapes were ready sooner, but those early picked wines were also picked in the heat of August. But we really asked ourselves – where did the wines find all this juice? Total acidity was not so high but counter-intuitively the pHs were quite good. It was certainly a year where we had to be very prudent with purchases as with long fermentations there was chance for a lot of deviation.

Christophe on 2017:
2017 – of course the whole France, Chablis included was hit by frost – except largely the Côte d’Or. We heard the announcements of lots of grapes, but for our own vines we had a good, largely normal rendement – for us I can only say good – though there was variability in the Côte de Nuits in terms of volume. Psychologically we haven’t seen a vintage so generous for a while, maybe because of that, early on we thought of the wines as essentially simple.

The wines…

Really great consistency here – and also from vintage to vintage too – I find that I (relatively) consistently choose the same wines as ‘great.’ The range is smaller, but, Mâcon apart, a triumph for the whites here in 2017.

2017 Moulin-à-Vent, Domaine de Rochegres
Plenty of colour here. Harvested 12 September, but only one cuvée because of the hail in this vintage.
Ooh – that’s a beautifully comforting nose – simply gorgeously round and modestly cushioned. Fresh, volume, energy, concentration – frankly this wine has everything – so much mid-palate complexity too. Bravo – very easy to say.

2017 Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir Secret de Famille
Mainly from CdN, of-course with all these precisions it needs a new label! The only red that’s been bottled.
Hmm, there’s a faint herb here but also a very attractive volume of fine-fruited aroma. Nice line, good texture – no grain, layers of open and fresh flavour – again with a modest herb component. The clarity is very fine. This is super Bourgogne which today excels in its finish – it’s beautiful here.

2017 Mercurey 1er Champs Martin, Domaine Adelie
Vinified in Pommard. 0.90 ha, one part is young but normally harvested at the same time, but in 2017 the young vines were harvested 6 days before the old vines.
Great colour again. More aromatic density – a fine and faint spice over dark red fruit – very classy. Open, depth of flavour, no fat, but there’s concentration there’s growing intensity – this is great wine with a mineral, almost coal-graphite depth of mid-palate flavour followed by a great finish. Bravo!

2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Volnay 1er Santenots
In Les Plures
Hmm – wide, sleek – a finely textured and inviting nose. A direct freshness and intensity to this wine – it’s open and still growing in intensity – this is for setting to one side and waiting for, it’s not the most concentrated but it is really intense – let it calm in the cellar for three-plus years, but the clarity is very fine here.

2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Pommard Clos des Ursulines
A little aromatic extra from the barrel here but largely a nose of purity and freshness – very attractive. Rounder, the same freshness as the last but rounder And more ‘controlled’ – still a touch of oak, but as always, this is a very delicious and not particularly structured Pommard, there is always more finesse here.

2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Pommard 1er Les Rugiens
A much deeper nose – some roundness and spice here too. Big, energetic, pure – a wine of clarity and growing intensity – here is the concentration to match the intensity. Absolutely excellent wine!

2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Aloxe 1er clos des Marechaudes
This vintage, this and the Corton were harvested the same day.
Deep but also with a fine perfume of top notes – yes! Full, mouth-filling, some depth of texture to go with the depth of flavour. Growing in intensity – but open, accessible and completely delicious – excellent – indeed for the price – Bravo!

2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Corton Clos des Marechaudes
Just a touch more colour. A much bigger nose – like the last but with more density and also filled out with more barrel references. A more direct wine, a river of flavour flowing through the middle to the finish. There is more density here but not more weight – it’s fluid, intense and will be excellent – oaked today, but wait a few years, you won’t find any oak then… So long too…

A Côte de Nuits Selection:

2017 Domaine du Clos Frantin, Vosne-Romanée
From Damaudes and Bas Maizières.
A very different nose – more open, perhaps more wood without being overtly barrel-derived – the next sniff is much more floral and far more interesting – I like a wine that keeps changing! Hmm, this is easy over the palate, mouth-filling, not overtly intense but with a fine flavour that melts over and sates the palate. So tasty…

2017 Fixin 1er Clos de la Perrière
The domaine does the work, the team here keep watch but are very happy with the place and the work but still offer a little consulting. Roughly 3k bottles
A deep nose – a relatively heavy perfume – but perfume all the same. Ooh – that’s great in the mouth – open, mouth-filling, fine-textured, layered, fresh – I could easily go on. Simply a great wine – bravo – a 2017 triumph! Just a touch of tannin at the end of the finish.

2017 Morey St.Denis 1er Les Sorbets
Hmm, here is a beautiful nose – one to fall into. Round, open, mouth-filling, but also complex and slowly mouth-watering – there is plenty of freshness here. Long finishing. Simply delicious wine…

2017 Nuits St.Georges 1er Chaines–Carteaux
From the Premeaux side…
Hmm – a bigger nose, deeper, with a darker more enticing mineral aspect – wow that’s good! Supple, very nicely and silkily textured – a suggestion of reduction – open, mouth-filling. Beautifully flavoured. A great buy – in fact directly a wine I would consider buying

2017 Nuits St.Georges 1er Château Gris
Worked by horse. ‘Another example of a southern Nuits with a very modest, practically hidden tannin’
A more composed nose, also of depth and a faint extra (and nice) high tone. Wide – lots of volume, layered, a little extra depth with a touch of salinity – ooh that’s great finishing! Once-more, excellent…

2016 Chambolle-Musigny 1er les Chabiots
Continuity of Musigny above Amoureuses.
Hmm – a very different nose a sort of melting density of aroma. Silky but intense, a flavour that slowly fills all the spaces in your mouth – today touched by oak but that will fade. A wine that’s more about shape and texture than depth of flavour today – clearly concentrated though. Hard to judge today – it’s clearly a super wine, but I’m unsure of the direction it will take. Worth buying a few bottles to keep tabs!

2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Amoureuses
This nose isn’t quite ready – it often isn’t when I taste – it certainly has width and volume – it’s not shy, but there a reductive aspect today. In the mouth there’s clearly extra volume and depth of flavour vs the last wines, but also a touch of reduction. Much to look forward to but not the best time to taste – except, maybe, the finish, which is very impressive.

2017 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts
1.75 ha from 6 sandier parts and lower down heavier soil – the bottom left which is more sandy and the rest which is more clay – there can be 3 days difference in maturity between these two sectors – ‘clearly different wines too, the lower part more massive less complex.’ The only area in 2017 where they did a green harvest.
Hmm – not a big nose today, but one with a lot of inviting, faintly spiced complexity – true to its roots. Fuller, more depth, more complexity – certainly more structural vs the Amoureuses, but also much more complex – accessibly complex – today. Super finishing depth of flavour. Ooh that’s good! – Excellent wine.

2017 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux St.Jacques
This nose is just a little tighter than that of the Malconsorts, but very deep and attractive – and there doesn’t seem to be any reduction driving that. Mouth-filling volume, depth of flavour – complexity, energy – yes! Great finishing – bravo! The second vintage in a row that I find this bests the Malconsorts, today at least.

2017 Clos de la Roche
Always harvested by the team.
Ooh – now that’s very nice – a nose that’s very open, forward, faintly spiced and fresh – oh-so inviting too! Supple, depth of fresh flavour – flavour that grows in intensity, vibrant flavour – this is always a cuvée that shows well here – no different in 2017 – it’s excellent!

2017 Charmes-Chambertin
A big volume of aroma here – and with a little and very attractive, florality too. Volume – lots of volume, good intensity too. Mouth-watering intensity. This is proper, intense wine, that needs a little time, not too easy, easy – finishing in great shape too. Lovely…

2017 Clos Frantin, Chambertin
0.17 ha
Lots of colour. Lots of high-toned aromatic volume – some oak here – narrowing, more tight below. Full, supple, fresh and layered, growing in stature over the palate. It’s clearly serious wine, with a more serious side – great wine though – touched by some late arriving tannin. Modest intensity but very long finishing…

2017 Clos Frantin, Clos de Vougeot
Hmm – now this is an attractive nose – freshness and perfume – yes! Volume, depth of flavour, Oh that’s great – very open with such a large space to fill, but it’s done with aplomb. A touch of tannin and a very fine length. Very fine/excellent Clos de Vougeot!

2017 Clos Frantin, Echézeaux
Champs Traversins.
A wide nose – which I’d call dense if it wasn’t so fresh. Supple, energetic, complex, ever-changing – what a great wine – it just grows and grows over the palate – complex – proper but great Vosne style. With a weight of finishing presence that defines this cru for me in 2017. Bravo!
2017 Clos Frantin, Grands-Echézeaux
A nose with more volume, perfumed yet also with a density of aroma below. Volume, energy – even more intensity than the Echézeaux – supple, layers of fresh flavour. It stays in that line – so bigger than the Echézeaux in all respects – apart from the finish – the Echézeaux has more depth here – equally bravo but different!

Les blancs:
The first two (only) are in bottle, all is DIAM sealed here today. We discussed some of the recent vintages and Christophe mentioned that chez Bichot, that the 2013s not a vintage of opulence here, but one of precision and largely hasn’t re-opened since it was bottled!

2017 Macon Lugny Les Charmes
Already bottled
Golden yellow colour. A good volume of aroma – golden, inviting, a little saline. Full in the mouth too, a nice touch of structure and lovely line of saline-inflected sweet fruit. There’s a certain richness of flavour here, but all is in balance.

2017 Bourgogne Secret de Famille
Mainly from the direction of St.Aubin, St.Romain and Meursault for the fruit.
Ooh – a much smaller aromatic but also much finer. Direct, fresh, of line, ooh sorry for the Mâcon, but this is clear step up – still mineral, in fact very mineral – but a wine of more fresh definition. This is a great Bourgogne!

2017 Domaine Adelie, Mercurey les Champs Michaux
This is the last wine already bottled, the rest are all tank or barrel samples. ‘There’s a lot of clay here, also lots of rock! But somehow it keeps a greater freshness.’
A riper nose, but with a vibrantly mineral aspect too. Fresh, mouth-watering, mineral, layered wine. A harshness of minerality but on a relatively modest level – such is the fruit here – and this harshness will lessen with more time. There’s a lot of wine here – such a great finishing intensity!

2017 Nuits St.Georges Les Terrasses de Château Gris
Close to the transition with Hautes Côtes here. The Lupé-Cholet label is gone, no-longer since 2010 so this is Albert Bichot. Young vines, not yet 1er cru.
An easier but still fresh and interesting nose. More energy more complexity – ooh this is really great. Layered but always fresh and complex – bravo villages!
2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
Planted same time as Château Gris with the same plant material – so it’s the ‘place’ that makes the difference!
A more profound nose, touched with more barrel. Energy, really a vibrant wine, touched with tannin – phenolic – almost electric – barrel in the finish today, but ooh that’s great again!

2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Meursault
5 different parcels just one parcel on the hillside.
A cushioned nose – with a modest oak. Wide, fresh, saline and complex – ooh – this is really, really good – there’s freshness and a very fine line of pure finishing flavour I see more Meursault in the finish than the aroma today – this is super wine though with an attractive phenolic finishing touch.

2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Meursault 1er Charmes
Hmm – fresh, faintly saline, complex, spiced – ooh a great nose – not full density – but when it’s like this, it’s perfect for me. Big – so much volume – but also very fresh, juicy, melting with flavour, lots of minerality here too. So juicy, so classy – bravo!
2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot
Towards Santenay here, there’s usually some Vides Bourse in this – so the south part of Morgeot.
Hmm – not such a big volume but beautiful depth of aroma here. Supple – directly more concentrated and vibrant – intense. Great wine also with a finishing phenolic texture. Well-done 2017s are great wines and here is another…
2017 Domaine du Pavillon, Corton-Charlemagne
In Languettes
More depth, a touch of oak for sure but here is fine clarity. Vibrant, even more intense but never too intense. Long, long, long – this is a line of beautiful flavour. Ooh this is really great – and this is a wine that just gets better with time.

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