Tasted in Beaune with Christophe Chauvel, pictured with Albéric Bichot, 10 December, 2019.
6 Boulevard Jacques Copeau
Tel: +33 3 80 24 37 37
Christophe on 2019:
“We can’t really talk of frost in 2019 – at least not like 2016 – the vines pushed like they should but there were fewer flowers in some places, unlike in 2018 the grapes simply weren’t there. This will be the second year in a row that will have been hard for people selling sugar – but two very different vintages – there’s no resemblance. There’s the impact of volume – probably the largest impact – the balance between solid and liquid – so in terms of extraction during vinification this was a vintage of feeling your way and being very careful not to extract too much. 330kg of grapes for a barrel is normal but it was more like 355 in 2019. Tannins more velouté in 2019, but the 18s easier to taste at the same stage as less concentrated. ”
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. I think it’s a lovely vintage, one of the best in recent years, a warmer vintage than 2016 which I love in red. There’s volume but there’s material in the wines too – lots of potential to keep the wines. We had to be reactive, even in the single parcels – harvesting with smaller teams and needing to be present at just the right moment. We are neither early nor late pickers – we like to think correct!”
I was lauguîng with Christophe, because most the wines will be wearing an AB in 2018 – except for a couple from Nuits – and the reason? “It took me a year to find a good horse for the Château Gris – actually it needs three here – so these are the only 2 wines that are not officially organic in 2018! Actually, we have been organic by practice since 2012 but there was also a demand for labelling from customers so it will be there in 2018 for the domaine wines – but only from 2019 for those with new horses!”
Very good whites. The reds here have an uncommon sophistication for the vintage – nothing opaque or alcoholic. It’s a great return I think! “I think it was easier in 2018 than 2019, the lower volume of 2019 further magnifies the differences in maturities and harvesting/elevage choices.”
One or two of the entry wines have been bottled, the rest are a mix of barrel and tank samples:
2018 Domaine de Rochegrès, Moulin-à-Vent
An easy and wide nose with tighter depth. Nice shape in the mouth, clearly gamay, with layers of acid-led flavour. Really deliciously, finishing with a fine blend of clarity and complexity – lovely here.
The earlier harvest of these two
Hmm, a more floral and perfumed aroma here, fine minerality at the base. Beautiful extra volume but clarity too – this is gorgeous in the mouth – a clarion of deliciousness but with proper open structure too – bravo – and again great finishing!
2017 Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir Secret de Famille
Mainly from CdN.! This is bottled just after the harvest.
Hmm, this, to start, seems a little harder than the Rochgrès, but slowly opens with some attractive violet flowers over a more savoury depth. Fine width and shape – there is freshness and a lovely ripe but fresh liqueur fruit in the middle – this is an attractive 18 Bourgogne nothing here out of balance – carafe – it’s excellent.
2018 Mercurey 1er Champs Martin, Domaine Adelie
Vinified in Pommard. 0.90 ha, Harvested 11 September.
Plenty of colour – still a waft of creamy oak on this nose. Quite full but layered and delicious. This sample has far too much oak for today – but the shape, balance and concentration are excellent…
Hmm, that’s a fine nose – of amplitude, depth and enticing perfume. Fine texture and mouth-filling volume. Deliciously finishing – bravo – top villages Pommard.
2018 Domaine du Pavillon, Pommard 1er Les Rugiens
More freshness – a more vertical (up and down) nose – super, slightly spiced, but the villages is the more inviting today. More open, more structural but the tannin is modest – this has great open shape – architecture – super finishing complexity – mouth-watering all the way. A great finish!
2018 Domaine du Pavillon, Aloxe 1er clos des Marechaudes
This and the Corton harvested between 30-Aug and 05-Sept – so re-visited a number of times – the oldest vines last. Both at 35 hl/ha
A more powerful nose, some floral aspects too – nicely presented. Nice drive and energy but a rather wide presentation too – not so sweet either for an Aloxe in 2018. Fine finishing – delicious.
A narrower but deep nose, subltly floral and more obviously complex and inviting. Mouth-filling but in a well-judged way, slowly, slowly developing complexity and a more mouth-watering middle and finishing flavour. Not a bit overdone, some practically grain-free tannin. A great and open finish – great Corton.
A Côte de Nuits Selection:
2018 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. ‘Fixin – It’s a magnificent terroir, the plant material could be better of-course but with 5 hectares you will always have differences in terroir, in maturity and in vine age.’ 4th or 5th vintage here – the commercialization seems successful. Harvested 10-12 September.
A waft, indeed a raft of oak – not quite to the level of the Mercurey – but redolent! Very fine shape in the mouth – a little less in all directions after the Corton – of course – but layered, open and really beautifully constructed. This is great Fixin – hopefully, the assemblage will be less oaked – anyway it will last very well.
Harvested 8 September.
Hmm, that’s a fine, open, fresh and complex nose – faintly spiced complexity – a great invitation. Round, supple, a lovely fresh and wide wave of flavour flowing over the palate. Lovely texture too. Wide finishing – classy, delicious wine! Bravo!
2018 Nuits St.Georges 1er Chaines–Carteaux
From the Premeaux side…
Fresh and deep – some creamy oak – but less than the others that are affected. This has cool fruit and drive – a bubbling undercurrent of energy and slowly growing intensity. Excellent!
2018 Nuits St.Georges 1er Château Gris
Aromas of nice depth, a little narrower than the ‘Chaines.’ Fuller but open in style – architectural – a little like the Fixin today – but here with more impact. Really a fuller finish – quite some power here in the finish. Very nice.
2018 Chambolle-Musigny 1er les Chabiots
Continuity of Musigny above Amoureuses. Not too deep colour, unlike like most from Chambolle. Harvested 11 Sept.
Plenty of aromatic volume – quite attractive too – but not a full power Chambolle nose. Actually this has nice freshness and an airy style despite the obvious volume in the mouth. Truly an elegant and enticing 2018 Chambolle!
2018 Domaine du Clos Frantin, Vosne-Romanée
7 days difference between harvesting the Damaudes and the bases Maizières.
Hmm – now that’s an attractive perfume! Mouth-filling, not too much. Mobile complex, changing over the palate. Lovely villages, correct, mouth-watering complexity – delicious!
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. All harvested 9 September despite the differing soil types
Less depth of aroma but much more width and complexity. More zip of freshness and energy – ooh this is a bundle of energy. Dynamic, complex – brilliant finishing – bravo!
08 (low) plus 10 (high parcel) September harvested.
A fine herb and floral top note – deep too – less width – a vertical high and low nose. Fresh, open, complex, fine energy, proper but not daunting structure. I love my wine like this – so intense and mouth-watering in the finish. Bravo!
2018 Clos Frantin, Echézeaux
Champs Traversins, harvest 6 and 8 September – plenty of variation here as the parcel is practically one hectare – still only 12 barrels as the grapes are always small.
A little more colour but still clear at the rim. A deep, deep nose but freshly floral above. Fuller, but actually freshly mineral too. Very wide, slow waves of mouth-watering flavour in the finish – a different beast. Super.
7 and 12 September harvesting.
A nice volume of aroma, and of attractive freshness within. Full, but depth of finely concentrated texture – energy and fine fruit – juicily delicious. Very long. Another Charmes of character in 2018! Excellent.
2018 Clos de la Roche
Always harvested by the Bichot team. 7 September harvested.
Plenty of colour but again clear at the rim. An extra freshness – indeed clarity, of complexity – deep, not so wide – hyper-attractive and adding further floral references. This is mouth-watering, mineral, and a touch saline. Easy energy over the palate, fine finishing intensity too – slowly fading here. Lovely wine.
0.17 ha. Normally about 3 barrels worth but at the top near the woods so there’s some competition with the deer! Harvested 7 September.
Hmm – the most perfumed nose of all – super. Supple, deep, mouth-filling wine – always mouth-watering, touched by a little oak, but just an anecdote. Mouth-wateringly long, impressive weight to this finishing flavour too. Great wine!
All is DIAM sealed here today.
2018 Macon Lugny Les Charmes
A purchase, vinified in Beaune in about 20% 350-litre barrels. Bottled. 11-17 September harvesting
A pretty sweetness to this nose, slightly muscaté. Mouth-filling a subtle impression of richness, but also a saline mineral impression that brings balance.
2018 Bourgogne Secret de Famille
Mainly from the direction of St.Aubin, St.Romain and Meursault for the fruit. Bottled just before the 2019 harvest. Harvested 03-05 September 2018.
Fresh, wide, a little spicy, perhaps reductive, less obviously fruity. This is rather mineral and beautifully shaped – yes a little touch of savoury reduction. Carafe for a really delicious Bourgogne!
‘There’s a lot of clay here, also lots of rock! Not yet bottled.
Deeper, some biscuit reduction, but a very fine mineral shape. Full, energetic, complex – what a great mouthful of wine! Delicious pineapple and minerality. Great Mercurey Blanc!
2018 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.
Again a faint whiff of savoury reduction – it’s not the corks, these are tank samples. Nice shape and super energy in the mouth – a little more clarity and energy after the Mercurey – more intensity of agrume-styled flavour. Delicious finishing too! Yes!
2018 Domaine du Pavillon, Meursault
5 different parcels just one parcel on the hillside. 06 and 09 September harvest.
This smells a little of the fining, dulling the aroma a little. But there’s an energy and open freshness across the palate – that’s mouth-watering and delicious. This will be excellent!
2018 Domaine du Pavillon, Meursault 1er Charmes
A young vine was harvested the 30th, the rest the 5 September.
More depth of aroma here, riper citrus fruit but with energy too. Hmm, that’s fine – its mouth-filling but very open slightly spiced complexity here. Melting over the palate, a grain of tannin always present. It’s a great year for Charmes I think and here is a slightly different interpretation – super wine – probably carafe to get the best from this. As a minimum, excellent!
Planted same time as Château Gris with the same plant material – so it’s the ‘place’ that makes the difference! 03 September harvest, historically a vine that was later harvested, but in the recent vintages there is a tendance that it has been ready earlier.
A touch of cushioning to fresh, slightly mineral, comforting fruit. Super in the mouth – ultra-mineral, mouth-watering and complex. That’s really something. Bravo! Touched, by a suggestion of barrel today, but it’s obviously great wine!
2018 Domaine du Pavillon, Corton-Charlemagne
In Languettes 1.20,ha. Two passes 02 and 05 September
Hmm, a silky depth of mineral aroma, a suggestion of caramel too. Lots of mouth-filling volume here – silkier wine too – the grain of tannin less visible than for the last 2 but there is still something here. Intense – wide, melting flavour long flavour that’s a super Charlemagne.