Tasted in Morey St.Denis with Jacques Devauges, 27 November 2020.
I missed a vintage here so that the new incumbent could get his feet under the desk and make his own wine in 2019 – which wasn’t really the case in 2018.
What work! – What a hole! The new cuverie was largely still an impressive hole in the ground when I visited. The road in Morey St.Denis even re-routed to accommodate a giant crane – in place for most of 2020 – as the work unfolded to extend the domaine’s cellar – the 2019s were made in parcels in a temporary cuvée.
Jacques Devauges arrived in March 2019 and directly began the process of moving to organic viticulture – the next step was to be a biodynamic approach in 2020: “This is very difficult as we have a strong slope and importantly the vines are planted perpendicular here so it was necessary to find a completely different style of tractor that corrects for the slope – and these weren’t available in Burgundy! So we had had search far and wide for that – it’s also a question of the spraying too with one side much higher than the other – but not just spraying – the weeding had to be done manually as the normal attachments work on the flat. But we have a new tractor design that will weigh less than 1 tonne.”
Jacques has also changed the approach of vinification too. “There have been many delicious wines made here the recent generation but not with the emotion of much older wines made 2, 3 or 4 generations ago. The clos is complex, you can never see all of it from 1 place – so I decided to de-limit various zones (below), areas where there were differences such, for instance, as the date of harvest.”
Jacques on 2019:
“19 was a very good year though with an important level of dryness, but in Morey, there was more rain than most of the rest of the côtes – only Chorey in the Côte d’Or had more rain in 2019. August saw the highest rainfall in the côtes here – we had two big storms. So we had no water stress. Still, they weren’t big yields though. Here very small, starting with poor weather at flowering, then 2 weeks of a heatwave in August so we had some heat stress, and then lastly the end august/start of September we had a lot of hot wind which took much moisture out of the grapes. Add together all those things plus that it was our first vintage of organic viticulture, meant we had 15 hl/ha in the reds. The whites were better though – 40 hl/ha.”
There are many components of the ‘grand vin’ that I would describe as ‘bravo wine’ – but there’s only one Grand Vin – and in 2019 it is very grand!
Bottling in the Spring – probably April for the reds:
2019 Morey St.Denis
Les Larreys and En la Rue de Vergy, vines above both Lambrays and Tart – these picked right at the end of the harvest
A compact but a very silky impression to this nose – with aeration the last drops become ever finer and prettier. A fine grain of tannin at the base – wide & energetic, growing in intensity, layered even – but there’s no fat here – fine structure and good energy. Excellent villages, perhaps even better than that. Faintly floral complexity in the finish too.
2019 Morey St.Denis 1er Les Loups
Bottom of the slope, deeper soil and warmer too – from Riottes, Sorbet and Le Village. Quite young vines from the clos are added to this too.
Here there’s more depth of aroma, slowly widening, offering a little floral ‘extra.’ Larger structured in the mouth, sensuous, there’s a suggestion of dryness of tannin but no grain to that tannin – ooh, that’s a lovely burst of finishing flavour. Super wine.
Plante Dessus – young vines – they are 39-years-old
There’s directly more depth of aroma here vs the 1er cru, then flashes of higher tones too – that’s really great. No grain just a small modification of the texture by the tannin. Extra width, super intensity, mouth-watering, just slightly more freshness vs the 1er cru. That’s already a great start.
From the bottom
Much more perfumed nose, spice and flowers – completely different. More ethereal, super open, a clarity to this wine. Great stuff. Bravo. Only the vineyard road separates these two parts of the grand vin.
The lowest part of the Clos.
The nose here has a bit more in common with the first wine. Structurally more forward, but almost juicy fruit developing and filling the palate. Not the ethereal quality of the last but a wonderful depth of flavour – fresh here, great and wide. This seems the spine of the wine.
More vibrant, slightly more spiced nose. Wide, wide, wide in panorama – great flavour, here a suggestion of tannin again – the only sample so far with a hint of the barrel showing…
Here is a more serious, more compact nose to start. But the opposite in the mouth; linear, sweeping, beautifully mouth-watering – almost but not quite the ethereal but a little more vibration of energy. So deliciously mouth-watering as you head into the finish too – here an interesting reprise of flavour in the finish. Each of these ‘parts’ would be a pleasure to enjoy on their own…
The assembly is, of course, completely different to all the parts! Deep, and it’s wide in the depth too – slowly, slowly opening and becoming more airy and inviting above too. Really a wine that shows its concentration and silk now; complex, lots to find. Rather composed, more textural too – a slight suggestion of fat. Then a great finish of many dimensions – that’s fabulous finishing. Guarded, concentrated wine to start with a fine finishing firework display to remember it by!
“We harvested the whites from 7 September – we were alone in the vines – some people were harvesting in Meursault but only us here. 13.3° and 13.6° for these because of the early harvest. I’m planning to bottle at the start of February… ”
2019 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières
Here’s a nice vibration of aroma; some agrume, almost shaded towards mandarin. Nice impact here, still with freshness. A creamy undertow, nicely defined structurally and already mouth-watering in the middle. The oak showing a little today but what a big burst of finishing flavour. So good….
A little more airy but with fine precision too. Ooh – that really takes off in the mouth – linear energy to start – almost approaching juicy, very complex, no overt weight and the oak is far more subtle here. Great wine.