In one page, a range of brilliant wines from the masters of their art in Beaune. As brilliant as the wines of Bellene and Jadot were, I’m even more thrilled to see the disappearance of the toasty oak from the BP&F reds – they are not better than the other maker’s wines, but they are certainly all the better fo it!
The 2010s of Domaine de Bellene
Anything else you need to know?
Of-course I shall try to avoid hyperbole, but what fantastic form Nicolas Potel was on – nearly as good as his wines!
I missed his 09s – frankly I had no time when pushing on for the book last year – but there was a clear ‘border’ in his 08s; lower wines often needing a bit more fruit to buffer the acidity, but the premier crus and onwards were superb. For these 2010s there is no such border and I find no wine in the line-up that is not worth place in my cellar – that’s a very rare thing indeed! If you only buy a selection of 2010s from one domaine, you would be hard-pressed to improve on what is offered here.
A wide vista of powdery red fruit. Lovely, sweet fruit flavour that is mouth-filling and far from facile. This is a villages standard wine.
A strikingly beautiful raspberry/cheery aroma. This has more structure but there is lovely fruit to support it. An easy buy.
There is depth and the sensation of texture to the padded fruit on the nose. Plenty of fine tannin that has a hint of ‘grab’. Fresh flavour leaches from your teeth, with a mineral hint too. More than a hint tasty!
Gorgeous fruit – again with something that suggests texture. There is a base of tannin but finely grained tannin, but slowly the fruit rises to the surface, gorgeous fresh fruit. Very nice wine for curling up to.
I’m trying to be ‘original’ but again we have depth and a sort of texture to the aromas. Once-more, striking fruit, plenty of tannin and long-lasting flavour. Another hit.
Here the red fruit is different – it has an added creamy dimension plus faint savoury notes. Full and round with ripe fruit – but as they say, that’s not necessarily a fault 😉
Here is, in my opinion, normally one of the Beaune 1ers to avoid, because it is in the flat of the land and just not to the quality of the other 1ers, but… The nose is more mineral than those that went before. Likewise across the palate this is narrower, more linear, but still with croquant fruit and fine tannin – good wine.
The nose has a depth of darkly perfumed fruit. In the mouth the flavours are dark with mineral flashes. Lots of structure helping the flavours cling – just a hint of orange in there too perhaps.
Wide aromas, the mineral aspects are the key actors. Very silky with a super depth of penetrating fruit – the structure comes later. Great wine!
Another wine that plumbs great aromatic depth. Dark fruits, really mouth-filling and with plenty of structure too. Very long – covetable wine.
Perhaps taken out of order – the bottle was ‘found’ when we moved onto others. The nose is a little creamy with a bit of toffee as a subtle undertow to the fruit. Another wine with plenty of structure. A wine (like most) to wait a little time for…
Made in two 600l barrels, one of which was new, and from old vines – some very old – some even hail from 1896! On the nose – wow depth! Beautiful sweet fruit and not particularly deep structure – for Nuits. Really excellent villages.
Froma patch of vines that sits between two grand crus – Clos de Vougeot and Echézeaux. Similar to the villages Nuits but with an extra twist of spice on the nose – faint nutmeg perhaps. Full in the mouth with plenty of fine tannin and flavours that slowly leach from every gap in your teeth – lovely.
Wide, with a lovely depth of red fruit. Beautiful sweet fruit with a depth that comes close to matching the nose. Great wine – an easy call!
Here there’s a clearer line of minerality at the core of the aromas before a slowly growing high-toned red-blue fruit starts to rise above all. There’s plenty of tannin but good underlying acidity too that helps build intensity of flavour.
2010 Roche de Bellene, Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes
Wine made from a blend of 40-80 year-old vines made in 600l barrels. There’s plenty of tannin and its’ slightly drying, but the fruit flavour is lovely. Consider the wines it has just followed, this is a very good Bourgogne performance.
There’s an incredibly impressive (relative to the appellation) deep, macerating cherry fruit aroma. Full and round with some tannin and a really ebullient personality – fun in a bottle (or glass!)
This wine may already be assembled in tank, but I still have a slight impression of some malo aroma. In the mouth this is quite round in shape with a decent slug of tannin and a just glorious fruit flavour!
The nose is very fine, transparent almost – I’d like to avoid the stereotype, but there’s a definite elegance here. Appreciable tannin finds home on your gums but then comes that elegant, clean and clear fruit – yum!
Lots of aromatic depth – impressively complex wine. Lots of tannin again, but with a nice creamy undertow to the fruit – this is just a honey of a wine.
The ‘second’ Suchots! Clean fruit that gives a wide impression on the nose. Versus the friendliness of the nose the arresting structure seems way out of line, but the overall impression is rather balanced even if this is certainly a wine to wait for.
The nose offers up and impressively complex width of complex Vosne. Lots of concentration here, that makes a fine balance with appreciable structure. Superb – really!
Here is an anomaly – for this range of wines – the nose seems rather tight and undemonstrative. In the mouth it’s another story with good intensity, fine fruit, and also some minerality leaches through your teeth and through the fine tannin.
Surprisingly, here the nose seems more delicate and elegant – it has a beautiful clarity to its red berries – very pretty indeed. More to my expectation here is a full and concentrated mouthful of flavour with a faint creamy undertow – impressive.
Beautiful fruit with a strong mineral dimension. Here it is glorious to wallow in the combination of the structure and the clarity of the fruit. Simply glorious.
Fabulous fruit, though frankly it misses the mineral dimension of the Bèze. Just fab, fab, fab flavour. There’s distinguished structure too, but this is just bottled fabulousness!
Very pretty fruit on the nose. Round and tannic, and whilst there’s not quite the same emotional connection with this as with the two Chambertin(s), it actually does a great job of following them. I expect its pricing is little more ‘considerate’ too!
And why not?! Actually there’s a hint of reduction on the nose but the fruit below has a crystalline quality. Cool fruit flavour that is achingly long. Very, very fine tannin – an immaculately tailored wine.
Since 2002 I have always found the Bonnes-Mares of Nicolas to be a brute at this stage of its life and today is no change – too brutal for me – for fans of this wine it is clearly on top form!
Found at the last moment – it wasn’t all drunk the night before(!) There is a really characteristic nose (I’ve noted it in other GEs this year) that has forward fruit of beautiful clarity but with an almost almond dimension to the smell – without doubt I’d spot it blind! (bold claim alert) Silky, concentrated and not embarassed by any other wines in this line-up – tip-top wine.
We started with a (Domaine) Saint-Romain but (sorry Nicky) I seem only to have written “Lovely leaching flavour” – the wines were coming thick and fast. I did regain my wits with the following:
Nice high-tones on the nose. Direct, clean and fresh. The intensity grows – mouthwatering stuff. Yum!
The nose is wide and complex with some herbs – very good. Full and rounder than the Savigny – this is very friendly. Super mouthwatering flavour.
The nose is amazing – despite the location there’s more than a nod to Meursault in the aromas. Full, quite sweet and undoubtedly tasty.
Okay, here is the classic aroma of Meursault. Fine and round, the fruit is a little less sweet than the CdN Villages but has the classic ginger-spice impression in the mid-palate. Lovely wine.
Time was pressing so I bid Nicolas good-bye at this stage – shame because I didn’t have time to sample his (Maison) premiers and grands crus – lucky I’d already had one Montrachet before lunch 😉
The 2010s of Bouchard Père et Fils
A walk-through tasting of the 2010 vintage with Philippe Prost. First of all I have to say, what a welcome (to me) change at this important producer! It won’t be news to anybody that as much as I have praised the domaine in recent years for the clarity of their whites (not to mention the zeal with which they look for solutions to the p.ox), I have been sad at what I saw as an over-reliance on ‘spicy-oaky’ make-up for their reds, make-up that was clearly not needed given the excellence of the base wines.
I hope that this will now become the baseline for the vintages that follow.
I particularly liked one of Philippe’s comments:
“As soon as you have a varietal expression in Burgundy, it already means that you have lost the terroir expression.”
Philippe Prost, Winemaker @ Bouchard Père et Fils
From 100% estate fruit located just above Les Lavières. There is a core of sweet fruit on the nose that flirts with being ‘candied’ but there is a mineral note too that rescues it. There a lovely intensity driven by the acidity. Fresh, forthright and delivered like a rapier – lovely.
Deeper colour than the Savigny. Forward red fruit that eventually takes on a darker and sweeter shade. Here there is more structure but allied to a similarly fresh intensity that was apparent in the Savigny, but the character is of a darker, more penetrating fruit. Some minerality too -lovely!
The nose is rather more mineral than I was expecting – it’s a long way from ‘cuddly fruit’. In the mouth there is plenty of tannin but also (like the Monthélie) a growing intensity of flavour. I’m impressed. This is a wine I would wait at least 10 years for, and seem a great 2010 bargain.
Today all the the different vats are aged separately, so there is more selectivity of what makes it into the final wine. The nose is red, round and somehow enveloping – yet it retains a slightly cool ‘distance’. Very silky to start with but the tannin slowly grows, giving a more velvet impression. Again, fresh in personality with a dark mineral aspect too. The finish is long and mineral dominated. Excellent.
The nose seems a little understated, but still serves up deep and dark notes. Like the Grèves this starts very silky before taking on a more velvety texture – the tannins are just a little stickier than the those of the Beaune. Fine intensity coupled to a mouthful of both dark and high-toned fruit flavours. Just beautiful!
The nose is rather shy. Full in the mouth and rather silky – then there is a burst of flavour to herald the mid-palate. This really has a super-smooth, executive texture before fading into the darkly fruited finish. Very impressive Nuits!
Deep colour, but shy aromatics. There is some sweetness before the impressive intensity asserts itself – behind is a gorgeous cool fruit flavour. The finish is particularly long, majoring on the mineral aspects of the wine. I have to say it twice – gorgeous flavour.
2010 Bouchard P&F, Bourgogne Blanc Côteaux des Moines
The nose is wide and slightly savoury. The palate seems just a little rich and cushioned, though despite seeming borderline ‘acid-shy’ there is enough balance to carry it from the mid-palate into the finish. I like the finishing flavour, but overall I find this a little flat…
The nose seems not particularly deep or wide, but shows a good core of fruit. Rather more mineral flavour than expected, flavour leeching from gums and teeth – the flavour keeps growing. Lovely wine.
Contains three barrels of ‘Hautes Teurons’. The nose is rounder and has a few more higher tones versus the Meursault. Also round in the mouth, there is good fruit with a little savoury flavour too. Finely judged acidity too.
Here is a class Meursault aroma – inviting and with a little gingerbread sprinkled over the fruit. A mouth-filler! Mineral, with glorious acidity – the spicy ginger from the nose is also there as a flavour component in the mid-palate. Excellent!
The nose is generally higher toned than the Meursault 1er, but there flashes of ripe fruit below. A round, cushioned texture dovetails with a growing intensity of flavour – it’s less overtly fresh than the Genevrières – this is certainly a beauty, but I’d by the Genevrières.
There’s a hint of oak, but behind is a mineral backdrop. Wow – in the mouth this is mineral, mineral, mineral – fruit is clearly an afterthought for the mid-palate. Just a super intensity of (very) long-lasting flavour. Chapeau!
A shame – the nose is rather dumb. In the mouth the flavour starts reminiscent of the mineral flavour of the Corton-Charlemagne, but there is a slowly welling core of fruit flavour – indeed there’s plenty of fruit here, and it holds right through the finish. Actually I could remember it for at least 30 minutes – a monument!
The 2010s (mainly) of Louis Jadot
I rarely manage to visit Louis Jadot as there are so many new names waiting to be discovered, yet when I do, it is always a pleasure to enter their ‘mothership’ winery, particularly this time as I had Jacques Lardière all to myself in his last year before retirement.
Here is not the formality of a Bouchard or even a Bichot tasting, rather it is usually a tour of some barrels in the form of ‘shall we do this’ or ‘shall we do that’ that either starts or ends (there is no rule) with a few bottles.
In our case the bottle theme was ‘whites’ and Jacques knew I would have a few questions about premature oxidation – which presumably influenced his choices – but it was hard to be sure as he suggested maybe three more bottles; when he returned with his hands full my comment was ‘that’s a very big three Jacques’ as he wrestled another half dozen onto the top of the barrel/table.
Last time I visited, the place was something of a building-site as work was advanced for separating the red and white cellars. Today Jadot are also the proud owners of an optical sorting machine – expensive but fast becoming indespensible(?) There is a gradual conversion in the vines too; about 20 hectares of the domaine are now biodynamic: all the Savigny, Pernand and Corton Grèves, some of the Beaune and they are now starting to convert Musigny, Amoureuses and Echézeaux in the Côte de Nuits.
A few quotes from Jacques with respect to the subject of oxidised whites:
“It’s the big question. Our processes have been similar for a long time, they move here and there depending on the vintage, but no major changes. I think there is much blame that could be attached to how the corks were washed; peroxides for instance and how their residues can slowly be leached into the wines – now we have more control over these things.
“For me the signature of Burgundy, of grand vins blancs is the aging, it’s such a shame to drink them in their first two years in bottle. We are using more and more DIAM seals (since 2003); all our Beaujolais, Macon and Bourgogne are using the DIAM 5 and were are experimenting with the DIAM 10 – indeed some customers have already demanded their premier crus to be delivered with DIAM 10s.
“2001 had plenty of oidium which gave a slightly metallic impression of oxidation, but not real oxidation.
“2000 was a very nice vintage – we sell lots in France but after 3 years people were less happy with it, but I think it’s regrouped a little and perhaps it needed a little more time.
A few assorted wines tasted 17th Jan 2012; a mix of barrels and bottles tasted with soon to be retiring, Jacques Lardière. Aromatically a number of these were quite reticent – particularly the reds – no surprise with the cellar at 9°C. Bottling of the 2010s had started, but the grand crus would most-likely wait another month or two. The ‘grand blancs’ were en collage (fining). I asked Jacques what he thought of his 2010 vintage:
“I’m very happy with the 2010s, particularly the whites – that’s because the grapes didn’t taste very exciting – but the wines are much better than I was expecting. The reds of-course impressed right from the start. The best 09s are like the wines of 1959 – it’s the same balance – but I never in my life saw the energy of 2010 – it is the essence of pinot noir!”
Started vinifying in 2007. Very pretty nose with faintly floral aromas. Lovely mid-palate intensity and energy – very pretty wine.
First harvest in 2006.The chardonnay (2ha) is planted above the (4ha of) pinot noir. One part of this vineyard would be allowed a premier cru label, but Jadot decided it was easier to make one wine (of each colour) – which of-course wears a villages label. This has a wider and perfectly textured impression, again with lovely intensity but this time a little more complexity and a lot more length to that flavour.
Relatively young vines that came from Jaboulet-Vercherre. A hint of bread on the nose. Not as wide as the Pernand, but impressive intensity – indeed an almost muscular impression without any corpulence.
The Clos is set about 360 metres above sea level – both red and white is planted here. Jacques notes that there is a slightly muscat character to some of the chardonnay vines here that hints toward Maconnais. Here is more minerality and tension. Despite apparently a little more acidity I don’t see more intensity – but I really like the stony flavours in the finish.
Bottled in April 2011. The nose is cushioned, showing hints of cream. In the mouth this is full and round and I have to say, very, very silky. Then there appears and extra growth of flavour in the mid-palate. Lovely.
Green herbs on the nose. Again an impressive silkiness to the mid-palate texture. A little more linear than the Champs Gains; rather than grow in the mid-palate, this has a finish which just keep s on and on.
Not proprietors here, but it’s an old contract. A very understated nose which gradually gains some floral notes. Fuller and rounder than the Chassagne yet seemingly less intense to start – though there is a self-evident extra complexity. The flavours continue to grow and grow and unsurprisingly this has the longest finish – by quite a margin. Overall, this remains serene in its understatement.
There’s a little cream on the nose, augmenting a warm core of fruit. This is very fruit-driven with a beautiful underpinning acidity. Lovely villages.
The nose is wide but rather tight (if that’s not a contradiction) as there’s very little height or depth. In the mouth, super-silky and very mineral – the intensity is ever-growing before the mouth-watering finish. Long and excellent.
Normally about 10 barrels of this that faces Puligny Referts – quite high up. A forward nose of crystallised ginger and some nougat(?) In the flavours are wide, indeed with lovely acidity. There’s very impressive mid-palate complexity – really super and showing a strong salty tang on the end of your tongue.
The nose offers warm bread and is clearly a little evolved – eventually a hint of struck-match too. Apparently this was picked at 13.6° natural and contains about 40% pinot blanc. For all that, we have decent balance; the personality is strong and concentrated with a broad finish.
Low down in Grèves, one hectare near the rugby field, partly biodynamic here. Bought from Chanson in 1986 and then partly replanted with a selection of vines whose provenance was the Comte de Moucheron’s chardonnay from Montrachet – the first harvest was in 1990. The high-toned nose gives you something to think about in its ‘Chassagne-ness’. The palate is wide, mineral and sinewy – none of which you might infer either from the appellation or the vintage. I’d definitely buy this.
Domaine Jadot. “As you see, when you have no cork problems, you have extraordinary wines -this gives me the impression I’m by the sea…” This has plenty of age on the nose ; old dark wood, some iodine too – it could be twenty years old not 10. Full in the mouth, extra silky with flavours that grow through the mid-palate. I would start drinking this now, not because it is bad, but rather because it already seems to be at its apogee. Lovely.
The nose is a hint tired, with some obvious brown sugar aromas – despite no overt oxidation, this is a wine with a message – drink me now or be sorry. I find it round, full and very flavoursome in the mouth – today I can drink it and still enjoy it, though I’m not convinced I would guess it to be a Perrières. Whilst generally agreeing, Jacques makes a clear statement “This wine is not Jadot – it’s on its way out – I will find something else.”
The corks are from the same supplier, indeed the same batch as for the Perrières. The difference is stark and Jacques openly says it has him pulling his hair out – ‘it’s monstrous’. The nose is wide and clean, if a hint sugared, yet it has a youthfulness that has long since departed the last bottle of Perrières. Ooh, this is nice; silky with a growing intensity, beautiful acidity. Extra layers of flavour in the mid-palate too – a beauty!
A wine that is a blend of villages and premier cru grapes The nose is high-toned and develops a few herb references and even a bit of Chablis-style seashore. In the mouth the acidity is slightly more obvious than the last Meursault, but it helps deliver a very nice energy. Super fun and perhaps not yet à point.
2010 Louis Jadot (Domaine Gagey), Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Guettes
Pretty, high-toned aromas. This wine has beautiful clean lines and lovely acidity. Just a hint of oak tannin on the finish today – it will be gone in a few months.
The nose is wide – maybe with a hint of background SO2. In the mouth this a little sweeter and more intense, yet very lithe in form. Here is also a little blocky, but transient, wood tannin in the finish.
The nose is a little high-toned, but clearly also a little tight. Here is quite some density of flavour, well underpinned by perfect acidity.
Herbs and dark fruit – the nose really impresses. Here is just a little more density and sweetness, all washed away by wonderful acidity.
The monopoly of the ‘clos’ is effectively split, as Jadot share the grapes with Château Corton André – Jacques noting that the full volume would have been a lot for them to commercialise. Beautiful and precise red fruits on the nose. Clearly more structure but it’s perfectly packaged. Lovely long finish too.
Wide with a very, very pretty blend of fruit and flowers plus a little spice (this is a new barrel). Here is plenty of tannin, but it’s beautifully smooth after the Pommard.
Not so wide as the Corton but with a core of dark-red fruit. There are plenty of wood tannins here but they will soften. Beautifully put together.
Very pretty fruits on the nose that reappear in the flavours. Lithe and a little sweet, everything funneled into the finish by good acidity.
There was a bracket of wines where I didn’t take any notes as there was a little CO2 and the wines were clearly less ‘finished’; they included Grands-Echézeaux, Clos St.Denis, Bèze and Bonnes-Mares. Based on our discussions, for the last bottles I chose a trio of ripe vintages to look at; 09, 05 and 03. Jacques came back with more bottles, as he decided it might also be nice to look at an 02 and a 01 😉
The nose has a wonderful depth – it’s really a lovely thing. The palate is full and also quite tannic, dovetailed with very impressive intensity and a concentration to match. Just very, very impressive wine.
The aromas show a selection of herbs yet this is aromatically rather closed overall. Mineral, intense and with an underlying bone structure that is very impressive. Return in 15 years. (At least!)
The nose is concentrated, deep and dark, and shows the first flush of development with dried leaves over an undertow of dark olive. Full, sweet and ripe in the mouth – there is plenty of structure but I like the general level of balance and I’m really not conscious of a particularly lower level of acidity. Very ‘giving’ already but this will live for years.
The nose has some of the turned leaves of maturity and an engaging complexity. Good width in the mouth with an obvious complexity of flavour – I’d say this is already at the start of an early phase of maturity – it’s just showing beautifully today.
Dark fruit and again some sub-mature leaf material. This wine fills your mouth with a simply lovely width of flavour. The structure still has plenty of bite so there is no rush – yet it is lovely today.
A wine that normally makes it’s way to Japan. Again the nose hints at the first flush of maturity with a forest floor component – but the forest quickly fades to display a young but compelling swathe of fruits and flowers. Lithe, intense, focused and quite beautiful. Did I ever say I love Corton(?)