Annual Laurels

And the winner is? Yes, it’s Jon Wyand, again…

By billn on April 27, 2022 #annual laurels

You have to hand it to Jon Wyand, winner of the 2022 Errazuriz wine-photographer of the year competition. Or more correctly the “PinkLady®Food Photographer of the Year – category Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year” – I hope it’s a big trophy to fit all that in, and his name!

But seriously, Jon is just so consistent. He has an eye for possibilities with his camera that I can only applaud. I love both his still lives and the ease of his subjects in his portraits – his winning shot this year is a combination of both – captioned by the BBC as ‘Winter prunings gathered in the vineyards of Corton Hill in Burgundy’ it is a photo taken by Jon before 8am in December, in Bressandes…

You can find the wider BBC report here.

Jon Wyand - gathering the prunings in Corton
Image courtesy of Jon Wyand

Results from the 36th Concours des Vins de Chablis

By billn on January 20, 2022 #annual laurels

Guillaume Baroin tasting Chablis 2020This annual event took place last weekend. They have stopped inviting me to be part of the jury as I always decline – with already 3 weeks of tasting in Chablis in January I’d never be home if I stopped to do this at the weekend too 🙂

The jury chief this year was Guillaume Baroin – with whom I make a number of tastings each year. Image right of Guillaume in action – from the BIVB.

As each year they largely taste the most recent commercial vintage – in this case, the 2020s – but they always wait an extra year for the grand crus. So it was the 2019s for the gcs.

The results have been published (in French) and I include a link to the pdf of the results, below.

Enjoy this link

And the winners of the 2021 Young Talent Trophies were…

By billn on November 26, 2021 #annual laurels

Young Vigneron's trophy, 2021...
The first selection process in October…

Always an interesting exercise with the winners selected each year during the same week as the Beaune wine auction:

Wines from the Mâconnais:
Franz-Ludwig Gondard from Domaine Gondard-Perrin
For his Viré-Clessé Tradition, Viré-Clessé, Le Belvédère, and Viré-Clessé, Le Clos de Chapotin

Wines from the Côte Chalonnaise
Quentin Joussier, Domaine de l’Evêché
For his Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise édition limitée, Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise, Revillier, and Mercurey, Les Murgers

Wines from the Côte de Beaune
Chloé Baillard-Chevalier from Domaine Chevalier
For her Bourgogne Aligoté, Ladoix Blanc, and Ladoix Rouge

Wines from the Côte de Nuits
Benoît Chevallier from Domaine Benoît Chevallier
For his Bourgogne, En Lutenière, Vosne-Romanée, and Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru, Aux Boudots

Wines from the Chablisien
Pierrick Laroche from Domaine des Hates
For his Petit Chablis, Chablis, Les Châtillons, and Chablis Premier Cru, Les Butteaux

Wines from the Grand Auxerrois
Bastien & Carole Mathias from Domaine Mathias
For their Bourgogne Epineuil, Bourgogne Epineuil, Côte de Grisey, and Bourgogne Tonnerre, Côte de Grisey

Wines from the Beaujolais
Jean-Louis Poulard from Domaine Poulard
For his Morgon Signature, Morgon Dame Noire, and Chiroubles Petites Côtes

2021 Beaujolais Nouveau – the ‘combative’ vintage

By billn on November 11, 2021 #annual laurels#beaujolais#degustation

2021 Beaujolais NouveauOr primeurs as the French, so often, refer to them. 100 wines, tasted blind in deepest Beaujolais, 02 November 2021:

– Inter Beaujolais – the marketing board for the Beaujolais region – describe the 2021 vintage as combative.

– 2021 was a complicated year in terms of both the weather conditions and the amount of work needed in the vines by the winegrowers. The second half of August and the month of September, however, made it possible to retain decent quality grapes, even if the quantity was reduced.

– Begun in mid-September, the harvest took place in rather cool conditions. This freshness, which characterised the end of the grapes’ ripening period, is visible in the wines.

– The wines in 2021 have moderation in mind – at least compared to the other recent vintages – they are lower in both alcohol and weight of phenolics – their tannic structure. The wines have been quite fairly described by Inter Beaujolais as ‘tender and fruity.

Overall, just over 100 samples were presented for this 2021 showing of Beaujolais Nouveau – which is a big drop from the number of samples (160+) proffered in recent vintages. Why? Simply, it was the 2021 harvest volumes; generally hit by frost at the start of the year and more locally in the south – where much Nouveau is produced – by some hail too. Whilst the official harvest volumes are not yet available, the harvest was generally down by about 25% – more in the south, less in the crus of the north – and that was the principal driver here.

I note that in this vintage the wines were showing much less ‘fruit-forward’ in style than their siblings in other recent vintages. I find a number of excellent wines but I have also noted many, many fewer ‘bravo’ wines than in other vintages – only 3 – but it would be remiss of me not to point out the very short timeline from harvest to my tasting glass this year – certainly much less elevage than was afforded to the earlier harvests of the previous 5-6 years.

2021 and the most recent vintages:

I’ve done this tasting since the 2017 vintage, and whilst the recent quality from Grower Nouveau has been on a much higher level than I can ever recollect – and with much more consistency too – 2021 is certainly a step back in terms of concentration, if not their acid-driven intensity – 2021 brings a lighter style which works much better with the Beaujolais Villages wines – 6-12 months of patience is not mandatory in this vintage. I have noted many fewer ‘Bravo!’ wines than in other tastings but there remain many excellent, quite delicious, wines:

Vintage 2017 – a warm, clean, early vintage – one hailstorm excepted – but low yielding. The best wines were excellent and the quality was consistent
Vintage 2018 – a warm clean and again an early vintage but with many higher-yielding places where the producers allowed. I observed significant quality differences in the samples – I largely attributed this to big swings in yields.
Vintage 2019 – another warm vintage with harvesting a little later but because of both frost and hail, yields were cut. The best wines were of high quality and the consistency was intermediate to 2017 and 2018.
Vintage 2020 – a warm clean vintage with consistently below-average yields. The best wines, once again, show high quality and a consistency that’s at least as good as seen in the 2017s. The wines are relatively powerful and well constructed, the ‘villages’ wines generally need a little patience but are consistently excellent – a vintage you can blind buy domaine wines!
Vintage 2021 – A vintage of frost, hail in places, and much lower yields – the cooler, wetter weather requiring more grape triage but this resulted in wines that are clean and attractive with good acidity – perhaps more elegantly proportioned than the most recent vintages with a stronger spine of acidity rather than tannin to support them.

Link to previous tastings. I like this tasting – not particularly for its length or nouveau specificity but rather because it’s quite an accurate snapshot of how, in general, the next vintage will show when released in another 6-12 months…

And in the order tasted, my ‘excellent wine‘ picks for this year?

Of course, all were tasted blind:
2021 Frederic Berne, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Collin-Bourisset, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘à ta cuvée à la con
2021 Vins Aujoux, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘Le Cochon Chic
2021 Père Benoit, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘Tchin
2021 Domaine de Solémy, Beaujolais Nouveau Vieilles-Vignes
2021 Jean Loron, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘Tradition Vielles-Vignes
2021 Famille Girin, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Domaine de Loyse – Cellier de St.Jean d’Ardières, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Château de Pizay, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Henry Fessy, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 P Ferraud et Fils, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Famille Chasselay, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘La Marduette

2021 P Ferraud et Fils, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
2021 Vignobles Jambon, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Pure
2021 Pierre Dupond, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Seconde Nature
2021 Château de l’Eclair, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
2021 Château de Chatelard, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Vintage
2021 Cave du Château des Loges, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Les Trois Madones, Sans Souffre
2021 Domaine de la Madone, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Pérréoneissime
2021 Domaine Burnichon, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
2021 Besson Père et Fils, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Tu m’fais tourner la tête
2021 Les Jeunes Pousses, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Préambule
2021 Château de Lavernette, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Le Jeune

And the medals for those lonely ‘Bravo!’ wines – the best of this tasting:
2021 Jean Loron, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘In Jules we Trust
2021 Manoir de Carra Sambardier, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau Vieilles-Vignes
2021 Manoir de Carra Sambardier, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Dame Nature

Here’s hoping that you can actually find some of these!

Click below to see the full notes for over 100 wines:

Beaujolais
  Read more..

The 107th edition of the Tastevinage tasting

By billn on March 23, 2021 #annual laurels

Tastevinage Spring 2021...

As usual, my invitation to taste came too late for me to actually taste – my day already replete with appointments – but last Friday was the Spring tasting of the Tastevinage organisation in the Clos de Vougeot. The tasting certainly complicated by distancing, etcetera.

If you click on the image above, you can find the list of successful producers and their wines.

The latest winners in Chablis…

By billn on January 25, 2021 #annual laurels

Chablis today - 16h51...
Chablis today – 16h51…

I’m in Chablis this week to complete my tour of 66 domaines’ 2019s and a blind-tasting today of 66 (a coincidence!) 2019 Petit Chablis – and not a single one was corked!

From what better place to bring you the results of the Annual Concourse de Chablis which took place over the weekend. I am most-kindly invited to take part each year, but I equally kindly decline each year too – three weeks away from home in January is enough, without taking an additional weekend too – much as I enjoy what I do.

Anyway, from 321 samples, tasted by 46 jurors came 27 medalists in this 35th year of the tasting. The medals were mainly for wines from the 2019 vintage, except that the grand crus were from 2018 – so here you go – click the image for the results.

the tastevinage majors of 2020…

By billn on November 13, 2020 #annual laurels#degustation

And for those of you with an interest, for the third year in a row, the tasting panels of the Tastevinage have chosen their ‘majors’ for the year – their best wines tasted. Like last year they have stuck with the reduced number of 12 wines to showcase. You can see them in the image below – courtesy the Tastevinage organisation. There are a couple of names that I don’t know and others that you will have seen showcased here in Burgundy Report.

Tastevinage Majors of 2020

2020 Beaujolais Nouveau

By billn on November 12, 2020 #annual laurels#beaujolais

Beaujolais Nouveau 2020Or primeurs as the French, so often, refer to them. 162 wines, tasted blind in deepest Beaujolais, 04 November 2020:

2020 is the next in a series of warm vintages in the Beaujolais; it was frost-free in the Springtime and there was practically no hail in the Summer either. If there was to be one problem it was the dryness – some areas were described by locals as ‘being on the limit.

Yet when it came to the harvest they had good, clean, grapes – even those with quite high degrees of potential alcohol. The final figures are not yet available for the yields in 2020 but the current expectation is for volumes that are below the average due to the aforementioned dryness. If that turns out to be the case, I won’t be at all surprised.

2020 and the most recent vintages:

I’ve done this tasting since the 2017 vintage, and whilst the recent quality from Grower Nouveau is on a much, higher level than I can ever recollect – and with much more consistency too – it seems to me that yields go a long way to defining what you will find in a bottle of Nouveau.

I’m certain that it’s not particularly from the perspective of absolute quality that yields show themselves but rather from the perspective of the consistency of the observed quality where they play their role. Some people will always go to the maximum allowed – 65 hl/ha – whilst others are quite happy with 45 – or less:
Vintage 2017 – a warm, clean, early vintage – one hailstorm excepted – but low yielding. The best wines were excellent and the quality was consistent
Vintage 2018 – a warm clean and again an early vintage but with many higher-yielding places where the producers allowed. I observed significant quality differences in the samples – I largely attributed this to big swings in yields.
Vintage 2019 – another warm vintage with harvesting a little later but because of both frost and hail, yields were cut. The best wines were of high quality and the consistency was intermediate to 2017 and 2018.
Vintage 2020 – a warm clean vintage with consistently below-average yields. The best wines, once again, show high quality and a consistency that’s at least as good as seen in the 2017s. The wines are relatively powerful and well constructed, the ‘villages’ wines generally need a little patience but are consistently excellent! NB Given the early harvest in 2020, these wines have seen nearly an extra month of ageing – that’s 33% more! – than would be the case for a, more traditional, late-September harvest. In 2020 you can almost blind-buy Beaujolais-Villages-Nouveau as they are overwhelmingly excellent, less-so Beaujolais Nouveau but still with some confidence. Of course, if you don’t want to gamble, try the list further below.

And the market?

Of course, it’s a nightmare time to have an en-primeur campaign in ‘mid-lockdown’ but judging by the number of trucks on French roads, logistics still seem to be effective. It’s (still) a very important slice of the region’s sales for these primeurs – Japan representing the largest export market after the US, Canada, Switzerland and then the UK. About 46% of the production was exported from France in 2019, when Nouveau accounted for nearly 30% of all the sales from Beaujolais – about 21 million bottles – and that now includes 2 million bottles of rosé too!

So how are the wines? One week before the big day, here is my list of 21 goto wines from 162 tasted 04 November 2020:

2020 Beaujolais Nouveau:

2020 Fellot Emmanuel, Vieilles-Vignes
2020 Château de L’Eclair
2020 Coquard Christophe
2020 Famille Chasselay, La Marduette
2020 Jean Loron, Tradition Vieilles Vignes
2020 Domaine Girin
2020 Trenel
2020 Chandesais, Petit Marcel
2020 Domaine Perroud Robert, Vieilles-Vignes
2020 Les Vins Aujoux

2020 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau:

2020 Domaine Nesme Mickael
2020 Famille Chevrier
2020 Colonge André et Fils, N°1 Gasby Gamay
2020 Fessy Henry, Tradition
2020 Domaine Lagneau
2020 Domaine des Fournelles – Dumontet Guillaume
2020 Lacondemine Jérôme, Coeur de Raisin
2020 Domaine Monternot Les Jumeaux
2020 Dubost Jean Paul, Beaujolais Lantignié
2020 Cave du Château des Loges, Les Trois Madones
2020 Boudeau Nicolas

Click below to see the full notes for all 162 wines:
  Read more..

don’t miss 2018s from the GJPV*

By billn on November 10, 2020 #annual laurels

*Groupe des Jeunes Professionnels de la Vigne et du vin de Bourgogne

In mid-October, the young professionals held their blind tasting in Chorey-lès-Beaune with nearly 100 tasters – all blind-tasting. Here’s a nice list of (mainly) very good value wines from the vote-count – note, no mail-in votes!

These wines will subsequently be blind-tasted to reveal the ‘producer-winners’ in GJPV regional categories, usually done in the week of the Beaune wine-auction.

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