But doesn’t everybody love 2018 red burgundy? For subscribers, of-course. I decided not to add tinsel!…
It’s always nice to see merchants offering the wines of up-and-coming new names – and only 2 wines at that – Corton-Charlemagne and Chambertin. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the pricing – 360 and 550 swiss francs, respectively – from the “exceptional 2017 vintage!”
I understand your ‘gulp’ at those prices, but given the current price of grapes – that’s only about a 50% margin, for the Chambertin, anyway! At these prices you are forgiven for demanding more info about the producers; “Stéphanie and Pierre Millemann, well known in the winemaking world for their work as consultants in oenology and viticulture” – but not by me, alas. “The career path of this couple a long journey towards excellence,” well at these prices I hope that they are close to the end of that journey! Better still, “the bottle was chosen for its technical characteristics. It guarantees a straight neck over a sufficient length…” Super!
Whilst I (fortunately) don’t see it on the front label of the image supplied by the merchant, the merchant’s text describes the Chambertin as Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes. As I see it, at the top of the appellation, a wine is Chambertin or it is not Chambertin, the addition of extra qualifiers is something to frown upon if you are looking for the best!
Let me get two things out of the way to start with:
- 2017 is a great vintage for white burgundy
- I also loved and highly recommended this wine in my December 2018 report for subscribers:
A relatively new contract since 2015. It needed some work to sell to regular clients but now is starting to go very well. 30% new oak again.
A vibrant nose – fresh, mineral and cut with citrus – yes! More density, more depth – ooh this great! Mineral, concentrated and beautifully pure – I could drink this every day – bravo!
But 98 points for a village? On the positive side, whoever reviewed this wine can indeed spot a great wine in its segment, but on the other hand, they render any scoring system completely meaningless – or perhaps, as Clive Coates once said, “Scores are in context!“…
Or today’s truth anyway 🙂
I have often previously written that I was personally of the view that name Côte d’Or was derived from ‘east-facing’ – mainly given the number of old maps inscribed with côte d’orient – this, as opposed to the view that the name was derived from golden slope – something which lasts no-more than a couple of weeks – and not every year. Well, this month, the BIVB have weighed in with their own, currently, definitive version:
“Did you know?
Two uses and two origins for a single name!
Winegrowers chose the name of the Bourgogne Côte d’Or appellation as a reference to the orientation of the winegrowing hillsides. The Côte d’Or in this case represents a contraction of “Côte d’Orient”, meaning oriented to the east. A symbol of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, this favorable aspect goes a long way to explain the excellence of its wines, which benefit from the warming rays of the rising sun.
The Côte-d’Or département (with a hyphen), for its part, was named by the National Assembly in the 19th century for a much more bucolic reason. The name refers to the magnificent golden color that cloaks the vines just after the harvests.”
Or maybe they are just referring to the new appellation of Bourgogne Côte d’Or – watch this space…
The rain that was forecast for practically all of this week – didn’t really materialise until this evening – at least in Beaune anyway! So today we managed a good, and dry, walk – picnicking in Meursault, before heading back via Plures, Santenots, Caillerets and Champans, to our car in Volnay. Then a quick run around Beaune before the heavens opened – oh and our apero!
Less herbicide treated vineyards to see today – except for Santenots and the ‘villages’ bottom of the hill – there’s very little in Volnay, a little more-so in Monthèlie, and at-least by the route that we took – not much treated this way in Meursault. 20 years ago I could understand the use of glyphosate – the wines whilst not cheap, weren’t expensive either. Today these are all expensive wines, and there’s no excuse…
I tasted a lot of Beaujolais Blanc last week, and I must say that I feel fortunate to have been tasting this wine from the 2017 vintage – as, all-over Burgundy, the wines are more approachable in this vintage – and for both colours – because of that I found some good ones! But a large proportion of the wines were sealed with Nomacorc and my experience of these has been truly awful – dead wines in less than 1 year kind-of awful. I understand that there may have been some improvements to the ‘current model’ but I still remain quite shocked by the level of use.
They will have to go to some extreme lengths to prove to me that wines sealed this way are something I should buy! I also note, in what seems like a stroke of marketing genius, they are changing the name of their Nomacorc website – www.nomacorc.com – to something that you could never, ever, guess:
My petite whinge du jour is now over…
It can be complicated – there are three interested parties here – not including the ones actually doing the work!
As you can see from the sunny pictures, taken last June, this beautiful corner of Auxey-Duresses, sitting on a corner that looks towards both the Moulin des Moines and Monthèlie, was more than a little run-down. You see this, or much worse, across most of the vineyards of Burgundy, but since achieving UNESCO World Heritage status, there are certain grants available to those people who (correctly) want to shore-up the basis of their livelihoods – the vineyards. It’s important for the tourists too!
This one is more complicated because the owner is not the exploiter – it’s one of the Meursault Bouzereau’s who works the vines in this particular plot, but on a fermage basis. So you have the winemakers, the owners and the UNESCO foundation who are all contributing to this work.
Here there’s a house that stands alone, a house that I’ve always admired but has always seemed to be empty – probably due to the 80 km/h (++!) road that’s directly in front – there’s no sign, but the locals call it Maison des Duresses – but it has seen much updating in the last 12 months. Likewise for the last few months a fine piece of renovation can be seen to the wall that extends from the house in the direction of Monthèlie, and includes these beautiful pillars with a stairway. The guy doing the work told me that he’s not usually alone doing this – but he was yesterday afternoon – but that he’d also worked a little on the stones so that the name of the old owners would be more legible.
A lovely piece of work!
I dismissed the BIVB‘s press release about this time last year, probably because I had better things to do around the time of the harvest – actually it was the 12th September, so I’m sure I’d probably finished by then – but I digress!
In essence, they want to change the way that others speak:
“To re-affirm its identity as one of the most iconic vineyard of France, the region and its producers are reverting back to the original French iteration of its name: Bourgogne.”
They say that if we all revert to ‘Bourgogne’ then it will aid them in “maintaining one true identity.” It’s not just a swipe at Anglo-Saxons like me, but also Germans and any number of other ‘non-French translations’ of Bourgogne. It sounds like the first step on the road to ‘Frexit’ to me!
To be honest, I’d completely forgotten about this, until last week, when a stalwart of the BIVB asked me why I don’t ‘change to using the word Bourgogne instead?’ Whilst not fully prepared for an in-depth rebuttal, I did manage to muster that when the French officially stop referring to Angleterre or États-Unis d’Amérique or Londres, and adopt local usage, I would begin to think about it!
It seems to me a silly thing to spend time on, particularly in a region where many of its rules and classifications derive from what are described as traditions that are ‘loyaux et constants‘ i.e. they are trustworthy, established practice.
I know that I’m going through a site update – online, hopefully, by the first week in April – but I’m still not planning to rename the site to Bourgogne Reportage! Not yet, anyway 😉