weekend wines – week 2 2020

By billn on January 13, 2020 #degustation

2005 Gambal Dents du Chien, 1999 Bouchard Chambertin

2005 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Les Murgers des Dents du Chien
Golden colour though no browning. A perfumed roasted lemon is my first impression, a little spiced too. Time adds faint lanolin to the nose. In the mouth to my surprise, is a lovely sweeping line of freshness – waxily-fine textured and mineral. Such a difference in the delivery of flavour versus the Chablis of last week. The finish mineral and has some caramel aspects – probably the barrels talking here. Concentrated but alive, beautifully proportioned and very long. A point! Opened on Friday, this was completely stable/robust, such that still delicious on Sunday – narrower, but not a suggestion of tiring in either flavours or aromas. Bravo – I hope it’s not my last!
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chambertin
Not a wine you see very often – it’s a domaine wine – but with only 0.15 hectares, it’s not a wine that they tend to (need to) show in tastings. A couple of years ago the 1998 was brilliant! Here a poor start, but only because the cork breaks in half – the second part coming out in a thousand pieces! I asked Frédéric Weber if he could tell me a little more about the plot and he responded right away! “Yes, it’s a plot of 0.15ha in the upper part of the Chambertin (close to Les Latricières) I think it is a very nice situation particularly in the hot years because we are close to the forest and that permits us to keep freshness and a good balance, the soil is poor and very thin, the yield is low in average, in the best year I produce only 2 barrels. I like to vinify with whole clusters and a soft maceration to express the aromatics and elegance of Chambertin, we do not produce a deep Chambertin in this part.”
What a beautiful nose – not the pure and powerful that I remember from the 1998, rather a beautiful and elegant floral bouquet. Rather silky in the mouth, still a grain of ripe tannin if you search hard enough. Elegant and floral here too – slowly becoming a little more mineral and mouth-watering. Very long. Not a powerful wine but such a beautiful thing – I would say ready but hold for as long as you wish. None of the overt structure remains that you can still see in many of the higher 1999s
Rebuy – Yes

Remembering Mr Beaujolais

By billn on January 06, 2020 #degustation

Julienas, Clos du Fief

2014 Michet et Sylvain Tète – Clos du Fief, Juliénas Cuvée Prestige
I’m in Chablis today – the start of my 60(+) domaine tour of 2018s – but before I left Swaziland I decided yesterday evening to remember Georges Duboeuf with this very impressive Beaujolais – but I didn’t have any from him – sorry Georges! I decided not to go the dark and obvious route (2015,16,17,18) and didn’t directly find anything more complicated (2012, 2013) so here you go:
Medium-plus colour. A slightly round nose that hinted at a little reduction – but after 5 minutes this was singing – almost a floral/spice note to this nose that’s mirrored in the flavours. Elegant, complex and a delicious winner of a wine. Bravo to Georges!
Rebuy – Yes!

1999 mazy – from fred esmonin

By billn on January 05, 2020 #degustation

Frederic Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin 1999

It was never really going to be possible to beat Friday’s wine on Saturday, was it? – Or was it!

1999 Frederic Esmionin, Mazy-Chambertin
Frederic always preferring the (Maz)’y’ to the (Maz)’is!’ I haven’t opened one of these for 10 years – perhaps now’s the time!
Hmm – now that’s an inviting nose. Only modest amplitude, but a nose with more maturity than the Potel Clos des Chênes and still ‘clean’ & fresh. In the mouth, less innate density than the Chênes, but here is a more open, almost sparkling, complexity – a little mid-palate oomph too – like all good Mazi should have. The middle and finish of this wine are really quite something – energetic and vibrantly intense. Never the same weight of impact of the Chênes but altogether more complex and welcoming – did I mention ‘easier to drink?’ Hmm, this moreish wine didn’t need two days to finish – though in this case, help came from someone else who tends to prefer whites. Less than a glass laid in wait for day two – cloudy with sediment – less good but no brett or unsavouriness. My best wine of 2020 – even after the brilliant Potel, though I think that the more concentrated Potel may have more longevity!
Rebuy – Oh Yes!

Did I mention how much I’m liking 1999s right now? 😉

a great friday wine

By billn on January 04, 2020 #degustation

1999 Nicolas Potel Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes

1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
It was good on the Thursday too 😉
Even from a baby, this was ‘grand vin.’ On release, it was an absolute quality match for d’Angerville’s 1999 Clos des Ducs and Dom Lafon’s 1999 Santenots de Milieu. Only from the age of ~3 did those other wines start to show a little extra – but not much – and it seems that this wine hasn’t lost much of anything. Plenty of colour. A nose that has power but depth and interest too – only very modestly showing some aromatic excitement of maturity – still a baby it seems. In the mouth this is full and energetic, chiselled – indeed structural – but with no hard edges. A style of balance that 2017s and 2018s can only dream of. Delicious wine, still predominantly of fruit. I drank the whole bottle myself over 2 nights – and it was not a bit worse for wear on day two – bravo – a great 1999 that will easily live 15-20 years more! Actually, I’ve never met a better Clos des Chênes, ever…
Rebuy – Oh Yes!

Happy New Year – here’s hoping for a 20/20 year!

By billn on January 02, 2020 #degustation

Wishing all you readers the very best for 2020 to come – let’s hope it’s an interesting year!

For the Burgundy Report, virtually all the individual domaine reports are now online – just 5-6 more to add today/tomorrow to the November report. Then there will be the December report for the ‘Grand Maisons’ which will be online in the next 10 days – many highs there, but a particular fail too!

Already about 1,500 wines from their domaine’s profiled for you. And ‘what of the last days?‘ I hear you ask!

Christmas 2018 wines...

2015 Nathalie & Gilles Fèvre, Chablis Les Preuses
From magnum, DIAM sealed.
One of my favourite wines of the holiday period. Drunk over 2 days it was reliably delicious, mouth-filling and fresh – a wine that anyone and everyone can appreciate – so good!

2009 Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Ruchottes
A beautiful, long (54mm?), Trescasses cork – but to no avail!
Deeply coloured, a little sherried aromatic – a wine that cleans up considerably with air, but never loses that ‘prematurely old’ feeling. These and the 2010s were among the last whites I bought for cellaring (magnums excepted) that were sealed with natural cork – and here’s the reason.

2010 Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Ruchottes (not pictured)
The same, long, Trescasses cork – this time okay.
Plenty of colour, but much less than the 2009. A nose of toasted bread, slowly fading to become more mineral incisive. The palate is automatically, directly great – clean lines, very mineral, so sweetly juicy too – it’s great – perhaps a little too much barrel-caramel in the finishing flavours (still) but a great bottle.

1997 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Vieilles-Vignes (not pictured)
This either my last, or next to last, from the original dozen. A wine that has always suggested great things, but never delivered.
Ooh, this cork stinks of TCA – I’m shocked to find that the wine itself is okay – and not seemingly attenuated by its smelly bung. The nose is hardly attractive to start – with plenty of balsamic-style oxidative notes, but aeration really brings a lot more interest. Mouth-filling, nicely textured – this is actually quite good in the mouth – a second glass without hesitation – so good wine – but I always thought that there was some inner greatness in wait – but no…

1995 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts
I thought I’d pulled a 1997 from the cellar, to follow the Potel 1997 – but – doh! – it was a 1995 again.
A very similar wine to that linked. Good older wine that everybody happily drank, but with no hints of greatness.

1999 l’Arlot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de l’Arlot
This wine has great written all over it – a fabulous and complex and brilliantly inviting nose. A palate that doesn’t for a moment shrink in the face of that aromatic challenge – my greatest wine for many a day – fabulous, great wine – underlining why I love the style of the domaine! Also rather puts into context my summary for the domaine’s 2018s!

1999 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
A big and attractive, sweeping, nose of quite some depth. Fuller with more concentration than the Arlot, but with a sense of unready tightness. I’ve had more approachable bottles of this, it’s fine enough but insufficiently expressive today to best the brilliant Arlot.

2006 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Of-course no visit to Gambal in 2019. This from magnum.
Not a nose of power but certainly one of red-fruited finesse. In the mouth this is nicely shaped – though there’s a ‘thin’ impression to the palate after (literally) thousands of 2017s and 2018s. Nice wine, tasty wine – slowly adding a little weight with time in the glass. A very good wine – maybe next year it’s time to try the 05 Amoureuses?

Happy new year!

christmas wines, weekend wines – week 51, 2019

By billn on December 23, 2019 #degustation

I haven’t yet decided (found!) which magnums will be opened on Christmas day, but I’ve found plenty of 1999 reds that I should probably attack. I’ve older whites – 1992/3 Jobards – but will probably attack some 09/10 Ramonets in the single bottle size bracket – and you?

2016 Buisson-Battault, Bourgogne Chardonnay
Nice shape – volume, depth some impression of concentration in the aromas too – ripe but inviting. Ooh, that’s lovely, bright, energetic with proper intensity. Super texture, a slightly saline and layered finishing flavour that’s also touched with a little floral perfume. Great Bourgogne!
Rebuy – Yes

1995 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée Bossières
Pow – a big waft of spiced cherry fruit – that’s a great nose to start with. Vibrant, the acidity was never in question in 1995, more the tannins, and they are still present here, but definitely further towards the background now. The fruit on the palate is an attractive acid-cherry, the middle to finishing flavours have more maturity, a little roast style to the fruit. Nobody is likely to ‘accuse’ this 1995 of elegance, but it’s exciting and tasty wine…
Rebuy – Maybe

1995 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Malconsorts
Plenty of colour. This is a much deeper but narrower nose than the Grivot – a suggestion of flowers, only, above. Starting narrower but filling, growing wider and wider – the mid-palate is certainly bigger, smoother and more saline. Very long – a graphite style of minerality in this finish. Fine but not other-worldly. On day two, this wine remains a little tight – the cork? – and there’s more than a suggestion of brett. This case has been worth just a little more than the £150 I paid way back when (a case of 12 for you youngsters that have only ever seen 6-packs and 3-packs!) but more for the earlier drunk wines than the later wines which have all suffered a little from brett.
Rebuy – No

week 50 2019 – the visits…

By billn on December 13, 2019 #degustation#reports

Yes, I know – week 50!

I’m now in Switzerland, but should have been in France ready to use my TGV tickets on Sunday – but there are no TGVs. The same time last year it was the gilets jaunes. Oh well…

Anyway, the last visits of this year are now completed, so it’s just down to the typing of those 113 individual reports: The 2018 Whites issue (October Report) will be online in the next few days – the 2018 Reds issue (November Report) will be online before my Christmas lunch – gotta have a target!

My thanks to the winemakers who made time available this week:

weekend 49 2019 – the wines

By billn on December 10, 2019 #degustation

weekend wines

Three ‘bravo’ wines in one weekend – none of which were the expensive ones – we were blessed! 😉

2017 Albert Grivault, Meursault 1er Clos des Perrières
A creamy nose – very nice, background citrus but not ‘special’ today. In the mouth this has beautiful shape, line and length – but – the oak is all-pervading and very creamy. This is a wine for saving – drunk at least a couple of years too early. Very long but it’s currently about potential. A shame to have opened today.
Rebuy – Maybe

2018 Céline Chevallier, Chablis
Perfect – no oak! This wine has a beautiful top note of aroma – despite the 2018 vintage, it’s absolutely classic. In the mouth too it’s much more mouth-watering and moreish compared to the Grivault. Absolutely delicious – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

2009 Château de Bellevue, Morgon Le CLos Reserve du Caveau
Deeply coloured. A nose that starts sleek, dark-.fruited and has a graphite/mineral impression. In the mouth this starts equally sleek and has driving direction – Morgon is like the Corton of Beaujolais – but with time and aeration this begins to fill all the corners of your mouth – powerful but at the same time cushioned – no fat. This is great but still an absolute baby. Bravo again!
Rebuy – Yes

2001 Nicolas Potel, Romanée St.Vivant
A cork that breaks into two. Not a big nose but one that’s very rewarding in its understated, complex, moderately spiced, slightly mature way. In the mouth, there’s a lovely shape and super texture – mouth-filling and at the same time, a little soft. The flavours have quite some maturity about them. This is delicious wine but vs the cost of entry today, of dubious value – this cost ‘only’ €80 way back when. Oh, and don’t leave any for day two either – I left some overnight in the fridge, next day it was bretty – something I didn’t note on opening. A wine that I enjoyed very much, but wouldn’t dream of re-purchasing at current pricing.
Rebuy – No

2005 Claude et Catherine Maréchale, Pommard La Chanière
Deep colour – oh and what a great nose too – profound, some modest notes of maturity – it’s highly inviting. Big in the mouth, like the nose, profound. I love the padded muscularity, the delicious complexity, and the great texture. This is great, great villages and it’s ready to go now! Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

2018 – it’s not your father’s burgundy…

By billn on December 02, 2019 #degustation#reports

Dominique Gallois
My white report will be out in not much more than a week, covering over 40 domaines’ wines and the white vintage assessed in detail.

But here’s a weekend red – my first bottled 2018 red burgundy at home – and it’s more than a good one for the vintage – though I’ve only visited 44 (mainly) red domaines so far. Dominique Gallois has made super, punchy, balanced wines with fine energy in 2018 – they are well above the average – but here you can see, firsthand, the (my) stylistic conundrum of the vintage:

2018 Dominique Gallois, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Very deep colour. Directly from the fridge (as all my wines), I can’t really describe this as pinot from Burgundy, it smells more like a good gamay cru – but at least there’s no bubble-gum here. Likewise in the mouth, this starts in direct, concentrated, even assertive style. It’s fresh, you might even convince me that it’s pinot – but, initially, not from Burgundy. As the wine warms in the glass the texture becomes more overtly velvet, the structure and flavours relax over the palate – even the nose smells a little more like pinot. It’s absolutely delicious wine of sufficient freshness, purity of (dark) fruit, no hard edges and a concentration that you don’t often find in a villages wine. It is a great regional wine – if you like the style – I can happily drink it despite its overt sweetness, but stylistically, 10,11,12,13,14 are all much more attractive to me. And blind, I still wouldn’t guess that it was from Burgundy…
Rebuy – Maybe

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