weekend chablis – week 44 2018

By billn on November 06, 2018 #degustation

Rewarding, weekend sippers…

2016 Celine et Frederic Gueguen, Chablis 1er Vosgros
Not such a wide nose, but it has depth. Ooh, this slips easily, silkily, into the mouth, but it is also a wine of deep concentration. Widening over the palate, slightly steely, obviously flinty, such an intensity of fresh, pure flavour – but flavour that says ‘wait!’ Excellent stuff but this for your cellar just now.
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Julien Brocard, Chablis Boissonneuse
Already number 6 from a case of 7! – Yes I know, don’t ask! – but it is so hard to keep my hands off!
A hint of extra fresh and ripe lemon on the nose. The palate is simply more dynamic – beautifully fresh, a hint of sucrosity that’s not obvious on the 2016. A beautifully shimmering finishing energy – lemony fruit in this finish. Not the intensity or concentration of the last but simply a wine of complete and delicious accessibility. Bravo – great villages…
Rebuy – Yes

the medalists – concours des vins du grand auxerrois 2018

By billn on November 04, 2018 #annual laurels#degustation

Yesterday, the latest edition of the Concours des Vins du Grand Auxerrois (Auxerrois Wine Competition) was held, with nearly sixty jurors and 201 different wines entered.

The Confrérie des Chevaliers des Trois Ceps(!) plus chief judge Nelly Lega blind-tasted the wines and in the appended pdf you can see all the results – enjoy…

weekend stuff, week 43 2018

By billn on October 30, 2018 #degustation

Hot-footing back from Beaune on Friday, I thought to myself – Chambertin time! I’d pulled this bottle out for a friend’s tasting of Chambertins and Bèze, but after some date changes, I found myself unable to attend – a big shame – but the bottle was still looking at me, so…

1996 Chézeaux/Ponsot, Chambertin
Ponsot’s 1996s have a reputation for not being ‘on it!’ Laurent counters that no-one should judge his wines before they are 25 years old – okay, I’m not quite there, but close…
The long cork slides out rather easily, but it looks in great shape. The first sniff of the wine shows some oxidative notes but also a whiff of something resembling great Chambertin – unfortunately that was the only decent whiff it gave – afterwards just oxidative notes. On the palate the shape was mouth-filling with an impressive and saline depth and length of flavour, unfortunately everything preceding that was oxidative. I didn’t like it – even if the label had said 1946, I still wouldn’t have been interested to drink further. So then came an experiment – can you still make a good boeuf bourguignonne with oxidative wine? I can tell you that the answer to that, is a resounding yes!
Rebuy – No

Next day, with out boeuf bourguignonne:

1999 René Engel, Grands-Echézeaux
I had the impression that this was a heavier bottle than Philippe had used in earlier vintages. The colour was deep. The nose grew and grew; peppery, herby, mega-complex and saline – it was a rush! The palate was direct and a little narrow – driving you towards the finish. Not that sweet but with a wonderfully impressive weight and length of finishing flavour. Classic but great, young 1999 style. If you want hedonism drink this wine from 2000-2003 in preference to this still rather young wine. With our boeuf the wine widened and fattened, becoming much more accommodating. No doubt great wine – maybe I’ll try another in a couple more years!
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Vincent Latour, Meursault Cuvée St.Jean
I visited Vincent for the first time to taste his 2016s – a very good effort in such a challenging vintage. I re-visited last week, and can tell you that he has brilliant 2017s. He thrust this bottle – a blend of multiple sites in Meursault – into my hand when leaving, and I have to say that this is showing very well.
The nose is open and comfortable, faint hints of oak mingling with a little spice of the village. In the mouth there is the comfortable depth of texture of the vintage but still with enough acidity to enliven this cosseting, silky experience. Just delicious…
Rebuy – Yes

the 2016s of roc des boutires…

By billn on October 29, 2018 #degustation

Domaine Roc des Boutires is a modestly sized estate with 4.2 hectares of vines spread across 14 parcels that were planted (in the 1970s) between 210 and 430 metres above sea level. This a relatively new addition to the stable of wines of the Parinet family – the owners of Château du Moulin à Vent. They bought the produce of the domaine as must since 2011, and finally managed to buy the domaine itself in 2016. So this is their first ‘domaine’ vintage.

The domaine itself is was located in the village of Pouilly – but the team of Chateau du Moulin à Vent don’t have a place there to vinify so bring the grapes to Moulin à Vent – which is allowed because Romanèche-Thorins is one of the villages authorized to vinify Pouilly-Fuissé by the Pouilly-Fuissé décret – the rules!

The difficult growing season manifests itself with yields for all the wines of 20 hl/ha or less – whilst they avoided the 2016 frosts, they were significantly impacted by hail on April 13th 2016, which basically removed the vines’ primary buds. The secondary buds were still in-tact, but much less productive, hence, the yields. The good summer meant that the grapes that remained were in good health.

The wines were fermented 70% in tank, 30% in barrel – on their lees – with a total elevage of 15 months. There was no batonnage and a normal malolactic. Bottled on December 14, 2017.

Samples were kindly provided by the domaine, and were tasted in mid-October:

2016 Pouilly-Fuissé
Medium colour, a nice freshness and a citrus inflection to the nose too – no oak to note. Volume in the mouth, faintly saline but a melting depth of concentrated flavour too. Mineral, just a little vibrant finishing. Hmm, this is rather excellent for a ‘base’ wine.

2016 Pouilly-Fuissé En Bertilionne
Fresh, more depth of aroma, here with an accent of oak – but transient oak – 5 minutes later there is none to find. Beautiful texture, good width of flavour, with concentrated ripe lemon fruit in the mix, faint bitters too – serious, complex wine, mineral-inflected and very long. This should require a little patience but it’s quite something!

2016 Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Bouthières
A fresh nose again, a beautiful line of aroma, almost an impression of sweetened butter to the aroma but no direct vanilla impression like the last. Wide, fresh, more than a little mineral, only slowly melting over the tongue, so a much sleeker impression on the palate. Less open than the Bertilionne, in fact easily the tightest of these three. Super components, plenty of concentration, very modestly phenolic in the citrus finish. Patience, a great wine under construction!

weekend wines – week 41 2018

By billn on October 17, 2018 #degustation

Well, it was my birthday – so they tell me – I stopped counting a long time ago!

Just passing comments: The 2014 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis was fresh, phenolic, questionably ripe, but unquestionably energetic and enjoyed – then once the guests had all arrived I opened the champers! The Jacquesson Cuvée 741 is my style of wine – the nose could certainly have been more precise but the mid and finishing flavours had both nice energy and an engaging clarity – good! Then came three 2016 Pouilly-Fuissé, Roc de Boutires – samples – but why not let an audience appreciate them – details to follow. Then a brace of Chambolle-Charmes from Alex Gambal – the 2007 had a nose that was approaching if not fully volatile but as it began to blow off became engagingly floral. The palate was round but balanced and tasty – good. The 2008 was much nicer with more drive to both aromatic and flavour – it lingered well too – definitely a notch higher interest here. The 1998 Maume, Mazis-Chambertin will be written up in my forthcoming Burgundy Report (on 1998s) – but it was, just for the record, excellent. Lastly a half-bottle of something that looked like engine oil – a magnificent half-bottle of ’20 year-old’ Pedro-Ximenez, Fortnum & Mason – bought there in the summer – magnificent (encore!), great wine – totally unperturbed by either ripe Epoisses or desert. Fabulous stuff!

chästeilet, weekend wines (week 40 2018) and some happy producers…

By billn on October 08, 2018 #degustation#travel

#2017burgundyreport week 1

After my first full week of 2017 visits – see the happy, smiling, faces of the producers above – I returned home for a little relaxation: First there was my 10km Saturday morning jog from Lauterbrunnen up to Mürren with 960 vertical metres of climbing! Whilst my finishing time was my best for 3 or 4 years, my iron will cracked after 30 minutes and nearly 400 vertical metres, from here I alternately jogged and walked for 2 minutes at a time – actually, when it’s this steep, ‘marching’ is probably not much slower than jogging! I know it was only my head, because after 25 minutes of this, as I neared the Winteregg station, I, of-course, ran without problem for the remaining 30 minutes – why ‘of-course?’ Well, here were people walking who would have seen that I wasn’t running – so it was clearly all in my head, not my legs!!!

I met my better half in Mürren and a really excellent rösti for lunch was my first recompense – views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in the sunshine from our luncheon-terrace my second!

Post-lunch we walked for a little over an hour to the cable-car at Grütschalp, but en-route, just past Winteregg, we came upon a gathering of a couple of hundred people – forming a human chain and passing cheeses to one another – well, this is Switzerland!

This was the yearly Chästeilet or ‘cheese-sharing!’

Of-course we had to ask what the chästeilet was! Apparently all the farmers that have cows on this alp between May and September regularly bring their milk to this cheesery (käserei) – it is weighed so that at the end of the season the farmers get the equivalent in weight in ‘mountain cheese’, less whatever is the cheesemaker’s commission. This was the day – the first Saturday in October – that the farmers all come to collect their cheese – mainly round cheeses of 10.5 to almost 12 kg, but also some square ones – apparently for the raclette machines!

On this Chästeilete day the casual visitor couldn’t buy any cheese, but I assume every other day of the year you can buy some cheese here.

A cool tradition that we just happened upon…

Then, of-course, there were some wines over the last days:

2015 Coudert, Brouilly
Plenty of colour, yet modest for the vintage. The nose has drive and a little freshness – more than expect for the vintage and place. Yes – lovely – fresh, open yet with line and vivacity and energy to the flavours – a little dried fruit, raisins, in the middle. Open, succulent – nearly juicy – only modest weight but simply delicious wine. Bravo.

2017 Lambrays, Rosé du Clos
The recent 2014, despite its lovely colour, seemed a bit passed its best, so further investigation was required! This nose has certain freshness of fruit – unlike the cheesy-feet of the 2014 – a sweetness of melon and red fruit. In the mouth there’s good volume and a modest density and richness of freshly delivered flavour. Tasty wine – not particularly special for a rosé but a good rosé. Nice wine. It seems that it pays to drink this young – it’s not that badly priced from the wine-shop in Morey St.Denis – €15…

2015 Albert Joly, Puligny-Montrachet Les Charmes
Vines on the border with Meursault, because of that this wine always tastes more like a Meursault to me, particularly in 2015…
Wide, ripe fruit, almost golden in style. Mouth-filling, a hint of steely minerality before the mouth-wateringly ripe fruit starts to take over. Not a wine of tension despite the balance, but certainly something that is very easy to drink indeed. Always delicious, never very Puligny…

2015 Blain Soeur et Frère, Côte de Brouilly Pierre Bleue
Deeply coloured. Beautifully, fully, cherry-berry-fruited with an accent of coal. Mouth-filling volume, a good line of flavour that slowly decays in a mouth-watering style. A good freshness and clarity of fruit in the middle and it holds well in the finish too. Excellent wine, that’s well-textured and delicious.

weekend wines – week 38 2018

By billn on September 25, 2018 #degustation

2014 Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Blanc Le Chapitre
Quite a deep golden – but then Sylvain has never been one to shy away from ‘low sulfur.’ The nose is relatively tight but fresh with a little ripe mirabelle fruit possibly even baked apple pie but even a faint suggestion of reduction. This is sleek wine, of beautiful, driving, mouth-watering line – it’s just so juicily delicious and with fine, lingering, flavour. Don’t chill this too much or it will be drunk in flash – you have been warned! Great stuff!

2014 Lambrays, Bourgogne Rosé
Medium, medium-plus colour for a rosé. The nose is not super enticing – faintly cheesy-feet and a little high-toned, almost in the direction of volatility. In the mouth this has lovely shape and a little fat to the texture. The initial flavours are far from ripe but the flavour opens out and holds in a definitely un-Bourgogne way. Still, this is quite good at best and a long way from great. I can only assume that this was already best consumed in 2015 or 2016…

2016 Château Thivin, Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Zaccharie Geoffray
Now that’s a deep colour! The nose starts with a little reduction in the depths, but time in the glass, or a little time sans cork, and it’s gone. What remains has fresh width, a little graphite and a beautiful black cherry note. The palate has freshness and weight that intensifies and them melts over the palate in an extravaganza of a bright, pure beam of od cherry fruit. Simply top class! Bravo…

weekend wines – week 37 2018

By billn on September 19, 2018 #degustation

Some 2018s in the mix which, as previously noted, will be written up in a 20-years-on report – but other good stuff too.

Another bottle of the 2017 Julien Brocard, Chablis Boissoneuse this wine is simply too good – that’s most of my case already gone – I won’t even visit to officially taste it until January – what a mess I am! Then what to say about the 2012 Faiveley, Corton-Charlemagne? Directly a wine of impact, clarity, density and an oozing and persistent finish – oof! With time in the glass there’s a twist of firework-style reduction that develops to augment the mineral weight of finishing flavour. I still have a preference for the domaine’s 2014 – mainly for its extra twist of freshness – but I’m not ashamed in any way to have bought this one – how long can I keep my hands of the others? Only time will tell…

recent bottles…

By billn on September 11, 2018 #degustation

Weeks 34-36, 2018. Actually a few wines may have slipped through, but such is life. I’ve also (so far) gone through a Baker’s Dozen of 1998s with more to come, but they will be written up, with a profile of the vintage, in my September report – due out before the end of October.

Whizzing through these; The last days have seen two cremants from Louis Bouillot – the blanc the blanc and the blanc de noirs – both are delicious and advantageously priced vs Champagnes – I’m generally the blanc de blanc type, and I had no change in preference here! This weekend saw two Chablis from Julien Brocard – these are his (Demeter) biodynamic wines, with elevage in concrete ‘eggs.’ The 2015 1er Côte de Lechet, DIAM5 sealed, was more aromatically tropical than the 2017 ‘Boissonneuse’ villages which has already moved onto the DIAM10 closure. The 2015 with more depth, weight and silk to the flavours, the 2017 with a modest extra freshness. The 2015 is better, but not a massive margin – these Brocards are not cheap but it’s a fabulous boutique range with beautiful packaging.

Of-course from another class was the 2012 Jean Chartron, Chevalier-Montrachet Clos des Chevaliers – and so it should have been, a relatively restrained nose but what length and presence – simply a wow wine – a privilege… The magnum of 1981 Clavelier Corton-(Clos)Rognets was fresh, robust and very clean – I suppose it had been filtered, but that ensured we could enjoy it over two nights – it had become musty by the third. The 1999 Remoriquet was excellent, earthy, ‘graphitey’ and complex – super – and a relief as the previous bottle was not up to par. 3 or 4 more remain in the cellar. My second 2016 Diconne Auxey-Duresses VV was just as good as the first a month or two back – delicious, classy white burgundy and a bargain too.

Burgundy Report

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