weekend wines – week 48 2021…

By billn on December 06, 2021 #degustation

2016 Chablisienne, Chablis Grenouilles
A wide and attractively open nose – at first sniff the slightly exotic fruit might pull you away from Chablis but its purity and a growing seashore note might bring you back on course. In the mouth, this is proper Chablis – but of concentration – impressive minerality and depth of flavour that is very ‘2016’ – and I happen to be a very big fan of 2016. Not quite to the level of Bessin’s great 16 Valmur – but really super wine, almost a great wine!
Rebuy – Definitely!

1996 Jean Grivot, Nuits St.Georges Les Lavières
Quite some amber, there’s some age to this colour. The nose is actually quite an invitation; it’s clean, nicely showcasing some dried leaves, even a little cooking herbs – it’s lovely. Mouth-filling, plenty pf acidity but with waves of finishing flavour. A wine that has little to do with fruit today, yet is really absorbing and rather tasty too.
Rebuy – Maybe

2019 Verret, Saint-Bris Veaupiery
This nose is a little tight, with some sweetness and a ‘clean’ impression, perhaps a little ripe mirabelle at the base. Hmm, that’s a hint of sweet but not too sweet, delicious fruit. Mouth-filling and vibrant – lovely energy. That’s a great wine, and in 2019 it’s not so much ‘sauvignon’ as simply ‘delicious.’
Rebuy – Yes

2005 – Cornu’s Savigny villages – Les Saucours

By billn on December 01, 2021 #degustation

Cornu 2005 Savigny Saucours

2005 Cornu, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Saucours
Plenty of colour, though it’s starting to show some age. This nose starts compact but clean, fine, with a little brown sugar, slowly a few floral references too. Ooh – that’s very direct and narrow to start with but it’s also beautifully silky too. The flavour broadening out in the finish, slightly metallic but in a good way and of good depth too! The flavours here are still quite tight but structurally/texturally this is very sophisticated, silky, Savigny. Day 2 and this wine is better on all fronts – fuller, more floral aromas and fuller more saline flavours. There’s even some nice red fruit! I still have the impression of a little metallic lilt to these flavours but it’s not excessive. Still, I’d probably consider waiting at least 2-or-3 more years before opening another of these – the quality implies excellent but remains largely latent for this cru, for now…
Rebuy – Yes

des Croix – Beaune 1er Pertuisots – 2010

By billn on November 28, 2021 #degustation

David Croix 2010 Beaune Pertuisots

2010 des Croix, Beaune 1er Pertuisots
Not a lot more than medium colour. A wine that was impossibly floral-perfumed before bottling – today it starts only with fruit – but very fine and pure red berry fruit. Give it enough time and there are flowers too – a smooth lilac impression. Mouth-filling, full of acidic zip but that’s balanced with a modest fat to the texture. At this age the tannin is almost completely submerged – certainly, there’s no grain – just a width of gorgeous and precise flavour – a little fuller and seemingly more concentrated as the wine warms in the glass. I slightly prefer the cooler zip – but I’m splitting hairs. A beauty – bravo – and no rush for my magnums I think 😉 Day two, the wine’s a bit more direct and intense – a little spiced too – so, enjoy it at its maximum on day 1!
Rebuy – Yes


By billn on November 18, 2021 #degustation

Truth be told, I haven’t seen any since Sunday – and that wasn’t in France!

Anyway, there was the sun in the sky this afternoon and what a beautiful red sky at sunset too! It seems the weather for hordes who will come to visit Beaune for this Hospices Auction weekend, will be fine – except for Sunday – that’s not going to be so good. Oh well! Still, it looks like beautiful weather for Beaune half-marathon on Saturday – a shame, then, that I’ll be in Bern – but a stubborn cough 3 weeks after the start of a cold (negative tested) has left my jogging shoes unworn – maybe I will get to restart this weekend.

It’s been interesting to catch up on the rumours, some new, and not yet announced changes of ownership around the côtes – maybe a note about such gossip at the weekend.

Anyway, this has been my single busiest week of visits with 21 – but I only seem to get further behind with the writing – well, the publishing anyway.

2020 is coming into focus for me now – the whites are easy but the reds have a stylistic complication. I’ll share more at the appropriate time. Anyway, importantly, I’ve so far avoided issues with the mobile speed camera parked in front of the Clos de Vougeot – unlike some of the winemakers I’ve visited. Talking of avoiding, I also avoided tasting at the Roi Chambertin today; I went but decided not to taste. The place (Tonnellerie Rousseau in Gevrey) was just what was needed – a more open and less covid-intensive set-up after last year’s cancellation – with plenty of winemakers in attendance too. Unfortunately, it was a backwards step in the tasting process – winemakers stood by a barrel with 2-3 of their wines on top – a mini Grands Jours de Bourgogne. If you want to taste seriously, you do the villages, then the 1ers and then the grands – which in this case would have meant continuously touring the barrels and never being able to taste three Corbeaux side-by-side. So I said Hi to a lot of people, ate a number of gougères and then left. You can’t win them all.

Just three visits tomorrow before heading home for the weekend. Enjoy yours, wherever that may be.

Some of this weeks snaps:

Dominique Gallois – 1996 Charmes-Chambertin

By billn on November 14, 2021 #degustation

Dominique Gallois 1996 Charmes-Chambertin

1996 Dominique Gallois, Charmes-Chambertin
The first wine I ever bought en-primeur – one of the first anyway – there was more than one wine bought in this year (December 1997!) Just 4 bottles of this were left in the cellar before opening – none of the previous has let me down – does anyone else remember when buying 12-packs of grand crus was relatively normal?
Clean, bright, medium-plus colour. This nose has an invigorating mix of darker red berry and a little graphite-style minerality – so pure, so lovelY – it’s relatively rare that wines are brett free at this age but here is one! Time even brings a little youthful floral perfume too. Sweeping lines of fresh, juicy, but also concentrated flavour. Holding a great finishing line – these vines are more than 100 years old today and you can feel the concentration – so persistent is the finish. Fresh, detailed and with a super-fine texture. Charmes is so often an also-ran grand cru – not this one. Bravo!
Rebuy – You Bet!

Nice to, eventually, have one bottle showing great at the weekend 🙂

A brace of 8s…

By billn on November 13, 2021 #degustation

2008 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents du Chien
A little mould on top of the cork but it looks robust enough – not much of pop when it comes out though – maybe the issue here! This is the very first of multiple cases of this cuvée from most vintages 2001 to 2017 where there’s some oxidative ageing.
The nose starts faintly oxidative but with air, the oxidative note fades leaving a more cider background but also a good energy and creamy depth to the nose. Mouth-filling, lots of energy concentrated with good texture and a vibrant, creamy finish. The oxidative impression never fully leaves the palate – a performance where I’m still going to take a second glass – but not a third. Any oxidation completely removes context for me – context such as Burgundy? Or even Chardonnay! But quite tasty all the same.
Rebuy – No

2008 Camille Giroud, Bourgogne Cuvée L
A cork that easily breaks in the middle – I suppose it could be responsible for the more developed style of this wine – but probably not…
Medium colour. Some age-related development and a bit of less interesting beef-stock aroma. Very silky, very mouth-filling- I really love the energy in here. Long, mouth-watering and mineral. Truth be told, this cuvée peaked about 4-5 years ago and that was in magnum too – this is now on the downward. But no hard edges and it’s very drinkable – I opened a 2010 of this not so long ago and that’s still nicely vigorous and complex. Time to say goodby to the last couple of bottles of this one though – drinking a bit better than the Gambal today…
Rebuy – No

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:

  Read more..

a few recent wines…

By billn on November 07, 2021 #degustation

Autumnal Volnay...
See, it’s not always foggy in the Autumn! – Volnay, looking down over the Clos des Ducs

All these wines (over the last 12-14 days showed well. I won’t re-bore you with notes for either the Château Thivin or the Gauthier Montmains as they are practically house wines – only to say that both remain in a groove of showing well.

2018 Domaine Monternot – Les Jumelles, Beaujolais Villages Vieilles-Vignes Reserve
As deeply coloured as might expect for a 2018 – though still modest by the standards of many 2020s! A wide swathe of aroma – modestly spiced darker fruit but a width rather than height or depth. Obvious concentration though still supple. Faintly grained and growing in mouth-watering presence – clearly, a wine approached far too young – I don’t know how long I’ll wait to open my 6-pack of the 2019! But the texture is fine and the liquorice finish is very, very long. Great wine – but give it another 2-3 years as a starting point.
Rebuy – Yes

2010 Michel Rebourgeon, Pommard
Hmm – now that’s a very inviting nose – floral with a fine clarity of slightly darker-red fruit. Yes – that’s quite an executive villages Pommard – the texture is silky and the flavours recalling the floral style of the nose – a very perfumed and elegant Pommard but not wanting for concentration – completely delicious – bravo! It’s a long time since I had a sub-par 2010!
Rebuy – Yes

2012 Henri Rebourseau, Clos de Vougeot
Very deeply coloured. The nose has a lot of density but everything seems clean and quite attractive – darker fruit with some obvious energy. In the mouth another big wine – really concentrated yet with decent balance too. Obviously, a wine that needs to open out a little more. So, not easy to drink today but the density and clarity of flavour bode well for the future.
Rebuy – Yes

1993 Faiveley, Clos de Vougeot
Such a lovely aromatic of dried leaves and herbs, really complex. Full and round yet still structured with luscious, delicious fruit If the Rebourseau grows up to be anything like this one, it will have done brilliantly. Holding strong – still a great wine – none made it into day 2 😉
Rebuy – I wish!

2018 Benjamin Leroux, Meursault 1er Santenots
From the list in Meursault’s Le Souflot.
Plenty of colour but the nose is of fresh, spiced bread and whilst ripe and round is also clean and fresh. Not a laser-like Meursault but there’s some mouth-watering minerality showing through the pure, round flavours. A very tasty wine with more than enough energy to avoid ‘contemplative’ – which is okay at home but not in the restaurant 🙂
Rebuy – Yes

2019 vintage – blind wines today…

By billn on October 26, 2021 #degustation

Young Vigneron's trophy, 2021...
Young Vigneron's trophy, 2021 – the first wave of judging…

I was tasting a bunch of 19s this morning – single-blind as I knew the vintage and AOC. What was clear to me from 8 whites was that none of the aromas sung – one nearly – and that was one of the fresher wines. Essentially, this freshness was the ‘missing’ in this selection of modest crus…

A single crémant interlude – which tasted more like cider – heralded 9 reds for me.

The reds – there were 9 – where not ambitiously oaked for Bourgognes(!) – began with a bit more definition – certainly not all were deeply coloured, indeed this selection had more airy and open wines than dense, deeply coloured samples.

From these 17 samples of still wines, I had a preference for the reds today – only a small sample though…

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