recalcitrant renardes…

By billn on March 26, 2020 #degustation

Ardhuy Corton Renardes

Blind-tasted, this was a very highly-rated wine back in 2013 – another from Ardhuy actually won the tasting – I’ll open that one on Friday.

2009 Ardhuy, Corton Renardes
This has a great nose; starting faintly creamy (lactic), with deliciously inviting dark cherry plus a note of violets that slowly evolves, becoming ever-more intense. Wow, that’s silky, at the same time it’s intense, with layered, beautiful, fruit. There’s structure too, but for all that is disappointing me today – it seems like there’s a bit of bitterness from the oak that’s still hanging on in there. Aromatically fabulous, but the palate is far from accomodating today. Maybe it will be ready at 15? Or 20? Today, half a great wine. If I look back at my note from 2013, this wine has hardly changed…
Rebuy – Maybe

weekend wines – week 12 2020

By billn on March 24, 2020 #degustation

The variety of Burgundy in 3 bottles:

2013 Comte Liger-Belair, Nuits St.Georges 1er Aux Cras
Like Louis-Michel’s 2013 villages Vosnes, there’s a little reduction here – but here it’s on a much lower level than those wines. The wine starts round – both the aromas and the flavours – I find a surprising amount of fat and depth here. This wine needs about an hour of aeration to deliver the more classical aspects of this vineyard – more flowers, less fat and an excellently developing line of flavour – here is the structure that I’ve been waiting for but not at the expense of texture – and it’s why I buy this wine. If you are tempted to try one of these, decant. Really super…
Rebuy – Yes

2010 Clotilde Davenne, Saint-Bris Vieilles-Vignes
Now here’s a little more colour than recent wines. The aroma is of more impact but also invitation than the young Saint-Bris of Gueguen, last week. In the mouth too – broad, well concentrated, deliciously flavoured with good intensity to boot. Here is a delicious wine that’s far too easy to drink – at its apogee? Maybe – the bottle drains far too quickly!
Rebuy – Yes

2018 Thillardon, Chénas Coup Double
The name is a nod to the young twins of Paul-Henri Thillardon.
Modest colour. A nose of easy invitation – red-fruited with a suggestion of flowers too. Ooh – that’s a palate to sink into – easy, open but still with depth of flavour. It’s a sweet wine like many from the vintage, but it’s never intense, always cushioning. Love…
Rebuy – Yes

a few recent wines to isolate with…

By billn on March 21, 2020 #degustation

2017 François Carillon, St.Aubin 1er Pitangerets (Red)
Like many from the south of the Côte d’Or in 2017 – no more than medium colour. Aromatically, here’s a lovely core of sweet and attractive red fruit – swirl long enough and I even think we have little violet flowers in here too. I like the energy very much here, it’s also a wine with a satisfying but not austere structure. Mineral finishing. This is very satisfying wine – I like it a lot.
Rebuy – Yes

2018 Clos de la Poulettes, Côte de Nuits Villages Chardonnay
A bounding puppy of energy here. A wine with a certain attractive sucrosity to balance the energy – both aroma and flavour. It’s an endearing wine, with its forward pineapple-style flavour, though by the third glass(!), maybe I’m starting to tire of it a little. Still, a big and tasty mouthful of wine that delivers a fine quality for a good price.
Rebuy – Maybe

2002 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Monts
Of course, it’s a direct comparison with the 2002 Hudelot-Noellat Suchots from a few days ago. This wine is the less complex, easier-going sibling. The nose is inviting and reasonably complex – though far behind what you can find in the Suchots. In the mouth, however, this is a wine that’s much more readily attractive due to an extra sweetness of fruit. Clearly less complex but a tasty wine that’s more moreish than the Suchots at this stage – it’s completely ready. I remember Jacques Lardière telling me that Petits Monts was only a ‘second division’ Vosne 1er – maybe the fruit that he had access to? – but in this comparison, he’s got it right. But this is also the more drinkable of the two at this age. A small amount of wine left for day 2 was less interesting – so drink all on day 1!
Rebuy – Yes – at the old price!

2017 Céline et Frédéric Gueguen, Saint-Bris
I think that it must have been our apero of cheesy-biscuits, but here’s a wine that began in an anonymous way – little flavour or aroma from opening. After about 20 minutes it was either opening, or we were becoming more open to the wine. Modest sauvignon character with a little mint. Fresh with good energy. A tasty wine, though still a slight wine. Refreshing and interesting all the same – also good value wine too!
Rebuy – Maybe

hudelot-noellat’s 2002 vosne 1er les suchots

By billn on March 18, 2020 #degustation

Hudelot-Noellat Les Suchoty

2002 Hudelot-Noellat, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots
Here is a good depth of colour and – what a nose! Wide, it pulls you in, so complex; leaves, tobacco, smoke, fine fruit – age – no, maturity! Fine energy in the mouth, complex too – reflective of that great nose. After the vintages of 2015-2019 you’d be forgiven for thinking that this lacks a little sweetness – but it’s completely classic and ‘ready.’ A wine I enjoyed very, very much. Excellent stuff!
Rebuy – Yes – at the old price!

staying healthy – but now it also gets complicated…

By billn on March 16, 2020 #degustation#travels in burgundy 2020#warning - opinion!

Much is down to chance, but you can also try to be sensible.

Last week in Burgundy, the Grands Jours de Bourgogne was sensibly cancelled. 600-1,200 people per venue, pressing to get near to their favourite vigneron(ne)s, pouring, slurping, making the wine as intimate as possible with all the wet parts inside their mouths/palates – then probably worst of all, in an explosion of vapour, body-fluids and wine, spitting into the large communal spittoons. It’s not just for the peacock in them that many in the trade wear red trousers! So it was clearly the right decision.

Of course, in what should have been a bumper week for trade, Beaune was dead. Plenty of parking – and the restaurants less than one-third full – the hotels less full than that.

To the side of the Grands Jours are also many other gatherings of vigneron(ne)s and private tastings, many of which that hadn’t been cancelled. I took a view as to what was, more or less, sensible to attend – this is, after-all, my job – it’s the only one I have! The Wednesday gathering of les Tontons-Trinqueurs in Nuits St.Georges didn’t quite meet my threshold – approaching 300 visitors and nearly 40 vigneron(ne)s there were simply too many people – such a shame as it’s a great group of producers. I appreciate that my threshold may be more or less stringent than yours – but as a diabetic, this was my choice. Later that same day was the tasting of the Punition Collective – another worthy group of producers – 24 of them, but only 13 from greater-Burgundy. I arrived early, didn’t taste 2018s that I had already tasted in the last 3 months, and was out in about 90 minutes before there was a bigger crowd – over 150 said that they would come to taste – by the time that I left, there were about 50 tasters. Of course, there were people that would greet only with a bump of elbows, but many were still in full-kiss-mode!

The next day I’d a private appointment – no-problem – or perhaps not – we were three, and one had been at the Tonton-Trinqueurs! In the afternoon there was a superb tasting by a bunch of Beaujolais producers; Thillardon, Desvignes, both Suniers, Ann-Sophie Dubois, Pauline Passot, Richard Rottiers, Claire Chasselay and others – on the open square next to Beaune’s Table du Square. I got there early – I was actually the first! I tasted just about everything that I hadn’t tasted in February – we were in the open-air and really there were very few visitors before 5pm – we had started at 3pm. Again a mix of elbow-bumping, handshakes and kisses…

My last appointment of the day was at the cuverie of Andrew Neilsen of Le Grappin – an interesting group of ‘smaller‘ producers. This tasting started at 4pm – I arrived at 5:15pm – I took one look – and the one photo above – and then left. Social-distancing? Not a chance! Way too many people in a very small place – nope – sorry but nope.

I had one last visit on Friday before I took the road back to Switzerland, one on one, and just one elbow-bump. That was surely okay! I was less happy with the sandwich that I bought at the bakery next to Le Grand Frais in Beaune before leaving – or should I assume bare hands putting sandwiches into a paper-bag to be fine? It was, anyway, probably also made with bare hands! But 3 days later I’m still fit 😉

Now it gets complicated though. With its cultural and geographical proximity to Italy, Switzerland doesn’t have one of the best covid-19 records, and countries that surround the Helvetic Confederation are now ‘closing’ their borders – that includes France. I had 28 different visits and tastings planned for this month’s March report – but so far I’ve achieved only 5. I have 9 more planned for next week, but it looks like I can’t travel to France next week – even if I, and my list of growers, are all fit. I have to hope that my subscribers are patient – it could be a long next 4-6 months.

Still, it could be personally worse; I could work for an airline or a restaurant – or even be sick!

more drinks…

By billn on March 11, 2020 #degustation

2018 Chevallier, Chablis
What can I tell you? – another delicious Bourgogne Blanc – actually more like half-price Bourgogne Blanc! Open, tasty, good freshness – even elegance – not the full Chablis experience but a nudge more than the Davenne of the last few days. Elegant and completely delicious wine – just a little less Chablis than normal – perhaps that will come with time…
Rebuy – Yes for bargain great Bourgogne, rebuy – maybe as Chablis – it’s not easy!

1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Le Corton
A few years ago this wine went through a phase of herby almost corked bottles – 3 in a row – or maybe that was a run of poor bottles! But this wine is grandiose today! So floral perfumed – violet-infused with a little extra leafy complexity – a great invitation. There’s a sweetness to the fruit of 1997s that was surprising but comely at the time, but the wines of 2015-2019 might have you thinking that this is only off-sweet! In the mouth this has depth and density but delivered in layers of great flavour – I don’t really know what a violet flower tastes like – but probably like this – so deeply infused is the aroma in the flavours too. Simply a pleasure to drink – balanced and complex – gorgeous!
Rebuy – Yes

a few old friends from 2005…

By billn on March 08, 2020 #degustation

It’s always worth checking on a few old friends 😉

2005 des Croix, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
It’s been a while since I checked in on this wine – last time out it was showing in a rather sweet fashion but was clearly still a great young wine. Today a little less overtly sweet – at least with a couple of thousand 2018s having been tasted behind the scenes! The cork broke in half and then the bottom half disintegrated into the bottle – so it was decanted into a jug.
The colour has lost all of its purple highlights. The nose starts with a modest reductive impression – almost an onion-skin impression too to the darker berry fruit – I’m assuming the cork’s to blame though I note that my last bottle was also a little reductive – the nose improves with time but never quite seems 100%. In the mouth this remains excellent – at this age meagre Bourgognes and indeed plenty of village wines start to thin and screech – there’s not even a suggestion of that here. Mouth-filling, wide, silky but still concentrated wine. Not the perfect example, I’m sure, so less easy to say if this will benefit from more patience – but it tastes super, right now, without any overt impression of aromatic development. I won’t rush to drink my remaining half-dozen, or-so, bottles.
Rebuy – Maybe

2018 Clotilde Davenne, Chablis
What a very tasty wine – plump but balanced, deliciously fruity and with a good nose too. I see only one problem; it just doesn’t taste like Chablis today – a nice Chardonnay for sure – still a great value too, also for sure, but no real sense of place. If it wore a Bourgogne Chardonnay label I’d be heaping plenty of praise on it for the price! I’ve some more – so I’ll give those 2 years to see if this wine can recover its family accent.
Rebuy – Not today

2005 Camille Giroud, Gevrey-Chambertin En Champs
Now that’s a great nose! Complex, the first semblance of dried leaves and finely judged maturity – still young but heading in a very fine direction – it’s such an invitation to take a sip! The palate is concentrated and just a little less yielding than the nose – tasty, with beautifully packaged concentration – but still showing a little tightness in the flavours. Overall much to like and good though the texture is, it’s a little behind the two other reds here, but overall the second-best red of this tasting because of the nose of Croix.
Rebuy – Yes

2005 Michel Lafarge, Beaune 1er Les Grèves
A sweeping nose, super depth – it brings the impression of energy and good red fruit – but it still can’t match the Gevrey in this department. In the mouth, this is different to the previous wines – more direct, lots of energy, really a wine with a more driving and mineral personality – frankly, it’s brilliant here – if it were a white you might call it Perrières or Caillerets. A young wine but such an impressive wine.
Rebuy – Yes

So drinking, but still young wines these 2005s…

weekend wines – week 9 2020

By billn on March 04, 2020 #degustation

I like to keep things varied – in terms of the label – plenty of great acidity in this selection of wines. It’s also nice not to experience corked bottles for the first weekend in a while:

2017 Chanzy Rully Les Cailloux
A very faint toast, but a certain concentration is evident below. Yes, there’s a suggestion of toast in the flavours too, but this wine’s a beauty – mineral, great intensity. Super Rully – a presence that belies the label – bravo! Subscribers will remember how much I loved the 2017 Côte Chalonnais wines!
Rebuy – Yes

2008 Jean Chauvenet, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Perrières
Deeply coloured – the nose is wild, wide and darkly fruited – but what’s that? Vanilla? I don’t remember that! In the mouth, this reflects the nose with a width of seamless, wonderfully textured flavour. The vanilla is less bothersome in the flavours – and of course, the acidity is super. Beautiful balance, intense, but far from mouth-puckering – a great 2008 – despite the vanilla!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Philippe Pacalet, Moulin à Vent
Hmm, thats a lovely nose – partly floral, fresh red berry fruit. Fine concentration and super energy – complexity too. It’s a high-toned, energetic flavour that I might describe as airy if it wasn’t so insistent – sustains a great length too. This wine’s a honey – so yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Céline and Frédéric Gueguen, Côteaux Bourguignone – Sacy ‘Cépage Confidentiel’
Oh – this sings and zings – the acidity of 2014 but nothing sharp – more overt freshness than the 2008 Nuits. So mineral and also so saline. Blind it would leave me confused – I think of Chablis – but not quite Chablis – often one of Burgundy’s great bargains!
Rebuy – Yes

2013 des Chézeaux/Berthaut, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Chézeaux
Amélie Berthaut’s first vintage in charge of vinification at the family domaine.
Good depth of colour. The nose is sweeping and interesting – it’s an invitation. Sleek and driving flavour – not quite together at the outset but it comes together well with some air – the structure has just a suggestion of rusticity. 2013 remains a vintage that needs to find its place – the wines can be ordinary or great – this one starts a little ordinary but gets better and better – it’s tasty but it’s not yet great though!
Rebuy – Maybe

2016 Domaine de la Pirolette, St.Amour La Poulette
Wow – from start to finish, this is a great wine; so sleek, so silky-textured, so mineral too. This is a wine that vibrates with energy – red berry fruit – it’s also very well matched in style to the acidity of many of the wines here. Pure, intense and very classy – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

boeuf bourguignone and lots of corky bottles…

By billn on February 24, 2020 #degustation#seals (not the furry kind)

At the beginning of February, I had a corked bottle of Castagier’s 1997 Clos de la Roche. The middle of February I had corked bottles of Vincent Dauvissat’s 1997 Chablis 1er Les Forêts and it’s not just old bottles because I also had a corked 2018 Marcel Lapierre Morgon Cuvée Lapierre MMXVIII.

This weekend I managed the double; A corked 1999 Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny and a corked 2002 Cheseaux/Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin. Anyone want to estimate the worth of all those useless bottles?

Actually, not completely worthless, the Chambolle was more ‘liegeux‘ – as the french would say for ‘lightly’ corked – I could drink a glass and a half and it was clearly the best showing for the cuvée since this wine was very young. As for the Griotte, it made a lovely sauce for our boeuf bourguignone – washed down with a delicious glass (or two) of 2019 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau – who would have thought that this would be the best way to employ these last two bottles before opening!

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