Barthod’s 1999 Chambolle…

By billn on August 26, 2021 #degustation

1999 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-MusignyThe village Chambolle. Another case rescued from solitary confinement in the UK. Way back when – this was an en-primeur purchase – I don’t think I paid more than £23-24 a bottle; peanuts in a modern context but not inexpensive when you consider that Engel’s Grands Echézeaux cost £40.50 and some of Fred Esmonin’s grand crus were under £30 in the same EP campaign!

1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
Another nicely robust cork that needs energy to remove but comes out in one piece – hardly any ingress of wine colour along its length.
A shade more depth of colour versus the 1999 Bourgogne today – but only marginally. This nose starts both deeper and fuller – almost a velour texture to it – but any purity of fruit is lacking for the first 20 minutes after opening – slowly but surely it comes into focus though and is more floral in character than that of the 99 Bourgogne – there’s the merest, and only occasional, accent of brett too but it’s significantly below any threshold of displeasure on my part. An hour in and the nose has a bit of beef-broth going on. Ooh, that a big wine in the mouth – not seamless but powerful – full of detail and complexity. This is still a bit of a baby but with so many positive aspects. I forgive the youth because I’m too busy with the next little note of complexity that comes along. There is a bit of brett which begins to add some frustration – though all the bottles will be different. The now modest tannin still has a drying accent too but parts of this wine are beguiling. Better than a Curate’s Egg but still far from perfect.
Rebuy – Maybe

weekend 33 2021 – two bottles

By billn on August 25, 2021 #degustation

weekend 33 2021 bottles

Including another Barthod from my (previous) UK storage – there are more…

2018 Auvigue, Pouilly-Fuissé La Frérie
Cork sealed – the climat name used here.
A forward, slightly round nose – there’s fresh intent but framed with a lemon-custard impression. A wine that, like the nose, starts round but then comes to a more intense point of flavour – here at the end, along with a suggestion of salinity, before that the lemon-custard style of the nose. Delicious it is, and that’s despite a lot of flavour having an origin in the barrels.
Rebuy – Maybe

1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Bourgogne
Nearly a full case of this ‘rescued’ from the UK. Cork-sealed, still robust too.
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts a little tight but then bursts into action with a very high-quality, purity of, red fruit – thats very lovely and it has some depth too. Aromatically this seems rather younger than its 22 years – just adding a slightly mineral and graphitic quality with time. In the mouth, this is lithe, direct too. There’s a small fur of tannin but it’s largely bereft of dryness. I love the line and fine acidity here. The finishing flavours recollect the mineral style that became evident on the nose. Overall good sweetness yet this remains a wine of indeterminate age, drinking well despite no overt age-related sous-bois / dried leaves. Not the extra – complete – ripeness of recent vintage Bourgognes but with a clarity of fruit that is different. Lovely wine…
On day two the mineral aspects are more to the fore and there’s a little extra bitters creeping into the finish – it was finer on day 1.
Rebuy – Yes

a couple more bottles from last week…

By billn on August 24, 2021 #degustation

Whilst in the UK last week, I took the opportunity to take delivery of ‘stocks’ of wines that I’d kept in different locations. I’d anyway not visited the UK for three years so it seemed silly to keep paying storage charges for wines that I wasn’t drinking. Delivery duly received, I just had the matter of navigating the post-Brexit customs when I returned home via France. Fortunately being one of the first off the boat meant that they were not ready to ask questions as I sped home on Saturday 🙂

Here are just some thoughts on two that I opened midweek without taking any notes – spot the generic similarity of the labels:

2004 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny: There’s a long and boring story behind the reason for having a case from this vintage but given that 9 bottles remained I thought I’d make a quick raincheck on how bad they could be! Though the pyrazine taint remains obvious to me, the wine is round and has good flavour too. I even took a second glass which means I liked the wine more than I expected to – clearly I wouldn’t rebuy though!

1998 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin:
Previously, this was always a good wine aromatically spoiled by a very ashy oak treatment. There remains more than a hint of cigarette ash on the nose even at close to 25 years of age but the fruit has become rounder and the wine generally more accommodating. The ash is hardly visible in the flavours and I must say, this is rather atypically round and sweetly fruited for the vintage – the acidity is fine though – there were no obvious tannic references to the vintage either. A smooth, supple and delicious wine – only 3 or 4 remain from this case but I will be enjoying them over the next few years.
Rebuy – Yes today. Due to the aromatic oak, I know I was less positive in the wine’s first 15 years!

A Yorkshire lunch – in three acts…

By billn on August 20, 2021 #degustation

A short hop to Leeds – so a Yorkshire lunch – even if one of us didn’t have the fortune of originating from that county 🙂

(My) Lunch was French onion soup, venison Wellington and nibbling from a selection of cheeses. I can’t remember the last time I saw this soup – is it just a Paris thing? Not a large volume of food but with a few bottles to keep the three of us company it still required our attention for 4 hours!

1999 Rougeot, Meursault 1er Charmes
The label tells that this was recorked at the domaine in 2015.
Now that’s a very lovely nose, sweetly fruited but with a fine focus and just a little age-related complexity – that’s just lovely. In the mouth this is incisive but still concentrated; agile and mineral too. I’m liking the precision and minerality here – a lot! I guess that it’s my wine. Simply super wine!

2009 Comtes Lafon, Montrachet
There’s a bit more basso-profundo to this nose, still a suggestion of oak toast too, so it’s a surprise when it bursts over the palate with energy and a taut style yet is still so broad finishing. There’s a creaminess to this finish that I put down to age, rather than the barrel – I’m guessing a wine of the early 90s (93-95) – I should have taken more care with the colour! – but certainly grand cru from the breadth and length of this wonderful finish – it’s a better wine than the 1999 but not by as large a margin as the label suggests as it’s much less chiselled but given the vintage, no surprise… An absolute treat!

Served as a pair and we knew the vintage:

2006 de Montille, Volnay 1er Taillepieds
Modestly red in colour and very red-fruited too – only with time taking on some extra, saline, complexity. Round in the mouth and very accessible – deliciously accessible – though lacking any great intellectual rigour. Time in the glass showed a wine that was developing in multiple directions and becoming more complex though never losing the ‘easy’ tag for me. I guessed Cote de Beaune 1er but was surprised when the wine was revealed having always considered this cuvée to be something stricter…

2006 DRC, Grands-Echézeaux
Wow – immediately I’m thinking of fine structure and the great grand cru complexity of Cote de Nuits aroma. The first taste doesn’t disappoint either! Structural without pain, accessible but with no lack of complexity – mineral wine but without austerity. Yes it’s young and structured but it’s so drinkably delicious too, despite the authority of this performance. The minerality takes me in the direction of a top Clos de la Roche but never for a moment do I note anything of Vosne spice or the roses of whole clusters – but who cares – this is great wine!

And our last pair…

1996 Dominique Gallois, Charmes-Chambertin
The first wine I ever bought en-primeur!
Ooh – that’s also a rather good nose – of more structure and maturity than the DRC – but not by a lot. In the mouth, broad, fresh and energetic – clearly more acidity and tannin too – though never too much in either area. There are some parallels with the previous wine but that younger wine is clearly more sophisticated. Still, I’m very happy with this and the acidity tells me it’s my wine. Balanced and precise, the structural overcoat still has a few creases to iron out but for a, generally speaking, sometimes slightly bland (grand) cru – in comparison to its neighbours such as Latricières etcetera – here’s a wine with character in spades and I love it.

1997 Ponsot, Griotte-Chambertin
Here the nose is certainly redder and riper than the last – less chiselled indeed a little diffuse but with no lack of invitation. Broad, again red-fruited over the palate, almost disarmingly lush. Simply delicious wine but of this pair, give me the little extra rigour, the strictness and complexity combined in the 1996.

I’d call that a great lunch!

weekend #32 2021 – not many wines…

By billn on August 16, 2021 #degustation

weekend 32 2021 wines

For me a very short weekend, as on Saturday I took ‘advantage’ of the new, less stringent, requirements for UK entry – via France. Still, there was the modest matter of 1,300 km to drive over 17 hours: Hardly any people on the boat – maybe because the flexible return cost £400! – still, that was cheaper than the tunnel or flying and having a hire car for a week! I’m now double vaccinated, very tested, and at large in the UK for a short few days. But, returning to the theme of wine:

My first bottle showed the travesty of all my Nomacorked Alsace Grand Crus – I could use that word interchangeably with ruined!2000 Sylvie Spielmann, Riesling Bergheim, bought from Sylvie at the domaine circa 2002. The cork didn’t come out in one piece but it had done a good job; the wine deeper coloured but with no hint of oxidation – becoming a little tertiary and petrolly – but very clean and drinkable – yum.

2007 Comtes Lafon, Volnay 1er Santenots du Milieu
A robust cork that came out in one piece.
Great colour for the vintage – still plenty of depth and no overt look of age. A lovely nose, layered with red fruits – still a wine of youth – yet completely approachable. In the mouth there is a width of flavour that, like the nose, seems to melt over the palate in layers – texturally it’s very nice too. Good energy and clarity for this vintage with the merest frame of bitters that indicate a vintage of less easy ripening than we experience today but this counterpoint bringing a lovely extra dimension to my interest. I found this completely delicious and am happy to have a few more in the cellar – at least I think I have!
Rebuy – Yes

weekend #31 2021 – some wines…

By billn on August 10, 2021 #degustation

weekend 31 2021 wines

Three winners this weekend…

2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Corton Clos du Roi
Hmm, this is a 2008 but one with no lack of aromatic depth or concentration. There’s the first impression of some sous-bois in the mix together with a beautiful floral width – that’s lovely. In the mouth this has good impact and super width of flavour – there’s a stony element to the fruit but with flavours of great punch. Slowly, slowly lingering on a more mineral, slightly herbal finish. No shrinking violet and at the edges, you can see it’s from a cooler vintage though the core remains impressive and delicious.
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Laurent Tribut, Chablis
All the different parcels of the domaine assembled, some from above Beauroy, but mainly from near Forets.
An encompassing nose – faintly with a little apricot – no, peach. Lovely shape in the mouth, cool-fruited and more mineral than when young. A 2015 but clearly from Chablis – and delicious too. Lovely wine
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Antoine Sunier, Régnié Montmeronts
I bought some of this so had high hopes.
Plenty of colour. Vibrantly, sweetly perfumed fruit. I’m loving the energy here but it’s still a supple wine. The flavour has a slightly direct style but it’s also deeply flavoured. A wine that was drunk all too quickly – and that’s a great sign. Excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

3 whites for hot days – remember those?

By billn on August 04, 2021 #degustation

3 whites for a hot day...

2019 Jean-Charles Fagot, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Les Champs Huillier
Is Jean-Charles a restauranteur, a winemaker or drummer? – we should know! This from vines close to Chassagne
A very attractive citrus nose, green-citrus. A nice vibration of energy in the mouth, slightly saline and a little mineral too – refreshing and delicious!
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Céline & Frédéric Gueguen, Chablis 1975
Not the domaine’s oldest vines but they are separated into a cuvée because it’s the birth year of both Céline & Frédéric!
A more compact nose, still with citrus but the salinity is more to the fore here – as it should be! A wave of concentrated flavour and freshness in the mouth – at the same time it seems a more direct energy too. Delicious again.
Rebuy – Yes

2016 François André, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Aux Vergelesses Blanc
A much broader and more concentrated aromatic than the last two – though not even a suggestion of ‘heavy‘ only ‘more.’ In the mouth this is similarly concentrated with super-impressive depth and width of flavour too – so complex – bravo! Yet. For me, there’s still far too much creamy oak flavour in the middle and finishing flavours. Such an excellent wine but after 4 years in a bottle it’s still too oaky.
Rebuy – Maybe for my taste but yours may vary…

weekend stuff – week 30 2021

By billn on August 02, 2021 #degustation

weekend wines week 30 2021

the good, the bad and the ugly...You could call the seals to the right the good, the bad and the ugly – but those names don’t tally with the physical appearances:

The clean-cut Nomacorc is the villain of the bunch – the first incarnation of this cane-sugar development was an utter disaster for all the wines I bought that were sealed with it – this Alsace grand cru is, I hope, the last Nomacorc in my cellar to be completely oxidised – far, far worse and much more consistently oxidised than with cork. Everyone tells me that the latest development of Nomacorc is working well – which I can accept – but I won’t forget all the bottles I poured away. The semi-rubble of the Pommard Epenots still did a proper job for 30 years so complaints. As for the Brocard DIAM – the Gautheron wears DIAM too – nothing to complain about, as usual…

So you already know that the Seppi Landmann Alsace Grand Cru was irretrievably oxidised and you’ve already seen a note for the Pommard. The 2019 Gautheron Chablis Emeraude remains consistent with previous notes and was delicious. The 2018 Brocard Chablis Boissinneuse is starting to come good – I initially found it a little too easy and insufficiently taut – I think it’s going to come around fine – assuming I have sufficient patience!

So, to the two Beaujolais:

2019 Frederic Berne, Régnié Aux Bruyères
The first vintage of this wine chez Frederic…
There’s a little more fruity oomph about this nose than I saw at the domaine but still the pretty dark fruits are in play. Good initial impact and a sophisticated delivery of texture and flavour. I see a little less energy here than I remember but, all the same, it’s a completely delicious wine – yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Clos de la Roilette, Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
The classic cuvée of this domaine…
Instantly attractive nose. The impact and silk of the last wine with just a little more energetic zip. Mineral, mouth-watering depth of very fine fruit – yes, Fleurie fruit – this is already showing better than when I bought a six-pack at the start of the year. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

two reds…

By billn on July 29, 2021 #degustation

Lapalu Alma Mater - Vaudoisey-Creusefond Pommard Epenots1992 Vaudoisey-Creusefond, Pommard 1er Les Epenots
This cork required some dexterity – one major piece but with multiple fissures and plenty of smaller parts – only one larger one dropped into the wine and it was easy to ‘fish’ out…
Medium colour and obviously a wine with some age to that colour. The nose has a little mustiness to start but that fades with air – there’s still fruit here – even a little strawberry! In the mouth, this starts direct and mineral – structural – but I keep my concentration on the sweetness of the unfolding flavours – again a little strawberry-tinged now graphite minerality and an appealing width of ‘sweet but not too sweet.’ The finish starts better than the start but the start keeps getting better – as Donald Rumsfeld might have said! Thats a lovely wine, still vigorous and one that slowly transitions from subtle to ever-more impressive with air. Lovely!
Rebuy – Yes!

2019 Jean-Claude Lapalu, Alma Mater
JC’s amphora cuvée – he’s been playing with these containers since 2009. All is gamay from Brouilly or Cote de Brouilly – or both – and it’s labelled as Vin de France. This wine also nbeeded some dexterity on opening – this time it was the modest disc of red wax over the cork that fractures into hundreds of pieces!
The nose starts a little dissociated but in only 5 minutes we have beautiful purity of fruit – the aromas redolent of the best of pinot with fruit and flowers – but the flavour is not that of pinot. Vibrantly pure, still framed with a modest texture of tannin but almost juicy finishing too. That’s a beauty!
Rebuy – Yes in a shot!

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