A couple of birthday bottles:

By billn on October 16, 2020 #degustation

The first few vintages of this label were put on general release with the domaine’s other wines. Latterly the cuvée was reserved only for clients in the restaurant trade, though any number of those would later appear in auctions. I was lucky enough to secure bottles of the 1999 and 2002 when released by the UK importer at what, today, seems a ridiculously low price – I wish I still had those catalogues!

I’ve never quite understood the current market pricing of this 2002 wine versus that of the 1999. That’s because I’ve never found the 1999 as complete an experience as that delivered by this 2002 – the acidity of the older wine has always been a little insistent, practically pointy – consistently so. The 1999 was the first of these modern-day Duvault-Blochets and perhaps therein lies the answer to its even more ridiculous price – or perhaps it’s scarcity – but hey, it’s what’s in the bottle that counts, or…(?)

2002 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Vosne-Romanée 1er Duvault-Blochet
It’s a fine, long cork, but it slips out of the bottle worryingly easily – the wine, however, is clearly unperturbed!
Medium, medium-plus colour – quite unlike the brutishly deep colour of the most recent vintages. Now that’s a nose! Faintly spiced, perfumed from the stems, just a little plummy and with the right amount of leafy forest floor – yep, you got me! Here lies the perfect balance and clarity that embodies, indeed emphasises, how good 2002 can be. Never a big or powerful wine, but with such an elegance over the palate, perfectly mouth-watering acidity and lingering flavour. I scold myself for opening it before it is 20 years old but how could this wine ever be better than today? Chastised but happy 🙂 A thimble-full remains for day 2 and the wine seems relatively stable – just a little more ‘pinched’ aromatically.
Rebuy – Clearly if you’ve no other use for the cash!

But we weren’t finished, though I wasn’t sure whether this should be served before or after the last wine, it worked well though:

2001 Frederic Esmonin, Chambertin
‘Only’ 49mm but it’s a nicely sealed and robust cork.
The nose starts open and directly complex – some old oak and florals in the depth but the flowers are on an upwards trajectory. The palate starts almost watery but grows and grows in dimension – it’s also super-silky. This is a wine that never stays in one place, the nose heading more in the direction of leather and beef but the florals growing and balancing. This wine seems so much bigger with air – filling your mouth, slowly adding a little granular tannin. It’s a long way in style from the almost ethereal quality of the DRC – that wine is a more complete experience – but this is a wine that has more impact and more complexity. More is not always better, but this is a super wine, one that has grown from its more meagre youth when Esmonin’s Bèze was clearly better than this – but that’s what I expect from Chambertin – a good one, anyway. A treat – in fact tonight, a double treat! Day two – and let’s be honest, there wasn’t much left over – the leather aroma is fainter but happily there’s no development of brett – the palate remains delicious.
Rebuy – Yes – I seem to remember less than or around £40, way back when…

well, what did you open in the last days?

By billn on October 15, 2020 #degustation

the last days' bottles

For a reason that will soon become obvious, I have some less value-oriented notes coming, but these wines showed a very friendly side for not too much outlay…

2018 Thevenot-le-Brun, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits ‘Clos du Vignon’
Open and sweet aromas – there’s citrus too – a good invitation to drink. Starting with a good blend of volume and concentration, here is a wine with a growing intensity of the same sweetly citrus notes from the nose, wrapped in a lovely texture. Like most 2018s with a fine finish too. Far from a ‘simple’ Bourgogne, certainly a very tasty one!
Rebuy – Yes

2018 Le Grappin, Fleurie Poncié
This from high on the hill in Hautes-Poncié – here the view is down to Moulin à Vent – indeed the neighbouring vines are AOC MaV. DIAM-sealed
Lots of colour – well, it’s a 2018! Here is a forward nose of graphite minerality and dark-fruited freshness – A modest accent of pyrazine perfume blends with the graphite. Mouth-filling, fresh and tasty. Ooh – there’s great finish here. That’s soooo drinkable!
Rebuy – Yes

2018 Château de Chatelard, Fleurie Les Vieux Granits
Aromatically this is fresh and very inviting – almost a crunchy aspect to this dark fruit. Wide on the palate with good freshness – more fruit, less mineral vs the Grappin but with fine, indeed delicious clarity. But finish it on day 1 – the second day, the aromas were clearly a step down.
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Schalentier, Riesling Trocken (Mosel)
Sent by a friend who actually made the wine – a small cuvée and there’s some skin-contact here.
Plenty of colour. I simply love the aroma of riesling, particularly with a little age – this isn’t old, but the skin-contact seems to have endowed it with some of that aromatic extra. In the mouth – yes, trocken – more or less-so is the impression depending on what you eat with it. I found it delicious – I don’t know the pricing, but I liked it very much…

from this week’s inquisition…

By billn on October 09, 2020 #degustation

Tranche 2 rdv

My many thanks for the vigneron(ne)s that put up with my questions this week – many covetable wines for sure!
Purely alphabetically:
Au Pied de Mont Chauve
Jacques Carillon
Jean Chartron
Comtesse de Chérisey
Le Grappin
Antoine Jobard
Albert Joly
Marc Morey
Georges Noëllat
Sophie & Arnaud Noëllat
Alvina Pernot
Baronne Thénard

a ‘value’ weekend…

By billn on October 05, 2020 #degustation

Value wines

‘Wider Burgundy’ offers tremendous value when compared to the over-pricing of many wines from better-known villages in the Côte d’Or. Over the last week, these have been thoroughly enjoyed:

2017 William Fèvre, Chablis
As, together with the 2018, my ‘house white’ this year, I won’t bore you by rearranging the same words used to describe this wine before. Save to say for drinking now or keeping 15 or more years if that’s your wish – simply a great, villages, domaine wine.
Rebuy – Yes

Heading south:

2018 Aegerter, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc Les Corvées
Such an open and floral nose – that’s a great invitation. Wider and more panoramic than the drive of the Chablis, a little plumper too – though never fat – and that’s because there’s a lovely, still slightly mineral energy that runs through this wine. Completely delicious.
Rebuy – Yes

Only a little further south:

2016 Bourgogne-Devaux, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune Rouge La Dalignère
Lots of colour. A forward red fruit aroma that has a modest vanilla accent. Silken texture, mouth-filling, ripe and layered flavour. Like the nose, there’s a subtle accent of oak-vanilla – which I hadn’t noted on previous bottles. All the same, delicious, excellent wine.
Rebuy – Yes

Much further south:

2017 Domaine Girin, Beaujolais Séduction
A fine vintage for the base classification. From one of the best producers, it doesn’t get better than this from the perspective of value:
Deeply coloured. A nose thats almost as darkly, juicily-fruited as the plate. A waterfall of juicy fruit – almost a hint of kirsch but mainly plump dark cherries. It cost about €5 at the domaine, it’s worth easily more than double that. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

my most recent visits – thanks to them…

By billn on October 01, 2020 #degustation

Tranche 1 rdv

Not all the usual faces – okay some, but they smiled 😁

Aiming for a balance between the bright new things and the things you either can’t afford or can’t get hold of 🙂

My first tranche of appointments, including a little terroir insight, though mainly the 2019 vintage for the October report. I was bouncing around the villages a little this week – next week I’ll try to keep it much more focused for both you and the Subaru – 435,000 km!

Alphabetically – though not the same order as the images – they are chronological:

Lauriane André & Jerôme Despres
Thomas & Brigitte Berthelemot
Marthe Henri Boillot
Alexandre Brault
Sébastien Caillat
Lucie Coutoux
Jane Eyre
Philippe Jomain
Fiona & Michael Ragg
Jérémy Recchione
Catharina Sadde
Pierre Vincent

pierre labet’s 2005 beaune 1er coucherias

By billn on September 22, 2020 #degustation

2005 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Choucherias
I remember, 2-3 years ago, this wine being so impressive. Like this wine, my memory has faded, it has actually been 7 years – and for this particular bottle, despite a robust and okay looking cork, time has not helped…
The nose from the very start shouts old and bretty – you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s at least 30 years old, not 15. I find none of the aromatic interest of before. The palate has fared a little better – layered, concentrated and complex – but never losing the bretty undertones. Such a shame. Aeration lessens the brett a little, but overnighting in the fridge exacerbates the problem – spiced brown sauce the resulting aroma – HP or Hammonds – if that means anything to you. Not what I want in my glass.
Rebuy – No – not this particular bottle, anyway…

A white Fixin, a red St.Aubin – and (call me stubborn!) another attempt at 1985….

By billn on September 20, 2020 #degustation

2017 Armelle et Jean-Michel Molin, Fixin Blanc VV Les Ormeaux
A wine raised in a jar (amphora) with plenty of skin-contact it seems. The label proudly announcing Vin Biologique! A robust cork.
Plenty of colour; a little golden and not with 100% clarity. The nose is heavy with the aromas of grape and is a little bready – not elegant but definitely not a turn-off either. Mouthfilling, and with a nice fresh wave of flavour that holds quite well in the finish. There’s plenty of concentration here. You may be forgiven for not being sure whether this is chardonnay or not – so forget ‘Fixin!’ – but this remains a more than tasty glass for all that, one that I’ll happily take a refill of!
Rebuy – Maybe

1985 Guillemard-Dupont, Pommard
A domaine in Meloisey at this time. The cork breaks in more than one place, but I just about kept all of the parts on the corkscrew…
This is a big and open nose – the age is showing with its ‘forest floor’ of wet leaves plus a certain sweetness from the fruit – if you like the smell of older wines, you’ll love this! Mouth-filling, complex, still some layers of oak too. There’s a sweetness to the flavour and generally speaking, this seems a robust specimen of an ’85 – perfectly clichéd Pommard, if you like. The weight and length of finishing flavour is on another level to the Fixin. For what it is – bravo – drinking well over three days (kept in the fridge after opening) and not a hint of brett developed!
Rebuy – Yes (Luckily, I think I’ve more!)

2009 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er En Créot
I still have a few of these handily-sized 50cl bottles – in this case still drunk over two nights. A robust cork.
On first opening, this is a strange blend of sweet fruit and more herbed notes that might imply under-ripeness – both in the flavours and aromas. Yet this is a wine that pulls together very well with aeration – I’m sure it’s still going to improve in the cellar – assuming it takes on the aerated character rather than exacerbating the first impressions! Slowly coming together with some moderate sweetness of red fruit and a less forward herbacity; here is a wine that seamlessly transitions from ‘something to drink’ to a wine where I’m looking forward to a top-up.
Rebuy – Yes

another from 1985

By billn on September 17, 2020 #degustation

1985 Pontbriand

After the abortive – actually horribly corked – 1985 Bertagna I tried my luck with another 1985.

This, a no-name (at least today) négoce. The cork broke in the middle but fortunately in this case I managed to keep it on the worm of the corkscrew. A previous bottle of this had been ‘okay‘ but this was metallic tasting and seemed rather structural – not a particularly attractive glass. This did make it into last weekend’s beef bourguignon! 🙂

1985 cork

1997 – at the double – the le-la’s :)

By billn on September 15, 2020 #degustation

La Romanée Le Corton Bouchard Père

Two grand crus from 1997 – both from Bouchard Père – the Le-La‘s…

1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Le Corton
A wine that went through a strange phase about 5 years ago – the wines all (3 consecutive) seemed corked so I gave up trying them – or maybe they were corked! All my recent bottles, like this one, have been super.
Hmm, a much more forward nose from opening versus the next wine; a little whole-cluster-style complexity and with much to find – this is a great nose! Expressive, open-flavoured – I’m not sure that I would guess Corton, or even Côte de Beaune – this is absolutely delicious though, with beautifully balanced concentration and a sneakily mouth-watering long finish. Ooh – this is really in a great place at the moment. More than excellent.
Rebuy – Yes

1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, La Romanée
My previous bottle of this – 3 years ago – was fabulous. This was also not too shabby!!!
A nose that takes its time to grow in the glass – always fresh but taking its time to captivate – but in time it does with a growing floral accent to the spice – it makes for a very fine invitation. Pow! The nose was certainly understated in comparison to the impact in the mouth – full and wonderfully complex. After 23 years this is still youthful and even a little saline but absolutely a wine that holds my attention – it develops, seemingly without end, in the glass for over 2 hours. Bravo, no question!
Rebuy – Yes

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