Well, it was too quiet today!

By billn on July 28, 2021 #the market#vines for sale

Let me know if you’re shocked at such unsubstantiated drivel in these pages or whether you’d like to see much more 🙂

I’ve been storing up the rumours and other ‘non-announced’ changes for some time, so why not let’s run through a few of them – I can only get in trouble for suggesting such heresies!

The highest category of unconfirmed rumour:
La Grande Rue & La Tâche(Right: La Grande Rue and La Tâche.) I recently visited Domaine Lamarche in Vosne – and what a beautiful range of 2020s Nicole Lamarche has produced!

Only afterwards, discussing my visits with others, was I exposed to the rumours of an imminent €800 million payment by LVMH for the domaine – this seemed to be corroborated by a second source who, according to them, noted that LVMH is currently interviewing for senior winemaking position for the Côte d’Or – assuming they are not looking for the 3rd head of Lambrays in 3 years and that Domaine Eugenié is remaining stable in its 15th year!

But from sources much closer (geographically) to Vosne-Romanée, it seems that maybe the domaine will actually be splitting without the intervention of LVMH’s financial largesse. La Grande Rue to Nicole Lamarche and all the remaining vineyards to Nathalie Lamarche – note that the domaine has labelled all the wines as Nicole Lamarche since 2018. Nathalie doesn’t have an ‘agricultural structure‘ so those who suggest that they are in the know are placing those remaining vines/appellations with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair in a fermage deal – let’s see – but it would be very good timing for his shiny new cuverie!

There remains the subject of the reported €800 million LVMH acquisition – if such a thing exists – which others suggest it still does – but they are now pointing their fingers in the direction of a famously under-performing domaine in Gevrey-Chambertin. Of course, if such sums of cash are to be believed, then it would have to be Gevrey’s biggest owner of grand crus – no?

And the following are not really rumours – there are simply no press-releases.

1. Domaine Bernard Moreau
For me, a doyenne of Chassagne. This domaine has been run for a number of years by the brothers Alex and Benoit Moreau. The split between the two, apparently, has been coming for a long time but with Benoit well underway building his new winery, possibly ready for the upcoming harvest, I’m awaiting some kind of confirmation on the way forward…

2. Domaines Duc de Magenta & Vougeraie
The Duc de Magenta’s choice slice of Chassagne, their 4.57 hectare 1er Cru Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle (Monopole), has been leased to Domaine de la Vougeraie from this 2021 vintage. The Magenta estate was 12 hectares, I’ve not heard that any other parts are on the move. It will be virtually the only wine in Vougeraie’s line-up that’s not certified organic – but they are already underway to start this (3-year) certification process.

A short 2021 update

By billn on July 27, 2021 #vintage 2021

This is the week that marks the outliners of veraison – the first berries are changing colour.

There’s been a consistent delivery of rain across the summer – actually dryness that has been punctuated by rain – sometimes heavy, causing short-lived rivers on vineyard paths. That said, coming from a Springtime deficit of rain, the Côte d’Or is now just below or already above the long-term rainfall average – it just depends on the village. Despite many stormy incidents and plenty with hail in the region. the vines have, so far, avoided new incidences.

So far it’s not really been a hot year – plenty of days have exceeded 30°C but there have been many cooler days too. This mix of warm and humid then cooler is keeping the risk of mildew high and oïdium remains an issue. Even a little botrytis can be found – but it’s too late for any treatment for the latter. The last treatments before the harvest will depend on the approach to viticulture of individual domaines but some have already made their last treatments before heading for their summer holidays and others will probably spray for the last time next week.

To date, the general timing of maturity in 2021 still resembles the trio of vintages; 2019, 2016 and 2012.

And, the best thing to do on a rainy Saturday in Beaune:

touring the côtes last week…

By billn on July 26, 2021 #degustation#travels in burgundy 2021

weekend wines week 28 2021

I suppose I should start with the weekend wines (week 28, 2021)

2019 La Grosse Pierre/Pauline Passot, Chiroubles Claudius
Average of about 80-year-old vines. I’m so glad to have bought a 6-pack of this.
A perfumed and energetic nose – suggesting crunchy fruit and minerality. Depth of flavour, nicely textured and with a wonderful mineral bite. A seriously great wine of energy and flavour dimension – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

1991 Unknow Négoce, Clos St.Denis
Over the last years I’ve seen exactly the same packaging (capsule, short cork, label-font etcetera) on a number of auction bottles in Switzerland. My experience is that they are of modest quality at best, often not a lot better than Bourgogne standard – even the grand crus – some of them I’ve simply used for cooking. This particular bottle is a little better than average – I even chose to take a second glass on both the first and second evenings I tried it. Not bad…
Rebuy – No

2009 Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Ruchottes
A nice long cork – 54mm and untreated it seems. For this bottle it’s done its job – most of my 2010s are dead but this is very much alive.
Alive, though a little tight: The nose is narrow but deep – flinty-mineral in style but almost absent of fruit. In the mouth it’s broad and complex – very mineral, not fully delicious, but impressively complex. The finish is very long. I assume a tight phase – it was certainly more delicious when younger but this particular bottle has held up well.
Rebuy – No

Just a few places from last week:

2007 L&A Lignier Gevrey Les Seuvrées

By billn on July 14, 2021 #degustation

2007 L&A Lignier Gevrey Les Seuvrées

2007 L&A Lignier, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Seuvrées
This colour starting to add a little browner cast to the rim. The nose starts with a little white mushroom which fades to show that slightly sauvage Gevrey feeling, still with some faint barrel cream showing through – there’s a lot to find in here – eventually a balsamic/red-cherry fruit – lovely. Compared to more recent vintages there’s an off-ripe leading edge to the generous fruit and, here, is a more overt slug of creaminess from the oak. The finish is narrow but has fine length – minerally accented. The mid-palate oak is a little excessive for me but otherwise, this is a wine where I’m finding a lot to like.
Rebuy – Maybe

2021 weather update

By billn on July 13, 2021 #vintage 2021

mildewToday the weather is changing in Burgundy and once more for the worse.

The growers had been hoping for a couple of weeks of dry weather to rid themselves of the growing issue of downy mildew (right) even powdery mildew in some places too. Here are the main differences.

It seems that, for now, it’s going to stay wet and cool – the rain arriving today and holding station until at least Sunday. Whilst mildew is relatively under control in the Côte d’Or and Hautes Côtes, you don’t even need to get out of the car to spot strongly affected areas of vines in the Côte de Chalonnaise.

Coupled with the rain we have, once more, cooler temperatures too – this week, the forecast suggests that we will hardly break 20°C. At least the cooler temperatures are keeping the threat of oïdium under control though it’s still more prevalent than 1 week ago. From the perspective of weather, this is going to be a very different vintage to those of last 5 years. For now, the pacing of the maturity has retarded from 2012 to more like 2016 – so currently three weeks later than 2020 – but it’s likely to speed up in the areas where the yields are smallest – a lower yield ripening much faster than a higher one.

We are still probably about 2 months from the harvest, but the habitually earlier pickers tell me that their smaller yielding parcels might be ready to pick around Monday the 6th of September. I’ll keep you posted.

offer of the day – louis jadot 2019

By billn on July 13, 2021 #the market

DOMAINE LOUIS JADOT 2019

As always, from my local, Swiss merchant. Maybe I missed it earlier this year but the offer seems later than usual. The 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 offer prices in the brackets to compare, and — means not offered)

LES REDS
Beaune Clos des Ursules Monopole 1er Cru 2019 75cl 59.00* (64.00, 59.00, 59.00, 55.00) (Swiss Francs)
Beaune Clos des Ursules Monopole 1er Cru 2019 150cl 123.00 (133.00, 123.00)

Corton Grèves Grand Cru 2019 75cl 85.00 (85.00, 79.50, 79.50, 79.00)
Corton Grèves Grand Cru 2019 150cl 175.00 (175.00, 164.00)
Corton Pougets Grand Cru 2019 75cl 85.00 (85.00, 79.50, 79.50, 79.00)
Corton Pougets Grand Cru 2019 150cl 175.00 (175.00, 164.00)

Chambolle-Musigny Fuées 1er Cru 2019 75cl 89.00 (89.00, 85.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Baudes 1er Cru 2019 75cl 89.00 (89.00, 85.00)

Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru 2019 75cl 149.00 (155.00, 149.00, 145.00, 138.00)

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2019 75cl — (149.00, 139.00, 138.00, 128.00)
Echézeaux Grand Cru 2019 75cl — (209.00, 159.00)

Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2019 75cl 209.00 (209.00, —, 188.00, 169.00)
Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru 2019 75cl 288.00 (288.00, —, 269.00, 259.00)
Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2019 75cl 328.00 (328.00, —)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 2019 75cl 349.00 (349.00, 339.00)
Musigny Grand Cru 2019 75cl 798.00 (798.00, 795.00)

LES BLANCS
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru 2019 75cl 85.00 (89.00, 89.00, 89.00, 88.00)
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2019 75cl 165.00 (158.00, 148.00, 139.50, 119.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2019 75cl 318.00 (298.00, 285.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Grand Cru 2019 75cl 389.00 (376.00, 348.00)
Montrachet Grand Cru 2019 75cl 559.00 (549.00, —, 499.00, 428.00)

*Prices delivered, but without the 7.7% Swiss purchase tax…
Almost a softening here, certainly some restraint!

a weeknd without wine – well, almost!

By billn on July 12, 2021 #travel#travel pics

Sunrise in Sedrun
Sunrise in Sedrun, Graubünden (Switzerland) – an early breakfast was required…

There actually was some wine on Saturday evening – to celebrate still being alive – something from Sardinia – it seemed the most interesting on the hotel’s list. For the previous 5 days not a drop had been drunk, though with visits in the Côte d’Or, plenty had been ejected to the spittoon that week.

You will probably know that I’m a keen runner, one that has mainly taken to the trails in the last years as this surface seems less aggressive on a sensitive hamstring of mine. Last year I decided to try my first mountain course though typically aggravated said hamstring about 10 days before the race, so couldn’t take part. One year later, last weekend, it was time to try again. Of course, I aggravated my hamstring again just 4-5 days before the race this time but not enough to put paid to the trip – I could anyway use it as an excuse for not trying too hard – runners are well known for preparing their excuses ahead of time 🙂

To collect our race numbers and to be allowed into the start area we had to show our vaccination infos – easy in Switzerland as it’s one of the first countries to have rolled out the covid app with vaccination info on your phone – a QR-code. That box ticked, we were allowed into the athlete’s area without a mask – a novelty in public these days.

Concerning the race, I think the technical term (today) is WTF!

The bald stats – 16.4km – though my GPS said that I did 16.8 – with 1,250 metres of climbing up to 2,500 metres altitude, numbers that seemed abstractly no problem. I did the baby race, not the marathon (that enjoyed double the amount of climbing) and I’d assumed about 8-9 minutes per kilometre for each 200m gain of altitude and then the rest of the course would be downhill – so easy – or(?)! Pff! – more like 12-13 minutes per kilometre and one was 15 minutes – the last major uphill one, fortunately – as it is simply impossible to run or find sufficient space for overtaking – the latter is only possible through the kindness of those in front of you, by making space for you. Early on, I thought I would have to properly stop and take a rest but somehow came through. I was a little faster than those around me on the downhill and only landed on my arse once – fortunately, in this particular place, there was only wet mud/grass rather than the moonscape of rocks higher up the hill. Thank god for Goretex shoes – but my socks will never be white again 🙂

The result was still my slowest 10-mile race ever, yet surprisingly, one that delivered one of my highest finishing positions for years too. Mountain running requires a level of resoluteness that I’ve never needed when racing on the roads. The place and the people, indeed the event, I loved but my initial instinct was ‘never again‘ – I didn’t notice any of the views from 2,500 metres – I certainly only saw the place for my next footstep on the harum-scarum downhill!

So, never again? As my better half explained – ‘Yes, that’s what most women say when they give birth to their first child – but most will do it again.‘ And you know(?) I can already see how altering my training can bring me an improvement of at least 1 minute per kilometre… 😉

Sunday when we got home we drank a little Chablis from one of the J.Moreau samples from Thursday – no surprise that it was less good despite being left stoppered in the fridge – 72 hours open clearly being of no advantage!

zooming some J.Moreau Chablis today

By billn on July 08, 2021 #degustation

Lucie Depuydt Chablis J MoreauTasted today with a virtual connection to the winemaker of J.Moreau & Fils, Lucie Depuydt.

J.Moreau are one of the most export-oriented labels of the JC Boisset group of Nuits St.Georges, because of that, this label is much less well known in France than their export markets. Here was a chance to catch up with Lucie and some early-bottled 2020s and a couple of later-bottled 2019s.

This producer makes wine from 250 hectares on contracts from all around the Chablis region. Lucie says that she has a slight preference for the southern side like Chichée and Courgis but that, amongst other, Béru and La Chapelle de Vaupelteigne also bring nice aspects to the quality of their wines. “We have about 30 partner vignerons on long contracts – we really do consider each other as partners and each of those producers brings with them the histories of their parcels.

“We press the largest part of the grapes ourselves but some from Courgis and Beru, for instance, all come as must as that’s the easiest way for those suppliers… We try to keep the maximum amount of sediments during our elevage, not just because it helps against oxidation but because I also like the extra richness that the lees can bring. Our fermentations are initiated with a ‘pied de cuve’ which are of course the local yeasts. I think the extended contact with the lees and keeping the lees in suspension does is really important and it doesn’t have to be the same as the mechanical process of batonnage. The extra protection afforded by the lees coupled with the full malolactic fermentation brings very good stability to the finished wine too.

The Chablis and Petit Chablis are made in stainless steel with an elevage of 6-10 months, vintage dependent. The crus, some part can be with barrel elevage with various barrel sizes from 228 to 500-litre for 14-18 months – so relatively long. So all four wines tasted below were bottled at roughly the same time, despite there being two different vintages represented. The first two wines utilise the new version of Nomacorc and the team here are very happy with the performance, to date. It’s cork for the 1er and grand cru wines.

I also asked Lucie about this year’s 2021 vintage so far:
Well, we have perfect weather for both oïdium and mildew as, so far, it’s been a wet vintage and this weather, of course, follows on from the frost of April. We are waiting for a period of dry weather that will help rid us of the mildew, if, probably, not completely the oïdium.

The wines…

J Moreau Chablis

A few words from Lucie on these vintages too?
2019 was quite a low volume vintage so these are concentrated wines whose aromas remind me of 2009 – actually I thought them a little meagre and lacking personality early in the elevage but they have really grown into a proper Chablis personality. For a time during the 2020 vintage, because of the heat, there was some blocking of maturitis so the wines are more intermediate in the style of their maturity.

2020 Petit Chablis Les Petits Dieux
Was bottled in April – a large market is Scandinavia
Pale yellow. A nicely pure agrume nose. Wide, mouth-filling, mouth-watering with citrus style – there’s weight but also plenty of minerality that keeps the freshness. This is drinking excellently already and the finish is surprisingly long. Super…

2020 Chablis Gloire de Chablis
A May-June bottling. This the result of more than 80 parcels of vines.
Just a little more colour. The nose is rounder and concentrated but less fully open than the PC. More direct and higher-toned flavour. Great shape and juicy style – a more grapefruit style to this wine – perhaps with a faint floral/pyrazine top note. Wider finishing and just a little longer finishing. Nicely textured too. That’s a fine villages.

2019 Chablis 1er Vaucoupin
‘One of my favourite 1ers with a strong personality,’ says Lucie. ‘It’s amazing that there are vines here as there is practically no soil – just rocks but these are also old vine.’ This only in bottle for 2 months.
A width of sweeter aroma, faintly oak and acacia spiced. A mix of richness and minerality – direct in style but with no lack of width. Extra finishing growth of flavour – that’s a wine that impressively grows in presence in the finish. Still keep it back a couple of years as I sense (more than really taste) the barrel. Wait 2-3 years for this impression of the elevage to fade.

2019 Chablis Les Clos
Two parcels – both mid-slope – ‘an intermediate’ soil for the cru – these vines usually harvested early as the maturity comes quickly here. This was bottled this year at the end of April.
A larger nose, plump but not fat, ripe but not too much – a melange of fruits – this is really a wine of mouth-filling volume. Comfortably textured, round – almost too easy flavoured – but the finish is a big one, a little creamy and ripe – far too easy to drink today, but I’d keep this in the cellar for some time hoping for a little extra ‘strict’ in the style.

offer of the day – thibault liger-belair’s 2019s

By billn on July 08, 2021 #the market

Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair 2019 EP/Pre-Arrivals

Prices arrived today from my Swiss merchant. When offered, the prices of the 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015s (from the same time, previous years) are in brackets for comparison. Still no Beaujolais:

NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 75 cl La Charmotte 75cl 55.00* (55.00, 52.00, 55.00, 49.50) (Swiss Francs)
NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES Les Belles Croix 75cl 55.00
NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 1er Les Saint-Georges 75cl 135.00 (125.00, 119.00, 118.00, 109.00)
NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 1er Les Saint-Georges 150cl 285.00 (260.00, 248.00, 256.00, – )
CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY Aux Beaux Bruns 75cl 75.00
CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY Fouchères 75cl 75.00
VOSNE-ROMANEE Aux Réas 75cl 75.00 (75.00, 69.50, 76.00, 69.50)

CORTON CLOS DU ROI 75cl 159.00 (159.00, 159.00, 159.00, – )
CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 165.00 (165.00, 159.00, 169.50, 158.00)
CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN 75cl 175.00 (175.00, 169.00, – , – )
RICHEBOURG 75cl 445.00 (425.00, 398.00, – , 395.00)
CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE 75cl not offered (189.00, 189.00, 198.00, – )

*As always, these wines are without the 7.7% Swiss purchase tax, but include the cost of delivery…
So, a mixed bag – despite a backdrop of lower yields in 2019 versus 2018 – most of the lower wines remain with consistent pricing. Those more iconic wines of the domaine – it’s no problem to add a little more, eh?

Burgundy Report

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