hail in beaujolais…

By billn on August 20, 2019 #vintage 2019

Storms have been lashing much of France for the last couple of days – most vignerons all too happy to accept the much-needed rain, despite the rafales of wind that came with it. Southern Beaujolais has been unluckier though – here, on Sunday evening, was hail.

The crus have avoided the hail (so far) this year, but the south of Beaujolais, including the Pierres Dorées, have been badly affected. How to define ‘badly?’ It’s too early to say, of course, but estimates vary between 20 and 50% losses, so ‘badly‘ must suffice for now.

There will be more info as, and when, I have some. In sympathy for the area, I openend two from the region yesterday.

weekend wines – week 32 2019…

By billn on August 13, 2019 #degustation

2014 Julien Duport, Côte de Brouilly Empreinte
Plenty of colour. Hmm, airy, wide, elegant, modest fruit, less modest, indeed forward, florals – that’s a nice nose! The palate has fine width and a juicy, mouth-watering, style to the flavour – much more wine of line, than the width and weight of 2015-2018. Elegant, deliciously high-toned fruit. More classic than the aforementioned vintages – but really enjoyable wine…
Rebuy – Yes

2006 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents de Chiens
Medium golden colour. The nose is forward, pungent almost, some caramel, custard and plenty of mineral. In the mouth there’s much mouth-filling volume, a flavour that’s a little clinging but slowly fades in waves from the middle, onwards into the finish. The nose and first flavours are almost too much right now, but the mid and finishing flavours are excellent. As the volatile custard/caramel of the oak fades I find a more interesting balance to this wine.
Rebuy – Maybe

RIP Bernard Hudelot

By billn on August 11, 2019 #sad losses...

I never met Bernard Hudelot, and now never will, but I only heard only positive anecdotes about this character.

Bernard who died in the last days, aged 77, had rejuvenated the estate of the Château de Villars Fontaine to over 30 hectares of vines. The château a once important bastion, literally, of the region and also of winemaking in the Hautes Côtes.

1996 Hospices de Beaune Corton Charlotte Dumay

By billn on August 08, 2019 #degustation

Hospices Beaune Corton Charlotte DumayThis wine has always been a challenge, but one that I’ve often enjoyed – a challenge in a very 1996 vernacular, but turned up to ’10’ because it is also Corton. This is is easily the best experience of the lot – as it should be, given that wine is now closer to 25 years old!

1996 Hospices de Beaune Corton cuvée Charlotte Dumay* – Prosper Maufoux
Vibrant red fruit, but with a depth, almost a texture, of more mature dry leaves – that’s a big invitation! Of-course it’s fresh and narrow in the mouth, indeed driving. The 1996 acidity is clear but also balanced, and for the first time, I’m beginning to feel some generosity from the very fine texture. An obvious grand cru depth of middle and finishing flavour. This wine was, for the longest time, a test, but today I find it an energising, refreshing joy – I drank a little more than my usual! The best yet from this wine – though now only 2-3 bottles remain from the case…
Rebuy – Yes

*This cuvée a blend of Corton Les Renardes (1.69ha) & Corton Les Bressandes (0.97ha)
Named to remember Charlotte Dumay, who left 100 ouvrées of vines in Aloxe to the Hospices in 1584.

weekend wines – week 31 2019

By billn on August 05, 2019 #degustation

2017 Beaujolais Villages Blanc Clos de Rochebonne
A deep and quite mineral nose with a little citrus skin with a floral suggestion. Weight of flavour, slightly fat but with direction and freshness. Bubbling with modest energy and fine flavour – perfect balance. A little concentrated citrus skin in the finish too – very good!
Rebuy – Yes

2002 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Gaudichots
Medium-plus colour and I have to say, not sowing much age. The nose starts with a waft of forest floor, followed by quite a pronounced tobacco note – this is pretty constant/consistent for at least 20 minutes before a vibrant, and pure, red fruit surfaces – the vibrancy of raspberry – it’s a fine width of aroma too. Plenty of volume, good energy too though to start the palate seems lite versus the complexity of aroma. But this is a wine that grows in the glass, growing, showing super energy too – a wine that just keeps developing – a marker of great class. This is easily the best showing from this 6-pack – unfortunately, there are not many left – great wine!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Collotte, Marsannay Blanc
The first nose has some weight and a ripe lime rigour – it needs 10 minutes (perhaps a little CO2 to blame) to become more open and more enticing. The palate is weighty but also has great balance. Concentrated and tasty – certainly not elegant – but very yum. Nice wine!
Rebuy – Yes

catching up with the empty bottles…

By billn on August 02, 2019 #degustation

Before I left for Piedmonte, I’d accumulated a lovely set of wines – I would/should say an exceptional group of wines. Where I can remember something, or indeed took a few crafty notes, a few words follow about them:

2001 Frederic Esmonin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Ooh, what a big invitation of a nose – old wood, leaves, sweetness – grand cru burgundy ready to go! In the mouth, it’s that same brilliant attack as shown by the nose – sweetness and age. The mid-palate and finish are slightly more compact – here I’d say more like a very good 1er cru – but these wines were cheaper than the more sought-after 1ers when released. A great experience – bravo for the price, but probably behind a great Bèze which would have cost you more than double, but only probably!
Rebuy – Yes

The following trio were drunk at Au Fils du Zinc in Chablis, a lunch that remains indelible in my memory:

2015 Vincent Dauvissat, Chablis Les Clos
Slowly opening; it’s compact but fine nose. Rippling waves of flavour lapping over the palate. Subtle, faintly complex, compact though delicious. Such a baby, yet surprisingly easy wine today – wait, wait – the more patience you have the more the wine begins to open – but today – I’ll be surprised if we are seeing more than a third of what this elegantly pure wine will one-day offer.
Rebuy – Yes

1996 Raveneau, Chablis Les Clos
Deep, some age mixed with freshness, something less interesting in the depth. Ooh, that has such driving, classic, 1996 shape. Similar to the 2015 with good, not outstanding flavour, but flavour that reflects the nose – then pow! Grand vin finish. This wine needs a little time in the glass – perhaps the cork was to blame – a small note on the nose that was present in the first flavour too – but after 15 minutes – it was gone! What remained would simply be ridiculous to ‘critique’ – greatness…
Rebuy – Yes

1986 Raveneau, Chablis 1er Butteaux
The (maybe!) urban myth goes; in 1986 the team here had plenty of wine – so chose to experiment with three barrels of this in new wood. After 5 years in bottle they thought ‘No, still too oaky, we can’t have people thinking that we make oaky wine!’ The same after 10 and 15 years. After 20 it was the sulfur that stood out – the team here were never shy with the sulfur at this time. Finally now they think they might let some bottles into the market:
Deeper colour. Wow, such a big, inviting, complex nose of greatness – bravo – the last can’t match this in either scale or complexity, only drive and elegance! Ooh great, super complex, delicious Chablis unlike any other Chablis I’ve tasted – fabulous! Certainly rounder than the sleek 1996, but great, great wine if clearly a different style of wine.
Rebuy – Yes

2013 Jean Chartron, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cailleret
Picked from the list at Castel Très Girard in Morey St.Denis. We were looking for freshness, drive and chalky minerality – we got exactly that – with a large twist of deliciousness too. This wine has beautiful line and sweetness – but the latter more from ripe citrus than (for instance) botrytis. The line from the middle into the finish was a delight of stony, mineral class. All we could have wished for!
Rebuy – Yes

2012 Vincent Latour, Meursault Les Grands Charrons
Here’s a textbook case of why I like this producer so much. A wine of drive yet with just the right amound of flesh and sweetness to keep making you go back for more. Another excellent wine from Vincent.

These next two deserve to be compared:

2014 Henri Germain & Comtes Lafon, Meursault-Charmes
The Germain, aromatically and for the first flavours is my favourite – there is purity and a certain fresh-fruited sucrosity that is not matched by the Lafon’s more mineral and reductive first impressions. From the mid-palate onwards, it’s all Lafon for me; the Lafon has such drive, such vibrant dynamism that I’m rendered practically speechless – except for wow, wow, wow!
Both: Rebuy – Yes

2013 Fontaine-Gagnard, Le Montrachet
The first nose is big and impressive, likewise the first, obviously riper flavours versus the two Charmes – but not better. This wine slowly starts to take off from the mid-palate – more weight and assuredly great class included. Certainly not ‘better’ than a hypthetical combination of the two previous Meursault Charmes, but individually – almost a better, if fuller wine.
Rebuy – Yes

It was now late in a great evening – so only small, throwaway remarks on the last wines:

The 2010 de Vogüé, Chambolle-Musigny was fresh, bright and had excellent clarity and drive – clearly showing a little of its premier cru roots. Excellent. 2012 Michel Rebourgeon, Pommard 1er Arvelets had less striking clarity but a nice width of drinkable flavour – pure wine all the same. The 2010 Violot-Guillemard, Pommard 1er Epenots was entirely classic – vintage and place – driving, fresh, fine textured wine, showing some early precocity – ooh, that was good! 2010 Lamarche, La Grande Rue Now we are talking – not a massive wine, yet one that easily bests all that have gone before – and after – complex but not massive aroma – wide and lingering, deliciously flavoured – and like the Epenots, another 2010 that’s showing fine, early, drinkability – Excellent. Lastly, the 1996 René Engel, Grands Echézeaux I bought a parcel of this in about 2002 – it has never been very good – I sometimes mused that it was fake and that there was only Bourgogne in the bottle – but here, for the first time, is something of interest – complexity on both the nose and the palate – this tasted really rather good, but it is a long way behind the 2010 Lamarche – even as it approaches 25 years old!


By billn on August 01, 2019 #travel

From a short break in Piemonte, but later today comes an even shorter break, in Beaune.

We arrive in heavy thunder, lightning, rain and hail – but then it was over – seemingly the hail not hitting any of the vines. We made no Piedmontese domaine visits, just a tour of some better-known locations – and of course, there was the eating! In a very short summary; I loved Novello and La Morra. Barolo was nice but almost a disappointment after La Morra. Of course, Turin was more than interesting. Alba gets many compliments though perhaps we didn’t find the best parts – it certainly has a nice shopping street in the centre, but Asti, once you get through the suburbs and into the centre, is on a grander scale which I found much more impressive.

Interesting that in Asti, it seems hardly possible to find ‘Spumante’ in good wine-shops. They sell Moscato-Asti though – only about 5-6% alcohol and sweet – but no bubbles!

Finally, it was absolutely the best decision to take the ‘St.Bernard Pass’ instead of the tunnel for our return – simply spectacular – there was too much cloud for this ‘detour’on our way to Italy.

pics from the last couple of days…

By billn on July 25, 2019 #travels in burgundy 2019

just another 40° day…

By billn on July 24, 2019 #travels in burgundy 2019

The view to Meursault, from Tessons…

Despite, still, very tiny grapes, the vines look great. Unlike the parched grass!

Today, Domaine Lejeune (Pommard) were out in their new plantation of vines – giving them water. Irrigation is not allowed in Burgundy, but the baby vines are allowed to be watered – if required – this, of course, having no effect on the wines as the young vines have no grapes!

Burgundy Report

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