say goodbye to william fèvre

By billn on July 21, 2019 #sad losses...

I had always assumed that William Fèvre, of the eponymous grand domaine in Chablis, was somebody who was long lost to this world – but I was wrong.

William was born in 1929 and only departed this world two weeks ago. He established his, I would say, emblematic Chablis domaine in 1959, and with only 7 hectares of family vines. Given the ravages of frost, this was a hard time for Chablis, but a good time to accumulate vineyard land, such that when William sold his domaine to the Champagne house of Henriot in 1998, it had grown to 64 hectares, including 15 hectares of grand cru. Today, still under Henriot, the domaine now stands at 78 hectares plus the equivalent of many more from purchased grapes

The Fèvres have, for hundreds of years, worked the vines of Chablis, predominantly from their base in Fontenay-Près-Chablis, and it remains a large, extended family, including independent producers such as of Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre.

Goodbye William Fèvre…

Chablis yesterday:

2005 camille giroud volnay taillepieds

By billn on July 18, 2019 #degustation

Camille Giroud Volnay Taillepieds

I remember an apology (many years ago) ‘we only had labels from 2006 left‘ – no problem – it’s the wine that counts – eh?

2005 Camille Giroud, Volnay 1er Taillepieds
The cork broke into two – but had, otherwise, done a good job.
Plenty of (only modestly aged) colour. The nose is big, frank, and inviting – there’s a super depth of concentrated red fruit, topped with floral notes and a subtle anecdote of barrel. Like the nose, the flavour is just so concentrated but with acid-led energy too – fine texture but no fat. Long, direct and highly impressive. Open, but still very youthful. Half of this made it through to day two, and here the concentration and impressive balance remained, but overall the performance was tighter, still direct, but no-longer floral. Potentially great wine – but only if I can keep my hands off my last 2 bottles!
Rebuy – Yes

weekend wines and pics – week 28 2019

By billn on July 16, 2019 #degustation#travels in burgundy 2019

Hmm, not really ‘grand’ wines, but plenty of delicious wines!

The first two from ‘the list’ in Beaune’s The Publican pub:

Nicolas Maillet’s 2016 – was just a great wine, and cheaper on the wine-list than the Bourgogne Blanc of Mikulski. Concentrated, layered flavour but with perfect balance – bravo.

David Croix’s 2017 – was relatively deeply coloured for the vintage. Another wine of layers but also of easy, delicious drinking.
Nathalie & Gilles Fevre’s 2016 – doesn’t have the same energy as their 2017s, but you would, all the same, directly say ‘Chablis’ if you were given this blind. So much flavour, balanced without being over-energetic. Savoured, as opposed to ‘experienced’ as you might say about the 2017s right now.

Jadot’s 2000 – now that’s a wine, and a young wine too. Forward, engrossing aroma of freshness and a graphite-style minerality. Mouth-filling, fresh, complex – it will easily go another 10 years if you wish – super, super, delicious wine – bravo!
Roty’s 2010 – You might think a bit old for ‘Grand Ordinaire’ but that’s far from the case. A purer but easier red fruit vs the Jadot – easier to drink – deliciously so – but nothing like the complexity and engrossing interest of that Jadot. Brilliant for what it is though!

Finally, some weekend views around Beaune:

this weekend it’s all limestone – abbaye of saint vivant & quarry art

By billn on July 15, 2019 #travels in burgundy 2019

We can’t just sit and drink coffee during the weekend in Beaune can we?

So on Saturday, we took the road to Curtil-Vergy for a visit to the Abbaye of Saint Vivant. There is a never-ending supply of work for the masons here, but no great (obvious!) changes since we were last here a few a months ago:

Then following the road down to Nuits St.Georges we stopped to visit the quarry cleared by the locals and now a home for occasional concerts and art displays – worth a trip to view (no cost of entry but a ‘donation’ towards the upkeep is welcomed). Written guides are available in French and German but not yet English. Whilst these are impressive walls of stone – there are other local quarries with 3x the wall-height – though no art 😉

in the vines today…

By billn on July 12, 2019 #travels in burgundy 2019#vintage 2019

A tour in the Côte de Beaune: all is very dry here, and the first signs of hydric stress in some of the very rocky parts of Puligny-Folatières is being noted. Otherwise the vines are largely in rude health, though a little powdery mildew can be found in some chardonnay plots. Rain would be a nice present for the growers, one of whom told me today “The harvest date is potentially coming forward – If we get a little rain, we could even be starting to harvest whites between 05-10 September.” That could be up to a week earlier than most reports – but rain will be needed for that.

this week’s libations – so far…

By billn on July 11, 2019 #degustation

Friends from NZ in the house – we did 2 vintages together in Beaune, where we head later today. A bunch of the usual suspects, often drunk in these pages – for which I won’t offer any notes, but there were a couple of others that might be of interest:

2016 Burn Cottage, Burn Cottage Vineyard
Medium colour yet also quite a bright colour. Ooh, that’s such an interesting nose, fresh, full of whole cluster references but also lovely bright flower notes – that’s so inviting! Nice volume, fresh flavour, a little acid-led structure and fine finishing bitters. Ripe yet at the same time, less ripe – very floral – and attractively phenolic. I like it a lot, though the fine floral purity of aroma all-but disappears after an hour-or-so.
Rebuy – Yes

2011 Camille Giroud, Beaune 1er Aux Cras
One of the rare 2011s that I bought and this is showing beautifully.
Relatively pale colour, not totally bright/clear either. The nose – oh the nose, that’s so great – floral, complex fruit, some whole clusters, just gorgeous! The palate has good shape and volume, nice acidity too – not a wine of power or concentration, but jaw-droppingly delicious! A great 2011!
Rebuy – Yes

2005 Carrick, Cairnmuir Terraces EBM Central Otago Chardonnay
(EBM – Extended barrel maturation) A low yielding vintage – 3-4 tonnes per hectare (25 hl/ha) then 18 months in barrel.
Ooh, that’s a deep colour, but yellow, not golden. The nose too – pow! Very ripe, waxy lemon with a hefty whiff of pepper too – subtle it’s not – but it’s still good! Plenty of mouth-filling volume, that ripe citrus, with almost a spiced pear and a touch of caramel in the finish. I almost find a grain of tannin in the finish and slight bitters too. More than impressive for its age, but a long way from elegant if that’s what you’re looking for. Yum! A powerful and impressive wine.
Rebuy – Yes

…to acquire Domaine Alex Gambal…

By billn on July 08, 2019 #the market

Hot off the press today:

The Boisset family announces that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with a view to acquiring the Alex Gambal estate subject to compliance with the usual regulatory provisions.

Alex Gambal, founding owner of the Burgundy estate of the same name, announces his decision to sell his estate to the Boisset family.

The American Alex Gambal, newcomer to Burgundy and passionate about wine, created his ‘Maison’ in Burgundy in 1993, then his ‘Domaine’ in 1997, followed by a rapid development of his exploitation. Today with a dozen hectares of prestigious vineyards in Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

The pursuit of excellence will continue, in particular by maintaining the special attention paid to vineyard work and biodynamic viticulture practices.

It is envisaged in these discussions that Alex Gambal will continue to participate in the development of the estate alongside the Boisset family.

It seems that so many people knew that these discussions were taking place, that JC Boisset decided today to make it public – even though the final contract is not yet signed. As I alluded to here, three months ago – it was a surprise sale of Domaine Dublère, as I and others were expecting another US-owned domaine to be sold – i.e. this Boisset/Gambal announcement!

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