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week 42’s ‘rogues’ gallery

This week’s visits for October’s 2016 White Burgundy Report – published around 20 November – or so!

today in the abbaye de st.vivant…

Despite (many times) previously having bored you with photos of the place, until today, I’ve never actually been inside of the abbaye before. Today was a final get-together of the Central-Otago/Burgundy Exchange crew – together with a few glasses of the abbaye’s Hautes Côtes Blanc made by the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and with its figurehead, Aubert de Villaine too. Aubert indicated that work would be completed in about another 2 years, to a stage where visitors will finally have the chance to walk a route around and in the abbaye – I’ll be early in the queue!

central otago – in beaune

Brilliantly done – a tasting of Central Otago wines in Beaune today. Not just breaking boundaries in terms of who and where (in the Hôtel Dieu) but breaking boundaries in glassware – real, proper tasting/drinking glasses – apparently designed by Riedel specifically for for CO pinot – it’s not really as big as it looks on the wide-angle photo though 🙂

The write-up in my October Report, but great stuff…

2 days of views

A full programme of visits and tastings just now, but to show that I’m still alive, here are a few pics from today and yesterday!

There were the first few drops of rain for quite some time this morning, but it was just a few minutes until the sun returned. The vineyards remain full of hikers, tourists and of-course the producers. The latter are benefiting from being dry underfoot, replacing wooden posts and trellising, and also drilling out dead vines to plant anew. Honestly a bit of rain is needed, but of-course I’d like for the weekend to be over first! The vineyards retain great colouring – though it’s fading as the leaves are gradually falling – great views for now though.

weekend wines – week 41 2017

AKA – birthday weekend!

Not ridiculous wines, nor ridiculous quantities, but some great stuff nonetheless. And my best wine of the year – so far – so not bad! Friday night started with a ‘Charmes’ double-bill:

2015 Albert Joly, Puligny-Montrachet Les Charmes
Only a villages wine, but this vintage is terrific, and this particular cuvée has a dirty secret – but that’s why I like it so much! Given the name, it may come as no surprise that Puligny Charmes is contiguous with Meursault 1er Les Charmes. To me, blind, I would always call this out as Meursault – and a lovely one at that. It’s relatively a great price versus the neighbour over the commune boundary and is just so delicious…
Rebuy – Yes

2005 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes (Mag)
I bought 2 of these – and two Amoureuses too – this the first to be opened. This is simply great wine.
Relatively still a young nose but floral and inviting, classic Chambolle. The palate has presence, clarity, wiry muscle and is delicious – if still quite a youngster. Simply excellent.
Rebuy – Yes

On Saturday night the Bollinger was excellent – and quite young tasting for an 1829… There followed a very good Bouillot crémant at the restaurant – currently my favourite in Beaune – La Superb. I tried for the Le Relais de Saulx but it was booked up more than 1 month ahead of time! We came home after a fine meal and I opened just the one bottle – despite a Liger-Belair Echézeaux and a Potel Chambertin lying in wait – they will get their time in the sun – but the Leroy was simply other-worldly!

1999 Domaine Leroy, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Narbantons
There was a time when this wine was almost affordable – though this still cost the same £40 en-primeur in the UK as the Engel Grands-Echezeaux. I assume that you have to pay at least 10 times more today – maybe 20(?) I compared those two, maybe 8-9 years ago and slightly preferred the Leroy over the Engel. But age has accelerated this wine into the stratosphere:
​A long cork – damp and red – wine-soaked through its considerable length. Deep, enveloping nose of dark, sweet, sous bois, tobacco, smoky mushroom, blackberry with cream – all in all very special! I’m not really the the type of taster who likes to list adjectives – but this wine forces you… In the mouth fine freshness, lots of intensity of flavour – young flavour, but super, super flavour, the stems on both the nose and palate bringing an unusual sweetness and roundness to the aroma and flavour. Mega wine, only a hint more length away from trouncing many Vosne grand crus in every possible dimension…

the office today…

Just a stunning day today in the Côte de Beaune – perhaps in other places too 🙂

25°C was easily attained in the latter half of the afternoon, and whilst the colours in the vines might have been just that little bit better last week – we’ve lost some leaves and others have browned since then – it was also rather fine today. I’m guessing that the colours won’t last too long, as the weather will change to rain in a couple of days (allegedly) and many leaves will start to fall – let’s see….

Also noted today was the first signs of the Autumn murmurations! This is when skies fill with birds – mainly starlings I think – and the trees of Beaune fill with them in the evenings too, so don’t park under them – you have been warned! There are not that many birds in town yet, but in the vines of Meursault and Puligny, they are gathering!

Below, the first image was taken in Puligny towards Clos de la Garenne, all the rest are from the Clos St.Jean side of Chassagne, towards St.Aubin and Puligny. It’s very easy at the moment to differentiate the blocks of vines, the chardonnay showing as green-gold and the pinot as red-gold:

weekend promenading…

The top of Côte du Py

This weekend, a little pacing around Solutré and Château Pizay:

week 41’s ‘rogues’ gallery

Some lovely visits to kick off the work for October’s 2016 White Burgundy Report. Wines that are really a surprise (to me) and it was particularly good to see some smiles on the faces of many vigneron(ne)s after their 2017 harvest – not everyone, but most.

Now it’s my birthday weekend (I’ve been told!) so time to open some bottles – no?

to trip, or not to trip – rosé style…

Château Pizay…

I was invited to a ‘press trip’ by the syndicate of growers from Moulin-à-Vent, and normally I don’t make press trips – you would be forgiven for asking why(?) Okay, I’ll answer that anyway:

The only previous ‘press trip’ that I’ve done, was to Chablis. I was one of five who were deemed worthy of invitation – I formed the opinion that two of the invitees were very serious and were busy writing copy, the other two seemed interested only in emptying every mini-bar that they could find…

I wasn’t very impressed that everything that the free-loaders were eating and drinking was on somebody else’s ‘tab’ – I know that they were freeloaders, because this pair published nothing that I could find.

Then there are the days (weeks!) where I see half a dozen people on twitter, tweeting images of the same bar and same cocktails in Buenos-Aires or Capetown – for instance. It just doesn’t taste very nice. So why did I say yes to this one? Well, it is Moulin-à-Vent, and that’s my day job. Whatever the other people do, I’m here to work – and on the positive side, it’s clear that the organisers want us to work too – there are 100 samples to taste in the morning – in roughly 3.5 hours – which sounds at least one hour too little to me! Then in the afternoon after a quick lunch (really – only a quick lunch on a press trip?) visiting 3 producers, culled from our notes from tasting.

The setting and accommodation are classic ‘press trip’ though – the Château Pizay and its hotel. Let’s see how this works out!

And the rosé? Driving to the Château Pizay from Beaune, as the sun was setting, left a beautiful view of Mont Blanc in the East – all rosé coloured due to the setting sun….

givry, puligny and meursault today…

I’m touring, tasting mainly 2016 whites in October, here pictures from Givry:

And after lunch, pictures from Meursault:

september’s burgundy report is online


Of-course the 2017 harvest, observations and some hints to what we might be tasting (and buying) in another 12-15 months are centre-stage.

With vintages ending in a ‘7’ in mind, a look at some ‘executive wines’ from the 1997 vintage – 20 years on. Even in a modest vintage, such things are only borderline ‘ready’ after 20 years.

Lastly a tour of Saint-Véran, it’s beautiful countryside and vineyard-scape – plus of-course one or two (88!) wines tasted.


that’s what 5 hl/ha looks like

Pierre Vincent at Domaine Leflaive.

Tasting 2016s this morning, there was this chance to see what a whole hectare of Montrachet delivered in 2016 – due of-course to the frost of 27 April. Six producers assembled all their grapes from 1 hectare of vines so there was enough to vinify. Here, in the second part of elevage, they are packed into two stainless-steel tanks that total 530 litres – 5 hectolitres per hectare – so half a litre per square metre. From the 2017 vintage, Leflaive alone have almost the same volume of wine, packed into in a single bespoke barrel.

Notes in the October Burgundy Report, but the tanks of Montrachet weren’t being opened – Pierre would have needed six signatures 🙂

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