All change? – Seemingly not – Hotel Montrachet, Puligny…

By billn on November 24, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

I’m indebted to Marko de Morey for finding a small article and putting it under my nose:

Hotel Le Montrachet

“COMO Le Montrachet”
“In Burgundy’s vinous heartland, the COMO Group has acquired the four-star Le Montrachet, a key property in the village of Puligny-Montrachet and the brand’s first French opening. The Group will work with Italian designer Paola Navone to thoroughly revamp the 18th-century property’s 31 rooms and suites, and the hotel will have France’s first Shambhala Retreat for ultimate relaxation. First phase of the renovations to be completed in 2022.”

The hotel remains my favourite location south of Beaune for a coffee-stop between rendezvous – actually for quality/price, anywhere in the Côte d’Or – and also for the occasional breakfast and lunch too.

Nothing seems to have changed for now – and I was there for my grand crème this morning too – but this weekend they close for their winter holiday – so no more visits in 2021!

The 161st Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction…

By billn on November 22, 2021 #events#the market

Hospices - Sotheby'sThe 161st Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction took place on Sunday evening, November 21st 2021. This was the first of a series (a 10-year contract?) to be led by Sotheby’s.

When you consider the relatively small number of barrels available due to the frosts of 2021, the proceeds of the sale were quite exceptional – €11,678,000 for those 351.5 barrels – about 60% of the volume that was available in the previous sale – and not of the same quality either!

The bare facts are that prices increased by 100% for the whites and 60% for the reds when compared to the previous year. The special lot – the “Pièce des Présidents” – a barrel of Corton-Renardes Grand Cru reached an impressive new record price of €800,000 – thats nearly €2,700 per bottle without the costs of elevage. Looked at another way, that’s ‘only’ what you now pay for the grand crus from Domaine Leroy!

There is, indeed, a paucity of wine in the most recent vintages, though not to the level that could justify the prices paid at the weekend, though we can keep telling ourselves – ‘It’s just for charity!

the 2020 reports already online…

By billn on November 21, 2021 #reports

2020s - the first wave online
The domaines with 2020s already online in Burgundy Report…

Just a taster for the big ‘2020 White’ issue, otherwise known as the October report: above are all the domaines with 2020s online in Burgundy Report right now – there’s another 11 added in the September report


By billn on November 18, 2021 #degustation

Truth be told, I haven’t seen any since Sunday – and that wasn’t in France!

Anyway, there was the sun in the sky this afternoon and what a beautiful red sky at sunset too! It seems the weather for hordes who will come to visit Beaune for this Hospices Auction weekend, will be fine – except for Sunday – that’s not going to be so good. Oh well! Still, it looks like beautiful weather for Beaune half-marathon on Saturday – a shame, then, that I’ll be in Bern – but a stubborn cough 3 weeks after the start of a cold (negative tested) has left my jogging shoes unworn – maybe I will get to restart this weekend.

It’s been interesting to catch up on the rumours, some new, and not yet announced changes of ownership around the côtes – maybe a note about such gossip at the weekend.

Anyway, this has been my single busiest week of visits with 21 – but I only seem to get further behind with the writing – well, the publishing anyway.

2020 is coming into focus for me now – the whites are easy but the reds have a stylistic complication. I’ll share more at the appropriate time. Anyway, importantly, I’ve so far avoided issues with the mobile speed camera parked in front of the Clos de Vougeot – unlike some of the winemakers I’ve visited. Talking of avoiding, I also avoided tasting at the Roi Chambertin today; I went but decided not to taste. The place (Tonnellerie Rousseau in Gevrey) was just what was needed – a more open and less covid-intensive set-up after last year’s cancellation – with plenty of winemakers in attendance too. Unfortunately, it was a backwards step in the tasting process – winemakers stood by a barrel with 2-3 of their wines on top – a mini Grands Jours de Bourgogne. If you want to taste seriously, you do the villages, then the 1ers and then the grands – which in this case would have meant continuously touring the barrels and never being able to taste three Corbeaux side-by-side. So I said Hi to a lot of people, ate a number of gougères and then left. You can’t win them all.

Just three visits tomorrow before heading home for the weekend. Enjoy yours, wherever that may be.

Some of this weeks snaps:

Dominique Gallois – 1996 Charmes-Chambertin

By billn on November 14, 2021 #degustation

Dominique Gallois 1996 Charmes-Chambertin

1996 Dominique Gallois, Charmes-Chambertin
The first wine I ever bought en-primeur – one of the first anyway – there was more than one wine bought in this year (December 1997!) Just 4 bottles of this were left in the cellar before opening – none of the previous has let me down – does anyone else remember when buying 12-packs of grand crus was relatively normal?
Clean, bright, medium-plus colour. This nose has an invigorating mix of darker red berry and a little graphite-style minerality – so pure, so lovelY – it’s relatively rare that wines are brett free at this age but here is one! Time even brings a little youthful floral perfume too. Sweeping lines of fresh, juicy, but also concentrated flavour. Holding a great finishing line – these vines are more than 100 years old today and you can feel the concentration – so persistent is the finish. Fresh, detailed and with a super-fine texture. Charmes is so often an also-ran grand cru – not this one. Bravo!
Rebuy – You Bet!

Nice to, eventually, have one bottle showing great at the weekend 🙂

A brace of 8s…

By billn on November 13, 2021 #degustation

2008 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents du Chien
A little mould on top of the cork but it looks robust enough – not much of pop when it comes out though – maybe the issue here! This is the very first of multiple cases of this cuvée from most vintages 2001 to 2017 where there’s some oxidative ageing.
The nose starts faintly oxidative but with air, the oxidative note fades leaving a more cider background but also a good energy and creamy depth to the nose. Mouth-filling, lots of energy concentrated with good texture and a vibrant, creamy finish. The oxidative impression never fully leaves the palate – a performance where I’m still going to take a second glass – but not a third. Any oxidation completely removes context for me – context such as Burgundy? Or even Chardonnay! But quite tasty all the same.
Rebuy – No

2008 Camille Giroud, Bourgogne Cuvée L
A cork that easily breaks in the middle – I suppose it could be responsible for the more developed style of this wine – but probably not…
Medium colour. Some age-related development and a bit of less interesting beef-stock aroma. Very silky, very mouth-filling- I really love the energy in here. Long, mouth-watering and mineral. Truth be told, this cuvée peaked about 4-5 years ago and that was in magnum too – this is now on the downward. But no hard edges and it’s very drinkable – I opened a 2010 of this not so long ago and that’s still nicely vigorous and complex. Time to say goodby to the last couple of bottles of this one though – drinking a bit better than the Gambal today…
Rebuy – No

offer of the day – faiveley 2020…

By billn on November 12, 2021 #the market

I may have missed the 2014s but here you can see the ‘progression’ of the prices (in Switzerland) for the 12s, 13s, 15s, 16s, 17s, 18s, 19s and now the 2020s from the same Swiss merchant. The format here for the prices is simple: 2020 (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012) and — if not previously offered – and you can see that the offer is much ‘shorter’ this year…

DOMAINE FAIVELEY 2020 – En Primeur

Pommard Rugiens 2020 75cl — (—, 82.00, 75.00, 86.00, —)
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Issarts 2020 75cl — (89.00, —) Swiss Francs*
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2020 75cl — (—, 85.00, 79.00, 84.00, 78.00, 72.50, 69.80)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges 2020 75cl 129.00 (115.00, 105.00, 99.00, 115.00, 98.00, 98.00, 98.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées 2020 75cl 139.00 (139.00, 139.00, 125.00, 135.00, 128.00, 119.00, 119.00)
Chambolle-Musigny la Combe d’Orveau 2020 75cl 139.00 (135.00, 135.00, 119.00, 132.00, 124.00, 119.00, 119.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 2020 — (319.00, —)

Corton Clos des Cortons 2020 75cl 199.00 (169.00, 169.00, 149.00, 169.00, 149.00, 139.00, 139)
Corton Clos des Cortons 2020 150cl — (343.00, 343.00, 303.00, 343.00, 303.00, 283.00, 283)
Corton Clos des Cortons 2020 300cl — (736.00, 736.00, 656.00, 736.00, 656.00, —, —)
Echezeaux En Orveaux 2020 75cl 239.00 (178.00, 169.00, —, 165.00, 149.00, —, —)
Mazis-Chambertin 2020 75cl 269.00, (209.00, 198.00, 178.00, 198.00, 179.00, 167.00, 169)
Mazis-Chambertin 2020 150cl — (423.00, 401.00, 361.00, 401.00, 363.00, —, —)
Mazis-Chambertin 2020 300cl — (896.00, 852.00,776.00, 852.00, 776.00, —, —)
Grands Echezeaux 2020 75cl — (229.00, 198.00, 188.00, 208.00, 198.00, 198.00, —)
Latricières-Chambertin 2020 75cl 279.00 (198.00, 189.00, 165.00, 189.00, —)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2020 75cl 395.00 (299.00, 285.00, 249.00, 299.00, 278.00, 249.00, 235)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2020 150cl — (603.00, 575.00, 503.00, 603.00, 561.00, 503.00, 475)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2020 300cl — (1,256.00, 1,200.00, 1,056.00, 1,256.00, 1,172.00, —, —)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Les Ouvrées Rodin 2020 75cl 998.00 (895.00, 875.00, 698.00, 745.00, 659.00, 598.00, 598)

Corton Charlemagne 2020 75cl 239.00 (198.00, 189.00, 189.00, 189.00, 169.00, 169.00, 159)

*There is 7.7% Tax to add in Switzerland, but then these are delivered prices
Lots of old friends are missing from the offer this year – but in terms of the actual pricing, feel free to say ‘ouch!‘ – the prices of the grand crus continues their exploration of what is possible…

2021 Beaujolais Nouveau – the ‘combative’ vintage

By billn on November 11, 2021 #annual laurels#beaujolais#degustation

2021 Beaujolais NouveauOr primeurs as the French, so often, refer to them. 100 wines, tasted blind in deepest Beaujolais, 02 November 2021:

– Inter Beaujolais – the marketing board for the Beaujolais region – describe the 2021 vintage as combative.

– 2021 was a complicated year in terms of both the weather conditions and the amount of work needed in the vines by the winegrowers. The second half of August and the month of September, however, made it possible to retain decent quality grapes, even if the quantity was reduced.

– Begun in mid-September, the harvest took place in rather cool conditions. This freshness, which characterised the end of the grapes’ ripening period, is visible in the wines.

– The wines in 2021 have moderation in mind – at least compared to the other recent vintages – they are lower in both alcohol and weight of phenolics – their tannic structure. The wines have been quite fairly described by Inter Beaujolais as ‘tender and fruity.

Overall, just over 100 samples were presented for this 2021 showing of Beaujolais Nouveau – which is a big drop from the number of samples (160+) proffered in recent vintages. Why? Simply, it was the 2021 harvest volumes; generally hit by frost at the start of the year and more locally in the south – where much Nouveau is produced – by some hail too. Whilst the official harvest volumes are not yet available, the harvest was generally down by about 25% – more in the south, less in the crus of the north – and that was the principal driver here.

I note that in this vintage the wines were showing much less ‘fruit-forward’ in style than their siblings in other recent vintages. I find a number of excellent wines but I have also noted many, many fewer ‘bravo’ wines than in other vintages – only 3 – but it would be remiss of me not to point out the very short timeline from harvest to my tasting glass this year – certainly much less elevage than was afforded to the earlier harvests of the previous 5-6 years.

2021 and the most recent vintages:

I’ve done this tasting since the 2017 vintage, and whilst the recent quality from Grower Nouveau has been on a much higher level than I can ever recollect – and with much more consistency too – 2021 is certainly a step back in terms of concentration, if not their acid-driven intensity – 2021 brings a lighter style which works much better with the Beaujolais Villages wines – 6-12 months of patience is not mandatory in this vintage. I have noted many fewer ‘Bravo!’ wines than in other tastings but there remain many excellent, quite delicious, wines:

Vintage 2017 – a warm, clean, early vintage – one hailstorm excepted – but low yielding. The best wines were excellent and the quality was consistent
Vintage 2018 – a warm clean and again an early vintage but with many higher-yielding places where the producers allowed. I observed significant quality differences in the samples – I largely attributed this to big swings in yields.
Vintage 2019 – another warm vintage with harvesting a little later but because of both frost and hail, yields were cut. The best wines were of high quality and the consistency was intermediate to 2017 and 2018.
Vintage 2020 – a warm clean vintage with consistently below-average yields. The best wines, once again, show high quality and a consistency that’s at least as good as seen in the 2017s. The wines are relatively powerful and well constructed, the ‘villages’ wines generally need a little patience but are consistently excellent – a vintage you can blind buy domaine wines!
Vintage 2021 – A vintage of frost, hail in places, and much lower yields – the cooler, wetter weather requiring more grape triage but this resulted in wines that are clean and attractive with good acidity – perhaps more elegantly proportioned than the most recent vintages with a stronger spine of acidity rather than tannin to support them.

Link to previous tastings. I like this tasting – not particularly for its length or nouveau specificity but rather because it’s quite an accurate snapshot of how, in general, the next vintage will show when released in another 6-12 months…

And in the order tasted, my ‘excellent wine‘ picks for this year?

Of course, all were tasted blind:
2021 Frederic Berne, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Collin-Bourisset, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘à ta cuvée à la con
2021 Vins Aujoux, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘Le Cochon Chic
2021 Père Benoit, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘Tchin
2021 Domaine de Solémy, Beaujolais Nouveau Vieilles-Vignes
2021 Jean Loron, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘Tradition Vielles-Vignes
2021 Famille Girin, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Domaine de Loyse – Cellier de St.Jean d’Ardières, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Château de Pizay, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Henry Fessy, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 P Ferraud et Fils, Beaujolais Nouveau
2021 Famille Chasselay, Beaujolais Nouveau ‘La Marduette

2021 P Ferraud et Fils, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
2021 Vignobles Jambon, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Pure
2021 Pierre Dupond, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Seconde Nature
2021 Château de l’Eclair, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
2021 Château de Chatelard, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Vintage
2021 Cave du Château des Loges, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Les Trois Madones, Sans Souffre
2021 Domaine de la Madone, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Pérréoneissime
2021 Domaine Burnichon, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
2021 Besson Père et Fils, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Tu m’fais tourner la tête
2021 Les Jeunes Pousses, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Préambule
2021 Château de Lavernette, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Le Jeune

And the medals for those lonely ‘Bravo!’ wines – the best of this tasting:
2021 Jean Loron, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘In Jules we Trust
2021 Manoir de Carra Sambardier, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau Vieilles-Vignes
2021 Manoir de Carra Sambardier, Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ‘Dame Nature

Here’s hoping that you can actually find some of these!

Click below to see the full notes for over 100 wines:

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