30th edition of burgundy’s young talents…

I finally got to see the result of this years competition – decided at the end of last week.

Here are the domaines, winemaker who got the trophy and the wines that they presented. Enjoy:

Catégorie Mâconnais – Charles Edouard DROUIN of Domaine Thierry DROUIN
Mâcon Vergisson « La Roche »
Pouilly Fuissé « Maréchaude »
Pouilly Fuissé « En Buland »

Catégorie Beaujolais – Cyril CHIROUZE of Château des JACQUES
Bourgogne Clos de Loyse – chardonnay
Moulin à Vent
Moulin à Vent « Clos de Rochegrès »

Catégorie Côte de Beaune – Chloé CHEVALIER of Domaine CHEVALIER
Aloxe Corton
Gevrey Chambertin
Ladoix 1er cru « Les Corvées »

Catégorie Côte de Nuits – Pierre BART of Domaine BART
Bourgogne – pinot noir
Marsannay « les grandes vignes »
Marsannay « au champ Salomon »

Catégorie Côte Chalonnaise – François Berthenet of Domaine Berthenet
Bourgogne – pinot noir
Montagny 1er Cru « Mont Cuchot »
Montagny 1er Cru « Les bonneveaux »

Catégorie Chablisien – Camille BESSON of Domaine BESSON
Petit Chablis
Chablis 1er cru « Vaillons »
Chablis 1er Cru « Montmains »

Catégorie Grand Auxerrois – Sophie et Matthieu WOILLEZ of Domaine de la CROIX MONTJOIE
Bourgogne Vézelay « L’élégante »
Bourgogne Vézelay « L’impatiente »
Bourgogne Vézelay « La voluptueuse»

analysing the sales numbers from the 158th hospices auction

As promised (late) on Sunday evening, a little, more thoughtful analysis of the statistics of the 158th Hospices de Beaune, sale.

  • Here is a list of the ‘top lots.’ (pdf)
  • Whilst these are, at the outset, domaine wines, the sale should still be viewed in the context of a market where the bulk prices – at least at regional and communal levels – are beginning to soften: The softening is unsurprising following two vintages with a reasonable supply of wine, though with a backdrop of empty cellars. But given a market where demand exceeds supply for the highest value wines, we are unlikely to see a reduction in contract prices for those.
  • It’s interesting that on the one hand the President’s barrel fetched only half the value of the previous year, yet on the the other hand the Côte de Nuits grand crus and particularly the Bâtard-Montrachet grand cru of the Hospices increase in price each year by leaps and bounds. The Corton grand crus never exhibit the same cachet.
  • On a per barrel basis, the wine was still cheaper in 2018 than in 2015, but as you can see, roughly three times more expensive than in well-reputed vintages with a similar yield of barrels, such as 2005 or 2009.
  • For a vintage where a lot of hype is building, equally interesting is that the price per barrel is relatively consistent with 2017 and still some way below the value produced by the 2015s.
  • Given the vintage hype, it seems reasonable to attribute the higher barrel price (over 2017) to that, as opposed to irrational market exuberance, though the jury will be out for the best part of a year re the eventual quality of the reds and particularly the whites:
    Vintage Sale Total € millions* Price per barrel** Number of barrels
    ***2005 €3.79 million €4,803 789
    2009 €4.99 million €6,250 799
    2015 €11.3 million €18,880 575
    2016 €8.4 million €13,833 596
    2017 €13.5 million €16,657 787
    2018 €13.95 million €16,850 828

    *Ex Christies, without commissions, the President’s Barrel, Marc de Bourgogne or Fine de Bourgogne…
    **Ex Christies, without commissions…
    ***I remember when I thought those prices very high!

rip – henry-frederic roch

logo prieure rochIt seemed almost an apologetic first report of the death of HFR – and then the article was suddenly gone from the publication’s website – had they made a terrible mistake? It seemed to cause sufficient doubt that further reports took some time to surface – but surface they did.

Henry-Frédéric Roch (HFR) died overnight on Saturday-Sunday during the weekend. He leaves behind an iconoclastic domaine, with a very large – 75% finished – extension to the premises in Premeaux. I hope that the domaine has a successor and that the building work will be finished – the latter if-only for his long-suffering neighbours as this is already a three-year construction project. Then there is the question of his successor at the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, HFR being the public face of the Leroy family – half owners of that domaine. I saw HFR a number of times at DRC during harvest times, but I never saw him there during tastings.

I shared a first vintage with HFR – 1962 – and found him a captivating subject for a visit though unfortunately saw him very little after that first visit – simply because I knew my schedule was likely to be destroyed – if he was feeling receptive, you would struggle to depart in less than 4 hours. But he had such a stimulating mind, questioning all that you knew about burgundy wine from a very different standpoint of knowledge.

In the end I tasted with HFR no-more than 3 times, always for his own domaine’s wines, but those interactions are burnt into my memory – what a brilliant character…

a special treat – weekend wines, week 46 2018

Certainly not every year, and hardly every second or third year, but every so often you have to do it properly eh? Or how can you have benchmarks?

A couple of empty soldiers from a tasting chez Bouchard Père which I will write-up in my Bouchard visit report – the others from a very above average Saturday evening with old friends.

2007 Comtes Lafon, Montrachet
Wines like this, whilst definitely a premox gamble, define for me the pinnacle of white burgundy – the best 2007s being easily a match for the best of 2014 – my two modern-day reference points.
Good, deep but young yellow-gold colour. Shimmering, bright, wide, ripe citrus fruit with a touch of creme caramel. Sleek, wide, powerful wine – of perfectly fine texture and the simply amazing combination of deep, ripe fruit and a waterfall of mineral edginess. I can drink white of any age with great enjoyment, but here is a wine that defines young. So long, shimmering with energy – just like the nose – still with that caramel from the nose rounding out the finishing flavours. Despite the caramel, great wine.
Rebuy – Yes

2000 Comtes Georges de Vogüé, Musigny Vieilles-Vignes
Oof that’s deep colour. The nose is sleek, with plenty of volume but the aromas remain compact and never fully open. The palate reflects the nose; sleek, great drive, perfect silken texture. It’s a big wine, amply concentrated, but like the nose, and quite rare for a 2000, hardly ever gets out of second gear. It’s a beautiful glass but hardly offering 40% of the potential that I see in reserve. Clean, concentrated but ungiving.
Rebuy – Maybe

1996 Joseph Drouhin, Musigny
Yes! What a nose! Open, complex, floral and with beautiful fruit – young but offering everything on a plate – brilliant. In the mouth you would be forgiven, despite fine drive and energy, for not spotting this as a 1996, the acidity is perfectly covered. Complex, fresh, giving, open, just about all that you wish for – except – any overt maturity. Despite it’s bravado and a peacock’s tail of a finish, this is still a bit of a baby, but what a baby. Great wine again!
Rebuy – Yes

hospices wine auction – that was the (record) weekend that was…

I never taste the wines of the Hospices – I don’t consider them commercial and they are far too young for somebody (i.e. me) who habitually tastes wine just before bottling, to gain any more than a general idea of the vintage. I can wait…

But the buyers at the auction – it seems that they really couldn’t wait!

Let us remind ourself that 2018 has announced itself as exceptional – now that doesn’t mean that the wines will necessarily be great, though there are plenty of chances for that in red, though less-so in white. It seems that this was sufficient information for most of the buyers, because at just before 10pm the auction was, after nearly 7.5 hours finally over, the result – A New Record!

– Well, was there ever going to be any doubt?

The final result of this, the 158th Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction, was the delivery of a total value of €13,968,750 – last year, was also a record, bringing in €11,164,964. Later in the week I’ll do a little more thorough analysis. The prices started about the same as last year before the fuse was lit – here are a few highlights:

  • The first barrel of Bâtard-Montrachet, Cuvée Dames de Flandres went for €135,000 that’s 17k more than last year, the rest of the barrels for €130k.
  • So perhaps you’d prefer some cheaper white wine then? The Chablis 1er Côte de Léchet, Cuvée Jean Marc Brocard sold on average last year for ‘only’ €8,500, but this year it averaged out at a price of €14,500
  • Four barrels of Clos de la Roche, Cuvée Cyrot-Chaudron were each hammered at €110,000 – they went for between €75-80k last year!

Of-course a new record value doesn’t mean so much if you don’t take account of the volume of barrels sold – and there were a lot this year – as noted, I’ll come back with more information after I’ve slept!

A little of the colour of the weekend:

1 year’s vineyard work distilled into 13 and a half beautiful minutes…

With thanks to Vins de Bourgogne BIVB

A brilliant introduction the workings of a vineyard in Burgundy. Almost 1 year’s work distilled into 13 and a half minutes – absolutely worth your time!

After one year of filming, resulting in 40 hours of footage and some 30,000 photos, the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) is proud to present its latest short film in the series “Winemaker in Bourgogne, an artisanal craft”. This first part, “The People and the Vines”, was filmed between September 2017 and August 2018, on around 10 estates in the Bourgogne region.

As you can see, it clearly never rained in 2017 & 2018 🙂

#2017burgundyreport – the winemakers visited in week 46, 2018

Plenty of tastings this week for the November Burgundy Report, moving ‘fulltime’ onto the mainly red domaines in the Côte de Beaune. Hmm, I think it must nearly be time to start on the Côte de Nuits 🙂

A Burgundy Report EXTRA! subscription costs 85 Swiss Francs per year.

a couple of mid-weekers…

2001 Comtes Lafon, Meursault 1er Les Perrières
A deepish colour. The nose is a little tired, but not oxidised – it remains, almost, an invitation. The palate starts narrow then opens wider and wider – there is an energy zip here and a really profound depth of delicious finishing flavour – surely for drinking up, but excellent and clearly head and shoulders better than the brown one of these opened and directly poured away two years ago.
Rebuy – Maybe

21998 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Clos des Ducs
Quite a deep and still a younger colour. Ooh – broad – such a big nose – a little diffuse but complex. On day two, though, it’s simply first class – wide, silken, supple and fine fruited. There is volume in the mouth here – quasi grand cru for sure! Full, still with a lick of faintly astringent tannin, but layers and layers of slowly mouth-watering flavour. A baby – and will probably be an even greater baby in another 5 years-plus. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

wind, sun, rain and fog – a normal autumn in beaune

Wednesday morning in Aloxe-Corton…

I haven’t yet posted any pics of this week so far – truth be told it’s been quite miserable this week so far, except for Monday and Tuesday afternoon.

On Monday the mercury (not the wine) hit 22°C and there was a strong wind too – I wouldn’t have wanted to be driving a high-sided vehicle – the wind ripped the majority of pinot leaves from the vines, so large swathes are now just bare vines. The chardonnay is a little more robust, but it’s still mainly the young vines that retain their leaves.

Tuesday was quite heavy rain in the morning but it all-but stopped before lunch – perfect! – as I decided to jog up to the three crosses in Santenay. The fact is when I get home after 7 in the evening, I just can’t quite force myself out for a jog, so this is an alternative that keeps me from vegetating – provided I’m not then too smelly for the afternoon appointments 🙂

Wednesday and Thursday brought great tastings, but outdoors it was damp and foggy – actually quite typical weather for November – come to think of it, typical for December, January and February too – and did anyone mention March? Anyway another midday jog on Wednesday – around Corton – I happened upon a vineyard worker preparing his new vines for planting. He was happy to have his photo taken, then I asked what domaine – it was DRC – working on their new fermage plots ex Bonneau du Martray – theirs since the 1st of November.

Thursday there was no lunchtime jogging! First some Monday-Tuesday pics:

Then Wednesday and Thursday:

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