a few recent wines…

By billn on November 07, 2021 #degustation

Autumnal Volnay...
See, it’s not always foggy in the Autumn! – Volnay, looking down over the Clos des Ducs

All these wines (over the last 12-14 days showed well. I won’t re-bore you with notes for either the Château Thivin or the Gauthier Montmains as they are practically house wines – only to say that both remain in a groove of showing well.

2018 Domaine Monternot – Les Jumelles, Beaujolais Villages Vieilles-Vignes Reserve
As deeply coloured as might expect for a 2018 – though still modest by the standards of many 2020s! A wide swathe of aroma – modestly spiced darker fruit but a width rather than height or depth. Obvious concentration though still supple. Faintly grained and growing in mouth-watering presence – clearly, a wine approached far too young – I don’t know how long I’ll wait to open my 6-pack of the 2019! But the texture is fine and the liquorice finish is very, very long. Great wine – but give it another 2-3 years as a starting point.
Rebuy – Yes

2010 Michel Rebourgeon, Pommard
Hmm – now that’s a very inviting nose – floral with a fine clarity of slightly darker-red fruit. Yes – that’s quite an executive villages Pommard – the texture is silky and the flavours recalling the floral style of the nose – a very perfumed and elegant Pommard but not wanting for concentration – completely delicious – bravo! It’s a long time since I had a sub-par 2010!
Rebuy – Yes

2012 Henri Rebourseau, Clos de Vougeot
Very deeply coloured. The nose has a lot of density but everything seems clean and quite attractive – darker fruit with some obvious energy. In the mouth another big wine – really concentrated yet with decent balance too. Obviously, a wine that needs to open out a little more. So, not easy to drink today but the density and clarity of flavour bode well for the future.
Rebuy – Yes

1993 Faiveley, Clos de Vougeot
Such a lovely aromatic of dried leaves and herbs, really complex. Full and round yet still structured with luscious, delicious fruit If the Rebourseau grows up to be anything like this one, it will have done brilliantly. Holding strong – still a great wine – none made it into day 2 😉
Rebuy – I wish!

2018 Benjamin Leroux, Meursault 1er Santenots
From the list in Meursault’s Le Souflot.
Plenty of colour but the nose is of fresh, spiced bread and whilst ripe and round is also clean and fresh. Not a laser-like Meursault but there’s some mouth-watering minerality showing through the pure, round flavours. A very tasty wine with more than enough energy to avoid ‘contemplative’ – which is okay at home but not in the restaurant 🙂
Rebuy – Yes

in the week…

By billn on November 06, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

I may have had a ‘day off’ this week, due to being totally bunged up and coughing, but my palate came back well at the end of the week – and likewise, there were a few nice pics to snap too.

Of course, you always see the best ones when you have no time to stop. Because of the latter I only got a couple in Mercurey on Friday when the sky was dark, the sun came out and the colours were not yet lost in the vines – it is what it is 🙂

all quiet on the western front(?)

By billn on November 03, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

Beaujolais Nouveau 2021It might appear that not much has happened around here for the last week – but – I’ve been extra-busy but unfortunately not everything was wine-related.

Last Thursday was a very early start, driving to the UK for a family funeral, returning, equally early on Sunday. A result of over 3,000 km driven in a week. Unfortunately returning with a cold too.

Well, I’d hoped that it was just a cold but I decided to seek a PCR-test as the red-light, green-light of whether I could head to Burgundy. The light was green.

The green light meant a trip to Villefranche to the marketing home of Beaujolais to taste the 2021 Nouveau samples (right). In recent years over 160 samples had been presented to taste but this year only a little over 100 – they also had frost and hail this year! A report should appear here in the Diary in the next 10 days. At my request I tasted separate from other tasters as I was developing an annoying cough – and negative or not, I’m sure that they would have become a bit pissed off with that. My palate had been reasonably fine but I was completely fatigued by the time I returned to Beaune in the evening – the cough worsening and the nose starting to block.

I’ve been lucky, I suppose, because previous vintage tastings seem to have avoided the clash with bacteria or viruses – but not today – for the first time ever, I had to cancel all of today’s visits and rest up. From another perspective, that was quite lucky, because parking was at a premium in Beaune today – the whole of the centre was cordoned off while the street ‘cleaners’ attempted to collect the falling leaves. And the reason? Apparently, Monsieur Macron was talking Angela Merkel to visit the Hospices de Beaune before their next rendezvous, for lunch, in the Château of the Clos Vougeot – no sniffles there, I’m sure!

Today my cough has begun to subside and my nose has been at least 50% open. I haven’t cancelled any of my 5 visits to taste tomorrow – so wish me luck 😉


a new report…

By billn on November 02, 2021 #reports

July Report
Direct to the new report here.

Remiss of me not to say anything, I suppose, but given the number of views, it looks like subscribers spotted the new report easily enough. It went online at the weekend. There’s some transitioning to tasting the 2020s already in the late summer – and you can see that it’s late summer given the shorts and t-shirts 🙂

2019 vintage – blind wines today…

By billn on October 26, 2021 #degustation

Young Vigneron's trophy, 2021...
Young Vigneron's trophy, 2021 – the first wave of judging…

I was tasting a bunch of 19s this morning – single-blind as I knew the vintage and AOC. What was clear to me from 8 whites was that none of the aromas sung – one nearly – and that was one of the fresher wines. Essentially, this freshness was the ‘missing’ in this selection of modest crus…

A single crémant interlude – which tasted more like cider – heralded 9 reds for me.

The reds – there were 9 – where not ambitiously oaked for Bourgognes(!) – began with a bit more definition – certainly not all were deeply coloured, indeed this selection had more airy and open wines than dense, deeply coloured samples.

From these 17 samples of still wines, I had a preference for the reds today – only a small sample though…

A few magnums of 2015 Fleurie :)

By billn on October 25, 2021 #degustation

2015 Fleurie - magnums

I was tasting a bunch of 19s and 20s today – but when I got the chance to taste some older wines from magnum…

They started a bit rustic but became better and better and that’s the vintage – some great wines and many very good wines that are less sophisticated…

2015 Cave des Producteurs des Grands Vins de Fleurie, Fleurie
Now thats deeply coloured! An inky deep nose with that faint marsala accent of impending maturity that many BJs develop. Big, structural, still lots of drying tannin – some nice flavour complexity in the finish – but this structured wine begs at least 2 or three more years in the cellar.

2015 Marrans, Fleurie Clos du Pavillon
Also deeply coloured. A more compact nose with some faint pepper-spice. A width of chunky flavour here that’s both melting and mouth-watering – almost a 2015 that you can start drinking. Long finishing through a little tannin and a nice extra floral accent…

2015 Château de Fleurie, Fleurie La Madone Réserve Caveau
Lots of colour – of course! Quite a silky nose, faintly spiced and wide. Supple but becoming massive in the mouth and with plenty of tannin in the back end – wide, faintly but long finishing. Very good, but definitely for keeping a few years more…

2015 Thierry Condamine, Fleurie Les Moriers
Strongly coloured but transparent. The nose, like most here, showing the onset of faintly spiced maturity, the pepper more to the fore. Here is lovely energy – concentrated and structured but neither impose themselves too much. The finish is delicious – less dense but the most approachable of all these wines so far. Lovely wine.

2015 Lafarge-Vial, Fleurie La Joie du Palais
Plenty of colour – though a little younger looking than some. Round, fresher, sleeker, super texture, lots of flavour energy too. There’s some textural drag from the tannin – there’s no grain – which suggests waiting but this is, frankly already great – Bravo!

2015 Chateau Poncié, Fleurie les Moriers
The darkest, deepest, colour of all – almost saturated. A nose of some roundness and a slight Mushroom de Paris accent. Full, mouth-filling – but so fresh and saline accented. The tannin is beautifully fine and shows with practically no dryness. Only a suggestion of oak to be seen right at the end of the finish – the only wine where it’s visible. Also great, but very different from the Lafarge-Vial – bravo again!

Fire! Fire! Fire! (prices…)

By billn on October 23, 2021 #the market#travels in burgundy 2021

Autumn fire in Maranges - the colour of Autumn
Fire in Maranges – the colour of Autumn, yesterday…

It was inevitable, I suppose, but the bare facts are:
2017 – a good volume of wine in both colours
2018 – another good volume – even more-so the whites
2019 – short in whites and less than average for reds too
2020 – okay for whites but short for reds again
2021 – a catastrophe in white and very short (on average) in reds too

I remember the first time I saw prices of €10k for barrels of Corton-Charlemagne and was shocked – well you can think more in the region of at least €40k today.

But the fanning of the fires in the 1er crus of Meursault and Puligny are to be expected – the 2021 yields often 10-25% of a normal year here – currently at least 30% higher bulk prices are being asked and people are still very much testing the elasticity of those prices. I think they will increase by a lot more when you take the example of Bourgogne (red!) Côte d’Or into consideration; last year it was under €1k for the barrel, this year because 2021 will be significantly short (though not as dramatically as in the whites!) the prices quickly hit €1.5k and now people are offering €2.2K – about €7.60 just for the juice without accounting for time, labour, bottles, labels, corks and capsules, wax if you must, distribution costs and local margins and so on. That’s how short the bulk market looks right now and there’s no rule to say it can’t go higher.

Obviously, the people making Bourgogne Côte d’Or with merchanted grapes/wine don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of (more than) doubling the price of their bottles – so some fingers may get burnt – I do remember one vintage where a major seller was losing money on every single bottle of Petit Chablis that they sold. Likewise, it’s unlikely that the (majority of) white 1er crus will be able to sustain 30-50% prices increases at their end customers – but this elasticity has yet to be fully tested. I do think that the price-elasticity of the grand crus will take this in their stride – certainly for the better-known producers.

We will be watching!

in the côtes this week

By billn on October 20, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

This week in Beaune the weather’s been quite nice – in fact with beautiful blue skies yesterday – It’s been ideal for the producers for pulling out dead vines and making the holes for replanting. But tonight the rain is forecast.

I’m making visits to taste the 2020s (mainly) in the Côte de Beaune – all I’m missing at the moment is the chance to get out and do a bit of jogging – tomorrow’s a long day with three big ranges of wines in my 5 visits, so I’m not holding out much hope for any kilometers. At least I got in a bit more than 7km yesterday evening, finishing at close to 4 mins/km – so I’ll take that after a bit of ‘mountain running’ last week!

Three B’s – Birthday, Bâtard & Bonnes-Mares

By billn on October 16, 2021 #degustation

Thunersee, Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau from Schadau
The three peaks to the left; the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau. The big (closer) one on the right is the Niesen.

I said that there would be some birthday wines – but first, today came a nice walk in the shadow of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains as seen over lake Thun – not bad!

Another recipe from Tanya Grandits and a couple of decent wines too:

2016 Olivier Leflaive, Bâtard-Montrachet
This is a domaine wine. For a number of years, O Leflaive produced the better wines of the two producers of that name in Puligny, certainly from the 2006 vintage. Only from this 2016 vintage had Domaine Leflaive pulled up their bootstraps sufficiently to have at least equivalent quality. 2016, despite the wines’ frosty rarity, is one of my favourite vintages for whites – some critics, bizarrely, describe this as poor vintage, with too many ‘over-concentrated’ wines. Bullshit I say!
Still a very young colour. That’s a very good if not quite great nose – mineral, deeply white-flower-scented and accented with a little caramel – some of that depth undoubtedly coming from a slight firework reduction. Direct, mineral, concentrated and oh-so-pure flavoured. This wine opening out so impressively in the finish – a great, great finish that somehow sustains itself like a mythical perpetual-motion machine – wow! Crystalline, chiselled, with the purity of a waterfall – never for a second do you think that there is insufficient energy for the concentration on hand, never for a moment do you think ‘fat.’ Bravo – this is a grand vin for sure – drinking brilliantly but with a life that will extend to decades with this DIAM10 seal.
Rebuy – Yes

2000 Thomas-Moillard, Bonnes-Mares
I have often recounted that Bonnes-Mares can be a wine that’s a bit too brutal for me, hence, I (generally – the 2005 de Vogüé excepted!) prefer to give them a few years in the cellar. A six-pack of this wine was bought on release – this is one of the last, perhaps the last, that I have.
Deeply coloured. Oof! What a nose! So large that you have much of the detail long before your nose is in the glass: Very clean – not a hint of bret or any other unhappy signs of age, deeply impressive notes of soil, tobacco, turned leaves in an Autumn forest – and even fruit too – if rather bloody fruit! Seemless concentration in the mouth – this wine is coming into a great place for both flavour and texture. I’d like a hint more energy to really beg me to take the next glass but the flavour is just so good that I’m anyway on message. Big, big wine – grand cru wine – but also a wine that can caress!
Rebuy – Yes and who wouldn’t at the old price!

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