Volnay votes to stop the use of herbicides

By billn on February 14, 2023 #the market#warning - opinion!

Grand cru herbicide...One of the most obviously depressing sights in Burgundy comes around right about now – February-April – when the yellow-orange, dead weeds and grass become visible. It’s a short but annoying window where you can see some very expensive plots of real estate in the raw, treated with herbicide. This view lasts only a few weeks before the offending material is ploughed back into the soil and halos of multiple growers are seemingly restored.

Recently, a small but important step was taken by the Organisme de Gestion of Volnay (ODG) – the winegrowers association – which voted to stop the use of herbicide in their Volnay Premiers Crus. An obvious ‘halfway house‘ of a decision but a welcome one that covers 110 hectares of vines.

This evolution of ‘Volnay specifications’ will now be included in the rules by the INAO, the new specifications could be in place as early as 2024. Such evolutions are rare but absolutely necessary; newly granted AOCs are held to much more rigorous standards than those that have been in place for the last 90 years – for instance also forbidding the use of machine harvesting.

From the press release: “Stopping herbicides seemed obvious to us,” explained Thomas Bouley, current President of ODG Volnay, “Because public and environmental health is at stake. We are fortunate to have an appellation of international renown, with high added value, which allows us to produce in a more ‘proper’ way. In such a favourable economic context (for our wines) our appellation must now, more than ever, be exemplary.

Chambolle-Musigny & Morey St.Denis for the Saint-Vincent Tournante 2024

By billn on February 13, 2023 #annual laurels#events

Saint Vincents
News from the BIVB:

The 80th edition of the Saint-Vincent Tournante de Bourgogne will be shared between the villages of Chambolle-Musigny (where the very first Saint-Vincent Tournante took place in 1938) and Morey St.Denis (where the 1952 and 1973 editions took place), will organize the 2024 edition.

The Grand Master of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin announced, during the 79th edition of the Saint-Vincent Tournante de Couchey, the location of the next Saint-Vincent Tournante, at the end of the ‘ceremony of enthronement’ of old winegrowers.

wines from weekend 6, 2023…

By billn on February 11, 2023 #degustation

wines - week number 6 2023

I was never the biggest fan of the 2007 vintage – the reds anyway! A bit too ripe and missing the clarity of 2005, 2006 or even the 2008 wines – sometimes with a soupy style to the flavours. 2009 was a little better for my palate – but not a lot! I bought much less 2007 than in either 2006 or 2008 and massively less than in 2005. The rare bottles I open at home seem to have plateaued for a number of years now, they have been ripe and easy but far from special – or indeed, hardly worth the amount I paid for them 13-14 years ago – so let’s not talk about their current pricing! I hoped for a bit more from this one – it turned out not too bad:

2007 Lucie & Auguste Lignier, Clos de la Roche
A famous parcel of vines, now exploited by Kellen Lignier’s brother-in-law, Laurent. A thick, brittle, coating of brown wax in place of a capsule for this wine. The cork had done its job but came precariously close to splitting in half on extraction.
Good colour, without significant ageing. The nose started with a coating, almost a smothering of creamy oak – quite a lot for a 15-year-old wine – but with air and a little time, the oak became much less visible and it even developed a little, interesting, floral perfume. Otherwise, the nose was mainly of more simple ripe fruit and not too much in the way of age-related complexity – it seemed it was still a baby. Mouth-filling, some dark-cherry fruit and a mix of fine concentration and silky texture – the texture turning a little more towards velour as a small grain of tannin came to the surface. In the finish – at last! – there was some impressive complexity and a slight mineral aspect that became more and more appealing. I think I also have a magnum of this – and the more this wine develops, the more pleased I am about that – but given how young the wine shows and how overt the oak still is – I don’t think the magnum should be opened for 10 years.
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Clotilde Davenne, Saint-Bris Vieilles-Vignes
There’s a certain mineral rigour to this nose that reminds me of most Beaujolais Blancs – it’s not very inviting. Just about balancing that, was the faint menthol of the sauvignon blanc – so I correctly guessed blind that it was Saint-Bris – less impressively I said ‘clearly from 2017’ – because I knew that was the only Saint-Bris in the door of the cellar fridge 😉 I had a small amount of time in the sun! In the mouth, this is altogether more impressive than the nose suggests – starting direct and beautifully silky but then almost exploding across the palate in mineral fashion with a ripeness of citrus fruit and lots of energy too. The finish broad and recapturing the mintiness of the nose. A good finish. The nose is ‘so-so’ today but the rest of this wine is on a very excellent, high, level.
Rebuy – Yes

weekend wines – week 5 2023

By billn on February 05, 2023 #degustation

wines - weekend 05 20232021 Quatre Chemins, Petit Chablis
The second 2021 at home. DIAM-style seal (Trescases)
Plenty of colour. DIAM-style (Trescases!) reduction – so give a little air – or give it a strong shake or two. Fleshy, citrus soon takes over with an aromatic, airy top note. Mouth-filling, with a little more structure than the 21 Brocard PC of a few days ago – more burly – but still of energy and no lack of mineral steel supporting the citrus flavours. Slowly fading in mouth-watering style. That’s very tasty indeed.
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
A sturdy cork that comes out in one – pale as if of the bleached variety – but there’s not much ingress of wine along the length.
Still lots of colour. The nose starts a little tight and suggestive of some brett but grows and grows with air – I have the impression that the brett stays on one level whilst all around engulfs it, making it practically redundant – sweet red fruit and flowers, becoming a proper, cliché, Chambolle. Direct, cool fruit, the texture now of silk, though the very last, chocolatey, flavours with the faintest chalky tannin texture. The bitters at the very end of the finish are merely accents. A wine of width and acid-led freshness like you will have hardly met in the last 10 years – even not in 2021 – but with such impeccable balance. This is the best that this cuvée has tasted since it was a delicious young pup about 18-19 years ago – the 1999s are coming! I’m sure that on day two the brett will be more obvious – so I’ll try not to leave any 😉
Rebuy – Yes

Perhaps it’s because Ghislaine, herself, is so welcoming, or perhaps it’s because the wines that you taste from barrel there are so fruity, floral and delicious, that I think that people often underestimate the wines – or put another way, overestimate their early drinkability! Ghislaine makes wine with steely backbones – I’ve waited a long time for her 1999s to start to show some accessible maturity – I think that they are only now starting to turn the corner!

Camille Giroud 2011 Corton-Rognets

By billn on February 03, 2023 #degustation

2011 Camille Giroud Corton-Rognets

I seem to have a number of vintages of this cuvée, and particularly in 2011 I was careful only to buy wines with no detectable (to me) pyrazine – it helped that I was triaging the ladybugs myself with this one 😉 It certainly worked out well in this case! I have older vintages 08 and 09 among them – but I thought the rounder, ‘tender,’ 2011 might be the best choice – that worked out too:

2011 Camille Giroud, Corton-Rognets
A great cork – only 1-2 mm of wine ingress along its length. Transparent but still a good depth colour. This nose still swirls with a bit more oak than I would like – smoky-creamy – but the nose seems quite silky and inviting – almost a little saline too – becoming more vibrant with time. Hmm, now that sits very nicely on the palate, silky wine of quite some depth of flavour, the salinity of the nose being even more overt in the middle to finishing flavours. Fading nicely. True to the vintage this is a wine with super finesse though no ‘iron fist.’ I thought of the word ‘graceful’ while drinking but felt that it implied a lack of material – this wine lacks for very little! But there is obviously no rush to drink – I’d wait 3-4 more years to see if the oak fades more – it only seems to be fading glacially though…
Rebuy – Yes

wines: week 5 2023

By billn on February 02, 2023 #degustation

wines: week 5 2023

A couple more to add to the wines of the weekend:

2020 Alice & Olivier de Moor, Bourgogne Aligoté
A deep, vibrant nose – classic de Moor. In the mouth too a small bead of CO2 prickling the tongue and pushing the energy further. Concentrated but almost dynamic flavour. Persistent and delicious. Never cheap but again, classic de Moor.
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Raphael Chopin, Beaujolais Funambule
The no sulfur cuvée of declassified Beaujolais Villages
This is holding up very well – the nose still with fine purity. Deeply flavoured and accommodatingly textured this is in fine shape – pure, sweet and delicious – again – always with fine energy. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

The Prince Retires (this time for good)

By billn on February 01, 2023 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

Rusty Gaffney - Prince of PinotSad – I followed Rusty, on and off, for years. He even guest wrote a few pieces here – way back when…

But now he’s really retired.

It comes to us all I suppose – but I hope that I’ve another 10 years in me 😉

weekend wines – week 4 2023

By billn on January 31, 2023 #degustation

weekend wines week 4 2023

I think that these wines are pertinent to the doomsday pricing impression left by my most recent post/repost. It’s important for me to to show you that drinking burgundy – and I use the term in its widest geographical sense – is not only about wines that cost hundreds (or much more!) per bottle – it would be so much less interesting if there weren’t wines that everybody could share and enjoy.

So here’s a couple of bottles, that, at retail, probably wouldn’t cost you much more than €25 – I bought them direct from the domaines – as could you, if you had the chance to visit – and they cost me under €25 the pair, no discounts. This, in itself, is a talking-point: If you want quality work, organic and durable – should any wine cost less than €15 a bottle? – I personally think not!

2021 Julien Brocard, Petit Chablis Les Plantes
I bought this and the 21 Chablis Boisonneuse when last there – they didn’t have a lot of 21 left! But readers of my reports will know of my enthusiasm for these biodynamically produced wines.
Open, citrus-fresh and addictively inviting. Mouth-filling with mineral energy, then comes the wave of citrus that widens the palate even as you head into the finish. Juicy, moreish wine – exceptional for the label. Bravo.
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Clos de la Roilette, Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
Dark colour. Aromatically broad but perfumed and fresh. Direct, silky wine but showing some muscle too but there’s a fluidity to these fleshy flavours that keeps me coming back for another sip. Impeccable!
Rebuy – Yes

Normally, here I might offer you some images of my time in Chablis last week – but given the grey, cold and damp – I decided to save the battery on my camera 🙂

Burgundy – more sellers than buyers?

By billn on January 27, 2023 #the market

Well, if it’s really the case, no one can claim surprise.

Outside of a modest few domaines’ modest few wines, the only real value in greater Burgundy – in recent vintages – has come from outside of the Côte d’Or. I have never bought more from Chablis, Mâconnais and Beaujolais – but at the same time, so little from the Côte d’Or – not in 30 years of purchasing…

But ‘Wolf!‘ has been cried for many years – let’s wait and see if it’s really the wolf at the door – shall we?! I still don’t know anybody who can buy Richebourg if they want some!

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