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pommard’s clos de la commaraine


The château, pictured this week.

Laurent Gotti’s fine site (here, in French) this week broke the news on another, much lower profile, domaine/vines purchase in Burgundy – that of the Château de la Commaraine in Pommard, and it’s 3.75 hectare monopoly of the Clos de la Commaraine – Pommard 1er Cru, no less. The sellers were the Jaboulet-Vercherre family, the wine having been made, for some time, by Louis Jadot.

At first sight, this is also an expensive acquisition – approaching a million euros per hectare – for ‘only’ 1er cru land, and relatively under the radar premier cru land at that – we are not talking Rugiens here. It is not simply a vineyard purchase though, there is a (externally, at least) fine-looking château included in the price, a building that alone would have an asking price over €1 million. Gotti notes that the new owners plan this to be a luxury leisure retreat, so their strategy is as much about oenotourisme (the local buzzword for a couple of years now) as it is about wine.

So it seems that with the Château de la Commaraine, plus the Château de Pommard, Pommard is to become the new chic destination of jet-setters – I trust that all the new château owners have bullet-proof marketing projections 🙂

Edit, 18 Nov 2017
One week later, much more info here, via Decanter…

week 44’s ‘rogues’ gallery

Really, so many of the visits in the last days were to savour – and these last days have been a blend of white and red (predominantly) domaines. I have 5 more ‘whites’ – the last – next week, but mainly I will be moving my focus to the Côte de Nuits for the rest of November – before December’s ‘Grands Maisons.’ My many thanks to those that hosted me…

weekend wines – week 44 2017 – drinking on a shoestring

Whilst the hype is on €300 million acquisitions of grand cru monopoles, €50 Bourgognes and €300+++ grand crus, there is still another way, and a very tasty, satisfying way:

2012 La Chablisienne, Chablis Les Venerables
Despite the name on the label, the cork is inscribed with good-old ‘Vieilles-Vignes!’
The nose is pretty classic – a saline breeze in a glass. The palate, however, is still a bit of a baby – relatively concentrated, a little tightly-wound and almost dense in the freshly mineral mid-palate. That the half of the bottle which was left over for day two was so much more open and ‘relaxed’ shows that this will only improve. Lovely on day two, not bad on day 1.
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Louis Chenu, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Haut-Jarrons
Plenty of colour. This starts on full aromatic power – round, beautifully red fruited – and given time it becomes a little more direct and fresh, with a floral addition to balance. Round, lovely, bright, mouth-watering fresh flavour. Little waves, indeed ripples of finishing flavour. Just a delicious wine with no hard edges or pressure points – so yum. There are a lot of great Savignys in 2014 – but as usual, not much volume of them…
Rebuy – Yes

so far this week…

Since it rained on Sunday afternoon, let me tell you that the temperature has really dropped – 6° seems almost luxurious. Maybe it’s because of that, that my teeth are a little on edge, complaining at the introduction of each new (cold!) wine – oh, wait a minute, no, that’s the 5 producer visits per day – nobody said it would be easy!

At least the wines are not as cold right now they will be in January and February 🙂

I note that the parking area of Place Madeleine is now taken over by the yearly ‘fair’ – there will be no parking there until after the Hospices auction weekend – I think they are due to leave on the 21st of November, so if you must have your candy-floss or churros(!) you know where to go…

Although I’ve 95% finished my visits for October’s ‘2016 White’ report, I’m also well underway with the reds for November – still mainly charging around the Côte de Beaune (I’ll include Mercurey in that), but starting in earnest on the Côte de Nuits from next Monday. It’s hard to put into words, but I’m having some unusual, almost emotional reactions to some of the wines in some of the visits – fortunately in a good sense! – They really can be that good. Yesterday – for the first time ever – not only did I swallow one wine, it was so brilliant that I took a second gulp. Now that’s clearly unprofessional, but boy what a wine, and it was worth it! What colour wines and where? – well, that’s what the reports are for…

Finally, something that has come as a bit of a surprise, but given that so many people seem to know about it, let me confirm that David Croix, who moved from Camille Giroud to Domaine Roulot in January – whilst still working his own Domaine des Croix – has now parted company with Jean-Marc Roulot. I chatted about this with him today, and it seems that with an empty cellar at des Croix, splitting his time between Beaune and Meursault was functioning well, but now that the cellar contains a generous 2017 vintage, he’s decided together with Jean-Marc that he has enough to concentrate on at des Croix, so he’s going to focus full-time on the domaine in Beaune now. So best of luck to both!
 

st.aubin before the showers…

Wandering around Saint Aubin at mid-day today – a few spots of rain punctuating bursts of sun. That was before the heavier showers – even a few small hailstones ~13h30 in Beaune. It was much cooler but dry in the evening – we will probably get a frost – so a quick (ish!) 30 minutes jog. I strained a calf during the week – makes participating in the Beaune half-marathon, in 2 weeks, something of a long-shot!
 

friday was mainly, but not completely, in pommard

offer of the day – Leflaive 2016…

DOMAINE LEFLAIVE 2016 – Puligny-Montrachet (En Primeur)
Just for reflection, you will see the same offer prices of their (2015s, 2013s, 2012s) in the brackets for an idea of ‘progression’.

Pouilly-Fuissé 75cl Not offered (37.00 Swiss francs in 2015)
Bourgogne 75cl 42.00 Swiss Francs (38.00, 35.00, 35.00)
Puligny-Montrachet 75cl 82.00 (69.00, 65.00, 65.00)

PREMIERS CRUS
Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 75cl 118.00 (89.00, 88.00, 85.00)
Meursault Sous Le Dos d’Âne 75cl 118.00 (99.00, 99.00, 96.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 75cl 185.00 (145.00, 148.00, 139.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 75cl 185.00 (155.00, 159.00, 149.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 75cl 245.00 (195.00, 175.00, 175.00)

GRANDS CRUS
Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 459.00 (325.00, 319.00. 289.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 498.00 (348.00, 355.00, 310.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet 75cl 685.00 (445.00, 450.00, 395.00)

I realise that the production of grand crus was -80% at this domaine in 2016, but wow! Best of luck to them…

it’s all volnay…

Starting today the first of 51 (so-far!) November tastings, and where better than in Volnay? – in beautiful sunlight:
 

weekend wines – week 43 2017



1996 Pierre Damoy, Chapelle-Chambertin
Hmm – completely gorgeous – the nose is no-longer overtly of stems, now it’s become a blend of fruit and flowers. Still, there’s a 1996 freshness of acidity but neither sharp nor painful. In the finish there is still a little herb complexity but this is nearly as good as the nose now. Quite close to ready and absolutely enjoyed.
Rebuy – Yes

1985 Bertagna, Vougeot 1er Clos de la Perrière
In the last 3 years, bottle #1 was ethereal brilliance, bottle #2 was bacterially infected. This, #3, is closer to the former than that latter bottle – without ever touching on brilliance. The nose is deep, faintly spiced and with dry loamy soil. In the mouth there is a nice shape – plenty of volume here – and freshness too. The fruit is ripe and a little plummy – super finishing width that has fine definition. This is the most delicious part of this wine. There is only one thing wrong with this otherwise excellent wine – and that is that I remember how much better the first bottle was!
Rebuy – Maybe (for the variability)

2008 Pascal Marchand, Corton
Hardly more than medium colour. The nose is of modest intensity but at the same time fabulously complex – though there’s still a trace of barrel coconut.This wine is almost too easy for a Corton, particularly a 2008 Corton, but it has an engrossing ethereal quality to it. I’d still prefer the coconut to fade more, but this wine has always been class in glass…
Rebuy – Yes

offer of the day – clos de tart

And as if by magic, in my inbox this morning:

La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2007 75cl 148.00* Swiss francs
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2008 75cl 119.00
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2011 75cl 135.00
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2014 75cl 169.00

Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2006 75cl 299.50
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2011 75cl 279.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2013 75cl 324.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2013 150cl 678.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2014 75cl 324.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2014 150cl 678.00
*Prices are ‘delivered’ but subject to 8% Swiss purchase tax.

One has to assume that the distribution of these wines will be subject to change in the future…

beyond avarice…

I suppose that I’m mandated to make a comment on the aftermath of this – ie the sale of the Clos de Tart by the Mommessin family shareholders for an undisclosed sum – but let’s say €250 million!

I was travelling (mainly taking pictures of cows!) in Switzerland when this was ‘confirmed’ yesterday morning, but I’ve been tweeting about this subject (and retweeting) since the sale of the Clos de Tart was first mooted, which was about 3 weeks ago.

The Clos de Tart has a magnificent location and is the perfect ‘compact item’ despite it’s 7.5 hectares – by that I mean that all the buildings of the domaine also sit within the walls of the Clos – compared, for example, to its neighbour the Clos des Lambrays, where the wine-making and offices are separated from the vines, albeit by only a few hundred metres. There are other grand cru monopoles, but none that can compare in this respect. The Clos de Tart is emblematic, it is the perfect representation of all the history and mythology of Burgundy, gift-wrapped into a 7.5 hectare parcel.

Under the tenure of Sylvain Pitiot, I felt that in terms of attention to detail, the Clos de Tart was the most fanatical domaine in the whole of Burgundy – even more-so than Leroy and DRC – imagine walking around the wall of the clos and seeing that the gap between the vines and the wall was a perfect ‘Japanese garden’ of raked small stones. Every detail of the operation of the domaine, right down to paint on the doors was perfect…

Of-course the wine needs to be good too!

Under Pitiot, given enough time to mature, the wine was magnificent – but I was never a fan of the oak treatment, which usually deprived drinkers of extracting the joy of youth, something that one should associate with the wine’s high price-tag. I simply loved the 1985, but the 2001 and a magnum of 2005, remain my reference points – reference points that can easily trade glasses with the grand crus of Vosne or the Clos de Vougeot. I was frankly pinning my hopes on Jacques Devauges to do something about the oak – though (so far) I have no view on whether that’s already the case, or not.

So, from certain viewpoints, the clos is indeed an unrivalled jewel and worth a King’s ransom. If it was the case that this would not inject further heat into the market for vineyard land – something of a storm that the new owner can easily ride out, but less-so the small family domaines of Burgundy – then I would simply stand and applaud François Pinault for winning this game and move on. I fear, however, that this is unlikely to be the case. The extra money that Pinault can bring will not improve the attention to detail at this domaine – though there is always something that can be improved – but this is clearly not a ‘project’ of restoration, it is the purchase of a chattel.

Drinkers, buyers and even owners of smaller domaines are simply bystanders in games such as this, and I cannot blame the various shareholders of the Mommessin family for taking this pay-day – though I know that some didn’t want to sell.

The Clos de Tart, courtesy the domaine:

a quick three…

2012 Le Grappin, Beaune 1er Boucherottes
Drunk directly following the weekend’s Chambertin. The nose here really cannot compete, it has some high-toned complexity but it is both young and a bit herby for now. The palate, on the other hand, is full of overt, mouth-filling, energy and bright crunchy red fruit. It’s super and much more interesting to drink (if not smell) than the much tighter Chambertin – for that, really bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

1985 Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin
Well, 90% of the cork comes out in one piece!
A sweet demerara depth of medium-red fruit, a suggestion of leaves too – a fine clean nose for such an oldie – just a hint of volatility creeping in on thescond night. Still good acidity and a nicely melting flavour that’s faintly spiced and envelops the tongue beautfully. I had about three of these, and over the last five years they have been very stable – unlike some other villages wines that were definitely fading. Tasty, rewarding wine, but still to drink up…
Rebuy – No Chance…

Next up, villages Savigny from 2014 – because life’s not just about impossible to find villages wines from 1985 🙂

2014 Françoise Andre, Savigny-lès-Beaune Ez Connardises
Good depth of colour. Really a large volume of aroma, ripeness of macerating dark cherry and an accent of oak – très inviting. Fresh attack, good width, and yes quite a lot of oak – but tasty too! Savigny did soooo well in 2014 – what there was of it!
Rebuy – Maybe

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