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!

offer of the day – 2021 l’Arlot

By billn on January 25, 2023 #asides

From my inbox – the same merchant as every year:
I offer the comparison with the previous prices (in brackets) of the 2020s, 2019s, 2018s, 2017s, 2016s, and 2015… and — signifies ‘not offered’

Domaine de l’Arlot 2021

Côte de Nuits Villages Clos du Chapeau 2021 75 cl 38.00 (—)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Mont des Oiseaux 1er Cru 75cl — (—, —, 69.50, 59.00, —, 59.00)* Swiss Francs
Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru ‘Hors Ligne’ 75cl — (—, —, —, 79.00, —, —)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de l’Arlot 1er Cru 2021 75cl 99.00 (98.00, 89.50, 88.00, 85.00 85.00, 79.00)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos Forêts St-Georges 1er Cru 2021 75cl 99.00 (98.00, 89.50, 88.00, 85.00 85.00, 79.00)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos Forêts St-Georges 1er Cru 2021 150cl 203.00 (201.00, 184.00, 181.00, 175.00, 175.00, —)
Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er Cru 2021 75cl 189.00 (148.00, 135.00, 129.00, 119.00, 119.00, 109.00)
Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er Cru 2021 150cl — (—, —, 263.00, —, —, —)
Romanée Saint Vivant Grand Cru 2021 75cl 695.00 (575.00, 498.00, —, —, 486.00, 445.00)

Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de l’Arlot blanc 2021 75cl 109.00 (—)

Wow! Now that’s getting expensive in Vosne-Romanée – eh?
*Note that an additional 7.7% sales tax is also due, but the delivery cost is included…

Both pictures and explanations!

By billn on January 22, 2023 #ladypyrazines#picture gallery#site updates#travels in burgundy 2023

Vaudesir to the left, Vaudesir & Moutonne to the right...
Vaudesir to the left, Vaudesir & Moutonne to the right…

A chilly week in Chablis and the Côte d’Or too this week and weekend – I offer you a small gallery of the sights.

But first, a couple of readers have asked some questions and also for some help in deciphering some of the ‘codes’ that I use in my descriptions and reports. These are things that have built up over the years, or are shorthand when taking notes that I don’t always remember to return to ‘long-hand!’ But every now and then it’s worth a little explanation because not everyone has been coming here for years and years 🙂

Agrumes: I had always assumed that agrume was also an English-language word but it seems I may have been mistaken and that it is predominantly found in the Latin tongues. Simply put, it is citrus but it actually covers the whole family of citrus fruits. For this reason, I may sometimes refer to more green-shaded agrumes (lots of lime or lime skin) or orange/mandarin but the effect can also be shaded more to grapefruit or even some complexity of all. The Latin languages have definitions that are more open to ‘interpretation’ than the Germanic-derived ones 🙂 Some white vintages are marked by ‘agrume bitters‘, so without extra info, you can translate that ‘simply’ as a zesty, citrus-skin type of bitterness.

Do you ever feel that a bit of oak can contribute to the overall ‘quality’ of a wine? Or are you averse to all manifestations of oak?” That’s a great question! We all have our own preferences, and whilst I would always prefer to taste the wine, rather than the containers in which it has been raised (elevage,) some aspects that come from the oak distract me less than others. Oak with a strong toast is much rarer than was once the case – overt vanilla too – which is good for me – I don’t want either of those in my glass. The more creamy accents that can come from the barrel distract me much less and I can say the same – within limits – for those spicy notes that you more often find with reds. I do believe that the barrels contribute to more impressive wines of additional longevity – but a deft hand that can expertly meld the aromas and flavours of the wood would always be my preference. It’s not just the organoleptic (smell-flavour) aspects of the wines that are altered by the barrels though – it is the shape and texture of the wines too… But a strongly oaked wine that I wouldn’t want to drink young (because of that strong aroma or flavour) can still be a very great wine if you have sufficient patience. You need a reviewer that can put ‘the now’ to one side and still be able to say that they think that a particular wine will still be great.

Do ‘the greens’ that you have found so often in 2020 white Burgundies ever go away or is it a mark that always persists?” To offer a little more focus – I have found these pyrazines in the wines of the Côtes d’Auxere – including Chablis – so some red to go with a lot of white. There were occasional reds in both Beaujolais and the Côte d’Or too – but relatively rare – I did not note these greens in whites from any other region. If the reds of 2004 and 2011 are to be used as benchmarks, then the pyrazine notes that I am sensitive to, are stable. The 2020 Chablis that I have re-tasted in the last two weeks are worse – more overt – than was the case one year ago.

You cite the common reaction to them as occurring in 80% of tasters – do the remaining 20% have no adverse effects whatsoever & should they all rush out & buy up the 2020 vintage Chablis?” You got that ‘back-to-front’ – it’s only about 10% of tasters that are sensitive – anecdotally, more often, it is women that have this extra sensitivity. The rest can and should rush out to buy what is otherwise a well-constructed, fine vintage for Chablis.

Gothic & WC: WC is a shorthand that I often use interchangeably for whole-clusters or whole-bunches or ‘stems.’ I sometimes refer to the effect of wc on the wine being a little gothic. By that I mean, darker, more structural – indeed a bit austere too – so in this case it means with some herbal aspects and more drying tannin. This was visible in the 2021 wines at a few important domaines – but far from all – some domaines made gorgeously perfumed wines even with 100% use of whole clusters…

Okay a few images from the last 6-7 days, enjoy:

Domaine Chantal Lescure – Sold!

By billn on January 19, 2023 #the market

Domaine Chantal Lescure is/was a 19-hectare domaine to be found in the centre of Nuits St.Georges and it has been announced this week that it has been sold.

The domaine was founded in 1975 by Chantal Lescure and Xavier Machard de Gramont – you may recognise the latter name – Chantal was the aunt of Axelle Marchard de Gramont. Was? Yes, Chantal died 25 years ago.

Chantal was one of 7 siblings and her family came from an industrial background in Dijon, making their fortune by commercialising the pressure cooker in France. The family later diversified into vines. After Chantal died (1996) it was her sons Aymeric and Thibault Machard de Gramont who came to the domaine but it was said that the next generation had little interest in running the domaine, so put someone else in charge to manage it.

The holdings are impressive – 19 hectares – with 1er crus dotted along both the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune – there’s even a little Clos de Vougeot grand cru. The domaine was (later) also an early adopter of organic viticulture, having been certified organic in their vines since 2006 and has been run by François Chavériat.

But now there are new owners, and for a change, it is not a group whose main business is making handbags. The cost of the acquisition hasn’t been released – or yet rumoured as far as I can tell!

Jean-Philippe Girard and Eric Rousseau are the new team in charge. Of course, you will know Eric from his previous life at Domaine Armand Rousseau, but what of Jean-Philippe Girard? He’s from Dijon and has recently stepped down from his own company which he ran for 30 years – working on the technologies associated with wheat, flour and bread. He’s also (still) the head of a development agency that aims to establish of new companies in the community of Dijon.

It seems that François Chavériat will remain in his position. I wish them all success in this!

New Burgundy Report – The 2021 reds of the Côte de Nuits

By billn on January 16, 2023 #reports

Clos Saint Denis 2021Uploaded yesterday – 41 domaines and their wines – those worth a special search are outlined as usual…

Additionally, I have significantly updated the summary of the vintage for Côte de Beaune reds to also include the info on those from the Côte de Nuits – so all in one place rather than piecemeal…

For January, I have already more than 20 Chablis domaines in my report book (okay – laptop!) so that will be part 2 of my white report – probably to be published at the end of the first week in February – then it will be, once more, Beaujolais time – for part 3 of 2021 reds.

No rest for the wicked – and it might even snow on the way to Chablis later today!


Concours des Vins de Chablis – 2021 vintage…

By billn on January 16, 2023 #annual laurels

Chablis-2021-PalmaresAs every year in mid-January – the Concours des Vins de Chablis was held over the weekend – this the 37th edition.

Following on from Guillaume Barion, last year, it was Jasper Morris who this year took the reigns as head of a jury that consisted of 71 tasters.

The task was a simple one – taste 259 wines and decide who should get a medal 🙂 It was the 2021s under the magnifying glass – except where they looked at the 2020s for the grand crus. Here (right) you can find the summary of the medalists released this morning – in French!


weekend wines – week 2 2023

By billn on January 15, 2023 #degustation

weekend 2 2023 wines

1998 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleon
The last bottle of this was pretty good, so: A pale cork but it came out in one with a satisfying pop. Unfortunately, the cork with similar (aural) performance was the d’Angerville 99 Clos des Ducs over Christmas and that was wrecked by TCA. This smelled better than that – but not by much. In this case, it was very bretty – the wine seemed even worse than the cork. My head told me DNPIM – but I did – and I was wrong to do so…
Rebuy – No

2020 Château Thivin, Côte de Brouilly Clos Bertrand
A robust darker, statement cork – all good!
Deeply coloured. Deeply, darkly fruited too. The flavours have width over the plate the texture is silky but here is tons of balanced concentration. Frankly, and as (really!) good as it is, this needs time – right now it’s hard to drink two glasses in a row, such is the richness of the vintage.
Rebuy – Yes

1995 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée Les Bossières
We lost Jean Grivot this week – he was 95 years young. Here’s a wine whose cork snapped in 2 – you know it happens a lot chez-moi – but below the wine was good!
A deep colour though certainly starting to brown at the rim. A full nose, a complex nose – brown sugar, a little balsamic too, spice and perhaps some pine-forest – I could go on! Mouth-filling, still framed with some tannin – growing from the depth – some grain here but there’s nothing astringent. Dark flavours, complex, occasionally almost meaty. Really broad in the middle and finishing flavours – the brown sugar, the tannic grain and that slightly spiced balsamic flavour crowd the finish too. This is still a powerful wine – structurally younger than the flavours that it shares – but wasn’t 1995 always like that? Very drinkable at this stage on it’s journey, despite the large-scale impression that it brings.
Rebuy – Maybe

And one from last week that I didn’t post on:

2020 Richard Rottiers, Moulin à Vent Les Thorins
Just a couple of minutes of air is enough to remove a confused aromatic, replacing it with one of seamless attractive fruit – yes! In the mouth a lower level of concentration vs the Thivin but a wine that’s so much easier to drink because of that. Ultra delicious wine which is already in a really great (drinking) place.
Rebuy – Yes

chablis – the first week of 3 in January…

By billn on January 13, 2023 #travels in burgundy 2023

Just a few images to show that I’m still alive!

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