the recent corkscrew action…

By billn on May 25, 2020 #degustation

Well, it was Chardonnay Day – that was my excuse. A great series of wines…

2018 Séguinot-Bordet, Chablis 1er Fourchaume
A big, chunky Trescases cork.
There’s freshness but also a ripeness of fruit – at this stage I wouldn’t guess ‘Chablis’ from the nose. The palate is another matter; correct, nicely driving and with a lovely citrus energy. Mineral, faintly sweetly finishing. This is a delicious glass from a bottle that empties rather more quickly than bargained for!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Yvon et Laurent Vorcoret, Chablis 1er Homme Mort
This neighbour, also with a Trescases cork.
Also fresh, more weight and minerality to the aroma too – here is Chablis. A wine of more weight and impact – it’s the vintage – pure, saline and completely delicious. The more classic of these two wines today. And drinking beautifully already!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Jacques Prieur, Montrachet
As I said – Chardonnay day! Here with a robust DIAM Origine.
A nose of depth and complexity – wow! Direct, immensely flavoured compared to the Chablis. Still, the wine opens further, almost tannic in texture, then wider too – wow – again! The oak is visible but not distracting. With this seal a wine for the ages – so hauntingly long. No ifs or buts, Grand Vin.
Rebuy – Yes

1999 François Gay, Ladoix
This, most likely, my last one of these – not tasted for a few years – but all that went before were fabulous. The cork is wine-soaked through 80% of its length but has the integrity to easily extract in one piece.
Still deeply coloured. The nose starts with a little funk – it needs 5 minutes in the glass to clear – and then we have it – beautifully pure, precise, red berry fruit of no particular age – just invitation! The palate reflects the nose – a purity of red fruity and here it is borne on beautiful acidity. There’s a little frisson of energy here that just multiplies the deliciousness of this wine. Not old, not young but à point. Fabulous…
Rebuy – Yes

2000 Thomas-Moillard, Romanée St.Vivant
I think for a moment that the cork has cracked, but no, it extracts in one piece.
Plenty of colour – those boys knew how to extract! Hmm – now that’s an impressive nose – the first time I’ve noted any semblance of maturity from this wine – there is still hope for my 1999s – but still not for 10 years! The first impression in the mouth is the weight of concentration, depth and width of flavour – this is properly grand cru – complex too. It is also a wine that tightens after 20 minutes-or-so. It remains eminently drinkable and without the coarser, harder, edges of the 1999 (for example) but it remains an adolescent wine of very good parts though lacking coherence for now. In those days cheaper than many villages wines today – in that context, a worthy buy and with more potential down the road.
Rebuy – Probably Yes

Flowering? The 2020 vintage growth update…

By billn on May 21, 2020 #vintage 2020

May weather in Vosne-Romanée

Anyone tuning into social media right now will fall under a deluge of images of vines in flower.

The outliners – almost always the young vines – have already flowered. As a true(r!) measure, the BIVB has the concept of mid-flowering where a date is assigned to this point in time and, hence, a reference or comparison to other vintages is available. The mid-point of flowering in 2020 has not yet been achieved – or at least communicated – but we are close!

To compare:

Dates ex-BIVB and assembled by the Chambre d’Agriculture de Côte-d’Or

As you may note, these dates come from reference parcels of Côte de Nuits Pinot, Côte de Beaune Pinot and Côte de Beaune Chardonnay. In recent years (this is not an old measure) 2011 leads the pack with 2007 in second place.

2020 is regaining its vigour after 10 cooler and wetter days, but looks like it may be just behind, or even closely match, 2007. Otherwise, disease pressure remains low and the work – even with social-distancing – remains easy due to the benevolence of the weather. Even the Saturday market in Beaune has now re-opened, but in the vines, the rain of the last couple of weeks may be a more crucial factor if the summer of 2020 compares to the dryness of those in 2015-2019…

tonights’ work…

By billn on May 19, 2020 #degustation

a little something(s) to keep us going…

By billn on May 18, 2020 #degustation

some weekend wines

2018 Domaine Longère, Beaujolais Villages Blanc Nos 2 Elles
A Nomacorc seal; a newer ‘select green 300’ but the wine is clearly in great shape.
Modest colour. A nose of some mineral clarity and a suggestion of citrus richness – also modest, but still an invitation. Mouth-filling with a leading-edge that’s part saline part sweetly acidic. Yes, a wine of richness but there is super balance here – it’s completely deliciously flavoured. Simply excellent wine – a rarissimo…
Rebuy – Yes

1994 Bouchard Père, Volnay 1er Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot
I am completely surprised. I bought a small parcel of these perhaps 15 years ago. The started modestly interesting but slowly became more and more monolithic – zero joy and few redeeming features – so what has happened?
Decent medium red colour, not a wine that looks ‘old.’ The nose brings a little Marmite, a suggestion of flowers and a good depth of clear red fruit – that’s a good start! Width, energy and a good acidity keep this wine in control – the width, for while, suggesting some oak. Slowly mouth-watering, with the red fruit of the nose showing well in the middle flavours. It’s not ‘great’ wine but it’s tasty and interesting for sure. There is still a little tannin holding on in the finish but not to disadvantage the wine. A little more closed on day two, but still holding on – a turn-up for the books – more than modest enjoyment here!
Rebuy – Maybe


By billn on May 15, 2020 #degustation

2018 Domaine Carrette, Saint-Véran Les Mures
Cork sealed.
There’s a twist of freshness over a richer width of fruit – a waxy style to this aromatic. Really a width of flavour – there’s some impact here. Layered, rich for sure but these layers of flavour just about avoid heaviness. Tastily long and a very enjoyable SV.
Rebuy – Maybe

2017 Domaine Collotte, Fixin Les Champstions
Not a well-known climat – even if you live in Fixin! Sealed with a darker, what looks like, untreated cork.
Here’s a very much less communicative nose – it suggests depth and perhaps a little salinity – but little else. Wow! Here you see the difference between the lightness of style from many in the Côte de Beaune in 2017 and the fuller concentration and colour that you find in the Côte de Nuits – there is nothing lacking. Lush, deeply fruited – almost a dark cherry cordial in style – there is tannin – but only if you go out looking for it. Accessible sweet fruit – as we have become accustomed to since 2015 – but simply a deliciously moreish wine. Yes!
Rebuy – Yes

restaurants & the elephant in the room…

By billn on May 13, 2020 #the market#warning - opinion!

It’s true of course – how could it be any different? Without restaurants – either ordering or potentially closing for good – the wine-producers of all regions have currently lost a significant part of their client-base. At this point, only Burgundy seems to be openly discussing this and that’s why they have the headline.

Major retail channels are not making up for lost sales.” Again, of course. The orders that have been placed by hotels and restaurants, less than 2 months ago, will not have been re-allocated yet, it’s too soon.

Nobody knows how the restaurant scene will look 2 years down the line, but typically it is the older, more coveted, domaines that have higher exposure to the restaurant trade. The ‘slack’ of unsold/un-ordered wine could easily be taken up by the consumer channels for these sought-after domaines – just look at how buoyant the online sales are during ‘lockdown’ – but it’s the unpaid bills from restaurants that won’t reopen, or who need to ‘re-finance’ – that’s the much bigger elephant in the room…

the making of the 2020 vintage…

By billn on May 12, 2020 #vintage 2020

WP_20160608_10_19_39_Pro (2)Yes, there have been flowers! Already last week (7 May) in Chambolle and Chablis Montmains, this week also in multiple locations in the Mâconnais and Beaujolais. In truth, these are young vines and they are always ‘early’ but the next few days will bring the real, the general, flowering. But there’s no getting away from it – by the end of April, the vines were two to three weeks ahead of where the 2019 vintage was on this date.

Since the start of May, the weather has been cooler and much wetter – which I can also confirm has been the case 280km away in Bern – practically gloves required for jogging today in 5°C!

2020 is now back to being neck-and-neck with the 2011 and 2007 vintages at this stage – still joint most precocious of the last 15+ years. But after this recent rain – 30-50 mm in the last week – and a return to warmer temperatures that should arrive in the next few days, it’s unlikely to lose any ground on those two vintages. Actually, and despite practically 5 weeks of dry weather in March-April, there has been more rain since October than either of 2007 or 2011 – so there could even be a growth spurt in the next week or two! As previously noted, mid-August harvesting remains a distinct possibility!

To date, a few small signs of oïdium have been noted but there seems to be no mildew for now. Sage words from Sylvie Esmonin to end with:

a brace of 02s…

By billn on May 11, 2020 #degustation

Pascal Chevigny & des Chezeaux

Following on from the very successful Potel Boutières, a couple more from 2002:

2002 Pascal Chevigny, Vosne-Romanée
This was a domaine on the ‘wrong’ side of the RN74 that runs through Vosne, but I think it’s no longer producing. A sturdy, if completely unbranded, cork.
Plenty of colour, and no real impression of age to go with it. Now that’s a very good nose; slightly spiced – as it should be – and with a fine floral perfume of excellent purity – a great start. In the mouth forthright – so long as you hold it in your mouth and swirl – the tannins seem almost a little rustic. Simply drink and you have the impression of silk – so I suggest the latter. Lovely mid-palate depth of flavour and fine acidity. This is very accomplished and also holding-up very well. Excellent, provided you don’t look too closely.
Rebuy – Yes

2002 des Chézeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin
Another sturdy and much tighter seated cork than the Vosne – but out in one piece!
A little age to this medium-plus colour. A nose with plenty of fresh volume – more of a width than a depth, and less floral than the Vosne – but still a good invitation – here with just a touch of leafy, Gevrey-earth. Ooh, that has a nice intensity of fresh cherry – red, acid-cherry. The acidity is more to the fore than the Vosne – not unlike the Aloxe from Potel a few days ago. Mouth-watering, delicious and possibly the best of the three 02s – including the Aloxe which had nicer mid-palate fruit but not so good aromatics. Excellent villages, still in excellent, quite youthful shape.
Rebuy – Yes

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