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a couple of week(end) 22 wines…

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1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Vieilles-Vignes
Medium-plus colour A little herb and a lot of sweet, plummy fruit. A middle-weight, but one of sweet silkiness, supple delivery of flavour, widening and intensifying a little in the mid-palate. The finish is tasty and medium-plus length, slowly fading on a more floral register. Very drinkable now – one might even say ready! Tasty and enjoyable wine.
Rebuy – Yes

1996 Jean Grivot, Richebourg
I decided that 20 years should be enough to consider ‘approaching’ this wine – I was wrong: Deeper colour. A wide nose that begins with a hint of jarring herb, but slowly fading herb, then a more floral top note and a weighty core of relatively tight fruit. Mouth-encompassing, every space is filled. There’s a faint rasp of tannin and plenty of acidity too – yet the overall impression is neither sharp nor dry. Large-scaled as this is, the finish is really the thing that impresses. This may never be a wine of grace – though its power, and mid-palate punch will never be doubted. I love the bold finishing flavour very much – there’s great fruit in there, it’s nicely sweet too – but if you ignore today’s obscene price for this wine, today at-least, it’s easy to move onto something less challenging to drink – like the Potel – as opposed to staying, only to academically dissect. I think I’ll wait another 5 years for the next one, yet, there’s no doubt that this is impressive stuff…
Rebuy – Yes – at the original price 😉

the u.k. riviera

Eight days in the UK, and unbelievably, only half a day of rain!
 

the return of the clos marey-monge…

Hello from a windy beach in the UK! I’m back in the saddle on Thursday, but this is hot in today – très French – I haven’t seen a translation, not yet, anyway, but I’m sure you all know how to use google 😉

Cheers!

Château de Pommard : le Clos du Château reprend son nom historique et entreprend sa conversion biodynamique

La renaissance du Clos Marey-Monge au Château de Pommard

En 1855, Jules Lavalle présente la classification officielle du Comité de Viticulture de Beaune dans un ouvrage intitulé “Histoire et statistique de la vigne et des grands vins de la Côte d’Or.” Dans cette classification qui respecte les hiérarchies anciennes, le Clos Marey-Monge, rebaptisé Clos du Château de Pommard en 1936, figure parmi les premières cuvées, qualificatif correspondant au premier cru aujourd’hui.

Pour visualiser le communiqué multimédia, rendez-vous sur :

http://www.multivu.com/players/uk/7850851-chateau-de-pommard-restores-marey-monge/

Avec un profond respect pour les valeurs de la région, l’histoire et la classification de Lavalle, en mai 2016, le Château de Pommard est fier de reprendre le nom historique du Clos : Clos Marey-Monge.

“L’équipe du Château de Pommard se réjouit de retrouver la dénomination originelle de Clos Marey-Monge. nous attachons une grande importance à la préservation de notre héritage viticole et aux racines historiques de notre région. Ainsi la renaissance du Clos Marey-Monge est un symbole fort de notre volonté d’aller de l’avant dans le respect de ces traditions.” Michael Baum, propriétaire.

La conversion du Clos Marey-Monge à la biodynamie

Engagé dans une série de changements, le Château de Pommard est très fier d’annoncer son projet de conversion du Clos Marey-Monge à la biodynamie.

Emmanuel Sala, le Directeur Technique, élabore tous les Grands Vins du Château de Pommard depuis 2007. Sa philosophie est “de sublimer le millésime, rester à l’écoute de la nature et ne jamais perturber l’équilibre naturel.”

Dans la continuité de cette philosophie et en maintenant son exigence de qualité il s’engage dans la conversion du Clos en biodynamie. “Un tel projet s’inscrit dans ma perception des vins, m’incite à écouter la nature pour comprendre le terroir et la vigne et restituer cette sensibilité dans mes vins,” s’enthousiasme Emmanuel Sala.

Ce projet de conversion sera conduit avec l’appui d’Antoine Lepetit de la Bigne, oenologue et ingénieur agronome. Ce passionné de vin et d’agronomie a passé huit ans au Domaine Leflaive et s’est récemment spécialisé dans l’accompagnement des domaines viticoles vers la biodynamie. Convaincu et converti à cette viticulture, son approche et sa méthode de conversion se résument ainsi, “améliorer l’expression et la profondeur du terroir du Clos Marey-Monge dans une logique écologique.”

Il confirme la capacité du Château de Pommard à conduire sa conversion “toutes les conditions sont réunies au Château de Pommard pour mener une conversion réussie.” Les sols sont bien entretenus et le labour a été pratiqué régulièrement. La mise en place des préparations biodynamiques sera facilitée par les moyens humains et techniques existant au Château de Pommard.

Cet accompagnement intègre un coaching technique et une formation dispensée par Antoine Lepetit de la Bigne à l’ensemble de l’équipe viticole et aux commerciaux. Il considère que tous les acteurs de cette conversion doivent être impliqués pour une compréhension parfaite de l’approche et une cohérence de discours. Avis largement partagé par le Directeur Technique qui conclut : “ce projet n’est pas un projet personnel c’est un projet fédérateur exceptionnel.” Une opinion largement partagée par le propriétaire, Michael Baum : “Toute l’équipe du Château de Pommard est impatiente d’ouvrir cette nouvelle page de l’histoire du Clos. Nous espérons tous produire des vins biodynamiques exceptionnels.”

Le projet se fera en plusieurs étapes, avec dans un premier temps deux hectares en biodynamie dès le printemps. Cette première phase vise à acquérir l’expérience nécessaire avant d’étendre l’approche à tout le Clos.

Le Clos Marey-Monge verra donc son premier millésime biodynamique en 2018.

Bref historique du Château de Pommard

Le Château de Pommard existe depuis 300 ans, grâce à l’une des plus anciennes familles de Pommard, la famille Micault. En tant que conseiller du roi Louis XV, Vivant Micault entreprit la construction du Château de Pommard dans un pur style Régence.

Au XVIIIème siècle, la famille Marey, l’une des plus influentes familles de Bourgogne, était l’intendante du Clos et a forgé la grande réputation des vins du Château de Pommard.

Le Château de Pommard élabore des vins élégants issus de cinq terroirs distincts au sein du Clos Marey-Monge.

Ce Clos historique d’une superficie de 20 hectares est le plus grand monopole privé de Bourgogne.

Ce terroir unique permet d’assembler le meilleur de chacune des cinq cuvées et de produire un vin d’exception, réputé pour son élégance et sa complexité.

La philosophie du Château de Pommard : offrir un moment de partage symbole de l’authenticité. Le Château de Pommard appartient aujourd’hui à la famille Carabello-Baum, la cinquième famille depuis 1726 à exploiter le domaine, une destination véritablement exceptionnelle en Bourgogne.

les bottles de la weekend (week 20)

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Vincent Audras, ‘Verigoude’ Viognier (Beaujolais)
The producer thrust this bottle into my hand, after I told him I’d prefer just to taste just his reds – ‘try it over the weekend‘ he said. I’d already mentioned that I wasn’t the best person to review Viognier, as it isn’t to my taste – but you can’t beat persistence 😉 As I expected very, very floral and rich both aromatically and on the palate too. I have no more to add! (I see no vintage reference, but believe this to be the 2015)

2012 Château Bonnet, Moulin à Vent ‘Vin de Grade’
Now this smells lovely – it tastes great too. There’s an opening touch of vanilla on the nose, but not the palate – this is gone after 15 minutes – so then I’m happy. Fine dark-fruited freshness and a very tasty wine – three people polished it off in no time – super!
Rebuy – Yes

2005 d’Ardhuy, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Chaumes
Dark coloured, an equally dark but seemingly tight, fresh nose. Very lovely, silky flavour with lots of concentration and intensity – yet delicious and balanced – this was drunk even faster than the Château Bonnet – super again!
Rebuy – Yes

portraits of a few southern burgundians…

Visited in Beaujolais last week. All profiled in the April Burgundy Report, though that’s (of-course) after the rather late, to be published, March Burgundy Report!

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images from the beaujolais this week

Not super-warm despite many of the pics, yet it was a fresh and bright week in Beaujolais. There were a couple of evening storms with strong wind, rain and a little thunder and lightening, but no damage – more storms are forecast for Sunday onward, though. If the growth of the vines had been a little bit more forward – saw another 10 days worth – and not yet trained, then the wind would have done quite some damage by breaking off many shoots – but it wasn’t much of a problem this week.

Here, some images captured during my week:
 

a few bottles… (weeks 18+19!)

A little remiss of me, but here are two week(end)s worth of bottles:
 


In no particular order:
2010 Rebourgeon-Mure, Beaune 1er Vignes Frances – brilliant/excellent!
2010 Rebourgeon-Mure, Pommard 1er Les Arvelets – even better! Again brilliant/excellent!
Le Grappin, Rosé de gamay – very tasty, finished in 2 weekends!
1996 Wynns, John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon – I thought 20 years should be enough time to wait – I would say that was borderline; still some oak, massive wine – not easy to take the third glass 😉
2005 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Coucherias – Impressively concentrated fruit-cordial wine. I didn’t know I had these – but 3 more await, and they will be enjoyed. It didn’t smell as nice on day 2 – so (note to self) drink in 1 day!
2010 Camille Giroud, Bourgogne Cuvée L – From magnum. Not quite as good as the 08 from magnum just now, but really a floral and concentrated honey of a wine. Another two years and it could easily be as good as the 08 is now…
Le Grappin 2011/2012 Savigny mix – The reds and whites performed exactly the same; the white 2011 Savigny has lost the phenolic edge and is drinking beautifully right now – the 2012 white savigny has more of a phenolic/structural edge – wait another year for that one, maybe two. The reds perform exactly the same. The 2011 villages Savigny is soft, easy and delicious, the 2012 has more crisp structure – all are fun to drink though.
2014 Fleurie, Les Trois Pucelles – just bought out of interest for less than 10 swiss francs. It’s a supermarket bottling with no producer info. It tasted good – surprisingly good. Equal to many good bourgognes, better than a lot…
2006 Chateau de Marsannay, Gevrey-Chambertin – this tasted not bad when younger, now it lacks sweetness and there’s some astringence from the tannin. I don’t recommend that you search this one out – they are doing much better things now…

The next two needed to be enjoyed together – my two adieu bottles to Charles Rousseau and Philippe Roty:
2000 Armand Rousseau, Chambertin + 2000 Joseph Roty, Griottes-Chambertin – The Rousseau is fresh and direct, lots of energy and complexity here – can it really be a 2000? Move to the Roty and you have more weight, more vestiges of oak, plenty of complexity and weight of texture – it seems more concentrated. Move back to the Rousseau and it’s ‘wow’ fresh and complex – clearly better – move back to the Roty and it’s bigger and more impressive – clearly better! What a fabulous, pairing to compare and contrast – each sip from the other is better than the last – in a different way. Probably the Rousseau is better for the future, but today, this comparison was the quintessence of burgundy brilliance…

The weekend Griottes – the good the bad and the ugly:
2000 Roty – as above (the good)
2002 Chezeaux (Leclerc the bad) Smells and tasted ‘stewed’ – super weight of flavour (but stewed) and a good sweetness, but this really should have been drunk when it was young and tastier – poor…
1993 Ponsot (the ugly) – unbelievably corked…

Bérêche Champagne – a lovely thing, and it got better and better. slowly losing a hint of oxidative flavour – yum!
1995 Dujac, Morey-Saint-Denis – Hmm, lovely complexity of aroma and flavour – yet I’m a hint disappointed – I though this Clos de la Roche should be a little better – then I realised that I ‘only’ opened the villages. Okay – it’s pretty damn good then 😉

wandering around the côtes this weekend

DSC00257-1A mix of rain, cloud and sun – it’s immediately 20+°C when the sun breaks through – otherwise we are stuck in the 12-15°C rut – and it feels much colder than that when the wind blows. The weather is still a little bizarre though, this morning it was a little less than 2°C in the vineyards of Beaune – probably less in the Hautes Côtes…

Honestly the vines are ‘all over the place’ you can really see the lack of consistency when you walk in the vineyards; there are big sprouts of growth here-and-there, surrounded by a much smaller average growth of leaves. The first, larger shoots, are those who survived the frost, the latter is the new growth (recovery) from the previously dormant buds. I’ve never seen such higgledy-piggledy growth in the vines.

Taking the road by Criots Bâtard-Montrachet towards Puligny Tremblots, and this is a very badly affected area – really there is very-much more new growth here, with an occasional sprout of growth from the un-frosted buds…
 


Also very easy to spot between Nuits and Vosne, on the hillside above Nuits 1er Crus Bousselots and Chaignots is a little ‘heavy-remediation.’ The soil has been scraped back, a new supporting wall has been added and the rock broken up. It seems they are now waiting to roll the 20-50cm of soil back over the newly broken-up rock substrate. I’m not clear if this is the last part of Aux Thorey or the tiny Champs Perdrix 1er Cru, but it looks like the style of work done by Boisset – though they normally build a prettier supporting wall! But I’m still guessing it’s Aux Thorey:
 

Lastly – (edit) – while we had some big rainstorms in Beaune on Friday afternoon, it was much worse for our friends in Chablis; even more rain and some hail has certainly left it’s mark. It’s too early for more detail, but the pictures speak for themselves…
All picture are culled from a couple of Facebook posts from Potins Chablisien & Tonnerrois plus Domaine Daniel Seguinot – they are not my photos…

the effects of frost in marsannay (and wider)…

DSC00235Right: Pictured today in Marsannay Les Grandes Vignes – compare it to the picture at the top of the page – that’s what the growth looks like (this week) in an average year!

It was nice and warm just over a week ago in the Côte d’Or, but this week the weather is back into winter mode – well, winter 2015/2016 anyway. It’s been cool and wet for a few days now – 10-14°C – that really is the same as much of November to February. Marsannay also had two days in the last week with only 2°C in the early morning – pinot needs an average of 12°C over the day to grow. For the last week it probably hasn’t done much growing!

Sylvain Pabion, winemaker at the Château de Marsannay – who own 28 hectares of vines in Marsannay – says “Marsannay has been one of the villages most affected by the frost. Depending on the plot, as much as 90% has been lost.”

Two years ago I saw the first flowers in Meursault on the 21st May – so that’s unlikely to happen before June this year.

Right, you can see a mix of normal buds, not frosted with their latent flowers, you can also see the new buds, replacing those that were frosted. The way the weather is going, it could easily be another October harvest – and for the first buds – which would certainly put paid to hopes of harvesting something from the second buds. More importantly the next two weeks will show whether there is life in the cordons or not – if the only new growth is from the old wood rather than the cordons, then this is largely sterile, so there will also be no grapes in 2017! One grower shared with me “You know when there’s hail, after the initial shock we jump into the vines to save what we have, but this year we will still have to work the whole year in the vines, already knowing that in some cases there will be no harvest…”

Charles Rousseau (1923-2016)

Remembering that great character, Charles Rousseau. He was always an ambassador for the domaine that wore his father’s name, remaining on hand, in his office, chatting with all visitors, despite having long stopped working in the barrels…


Armand Rousseau
It has been said that if you want the safest route to a fine bottle of Chambertin, or Chambertin Clos de Bèze, then make sure that the label says…

Charles was keen to extend the domaine’s trade outside their small number of private clients. To that end in 1951 he found himself in London’s Victoria Station, two suitcases by his side. He first visited that very rare thing – an existing ‘foreign’ client – a director of the BBC, before setting about visiting as many companies as possible who might have an interest in his wines. He mainly chose his targets by looking through their windows to see if they already sold wine!
It was tough; his targets were happy, if rather bemused, to entertain Charles in their offices, but anyway they already bought their wine from Drouhin or Patriarche! The top-level négociants in this age were Drouhin, Faiveley, Bouchard Père and Thomas-Bassot – “Jadot was not yet regarded in the top-rank.” Unlike the domaine, the names of those London merchants have pretty much disappeared; Ward & Martinez, André Simon, Christopher & Co., Dolomore, JH & J Brooke, Bonne Portes and the Soho Wine Co. With a smile, and the hint of a wink, Charles says “You know, over the next 10 years or so, one-by-one they all appeared in my office, asking to buy the wines”.
Domaine Profile (2005)

A great example of the man in action – in his office!

a few swiss days…

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The last days in Switzerland have been quite nice – but oday there’s rain in Beaune. Back to the typing!
 

frost – a couple of informative notes:

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From Jasper Morris at Berry Brothers & Rudd
http://bbrblog.com/2016/05/06/burgundy-struck-frost-hail/

And from a merchant:
http://www.thomascalderselections.com/posts

Lots of good info, though with respect to the second link, Burgundy is not ahead of an average year, despite a relatively warm winter, because average temperatures were insufficient for growth in most of March and April – up until 1 week ago it was considered ‘average.’ Indeed, since then it has continued rather cool – I noted the first flowers about the 18th May 2 years ago – at this rate they may not open before the 18th of June! Which won’t be helpful for anyone thinking they might get crop from the newly moving ‘dormant buds…’

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