Potel’s 2002 Aloxe 1er Boutières…

By billn on May 08, 2020 #degustation

nicolas potel aloxe corton boutieres

There was a different type of value proposition when I was ‘peak buying.’ Following my tasting of Nicky’s 2002s in Nuits St.Georges (with his business manager Xavier) I ordered (from memory) 12 Aloxe Boutières, 6 Vosne 1er Suchots, 6 Vosne 1er Malconsorts, 6 Vosne 1er Petits Monts, 6 Vosne 1er Gaudichots and 6 Chambertin. Due to a mix-up there wasn’t any Suchots waiting for me when I came to collect, and the stock had all been sold – c’est la vie – but I still ended up having to pay more as my Petits Monts all wore Malconsorts corks(!) – so I ordered another 6 – i.e. the proper Petits Monts! The result still seemed expensive at ~1,500 Euros (before the extra PMs) but the bottles have brought me so much pleasure – and it goes without saying, such an order would be massively more expensive today…

This may be the last of my Boutières, and it’s been super-interesting to follow this wine through the age-curve; starting deliciously, lushly fruity, then the wine narrowing as it approached 10 years old, finely acidic but hardly with the foil of lush fruit any more. Today it’s much more drinkable than 5-6 years ago:

2002 Nicolas Potel, Aloxe-Corton Boutières
The nose is a little compact, almost suggesting, but never quite delivering a little brett. The palate is a dream – the fat of youth is long-since lost, but here is a fineness of acidity and a clarity of fine red fruit that I can only describe as succulent – oh that’s so good! The texture has some depth of concentration and clearly there’s acidity here, but anyone who appreciates 1996s and 2008s will find this a very easy wine to drink. Simply a great buy – I’ll be sad if I never find another stashed, hidden away, in the cellar.
Rebuy – Yes

David Croix is one of the few that I can think of who makes this cuvée today – stupidly I’ve never bought any – still I’ve plenty of his Beaunes, waiting for the right day!

jean-marc boillot’s 1995 pommard 1er jarollières

By billn on May 06, 2020 #degustation

Well, what a turn-up!

JMBoillot-95-Jarollieres1995 J-M Boillot, Pommard 1er Jarollières
I think I bought a dozen, or so of these in an auction – in around 2008. They were a good price, but frankly, not a single one have I enjoyed. Many have been strongly afflicted by brett or the impression of bacterial spoilage. Not this one! To start with, a great cork – robust and, obviously, a great seal.
Plenty of colour, though with less overt age showing than last week’s excellent ’98 Bonnes-Mares. A fresh brambly nose of width plus a certain invitation to drink – that’s a surprise – and certainly not any overt impression of maturity! Mouth-filling, muscular and showing very good energy. The concentration – the depth of flavour – is impressing me. A little iron in the finishing, slightly saline and impressively long flavours. This is super and with plenty of time on its side. Some of the previous bottles have been so bad that I couldn’t for a second recommend the wine – but if this was my only experience I’d be raving. Even on day two – often the death of older wines – not a bit of brett, plenty of freshness too, though just a suggestion of cloudiness that wasn’t there on day 1. This was delicious.
Rebuy – No

4 B’s…

By billn on May 05, 2020 #degustation

Actually, there were 5 B’s – but I forgot my cunning plan and already posted my note on the Blagny! 4 cracking wines:

2008 Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Le Chapitre
A decent cork.
The nose is fresh, almost graphite and brambly. In the mouth there is some 2008 freshness but it’s not in excess. The structure remains relatively young here, but it’s far more approachable than was the case 3 or 4 years ago. The graphite impression on the nose is, for a long time, on the palate too, but aeration finally delivers a very fine focus of complex red berry fruit – it finishes beautifully! Still very much a youngster, but a wine that became better and better, the longer that it was open. I will confidently wait another 5 years for remaining bottles.
Rebuy – Yes

2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
A sturdy cork, if completely unbranded.
Certainly more than medium coloured. The first sniff yields a little savoury oak – or perhaps reduction, let’s see. Mouth-filling – ooh! – that’s concentrated; indeed many layers of concentration – yes plenty of oak too but woof! This is good stuff! Fresh, incisive, growing all the time with a confident flavour despite the high-dose of quercus. The finish slowly fading. Day two and it’s less obviously oaked, softer, still complex but easier to assimilate – still a super depth of flavour in the middle and finishing flavours. Not really ‘elegant’ but it’s also a baby – but a great one – bravo – have 5 more years of patience!
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Julien Duport, Brouilly La Folie
At last a red with a young colour chez nous – a nose of fresh crunchy fruit too – not overtly 2015, or Brouilly for that matter, in style. Yes – the same in the mouth; energy, fresh, crunchy red fruit and very much fun. I wouldn’t have guessed the vintage blind. Really a super wine, even if it’s put in the shade by the concentration of the Clos des Mouches
Rebuy – Yes

1998 Fougeray de Beauclair, Bonnes-Mares
The Clair family own the only part of Bonnes-Mares in Morey St.Denis, for a long time exploited by this domaine. The vines have since reverted back to Bruno’s domaine, but there is still a contract with Fougeray where they receive 2 barrels of Bonnes-Mares per year. The transformation in this wine has been remarkable – at 2 years old this is about the hardest, most tannic, Burgundy I ever opened – I had no hope, despite having purchased a 6-pack. Quite a good cork – it cracks on extraction but remains in one piece.
What a super nose, a depth of crushed leaves such a width of aroma – faintly floral too – unlike the last bottle this has a faint brett – but not enough to stop enjoyment. Plenty of mouth-filling volume – it’s a grand cru! – the depth and complexity of flavour remains super. The tannin of its youth practically a memory now. Great, fully mature wine – but with no rush to drink…
Rebuy – like a shot! (At the old price…)

echézeaux – or grands-echézeaux – what are the differences?

By billn on April 30, 2020 #warning - opinion!

grands echezeaux
In another place, I gave my answer to the differences, or positioning, of these two AOPs. Here are my thoughts – but what do you think?

You can see all of these spellings on labels, the most common is that last one, so that’s what I’ll use: Échezeaux, Échézeaux, Echezeaux or Echézeaux.

    Grands? Well, one is indeed bigger than the other – but the reverse of the naming:

  • Grands-Echézeaux, 9.14 hectares, on modestly sloping limestone ground – practically flat versus Echézeaux – north of Vosne in Flagey-Echézeaux
  • Echézeaux, 36.26 hectares, on a limestone and marl terroir – multiple slopes, dips, altitudes, full-sun and part shaded – also north of Vosne in Flagey-Echézeaux

Grands-Echézeaux does usually seem to be the ‘grander’ wine when you taste after Echézeaux, but older producers suggest that the prefix ‘Grand’ is not used as a form of one-upmanship versus Echézeaux, rather that it describes the much longer rows of vines than seen in the more ‘parcellated’ Echézeaux – so they say…

Of-course the structural character of Grands-Echézeaux is very different to Echézeaux and I see this as probably due to its proximity to the Clos de Vougeot – the wall of the Clos often seeming an arbitrary separation between the two – it’s probably not unreasonable then that DRC hold that their Grands-Echézeaux is perhaps the longest-lived of all their wines. That said, their Echézeaux is not a bad keeper either – I remember Jasper Morris kindly giving me a sip of the DRC ’59 Echézeaux from a bottle that he’d enjoyed at lunch in BB&R that day with Burghound (in roughly 2008) which was robust and young – their BB&R own-bottled ’57 Bonnes-Mares was the more drinkable/open of those two that day(!)

In young Grands-Echézeaux, when not drowned out by oak (a common problem), I very often find an almond aroma that I never find in Echézeaux, and an Echézeaux is, to me, more classically ‘Vosne-like’ than Grands-Echézeaux – again, perhaps, due to Grands-Echézeaux’s proximity to the Clos. It’s easy to consider Echézeaux a second-rank grand cru in the context of Vosne-Romanée (yes, I know, it’s in Flagey…) but a single tour of a dozen or more young Echézeaux often has me in raptures – or, indeed 28 of them! Considering the size of the vineyard, Echézeaux shows much more consistency in quality (if not style) than other large grand crus such as Clos de Vougeot or Corton.

Styles can confound everything – of course! Lots of whole-clusters – or not. Tons of new oak – or not. Elegant or powerful – etcetera… I’ve tasted every year since 2000, and I do think that the DRC Echézeaux has been consistently in the top half-dozen Echézeaux every year since at least 2005 – but that simply means that I like their stylistic choices – though it can be a close-run thing with other domaines…

I’m ashamed to say that I never bought any of his Grands-Echézeaux, so can’t comment on those, but for those lucky enough to still have some, I think Nicky Potel got extra-special juice from ‘somewhere’ in 1997 – his Echézeaux is one of the wines of the vintage – and it’s now starting to blossom fabulously – it’s currently much more interesting than his 1999…

Burguet’s 2016 Mes Favourites

By billn on April 29, 2020 #degustation

Burguet Gevrey Mes Favourites

Either through simple bad luck, or a poor connection with the domaine’s elevage, and despite the renown of this particular cuvée, here’s a wine that I’ve never really enjoyed, and in many vintages too. This shows quite well though!

2016 Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet, Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Favourites Vieilles-Vignes
There’s aromatic concentration here, a little herb and eventually, a little sour cherry fruit – the more the aeration the more attractive it becomes and I’m slowly starting to see a real invitation to drink. The flavour is herbed again, like the nose, but with fine concentration for a villages wine and there’s an energy to match. Fresh and complex finishing – still quite a herby wine but overall this is still attractive in style and a good drink too.
Rebuy – Maybe

rain, rain, (don’t) go away…

By billn on April 28, 2020 #vintage 2020

At last…

There has been a tiny amount of rain in Burgundy and Beaujolais in the last 50 days, but not everywhere – fortunately, there had been plenty since October. The ground has been parched and most domaines with new plantings of vines have had to return to give them water. This weekend, finally, it has rained – and quite stormily too. The forecast is largely wet for most of the following days, that will cheer the growers up – it has been hard work in the vines having to wear t-shirts and sunglasses for most of March and April 🙂

Let’s see how we continue, but for the moment the vines are very vigorous; in terms of their stage of growth, they are the most advanced recorded – a couple of days ahead of the 2007 vintage at the end of April – that’s 3 weeks in advance of where they were in 2019! I don’t have a comparison to 2003 or 1947!

Côte d'Or Rainfall
Source: Chambre d’Agriculture de Côte-d’Or, 27 April 2020

Guy Amiot’s 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles-Vignes

By billn on April 28, 2020 #degustation

Guy Amiot Chassagne

2017 Guy Amiot, Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles-Vignes
Here’s a faintly floral character – a softer nose – but, all the same, very attractive. Only modest sweetness for the vintage but with a good level of concentration – indeed this has a lovely combination of concentration but balance too – clearly with plenty of complexity. If you want stricter, more mineral sweeping lines, look elsewhere, but this is excellent and it drank much faster than it probably should have!
Rebuy – Yes

getting bigger; comte liger-belair’s echézeaux…

By billn on April 27, 2020 #producer update


I note that in 2020, Louis-Michel Liger-Belair has a little more Echézeaux to play with. I asked him for a few details, but at the moment he doesn’t want to say much more than “Plots in ‘Cruots ou vigne blanche,’ ‘Champs Traversins’ and the brand new parcel in ‘Echezeaux du dessus’

More interrogations at a later date 😉

Burgundy Report

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