this week’s early spring views in Burgundy…

By billn on March 31, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

The forecast is cooler next week – indeed with overnight minus temperatures – but today it was 26°C in the afternoon – my lunchtime run being a bit of a sweaty affair – but who’s complaining. Obviously, it’s still sandwiches for lunch!

Here are a few views from this week (so far) in Burgundy:

2019 Red Burgundy – part 3 – Beaujolais

By billn on March 30, 2021 #reports

2019 Beaujolais

The sixth in my series of 2019 Burgundy Reports is now online. To recap:
1. The whites part 1 – Mâconnais
2. The whites part 2 – Côte de Beaune
3. The whites part 3 – Chablis
4. The reds part 1 – Côte de Beaune
5. The reds part 2 – Côte de Nuits
6. The reds part 3 – Beaujolais

Now my latest report, covering the reds of 2019 Beaujolais is now online – here. This is Part 3 of my three 2019 Red Burgundy Reports.

This report covers the visits to taste 2019s at domaines #217 – #280 in my campaign of 2019 visits with another 400+ wines tasted. It, naturally, includes both what I like and who I like, and rather than ‘just’ scores, I actually note all the wines worth that are special search to buy!

I hope that you enjoy this in-depth look. I’m now underway in Burgundy again, catching up on some domaines that missed in the last months, and visiting some new names – so new reports will, still mainly be for 2019s – but with a mix of regions, rather than the format as above.

It was 22°C today – I needed sunscreen for my head when jogging. I also noted lots of police cars stationed in the vineyards of Beaune – no-doubt waiting for unsuspecting victims – out and about after 6pm!!!

weekend wines, week 13 2021

By billn on March 29, 2021 #degustation

2010 Famille Barbet, St.Amour Clos des Billards
A reserve caveau label – usually the best of wines – let’s see…
The colour is modest and showing some age but there’s no browning. All the time that it’s open, this is a timid nose, that’s not to say that it’s not a very fine nose – it is, fine red fruit clarity and complexity – but never full-power and no gamay-marsala ageing characteristics. Mouth-filling and wide, delicate, elegant, pure – I could go on in this vein. Don’t drink this in a crowd or you will miss most of what’s going on – you might even call it characterless – and I would understand. Ultra-pure, complex, delicious – and I do love it – but versus everything that’s been made in Beaujolais since 2015 – half a wine!
Rebuy – Maybe…

2019 Alain Geoffroy, Chablis
An attractive aroma with some freshness. I like the shape and energy, there’s good texture too. Persistence in the finish – a tasty wine – and with a Chablis style to it too. Very good.
Rebuy – Maybe

2019 Château de Rougeon, Aligoté L’integral
A forward nose, strongly herbed and shows an older, apple-style, fruit. This is a wine made without sulfur and with skin maceration too. Do I want a second glass – unfortunately not – not a wine to my taste though I’m a big fan of some aligoté with ‘only’ no added sulfur…
Rebuy – No

2020 St.Cyr, Beaujolais Nouveau French Kis Kanon
Almost Beaujolais ‘Oldeau’ – and not actually allowed to be sold with this label now (after a certain amount of time) – though the same wine could now be sold as ‘Beaujolais’…
A bright cherry-red colour. A sweetly cordial fruit – hardly medium-weight flavours, some might not say ‘serious‘ but fun and very tasty wine. Isn’t that the plan?
Rebuy – Yes

a 1992 mid-week winner…

By billn on March 25, 2021 #degustation

Vincent & Denis Bethaud 1992 Fixin Les Clos1992 V&D Berthaut, Fixin Les Clos
Of course, today’s domaine Berthaut-Gerbet. Hard-wax-topped – the wax in-tact. A decently robust cork too – I had anyway decided to start with the ah-so and it came out easily in one piece.
Ooh – now that’s a nose! Deep, faintly smoky – I would guess with whole-clusters – and sweet too – it’s a really great invitation for a wine of such age, no deviations or distractions – aromas that embrace. Bright – fresh – good attack and than slow-moving fresh waves of smoky, layered, sweet flavour – no exact primary fruit but a last impression of heavy strawberry with such a clean but long finish. A little iron in the flavours if, not quite, blood. Really at its apogee – in my experience, it’s rare for a 30-year-old, of any level of the appellations, to come so perfectly together as this has – but you’ve got to win sometimes 🙂
Rebuy? – No Chance!

Competition in Morey St.Denis – offer of the day – clos des lambrays 2019

By billn on March 24, 2021 #the market

AOC Clos des Lambrays

There’s been a long, slow ‘progression‘ in the pricing of Clos des Lambrays. It’s fair to say that the 1990-2010 wines were always thought of well but as a cheaper entry to the world of grand crus, with pricing that befitted their more elegant, more modest, intensity versus other grand crus. It’s unlikely that new generations of drinkers will think of Lambrays in those terms – at least not in terms of pricing – with last week’s newly released pricing of their 2019s!

I lead with the pricing announced in the UK rather than my local Swiss supplier as that latter merchant usually has the pricing only in April – see the link above. Subscribers who have read my reports of Lambrays and Tart will know that I rate the wines highly but that they remain different ‘beasts.’ I’m left wondering, however, if their respective billionaire owners see only the need for equivalence. Both are investing heavily in their charges – seemingly the work at Lambrays with their massive crane and road closure to construct an entirely new cuverie is the more expensive ‘investment.’

Maybe that goes some of the way to explaining a UK price of £1,080 a case, in bond, for the 2019 vintage – per case of three bottles! So add 20% purchase tax to calculate the actual bottle price. It would be unfair of me not to point out a yield of only 15 hl/ha in the Clos in 2019 – half the normal amount – partly attributable to their first year of conversion to organic viticulture*. Still, I’ll leave that to sink in if you were a previous buyer of Lambrays…

It seems that in one swoop the owners of Lambrays want price equivalence (well, nearly) with Clos de Tart, a wine that has been more than double the price of Lambrays for several years now. I have to assume that they have a different (new!) buyer demographic in mind.

Almost the value play of the Clos des Lambrays cellar in 2019 is their Puligny-Montrachet 1er Clos des Caillerets – a mere £798 per 6 in bond – and a different colour, but hey!
*Thierry Bruin was more concerned with producing enough wine than, for instance, organic viticulture. In this respect, Lambrays is a late-comer but Jacques Devauges has a great track record in this area…

The 107th edition of the Tastevinage tasting

By billn on March 23, 2021 #annual laurels

Tastevinage Spring 2021...

As usual, my invitation to taste came too late for me to actually taste – my day already replete with appointments – but last Friday was the Spring tasting of the Tastevinage organisation in the Clos de Vougeot. The tasting certainly complicated by distancing, etcetera.

If you click on the image above, you can find the list of successful producers and their wines.

wines from weekend 12 2021

By billn on March 23, 2021 #degustation

wines weekend 12 2021

A fine and varied selection this weekend…

2017 Agnes et Didier Dauvissat, Chablis 1er Beauroy Elevé en fût de chêne
Plenty of depth to this yellow-coloured wine. A width of sweetness – more creme-patissière than the seashore but very inviting all the same. Incisive, super attack, wide, clean, very mineral – more-so than almost all 18s and indeed most 19s can muster. Such a waterfall of deliciously mouthwatering flavour – yes! Bravo, delicious, proper Chablis, just missing a bit of aromatic salinity today, that’s doubtless due to the elevage, but the wood has already 99% been shed by the palate…
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Château Thivin, Côte de Brouilly Les Sept Vignes
Bought as part of a mixed 12 at the domaine after tasting last month…
A round, cushioned and forward nose with a fine depth of fruit. Mouth-filling freshness with great texture. There’s such a lovely energy to this deliciously mouth-watering fruit. Thivinb’s entry wine for their range of Côte de Brouilly – and already a great wine. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

1996 Jean Grivot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Roncières
From a half bottle – a robust cork that smells sweet and clean.
Ooh – there’s a depth of aroma – squeaky-clean, almost textured dark fruit and minerals – that’s very impressive for an old half-bottle – full of iron and blood – completely typical for Grivot’s Nuits with age! In the mouth – clearly the acidity of the vintage – but not a bit sharp as there’s plenty of flavour concentration to offer balance. Such a concentration of middle and finishing flavours – like the nose, darkly fruited and very mineral. Not a wine with overt maturity – no sous-bois or dried leaf characters. Paint me impressed – I have some full-size bottles of this (or maybe they are 95s…) if so, and as much as I’m enjoying this powerful, if far from elegant wine, they deserve more patience! A brute that I can appreciate.
Rebuy – Yes

Sotheby’s, New partner of the Hospices de Beaune

By billn on March 18, 2021 #the market

The announcement from this afternoon:

18 March 2021 – The Hospices Civils de Beaune has confirmed the appointment of Sotheby’s as the new host of its celebrated and historic annual barrel auction – the 161st Edition will be held at the Halles de Beaune on November 21st, the third Sunday in November, as per tradition.

François Poher, Head of the Hospices Civils de Beaune, said: “After a tender procedure launched in mid-December, we have chosen Sotheby’s proposal. For the next five years, we will work together to deepen knowledge of our domaine, its wines and our sale for the benefit of all of Burgundy. We will also work to preserve the centuries-old character and heritage of our hospital institution and further strengthen its capacity to invest in the service of the people of our region.”

Mario Tavella, President of Sotheby’s France and Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said: “Sotheby’s is proud to work alongside the Hospices de Beaune as organiser of its charity auction and also to promote the cultural initiatives that punctuate the year of this honourable institution. This year will mark the launch of Sotheby’s wine sales in France and we are honoured by the trust placed in us by the Hospices de Beaune and look forward to beginning our work with their team this week.”

Now that’s proper news!

I did hear that Christies were quite pissed that the November auction had been covid-cancelled – they were ready to go ahead 100% online – as many auctions have been done in the last 12 months. Whether this is the result of that disagreement or simply that it was time for a change is unimportant, it’s the way forward right now. I’ll be interested to see what changes…

Of tales of Meursault-Combettes & grand cru Vin de France…

By billn on March 14, 2021 #site updates

Puligny-MontrachetUpdated: Puligny-Montrachet – a village profile

My original profile of the village of Puligny-Montrachet – and, of course, its vineyards – was published in 2006. A lot has changed since then – not least the pricing that I had included! I decided that, as a whole, it was showing its age and could do with an overhaul.

So last year, in the summer, I asked a fine cadre of producers of Puligny 1er and grand crus too to accompany me – suitably distanced – in their vines in order for them to explain a little of the assembly of soils, orientations and breezes that produce such magic.

Along the way were some fascinating anecdotes of Meursault-Combettes (not Puligny) and best of all about some Vin de France, hidden in full view, surrounded by great grand cru…

Burgundy Report

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