2021 weather update

By billn on July 13, 2021 #vintage 2021

mildewToday the weather is changing in Burgundy and once more for the worse.

The growers had been hoping for a couple of weeks of dry weather to rid themselves of the growing issue of downy mildew (right) even powdery mildew in some places too. Here are the main differences.

It seems that, for now, it’s going to stay wet and cool – the rain arriving today and holding station until at least Sunday. Whilst mildew is relatively under control in the Côte d’Or and Hautes Côtes, you don’t even need to get out of the car to spot strongly affected areas of vines in the Côte de Chalonnaise.

Coupled with the rain we have, once more, cooler temperatures too – this week, the forecast suggests that we will hardly break 20°C. At least the cooler temperatures are keeping the threat of oïdium under control though it’s still more prevalent than 1 week ago. From the perspective of weather, this is going to be a very different vintage to those of last 5 years. For now, the pacing of the maturity has retarded from 2012 to more like 2016 – so currently three weeks later than 2020 – but it’s likely to speed up in the areas where the yields are smallest – a lower yield ripening much faster than a higher one.

We are still probably about 2 months from the harvest, but the habitually earlier pickers tell me that their smaller yielding parcels might be ready to pick around Monday the 6th of September. I’ll keep you posted.

offer of the day – louis jadot 2019

By billn on July 13, 2021 #the market

DOMAINE LOUIS JADOT 2019

As always, from my local, Swiss merchant. Maybe I missed it earlier this year but the offer seems later than usual. The 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 offer prices in the brackets to compare, and — means not offered)

LES REDS
Beaune Clos des Ursules Monopole 1er Cru 2019 75cl 59.00* (64.00, 59.00, 59.00, 55.00) (Swiss Francs)
Beaune Clos des Ursules Monopole 1er Cru 2019 150cl 123.00 (133.00, 123.00)

Corton Grèves Grand Cru 2019 75cl 85.00 (85.00, 79.50, 79.50, 79.00)
Corton Grèves Grand Cru 2019 150cl 175.00 (175.00, 164.00)
Corton Pougets Grand Cru 2019 75cl 85.00 (85.00, 79.50, 79.50, 79.00)
Corton Pougets Grand Cru 2019 150cl 175.00 (175.00, 164.00)

Chambolle-Musigny Fuées 1er Cru 2019 75cl 89.00 (89.00, 85.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Baudes 1er Cru 2019 75cl 89.00 (89.00, 85.00)

Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru 2019 75cl 149.00 (155.00, 149.00, 145.00, 138.00)

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2019 75cl — (149.00, 139.00, 138.00, 128.00)
Echézeaux Grand Cru 2019 75cl — (209.00, 159.00)

Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2019 75cl 209.00 (209.00, —, 188.00, 169.00)
Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru 2019 75cl 288.00 (288.00, —, 269.00, 259.00)
Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2019 75cl 328.00 (328.00, —)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 2019 75cl 349.00 (349.00, 339.00)
Musigny Grand Cru 2019 75cl 798.00 (798.00, 795.00)

LES BLANCS
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru 2019 75cl 85.00 (89.00, 89.00, 89.00, 88.00)
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2019 75cl 165.00 (158.00, 148.00, 139.50, 119.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2019 75cl 318.00 (298.00, 285.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Grand Cru 2019 75cl 389.00 (376.00, 348.00)
Montrachet Grand Cru 2019 75cl 559.00 (549.00, —, 499.00, 428.00)

*Prices delivered, but without the 7.7% Swiss purchase tax…
Almost a softening here, certainly some restraint!

a weeknd without wine – well, almost!

By billn on July 12, 2021 #travel#travel pics

Sunrise in Sedrun
Sunrise in Sedrun, Graubünden (Switzerland) – an early breakfast was required…

There actually was some wine on Saturday evening – to celebrate still being alive – something from Sardinia – it seemed the most interesting on the hotel’s list. For the previous 5 days not a drop had been drunk, though with visits in the Côte d’Or, plenty had been ejected to the spittoon that week.

You will probably know that I’m a keen runner, one that has mainly taken to the trails in the last years as this surface seems less aggressive on a sensitive hamstring of mine. Last year I decided to try my first mountain course though typically aggravated said hamstring about 10 days before the race, so couldn’t take part. One year later, last weekend, it was time to try again. Of course, I aggravated my hamstring again just 4-5 days before the race this time but not enough to put paid to the trip – I could anyway use it as an excuse for not trying too hard – runners are well known for preparing their excuses ahead of time 🙂

To collect our race numbers and to be allowed into the start area we had to show our vaccination infos – easy in Switzerland as it’s one of the first countries to have rolled out the covid app with vaccination info on your phone – a QR-code. That box ticked, we were allowed into the athlete’s area without a mask – a novelty in public these days.

Concerning the race, I think the technical term (today) is WTF!

The bald stats – 16.4km – though my GPS said that I did 16.8 – with 1,250 metres of climbing up to 2,500 metres altitude, numbers that seemed abstractly no problem. I did the baby race, not the marathon (that enjoyed double the amount of climbing) and I’d assumed about 8-9 minutes per kilometre for each 200m gain of altitude and then the rest of the course would be downhill – so easy – or(?)! Pff! – more like 12-13 minutes per kilometre and one was 15 minutes – the last major uphill one, fortunately – as it is simply impossible to run or find sufficient space for overtaking – the latter is only possible through the kindness of those in front of you, by making space for you. Early on, I thought I would have to properly stop and take a rest but somehow came through. I was a little faster than those around me on the downhill and only landed on my arse once – fortunately, in this particular place, there was only wet mud/grass rather than the moonscape of rocks higher up the hill. Thank god for Goretex shoes – but my socks will never be white again 🙂

The result was still my slowest 10-mile race ever, yet surprisingly, one that delivered one of my highest finishing positions for years too. Mountain running requires a level of resoluteness that I’ve never needed when racing on the roads. The place and the people, indeed the event, I loved but my initial instinct was ‘never again‘ – I didn’t notice any of the views from 2,500 metres – I certainly only saw the place for my next footstep on the harum-scarum downhill!

So, never again? As my better half explained – ‘Yes, that’s what most women say when they give birth to their first child – but most will do it again.‘ And you know(?) I can already see how altering my training can bring me an improvement of at least 1 minute per kilometre… 😉

Sunday when we got home we drank a little Chablis from one of the J.Moreau samples from Thursday – no surprise that it was less good despite being left stoppered in the fridge – 72 hours open clearly being of no advantage!

zooming some J.Moreau Chablis today

By billn on July 08, 2021 #degustation

Lucie Depuydt Chablis J MoreauTasted today with a virtual connection to the winemaker of J.Moreau & Fils, Lucie Depuydt.

J.Moreau are one of the most export-oriented labels of the JC Boisset group of Nuits St.Georges, because of that, this label is much less well known in France than their export markets. Here was a chance to catch up with Lucie and some early-bottled 2020s and a couple of later-bottled 2019s.

This producer makes wine from 250 hectares on contracts from all around the Chablis region. Lucie says that she has a slight preference for the southern side like Chichée and Courgis but that, amongst other, Béru and La Chapelle de Vaupelteigne also bring nice aspects to the quality of their wines. “We have about 30 partner vignerons on long contracts – we really do consider each other as partners and each of those producers brings with them the histories of their parcels.

“We press the largest part of the grapes ourselves but some from Courgis and Beru, for instance, all come as must as that’s the easiest way for those suppliers… We try to keep the maximum amount of sediments during our elevage, not just because it helps against oxidation but because I also like the extra richness that the lees can bring. Our fermentations are initiated with a ‘pied de cuve’ which are of course the local yeasts. I think the extended contact with the lees and keeping the lees in suspension does is really important and it doesn’t have to be the same as the mechanical process of batonnage. The extra protection afforded by the lees coupled with the full malolactic fermentation brings very good stability to the finished wine too.

The Chablis and Petit Chablis are made in stainless steel with an elevage of 6-10 months, vintage dependent. The crus, some part can be with barrel elevage with various barrel sizes from 228 to 500-litre for 14-18 months – so relatively long. So all four wines tasted below were bottled at roughly the same time, despite there being two different vintages represented. The first two wines utilise the new version of Nomacorc and the team here are very happy with the performance, to date. It’s cork for the 1er and grand cru wines.

I also asked Lucie about this year’s 2021 vintage so far:
Well, we have perfect weather for both oïdium and mildew as, so far, it’s been a wet vintage and this weather, of course, follows on from the frost of April. We are waiting for a period of dry weather that will help rid us of the mildew, if, probably, not completely the oïdium.

The wines…

J Moreau Chablis

A few words from Lucie on these vintages too?
2019 was quite a low volume vintage so these are concentrated wines whose aromas remind me of 2009 – actually I thought them a little meagre and lacking personality early in the elevage but they have really grown into a proper Chablis personality. For a time during the 2020 vintage, because of the heat, there was some blocking of maturitis so the wines are more intermediate in the style of their maturity.

2020 Petit Chablis Les Petits Dieux
Was bottled in April – a large market is Scandinavia
Pale yellow. A nicely pure agrume nose. Wide, mouth-filling, mouth-watering with citrus style – there’s weight but also plenty of minerality that keeps the freshness. This is drinking excellently already and the finish is surprisingly long. Super…

2020 Chablis Gloire de Chablis
A May-June bottling. This the result of more than 80 parcels of vines.
Just a little more colour. The nose is rounder and concentrated but less fully open than the PC. More direct and higher-toned flavour. Great shape and juicy style – a more grapefruit style to this wine – perhaps with a faint floral/pyrazine top note. Wider finishing and just a little longer finishing. Nicely textured too. That’s a fine villages.

2019 Chablis 1er Vaucoupin
‘One of my favourite 1ers with a strong personality,’ says Lucie. ‘It’s amazing that there are vines here as there is practically no soil – just rocks but these are also old vine.’ This only in bottle for 2 months.
A width of sweeter aroma, faintly oak and acacia spiced. A mix of richness and minerality – direct in style but with no lack of width. Extra finishing growth of flavour – that’s a wine that impressively grows in presence in the finish. Still keep it back a couple of years as I sense (more than really taste) the barrel. Wait 2-3 years for this impression of the elevage to fade.

2019 Chablis Les Clos
Two parcels – both mid-slope – ‘an intermediate’ soil for the cru – these vines usually harvested early as the maturity comes quickly here. This was bottled this year at the end of April.
A larger nose, plump but not fat, ripe but not too much – a melange of fruits – this is really a wine of mouth-filling volume. Comfortably textured, round – almost too easy flavoured – but the finish is a big one, a little creamy and ripe – far too easy to drink today, but I’d keep this in the cellar for some time hoping for a little extra ‘strict’ in the style.

offer of the day – thibault liger-belair’s 2019s

By billn on July 08, 2021 #the market

Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair 2019 EP/Pre-Arrivals

Prices arrived today from my Swiss merchant. When offered, the prices of the 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015s (from the same time, previous years) are in brackets for comparison. Still no Beaujolais:

NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 75 cl La Charmotte 75cl 55.00* (55.00, 52.00, 55.00, 49.50) (Swiss Francs)
NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES Les Belles Croix 75cl 55.00
NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 1er Les Saint-Georges 75cl 135.00 (125.00, 119.00, 118.00, 109.00)
NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 1er Les Saint-Georges 150cl 285.00 (260.00, 248.00, 256.00, – )
CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY Aux Beaux Bruns 75cl 75.00
CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY Fouchères 75cl 75.00
VOSNE-ROMANEE Aux Réas 75cl 75.00 (75.00, 69.50, 76.00, 69.50)

CORTON CLOS DU ROI 75cl 159.00 (159.00, 159.00, 159.00, – )
CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 165.00 (165.00, 159.00, 169.50, 158.00)
CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN 75cl 175.00 (175.00, 169.00, – , – )
RICHEBOURG 75cl 445.00 (425.00, 398.00, – , 395.00)
CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE 75cl not offered (189.00, 189.00, 198.00, – )

*As always, these wines are without the 7.7% Swiss purchase tax, but include the cost of delivery…
So, a mixed bag – despite a backdrop of lower yields in 2019 versus 2018 – most of the lower wines remain with consistent pricing. Those more iconic wines of the domaine – it’s no problem to add a little more, eh?

some weekend wine, week 26 2021 – yes, already halfway through the year!

By billn on July 05, 2021 #degustation

wines, week 26 2021

2019 Château Bellevue, Morgon Côte du Py
I didn’t like the smell of the cork and for the first hour, I also didn’t like the smell of this wine – all herby and reductive – I blamed the cork thought it wasn’t ‘corked.’ Fortunately with aeration it took on another dimension – just as well, as this was one of my recommendations from the vintage, such that I bought a case myself!
The nose finally cleans up to offer a silky, almost glossy, dark fruit with a growing level of floral perfume. Open and fresh – a vibrant energy though with plenty of concentration too. The finish is brilliantly layered yet fresh – wine of uncommon purity. Now I see why I liked it so much before it was bottled.
Rebuy – Yes – and for half the price of some Bourgognes too…

2018 Gueguen, Côteaux Bourguignone, Sacy
Good but not great – unless you factor in the price – then I’d say simply excellent!
The nose is airy and saline with a decent punch. The palate likewise – a very saline wine but in a positive way – blended with a grapefruit fruit – this combination is classic Sacy. Missing the cut and extra energy of the 2017 version but the saline grapefruit style is classic and still a great buy at the price.
Rebuy – Maybe

2005 Marchand-Grillot, Gevery-Chambertin 1er Les Perrières
Here the nose still has traces, reminiscences, of the creamy oak of its youth – but now it has faded into an impressive complexity – faintly with a leafy maturity, blood and earth – this is a proper Gevery-Chambertin! Concentrated, beautifully textured and like the nose showcasing a purity of fruit that’s framed with more earthy and still faintly creamy flavours. The last glass on day 2 had a trace of brett but I noticed none on day one – so don’t hesitate to drink this up on the day you open it – it’s really more than excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

Then a short pause to open something new:

weeken 26 wines (agian)

2013 Françous Gaunoux, Meursault 1er Goutte d’Or
I am a very big fan of 2013 whites right now and here is a perfect example of that…
Whilst not overtly ginger-spiced, there’s a very fine and inviting – citrus-tinged – invitation to drink here. In the mouth we have an open, almost airy wine with lovely acidity – it reminds me of a 2010 in its open, accessible style with fine flavour clarity. It’s a simple measure of the quality – but this bottle emptied so quickly! One of the nicest whites this year!
Rebuy – Yes

2006 Mugneret-Gibourg, Bourgogne
Unlike the rather white (bleached?) corks of the Marchand-Grillot and the Gaunoux, here is a darker, seemingly less treated cork.
Untreated, but is it corked? My first sniff might suggest ‘lightly corked’ or ‘liégeux’ but thereafter I can’t smell it – only the suspiciously herby accent to the aromas. In the mouth, yes it’s corked but on a very low level. The texture and flavours are still rather good for the label – and I would say the wine is completely ‘ready’ – but once you taste the cork, you can’t lose it…
Rebuy – No – at least, not in the case of this corked bottle…

some weekend wine, week 25 2021

By billn on June 30, 2021 #degustation

week 25 2021 - weekend wines

Note to self – must slow down with the Trapets – a case of 6 2016 Riesling Beblenheim purchased last week – already two bottles waiting for recycling!

2005 Lejeune, Bourgogne
A case of these bought on release – I was stimulated to buy due to their unusual 50cl size. Concentration was never an issue here but they took their time to open up – I’d say that they are absolutely ready now – and delicious too – luckily a bit more than half of the (12!) case remains…
Ooh – now that’s a nose! Concentrated, faintly with a small sous-bois, some suggestions of well-matured whole-cluster vinification and, overall, a really great, nicely maturing invitation to drink. There’s now an energy and clarity to these flavours that was hidden in the first years when released. Mouth-filling, concentrated, nicely textured and with a finish that expands and deepens in a way that’s typically incompatible with a Bourgogne label – the excellence of the vintage gave me the confidence to buy – and that confidence has been rewarded – such great wine for the label – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

Plus a couple from the previous week(end) that I didn’t yet get around to posting:

weekend 24 2021 the wines

2014 Verret, Chablis 1er Beauroy l’Ame du Domaine
Hmm, now that’s a proper Chablis nose – iodine and salty-seashore minerality – with a twist of citrus! The flavour comes in fresh, delicious waves – that a relatively little-known maker of Chablis (in Saint-Bris) has such a super wine here simply emphasises that I didn’t buy enough Chablis from 2014 – silly me. Super wine.
Rebuy – Yes

2019 Perrot-Minot, Chapelle-Chambertin
The aromas here starting deep, concentrated – pure – though a little tight. Beautifully shape in the mouth – but rather tight to start – like the nose. With aeration there is more depth and width to the aromas – the fruit here is now so vivid. In the mouth, there is more width and an impression of more energy too. Such a delicious wine. Ignoring the cost of such a bottle (if you can) gorgeous drinking, even at this age.
Rebuy – Yes

hail, at home

By billn on June 30, 2021 #vintage 2021

hail at home

Yesterday was just another day in the waves of storms that we’ve seen at home for a week, or more. Hail caused some damage to the leaves of many garden plants – my pinot noir a little too. But my garden was relatively untroubled compared to about 25 km away in the Emmental where the hail-stones were much larger – they killed storks in their nests on the rooftops – 15 juveniles and even 2 adult birds too.

Not a good day…

The changing ownership landscape of the Côte d’Or

By billn on June 29, 2021 #the market#warning - opinion!

The waxing and waning of vineyard ownership – or rather the relative size of ownership – has always been the subject of external forces; times of higher demand, times of lower demand, times of disease or simply times of consistently poor weather. Burgundy has never been a stranger to those things…

Outwardly, and from this perspective, things seem little different today to what has happened in previous generations but dig deeper and I’d say that the current situation is different.

My current musings on this were partly prompted by the recently announced sale of the Christian Confuron estate to the Evenstad family of Domaine Serene, to add to their ownership of Domaine de la Crée in Santenay. Actually, I’d been aware of both the sale and the (undisclosed but ballpark) price of €40 million – for under 7 hectares but with grand and 1er cru appellations – for a few weeks after visiting a domaine that had bought grapes from this Confuron estate but was seemingly going to lose their grape contract this year due to the sale – but, hopefully, they will manage to come to some short-term accommodation on that front.

On the positive side for this Confuron acquisition, we have a business that is focused on wine – whether that wine comes from Oregon or Burgundy – we can all appreciate the synergy and, of course, there are domaines in Burgundy that have estates in Oregon too – so all is fair! On the negative side – and negative purely from my gut feeling – is the ever-growing concentration of vineyard land in the hands of a) buyers from outside of Burgundy and b) groups and individuals who are not primarily in the wine business. Some buyers still count wine as an important part of a portfolio of assets whilst others buy due to their ‘interest’ in wine but the essential issue today is the significant geographic change of ownership of the vineyards of Burgundy. Outside of the pre-revolutionary times of the French monarchy/aristocracy and ownership by the church – Burgundian vineyards have never seen such dwindling local ownership.

New ownership still has an important French dimension and at the most exclusive end of the vineyard scale, many hectares are being rolled into the portfolios of some of France’s richest individuals. And do continue to watch this space, a certain domaine in an important Côte de Nuits village has tongues wagging of an imminent €800 million transaction – you heard it here first 😉

Less transparent still, are the organisations that are buying up estates and parcels here and there and paying off the incumbent producers. These organisations have no winemaking so ‘donate’ the vines to important domaines in both the red and white villages of the Côte d’Or, guaranteeing themselves or their ‘club members’ the majority or all of that production – it’s hard to imagine many illustrious names being used as ‘toll manufacturing’ facilities but this is the effective result and you need not feel sorry for the domaines – they are being well recompensed, though don’t expect them to show you the wines when you visit.

Whilst I have uncomfortable feelings about the loss of local ownership of Burgundian vineyards, the inward investment that this has generated and the relative clarity of ownership that we see, clearly has many benefits. The reduction of local ownership of the vines is something that I instinctively feel to be a sub-optimal direction for the region but I feel significantly less positive about the lack of clarity surrounding the growth of the 1er and grand cru ownership and then toll-manufacturing approach – and just occasionally I feel the need to beat out a few words on my keyboard about it!

[Edit:] Posted today (30-June):

Burgundy Report

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