Beane to Buxy, with some practice blending along the way

The next instalment of my Burgundy trip is from Beaune to Buxy, with a little blending along the way.

Last stop in Beaune

Last but not least of our visits in Beaune was Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils situated at Chorey-Les-Beaunes.  This was a short tasting with our knowledgeable guide dressed by French winemaker central casting.  The quality on display at this estate is high and probably ever so slightly more to my stylistic preferences than the preceding tasting at Domaine Roger Belland.  Some short tasting notes follow, with an asterisk next to the highlights of the bracket.

Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils Chorey-Les-Beaune Blanc 2013
Lemon and mineral aromatics.  Medium acid, lemon and and mineral characters.  G

*Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils Chorey-Les-Beaune Rouge 2013
Aromatics of cherry and raspberry.  Palate reminds of cherry, raspberry, has medium length and balanced acid.  An attractive wine.  G

Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils Savigny-Les-Beaune 2011
Savigny is said to be more elegant and a step-up from the slightly more rustic Chorey.  More stalk and cut rosemary on the nose, together with cherry and undergrowth. The palate is balanced with medium length and acid, coupled with raspberry and cherry characters.

Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils Volnay 2011
The sample was oxidised.  Pity, as I felt this might have been good.  A sort of oxy melange of cherry liqueur, currants and earth.  F

Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils Pommard La Chani猫re 2011
Cherry and a bit of spice for aromatics.  Medium length, even impression and balanced cherry flavours.  G

*Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils Aloxe-Corton 2011
Cherry, spice and earth.  On the palate, medium length, more cherries and spice, medium to high acid, quite pure in its expression.  G-VG

Domaine Maillard P猫re & Fils Corton-Renardes Grand Cru 2011
More plum and cherry, but with earth too.   Finely integrated aromatics.  Palate with medium to high acid, mid range length.  A passing resemblance to the Aloxe-Corton.  G-VG

En route, leaning insensibly out of a window.


Near Montagny

Leaving the C么te-de-Beaune, the next stop on route after a journey of fifty or so kilometres down the A6 was Buxy in the C么te Chalonnaise.  The region is less prestigious than its northern neighbour, but no less beautiful.  Perhaps even more so.  My cleverness in disabling the location feature on my photos means that I am not certain whether the photo below is from Givry or another town, but the beauty, and very warm weather (28+) for early June, is self-evident.  The main appellations in the C么te Chalonnaise are Givry, Mercurey, Montagny and Rully.  I write these down partly as an attempt to be useful and also partly because I continue to find them hard to remember, and I am rather hoping that repetition will assist.

The tasting here was at the Cave de Buxy, a substantial producer in the region.  This producer is very well regarded for its technical prowess and proved a study in the evolution of winemaking equipment over recent decades.  The winery is super clean, and the facilities outstanding.  That much is obvious.  It was also certainly a reminder of how easy it is to forget, writing about wine, some of the technical steps, the decision making and the sheer teamwork and planning that goes into the winemaking process, with extra respect accorded given that winemaking brooks little capacity for error.  I left with a renewed respect for winemakers able to achieve and manage consistent styles of wine at substantial volumes.  That said, it also became apparent that for me it’s probably the wine, the viticulture and then the winemaking in that order in terms of what interests me most.  Well, at least that’s my current thought.

To follow are short notes from the Cave de Buxy.  Most of the wines are more vins correct than revelatory.  However their universal feature is that the wines are well made, good value and the tasting exercise proved a valuable insight into the breadth of styles on offer in the C么te Chalonnaise, few of which are seen in any volume in Australia.  I’ve added an asterisk again to those wines which stood out in the set.

The whites

Millebuis Bourgogne Aligot茅 2013

You don’t see a lot of aligot茅 in Australia, Burgundy’s other white grape variety.  Well, specifically, I’m not sure I’ve previously tried it at all.  Aromatics of pear, earth, spice and florals.  The palate reminds of pear and earth, short to medium length.  A bit pinot gris like.  A-G

Blason Bourgogne Blanc 2013
Overt lemon aromatics with orange blossom and bright.  Palate with short to medium length, balanced, medium/high acid and some spritz. A

Blason Bourgogne C么te Chalonnaise 2014
Calmer lemon and grapefruit aromatics.  Balanced, short to medium length, pleasant.  A

*Millebuis Montagny 2013
Spice, floral, orange zest and lemon aromatics. Medium length, balanced, more towards red grapefruit flavours.  G

*Millebuis Bourgogne C么te Chalonnaise 2012
Enter oak.  Gentle cedar, cashew, lemon, Australian (new style) chardonnay profile.  Heavier through the palate (in this set; not generally).  Medium length, maybe more.  G

*Millebuis Montagny Premier Cru Les Co猫res 2013
Mineral, stone, lemon, more C么te-de-Beaune like.  Similar palate with medium length and acid.  A good wine.  G-VG

Montagny Premier Cru Montcuchot 2013
Floral, lime zest aromatics.  Medium length on the palate, lemon flavours predominant.  Seems quite fine.  G

Montagny Premier Cru 2011
Aromatics of grass and spice.  Volatile acidity perhaps.  Medium length, lemon and hay characters on the palate.  A

The reds

Blason Bourgogne Rouge 2014
Aromatics of cherry, bubblegum and cherry cola.  Short to medium length and raspberry characters.  A

*Blason Bourgogne C么te Chalonnaise 2013
More spice and cherry, darker cherry almost.  Medium length, cherry favours, good palate and texture.  G

Millebuis Givry 2013
More cherry, a bit of spice.  Plums too.  Cherry, tannins evident, slightly rustic.  A

Millebuis Givry Premier Cru Clos Jus 2012
Aromatics of cherry and cedar.  Seems finer.  Rustic tannins, cherry and mid length palate, together with some butter.  G

Millebuis Bourgogne C么te Chalonnaise 2011
Cherry, spice, dark and red cherry aromatics.  A bit of volatile acidity perhaps.  Medium length, cherry, good palate, textural again.  Slightly bitter.  G

And then some blending

The tasting then proceeded to a super interesting blending exercise with 6 different samples of Montagny (a white chardonnay) to experiment with.  The differences between the samples were quite extraordinary – from pleasant and balanced, to unremarkable, to reductive, to acidic and spritzy through to zesty and soda.  Considerable credit must go to the winemaker for identifying such different samples within the same vintage.

Blending is harder than it might otherwise seem, as a present assessment of quality is required, as well as a projection as to what the unbottled wine which will sit on lees and in tank for a while longer, will look like in bottle in nine months or so.  I was more at home with the former exercise, than the latter.  I ended up selecting the blend that was subsequently revealed to be unanimous choice as “best now”, rather than necessarily the correct choice for best in 9 months’ time after time in tank and lees.  It’s a difficult business this evaluation of what can’t yet be seen prior to bottling.  And a considerable credit to the experience of Robin Kinahan MW who was extremely helpful in his very practical guidance regarding acidity, lees and the development evolution of Montagny.  I’ll probably never look at a Montagny in quite the same way again.

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