I attended this amazing tasting back in April. It was almost a case study in outstanding premier cru and grand cru red Burgundy with 15 or more years of age on the wines. Only two wines missed the mark – one due to cork taint, the other presenting as simplistic (for a grand cru) due to suspected heat damage. Whether new to the Burgundy maze or a veteran palate, I would actively recommend all of these wines. Here are my notes.
Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Ruchottes 2008 There are 51 Chassagne-Montrachet premier crus, and Les Ruchottes is among the better of them. The 2008 has aromas of lemon, minerals, nectarine and stone. The palate is full bodied, with good freshness and a long finish. Very Good to Outstanding
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Perrières 2002 Les Perrières is a rocky and stony vineyard and one of Nuits-Saint-George’s 37 premier crus. 2002 was a good vintage and it shows in this wine. Aromas of sweet leather, truffles, mature earth and cherry. The palate has fresh racy acidity, long length and a cherry core. Delicious. Very Good to Outstanding
Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Les Grèves Vigne de L’Enfant Jésus 2002 Les Grèves is a 31.33 hectare premier cru vineyard in Beaune and is well regarded. The 2002 “L’Enfant Jésus” has aromas of florals, potpourri and roses. The palate is slippery with fresh acidity and a certain softness through the palate. A tannic grip emerges with air, as do some cedar characters. Very Good
Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Musigny Grand Cru 2001 Words do inadequate justice to this exquisite wine. Its siren call is strong. Dark cherry, blackcurrant and leather aromatics promise much. It is the palate though which truly astounds. Long length, delicate, light and shade with a lick of tannin. Burgundy at its finest. Outstanding with a plus
Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 1990 Clos Vougeot is 50.59 hectares in size and the largest grand cru in the Côte de Nuits with a somewhat varied reputation befitting its size. 1990 was a good vintage. In the glass, this wine has aromatics of blackcurrant, cherry and an austere iron like character. There’s long length on the palate with a hint of dryness at the finish. Very Good
Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Chaignots 1998 Les Chaignots is a 5.86 hectare premier cru vineyard in Nuits-Saint-Georges. The 1998 is an elegant wine, with aromas of blackcurrant, and even hints of pepper. The palate has firm tannins and mid range length. Good
Domaine de Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2001 Clos des Lambrays is a grand cru vineyard in Morey-Saint-Denis. This is an impressive Clos de Lambrays, with aromas of cherry and spice, which continue on the palate supplemented by very long length. The tannins suggest this wine has some time to go yet. Happily, I have a second bottle. Very Good to Outstanding
Domaine Jean-Michel Guillon Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru 2002 Mazis-Chambertin is a grand cru in Gevrey Chambertin and is 9.1 hectares in size. This is a delicious wine from the 2002 vintage, with aromas of blackcurrant, spice and strawberry. The palate gives a fuller bodied and ripe impression with long length on the finish. Very Good to Outstanding
Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 1988 Jancis describes this vintage as “tough and unusually backward” with the best requiring a 20 year wait. Well, here we are. It has aromas of cherry and a touch of animal (brett suspected). The palate has a metallic note, with mid range length, stoney characters and tannins that are resolved, but still there. Points for making it nearly three decades. Very Good
Comte Armand Clos des Epeneaux Pommard 2006 A comparative baby in this set. Still youthful, it has aromatics of cherry, and a palate that is full bodied in impression, with big wood driven tannins. Needs time. Good to Very Good *** The tasting finished with a delicious Alsace pinot gris from Domaine Zind Humbrecht with aromas of honey, currants and sultanas, and the palate medium sweet in impression. Unfortunately my photo proved particularly poor and does not yield the details of the vintage and label. If you are an expert label spotter (or better still were at the tasting!), please chime in and I’ll post it.
The next instalment of my wine trip is Beaune proper, which preceded a trip down the A6 to Buxy in the Côte Chalonnaise. Beaune is a town where it appears difficult to eat and drink poorly. Starting with food, for lunch, I can recommend Le Comptoir des Tontons. The owners are colourful, and the food good. The accompanying Domaine Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses Premier Cru Les Vergelesses 2011 had sappy, cherry and anise aromatics, and an earthy, mid length and balanced palate.
For dinner, the Restaurant L’Ardoise in Beaune also proved to be very good with more modern overtones. Dinner was accompanied by Domaine Chanzy Rully En Rosey 2012 with aromatics of lemon and cashew and an elegant, mid length palate.
But now to some rather serious tastings of the portfolios of La Cave des Hautes Côtes/Nuiton Beaunoy, Domaine Roger Belland and Domaine Maillard Père & Fils. There is technique to tasting so many wines, and I found that it improved my ability to compare and contrast, rather than detracted from it, which was, more or less, the opposite of what I had expected. Or alternatively a happily ex-poste rationalisation of something I would have enjoyed anyway. Probably the latter.
The first bracket is from La Cave des Hautes Côtes / Nuiton Beaunoy, which proved a tasting of some breadth exploring up and down the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. I have added an asterisk next to the best wines of the tasting.
Nuiton Beaunoy Bourgogne 2014 Very bright lemon, lemon rind and yellow grape fruit aromatics. Medium to high acid, short to medium length, pleasant and lemon flavours. A bit unexciting. A Nuiton Beaunoy Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Au Meix Genets 2013 Some cashew and lemon the nose. Balanced, quite lemony, a touch of cedar on the palate. This reminded of the new style of Australian chardonnay, and I liked it. My Australian reference was meant as compliment but I suspect was not taken as such. G
Nuiront Beaunoy Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Les Millottes 2013 Mineral, stone, grapefruit and lemon nose. Palate that is mineral, reminds of grapefruit and has medium to high acid. Some tension, if overly nervous. A-G *Nuiton Beaunoy Meursault 2012 Blossom, floral, lemon and some mineral aromatics. A palate with medium length, fuller through the palate, balanced acidity and some cashew. It was noted in passing that there is increasing diversity in the styles of Meursault, which I see no reason to disagree with. G The reds
Nuiton Beaunoy Bourgogne Pinot Noir Reserve 2013 Aromatics that are quite sappy, stalky with earth and plenty of twigs and fresh rosemary. The palate seems a bit sweet and sour, leaving a slightly bitter residue, with some cherry and earth reminders. A
Nuiton Beaunoy Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2013 From the same vineyard as the white, the aromatics remind of sap, smoke and green rosemary (again!) The palate reveals a lighter style, with cherry and twigs. A Nuiton Beaunoy Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Les Dames Huguettes 2013 Aromatics of cherry and a bit of earth. A palate with cherry, medium tannins and some bitterness. Same rating, but a bit better than the Côtes de Beaune. A
Nuiton Beaunoy Beaune 2012 Aromatics of cherry, earth, some smoke and brighter fruit. The acid seems high, with flavours of cherry, and short to medium length. A *Nuiton Beaunoy Volnay 2012 This is a classier wine. Cherry, earth, smoke. Seems more integrated. A palate that is fuller bodied, with more flavour. Cherries predominant. I always seem to like the Volnays. G
Nuiton Beaunoy Gevrey-Chambertin 2012 More nuance on the nose, with aromatics of spice, cherry and blackcurrant. Seems finer. The palate also has some flavour and depth through it. Reminders of earth. Complexity seems to grow in the glass. G Nuiton Beaunoy Nuits-Saint-George 2012 Aromatics of earth and spice. Fruit is there, but secondary to the undergrowth characters. Earth and spice on the palate, short to medium length. The acid doesn’t seem fully integrated. A *Nuiton Beaunoy Morey-Saint-Denis Les Sionnières 2009 What is it about 2009? It’s clearly a strong vintage in Burgundy too. Integrated, black cherry and earth aromatics. Very attractive fruit. Between medium and long length. Flavours of cherry and earth. Great integration. VG
*Nuiton Beaunoy Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Clos du Chapitre 2011 This is from a monopole of 9 hectares. It immediately has more integrated aromatics of black cherry, earth and blackcurrant leaf aromatics. Between medium and long length. More integrated and harmonious than the preceding wines. Black cherry evident. G-VG Nuiton Beaunoy Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru Les Chaffots 2008 Aromatics of sulphur. The palate showed stalky raw tannins, less sulphur and good fruit. I can’t ignore that terrible aroma though. A–G, G if you like sulphur aromatics (my experience is that it only worries some), A if you don’t. Nuiton Beaunoy Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2008 Some spicey aromatics. Silky palate, with medium length and earth and cherry flavours. G *Nuiton Beaunoy Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2009 Aromatics of spice, blackcurrant and earth. Complex. Medium to long length, balanced acid, stone, spice, blackcurrant. Complex. This is self-evidently a good wine, and the wine of the set. VG-O
The second tasting is a series of new releases from Domaine Roger Belland. This is a very serious producer, and the average quality proved to be very high. As a general comment though I should note that I felt the acidity uniformly higher in all of this producer’s wines. Whether this is by design, or just an impression on the morning of this tasting, I am not sure. Either way, this is the sort of tasting that I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to undertake. I have not put an asterisk next to any particular wine, as almost all of them are recommended.
Domaine Roger Belland Santenay Comme-Dessus 2013 Aromatics of buttery cedar, yellow nectarine, spice and lemon. Palate with medium to high acid and lemon. The acid seemed a bit separate. A-G Domaine Roger Belland Santenay-Beauregard Premier Cru 2013 A step up. More integrated aromatics, supplemented by lemon and butter. The palate has medium to high acid, reminder of lemon and is balanced. G-VG
Domaine Roger Belland Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot-Clos Pitois Premier Cru 2013 Aromatics of cedar, lemon butter, hints of cashew. Integrated. Medium to high acid, medium to long length. This is a delicate wine and quite long. G-VG Domaine Roger Belland Puligny-Montrachet Les Champs-Gains Premier Cru 2013 Fine bones, with mineral and lemon aromatics. The palate has medium to high acid, butter, medium length and is elegant. G-VG Domaine Roger Belland Meursault Santenots Premier Cru 2013 Aromatics of cashew, nuts and lemon. The palate has medium to high acid, medium to long length and similar flavours. G-VG
Domaine Roger Belland Criots Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2013 Aromatics that are fine boned. Cashew, cedar and alluring. The palate has medium to high acid, medium to long length and flavours reminding of lemon butter and minerals. An excellent release. VG
Domaine Roger Belland Santenay Charmes 2013 Aromatics of plum and ripe red juicy strawberries that are quite attractive. Some secondary rosemary. Palate with medium to high acid, cherry and slight bubblegum character. Still good though. G
Domaine Roger Belland Santenay-Gravières Premier Cru 2013 More integrated aromatics, with strawberry, raspberry and cherry. The usual medium to high acid for this estate, with medium length and similar characters as the nose. Balanced and fine boned wine. G-VG Domaine Roger Belland Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot-Pitois Premier Cru 2013 A first (for me) Chassagne-Montrachet red. The correction not to pronounce the “t’ in Montrachet remains in my head. Aromatics of plum, strawberry and raspberry. Estate acid profile, medium length, a bit fuller through the palate, with more plum and red fruits. More please. G-VG
Domaine Roger Belland Pommard Les Cras 2013 Aromatics of plum and spice. Estate acid profile, medium to long length and quite noticeable tannins. G Domaine Roger Belland Volnay Santenots Premier Cru 2013 80% of this is not destemmed, but you wouldn’t know it. There are no bitter twiggy notes here. Aromatics of strawberry, raspberry and cherry. Between medium and high acid and medium length. G-VG
The third bracket is from Domaine Maillard Père & Fils, which I shall carry over to another post, as this post is already rather long. To conclude, I can recommend the accommodation at the Hotel les Remparts in central Beaune. It is situated within a beautiful 16th century building, and has a rather stunning breakfast courtyard. Some echoes of Fawlty Towers perhaps, but I liked it all the more for the thought.
This Chassagne-Montrachet from the premier cru vineyard of Morgeot initially had some quite overpowering aromatics of sulphides and gunflint, but fortunately for those less enamoured with such characters such as me, this blew off with time in the glass. It in fact reminded a little of the new super premium, and sealed by screwcap, Yarra Valley chardonnay styles we are seeing from Oakridge or even a Giaconda. On the palate, amazingly for a wine some 18 years old, it is fresh and vibrant, with notes of lemon and peach and long length on the finish. Mistakable for a much younger wine (well, at least by me), it is drinking superbly now and this Chassagne should last for at least another 5-8 years.
It’s a little hard to know where to start with a wine such as this, but I’ll give it a go. Golden in colour, it has aromatics of extravagant apricot, peach, honey, yeast, biscuit and yoghurt. The palate has long length, and a complex expression of peach and apricot flavours. All of its component parts are in balance, and its texture velvety. Simply glorious.
It’s not every week that I can look through a number of subregions in the Languedoc-Roussillon, some stellar old white Burgundies from Chassagne-Montrachet dating from the 1980s and early 1990s, some old Bordeaux from 1986 and 1989, and one of the best vintages of Mount Mary’s cabernet that I’ve tasted. Being routinely time poor, it will take me a little while to write up each wine, but here are links to the wines posted this week so far:
Unfortunately, this wine was terrible. I am told that some people are more sensitive than others to sulphide aromas, and I am regrettably one of them. The sulphide aroma was so intense that the prospect of actually tasting the wine, to me, seemed about as likely as wishing to drink a cup of detergent. My brain screamed “no”. But I did eventually taste it, and the palate was better, dominated by lemon rind and with a little length, reminding me of a Chablis, which this was not. I am told in Australia that frequently a second winemaker will taste the wines so that inadvertent (if the maker is not sensitive to sulphides) mistakes such as this can be avoided. Smart idea. 65 points. (5/10)
Abv: 13% Price: around $75 Would I buy it having tasted it? No
I tried this wine at an excellent and very generous terroir focussed wine tasting. This wine has an aroma of oak and nuts. On the palate, it is minerally, with a bit of length and a touch of spice. Overall, perhaps a bit neutral. 83 points.