Monthly Archives: June 2014

A vertical tasting of Fevre’s chablis Bougros grand cru

We really like the chablis wines of William Fevre, the estate who is owned by the champagne house of Joseph Henriot since 1998. Didier Séguier, previously successful at the estate Bouchard in Beaune, has really elevated quality to an even greater level each year it seems. The great 2010 grand cru Les Clos that literally blew us away was tested here. It also contains more information about the producer and their work.

The chablis grand cru 2012 Bougros was newly released and we got really exited with the amazing 2010 vintage fresh in mind, but not expecting the same supremacy. So at this vertical tasting – not surprisingly – we added the 2010 as well as the classic vintage of 2008.

The 2008 vintage is good and classic with a lot of delicate lime minerals backed by a overly high level of energetic acidity and very pure fruit. However, this year survived spring frost well, but lacked sun until very late mid-September when it got hot. Luckily, it was saved by cooling north winds to keep acidity levels in the grapes. The lack of summer sun appeared an issue at first, but it is in general usually quite balanced, very fresh and managed to reach almost perfect ripeness right before harvest. However, the acidity is in general usually very high and gnarly wrapping loads of chalky minerals now so it certainly needs time to integrate much more. 2008 has all the element and grace for a better than normal vintage, but needs patience to develop into a more balanced wine.

2010 is in our opinion a greater and iconic, but unusual vintage compared to the very good and classic vintage of 2008 for chablis. Actually, spring was unusually cold, wet and very irregular which rendered very late and uneven flowering thus yields are 35-40% lower than usual in the grand cru vineyards and producers needed to sort grapes meticulously. Moreover, the vintage was saved by normal weather from late July until harvest, but still with heavy rains. Fortunately, the vintage manage to come out unusually great and much better than anticipated. The 2010 takes everything in a classic vintage even further and is remarkable for its impeccable balance, aromatic precision and unusual power for a Chablis, but without sacrificing any detail or complexity. On the contrary, it rather emphasis them. However, these descriptions only applies if you harvested early. Otherwise, the wines may get too heavy and overly concentrated without freshness. It may very well be the greatest vintage in Chablis in the latest 20 years and it will have a longer life than usual.

The 2012 started off with disaster during spring in the grand cru vineyards with frost and really poor weather conditions that prolonged flowering by weeks and when summer finally arrived in August, it got really hot and dry, but there was enough water retained in the soil in most places. However, due to the issues during spring, yields were down by up to 40% from normal and it was crucial to pick early to avoid too low levels of acidity in this vintage. Among the producers that did, 2012 is in general a little bit like a less complete version of the 2010, equally powerful and almost as concentrated, but not with the same precision and balance. This warmer vintage stand out as unusually rich, generously forward and much more approachable than the other two.

Now over to the tasting..

2008 William Fevre, Bougros grand cru

Sir Galahad:

The colour has a pale but translucent middle with transparently yellow with a little light-green nuances and light yellow edges.

The scent has a base of vibrant, slightly burned lime minerals, fennel, nettles, exotic spices, grape, lime fruit and wonderful top notes of white flowers. A quite complex and beautifully fresh nose, but little nose, that is dominated by fresh minerals.

Typical pure layers of lime, grape, gooseberries, green apple and notes of almond. A lot of vibrant lime minerals that is dominated by a very energetic and balsamically fresh acidity that needs a lot of airing, but even after two hours, it is still gnarly now and obviously needs more time to integrate and really calm down. Texture is smooth, it is medium-bodied and driven by its overly energetic acidity.A classic and mineral-fresh wine with pretty nose, but now a little too high acidity-level. However, everything that you would expect from a classic is in there. Open 2016.

91-92p/100

2010 William Fevre, Bougros grand cru

Sir Galahad:

The colour has an overall translucent quality and the middle is pale, but transparently yellow with just a little light-green nuances and light yellow edges.

The scent emerges after about two hours in the decanter and offers distinct vibrating, somewhat burned, and very delicate lime and minerals. Moreover, there is pure lime fruit, elder, nettles, delicate white flowers and a very discrete slowly emerging, but mysterious inner perfume. A very deep and complex nose that make us happy and hooked.

We really like the vibrating, fine tuned and lightly burned chalky lime minerals that are elevated by the impressive acidity that is so energetic, fresh, olive oil-creamy and crispy. Moreover, the palate offers quite intense, but absolutely pure aromas of lime fruit, gooseberries, honey melon, passion fruit and notes of dry honey that gradually builds its weightless power into a super-long and elegant final. It is voluptuous, provides a consistent high-level concentration and texture is fine-grained and chewy.

This is an impressive and unusual version of this grand cru that is quite intense with impressively fresh and really pure aromas. Moreover, it is an amazingly persistent and powerfully structured wine build with impeccable balance and finesse.

95p/100

2012 William Fevre, Bougros grand cru

Didier and his crew started picking early on the 20th of September, so they managed to keep a very high level of acidity in the very hot and dry end of the summer.

Sir Galahad:

The colour has an overall translucent quality here too and the middle is pale yellow with just a little light-green nuances and light yellow edges.

Even after two hours of decanting, the nose is still very slow and emerges with white flowers, fine tuned minerals and citrus- and exotic fruits, but the fruit is very much in the background now. A fine but a little backward and less complex nose.

The taste is is quite the opposite, actually. It is very generous and offers lime, pears, gooseberries, honey melon and sea grass. It is very rich and more forward than the 2010, but it is not as balanced and lacks some depth and complexity. Texture is fine grained and the crispy acidity reveals itself in the very long final with less austerity than the 2010 and more saline notes. It is very rich, generous and weightlessly powerful for a chablis.

A broad-shouldered Chablis that stands out as rich and generous with plenty of fresh and high quality acidity for early drinking. Even so, my suggestion is to wait another year or two, so it can come together more and hopefully the nose will open up some more too then.

93-94p/100

Andreas:

Compared with the nose in for example the Fevre 1er cru Montee de Tonnerre, the Bougros is slimmer, holding back and quite crisp in the beginning. A few hours after opening the bottle it gets rounder and opens up more. We find fresh pears, mineral notes and some exotic fruit in the background. Today this wine delivers a greater experience on the palate than on the nose. The acidity is fantastically crisp and energetic and carries the wine forward. There is also minerals, again some pears, and hints of honey in the end.

This wine should develop with time. Today it is a bit slim but has all the potential in the long run. This wine is all about freshness and energy rather than about complexity and depth, which of course could develop more with time. These short comings will not render top ratings, but this is a fantastically fresh wine.

92-94p/100

Summary

The Bougros is a grand cru that in certain vintages like 2010 and 2012 can get really complete with more power without compromising details and complexity in the hands of a very crafted producer, but obviously it falls short to its supreme sibbling, the Les Clos. The 2012 Les Clos and the special Bougros, the “Côte Bougureots” will be released in August and we will be back with a tasting later that month, so stay tuned. Open a Bougros from Fevre to very fresh sea food, medium-fat fish dishes with creamy sauces. Ensure you have decanted the wine for at least three hours and that they are served at 12 degrees Celsius.

Piedmont Trip 2013: Burlotto – The star of Verduno

Burlotto has been around in Verduno since 1850 and was established by Giovan Battista Burlotto. It became highly regarded even outside the Barolo region and was the choice of the royal family of Savoy that once ruled Piedmont. Moreover, Burlotto were among the absolute first who started bottling their own Barolo in the later part of the 1900 Century. This was even before Giacomo Conterno did his first Monfortino. However, when Giovan passed away in 1927, the estate’s supremacy gradually faded. Today’s owner, Marina Burlotto, Giovan’s great-niece, her husband, Giuseppe Alessandria, who is responsible for the vineyards, and their son, Fabio, who having acquired a degree in oenology and viticulture, are the ones that has truly re-positioned them once again as a renowned producer of terroir-focused high quality wines in Barolo. However, they are still yet somewhat under the radar, but we think on the rise to stardom once more.

Now after a history lesson, let’s get the categorisation exercise done immediately and say that Burlotto is a traditionalist. They use long maceration times, neutral wooden fermentation vats for long ageing. This should not be misinterpreted as a lack of curiosity or will to experiment. Fabio Alessandria whom we met is a man full of ideas, searching for new inspiration and has an urge to improve his wines. Fabio is on the surface a quiet, timid and polite man but underneath he is full of strong convictions and ideas. We had a very interesting discussion around both vinification methods and his thoughts on the expression he is looking for in the wines.

DSC03243

The open vats for maceration

The winery is famous for their single-vineyard barolo from the cru Monvigliero in the very north-west corner of Verduno in Barolo. It is produced with ultra traditional methods including crushing grapes by feet. Fabio tells us that using feet is a very gentle method that doesn’t break the seeds and more importantly the stems, so there is no need of using a machine or other technology. Whole stems and seeds are important to avoid bitterness in the process of wine making. For this wine, they use whole non-de-stemmed grape bunches to add complexity, a method often used in Burgundy to add tannins in vintages low on tannins, as pinot noir naturally contain little tannins. Since nebbiolo on the contrary contains much tannins, this practice is not common in Piedmont. However, Fabio manages to select only very ripe stems and avoid austere green aromas, thus only let it add complexity to the barolo of Monvigliero. In addition, it certainly helps that tannins here are naturally softer in Verduno than other places in Barolo and the very cold winds at nights may also explains how they can wait long until stems are ripe and still render fresh acidity levels in the grapes. Watch our video below to hear Fabio talk about the methodologies used

.

 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p9xwcYA0F8o

The usage of open vats for the fermentation process means that they do not have to add oxygen and it also improves their possibility to control the punch-down and pump-overs of the sub-merged caps. The fermentation period for the Monvigliero is approximately 60 days.

During the tasting a few words came up several times; Freshness, softness and purity. Fabio tells us that “you should want to continue drinking directly after each sip”, meaning that he does not want a heavy powerful wine where you need to catch your breath before continuing drinking, but elegance and complexity.

DSC03244

Fabio Alessandria among the very big botte

The wines tasted

Langhe Dives 2012

This is a Sauvignon Blanc which is aged 11 months in barrels. Fabio tells us that he is aiming for a fresh expression without getting a green result.

Andreas:

Not surprisingly for a Sauvignon Blanc we find lots of nettles, floral notes, exotic fruit, grapefruit and stone. The taste reveals very clear minerals, citrus and an acidity which is quite sharp at the moment.

This is a pleasant Sauvignon Blanc with a bit of a personality to it.

87p/100

Sir Galahad:

Acidity is really fresh, crispy and balsamic, but now a little gnarly. It is just a little sweet, but has got personality and offers very nice with delightful minerals, citrus, balsamic, white flowers, peach, apricot and grape fruit.

86p.

Verduno Pelaverga 2012

This is a grape only grown in Verduno and Saluzzo in Piedmont and it was a first experience for us.

Andreas:

On the nose we are served red fruit, pepper, floral notes and a long lasting experience of freshness. This wine has a very clear and crisp acidity, again there is and abundance of red fruit, some stone and we are left with a bit of sweetness in the end. There is virtually no tannic structure in the wine.

This was a pleasant first experience with the Pelaverga grape. It is an easy drinking wine which has a light and fresh sensation but also some personality.

86p/100

Sir Galahad:

This is simple, but with interesting personality. Scarlet colour.

Very fresh wine. Complex nose and very good acidity as well as impressive balance. Much better than dolchetto.

87p/100

Freisa 2012

Andreas:

The nose is very expressive with red current, pepper, balsamic, strawberries, lingon berries and some sweetness in the fruit.

This wine is very generous with juicy red fruits, like strawberries and some raspberries but also some sweet jam and balsamic notes. Compared with the Pelaverga is has more of a backbone with a good tannic structure complemented by the acidity.

89p/100

Sir Galahad:

Colour is scarlet red.

The nose is balsamic, offers some red fruit and savoury notes.

The palate is absolutely dominated by grape-peel and some fruit. More tannic than nebbiolo and ripe tannins is very important for this grape, closely related to nebbiolo.

88-89p.

Langhe Nebbiolo 2012

Andreas:

The entry level Nebbiolo is of high quality and offers a nose full of fresh raspberries, roses, minerals and some strawberries. The palate is dominated by red fruit and a quite strong acidity. Still this wine has an ok balanced for the young age.

This was a good step into the Nebbiolo wines and can be recommended for anyone looking for an easy drinking Nebbiolo with a fresh expression.

89p/100

Sir Galahad:

Colour is light-red transparent. This slow nose emerges with rose petals, fragrant and delicate perfumes.

The palate is dominated with herbs, pure red fruit. Really great texture and good balance! Not so complex but fresh and pleasant.

89p/100

The barolo line-up of the 2009 vintage

Barolo 2009

Andreas:

A more classical barolo nose with roses, hints of tar, leather and solvent but also menthol and balsamic notes. The palate shows more concentration than previous wines but we still have the pure and fresh fruit in the center of the experience. Tannins are very soft and polished already and provides a nice texture to the wine.

In this wine the pure and fresh fruit is starting to be combined with some concentration and complexity.

93/100

Sir Galahad:

The nose is slow and emerges with roses, fragrant and fresh perfumes and tar.
Very pure, fresh fruit is offered here. Fantastic acidity! Some tar, leather, balsamic, herbs and licorice-root. Quite persistent actually. Slim. Texture is fine sandy. Key words are purity and freshness.

93p/100

Barolo Acclivi 2009

The Acclivi is a blend of their vineyards in Verduno; Monvigliero, Neirane and Rocche dell’Olmo and the mix is decided based on the specific attributes of the vintage. The grapes are de-stemmed.

We have tried the Acclivi several times before and have always enjoyed the wine but never had the great wow-experience.

Andreas:

Compared to Acclivies we have tried previously, the 2009 has a lot more depth and concentration. The nose shows multiple layers of red fruit, but also some darker fruit in the background. There is also an ethereal touch to the wine. The palate offers more dense and pure fruit, again both red and dark. The denseness is well balanced by an acidity full of energy which carries the wine forward in a long finish. The tannins are still a bit tough but seems to be of good quality and should integrate well over time.

This is a very complex wine which managed to combine depth and energy. It is by the best Acclivi I have tried and it should have a long and exciting. Well done!

94-95p/100

Sir Galahad:

This nose is dark, deep and rich but a little closed now. Conserved and ripe boysenberries are dominating here.

Impressive structure, complexity in here and several layers of extremely ripe red- and blue fruit. Fresh acidity with grape-peel and balsamic flavours. It has impressive balance, medium-big body and is weightlessly powerful. Concentration is great but above all, its complexity considering the vintage is impressive and the tannins are extremely silky and soft for a young barolo in a warm year. The best ever, Aclivi so far.

95p/100

Barolo Monvigliero 2009

The Monvigliero has been our favorite among Burlottos wines so far and it is the famous vineyard in Verduno and Fabio’s parcels are on a high altitude which of course adds a lot to the freshness. We have followed the wine through several vintages and have always been impressed by its purity and the seductive strawberries. At it very best, sometimes we have found similarities with wines from Volnay and Vosne Romanée in Burgundy.

Andreas:

The nose is full of fresh red berries, roses, some truffles, herbal notes, eucalyptus and some minerals.

In the mouth the wine offers more of the same with raspberries, balsamic notes and  in the end a pleasant sweetness complements the impression. This is very light and fresh wine with a soft and silky tannic texture. At the moment there is a slight sharpness to the fruit, but this should calm down with time.This is not the best Monvigliero I have tried, but it is also hard to follow after the fantastic Acclivi. Still the wine follows the classical style of the Monviglieros from Burlotto.

94p/100

Sir Galahad:

The nose is aromatic, herbs, kinin, notes of truffle, tiny notes of grape-peel and delicate seductive flowers.

The taste offers immediate super-ripe strawberries and raspberries. Mid palate goes on with balsamic aromas, black olives, tar, leather, pastry and herbs. Texture is very fine sandy and almost velvety already. Rich and slim. It has got grip but power is impressively weightless, but it is more about elegance than structure. The acidity and tannins are already collaborating. Incredibly persistent, complex and elegant without any astringency.

94-p/100.

Cannubi 2009

Andreas:

The nose is quite deep and earthy and contains blueberries, strawberries, roses, balsamic notes, boysenberries and leather.

The acidity is a bit harder than for the other wines but of very good quality. We also find lots of cherries, strawberries and some earthy notes and iron in the taste. The tannins are as expected a bit sandier and tougher in the Cannubi compared with the other barolos.

This is a wine which needs some time before it peaks.

92-94p/100

Sir Galahad:

The nose is packed with fragrant rose petals, fine tuned minerals, balsamic notes, earth, herbs.

Very ripe red fruit; cherries and wild strawberries. Here is more tar, sweet leather, balsamic aromas, grape-peel and minerals. Quite course and rougher tannins that need time. Very promising acidity, but Cannubi never does its best in warm vintages since it cannot store water well and this stresses the plants too much.

93-p/100.

Summary

For us Burlotto is all about purity, freshness and soft tannins, which is also what we experienced in this tasting. The main surprise was how great and complete the Acclivi was. We will post a tasting soon for the newly released 2010’s which will be exiting, even though it will most likely not be as forward and approachable as the 2009 at this stage.

3 of the top Barbaresci from the fantastic 2008 vintage

We have selected some of the very top vineyards in Barbaresco and the line-up for this tasting includes the Rabaja, Montefico and the mythical Asili. All from the great cooperative in Barbaresco, the Produttori del Barbaresco with reasonable pricing.

Our readers may have noticed that we have already made a post about the Montefico here, but just for completeness, some of the same information is put in here too.

This cooperative is shared among 56 growers in Barbaresco and makes nine single crus as riservas in good years. If you look at the backside of your bottle, you can always read who the growers are. Vinification is traditional and employs a very hands-off approach to wine making. The juice undergoes maceration in steel for 28 days with 2-3 daily pump overs and are then aged in big, neutral barrels (botte) for three years and released after six months in bottle.

2008 is a classic vintage in Piedmont with a winter of three snowstorms followed by a rainy spring with April temperatures way below average, a warm May and a pretty cold and wet first half of June. The beginning of summer offered much warmer, but still quite wet weather that remained all through July. This was followed by average summer temperatures in August and September was very dry, but not critically dry. The harvest was easy and started on the first week of October and is in line with classic years such as 2004, 1999, except for in general offering a little more acidity.

We really think that this vintage is great in Barbaresco with in general very ripe tannins and great overall balance. The sugar level in the grapes are in general not as high as the previous vintage 2007 and the tannins are much more ripe and complex thanks to the slow ripening this year that is so important for nebbiolo. Our impression is that the vintage was more favourable here compared to in Barolo, where it is still often packed with dark, chalky minerals, very gnarly acidity and heavy tannins often at the expense of pure fruit. Naturally, Barbarescos are more approachable than Barolos, but even so when you compare legendary top-sites with their siblings in La Morra and Verduno in the north-west part of Barolo, you probably understand what we mean.

 

2008 Rabajà, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva 

The vineyard has south-west exposure and lies next to the more famous Asili.

 

Sir Galahad:

The nose is floral and fresh, but now somewhat backward and shy. Make no mistake, the perfumes are there, but much less intense and forward compared to the other two in this tasting. It emerges with oil paint, some tar, fresh herbs and earthy vibrant notes at the base in here. It is a less enchanting and complex nose, but still a good one. The wine is a little more fleshier and more structured than the other two offering more body, but very surprisingly it appears a little diluted and the envelope now show a little volatile concentration. The palate is aromatic and it is rich in sweet, ripe fruit; dominated by cherries, but I don’t find it is equally pure and deep as in the other two. The acidity is very energetic and adds freshness, but unfortunately very dominating right now, giving the impression of a little unbalanced wine. However, I think it is of good quality but just needs much more time. The texture is a little more coarse than the the other two and tannins are not anywhere near the perfection as in the Montefico.

It is certainly has the structure that the Asili lacks, but it is now power at the expense of finesse and complex details. It is less enchanting, a little unbalanced and currently dominated by a promising, but currently edgy acidity, but maybe it is about to close down and that is why it feels a little backward at the moment. A wine now hard to both score and to predict its destiny, since it currently is not a charmer. My guess is to forget this wine until earliest 2018.

93p/100

Andreas:

Very generous and seductive nose with lots of bright red fruit, mainly raspberries, hints of tar, paint and roses.

In the mouth the wine is quite light and very fresh and has lots of quite sweet mouthwatering red fruit. The acidity is crisp and gives energy to the wine. It is dominated by raspberries but also some eucalyptus. Tannins are a bit harsh but also fruity. Should soften and integrate with time. The finish is not very long and dominated by the acidity.

After the Asili and the Montefico expectations on this wine was very high and unfortunately not met. This wine is fresh and seductive but lacks depth and complexity for a top score.

93p/100

2008 Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

South exposition.

Sir Galahad:

I refer to my tasting notes and introduction to Produttore del Barbaresco here.

94p/100

Andreas:

The nose offers darker berries, blueberries, eastern leaf, lots of tar, basil, eucalyptus, tobacco, liquorice, and paint. Much more power compared with he Rabaja and the Asili. There is a good balance between acidity, fruit and tannins but they need to integrate further before the wine reaches its peak. The fruit is deep and dark and there are earthy notes and some alcohol.

Very long finish with chewy and a bit dry and heavy tannins at the moment.

This wine has the ingredients for an amazing wine, but it needs time time to integrate and soften. I will definitely stock up with bottles and then forget them.

94-95p/100

 

2008 Asili, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

Sir Galahad:

The nose emerges incredibly slowly and first offers loads of fragrant red flowers, distinct menthol, ethereal notes, oil paint, ginger, cardamom, tiny notes of new leather and wet stone. Then after about three hours, we are rewarded with an intense, dense and seductive perfume and distinct raspberry candy. As always with this vineyard, we are offered beautiful and detailed fragrant flowers and its feminine inner perfumes and here it is unusually enchanting and complex.

The taste offers pure, ripe layers of red fruit, mainly cherries, but also wild strawberries, red current, sloe berries and raspberry candy. Just a little overripe fruit with some excessive sugars, but this a minor note. Alcohol is notable, but not disturbing. The palate goes on with anise, herbs and the base holds vibrating dark, chalky minerals and tiny notes of tar. The acidity is currently just a little whiny, but balsamic and in a few years it will be perfectly fresh wrapping grape juice, lime and pears. Texture is now fine sandy but still quite soft, even though the tannins currently still spurs the tongue a little and are just a little dry in the end. They are not as perfectly ripe and smooth as in the Montefico, but promising. I lack some structure, but at the same time it is very precise and persistent with a generous finish.

Even though not equally as perfect tannins as in the Montefico, this wine compensates with its young beauty, finesse and details. Here there are tar, smoke or earthy notes at the base that you find in the Montefico. This elegant, sophisticated and slender beauty is met in the lovely rose garden, dancing gracefully like a ballerina. I would say that there is a resemblance to Romanée-Saint-Vivant in place in terms of its body and focus in details to its precise finish. Please notice that this wine needs a minimum of three hours now and then serving temperature is best at 17 degrees Celsius. Open in 2017.

94-95p/100

Andreas:

Lots of floral notes, perfume, solvent, hints of rowan berries  grape, minerals, herbs, roses and some minerals. This is a quite careful but very complex and intriguing nose. After a few hours the red fruit and mainly raspberries takes a more dominant role. The acidity is direct and vibrant in this youthful wine. We also find lots of red fruit, minerals some herbs and after a while more strawberries enter the scene. The tannins are sandy and slightly dry in the finish.

This is a fantastic Asili, best described with the words elegance and finesse. The nose is amazing and a bit Burgundian.

95p/100

Summary

Amazingly, these very price-worthy Barbaresci riservas only costs about €40/$65. We are looking forward to tasting the upcoming 2010’s, even though it is certainly greater in Barolo and it may turn out that 2008 is better in Barbaresco than 2010 after all.