Category Archives: Burgundy

Burgundy tasting 2013 vintage part 1 – The whites

In February we attended the yearly Burgundy wine tasting at the Danish importer, Otto Suenson, offering a great selection of Burgundy wines. The tasting was focused on the 2013 vintage.

2013 was the another tough year for the Burgundy estates requiring very active work in the vineyards and hard selection to render a successful result. Some areas, especially Savigny, Volnay and Pommard, was hit hard by hailstorms, resulting in very super-low yields and many vignerons were down on their knees with extremely low crop. In addition, the very important flowering was late too. In general the season was cold with august as the only exception, and as a result ripeness was an issue and several producers had to make the decision of harvesting slightly unripe berries or rot ones. As a consequence, most producers had to use chaptalisation. This has resulted in wines with a high level of acidity, a rather slim body and in some cases tougher and less ripened tannins. In one of the somewhat spared areas e.g. Chambolle, Francois Millet of domaine de Vogüé labled 2013 the ‘rebel’ vintage, but not the pretty one.

2013 Domaine Ramonet Bouzeron (Aligoté)

Slim nose with lemon, apples, tropical fruit, white flower and flint. Rather slim but with great acidity and minerals.
The wine lacks some depth but has great precision and elegance.

86p

2013 Olivier Merlin Mâcon La Roche-Vineuse Vieilles Vignes

Fruity nose with rather ripe apples, pears and plums. Rather soft palate with fruity flavors. The acidity stays in the background and is soft.

This is a gentle and fruit based wine that lacks some energy.

85p

2013 Benjamin Leroux Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Murgers des Dents de Chien

Initially we mainly get oak and smoke on the nose, but then some tropical fruit, lemon and minerals appear.Grippy and citric acidity that still remains rather careful. There are clear notes of oak that dominates over the fruit.

The wine lacks freshness and energy but has some depth and complexity.

88p

2013 Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets

Fruit and minerals dominate this well balanced nose. There are apricot, oranges, plums, nuts and some toasted oak on both the nose and the palate. The acidity is juicy and rather soft.

I consider the nose better than the palate that lacks some elegance.

90p

2013 Domaine Jacques Prieur Meursault 1er Cru Santenots

An abundance of hazelnut, butter, apricot and plums on this round and generous nose. Dense palate with ripe fruit, plums and a juicy but too careful acidity.

Generous and likable wine that would work good with food.

90p

2013 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon

Amazingly elegant nose with lime, lychee, nectarines and white flower. The acidity is vibrant and precise. On the palate we get more exotic fruit with mainly pineapple and in the finish some careful oak notes appear.

Very pure and elegant wine with great balance and a rather long finish.

93p

Lamarche, a rising star in the holy grail with a woman’s touch

In late January 2015 we visited the domaine Francois Lamarche. The estate dates back to the 1740’s. To most people, the estate is known for its monopoly vineyard La Grand Rue and it is situated right in the holy grail of Burgundy and just next to the famous La Tâche in Vosne-Romanée. Actually, it was in possession of the Liger-Belair family that went bankrupt in 1933. Then it was purchased by Edouard Lamarche and given as a wedding present to his nephew Henri. We did some research prior to this visit and according to official publications, up until 1959, small parts of the former boundaries of Gaudichots were exchanged with DRC and La grand rue was adopted grand cru status in 1992. Oldest parts apparently predate 1970, but a lot was replanted in the 80’s, so roots are yet not really old. Except for La grand rue, they own several other premier- and grand crus, of which Clos Vougeot, Aux Malconsorts, Les Suchots, Grands Echezeaux can be mentioned and in addition the interesting La Croix Rameau, in the north-east corner of Romanée-Saint-Vivant.

After knocking on the door to Lamarche in a cold but sunny January for a few minutes, finally Nicole opens. She explains that she had to pick up the children somewhere and she says that she is sorry that she’s late, but we are just happy that they are here. After all, this is a family business. We are just very exited to visit this domaine,.. finally.

Nicole, the daughter of Francois Lamarche, who took charge in 2007 with her first vintage being the glorious 2010, is obviously a very energetic, determined and confident woman with a clear focus of what she wants to do with their wines and she explains that she told her father over and over again to move away for her. Lamarche’s reputation at the time when she took over was not the best to say the least. Publicly, it was perceived as overly austere and lacking freshness from several wine critics, but luckily we absolutely feel that Nicole is really improving the estate’s wine quickly year-by-year. The potential in this part of Vosne-Romanée appears unlimited. Nicole tells us that she enforced thorough cleaning of the cellars and a whole lot of improvements in the wine making after her trial-period was over and her father stepped down, finally, as she puts it.

They harvest by hand using a secondary selection table. A few days and customary cold-soak is conducted to enhance perfume and colour. 80-100% of only ripe stems goes into fermentation depending on vintage to enhance structure and add tannins. When I mention that DRC is doing biodynamics and ask her about her principles, she swiftly answers that she hates extremism, so they employ things that they see fit and really work. She is very focused on the vineyards and thinks that organic principles are really important to them. She says, she intercepts ideas from the biodynamic movement, but for her, ecological farming is most important and they employ hard pruning which she thinks is most important to her as well as constant attention to the vineyards. They also work with sexual confusion techniques to keep insects off the leaves. Grass is extremely shortly pruned within vineyard rows to provoke the roots to dig deeper and avoid dilution.

I ask her about what she strives for in her wines and she immediately answers that she aims for silkiness, aromatics and elegance. She explains that she thinks that she, through her wine making adds a woman touch to their wines compared to her father. The level of new oak, from very much adapted barriques to the vineyards, are about a third now and very lightly toasted. Extraction (maceration) is carried out for about 15-18 days and like many others, no filtration or fining is done.

DSC04022

Andreas, Nicole and Frederik

2013 Bourgogne “Hautes côtes de Nuits”

Vosne spices. Very fine, young and crisp acidity. Fruits in the back ground now, but there is balance.

85p/100

2013 Bourgogne

Some finesse in this fresh nose of herbs.

Delightful and sourish, small red berries, blood orange, ginger, and some complex minerals. Medium bodied. Very crisp and fresh acidity.

87p/100

2013 Vosne-Romanée

Distinct Vosne spices here and fresh herbs dominates. Very small, sourish red berries and blood orange. Here is some finesse and pleasant pliancy.

90p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “Les Chaumes”

They own two small sections this vineyard.

Some seductive perfume from this very clean and fresh nose. There is a vertical quality here with the perfume as top note and the Vosne spices in the base.

Very silky and soft texture in this pliant wine with fine tannin cut. Small, ripe and fresh red berries, blood orange, ginger, clove and herbs. The acidity is just a little sharp now, but this will be very fine. It is quite persistent too.

90-91p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “Les Suchots”

Finally, the rose chips arrives in this super-fresh and seductive perfume with nice depth.

Almost perfect tannins in here. Very good concentration and less acidic bitterness compared to the Les Chaumes. Blood orange dominates with a trail of pure, red small berries in the persistent finish. In addition, notes of passion fruit, fennel wrapped in the very balsamic, crisp and mineral-driven acidity.

92-93p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “La Croix Rameau”

A very interesting vineyard in the north-east corner of Romanée-Saint-Vivant of which they only made two barriques. 45 year-old vines.

Very different nose compared to Les Chaumes and Les Suchots. More intense and less fragrant with more herbs and pastry. It is a complex and intriguing nose.

Small, sourish red berries, a lot of herbs and pastry on the palate too. The very clean, energetic and crisp acidity wraps passion fruit and orange peel. Thicker tannins but still soft, but not as silky as the other two.

92-94p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “Les Malconsorts”

Very complex nose with high precision and details, but reduced now so very analytic at this stage. Extremely slowly, the fragrant rose petals arrive and the Vosne spices that appears to hover on the surface only. It truly contains something special.

Sourish, super-small red layers of, ripe and pure red berries, anise, fresh herbs and spices. Acidity is a little overly energetic now, but very promising. Impressive balance without any edges or bitterness in the very persistent finish. Very smooth and silky texture with very ripe tannins. A very classic and elegant, but too young V-R wine with great potential.

93-94p/100

2013 grand cru “Echezeaux”

A very direct nose of darker minerals and pastry. Dried flowers in its persistent, but subtle inner perfume.

Very good concentration and very clean fruit and acidity. Good grip in the tannins.

91p/100

2013 grand cru “Grands-Echezeaux”

A very broad brush stroke of scents in this nose. Some earthy tones, crushed stone in the base and balsamic, dried herbs and deep perfumes at the top.

On the palate, the acidity is dominating now and it is currently a little edgy and whiny, but vivid which is promising. However, there seem to be red fruit in there, anise and some leather notes lurking. All this framed in thicker and firmer tannins.

92p/100

2013 grand cru “Clos de Vougeot”

Here they have three parcels in the south-east part, i.e. the lower parts.

The nose emerges as very deep with very much finesse. An incredibly seductive and feminine perfume as top note here with some crushed stone and dried herbs in the base.

On the palate, what struck us most is its impressive high quality acidity that is fantastically fresh. Moreover, the texture is super silky and totally seamless. A very fresh wine with almost perfect texture.

93-95p/100

2013 grand cru “Les Grand Rue” (monopoly)

A very light and transparent pink and raspberry red colour.

The nose is reduced now and emerges very slowly, but after a while there is a really elegant and aristocratic, but subtle, perfume that slips through. A deep and complex nose indeed.

On the palate, it offers cherries with layers of deep and very pure, red fruit. Totally seamless, incredibly pliant and super-silky texture. Acidity is crisp and fresh coating the fruit with deep, fresh minerals. It is persistent too. Yes, this has come very far in this vintage.

94-96p/100

Summary

It is obvious that the previously uneven impression of this estate some years back now is history and they are absolutely taking a distinct step in the direction of a much higher level of quality with Nicole in charge. Especially the pliancy, slenderness and elegancy impresses us a lot, but it is not all. In addition, the finesse and purity is impressive and the potential comes through in the Clos Vougeot, Les Malconsorts, La Croix Rameau and the stunning La Grand Rue. It will be very interesting to follow the development here and we will certainly be back soon.

A creamy, powerful 2012 Les Clos from Fevre

We have praised domaine William Fevre before and especially the work by the team behind Didier Séguier. The 2012 Bougros was tasted in a vertical here. This post also summarises our thoughts of the 2012 vintage. The fantastic 2010 Les Clos was tasted here.

DSC046452012 Chablis grand cru Les Clos, William Fevre

Colour is quite crystalline lightly yellow pale with tints of green.

The nose emerges with immediate popcorn, nettles and hazelnut. You need to decanter this at least for two hours, but then more nettles arrive to the scene as well as lime, citrus-peel, and elegant perfume of white flowers.

On the palate, the texture is very creamy, soft and chewy. A quite big-bodied and powerful wine in accordance with its vintage, but still with remarkable precision and amazing concentration. A very aromatic wine with a lot of dried tropical fruit, walnuts, sea grass and of course citrus flavours. All coated in really fresh, impeccable and mineral-driven acidity of high quality wrapping olive oils and rocks.

A broad-shouldered and ample wine with steadfast focus and immense freshness.Obviously, not as balanced as the amazing 2010, but still really refined, focused and with a lot of finesse. It is drinkable now, but I would wait until 2018 for perfection. Perfect to fat fish dishes or shell fish.

94+p/100

A 2009 Amoureuses from a detail-focused fan of gravity in Volnay

Now, we are back after the x-mas holidays!

Mr Patrick Landanger, with a background of running a family business of developing surgical equipment with several inventions of his own, is the producer of the wine this time. If you pay him a visit, you’ll notice several inventions, e.g. the glass constuction on each barrel used when topping them.

Like many other vignerons in Burgundy, he employs cold soak for a few days, in his case, seven and then 21 days of maceration on the skins. The grape juice is raised in 30% new oak for 18 months on the lees without batonage and Mr Landanger is a big fan of gravity and thus avoids any side-effects from pumping. He pays attention to the moon calendar, but thinks biodynamics is too religious. The roots in his parcels in this great vineyard are quite young; replanted in 1976 and 1977 and they were acquired in 2008 when Daniel Moine was selling out. This bottle is the very first bottling of Amoureuses under the Domaine de la Pousse d’Or’s label. The vineyard was according to rumours in very bad shape when Patrick took over.

DSC046662009 Les Amoureuses 1er cru, Domaine de la Pousse d’Or

Colour is transparent, red orange with typical pink-orange edges. However. less pink than usual and very beautiful indeed. Hence, a little more blood orange than pink almost like a nebbiolo wine. 🙂

A nose of immediate popcorn, newly cut ginger and subtle notes of cardamom. The vineyards recognisable, seductive and hedonistic inner perfume emerges extremely slowly after two hours in waves. After another two hours, newly cut rose petals and white lilies appear as top notes as well as grape-peel and the sought-after morning-dew on gravel.

On the palate, the red fruit is clean, pure and dominated by wild strawberries, but also red currant and ginger as well in the anorectic building body with quite long and somewhat elegant finish. However, oak is a little dominating yet. Acidity is fresh, cool, but except from grape-peel, it wraps overly saline crystalline minerals; almost salty and a little bitter. Unfortunately, it is a little diluted too, but precision is here and elegancy. Texture is soft, but still spurs too much in the cheeks and needs much more time.

It certainly lacks concentration, is overly saline and a little bitter, but still it offers the elegancy and perfume from this sacred and wonderful vineyard with some precision. Since this is the first wine Patrick produced, most likely quality will improve and we need to try upcoming vintages. Open in 2019.

92-93p/100

 

A fantastic Pommard from Nicolas Rossignol

Nicolas Rossignol is one of the most interesting producers when it comes to Volnay and Pommard. You can read more about our visit with him here.

During the years we have had our ups and downs with Nicolas but we love his energy and excitement and when at his best he produces fantastic wines, sometimes from vineyards traditionally overlooked or with less reputation.

Nicolas Rossignol Chaponnières
2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Pommard 1er cru “Chaponnières”

Generous, deep and quite creamy nose with succulent purple fruit, cherries, plums, ripe strawberries, stable, hints of oak and some ethereal aromas.

The taste is dominated by red fruit, but we also find black pepper, herbs and some raisin sweetness. There are clear “Pommard muscles” with its prominent tannic structure, but texture is pleasantly soft and fine grained. The acidity is a bit sharp, but it also adds some attitude to the wine.
This is not the most elegant wine, but it is has a fantastic generosity, a mouthwatering fruitiness and good complexity.

The second day the wine shows more personality and is even more approachable, generous, but still quite powerful and round.

94p/100

A visit to Domaine Jacques Carillon in 2015: A passionate winemaker of amazing precision

The Carilion family has a very long history as a top domaine in Puligny Montrachet, but always a little under the radar. Their family trace back to early 16th Century. Since 2010 the two brothers split the vineyards of their father, so now there are two Carillion domaines; one headed by Jacques Carillion and the other by his brother Francois Carillion just next door. We have previously met a couple of times with Francois, but this was our first visit with Jacques.

Unfortunately our lacking language skills made the dialog quite basic, but Jacques found ways to get across the most important information. Jacques is a rather careful and very polite man but when we talk about his wines and the vineyards a spark is lit and he gets very engaged.

In short, their main focus is on the work in the 5,5 ha vineyards where they are inspired by organic methods, but they have not taken the step to a full implementation and certification. They prune short in winter, green harvest is used when necessary and they cut their vines rather high to give them more sun to render more energy into the grapes. In general Jacques is careful with the usage of new oak, only 15-20% which is less than his brother and lightly toasted, since he wants the wines to convey the terroir and vintage and just enhance and round off the grape juice. He ages the wines for one year on the lees. Except for making honest wines that reflect its origins, he likes his wine to be about deep minerality and body. For the latter he does some batonage, but very, very carefully.

Wines tasted

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon “village”, Puligny-Montrachet – Barrel

Very pure and fresh expression on this wine that feels classic for the region. Very crisp and with lots of minerals but also a precise and energetic acidity. Some white flower and young fruit show up after a while.

This is a precise and pretty wine for a village level.

88p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Champs Canet”, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru – Barrel

Their vines are mid slope in the vineyard. 20 % new oak on the lees.

The wine is extremely floral with lilies, white flowers but also fresh notes of gooseberries. There is a burst of freshness from an amazing acidity with notes for lime, gooseberries and lemon. Lots of minerals and texture is creamy and thick. A very fresh and precise wine with medium full body. Quite persistent too.

90-91p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru Les Pèrrieres, Puligny-Montrachet – Barrel

Andreas:

Very precise and fresh nose with citrus, tropical fruit, mainly passion fruit, amazingly minerals and, after a while, a beautiful perfume. The palate is infused with minerals and has a juicy lime acidity to carry the quite dense multi layered fruit.

The wine is all about finesse and precision but also has a quite generous side to it.

93p/100

Sir Galahad:

On the nose, elegant perfume, citrus shells. Fine, fresh water-stains of delicate minerals.

Very fine structure and impressive precision. Chalk and mineral embedded citrus and passion fruit with really good precision and purity. Starts off narrow but with a distinct direction and then half way, it fires off its aromas and nectar in the very pure and persistent finish.

94-95p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Referts”, Puligny-Montrachet – Barrel

Expressive and generous nose with an abundance of ripe tropical fruit, but with less citrus. A fresh expression from minerals in a very subtle and clean.  Just dive into the nose.

On the palate there is a soft but fresh acidity combined with an abundance of mineral-coated passion fruit and burned almonds. Fruit is dense and juicy but never too heavy. In the end we get a long and broad finish.

This is a wine that does not hold back its generosity, but still manages to stay focused with high concentration. Some resemblance to the fleshiness in Mersault in here too. Very good.

93p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Macherelles”, Chassagne-Montrachet – Barrel

Andreas:

Extremely pure and almost a bit watery with fresh nectarines and a splash of lime. The minerals cannot be held back from this wine and the acidity is very delicate and precise. A beautiful and quite laid back and sensual wine with a precise and quite citric finish which closes down the experience perfectly.

92p/100

Sir Galahad:

Fresh perfume of nectarines. Some chablis resemblance to the minerality. A very delicate and fresh nose indeed.

Some nettles, an abundance of ripe lime fruit, chess nut and passion fruit. Packed with a variety of fresh aromas embedded in a thin layer of chalky minerals as well as great, crisp acidity and impressive precision.

94p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru – Barrel

One barrel only. Normally two.

In the beginning the nose is quite light and delicate but still quite expressive and it opened up after a while in the glass. Hints of beeswax, nuts, dried honey and some white flower in a complex and elegant nose.

The palate is more expressive and shows dense fruit, fresh and vibrant minerals and a quite citric and fresh acidity. Lime-infused aromas of passion fruit, honey and gooseberries dominate the palate. The minerals stays in a long energetic finish together with some lime notes. Unexpectedly, the precision here is not as good as in Les Pèrriers. Might be that it requires more time.

94-95p/100

2012 Domaine Jacques Carillon “Village”, Puligny-Montrachet

This is a quite fleshy and voluptuous wine with pineapple, bananas and white flower on both nose and palate. A quite soft acidity carries the fruit just enough to keep some energy and freshness.

Very accessible already and should not be saved for long. Hard not to like this flirtations wine.

88p/100

2012 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Pèrrieres”, Puligny-Montrachet

Very accessible wine with an abundance of fruit, mainly tropical, and some slight beeswax and nuts. The wine does not have the minerals and details of the 2013. On the palate this is a generous and seductive wine and the quite dense fruit is saved by a fresh acidity. Anyone would enjoy this wine and there is lots to find on the palate that leans to a tone of champagne.

92+p/100

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Andreas and Jacques

Summary

The wines of Jacques Carillion are all about precision and a crisp expression with an obvious transparency of the very unique terroir in Puligny-Montrâchet, site variation among crus and each vintage. You never find any oak contributions in Jacques wines and it takes a fleshy vintage to get some more round notes. We sometimes lack a little complexity for absolute top scores but the average level is certainly high. Surprisingly, the 1er cru Les Pèrriers outshined the grand cru  Bâtard-Montrâchet in the 2013 vintage in terms of precision and elegance, at least at this tasting. It also has to be said that this was the first time we tried the wines from Jacques Carillion and it definitely sparked an interest and confirmed that this is a producer worth following closely. Like his brother, both show how the greatest whites of chardonnay truly thrives in complex soil packed with lime stone.

A very round and silky, but subtle Les Suchots from 2008

The age of most of the vines in the Les Suchots vineyard of Hudelot-Noellat’s parcels are almost 90. A very interesting wine in deed.

DSC038402008 Vosne-Romanée 1er cru “Les Suchots”, Hudelot-Noellat

Colour is translucent blood orange with transparent light-orange edges. Beautiful colour!

The nose is very closed and careful in the decanter even after six hours, but some typical rowan berries, distinct ginger, clove, white pepper, pastry, overripe red fruit jam, tiny notes of medicine cabin, but also very fragrant and intense red flowers combined with lovely and just a little sweet, seductive perfumes.

On the palate it is dominated by ripe, candid red fruit and there are notes of blood orange, ginger and some anise. It is slowly filling up to be medium-bodied and is actually quite generous if you can wait a day. Texture is very silky, supple and it is long with just enough structure to go all the way. At the same time it is a little thin and a little less complex than expected, but it possesses all the goodies and characteristics of this sacred wine area.

It is super-round and well balanced wine with finesse that Charles van Canneyt and his team offers in this vintage. Open in 2017.

91-92p/100

A visit to domaine Bonneau du Martray – The master of Corton-Charlemagne

With their 9,5 ha, Domaine Bonneau du Martray is the defining producer of Corton-Charlemagne and in addition it is impressively all grand cru too. They set the benchmark for everyone else in the area, but for white Burgundy as a whole in Burgundy from an international perspective, they are still a little in the shadow of Puligny-Montrachet. The family has owned the vineyards in five generations since 1835 and the name Charlemagne is the french name of “Charles the great” and derives back to the 800 Century, where according to legend, the holy roman emperor of western Europe fell in love with wines from Corton. However, the reds from this time are more likely to have been gamay and for whites; aligoté.

We met with the very engaged and expressive Jean-Charles le Bault de la Morinière back in late January this year on our trip to Burgundy and it was our first visit to the estate. We talked about everything from biodynamic farming to skiing in the Alpine village of Chamonix. The visit was both enjoyable as well as educational and not the least, we had the opportunity to taste great wines. A tasting at the Domaine offers a fantastic opportunity to do a vertical tasting across vintages of their pride grand cru Corton-Charlemagne for whites, since their range of different wines are limited to only this one and a small quantity of red Corton.

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Frederik and Jean-Charles

Jean-Charles tells us that they always strive to achieve a crisp expression in their wines and that the terroir and vintage should shine through. They employ only 30% lightly toasted, new oak to render the effect they want without oak sensations. He also gets very engaged when we ask about the work in the vineyard and he says that “Good wine comes from good farming”. This is all music to our ears!

Jean-Charles explains that they own 11 ha of planted area and a very small portion, only 1.5 ha, is actually red corton. He shows us on a map how Charlemagne and the rest of Corton is situated around the hill and stretches from Pernand-Vergelesses to Aloxe-Corton. Charlemagne mainly has west exposition, but still, according to Jean-Charles, offers a more rare variety of expositions for being in Burgundy and there are two climates making up the Charlemagne in the former village; En Charlemagne and Le Charlemagne. He emphasis the importance of the west facing aspect that offers enough sun but avoids the peaks of daily heat. Pinot is only planted in the richer middle and lower slope parts with less limestone, whereas chardonnay thrives at the top part with much more white soil of marls and a lime stone bed close to the surface with very loose top soil.

When Jean-Charles took over in 1994, quitting his profession as architect in Paris, the vineyards and the soil was not in great condition and he worked intensively for several years to re-vitalize the vineyards and to first move organic in 2003 and then biodynamic farming the year after. Since 1997, they stopped using weed killers and chemicals and he remembers that grapes got much healthier and better afterwards. Jean-Charles says that the moon affects the earth and especially full moon is very important. It affects the plants hydraulically, how it retains water and nutritions, its current state, etc. It is the school of biodynamics setup by Rudolf Steiner, which appears to inspire him the most, that among other things emphasis the importance of biodiversity and closed-loop eco systems. Non-intervenism in the wine making, is also a philosophy he is fond of. They employ batonage (stirring the lees) to add more aromatics from the lees and persistence.

In the vineyards, they control the yield by pruning in the winter and once more in April or May. His comment about green harvest is that it only indicates that you have not done your work earlier in the season. I only cut once in Spring-Summer, 10 days after flowering. He assure us that if you follow these principles correctly, almost always, the plant stops growing and puts more energy into the fruit. The fruit is simply better at harvest, he points out. In a normal vintage they reach a natural yield of 40 hl/ha.

j-c matray

The wines we tasted

2013 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

Approximately 75% of the harvest was damaged by hail in 2013.

Some rather gentle ripe apple peels, nectarines, floral notes and hints of flint appear in this quite aromatic and dense nose. The palate is lively and has some dense fruit, drawing more towards tropical fruit and wet stone character. Acidity is gentle but precise and it stays with us in a long finish with high concentration.

Very pleasant and already quite accessible wine with good balance and nice fruit.

92-93p/100

2011 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

The 2011 vintage was rather large in quantity.

The nose show lots of tropical fruits, mainly peach, almond, apples, wet stone and some flint. This is a wine that shows some resemblance with Chenin blanc from the Vouvray area especially in the acidic expression. On the palate the fruit gets a bit fleshier and we find a vibrant and almost a bit harsh acidity with notes of grapefruit, ananas and lemon. This is an exciting and aromatic wine, but a bit unfocused but should improve and integrate better with time.

91-92p/100

2010 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

The 2010 starts with a very slim and pure nose offering a fantastic freshness and restrained energy. After a while it opens up and reveals some green pears, white flowers, citric notes and just a drop of pineapple juice.

As expected the acidity is vibrant and precise, and adds lots of energy to this wine. On the palate we get the same fruit but with more citric notes, stone fruit and an abundance of minerals. This wine is all about precision, elegance and energy but it needs some time before it will open up with all its beauty. Jean-Charles, thinks it is too tight, but we don’t agree at all and rather say It will really be worth waiting for.

95p/100

2007 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

The 2007 is just as pale as the younger vintages we tried. The nose is sublime and light but eventually offers some apples, white flower, flint, crushed stone and tiny hint of pineapple. All of which is carried over to a palate that is more expressive and the pineapple takes a clear step forward. The finish is long, broad and dominated by fruit that gets rather fleshy. There is good texture to the wine and some chalky notes can also be found. Acidity is a little sturdy still.

A wine with two faces, an initial very tight and slim nose and a more fleshy mid palate and finish. It certainly needs accompanying food. A good wine when considering the vintage.

93+p/100

2005 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

2005 is a vintage with very little rain which resulted in a lots of substance. Right before harvest some well needed rain came. A very exciting vintage.

Rather dense nose with wet stone, pineapple, ripe nectarines and some notes of flint in the background. A wine that grabs ahold of you already at the nose. The palate is big bodied with a quite grippy acidity that balances the ripe, juicy and somewhat sweet fruit as well as layers of dark minerals and yellow pears.

The 2005 is a rather expressive and powerful wine that also has elegance with its mineral notes. We expect this wine to develop much more with time.

93-94p/100

Summary

A vertical tasting at Domaine Bonneau du Martray certainly proves that their wines are transparent to the vintages, but also that there are certain characteristics that are consistent and related to their philosophy as well as making a true showcase of that this certainly is grand cru.

For some of the wines we were surprised at how expressive and generous they already are at a young age, even though these wines obviously need time to evolve. We find a fantastic acidic expression with notes of citrus and pears that adds an energetic and vibrant personality to the wines. Being true fans of wines of Puligny-Montrâchet, we are sure we need to find older bottles to assess Corton-Charlemagne even further, since these two areas obviously are very different. In addition, Corton-Charlemagne on a grand cru level is obviously more price-worthy than its Montrâchet counterparts in many cases.

Domaine Michel Lafarge – Domaine profile and tasting of Clos des Chenes and Clos du Chateau des Ducs 2006

Back in 2013 we started what was supposed to be a short theme about Volnay. Unfortunately we have been very slow in our delivery of the posts but now we have done the third tasting. Our introduction to Volnay can be found here.

Domaine Michel Lafarge is another Volnay Domaine with a long history spanning several generations and today the Domaine is headed by Michel and his son Frédéric Lafarge. Michel has also been the mayor of Volnay and as such he has had a great influence on the development of the village. Domaine Michel Lafarge has approximately 12 ha of which more than half is based in Volnay.

Just like Domaine d’Angerville, Domaine Michel Lafarge were very early with Domaine bottling back in 1934, and since 1960 the whole production is sold under the Domaines name.

Domaine Michel Lafarge is often described as a producer who combines tradition with an openness to new methods. They avoid making too many fixed statements about their process for producing  wine. Instead they adapt themselves to each vintage’s specific condition. This is both applicable to the decisions in the vineyard and in the vinification process. When they adapt the process and try new ways of working they follow the results closely to learn from the results.

Still there are several areas in the process where Michel and Frédéric have very clear opinions and principles. They have a very high focus on control and quality along the whole process, starting from the selection of wine clones. This is one of the reasons they try to avoid too much automation since this can reduce the control of the process. One example is their usage of manual presses.

Since 2000 the vineyards are managed biodynamically, which is an example of the Domaine’s openness for new ways of working.

The wines we tasted

 

2006 Domaine Michel Lafarge Clos des Chenes

Unfortunately this bottle does not seem ok. On the nose we find some hints of sherry and the wine feels a bit oxidized. The dominating notes are from dark minerals, a bit burned chalk, roses, iron, under vegetation and some medicine cabinet. This is not a classical Pinot Noir nose and it would be extremely hard to guess in a blind tasting.

The palate is a bit more “friendly” with ripe red fruit, cherries, and some freshness comes forward in the acidity when the wine is quite cold. In the finish it gets a bit harsh on the acidity and there is also a saltiness. Tannins are quite sandy and a bit dry.

Not possible to score since the wine might have been a bit oxidised.

2006 Domaine Michel Lafarge Clos du Chateau des Ducs

The nose is a bit slimmer and more fruit driven compared with the Chene. We find red fruit, cherries, wet grass, herbs, floral notes and a hint of rubber.

Fresh red fruit dominates the palate but also a quite strong acidity which is a bit harsh. There is also some chalky tones, violet and eucalyptus. The wine has a clear tannic structure which is softer than in the Chene.

I would wait before drinking more of this wine. The acidity needs to calm down and then it can develop into a very interesting wine.

92p/100

Summary

The tasting was a bit of a disappointment. With a producer like Lafarge we expected some harshness on acidity and strong tannins, but we were also expecting more complexity and energy. The Clos du Chateau des Ducs was the clear winner of the evening. As mentioned earlier we do have some doubts about the quality of the bottle of Chene since it felt a bit oxidized.

Burgundy tasting part 3 – A few more reds and final thoughts

This is the third and last post in our series from the Burgundy tasting at Otto Suenson in February. The previous can be found here and here.

2012 Domaine Michel Magnien Chambolle-Musigny Les Fremieres, Cote de Nuits

Very fruity and quite powerful nose with pure red and dark berries and some slight hints of barnyard in the background. Very expressive for a Chambolle. There is a well needed acidity that complements the dense palate. This is a good wine, but not at all what I expected. Focus is on power and not finesse.

89p/100

2012 Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits

As expected with a Cathiard, the fruit is extremely pure and fresh, but the wine also offers some darker notes and is surprisingly dense. I also find some floral notes and black currant. Extremely fresh and well balanced on the palate, where a precise acidity meets silky tannins and pure fruit. Fantastic for a village wine and a more dense impression than expected.

90-91p/100

2012 Domaine Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee Coeur de Roy Vieilles Vignes

Lots of dark fruit jumps out of the glass, unfortunately together with oak and hints of barnyard. Extremely forward on the nose. On the palate we find an abundance of overly toasted new oak and in there are some dark fruit, mainly black currant, and some dark minerals.

This is a powerful wine and was probably intended to be just that. Not a typical burgundy wine and not our style. However, since the age of vines here are almost 100 years and they claim to put a lot of effort into the vineyard, it is a shame that they put the grapes in 100% well toasted new oak we think.

86-88p/100

2012 Domaine des Epeneaux Comte Armand Clos des Epeneaux Monopole, Pommard Premier Cru

This family has been running the estate since before the French revolution and since 1999 Benjamin Leroux has been directing it to higher quality ever since, turning them biodynamic, de-stems totally and don’t crush all grapes.

Not surprisingly we are met with dark fruit and quite earthy notes. On the palate we find a tannic structure that reminds us of nebbiolo, but turns a bit sandy and dry. This wine is a powerhouse and delivers what many people expect from a Pommard, but it is good.

90-91p/100

2012 Maison Bertrand Ambroise Corton Le Rognet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune

Great nose with both red and black fruit as well as spices and slight earthy notes. Good balance between acidity and fruit on the palate even though the acidity need some time to integrate. A wine that is easy to recommend and it also has some character and personality.

91-92p/100

2012 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Nuits

We recently met with Laurent Ponsot at his Domaine in Burgundy and among other wines tried the Clos de la Roche from 2012. Therefore we will return with a full tasting note later.

This is a very expressive wine with lots of beautiful fruit. Ponsot also manages to keep the finesse and balance in this generous Clos de la Roche.

 

Final comments

This tasting certainly showed how many different expressions you can find in Burgundy even though you focus on one vintage.

It is hard to appoint a winner at this tasting, but some of our favourite wines and positive surprises came from Domaine Leflaive, Roumier, Sylvain Cathiard, Maison Bertrand Ambroise, Benjamin Leroux and Domaine Ponsot.