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Domaine François Chidaine 2014 – Mastering both Vouvray and Montlouis

François Chidaine has built an impressive estate from his modest start in 1989 when he bought his first vineyards and took over 3 hectares from his father. Today he controls approximately 37 hectares in the Loire region, where Montlouis is dominant with 20 hectares but they also have 10 hectares in Vouvray and 7 in Touraine. His position is quite unique since few winemakers are well established in both Montlouis and Vouvray. The expansion into Vouvray came when François got the chance to take over responsibility for Philippe Poniatowskis vineyards in Vouvray and later he took over ownership. This transition was not completely smooth, but have resulted in an impressive collection of vineyards in both villages. More recently they have also bought some vineyards in southern Spain.

Quite early in his career François has been moving over to organic winemaking and eventually biodynamic, and since 2003 the Domaine is certified biodynamic. The wine is aging in 600 liters barrels of which approximately 10 percent are replaced each year. They seek to avoid getting wood notes in their wines.

In general the wins from Vouvray have a bit higher levels of acidity than the wines from Montlouis.

2013 Sauvignon Touraine

Classical Sauvignon blanc but not over the top with nettles. Fresh and pure wine with a very precise acidity. Simple but very likable and easy drinking Sauvignon blanc.

84p

2013 Touraine Rosé

Another easy drinking wine which shows quality and freshness but not complexity. An abundance of red, almost sweet, berries. Some tannic structure to give backbone to the wine.

85p

2010 Vouvray Petillant

Quite closed on the nose but still some very fresh citric notes and some exotic fruit in the background.

The wine opens up a bit more on the palate where we find grape fruit, lime, some anise and mineral notes. The bubbles are fantastic, small and soft.

This wine is quite careful in the beginning but then shows more and more personality. A quality Petillant.

91p

2012 Montlouis Methode Traditionnelle Brut

The nose is quite expressive and fruity, showing several exotic fruits.

The taste is also quite fleshy with similar fruit and some notes of bread. This is a generous sparkling wine.

90p

2013 Montlouis Clos du Breuil Sec

From vines are 50-90 years old. Residual sugar less than 1 g/l.

Fantastic freshness on the nose with light citric notes, exotic fruit and some hints of ginger.

The wine is very acidic and there is less fruit on the pallet where we also find some hints of Chenin blanc wool and fresh minerals. In the finish the acidity takes over, and in general the acidity needs to calm down a bit before the wine gets balanced.

This is a precise and fresh wine that should be stored for a while before opening.

91-92p

2012 Vouvray Les Argiles Sec

This wine is a blend from different vineyards and the terroir has clay and sand.

In this wine the fruit takes a quite dominant position on the nose, showing pineapple and other exotic fruits, but also notes of flint.

The pallet contains the same fruit but also has ha high level of acidity, especially in the finish.

A wine, which is quite fleshy and generous.

91p

2012 Vouvray Clos Baudoin

Soil of clay and limestone with vines which are approximately 70 years old.

Fresh and cool nose with lime and pineapples in a nice balance but also some flint and minerals.

The exotic fruit takes a further step forward on the palate and we also find some surprising hints of oak.

This wine shows a good balance between fresh coolness and fruit.

92p

2011 Montlouis Les Choisilles

Flint in the soil. Gives minerals and acidity.

The nose is quite dense, both from fruit but also from honey in the background. Lots of pineapple and peach but also some hints of smokiness.

Generous wine where the acidity takes a back seat to the fruit. The character is probably mainly an effect of the vintage, which produces fruity wines.

88p

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2011 Montlouis Les Bournais

Quite young vines planted around 1995, in a very attractive terroir of limestone.

The nose is fruity and expressive with lots of tropical fruit and some minerals in the backgrounds.

Very pleasant and precise acidity that combines well with the pineapple and other tropical fruits we find together with lime. The crisp acidity stays in rather long finish.

The Les Bournais is a vibrant wine where the fruit and acidity both competes and complements each other.

92p

2011 Franc de Pied Les BournaisFrançois Chidaine

Same vineyard as the last wine but from ungrafted vines, i.e. not grown on American root stocks. These vines have a very low yield. They still have phylloxera in the ground so this is quite risky.

The wine is very concentrated, not only with fruit. We find yellow apples, tropical fruit and minerals on this complex nose.

The palate is very much in sync with the nose, but has slightly less fruit. The alcohol feels rather present in the wine but with this level of density the wine does not get unbalanced. Very long long finish with fruit and minerals.

This is a fantastic wine with high level of complexity and it will be exiting to follow the future vintages.

93p

2011 Montlouis Clos Habert

Seductive nose with honey, lime, grape fruit, pineapple, and fresh minerals.

Even though the level of sugar is quite low for a Tendre, it comes trough clearly on the palate, together with the fantastic fruit and minerals. There is a slight grape bitterness in the finish.

This is a complex wine with lots of personality, especially on the nose.

91p

2010 Montlouis Les Tuffeaux (Demi-Sec)

This wine is a blend of different vineyards.

Rather careful in the beginning and the nose almost has a wateriness to it. After a while some flint, minerals and exotic fruit appear.

Fresh young pineapple, an abundance of lime and minerals and a fantastic citric acidity to back up the sweetness in the wine

This is a slim and very precise wine that need some time before it opens up completely.

91p

2007 Vouvray Le Bouchet

A quite heavy nose with honey, flint and some exotic fruit in the background.

The acidity is a bit harsh and not as precise as we would hope for. We also find honey and some citric notes.

The Les Bouchet has a strong and generous personality, but lacks some precision and elegance.

89p

François Chidaine

2010 Montlouis-sur-Loire Moelleux

Residual sugar at 40 g/l.

Very aromatic nose with an abundance of honey that transfer over to the palate where we also find high levels of acidity. These are the dominant expressions of the wine and they compete for dominance but fortunately it ends in a tie and the wine is rather well balanced.

This is a generous wine with great personality. It would work well together with food.

92p

2010 Vouvray Moelleux

Residual sugar at 70 g/l.

Dense nose with lots of honey and some ripe exotic fruit.

The acidity is amazingly precise and saves the wine from being too heavy which could have been a problem considering the density. There is much of everything in this wine.

92p

François Chidaine

2009 Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Lys

This wine is only produced when they have botrytis.

Here we find lots of apricot and some quite fresh honey on both the nose and later on the palate. There is a tingling acidity which complements the quite dense taste of honey. A complex and generous wine.

94p

Summary

François Chidaine has an amazing range of vineyards with great terroir making a tasting of their range good introduction to the region. His wines show great precision and often with strong personality. This is definitely a producer worth following closely.

Tasting of Northern Rhone 2010 and Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010 and 2006

I recently attended a dinner where the wine theme was Rhone and we tasted wines from both northern Rhone and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Most of the wines where from 2010, which is considered to be a fantastic, but still very young vintage. The youthfulness was also very apparent in the tasting and we also felt that some of the wines had gone into a tunnel phase.

Below are tasting notes and some basic information about some of the producers.

Rhone wines 2010

2010 E. Guigal St. Joseph Lieu-Dit St. Joseph Rouge

The Guigal family have had an enormous influence on the development in the region. They do both Estate bottling and act as negotiant, and today they produce wines from both Northern and Southern Rhone.

Rather sweet and soft fruit combined with slight vanilla notes. Careful but rather precise acidity on the palate where we again find vanilla and the soft fruit but also some white pepper and oranges. Tannins are very velvety and of good quality, though there is a hint of oak bitterness in the finish.

Pleasant and likable wine but rather one dimensional and simple.

86p/100

2010 Domaine Yves Cuilleron St. Joseph Les Serines

Domaine Yves Cuilleron has vineyards in St. Joseph, Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Cornas and St. Péray. They produce wines in a rather modern style but are increasingly careful with oak and today use less than 20% of new oak.

The nose is dense with fruit notes, herbs and hints of oil paint. Still it manages to keep an energetic and fresh expression.

The acidity is amazing but a bit dominant at the moment. The balance should improve greatly with time. There is mainly dark fruit in the beginning but then some red fruit comes through, together with minerals and a hint of marzipan.

The wine has fantastic precision and should develop beautifully with time.

92p/100

2010 Domaine du Tunnel (Stéphane Robert) Cornas Vin Noir

The style of Domaine du Tunnel i classical/traditional and they avoid new oak barrels to avoid masking the wine. In their Cornas Vin Noir the grapes are from 100 year old vines.

Dense dark fruit, orange peel, spices and some under vegetation greets us in this rather forward nose.

The palate opens up with almost sourish red fruit together with softer blueberries. boysenberries and some black pepper in the background. Tannins are very present but of good quality and never gets dry.

Great nose but the palate gets a bit heavy and has a slight bitterness. This wine needs much more time to reach the peak but the potential is good.

91p/100

2010 Domaine du Colombier Hermitage

This wine is made of grapes from three different lieux-dits in Hermitage. Before 1991 the grapes from these vineyards where sold to negotiants. They ferment the grapes in whole clusters and the wine has been aged in french oak barrels, where approximately 30% are new.

A compact nose with an abundance of oil paint and soft dark fruit from blueberries, boysenberries and a hint of violet. Despite the masculine expression the nose manages keep a freshness.

The palate has a slightly sweet expression but this is complemented well with an energetic acidity. There are lots of berries, both red and dark but unfortunately also oak notes that masks the fruit and makes the wine slightly heavy. The tannins are clearly also affected by the oak treatment.

The wine has a fantastic nose but gets heavy on the palate and you need a break between each sip.

91p/100

2006 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée

Domaine du Pegau produces Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine in classical style with no destemming or new wood. The red wines are dominated by the Grenache grape.

Very ripe fruit, mainly plums and apricot, but also a slightly oxidized expression and some tobacco and violet. Initially the wine has some barnyard notes but these quickly disappear.

The palate has sweet red berries, some ginger and sandy tannins. Acidity is very careful and soft but still present.

For a wine showing this amount of ripe fruit and with a rather low acidity it manages to stay surprisingly fresh.

90p/100

2010 Domaine Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes

Domaine Chante Cigale represent a more modern style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The vines used for this wine are at least 80 years old and the wine has been aged in both stainless steel tanks and new French oak barrels.

An abundance of dense fruit, some orange peel, tea, herbs but also some green notes make up the nose. The palate has a powerful expression with some clear alcohol notes. Again there is a green touch to the wine and there is some black pepper, boysenberries and a rather fresh acidity. The finish unfortunately gets rather bitter, probably from oak.

86p/100

Two Roagna barbaresci from a warm vintage

We are great fans of Luca Roagna and his father’s wines and their focus on natural farming with flowers and multiple varieties of high grass growing between the vines that attracts pollinating insects. The Pajé vineyard that is just below their house in Paglieri and the nearby Asili are both offered in special bottling from older vines (vecchie vigne); 50 years or older.

2007 Pajé “vechie vigne”, Roagna

Colour is translucently dark red with blood orange nuances with transparently light-orange edges.

The nose emerges with distinct adhesive, burned firewood, tar, glycerin and beeswax. After several hours, there are no flowers but there is a subtle perfume and it is as always a very unique nose.

On the palate, now a little overly sweet dark cherry is dominant but also anise seeds, black tea, orange-peel and dry savoury notes. The acidity is fantastically balsamic, fresh and vivid wrapping passion fruit and dry honey. Texture is soft and tannins are now dense, chewy and approachable. It is medium bodied and and dense without any weight.

There is always this combo of balsamically fresh acidity and bold flavours, due to the 3-month very lengthy extraction, that make it such a unique experience to drink Roagna’s wines. The only downside here is the overly sweet fruit, but there is definitely no excessive alcohol and the label says 13.5% in a really warm vintage. Open in 2017.

93+p/100

2007 Asili “vechie vigne”, Roagna

Colour is translucently dark red with blood orange nuances with transparently light-orange edges.

The nose emerges with savoury notes, distinct oil paint, dried red flowers and smoke. After another four hours, thankfully, an interesting inner perfume arrives to the scene.

On the palate, there is an abundance of sweet fruit coated in fresh minerals, distinct savoury aromas, tar, anise seeds, orange peel and grime. As always the balsamic acidity is impressive and energetic wrapping dried honey. Body is mid weight and the wine is pleasantly mouth filling and quite forward, currently without finesse, in this warm vintage. Texture is soft, velvety and tannins are ripe but needs some more time to evolve into perfection. It is quite deep but it has not yet come together really, so needs a few more years of integration.

Acidity is great, has depth and as always it is full of bold flavours, but the wine is overly sweet and lacks the expected level of elegance from this site and older vines. However, no disturbing alcohol and tannins are perfectly ripe. Open in 2017.

92p/100

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.

A powerful, but yet pure and fresh Margaux

The Château Rauzan-Ségla is well known to all Bordeaux drinkers and the estate was established in 1763. However, in 1994 the current owners, the Wertheimer brothers, who also owns Coco Chanel, bought it and hired the scotsman John Kolasa to manage the wine making. John had previously been working at Château Latour and when he arrived to the estate, he planted more merlot and put a lot of focus on the vineyards; especially low-yields and meticulous selection of grapes.

The blend for this cuvée was 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot and yields was extremely low this year in Bordeaux. 60% new oak is used to raise this wine for 18 months.

2011 Chateau Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux

The colour is very dark purple-red middle with very intense crimson red light edges.
After one hour scents of pencil lead, graphite, barn, cassis, fresh herbs, shale and saline mushrooms emerges from the glass. A quite deep, complex and fresh nose pushed by skillful use of oak.
This wine offers very pure, cool and fresh black fruit. The palate offers distinct cassis, dusty gravel, olives, lead pencil, grape-peel and loads of minerals. It offers high concentration and is full bodied with chewy and grainy, but currently a little coarse and heavy tannins. It is powerful, fleshy and very persistent too with very good balance. Acidity is very balsamic, fresh and energetic in this yet very young wine.

A very balanced, fresh and very persistent wine in this vintage indeed. It is drinkable now, but open it in 2019 to let the tannins settle more.


92-93p/100

A modern, but very complex and unusual etna rosso

In the vineyard Solicchiata on the northern slopes of the vulcano Etna in Siciliy, Italy, about 700 meters above sea-level, the grapes for this wine grows on lava soil. For this blend 90% Nerello Mascalese and 10% Nerello Cappuccio are used. Today, after Guglielmo Cottanera passed away, the estate is led by his brother Enzo and the children of the co-founder: Mariangela, Francesco and Emanuele. The vineyard is operated mostly by  a workteam of 25 women, which is the custom here according to Enzo. After selection by hand, maceration is carried out for 16-18 days in steel and the juice is raised in 50% neutral big barrels and 50% in barriques of which 30% are new with medium toasting for nine months. Then it rests for 18 months in bottle before release.


Anybody who has been up on the vulcano Etna, knows it is very much alive and it is a very interesting wine area in deed that we haven’t dug deep into yet, but one that keeps on surprising us with its unique terroir and refreshingly often different approach to wine making.


2009 Cottanera Etna Rosso

The colour has a ruby red middle, but somewhat beautifully translucent with transparent crimson-red purple edges.
After only one hour, a surprisingly complex, fresh scent of ginger, coriander, dried cocos flakes, very special, but distinct tar, wood glue, some fragrant flowers, delicate and vibrating minerals enters. In addition, tiny notes of toasted oak, but nothing that disturbs. We really enjoy this quite complex and very unusual nose!
The palate offers fresh, complex exotic spices, ginger and sourish, but ripe and pure fruit. Acidity is very balsamic and fresh wrapping tasty bitter grape-peel and oils. Concentration is great and the envelope is quite elegant for this price-level and there is good grip in the relatively persistent finish too. Texture is velvety and tannins are of great quality.

It is a well made wine with an interesting nose and transparent personality. Costs about €25 and it is really price-worthy.

90+p/100


A montefico with a very wide scensoric, stroking brush and sexy fruit

This cooperative is shared among 56 growers in Barbaresco and makes nine single crus in good years. Vinification is traditional and employs a very hands-off approach to wine making. If you look at the backside of your bottle, you can always read who the growers are. The juice undergoes maceration in steel for 28 days with submerged caps and are aged in big, neutral barrels (botti) for three years and released after six months in bottle. Montefico is one of the best vineyards in this area around the Barbaresco village alongside Rabaja, Montestefano and Asili.

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.

The harvest for this wine started on October 4th and in line with classic years such as 2004, 1999, except for in general some more minerals and just a little higher acidity
. The climate was ideal here and the harvest lasted for a full two weeks without issues. The sugar level in the grapes are not as high as the previous vintage 2007 and the tannins are much more high-quality and complex thanks to the slow ripening this year that is so favourable to nebbiolo. The fruit is intense, and the acidity not shy… a great vintage for Nebbiolo especially in Barbaresco!

2008 Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

After just one hour, the nose emerges as holding back with tar, saline much rooms, oil paint and dried red flower petals. After another three hours, there is suddenly a lot of Swedish raspberry candy boats, some worn leather, deep balsamic herbs, fresh salvia, coriander, fragrant, intense red flowers and distinct, flirty, seductive young perfumes. In the base there are distinct summer grill notes, vibrating, somewhat burned limestone and loads of tar that cannot be from anywhere else than Piedmont. A truly fantastic and transparent nose of two opposite scent foundations that is so special from this very complex vineyard.
This taste offers chalky and somewhat burned lime infused layers of packed very ripe red berries; raspberries and wild caramelised strawberries, and exotic herbs. In addition, the palate offers anise seed, liquorice, notes of tobacco and smoke. The fruit is very ripe, intense and pure and satisfactory, without disturbing excessive sugars or any notion of alcohol. The acidity is energetic, balsamically fresh and wraps ginger, honey melon, passionfruit and lime. It is now still just a little gnarly and needs a few more years in bottle. Very unexpectedly, the texture is dusty and, surprisingly, already incredibly soft, almost velvety for such a classic vintage. The balance is striking, it is medium-bodied and concentration is consistent all the way to the very persistent, beautiful finish.

Amazingly, when considering the classic characteristics of this vintage, this wine puts me with a very young, sexy, flirty and lovely, but sophisticated, girl on very sunny summers evening at the grill in a garden of fresh herbs and roses. Impressively fresh and enchanting, young lovely perfumes really stand out and she offers tons of crowd-pleasing ripe fruit and personality. Her love is immediate and irresistible. Truly an already very approachable, very aromatic wine with perfect tannins and with loads of characteristic tar and smoke as well as herbs, seductive perfumes and blossoming flowers. Open in 2016 just to let the acidity integrate just a little more and don’t forget to serve at about 17 degrees Celsius after four hours of decanting. Costs about €40 which is remarkably price-worthy for this quality and probably impossible to beat.

95p/100

An impressive village chambolle from a producer on the rise

This estate is really interesting and definitely on the rise in Burgundy. The quality was very much improved by Pierre Nawrocki’s time as cellar master and set a new benchmark that brought some attention, but we don’t think that the world has really understood their potential yet and the very positive direction they are going. Since 2008, Charles van Canneyt is heading the estate with much help of the enologist Vincent Meunier in the cellar that somewhat appears to have been taken over the relay race baton from Nawrocki and they keep getting better and better. There is always this saying that a true great producer is not only met by his greatest wines, but his more simple village wines. It could not be more true than with this estate, since both the Bourgogne rouge and the base Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée have impressed us in the latest vintages.

The vintage 2011 was a difficult one and yields about 35% lower than normal and consequently the prices for the crus are high. It is a short-cycled vintage with very early bud break and a uniform flowering that was in full blossom already in a summer-like May. In June fierce winds destroyed some plants. Summer was unstable until mid August emerged as quite hot but with heavy rains that caused some mildew and rot. However, tannins in the grapes were almost perfect and ripening equal to 2010. An extremely early harvest began in the last days of August like in 2007.


2011 Hudelot-Noëllat, Chambolle-Musigny

The colour is translucently crimson red with light cerise and red purple edges.
The nose offers seductive perfumes, peon roses, typical rowan berries, wood glue, very distinct dusty gravel, Asian spices, cardamon, clove, some delicate and somewhat carefully, burned, minerals. It has a much better nose than expected from a village wine from chambolle and this is very transparent and fresh.
The taste is very pure, fresh and sourish red fruit; red current and wild strawberries, blood orange, Asian spices, ginger, dusty gravel, notes of menthol, anise, tea and fine tuned burned minerals. After one hour of decanting, the acidity calms down and it reveals its very balsamically fresh energy. The structure a little light, but concentration is fine. Texture is silky and tannins are very approachable, but they lack some backbone. In addition, maybe it is overly polished too.

This wine may be a little too polished, suffering a little from a volatile envelope and lack some grip in the finish, but these are minor remarks considering how very price-worthy this chambolle village really is in terms of purity and richness. Open 2016.


88-89p/100


A crowd pleaser from Burgundy: 2006 Domaine Guyon, Vosne Romanée

Domaine Guyon is a small estate with 8 hectares headed by the brothers Jean-Pierre and Michel Guyon since 1991. This wine is made from 50-60 year old vines and it is matured for 10-14 months in oak (30% new).

The 2006 vintage can be described as an average vintage for red burgundy. The wines are quite fruity, fresh and easily approachable. You can drink them at a quite young age.


2006 Domaine Guyon, Vosne-Romanée

The nose is very generous and quite dense with lots of raspberries, strawberries, menthol, sweetness and hints of oak.

On the palate we find an abundance of quite sweet red fruit as well as hints of leather and some spices. The acidity is fresh and clean and there are minerals in the background. Unfortunately we find some bitterness in the finish which affects the total impression.


This is a very approachable and surprisingly powerful wine for a Vosne-Romanée. Unfortunately the wine lacks complexity and personality for a top score. Just open and enjoy instead of spending hours analysing.

88p/100

A holy santo stefano from a great traditionalist

This estate has been selling their fruit from the great Santo Stefano vineyard to the famous Bruno Giacosa for several years. Noteworthy is, that the grapes for this wine has been the best of Giacosa’s range since 1964, even including the mythical Asili according to many critics around the world, but lately the Stupino brothers have decided to produce everything themselves from the 2012 vintage. They put Albesani on the label since they want the customer to know that this is an important lieu-dit in the Santo Stefano vineyard. After thorough selection, this wine undergoes 12 days of maceration. The estate ages the wine in barriques for 24 months in barriques, one year in neutral botte and one year in bottle before it is released to the market. We don’t know if any new toasted oak is employed for this barbaresco, but we have not noticed any, so we assume 2nd passage only or at least a very low portion. First bottling of this vineyard was in 1971 and the vineyard is about 40 years old now.


Castello di Neive Santo Stefano 2007 Barbaresco

When you open up this wine, it at first gives you the impression of being somewhat diluted and lack concentration, but give it a three hours of airing and it really opens up. I mean really gets to life!
The colour is very translucent deep ruby to dark red purple with clean, transparent edges.
After about 3-4 hours of airing, the nose is distinct and very special, delicate and offers seductive inner perfume as well as very detailed roses and the tar and asphalt. In addition, some balsamic fur, some clove and dried herbs as well as notes of mint and worn leather slowly arriving. Very impressive and deep complex nose indeed that reminds me of when Bartolo Mascarello is at its best which is quite a record of notice in my opinion really.
When taking a sip, it offers distinct layers of raspberry fruit and ripe, fresh and very pure wild strawberries, orange-peel, distinct anise, fennel, balsamic herbs, exotic spices pastry and loads of fine tuned lime minerals. Concentration is really good, but maybe just a little volatile. It is medium bodied and there is just enough power to lift it. The acidity is gnarly now, but energetic and balsamically fresh wrapping grape-peel after decanting and this just needs a few more years to shape up. Texture is fine sandy, dusty now, but the tannins are good, but lacks a little chewiness. However, they are ripe and not green. A really good soprano is offered in the persistent finish and fine tuned details in the base.

When the overly energetic, sulky acidity will calm down in a few years, we are absolutely sure this is a real treat, so don’t forget to air it for at least 3-4 hours. This wine is really forward, but at the same time shows the secrets of this magnificent vineyard. Even though we may lack some complexity regarding the taste, this is tiny remark and we are sure this will be great in a few more years, since everything is in here that we seek for; transparency, some depth, purity and elegance. Open 2015.

93-94p/100