Tag Archives: Bonnes-Mares

A 3rd visit at Comte George de Vogüé – 2015 vintage tasting

On our last day of visits in Burgundy, a Friday the 25th of November, we met up with François Millet at domaine Comte George de Vogüé as we usually do in the last past years every time we are in Burgundy. The domaine has been around for a long time, actually since 1450 and the owners, Claire de Causans and Marie de Ladoucette, are the 20th generation of the family. François Millet was hired by them in 1986. He is a perfectionist and talks about young vines as “gifted teenagers but without any experience”. They are the largest owner in the best vineyard of Chambolle, the 10 ha large grand cru Musigny vineyard. 0.62 ha within this vineyard is planted with chardonnay for a very interesting re-planting of the Musigny blanc, but it has not yet been released to the market. They need to reach about 25 years of age before they are ready according to François. Their other grand cru is Bonnes-Mares and the “should be grand cru” Les Amoureuses. In addition, four premiers crus of which these can be mentioned; Les Baudes (bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the east) and Les Fuées (Their plot is in the middle bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the south) that have an average age of 45 years. They work organically, but they are not extremist in any way. Rather traditional and meticulous.

The 2015 vintage

François explains that 2015 vintage has a overly fast bud break, flowering and a warm June and July without any rains that reminds him of the long drought in 1976, but he agrees that it also shares some characteristics with 2005. A bit of rain in August really saved this vintage. They started harvest on the 3rd of September. There were little juice in the berries, so it is rich and concentrated, but at the same time remarkably fresh, balanced and transparent. Certainly a unique combo of richness, balance and freshness.

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François Millet

The ever so philosophic François has an interesting way of using metaphors to explain each vintage and he describes the vintage like relaxing on a ship’s deck on a Sunny day. He continues, “The Bonnes-Mares is the forest above the big, deep lake of Musigny and the river to that lake is the Amoureuses”.

2015 Chambolle-Musigny – BARREL

Mainly from Les Porlottes (west of the Chambolle village close to the nearby forest), but also contains juice from Chambolle’s premiers crus Les Baudes (bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the east) and Les Fuées (Their plot is the middle bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the south) that have an average age of 45 years.

A bright and fragrant nose. Bright black fruit wrapped in some spices and really fresh, vibrant minerals. Surprisingly elegant, balanced and generous for a village. 91-92p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru – BARREL

This wine is made exclusively of declassified grapes from young vines (<25 years of age) in grand cru Les Musigny. “The Musigny in short trousers.”.

A slow and fragrant nose. Black fruit, but also pomegranate. Some spices and newly cut ginger. Notes of cinnamon. Really fresh, balanced and packed with vibrant and quite intense minerals. Elegant, rich and just so fresh. 93-94p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru Amoureuses – BARREL

Mainly planted in 1964, 1974 and 1976. Only 0.56 ha in here. Stoney topsoil on a bed of limestone. They did a second racking just one week prior to our visit.

Beautiful, sensual and fresh floral top notes and vibrant, intense minerals at the base. Fruit leans more to black currant than normal, but also red currant and pomegranate. All wrapped in an abundance of sensual and intense minerals that steers the wine. Newly cut ginger and white pepper. A very sensual, delicate and sappy wine with impressive precision and persistence. 95-96p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny grand cru Bonnes-Mares – BARREL

2.7 ha located in the south-east corner of which the oldest were planted in 1945. Stoney and thin top soil mainly in the red soil part of this vineyard with more clay and marls, but very little minerals. François says that this wine is a wild man wine that needs close contact, but he was very careful this time and punched the grapes much more gentle than usual and fewer times than usual to avoid too much extraction and keep the sappiness. He also adds that “everything in here is purple in almost every sense”.

A very deep purple colour. Forest, pine, morning dew, peony? and black-blue fruit. Very, very juicy, creamy and sappy. Some anise seeds and undervegetation. A deep, multilayered, very pure and expressive wine with impressive precision. 96p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny grand cru Musigny – BARREL

The domaine owns the massive amount of about 7.5 of 10 ha here of this great grand cru. The oldest vines were planted in 1956, but parts were re-planted in steps 1986-1997. The terroir is not that much different from the Amoureuses, but it always offer more authority and precision. François compares it to the big and deep lake on a great summers day with little wind. 30% new, medium-toasted oak.

Deep red-red purple colour. Aristocratic and elegantly slow, but intense floral with a noble sensuality. The palate is long and balanced with an ample mid-palate of generous, rich and very fresh fruit; mainly pomegranate, but also black currant and raspberries. Also ginger and integrated spices. Super elegant, driven by truly vibrant minerals and with that special precision and depth to die for already. It will be truly exiting to wait for the release of this wine. 97-98p/100

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Frederik and François Millet

Burgundy-Trip 2012: Francois Bertheau, A non-intervenist under the radar in Chambolle

This was a fantastic visit during our week in November in 2012, despite the fact that we and Francois did not speak the same language, or we did not speak French that is. Francois reminds us of that spoken language sometimes is overrated. 🙂 His personality and fantastic wines comes across anyway. Actually, when we emailed him, we were surprised how good answers we got back in return in English. When we arrived, Francois just said “Google translate” and smiled happily guiding us to his cellar. This is the type of producer we love because of his down to earth personality and focus on honest wines.

Francois Bertheau

Francois is a hands-off wine maker who does not want to shape or polish the wines, but instead let the terroir speak for itself and let the fruit come through. It is a principle that we agree with totally. In his cellar, there are old tools on the walls both for work in the vineyard and winemaking. Quite the same type of cellar that you’ll find at another traditionalist, e.g. Giuseppe Rinaldi in Barolo. 🙂 Francois appears to be a fun and very positive minded person as he nods, smiles and swiftly moves around in the cellar to get samples for us. He really tries to understand what we are saying as we show our appreciation of the wines, but communication is hard even though it helps a little that he uses a crayon to write on a barrel. However, some numbers and recognisable words for wine nerds about vinification and location of vineyards are apprehended.

Andreas in the cellar

Francois took over in 2004 shortly after his father passed away and he is the 5th generation running the estate.  They don’t own any parcels in the areas divine vineyard, Les Musigny, but they do have a very thin parcel in another grand cru, Les Bonnes-Mares. However, to us it is the lovely 1er cru Amoureuses that has caught our attention to this estate. Moreover, they own parcels in five more premier cru among which Les Charmes is worth noting.

It is amazing how this estate still manages to stay under the radar when you consider how long they have been here in Chambolle.

Vinification is pleasantly straight-forward. Fruit is sorted (triage) in the vineyard, grapes are de-stemmed and employs four days of cold soak. Fermentation is done in stainless steel and cement and extraction with daily punch-downs is carried out for 16-18 days and then the grape juice is aged for 18 months in oak barrels of which not more than 10-20% are new. They employ little racking, no filtration, uses only indigenous yeast and no form of manipulation/compensation are carried out in challenging vintages. Vineyard work is essential to this estate and it is here that Francois put all his efforts. Unfortunately, we have less details here on how he keep his vines and canopy management.

At this occasion, the 2011 vintage from barrel was tasted.

2011 Chambolle-Musigny – Barrel 

This is the entry level wine and what an entry! We are met with an abundance of sweet red and charming fruit, but of course is not very complex wine. The finish is surprisingly long and leaves us wanting more. This is a village wine to look out for.

90p/100

2011 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Barrel

Here we take a step up from the village wines. This is a blend of the premier crus ; “Les Noirots”, “Les Groseilles”, “Les Baudes”, and “Les Gruenchers”. They are all neighbour vineyards just south-east of Bonnes-Mares, but have little in common with their grand cru neighbour. Les Baudes is the only one bordering Bonnes-Mares in the south.

Again we are met with a wine which is generous with red fruit. Compared with the village Chambolle-Musigny as expected we get some more complexity in here.

91p/100

2011 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes – Barrel

This premier cru is located just north of Amoureuses, but a little further downslope.

This wine shows a lot more elegance than the basic 1er Cru blend. There is great length as well as crystaline minerality and fresh acidity in here, which creates a clear direction and indicates a long lifespan. We find perfumed sweet red fruit blossoming roses in this medium-bodied wine, which has a quite long and intense finish.

Just as the name suggests this is a charming and seductive wine in typical Chambolle-style and just a little overly sweet, but without any disturbing alcohol.

93p/100 

2011 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses – Barrel 

As expected here, we are taking a considerable step up in quality and precision. The nose is complex, seductive and graceful offering fresh, ripe red berries, sensual inner perfumes, lilies, delicate roses as top notes with fresh crystalline minerals and wet stone underbrush at the base. We could spend hours with just the bouquet of this wine. We love this vineyard!

On the palate, it is not equally immediate as previous wines, but rather it emerges and unfolds very slowly and with grace. There are wild strawberries, sloes, raspberries, blood orange, pomegranate, mint, hints of truffles and very fresh crystalline minerals. It is medium to full-bodied and texture is already silky. After a while in the glass, this sexy, slender and light-footed beauty dances on the palate and it is a persistent show.

For such an already graceful, super-floral, seductive and generous wine it offers an impressive balance and remarkable persistence. This is a fantastic Amoureuses and everyone who manages to get their hands on some bottles should consider themselves very lucky.

95-96p/100

2011 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru – Barrel

Francois’ small parcel in Bonnes-Mares (only .34 ha) is a very thin vertical parcel from top north from heavier soils with clay down through the lighter and stonier in the south having Jadot as immediate right hand side neighbour.

To our surprise, we are met with a more rustic and earthy tone in here. There are compact and multi layered darker fruit in here and there is some depth, some pepper, anise and spices, but it lacks a little freshness at this stage too. Moreover, we lacks some of the authority and concentration that we expected from this site, but we hope and expect it to improve over time.

This is currently very reduced, introvert and therefore very analytic at this stage, but it may prove to be much better from bottle later. A much more light-footed version compared to e.g. de Vogüé.

92-95p/100 


Summary  







Francois Bertheau’s 2011 reds are packed with ripe and forwardly red fruit, but even though just a little overly sweet more importantly there is no hint of excessive alcohol. Overall impression is that his wines are very fresh, fruit-driven, seductively feminine, incredibly silky and we think they just lacks some structure and concentration. Regarding structure, maybe some mature stems would have done the trick, but at the same time the wines are generous, site-expressive and elegant. Concentration has to do with the vines and the soil somehow. They obviously favour finesse and elegance over power. Francois Bertheau is a producer worth following closely in the future, not only for his true focus on conveying the terroir into honest wines, but for the modest price-level compared to other more renowned producers here and we are fortunate to have a few of his 2010’s Amoureuses at home.