Tag Archives: Burgundy

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.

IMG_1366.JPG

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.

Meeting with the energetic Nicolas Rossignol

It is hard not to like Nicolas Rossignol with his energetic personality and constant curiosity. We are sure he will leave a lasting mark on the wine business and he will produce fantastic wines for us all. Our visit to the estate offered some interesting discussions about the Volnay and Pommard respective areas and and about his thoughts about wine making.

Nicolas Rossignol

The domaine is quite young, founded in 1997, but Nicolas comes from a long line of winemakers and he has previously worked for his father on the Domaine Rossignol-Jeanniard and before that on a couple of other top Domaines in France. In 1995 he also went to South Africa and worked at domaine Boschendal where he learned a lot about vinification before starting up his own business.

Our visit to the estate was back in 2012 so we are late publishing this post. We talked about a few of the more recent vintages and Nicolas told us that two of his favourite vintages from his own production where 2008 and 2010. We also talked about Nicolas opinions about the usage of stems in the wine making process, something he uses quite actively as a way of adding structure and grip for vintages lacking just that. Actually, he uses a varying portion of whole bunches depending on vineyard and vintage, but, as he points out, they really need to be ripe, since he hates the greenness and bitterness they may cause otherwise.

He uses different wood and level of new oak (max about 50%) to each vineyard bottling and his focus is on conveying terroir. He is not fond of noticing oak in his wines. In the vineyard cultivation is very much ecologic and he follows the Lunar calendar, so obviously he employs some biodynamic techniques as well. He prunes short with high canopy training focusing on low yields.

Nicolas has an impressive collection of vineyards, mainly in Volnay and Pommard, in addition plenty of 1er crus, and he chooses to produce a large number of single vineyard wines, since as he says, this gives him a good opportunity to try new things and learn more about the differences in the area.

Volnay and Pommard are two areas are often described as very different in their expressions, with Volnay representing the feminine style while Pommard has a more powerful and mostly more masculine style. Nicolas argues that this is a too generalised assumption and his wines also show that there are more nuances to the difference. We have previously made an overview of the Volnay vineyards which can be read here.

Rossignol

Frederik, Nicolas and Andreas at his new cellar

The wines we tasted

2011 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay

We are met with cherry, forest floor and herbal notes on this rather generous and direct nose where fruit still the dominant role.

On the palate we find more red fruit, blood orange and again some herbs. The acidity is rather energetic and gives some direction to the winen. There is also a tannic structure which provides a backbone but it is quite soft.

This is a rather generous and voluptuous wine for a village Volnay but there is also some complexity and character.

90p/100

2011 Nicolas Rossignol Pommard

The Village Pommard shows many similarities with the Volnay wine in the expression. The main differences are that the Pommard has more earthiness on both nose and taste and the acidity and tannins are a bit harsher, but still of good quality.

This wine has a lot of personality and challenges the consumer.

90p/100

Both of the Village wines start at a very good level and provides both good quality and personality. We where surprised by the similarities between the wines.

2011 Nicolas Rossignol Beaune 1er Cru Clos du Roy

The Clos du Roy wine is definitely a clear step up and it offers more depth and complexity.

On both the palate and on the nose we find a dense fruit of both red and dark berries where some ripe cherries dominate the impression. The palate is also complemented with a good tannic structure and a rather broad acidity.

In the rather long finish the dark berries dominate together with the tannins.

92p/100

2011 Nicolas Rossignol Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches

The wine offers a fragrant nose with lots of deep dark fruit, but also some raspberries, earth notes and a hint of iron.

In the mouth it is medium bodied, again with an abundance of cherries but also some menthol and spices.

This is not the most elegant wine but it has nice complexity, structure and personality and the finish is long and fruit driven.

92p/100

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.

Burgundy tasting part 2 – Over to the reds

This is part two of our notes from the Burgundy tasting at Otto Suenson. We now move over to the reds, which are split into two sections. To read our previous post where we also make a short comment about the 2012 vintage click here.

2012 Domaine Jacques Prieur Champs Pimont Rouge, Beaune Premier Cru, France

Rather deep nose with ripe, quite dark fruit and some hints of paint. Similar on the palate but also with a quite strong tannic structure and clear oak flavours which adds a bit of bitterness in the finish. A powerful Pinot Noir of good quality but it lacks some elegance and needs more time.

89p/100

2012 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Les Narbantons, Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru

Pure expression with red fruit and some slight menthol notes. On the palate red currant appears together with a precise acidity that adds some freshness and attitude to the wine. A very fresh and pure wine with quite juicy fruit.

89p/100

 

2012 Domaine Hubert Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis Tres Girard, Cote de Nuits

Nose is dominated by intense fruit, some red but mainly dark. Unfortunately some oak notes later take over and carries over to the palate where we also find a strong tannic structure. This is a surprisingly powerful wine but it needs to mature.

88p/100

 

2012 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Charrieres, Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru

Pure fruit notes open up the nose and are then complemented with some notes of spices. Very energetic acidity that today is a bit too dominant, but should calm down with time. There is also a rather chalky impression and some sandy tannins that gives structure. This wine has lots of attitude and a good potential, but it needs some time.

90-92p/100

2011 Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Les Combottes, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru

Lots of red fruit complemented by a hint of blackcurrant welcomes us to this wine. In total the nose is quite dense and has a pure fruit expression. On the palate we find much of the same but also spicy notes and a very energetic acidity, which at the moment is slightly harsh but should calm down. Pure and fresh wine with a life ahead.

92p/100

Burgundy tasting part 1 – The whites

In February we attended the yearly Burgundy wine tasting at Otto Suenson, a Danish wine importer with a great selection of Burgundy wines. The tasting was mainly for 2012 wines but a few 2011s had made it into the line-up too.

For growers in Burgundy the first half of the 2012 season was terrible with late prolonged flowering and hail in parts, but then the weather changed and the quality of the vintage was saved during the second half of the season by north cooling winds and daily warmth. Unfortunately yields are in some areas insanely low which has resulted in even higher prices from an already high level. In general, the wines are quite dense with really good concentration of forward fruit and, for red, a good and quite soft tannic structure. It is a very generous vintage and with good precision.

Below are our notes for the white wines we tasted and we will return later with the reds.


2012 Domaine Ramonet Bourgogne Aligote

Quite open nose with ripe pineapple, other tropical fruit and yellow pears, but also some notes of oak. The palate is similar, but with less fruit and with a quite fresh but soft acidity. Pleasant easy-to-like wine, but no wow-effect.

84p/100

2012 Domaine Olivier Merlin Macon La Roche-Vineuse

Very tight nose that mainly revealed notes of lime and lemon. The same impression stays with us on the palate where we mainly find lemon and grapefruit, but also some minerals. I like a tight and precise wine, but this was too slim for me.

83p/100

2011 Maison Remoissenet Pere & Fils Saint-Romain, Cote de Beaune

Quite forward nose with pleasant nectarine and some clear notes of oak. A fleshy and broad palate with an abundance of tropical fruit and a quite vibrant acidity. In the finish we find more oak before the wine closes down. A wine that is more about generosity than elegance.

87p/100

2012 Domaine Paul Pillot Clos Saint-Jean, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru

There are quite dense notes of pineapple and nectarines but also flint and some oak on the nose. Very generous and open. Similar fruit and denseness on a quite fleshy palate with an acidity that contains some lemon. A pleasant wine that is easy to enjoy.

86p/100

2012 Benjamin Leroux Poruzots, Meursault Premier Cru

Open and ripe fruit together with some hazelnut and notes of butter. Generous without being over the top. Great juicy tropical fruit and some peel from pear accompanied with a soft and almost tingling acidity. This is a crowd pleaser but it also has balance and complexity and whose aromatics should fair even better with its food pairings. I would happily take another sip…

91-92p/100

2011 Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru

Beautiful and fresh nose, mainly fruity but also with a fresh mineralic expression and some perfume and white flowers in the tail. The palate has a great balance between a fresh acidity and quite ripe fruit. A very elegant wine that still has a lavish side to it.

92-93p/100

 

We will be back with the reds…

A fresh, very deep and sturdy Nuits-St-George 1er cru from Arnoux-Lachaux

We made a very short stop at the estate Arnoux-Lachaux in Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy back in 2012 and met with Charles Lachaux in their cellar. The estate trails back to 1858 and was formerly known as Robert Arnoux, but in 2008 the estate´s name was changed into its current name by the married couple Pascal Lachaux and Florence (Arnoux). From the 2012 vintage, their oldest son Charles joined his father after finishing enology studies by taking over vinification and stopped de-stemmig and since then gently presses 30-100% ripe grape bunches depending on vintage and vineyard. Pascal has done a lot to increase the quality of the vineyard through the years by hard pruning, removing buds, thinning out and keeping about six bunches per vine. They are typically non-intervenists type of vintner that put all their efforts into the vineyard. The kind we really like.

This premier cru Clos des Corvées Pagets is located at Premeaux-Prissey in the southern part of Nuits-Saint-George. It is very rocky, with lots of sand and sand stone. It produces a wine with soft, but solid tannins and some structure. The yield is naturally low, but always very concentrated due to the 60 years old vines. However, the oldest vines here were planted in 1921.

The grapes for this wine was harvested on the 28th of September in this non-classic quite warm vintage that the french refers to as sexy since it in general is fleshy, packed with forward fruit and charm. Grape bunches were 100% de-stemmed for this wine and then went through cold soak for a few days and then after being very gently pressed, the grape juice went into fermentation with skins (cuvaison) for 14 days with punch-downs (pigeage) and pumping over. The juice was then raised in 30% new wood. 

2009 Nuits-St-George 1er cru “Clos des Corvées Pagets”, Arnoux-Lachaux

The colour is dark, translucent cerise-red middle with light-orange and pink edges.

After only two hours in the decanter, a quite deep and big nose with sturdy notes of saline mushroom, dry herbs, raspberry jam, candy, overly intense dried red flowers and prominent burnt, detailed lime stone.

This is a powerful wine, but weightless with deep layers of ripe, chalky fruit, but as can be the case with wines from Nuits-Saint-George, this is not rustic and flat. Palate offers dry distinct blood orange, very ripe strawberries, anise, clove, cinnamon, some savoury notes and chalky lime minerals. Texture is soft, velvety and tannins are ripe providing a very good backbone and grip in the just a little dry and austere, but persistent finish. Acidity is really great, fresh and filled with balsamic oils, deep minerals and distinct grape-peel.

A very rich, a little sturdy and full-bodied wine and for a Burgundy wine it is powerful. Except for the comparably less solid and not equally as chewy tannins, this resembles me of a really good, but much lighter version of a fresh Barolo from Serralunga d’Alba which is a great rating in my view. I am surprised by the building structure of the tannins here for being a pinot and from Burgundy.

92p/100

 

2006 Aux Malconsorts – The leader now has one competitor

Aux Malconsorts is the premier cru vineyard in one of the most holy of places in Burgundy for wine lovers; Vosne-Romanée. The vineyard borders La Tâche in the north and has seen a true rise in quality especially due to the exceptional handcraft by Sylvain Cathiard in more than a decade. However, since 2005 they are up for competition here as Domaine de Montille and Dujac bought and split the owning of Thomas-Molliard’s sellout. We have been very impressed with de Montille’s wines before, especially the Volnay Tallepieds.

This tasting may not be truly fair, since the Malconsorts from Domaine de Montille this time is their very special cuvée from a mystic part of this vineyard that appears to be cut straight out of La Tâche really. However, as Étienne de Montille clearly has stated, it has never been part of La Tâche, but he thinks it is special enough for making a special bottling named after his mother.

Cathiard is an obvious opponent or better put, our reference since up till this tasting, they have been our first choice in this vineyard period after tasting several of the other producers here. Sébastien Cathiard has taken over from the 2011 vintage after his father Sylvain and their section is more up hill in the middle. You can read more about the vineyard and inspect their different sections here in Steen Öhman’s article.

 
 

2006 1er cru Malconsorts, Sylvain Cathiard

This was reviewed about a year ago here, but primarily for providing a benchmark as well as supplying a fresh note now a second review is done here a year later.

Sir Galahad:

Colour is translucent, but dark red-purple-orange with light-orange edges.

After more than three hours of decanting, the nose emerges with distinct wood glue, orange-peel, underbrush, some Asian spices and somewhat burnt herbs. And after hours of additional airing, finally the typical x-mas spices arrives to scene together with a very delicate and reticent, but fresh inner-perfume of fresh flowers.

The palate offers very small, pure and sweet mix of blue- and red berries, white pepper, clove, notes of dry fennel, pastry as well as distinct delicate and crystalline minerals. It has very silky texture from tannins that still spurs the tongue a little and its body is not as slim and light-weighted as the nose suggested as last time, rather somewhat meaty and generously mouth filling at least compared to its opponent this time.

Cathiard’s Malconsorts offers remarkably pure aromas and great balance and as a year ago, the only tiny remark is the somewhat lack of structure in this less favourable vintage for tannins, which is not improved by removing stems as they always do in accordance with the principles setup by Henri Jayer.

93+p/100

 

Andreas:

Initially the nose is quite soft, creamy and with concentrated red fruit. After some more time the nose shows herbal notes, wood glue, blueberries and other dark berries. The nose is quite deep and dense. After 2-3 hours the nose closed down and never returned to the initial levels.

On the palate the acidity takes initiative and is very present and direct, while the fruit is more careful but aligned with the nose. The wine is quite mineral and spicy in the taste. Tannins are soft but a bit sandy. The finish is long and has a slight hint of bitterness.

As expected with Cathiard this is a fantastic wine that is quite masculine and has a dense and complex nose.

93-94p/100

 

2006 1er cru Aux Malconsorts “Christiane”, Domaine de Montille

Sir Galahad:

Colour is translucent, almost transparently blood red but still red purple with light-orange edges. They add stems, so the colour is lighter than the Cathiard.

After some hours of decanting, the nose is still reticent and emerges with glue, exotic spices, new baked brioche, bright floral notes and then after a lot of swirling in the glass; a subtle very complex perfume as well as some deep, fresh minerals appears in all its fragrant grace.

On the palate there is orange-peel, delicate sea shell minerals, clove and deep fruit as well as hints of blood orange and cherries. Texture is silky and creamy with really good tannins. Acidity is crisp and vivid but pleasantly settled. Concentration is great and it has just enough structure to reach to a little bitter but persistent and pure finish.

Even though this wine is reticent and analytic, it is very deep and balanced with a remarkable precision but also generous, fresh and really elegant.

95p/100

Andreas:

The nose starts quite careful and with bright red fruit where raspberries dominate. There are also quite floral notes, soft and fresh spices and mineral tones. Very elegant and pleasant nose with layers of fruit. The nose evolved during the hours we had the wine in a decanter.

Mouthwatering fresh raspberries, clear notes of mineral and again some fresh spices. Very energetic palate. Tannins are extremely silky but definitely present.

This wine is well balanced with an energetic acidity, fresh fruit and nice tannins. Very elegant and with good potential.

95p/100

Summary

Clearly, in the 2006 vintage that lacks ripe and authoritative tannins for structure and grip, both wines are somewhat analytic still, but the Christiane wins today by offering just a little more depth and precision. You should most likely forget them both for another 15 years is my guess. It will be very interesting to follow these two champions from now on in the Malconsorts. As always, competition pushes quality further.

 

A very fresh and quite deep Clos des Réas from Michel Gros

Michel Gros is an intervenist that uses backward osmosis to enhance concentration and cultured yiest for fermentation. Michel uses 50% whole bunches, maceration  endures for ten days in cement vats and the juice is raised in 50% new wood with only one racking. The premier cru vineyard Clos des Réas is a monopoly belong to the Gros family since 1860. It is situated on the lowest part of the Vosne’Romanée hill below the Chaumes and Malconsorts.

The 2010 vintage needs no more introduction than we find it impressively balanced and with great tannic structure.

2010 1er cru Clos des Réas, Michel Gros

The colour is typically red-purple middle with pink nuances and the edges are pink-bluish.

The nose emerges with distinct somewhat burnt spices, clove, ginger, medicine cabin, hanged meat, notes of butter and pastry. After another three hours, a deep inner perfume emerges.

On the palate, we find the wine aromatic with quite deep and pure expression of mainly sourish red- and blue fruit as well as a darker mineral tone. Acidity is crisp, fresh and energetic and wraps orange-peel. Texture is as expected very silky, concentration is very fine and it is slender with precision.

A quite deep, very fresh and persistent wine that lingers elegantly to a little saline and naturally sweet finish. Despite the stem addition, it still lacks some structure and we would like just a little less oaky notes even though the latter is not really a problem. Open in 2018 and it will most likely stay fresh until 2030.

93p/100