Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mâcon-Verzé 2010, Domaines Leflaive

It took some research to find that Domaines Leflaive refers to the Maconnais wines produced by Domaine Leflaive in Puligny. For fans of the domaine which pioneered bio-dynamic viticulture, it was a tragic loss to hear that Anne-Claude Leflaive passed away in April at the age of 59. As a wine-maker, like an artist, your work lives on. And it was a real pleasure to taste this Mâcon 2010 from Domaines Leflaive in excellent company at the Devil's Thumb Ranch in Grand County, Colorado. The view from the restaurant across the valley to the Devil's Thumb mountain is spectacular. As was the wine list. This Mâcon-Verzé 2010 was a perfect companion for a cucumber gaspacho, local wild river trout and striped bass. An opulent nose of lemon sponge, leeks in cream sauce and apricot. Round and succulent on the palate, with the white peach dominating the minerality. Likely would have had extra freshness last year but has aged gracefully. Scores 23/30 for a Macon-Villages.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Marsannay Rosé 2014, Charles Audoin

This domaine is a stalwart of Marsannay and it has been a long time since I tasted the good old Marsannay rosé. The nose is fragrant... wild strawberry, flint, pomegranate. Soft rhubarb and wild strawberry flavours on the palate. Enjoyable, eminently drinkable, a bit short. This is not a blockbuster wine, I imagine fans of Robert Parker would not really think that it is a wine, given the softness and low alcohol (12.5%). Scores 20/30 for a Marsannay rosé.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bourgogne Blanc 2012, Jérôme Fornerot

This is the first time I have seen and tasted a bottle from Domaine Jérôme Fornerot based in the idyllic village of Saint-Aubin. The family has been in Saint-Aubin for 500 years of course. Bad show from me for not noticing. This chardonnay has a flat nose. It requires significant snifing and nasal digging to find aromas of pine nuts, lemon and white flowers. Not exciting or even there. Sartrian. Tight lemon and sappy flavours. Its all rather drab. Scores 15/30 for a bourgogne blanc.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mâcon-Davayé 2014, Domaines des Valanges

Davayé is one of the Mâconnais villages which earned the right to append the village name to the regional name. It is situated 5km from the most famous village in the region: Fuissé. Over the years, the value of this more distinct appellation is that producers can charge more if the wines from a smaller set of vines show superior quality. This Mâcon-Davayé offers excellent value for money and is a tremendously tasty specimen. The initial nose of wheat and orange pith gives way to ripe clementine, red apple and a final note of green melon. The flavour profile is very much fruit dominated with an attractive combo of orange, ripe apple and lime juice which lends a tangy finish with a hint of salt. Medium to light bodied, this white Burgundy is enjoyable, fresh and youthful. Best drunk in the next 12 months it is a splendid offering from the Domaine des Vallanges and superb value for money at $14 a bottle. Scores 24/30 for a Mâcon-Villages.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Willamette Valley 2013, Walter Scott

The question I asked myself is if this chardonnay from the Willamette Valley in Oregon was going to be an artistic breakthrough like Ivanhoe. Admittedly, the producer does not claim to be Sir Walter Scott, however, the question must be asked.. Its a pale, chablisesque silvery yellow colour. First nose is fragrant. Lemon pith, almonds and icing sugar. A thick lemon and tangerine flavour with a pleasingly rich texture and oak. Well-balanced between the ripe citrus fruit, dry pithiness and refreshing -- but not tart -- acidity on the finish. On the second nose the tangerine comes out more clearly. This Oregonian chardonnay is very well made. It doesn't have the length or minerality of a white Burgundy but boy is it tasty! Scores 27/30 for a Willamette Valley chardonnay. Perhaps not an artistic breakthrough but worthy of a "Bride of Lammermoor".

Monday, July 20, 2015

Saint-Aubin 1er Cru "Murgers des Dents de Chien" 2013, Jean Chartron

Coming up on less than 2 years since the harvest this Saint-Aubin 1er Cru is showing very well. A light yellow slightly silvery colour. A few green tints. This white Burgundy is perfumed, lemon-dominated with an edge of pine nuts and mint. Green pear, daisies, buttercups, white honey. A wonderful palate of lemon, orange, tangy, dry and a good flavour of white honey on the palate. very classy. Really needs another 2 years to open up. Scores 23-25/30 for a Saint-Aubin 1er Cru.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sancerre 2013, Vincent Delaporte

I realize that this sauvignon blanc from Sancerre is neither in Burgundy (where as Pouilly-Fumé is in Burgundy) nor is it produced from a Burgundy grape. But, sometimes its worth telling everyone about a wonderful, classy, typical wine. This Sancerre seems to have distilled the essence of sauvignon blanc whilst preserving minerality and finesse. A fascinating nose of celery, white pepper lemon thyme and marjoram. Its vibrant without being stinky. Mineral, fine, fresh and lemon-dominated on the palate. It would be hard to produce a more delicate and delicious Sancerre. Scores 28/30 for Sancerre. And of course, since this wine is from Chavignol it went perfectly with goat's cheese. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillons" 2011, Jean Collet & Fils

Medium-light yellow, resplendent. A pleasing nose of white honey, ripe lemon, orange and a hint of apricot. I imagine this points to a lieu-dit with a more southerly exposition because 2011 overall was a fresh vintage. Medium body, medium+ acidity, rounded, main flavour is on orange, its flinty, there is gunpowder, off-sour tangy finish. Good wine with a solid fresh finish. Enjoyable Chablis premier cru. Scores 22/30 for a Chablis 1er Cru.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ladoix 2010, Domaine d'Ardhuy

I have often thought this domaine's name would work better as a whisky distiller... 14 year old Ardhuy Single Malt. In fact the Domaine d'Ardhuy has an impressive range of grands crus (6) and premiers crus (12) not to mention the villages appellations (14). On closer inspection these are lesser grands crus and lesser premiers crus, but it is an expansive domaine. Procured from Astor Wines, one of the larger wine merchants in the city of New York, this wine was a major disappointment. One does not expect a 5 year old white Burgundy to have the dark yellow nay orangey colour of a young Barsac. But so it is with this wine. Whilst the nose is interesting, starting on yeasty/leesy aromas then moving on to almonds, hay and finally cantaloupe (the dominant aroma) and dried mango; it is not in the pocket of typical white Burgundy. More like Hunter Valley semillon of the 1990s. The nose dies after 10 minutes on an unfortunate note of tinned sweetcorn. Vulgar stuff indeed. Imbibed, the immediate impression is of a cheap white port which combines dried pineapple and sherry. The texture is masculine, heavy and somehow combines surmaturite with a sour finish. Unlike Cinderella, this wine did not make it back home before midnight and is a monstrous mixture of pumpkin juice and sherry. This bottle is not off. It is simply a badly made wine. Scores 7/30 for a Ladoix. Why the poor showing? Likely harvested too late (acidity is sorely lacking). Terroir is probably not suited to chardonnay (vegetal flavours) and should be planted in pinot. Bad wine making. A village appellation from a good producer should not be dead at the age of five! Especially in a good vintage like 2010. Shocker.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Meursault "Les Tillets" 2013, Patrick Javillier

This lieu dit is relatively high up the slope on the Puligny side of Meursault and Patrick Javillier does a great job of capturing the terroir which is amply demonstrated if you compare this wine to the Clos du Cromin. Initial nose is fairly closed, but there is some apple and pear fruit. On the palate its a combination of citrus and apples. Good concentration. Medium+ body. A pleasant line of honey peppers the lips. Enjoyable greengage (reine-claude) flavour. It is long, rounded and good. Scores 23-25/30 for a Meursault. 

Meursault "Clos du Cromin" 2013, Patrick Javillier

This "Clos du Cromin" immediately had the Bourgoblog tasting team swooning in the cellar. The nose starts on white honey and marzipan. Yes! Then there is the trademark Javillier peach and apricot which retain their freshness on the palate. This is a rich and delicious Meursault with medium++ body and medium+ acidity. It is full and voluptuous as well as having tingling acidity and a lively finish. Stunning wine which reflects the deeper ferrous clay soil on the Volnay side of Meursault. Scores 26-27/30 for a Meursault. Here are tasting notes for the 2007 and 2009.

Meursault 2010, Patrick Javillier

What one looks for in a straight Meursault is typicity. Its fine for wine-makers to show their flair with the top three premiers crus but they need to err on the side of conservatism with their village wine. It should be benchmark. This 2010 Meursault is very good - but not a benchmark. Lovely ripe yellow fruit nose. Balanced, integrated on the palate combining white peach and minerality. Perhaps it misses a touch of hazelnut? Would a touch more new oak (dare I say it) add an extra dimension? Scores 22-24/30 for a Meursault. 

Bourgogne Blanc "Cuvée Oligocène" 2013, Patrick Javillier

Hopefully we all know the story by now, this patch of vines is right next to Meursault-Charmes but only merits the regional appellation. Result? Mindblowing value for money. Although I recently saw a bottle on the wine list at The Modern in New York and that was not such good value! Nevertheless, the sommelier should be congratulated on a phenomenal Burgundy selection replete with over a dozen wines from DRC. This 2013 Oligocène (it is wrong to refer to this wine by its appellation), is perfumed, floral, apricoty. Imbibed, it showers the drinker with the joys of pure pear fruit, white peach and a mineral finish. Here are tasting notes for the 2007, 2008 and 2010. This 2013 scores 27-29/30 for a Bourgogne blanc. 

Bourgogne Blanc "Les Forgets" 2013, Patrick Javillier

The Domaine Patrick Javillier always features in my annual pilgrimage to Puligny because the white wines are consistently excellent and I need them in my cellar. This entry-level Bourgogne blanc never fails to please. A full lemon flavour nose with a sniff of white pepper. There is citrus, a touch of pear and minerality on the palate. Very good. Scores 24/30 for a Bourgogne blanc. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Folatières" 2013, François Carillon

This is clearly a very fine wine indeed. Although it is only just showing its feathers as it unfurls after 12 months in 228 litre barrels and 6 months in cuves. A nose of lemon, orange and white flowers. There is finesse and beauty on the palate. Ballerina-like balance. Medium+ acidity and good ripe citrus fruit. Will be perfect with top notch fish like Dover sole or halibut from 2017 onwards. Scores 26/30 for a Puligny 1er Cru.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Champs Gain" 2013, François Carillon

High up on the golden slope, Champs Gain vines grow in a thin, stony soil with good drainage. Its a recipe for chisseled, fresh, mineral wines. There is lemon, grapefruit on the nose which is balanced out by ripe orange. Linear on the palate. Lovely ripe yellow fruits promise enjoyable drinking in 2 years time. Scores 23/30 for a Puligny 1er Cru.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Puligny-Montrachet 2013, François Carillon

This Puligny had been recently bottled and was still very closed on the nose. The wine is aged for 12 months in traditional oak barrels of which 10% are new. And then finished in larger cuves for a further 6 months. We tasted this wine and others at 9.30am in the recently renovated cellar of Domaine Francois Carillon in Puligny. On the palate its bright, linear, sharp, citrusy. Even grapefruit. There is limestone and ammonites in the glass. A bright and structured wine. Needs 3 years to fully express the underlying fruit. Could only be a Puligny. Scores 25-27/30 for a Puligny.

Chassagne-Montrachet 2013, François Carillon

Dare I say it, but François Carillon makes a Chassagne in the style of a Puligny. I have observed though that most top Puligny producers do not make any Meursault. Bizarre. So at least they are open minded enough to making Chassagne. This is a superbly fine wine. Lemony, fresh, cisselé. There is lemon and apple. Its mineral, linear, classy and bright. Tangy apricot finish... the only Chassagne trait in a Puligny-style wine. I am sure would be a nightmare in a blind-tasting. Scores 24-26/30 for a Chassagne.

Bourgogne Blanc 2013, François Carillon

Tasted under the humorous eyes of François Carillon at the domaine in Puligny. This Bourgogne blanc is a classic. Citrus nose, good fruit, lovely texture, excellent freshness. Needs another year to open up fully. Scores 26/30 for a Bourgogne blanc.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chablis 2012, Domaine William Fevre

Has Chablis had its day in the sun? It's no longer viewed as an aspirational wine. When was Chablis last mentioned in a novel? Did Sebastien Flyte enjoy it? That wastrel, blonde beauty and denizen of fine taste? Yes. Was Amory Blaine a Chablis afficionado? I imagine he was. But Christian Grey? This simple Chablis illustrates why it once flew high as an appellation. A nose of lemon, orange pith and green apple. Sea salt. A touch of Champagne wheat. Lovely medium-light body, citrus, characteristic chalk, limestone, minerality, freshness. Absolutely classic and wonderful complexity for a simple village appellation. A perfect Chablis and shows that well-known producers like William Fevre can be the absolute best. Scores 30/30 for a Chablis.