Sunday, January 15, 2017

Auxey-Duresses "Les Crais" 2009, Alain Gras

I have been a fan of this Saint-Romain domaine for many years due to the quality of the fruit and the purity of the wine. But I hadn't kept a bottle for as long as this so it was with some trepidation that I opened it to accompany my poulet chasseur. A rich yellow gold colour and thick legs announce an opulent nose of apricot frangipane, lemon drizzle cake, almonds, manuka honey, melted butter and cinnamon. A beautiful bouquet. Wonderfully rich apricot, satsuma and pineapple fruit on the palate given structure by medium acidity, oak tannins and a chalky minerality reflective of the wine's name. True there is not amazing finesse on the palate but I can't imagine an Auxey villages ever being better than this. A stunning and superb wine! Scores 30/30 for an Auxey-Duresses blanc. Merci M. Gras!

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Clos Des Varoilles" Monopole 2015, Domaine Des Varoilles

This domaine hasn't had a high profile in the past but has excellent holdings and impressed the Bourgoblog team when we visited. Hats off to Corney & Barrow for representing them in the U.K. This monopole Gevrey 1er Cru offers succulent black fruits, blackberry, plums, black cherry. It's rich, impressive, ripe, lovely without being overtly complex. Combines the two essential elements of the 2015 vintage: ripeness and freshness. This is what will make 2015 a remarkable year for Burgundy. And having tasted 100 wines this week without a single dud wine you can buy with confidence. Scores 23-25/30 for a Gevrey premier cru.

Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2015, Domaine Des Varoilles

This classic from the broad range of Gevrey premiers crus flies the flag for the phenomenal quality which can be achieved in 2015. A nose which already offers complexity with notes of graphite, geraniums and rose hip progressing to raspberry and cherry. Fine mature tannins, chewy cherry, great minerality and all round phenolic ripeness which is a key characteristic of 2015. Promises much imbibing pleasure from 2020... yes folks, no need to wait too long in this vintage which reminds me of both 1989 and more particularly 1959. Scores 25-27/30 for a Gevrey grand cru. 

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "La Romanée" Monopole 2015, Domaine Des Varoilles

Tasted at the Corney & Barrow annual Burgundy tasting this wine won my annual Tower of London Award. From the first sniff this wine sings a beautiful lyrical aria worthy of Pavarotti. This gorgeous Gevrey premier cru oozes roast plums, black cherry, vanilla and cinnamon aromas. It is concentrated, balanced, ripe, fresh with good length. Amazing qualities from a wine recently plucked from the barrel "en échantillon". Give it four years and it will delight both connoisseur and ignoramus. Scores 27-29/30 for a Gevrey premier cru. 

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Champonnets" 2015, Domaine Des Varoilles

The Bourgoblog team visited this domaine in 2013 and we spent heavily on the 2010s following an entertaining tasting involving two dogs some saucisson sec and a rude South African. Vilified in 30% new oak barrels, this Gevrey 1er Cru has a nose do I aged by ripe raspberry and cherry. There is already a touch of licorice, crunchy berry fruit, good length and it's still fresh. Good to very good but sadly not cheap. Scores 22-24/30 for a Gevrey 1er Cru. 

Chablis 1er Cru "Côte de Léchet" 2015, Vincent Dampt

Third premier Cru Chablis tasted at the Corney & Barrow annual Burgundy tasting, this "Côte de Léchet" confirms Vincent Dampt's ability to produce excellent and terroir-specific wines from different plots. Dandelions, buttercups and yellow apples. This Chablis is a bit more exotic than "Les Lys" and "Vaillons". A blend of tangy green root vegetables and preserved lemon on the palate with a tarragon finish. Fascinating wi e. Scores 22-25/30 for a Chablis 1er Cru. 

Chablis 1er Cru "Les Lys" 2015, Vincent Dampt

At the Corney & Barrow Burgundy tasting Vincent Dampt told me that "Les Lys" is a sub climate of "Les Vaillons" which is vinified separately because of its distinctive character. North facing this lieu dit is composed primarily of thick lemon and fresh clementine flavours, good concentration and length. Masterly expression of a small micro-climate terroir. Scores 21-23/30 for a Chablis 1er Cru. 

Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillons" 2015, Vincent Dampt

This domaine reminds me of the Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at Cambridge University which is pronounced in the same way as the name of the domaine. This Vaillons is a classic Chablis. Very mineral, calcaire, lively, fresh, elegant, a polite Chablis. Excellent value on the Corney & Barrow list. Scores 23-25/30 for a Chablis 1er Cru.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Corton-Maréchaudes Grand Cru 2011, Chandon de Briailles

The Guide Hachette rates 2011 as 14/20 for quality with 2004 as 13/20 and 2007 as 12/20. Twenty-eleven is viewed this way due to the very early warm spring being followed by a dreary and damp summer which resulted in lots of problems in the vineyard. So how did this Corton grand cru fare? On this showing not so well. Medium thick plum colour which is opaque in the centre. Faint nose of raspberry. Cherry. Cedar. Licorice. The structure only offers a narrow plank of fruit. Medium high tangy acidity. Slightly green tannins reminiscent of the generally awful 2004 vintage. Just not enough organic matter and not approaching grand cru concentration. I realise that Cortons are backwards but in year six more can be expected. My only advice is to stick at the back of the cellar for five years. Scores 17-20/30 for a Corton grand cru.

Savingy-lès--Beaune 1er Cru "Serpentières" 2008, Ecard

Deep plum, shows some age at the rim. Undergrowth (sousbois), autumnal forest walk, plums, slightly sour cherries, hint of truffle, gamey. Evolves to mint tea and cacao. Medium to high acidity, rounded tannins, black cherry and plum flavour with a fresh kick. A wonderfully complex wine at the top of its game. Scores 27/30 for a Savigny 1er Cru. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pouilly-Fuissé "Les Plessys" 2015, Dominique Cornin


This is a Pouilly-Fuissé with impressive structure from the terroir which faces east, with two to three metres of fine clay interspersed with limestone. Lively, ripe lemon and fresh clementine nose. Lovely balance between ripe citrus fruit, lemon pie and minerality on the palate. Some real class in the glass. Scores 23-25/30 for a Pouilly-Fuissé. Great value at less than £20 per bottle. 

Pouilly-Fuissé 2015, Dominique Cornin

This is a really rich Pouilly-Fuissé with a full on orange and honeysuckle nose. It has a thick tinned peach and orange flavour. Thick like a three putonyos tokaj. Perhaps too heavy which reflects the high levels of ripeness achieved in 2015. Will thrilll fans of rich Chardonnay (although this is only 10% aged in new oak) but lacks minerality and acidity for my taste. Scores 21-23/30 for a Pouilly-Fuissé.

Mâcon-Chaintré "Les Serreuxdières" 2015, Dominique Cornin


Tasted at the Corney & Barrow annual Burgundy event this Mâcon is wonderfully fresh with a classic apricot dominated nose. Good ripe yellow tree fruit, excellent length for this regional appellation. Fine texture, pithy and interesting. A very successful wine and great value. Shows why the Côte d'Or producers are buying up vineyards in the Maconnais.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Champs Gains" 2015, François Carillon


This Puligny premier cru shows additional richness compared to the Puligny village tried at the Corney & Barrow tasting. The ripe Chardonnay fruit translates into a softer style, apricot more than citrus with a touch of plumpness to it. Lovely but less attractive than the Puligny village. Scores 24-26/30 for a Puligny premier cru. Photo shows vine shoots being burnt in a brazier in the Puligny vineyards in late November 2016. 

Puligny-Montrachet 2015, François Carillon


Tasted at the Corney & Barrow annual Burgundy tasting this Puligny from one of the top five benchmark producers had a real wow factor. Pear, almond, excellent concentration, freshness and length. There is effortless elegance. Scores 26-28/30 for a Puligny. Photo shows a view looking south across the Clavoillon vineyard of Puligny in November 2016.

Chassagne-Montrachet 2015, François Carillon

Tasted at the annual Corney & Barrow Burgundy tasting, this is a Chassagne produced by the hand of a Puligny master. Floral, citrus, full lemon, mineral and balanced. Excellent elegance from a village wine in this warm vintage. Scores 27-28/30 for a Chassagne. 

Saint-Aubin 1er Cru "Murgers des dents de chiens" 2015, François Carillon

Second wine from this domaine tasted at the Corney & Barrow annual Burgundy tasting, this Saint-Aubin offers real delicatesse. Peach fruit, zesty finish, fresh, mineral, excellent balance for the fruity and charming 2015 vintage. Scores 23-26/30 for a Saint-Aubin 1er Cru. 

Bourgogne 2015, François Carillon

At the annual Corney & Barrow Burgundy en primeur tasting I made a beeline for the François Carillon table given his status as a benchmark Puligny producer. This Bourgogne Blanca did not disappoint. Lemon, a touch of ripe apricot, very appealing. Full, clementine, peach, good ripeness. You will struggle to find a more enjoyable white Burgundy. Scores 27/30 for a Bourgogne blanc. 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Chablis 1er Cru "Montmains" 2007, Jean-Marc Brocard


I keep intending to visit Chablis from my base in Puligny but like the locals I can find it hard to get out of the Côte de  Beaune. Or for that matter, north of Beaune. Given that the frost zapped over half of the 2016 Chablis production I suggest stocking up. This nine year old Chablis from top producer Jean-Marc Brocard starts on an apricot, icing sugar and orange blossom nose. The secondary aromas are of cooked butter, pineapple, vanilla yoghurt. There is lovely integrated clementine and apricot fruit. Round and short like a middle aged Queen Victoria. Probably should have been consumed in 2015 yet shows it's pedigree and find breeding. Impressive longevity. 

Monthélie 1er Cru "Les Vignes Rondes" 2008, Prunier-Bonheur

After trying a bottle of the Beaune 2001 at Le Montrachet I visited the domaine and was impressed by the range of well made wines. There is always good concentration and fruit ripeness. This 2008 from the slightly rustic village on Monthélie is further proof of good wine making skills and no doubt hard work dans les vignes. Initial nose of cherries, plums, violets. Cedar, thyme and a resonant touch of rosemary. A ripe plum flavour. Good fruit but drying out a touch. Lovely but not complex. The ripeness makes me think the slightly warmer temperatures in the Côte de  Beaune resulted in significantly better wines than those from the Côte de Nuits. Scores 23/30 for a Monthélie premier cru.