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FICOFI: Wines of 2015 Domaine Faiveley

May 28, 2017

As readers may have gathered by now, 2015 has been hailed in both Bordeaux and Burgundy as the greatest vintage yet of the 21st century, undoubtedly assisted in part by the recent phenomenon of global warming that has helped to ripen the grapes optimally before harvesting. Across the world, vintners are busy promoting what is likely to be a sell-out vintage and, indeed, M. Erwan Faiveley took the opportunity of a scheduled visit on 21 March 2017 at The Four Seasons, Singapore, to show off the 2015 wines of Domaine Faiveley.

With holdings of 120 ha across all sectors of Burgundy, it is almost impossible for anyone who likes wine not to have encountered a Faiveley before. Established in 1825, Faiveley has increasingly acquired its own plots in recent decades, becoming a full-fledged domaine in its own right. This can be seen from the wines tasted at the evening’s 2015 masterclass, all of which belonged to Domaine Faiveley. 2017-03-21 19.51.53Erwan, the current seventh generation owner who, at the age of 25, took over from his father Francois Faiveley back in 2007, has continued on the expansionist path, acquiring plots in the all-important grand crus of Bâtard-Montrachet, Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet as well as Musigny itself. Erwan has also just completed the rebuilding of Faiveley’s new cellars in Nuits-Saint-Georges, a firm commitment to the continuing excellence of this important domaine. Certainly, I have noticed that the reds of Faiveley have changed considerably over the past decade — richer, more opulent and fleshy with better definition and precision, no doubt benefitting from the longer periods of cold maceration and vatting first espoused by Francois. As for the 2015 wines, Erwan has likened them to those of 1990, perhaps with the added advantage of better viticultural understanding and craftsmanship compared with 25 years ago. If that’s the case, and if you have been a long-time admirer of Domaine Faiveley, I don’t have to tell you what to do.

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The wines tasted at the 2015 masterclass are listed according to tasting order:

2006 Champagne Comtes Taittinger Blanc de Blancs. Deep, full-bodied aromas of ripe clear fruit with overtones of yeast and cigar box that led to a broad expanse of complex citrus and sweet pomelo on the palate with traces of cinnamon, displaying excellent presence and crisp acidity, culminating in an exciting finish.

2015 Domaine Faiveley Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Lovely glow of white citrus with overtones of lemongrass while the palate is filled with exotic Indian spices and stern minerals, quite rich in layering and concentration with lovely acidity, superb in balance and proportion but, on the whole, still relatively closed, not showing much now though the potential is enormous.

2015 Domaine Faiveley Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Supposedly lower than Batard-Montrachet in the pecking order, but far more exuberant at this point of time with a minerally glow, crisp on the palate with notes of earth, creme and chalky elements, turning a little grassy after some time, wonderfully layered, finishing with great persistence. Excellent potential.

2015 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er. Highly aromatic with a heady glow of raspberries and blueberries, quite fleshy with very good concentration of fruit, more forward with traces of earth, displaying good balance and refinement but lacking in structure.

2015 Domaine Faiveley Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru. Deep ruby. Well extracted, rich in redcurrants and red fruits, possessing excellent presence and acidity, forward in fruit balance with overtones of camphor and incense. A wine of substantial proportion but not much structure.

2015 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru monopole. Very deep color, rich in dark berries and red fruits with a forward balance but sophisticated in feel and handling through its subtle layering, excellent depth, supple tannins, great balance and integration supple tannins. Very classy.IMG-20170321-WA0005

2015 Domaine Faiveley Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Deep generous aromas of red fruits, tangerines and cinnamon, displaying great concentration and acidity with supple velvety tannins that are very well managed, again favouring a forward balance, a tad short at the finish.

2015 Domaine Faiveley Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru. Deep ruby, richly extracted but showing great character, substantial in proportion with fine detail and textures that are slightly gritty, layered with lovely earthiness and incense with exemplary balance. Drinking superbly and the wine of the night for many.

2015 Domaine Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Lovely clear ruby. Richly layered with glorious ripe fruit yet deft and highly subtle in every way, superbly balanced and integrated, its opulence never at all intrusive, finishing with fabulous length. Like all the finest top growths, this wine doesn’t call attention to itself. Will be absolutely glorious when it unfurls its full potential two decades later.

Following the extensive masterclass, we moved on to dinner where the exquisite cuisine of Jiang Nan Chun was paired with some back vintages:

2012 Domaine Faiveley Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Served a little too cold initially, gradually warming up with generous aromas of crisp white floral characters and raw nutmeg, ample with good concentration and acidity that held some lovely tension across the palate, finishing with good linearity but a tad short.

2011 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. This wine has begun to shut down, reticent with subdued citrus and minerality with an unique tone of nutmeg within a fairly narrow spectrum, balanced with well-integrated characters of crème and chalk, finishing well but not spectacular. Needs time to unravel.

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2007 Domaine Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru. Slightly opaque, revealing some lovely early secondary nuances, floral with aromas of rose petals and dark cherries, really excellent. There is a mild medicinal sweetness on the palate that was quite understated, dominated at this stage by crisp acidity, tapering towards a minty finish. Needs time to unravel further.

1999 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er. From a stellar vintage, this fruit here is still slightly backward, its bright red fruits dominated instead by persistent earthiness and mild medicinal tones, slightly attenuated and lacking structure but still retaining good acidity.

2009 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru. Displaying a glorious clear crimson, Faiveley’s monopole from this outstanding vintage is beginning to open up, revealing early secondary nuances with a deeper streak of predominant red fruits on the nose and body, laced with great acidity, finishing with good length and understated intensity. Should turn out to be the modern equivalent of the 1996 (below) in another decade. This is the only Corton Grand Cru worthy of rivalling that of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

1996 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru. Made by Francois Faiveley, this monopole from an earlier age has developed beautifully, now displaying an enticing complex of red fruits, incense and earth, fleshy with excellent depth, body and acidity still, yielding superb definition and precision on the palate. Seemingly yet to peak. Absolutely glorious.

1995 Château d’Yquem. Luscious with overtones of seared caramel, smoke and sweet incense, lovely in concentration with some mild viscosity that added further to the understated intensity of tropical fruits, nectarine and apricot. Quite divine but, I suspect, still yet to peak.

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