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FICOFI: Domaine Faiveley 2016 & more

April 3, 2018

It was good again to catch up with M. Erwan Faiveley, seventh generation owner of this famous domaine, on his annual visit to Singapore at the Four Seasons on 26 March 2018 during a FICOFI event where there was a promenade of selected wines of 2016, followed by a sumptious dinner paired with several back vintages. By now, most of the 2016 has been bottled although those that were tasted this evening are still barrel samples, as one can see from the corner of the labels. Re-visiting them re-affirmed my impression of the 2016s during my recent extensive tasting in the cellars of Faiveley last November. Certainly, the whites of this low-yielding vintage are excellent, displaying fine detail and precision while the grand cru reds are gorgeous, almost stunning in their succulence and structure. When a wine has the concentration, purity of fruit, great acidity, structure and balance right from the start, it cannot go wrong and that certainly holds true for the 2016 wines of Faiveley. Moving on, Erwan was especially excited about the 2017 still sitting in barrel, where it seems the whites are turning out to be exceptional although Erwan has advised that one will need to be selective about the 2017 reds.

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2016 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Lifted tones of sour plums and floral characters with lovely bloom, displaying superb expanse of fresh lime and citrus and cool rich vanilla icing, sporting excellent acidity, precision and linearity on the medium-full palate. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Faiveley Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Grassy elements on the nose with overtones of nutmeg, exotic spice and a perfumed floral fragrance, displaying excellent fullness of citrus fruit with a hint of bitter lemon, all still rather tightly knit, not revealing much. There is no denying that this wine will eventually blossom very well but the Corton-Charlemagne is the one to drink now.

2016 Joseph Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint Georges 1er. Darker tone and tint, more of earthy minerals and ripe raspberries on the nose, consistent with a high-toned minerally palate, showing good detail and structure, finishing with a persistent spicy glow. Not overdone. Faithful to its terroir, though the 2015 below is actually quite lush and opulent, something not usually associated with this commune.

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2016 Domaine Faiveley Clos-de-Vougeot Grand Cru. Distilled pervasive essence of dark cherries and sweet dark roses, rounded and fleshy with excellent presence and fine acidity that is superbly integrated, very natural in feel, balance and proportion without trying too hard. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru. Rich abundance of ripe dark cherries and red currants that caressed the palate with creamy fullness and lovely raw intensity amidst earthy elements suffused with superb acidity, imparting a sense of velvety power. Excellent, and may be outstanding over time.

2016 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Corton Faiveley Grand Cru. Generous aromas of red fruits, full-bodied yet gentle on the palate, displaying earthy minerals amidst the ripe fruit with superb precision, acidity and understated intensity that produced a persistent lasting mouthfeel. Always a perennial favourite. Huge uncoiled potential.

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There were more wines to be drunk at dinner (everyone was unanimous that the European cuisine served was outstanding) where it was clear that the 2013 whites can be rewarding even in their youth whilst the reds from the great vintages have stood the test of time. The last decade has seen Faiveley attaining the level of refinement, character and understanding of terroir that has, hitherto, been somewhat elusive.

2013 Domaine Faiveley Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Complex deep bouquet of crisp citrus with a great lift that led to a medium-full high-toned minerally palate of ferrous elements and delicate citrus with fine seamless acidity, becoming crisper and more layered as it took on proper grip with emergent notes of creme de la creme. The 2013 whites appear to be evolving faster than either the great vintages of 2012 and 2014.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Bienvenues-Batard Montrachet Grand Cru. Generally shut, rather backward on the nose, proffering just gentle citrus whilst an abundance of white fruits dominate on the palate with fine understated acidity, superbly integrated, building up towards a lovely gentle intensity over time. Poised, elegant and unflustered. Usually more approachable than Batard-Montrachet, this further supports my view that one should drink the 2013s while waiting for the 2012 and 2014 to come around.

2013 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Displaying some early evolution, this wine exudes a mild earthy pungency with a layered soft core of white fruits and tempered citrus that opened up well, tapering to a cool gentle finish. Drinking well, but the 2016 is superior in every way.

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2015 Joseph Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint Georges 1er. Deep color, proffering a glorious bouquet of early cinnamon and superb ripe fruit, highly inviting. Equally stunning on the open palate where the great concentration of fruit is layered with gorgeous acidity that added immeasurably to the fabulous mouthfeel, already showing some early inner detail, finishing with a trace of austerity. Makes the 2016 seem reductive.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos-de-Vougeot Grand Cru. Deep in color, showing just a faint whiff of earthy pungency with traces of graphite minerals though the palate is well layered with very fine acidity, definition and detail, displaying good linearity all the way to its glowing minty finish, becoming more delicate over time.

2010 Joseph Faiveley Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Most alluring in its bouquet of dark red fruits and dark roses amidst earthy tones, matched by a deeper streak sweet dark currants laced with sublime acidity, exuding lovely feminine fragrance, purity and elegance. Gorgeous, re-affirming what we already know about the 2010 Cote de Nuits: just buy everything.

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1999 Joseph Faively Volnay Santenots 1er. Effusive in cedary tones with further notes of truffles coming on later, proffering a generous spread of succulent ripe dark berries layered with great acidity, excellent in refinement and complexity without any burliness or vegetal tones. For many, this was the wine of the night and the least expected. Great stuff.

2009 Domaine Faiveley Pommard Les Rugiens 1er. Dark tones of dark currants and berries pervade this wine, carrying excellent weight, acidity and concentration. Very fleshy, oozing with sweet supple tannins, never at all heavy, reminding us again why Les Rugiens is considered by many to be ripe for re-classification into grand cru.

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