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Ric visits Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot

November 10, 2018

Just when you thought Chassagne is already saturated with great producers of its famous whites, there comes another to chip away at the pie. Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot may trace its origins to Jean-Baptiste Pillot who started the domaine in 1910 which subsequently passed to his sons Henri and Alphonse. The latter’s share was passed on to Jean and, now, his son Jean-Marc has taken over entirely since 1991. Owning 11 hectares mainly in Chassagne, Jean-Marc makes stunning whites as well as gorgeous reds. His methods are not dissimilar to the purist approach: high density plantings (10,000-12,000 vines per ha), de-budding, green harvesting, horse ploughing, de-stemming (for reds) and minimum new oak (only up to 30%). The wines are left on lees for 12 months before being racked into stainless steel tanks for another 6 months. Jean-Marc believes firmly in the value of hard work and extreme precision. When we visited his cellar in the late afternoon of 30 October 2018, his workers were still busy. We also found laser beams trained at the rows of barrels because Jean-Marc wants every single barrel to be positioned in perfect alignment. He insists it makes a difference to the wines. And I believe it must be so, for the wines we tasted displayed effortless precision and elegance in their expression of terroir. This is an excellent domaine. Prices are still within easy reach though I doubt for long.

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Note the laser pointer (foreground)

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Bourgogne Blanc. Lovely aromas. Clear crystalline tones with a bit of sweetness, delicate in acidity with fine definition, very tightly structured, displaying good power with white floral tones. Very good!

2017 Maison Jean-Marc Pillot Montagny. A negociant wine. Effusive in dense white floral tones, displaying lovely depth and presence with very controlled basal minerality, not overdone. Nicely rounded with a gentle finish.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Saint-Romain La Perriere 1er. Grassy elements with a generous expanse of clear and yellow citrus. Very fine in acidity with overtones of raw nutmeg, displaying excellent presence and balance, finishing with excellent mouthfeel.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Puligny-Montrachet. Somewhat reserved on the nose but showing ample bloom of white flowers and white peppery tones on the palate. Gently structured with soft elegant tones. Should turn out to be very fine.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet. Gentle bouquet of clear citrus. Good concentration of fruit with overtones of nutmeg and white pepper, displaying clean precision with a fine minerally balance, subtly intense with a taut finish. Very good potential.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er. Gentle notes of icing and grassy elements. Medium-bodied. Fleshy with lovely fragrance and delicacy. Refreshing.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeots 1er. Lifted broad expanse of white flowers. Rounded with good precision, very subtly layered with understated minerals. .

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er. Lovely floral fullness on the nose with a forward fruity balance. Medium-bodied. Open in transparency with good inner definition, subtle in acidity and finish. Exudes feminine elegance. Very fine.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Clos Saint Marc. Effusive delicate nose of white floral tones, white fruits and nutmeg. Subtly structured with great concentration and superb detail amidst gentle notes of vanilla and cool icing. Very softly rounded, layered with excellent depth and minerality, finishing with excellent precision. Highly elegant. Superb. A special cuvee produced from a 0.5 ha walled portion of Les Vergers containing vines planted in 1910. Only 6 barrels.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Minerally bouquet of white flowers with undertones of white pepper, beautifully nuanced in rich layering of refined minerals and fruit with excellent depth and balanced acidity, superbly integrated. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeots 1er Rouge. Deep note of wonderfully ripe raspberries, dark cherries and licorice on the nose coupled with unusual characters of preserved plums and olives on the palate though very fine in acidity, depth and layering. Very well proportioned and balanced. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St Jean 1er Rouge. Dark raspberries and dark plums dominate on the nose with a certain raciness, saturated with ripe glossy black fruits and great acidity that conferred superb suppleness. Big but balanced. May not be everyone’s idea of Burgundy but undeniably attractive.

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Jean-Marc Pillot

Ric visits Domaine Seguin-Manuel

November 10, 2018

Domaine Seguin-Manuel, located in Savigny-les-Beaune, can trace its roots back to 1824. However, its wines only really took off in 2004 after the domaine was acquired by Thibault Marion, who had cut his teeth in the wine business with Chanson. Its domaine holdings of around 8 hectares in Vosne-Romanee, Pommard and Beaune are augmented by a negociant buy-in from several other choice locations throughout the Cote d’Or Grape such that its entire portfolio is actually quite extensive and impressive. Certified for organic viticulture since 2015, Thibault crosses the ‘t’s and dots the ‘i’s: careful vineyard practices, horse ploughing, low yields, avoidance of herbicides and crushing. De-stemming varies widely, particularly in Vosne-Romanee and Pommard where it is only partial. Up to 25% new oak is utilised for its village wines, while new barrels with longer wood drying periods are used for other wines. When we visited him on 25 October 2018, the tasting took place in a conference room with the 2017 barrel samples, most curiously, prepared in small clear plastic bottles complete with proper labeling. The wines generally demonstrate a certain freshness, roundness, clean focus and sophistication, well-extracted but far from being over-zealous. They represent great value.

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Thibault Marion

2017 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Pommard Petits Noizons. Village. Good aromatics. Fresh and lively, showing good concentration. Cleanly focused, slightly crisp. Intense structured finish.

2017 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Beaune Champimonts 1er. Reticent. Ripe raspberries and wild berries dominate on the palate, taut with austere minerality, displaying good verve and gentle intensity. Quite masculine.

2015 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Vosne Romanee Aux Communes. Lovely ruby. Well developed bouquet of dark plums and red cherries, displaying sharp attack upon its entry. Fleshy with fine definition and lively acidity, showing good power and intensity with excellent integration of fine tannins at its finish. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Vosne Romanee Aux Communes. Bright in color. Shy, just a tinge of earth. Soft, fleshy and open on the palate with distinct minerality, good presence and mouthfeel, quite gentle at its finish. Attractive.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Gevrey-Chambertin VV. From 40-year-old vines. Distant rosy aromas. Rather full. Fleshy and rounded with earthy undertones. Slightly stern.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er. Attractive red fruits. Open with fine depth, elegance and balance with undertones of ash and ember, finishing with juicy sweet tannins.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Gevrey Chambertin Cazetiers 1er. Good colour, exuding aromas of warm ripe red fruits with a suggestion of hot gravel. Good attack on a palate dominated by ripe red fruits tinged with grassy elements, rounded and fleshy, showing good handling of tannins. Good length. Attractive.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Echezeaux Grand Cru. Good color but shut. Clean feel on the palate with textures of dried mushrooms, displaying fine presence of preserved red fruits and incense with a tinge of woody elements. Seamless and fleshy. Good finish.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Chambertin-Clos des Beze Grand Cru. Only 1 barrel. Good colour. Gentle plummy tones and rose petals on the nose. Fleshy with well-integrated supple acidity that imparted plenty of freshness, very well-layered and textured, producing good mouthfeel. Just slightly short.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Montagny 1er Vigne du Soleil. Sweet bouquet. Medium-full. Softly rounded with good acidity intensity, fleshing out with greater fullness over time, ending with nutmeg and spicy tones. 15% new oak.

2016 Maison Seguin-Manuel Rully VV. Lovely glow of chalky minerals, lifted with excellent freshness. Medium-bodied and open, displaying good presence and transparency but somewhat straightforward and short.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Rully VV. Gentle glow of wild grass and fresh morning dew. Fleshy and medium-bodied, displaying good concentration, focus and layering with understated intensity.

2017 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Savigny-les-Beaune Goudelettes. Soft perfumed fragrance on the nose. Dry with firm minerality, presence and intensity. Very cleany focused, finishing well.

2017 Maison Seguin-Manuel Puligny-Montrachet VV. Lifted rich gleaming tone of creamy white fruits and sweet floral fragrance. Medium-full with a firm minerally tone underscored with white pepper, displaying good focus, fine acidity and intensity. Excellent.

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Ric visits Chateau De La Tour

November 8, 2018

One’s attention is usually focused on the beautiful Chateau du Clos Vougeot (also the HQ of the Confrerie des Chevalier du Tastevin) whenever one drives up to take a closer look at this massive grand cru (in fact, the largest of the Cote d’Or) such that the other lovely castle within the Clos  du Vougeot is often overlooked. Perhaps that is the reason why the latter building is called Chateau De La Tour (literally: the other building). Built in 1890 and subsequently passed into the Labet family, Chateau De La Tour owns the largest share of Clos du Vougeot, some 5.84 hectares which is about 12% of this grand cru. It is also the only domaine that harvests, vinifies and bottles its Clos du Vougeot Grand Cru all on site right within Clos du Vougeot itself. When we arrived on the wet morning of 27 October 2018, we were greeted at the door by the current owner himself, M. Francois Labet, a distinguished-looking gentleman who, in his younger days, would surely have fit the bill perfectly as a swashbuckling chevalier equally at home at the crusade as he would be saving (and charming) damsels in distress. There is also a serious side to Francois Labet in his winemaking, known to be highly fastidious in working the vines: very careful de-pruning, de-budding, and thinning to cap the limit at 6 grapes per stock. Naturally, the work is mostly manual, yields are low, wicker baskets are used to allow juices from the picked grapes to flow out to avoid oxidation, and whole bunches are fermented. Contrary to popular practice, Francois avoids green-harvesting and there is minimal extraction. However, having tasted his wines, I must say such an individualistic approach appears to work very well. His is the best example of Clos du Vougeot Grand Cru that I’ve ever tasted, the vieille vignes cuvee being most outstanding.

Apart from his own wines, Francois also appears to be involved in promoting the wines of a few other domaines. Naturally, these also share Francois’ vision of making wines with minimal intervention. Domaine Dublere, based in Savigny-les-Beaune, is run by Blair Pethel, an American (!) who caught the winemaking bug at the turn of the new millenium and who’d cut his teeth at Jean-Marc Pillot. He keeps the elevage longer than most at 18-22 months, resulting in wines of freshness, sensitivity and character. Domaine Pavelot, working out of 12 ha based exclusively in Savigny-les-Beaune, was started in 1980s by Jean-Marc Pavelot and is now run by his son Hugues. Using only between 15-33% new oak at most, the wines of Pavelot achieve excellent ripeness and structure. Based in Santenay, Domaine Roger Belland is probably a more familiar name, now run by Roger and his daughter Julie, the fifth and sixth generation Bellands, respectively. Producing a range of whites and reds from 23 ha in the Cotes de Beaune, the reds are superbly structured and generous. Thank you very much, Francois, for your time and for introducing us to some of the best-kept secrets of Burgundy.

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2016 Domaine Dublere Savigny-les-Beaune Aux Verglesses 1er. Clear light colour, exuding lifted aromas of honeysuckle and fig with good concentration of delicate lime, yellow citrus and minerals on the palate, showing good precision and freshness. Finishing cleanly.

2016 Domaine Dublere Volnay Les Pitures 1er. Beautiful intoxicating ample bouquet. Fleshy. Very well integrated with slightly dryish textures. Subtly structured. Could do with more character.

2016 Domaine Dublere Morey-Saint-Denis Les Blanchards 1er. Generous plume of smoky characters, dense red fruits and minerals. Medium-bodied. Rounded and fleshy, underscored by deeper understated minerals. Distinctly feminine. Very fine.

2015 Domaine Dublere Chorey-Les-Beaune Les Maladerottes. Sharp lifted ample bouquet of deep complex red fruits and floral tones. Rather full and fleshy, marked by abundant tangerines that produce fine acidity and intensity, finishing well. Very successful.

2014 Domaine Dublere Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Planchots Nord. Beautiful complex bouquet of red fruits and tangerines. More minerally with recessed fruit on the medium-bodied palate. Could do with more substance.

2017 Domaine Pavelot Savigny-Les-Beaune Aux Guettes 1er. Good colour. Lovely nose of ripe red fruits and cherries. Bright and fleshy, producing excellent tone and suppleness with lovely seamless minerals, displaying good detail. Great finesse here. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Pavelot Savigny-les-Beaune Aux Gravains 1er. Good bouquet, though slightly more subdued and darker, suggesting undergrowth and earthy tones amidst red fruits. Very rounded and juicy, displaying great balance with fine depth and acidity, finishing on a soft minerally note amidst gentle intensity. Very fine.

2017 Domaine Pavelot Savigny-les-Beaune La Dominode 1er. Beautiful deep ruby. Lifted full bouquet of red fruits, dark roses and currants, carrying over to the palate with a deeper note of incense. Fleshy, rounded and fullish, showing good acidity. Soft finish. Short.

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2016 Chateau De La Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Full nose, rather minerally with ash and bright raspberries, violets and dark currants. Plump, cloaked in luxurious satiny tannins and layered with excellent ripe fruit. Highly fleshy and delicious, topped with superb acidity, focus and linearity. Aged in 50% new oak. Excellent.

2016 Chateau De La Tour Clos Vougeot VV Grand Cru. Made from vines older than 80 years, some of which are planted in 1910. Great colour. Distinct palpable difference. More layered in its complex bouquet of ripe dark berries, red fruits, currants, cedar and cinnamon while the palate is impressively ample in with generous swathes of succulent warm ripe fruit at just right level of extraction, superbly balanced and integrated with excellent depth and acidity, tapering to a gentle finish with great linearity. A complete wine. Beautiful. Only 8 barrels.

2016 Domaine Roger Belland Santenay-Commes 1er. Very well-focused effusive bouquet of dense red fruits and camphor tinged with tangerines, carrying good concentration on the palate with a deeper note of twigs and earthy minerals. Seamlessly supple but slightly stern with a tinge of vegetative elements.

2014 Domaine Roger Belland Santenay-Commes 1er. Delicious generous bouquet. Medium-full. Very fleshy within a highly supply pliant tannin structure filled with very finely-detailed minerals, finishing in a gentle lovely glow.

2016 Domaine Roger Belland Santenay-Gravieres 1er. Highly effusive dense detailed bouquet of camphor with fragrant red fruits  and preserved red plums. Beautifully ripe, fleshy and full on an elegant cedary floor, highly opulent, nuanced with lovely acidity and minerality, finshing with great linearity and persistence. Outstanding!

2014 Domaine Roger Belland Santenay-Gravieres 1er. Generous bouquet of complex red fruits that exuded a delicious seductive fragrance. Rather full and fleshy, structured with supple tannins and fine inner detail that oozed with gentle sweetness. Excellent, but the 2016 simply affirms the superiority of that great vintage for reds.

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Ric visits Domaine Morey-Coffinet

November 8, 2018

One of the brightest young stars of Chassagne is Domaine Morey-Coffinet, an estate formed in 1979 through the merger of Marc Morey and Fernand Coffinet. Managed by Marc’s grandson Thibault Morey since 2000, this domaine owns nice small chunks of choice plots of Chassagne totaling about 7 hectares viz. Les Caillerets, La Romanee, Dent de Chien, and Blanchots Dessus, the latter both actually bordering on Montrachet grand cru. There is a negociant arm now that also buys in grapes from Meursault, Pucelles 1er, Batard-Montrachet, Corton and Corton-Charlemagne to augment its range, all for the better as it is clear that Thibault is a really talented young man. Somewhat shy but sufficiently engaging, I found him familiar when we visited the domaine on 31 October 2018. Little wonder…his had been one of the seven domaines featured in the excellent documentary A Year In Burgundy, for which Thibault had also composed some original music for its soundtrack. With such precocious talent, it is hardly surprising that the whites of Domaine Morey-Coffinet display plenty of sparkle, purity and intensity, often structured with fabulous acidity and fruit that will most definitely ensure a long life ahead. As in other domaines, the vines in 2017 compensated for the dismal yield of 2016, as evidenced by the 45 hectolitres produced per hectare compared with 35 hL. Thibault prefers to press his grapes gently and to limit wood exposure to about 11 months in order to preserve freshness. Will it be the next Ramonet? Very likely but, as things stand, the wines of Domaine Morey-Coffinet can already sing about Chassagne in their own voice. Be warned, though…the 2017 whites need plenty of cellaring before they are even ready so don’t waste them.

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Thibault Morey

2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Chassagne-Montrachet. Dense bouquet of lifted intense floral notes. Medium-full, laced with crisp razor-sharp acidity, firm minerally tone and good linearity, more minerally at the finish.

2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er. Effusive bouquet of dense earthy chalky minerals coupled with a bright firm minerally palatal tone. Taut with very fine acidity and tension.

2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanee 1er. Dense minerally nose. Firm and fleshy on the palate, displaying fine body and presence with sharp acidity, excellent definition and intensity. Very full in concentration.

2017 Maison Morey-Coffinet Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er. Negociant wine. very fine floral and minerally tone. Softer and more rounded than the preceding Chassagnes, displaying excellent presence and lift on the palate with fine intensity, producing excellent subtle mouthfeel.

2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er. From relatively young vines of 21 years. Delicate lift on the nose. Full concentration, quite appropriately minerally on the palate as expected from this premier cru site, showing good integration between fruit and minerals with lovely white floral tones, taut with superb acidity and intensity. Excellent.

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2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Chassage-Montrachet Dent de Chien 1er. Lovely full nose of icing and vanilla, layered with subtle gravelly and ferrous minerals. Quite open and rounded, showing good integration.

2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Chassagne-Montrachet Blanchot Dessus 1er. Only one barrel from a 0.06 ha site. Highly ethereal and poised with lovely deftness and sublime acidity, matches well with white floral tones, very rounded and elegant. Like a mini Montrachet, which is not surprising as this tiny premier cru plot directly abuts the southern end of Montrachet grand cru.

2017 Maison Morey-Coffinet Meursault Perrieres 1er. Lovely delicate lift of deft minerals with dense white floral tones coming from a great concentration of densely-layered white citrus, coiled with tight tension across the palate. Only 3 barrels.

2017 Maison Morey-Coffinet Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Rounded bouquet of dense white floral tones with good inner detail, beautifully accented. Medium-full. Rounded with excellent layering and intensity of fruit with lovely textural transparency. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Less upfront, more layered on the nose, rather brooding in demeanour now with some early complexity of floral tones amidst earthy saline minerals. Quite full and fresh on the palate, showing good presence, layering and lovely transparency, well integrated and supple, tapering to a gentle finish. Excellent.

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2017 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Saint Jean 1er. Great lift of dark cherries and rose petals underscored by very subtle minerals. Fleshy and rounded, subtly layered on the delicious full palate. Highly elegant with plenty of detail and power. Very fine.

2017 Maison Morey-Coffinet Corton Grand Cru. Good color. Soft beguiling nose, exuding lovely rosy fragrance and elegance. Gently layered and subtly structured, tinged with raw herbal elements at the finish. A feminine Corton. Very fine.

1993 Domaine Morey-Coffinet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Tasted blind. Specially decanted for us, this wine displayed a glorious luminous gold with a beautifully aged bouquet of almonds, hazelnuts, bit of nectarine, apricot and cinnamon, highly aromatic. It opened up well with an aged chalkiness, still rather full but highly integral in its balance of acidity, fruit and minerals, tapering to a gentle finish. Very lovely.

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Ric visits Domaine Roblet-Monnot

November 5, 2018

If you have ever come across the wines of Domaine Roblet-Monnot, you would, undoubtedly, have been most impressed by its deep clear vibrant colour, freshness, concentration of fruit and overall sophistication. However, when we visited on 24 October 2018, little did I realise that this domaine is essentially a one-man garagiste operation. When you arrive at its address in Volnay, you’ll find yourself smack in the midst of a residential district with nothing around that remotely resembles a winery. But as you trudge up the short walkway, you’ll begin to see one or two stainless steel tanks at one side, along with a sorting table and several other pieces of wine-making equipment strewn about haphazardly. A little yonder is a rudimentary shelter that looks more like a mechanic’s garage which leads, amazingly, to a modest dual-chamber cellar (sited actually at ground level). The whole place is one huge untidy mess, cramped and not very clean-looking, whilst its cellar probably hasn’t been cleaned for decades and decades, judging from its damp blackened walls with cobwebs of various sizes hanging strategically from very old black wooden beams. To top it off, there is actually a resident bat (yes…eine fledermaus!) that flits between the two chambers.

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Yet, as I’d mentioned, the wines are brilliant. In spite of its garagiste setting, this domaine has been in existence since 1865, started by Pascal Roblet’s maternal great-grandfather Victor Delagrange and handed down the generations, until Pascal inherited it from his father in 1990. Based in Volnay with holdings of 6 hectares planted at high density (12,000 vines per ha), Domaine Roblet-Monnot is truly biodynamic with Pascal really doing things by the moon phases and such, along with a highly fastidious work ethic. Grapes are picked only at ideal ripeness and Pascal is prepared to walk several times down his rows of vines if ripening is uneven. Sorting takes place both at the vineyard and, again, at the sorting table. Yields are kept low at 30-35 hectolitres per hectare. To this day, some may still think that the word biodynamic is some sort of sounds-good feels-good hocus-pocus. But if this domaine’s wines are any indication, I’d say that biodynamic methods do work. The Volnays produced by this domaine can be silky and seductive, or robust and masculine. No grand crus here, but the village Saint Francois is beautiful, while the Piture 1er and Taillepieds 1er are quite outstanding. Do give them a try.

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2017 Domaine-Roblet Monnot Bourgogne Haute Cotes de Beaune Rouge. Bright red fruits amidst woody elements and twigs, displaying fine acidity and dominant saline minerals on a cleanly focused palate. Entirely from Volnay.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Pommard Les Chalines Haut 1er. Bright purple. Dominant acidic tones on the palate amidst a generous expanse of raspberries, currants and red fruits, displaying very good levels of ripeness, concentration and tight crisp acidity with plenty of energy.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Saint Francois. A blend of several Volnay vineyards, some of which are premier cru. Beautiful deep ruby. Excellent in concentration, very cleanly layered with fresh acidity with a forward robust character, showing good sophistication.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay 1er. Deeply coloured with robust intensity, well extracted, displaying notes of enamel and ripe raspberries with a distinct core of tangerines. Fleshy and structured with very well-managed silky tannins in spite of its massive proportions.

2014 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Brouillards 1er. Tasted blind. Slightly reductive, exuding earthy tones, red fruits and dark currants with an attractive funkiness. Medium-full and highly supple, underscored by strong acidity, finishing on an intense spicy note.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Brouillards 1er. Ripe dark fruits and wild berries dominate on the nose and palate. Juicy, robust and well-extracted, layered with austere fruit and minerals. Forward in balance, finishing with good intensity.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Taillepieds 1er. Dark ruby. Ample in dark plums, ripe strawberries and red fruits. Fleshy, well-integrated and lovely in concentration, structured with sweet dark tannins amidst layers of tangerines, open with attractive intensity, just a tad short.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Piture 1er. Dark in colour and tone, richly layered with delicious dark currants and black fruits. Beautifully ripe, soft and fleshy. Subtly intense with fine acidity, structured with sweet gentle tannins. Highly refined and sophisticated. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Taillepieds 1er. Tasted blind. More evolved in colour, exuding aged apricot, honey, cinnamon and dried peaches. Medium-bodied. Soft and rounded, showing good integration of tangerines and plummy red fruits though it has begun to dry out a little.

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Short notes from Burgundy 2018

November 4, 2018

Miscellaneous wines drunk outside of formal visits to domaines during my recent trip to Burgundy…

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1996 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er. Poured from magnum over lunch at Le Ferme St Martin 21 Oct 2018. Courtesy of Jean-Luc Pepin, tasted blind. Dark in colour. Deep sweet tannins tinged with woody green elements amidst brighter tones of tangerines, red plums and redcurrants, showing great acidity that almost threatened to overshadow the fruit concentration.

2015 Domaine Thomas Pico Chablis at Les Caves Madeleine, Beaune, 22 Oct 2018. Intense bouquet of dense oily citrus. Cleanly focused palate, showing good concentration of fruit and minerals with fine intensity and sharp acidity, mellowing after some time. Very fine.

2012 Didier Dagueneau Silex at Les Caves Madeleine, Beaune, 22 Oct 2018. Complex forward bouquet of green melons, green apples and tropical fruits with a hint of durian in its pungent aromatics. Medium-full, fresh and rounded, showing good delineation and definition with oily textures. Good sophistication. Excellent.

2011 Roblet Monnot Volnay Piture 1er at Les Caves Madeleine, Beaune, 22 Oct 2018. Good color. Rather deep tone of dark fruits and dark plums. Fresh vibrant acidity. Very cleanly focused. Well-extracted. Highly supple with open intensity amidst undertones of ripe dark berries. Very fine.

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Foie gras at Le Ferme St-Martin

2016 Pierre Yves Colin Morey Saint-Aubin La Chateniere 1er, at La Rotisserie du Chambertin, 23 Oct 2018. Beautiful color. Dense intense chalky bouquet with a sense of oiliness. Full concentration of dense white fruits and intense citrus on a backdrop of chiselled chalky minerals, rather tight and dry, developing further notes of tropical fruits. Plenty of potential.

2014 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay Champans 1er, at Le Chevreuil, 23 Oct 2018. Very dark. Rich bouquet of dark cherries, dark berries and currants with traces of tangerines. Well-extracted. Full concentration of fruit with rich tonal balance, fine intensity and depth, shrouded in creamy textures. Still incredibly tight.

2003 Markus Molitor Zeltinger Schlossberg Auslese**, over home-cooked dinner at La Colombiere, 24 Oct 2018. Dense diesel fumes. Glowing with lovely concentration of tropical fruits and nectarine. Smooth, placid with understated acidity. Not quite as luscious as expected.

2000 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogüé Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, ex-cellars tasted blind courtesy Jean Luc Pepin over home-cooked dinner at La Colombiere, 24 Oct 2018. Evolved color with a vermilion rim. Lovely glow of red fruits and dark currants tinged with mild herbal tones. Rounded, open and fleshy, showing fine concentration with a deep minerally earthy vein. Good acidity. Excellent.

2006 Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru, ex-cellars courtesy of Cyrielle Rousseau over home-cooked dinner at La Colombiere, 24 Oct 2018. Quite evolved in color. Somewhat reticent, just a suggestion of abundant dark plums and currants. Soft and fleshy with sublime acidity, glowing with lovely intensity. Highly supple and seamless. Slightly darker in tone, coming from a distinct minerally depth that imparted a stern demeanor. Excellent.

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Cyrielle Rousseau & Jean-Luc Pepin tucking into black pepper crab flown in from Singapore

2014 Domaine Ramonet Chassage Montrachet Les Vergers 1er, at L‘Auberg du Vieux Vigneron, 25 Oct 2018. Fabulous bouquet of dense white fruits and rich creamy minerals. Very plump, displaying great acidity and fine tension with a creamy tone, developing exquisite intensity over time with emerging complexity that finished with lingering presence.

2015 Domaine Dauvissat Chablis Les Forest 1er, at Bistro du L’Hotel de Beaune, 25 Oct 2018. Effusive complex detailed bouquet of peaches, yellow citrus and dense flinty minerals. Excellent in concentration and acidity, rather firm, showing good balance. Finishing with mouth puckering intensity. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, at Bistro du L’Hotel de Beaune, 25 Oct 2018. Lovely bouquet, layered with complex red fruits, cherries and redcurrants. Quite full but somewhat reductive. More of dense minerals that imparted a stern austerity amidst tangerines and subdued red plums with more rose petals to the fore later in the evening, laced with fine acidity. Still too tight at this stage.

2014 Meo Camuzet Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 1er, at Bistro du L’Hotel de Beaune, 25 Oct 2018. Dark ruby. Shy, just hinting at dark cherries. Opened up with rich dark plums, very cleanly focused. Excellent concentration, layered with very good depth of fruit and minerals but too tight and dense at this stage, mellowing just a little to reveal intense red cherries. Not ready.

2001 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, from magnum at La Ferme de la Ruchotte, 27 Oct 2018. Evolved colour, dull red with brownish rim, exuding a firm medicinal glow amidst dark fruits. Fleshy, revealing excellent depth of fruit and supple acidity, still very fresh. Developed a more minerally tone with a minty glow over time, turning into a broad expanse of complex red fruits, cinnamon and peaches on a rich dark cedary floor. A little rustic but this is excellent.

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Two gentlemen savouring their meal at La Ferme de la Ruchotte

2009 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er, at Chez Guy, Gevrey, 27 Oct 2018. Beautiful deep ruby. Dense effusive bouquet of glorious dark currants and delicious dark cherries, richly layered with subtle minerally nuances, producing very fine intensity that grew more and more pronounced, culminating in a long glowing finish. Still far from its peak form but already outstanding.

2010 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1er, at Chez Guy, Gevrey, 27 Oct 2018. Popped and poured. Dark crimson. Sheer arresting fragrance of superbly ripe dark plums, dark cherries, red and black currants, highly alluring and intensely aromatic. Tight with excellent concentration and lovely density, deeply layered, drawing fine tension and intensity across the palate, gelling together very well after some time with a broad expanse of exquisite sophistication. Brilliant!

2015 Maison Capitain-Gagnerot Ladoix Les Grichons et Foutieres 1er, courtesy of Pierre over a home-cooked dinner at La Colombiere, 28 Oct 2018. White fruits and lovely intense citrus with concentrated focus, layered with subtle minerals on the palate with surprisingly good intensity and depth of fruit. Quite excellent.

1993 Robert Ampeau Meursault Perriere 1er, courtesy of Pierre over a home-cooked dinner at La Colombiere, 28 Oct 2018. Gentle floral chalky tones on the nose. Medium-full, displaying ample creamy chalkiness with lovely oily textures, developing firm stony minerals later. Still very fresh.

2015 Domaine Maldant Pauvelot Santenay, over a home-cooked dinner at La Colombiere, 28 Oct 2018. Fleshy red fruits and dark plums along with some undergrowth and earth. Medium-bodied, showing fine presence and inner detail, producing a dryish mouthfeel.

2009 Maison Albert Ponnelle Beaune Les Bressandes 1er, courtesy of Pierre over a home-cooked dinner at La Colombiere, 28 Oct 2018. Evolved colour, exuding aromatic dark red fruits and currants with a calm elegance. Very good concentration with some early complexity on the palate, yielding cool ripe fruit with subtle saline minerals. Quite seamless and fleshy, finishing with good inearity amidst a bit of gravelly brightness. Very fine.

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Vilmart Grand Cellier champagne, at Helen’s residence in Levernois, 29 Oct 2018. Ample in dense sweet yellow citrus and lime, open with a broad expanse of dry minerality and good acidity, showing good definition. A blend of 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir.

2015 Domaine Coche-Dury Meursault, at Le Restaurant of Hostellere de Levernois, 29 Oct 2018. Our second bottle of the same wine within a week. Clear luminosity. Effusive bouquet of emerging chalky tones and dense white floral notes. Lovely minerally presence with layers and layers of clear tropical fruit, yellow citrus and crystalline minerals, becoming fuller over time yet retaining superb delicate intensity and transparency with a deeper minerally tone, finishing with great persistence. Superb.

2012 Domaine Francois Lamarche Vosne-Romanee Aux Malconsorts 1er, at Le Restaurant of Hostellere de Levernois, 29 Oct 2018. Gentle dark roses and dark cherries on the nose. Medium full with a distinct minerally tone amidst good concentration of ripe dark berries and plums, deeply layered with growing intensity. Excellent but still tight.

2014 Domaine Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin Les Dent des Chien 1er, at William Frachot in Dijon, 30 Oct 2018. Lovely delicate lift and luminosity. Good concentration of clear citrus with a lovely lightness and superb intensity of fruit and tight acidity, becoming more intense with gravelly minerals.

2018 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er, at William Frachot, Dijon, 30 Oct 2018. Superb bouquet of deep savoury and earthy tones with a complex of dark ripe berries, blackberries and dark currants. Richly layered with delicious fruit, tangerines with some early cedar on a cleanly focused palate, structured with good definition and firm tannins, turning a bit assertive before settling with a mellower richer tone, tapering to a slightly dryish austere end. Outstanding.

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Domaine Gouffier Cremant de Bourgogne, at Le Richebourg in Vosne, 31 Oct 2018. A blend of 50% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay with 2 grammes of dosage. Broad expanse of dense chalky minerals and yellow citrus, suitably dry, exuding a powerful yeasty pungency. Excellent in concentration and presence with fresh vibrant acidity. Quite excellent.

2016 Domaine Gouffier Rully, at Le Richebourg in Vosne, 31 Oct 2018. Attractive nose of white fruits. Medium-full, revealing sharp acidity and angular intensity. More forward minerally balance, building up to a sweet finish of great intensity.

2013 Domaine Mongeard Mugneret Fixin, at Le Richebourg in Vosne, 31 Oct 2018. Dark in colour and tone, revealing dark cherries with a reductive brazen intensity. Assertive tannins. Very tight and unyielding.

2016 Domaine Benoit Ente Bourgogne, at Pierre’s place, 01 Nov 2018. Lovely rounded creamy bouquet. Medium-bodied, yielding dry minerality.

2014 Maison Albert Ponnelle Savigny-les-Beaune VV Blanc, at Pierre’s place, 01 Nov 2018. Good fruit. Broad expansive minerality amidst very fine intensity of citrus fruits.

2015 Domaine de la Tournelle Cul du Brey Arbois at Pierre’s place, 01 Nov 2018. A chardonnay from Jura. Clear light citrus. Good freshnessand  acidity with transparent textures and good definition within a delicate structure. Lovely glowing finish, developing a gentle depth over time time. Zero sulphites.

2014 Maison Albert Ponnelle Savigny-les-Beaune Les Pimentiers at Pierre’s place, 01 Nov 2018. Darkish tones with characters of undergrowth, wild berries and dark plums. Medium-full. Very good presence and acidity, developing sweet delicious dark fruits amidst silky tannins. Fine.

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Ric visits Domaine Georges Lignier

November 2, 2018

One of the stalwarts of Morey-Saint-Denis, Domaine Georges Lignier has been active since the 1920s, started, of course, by Georges Lignier, then his son Bernard in 1949, then the latter’s son (also named) Georges in 1970. Since 2002, the winemaking has been passed to the latter’s nephew Benoit Stehly who welcomed us on 23 October 2018. The domaine has holdings of about 16 hectares in 17 A.O.C. appellations. The viticulture here is non-organic, Benoit prefering to be practical in his methods. Formally trained in oenology, Benoit has come to know his terroir and his vines better over the years and his methods have evolved through observation and intuition. For instance, in the 2017 vintage, the grapes were picked early on 3rd September to preserve freshness and avoid over ripening which Benoit felt the latter had been a problem with his 2011 wines when he had waited too long before harvesting. Up to 40% new oak is used for the Gevrey-Chambertin wines while up to 25% full bunches are used. Tasting the 2017 and a few other recent back vintages, I can safely say that the wines of Domaine Georges Lignier are in safe hands with Benoit. They are richly layered and lively with plenty of power and refinement. This is an excellent domaine.

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The confusing Lignier family tree written by Benoit himself

2017 Domaine Georges Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis. Quite effusive in bright cherries and red fruits with a forward balance. Richly layered and structured with good intensity and attack, finishing well.

2016 Domaine Georges Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Ormes 1er. Clear ruby. Lovely nose with a hint of burnt sandalwood. Fresh and lively, displaying good concentration and suppleness with a deeper streak of dense minerals. Robust but refined. Quite excellent.

2017 Domaine Georges Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Ormes 1er. Good color. The 2017 is more feminine in its lifted rosy fragrance, layered with lovely depth of delicious ripe red fruits. Nicely supple, showing good integration with very lively acidity and fine intensity. Quite excellent.

2014 Domaine Georges Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes 1er. Clear ruby. Lovely aromatic lift of rose petals. Highly generous and ample on the palate with ripe fruits and dark currants amidst saline minerals, structured with sweet dark tannins, layered with fine intensity. Quite excellent. From a 0.49 ha plot.

2017 Domaine Georges Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes 1er. The 2017 wine displays a full warm ripe expanse of intense ripe raspberries, cherries and mulberries, slightly forward in balance with understated minerals, displaying very fine acidity and persistence. Excellent.

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2017 Domaine Georges Lignier Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru. Total holdings of 1.49 ha from two separate plots, one planted in 1956 and the other 1980. Clear ruby, exuding aromas of dark roses and dark cherries, lifted with fine concentration and lively intense acidity with a deep minerally streak. Good presence. Very fine.

2013 Domaine Georges Lignier Clos de la Roche Grand Cru. Total holdings of 1 ha from four plots within. Darker than the 2017 below, exuding a lovely aromatic lift of red fruits and currants. Rather full, fleshy and amply layered with well-defined acidity and detail. Quite excellent.

2017 Domaine Georges Lignier Clos de la Roche Grand Cru. Forward intense bouquet of bright red fruits and cherries. Full-bodied but gently structured, very well-layered with excellent integration of minerals, displaying good definition, detail and vigour, finishing with great mouthfeel. Huge potential. Likely to surpass the 2013 in time to come. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Georges Lignier Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Holdings of only 0.24 ha. Bright color and tone. Highly lifted fragrance of ripe red fruits and red cherries. Great exuberance and freshness, displaying superb concentration, detail and layering, structured with highly refined tannins that imparted excellent mouthfeel. Still tightly coiled with tannic intensity at this stage but its potential is enormous. Likely to develop very well. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Georges Lignier Chambolle-Musigny. Reductive nose, displaying a great earthy pungency with lifted tones of ripe red and dark berries. Notably bright on the palate, showing very fine concentration and balance with just the right degree of extraction, proudly poised with highly refined tannins, finishing with lingering persistence. A wonderful village.

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