Friday, March 24, 2017

Domaine de la VOUGERAIE (Premeaux-Prissey) -- 2015 Part II: Whites Tasted from Bottle and Cask/Tank Samples

The whites at Vougeraie were harvested between 31 August and 4 September. 

These wines show the better side of 2015 whites.

Biodynamic cultivation here. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine de la VOUGERAIE (Premeaux-Prissey) -- 2015 Part I: Red Wines Tasted from Bottle and Cask Samples

Reds here were harvested between 5 and 15 September. All the red wines are raised in 1/3 new oak, 1/3 one-year barrels, and 1/3 two years. Generally, malolactic fermentations finished in December 2015 and January 2016, although as noted below, the Musigny was late to finish. Most of the bottling was expected to take place in December 2016 and January 2017.

Pierre Vincent, who in 2006 succeeded Pascal Marchand in making the wines here, left the domaine at the beginning of 2017 to take over winemaking duties at Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet.

The vineyards are farmed biodynamically. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Joseph DROUHIN (Beaune) -- 2015 Part IV: Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise Whites Tasted from Bottle and Cask Samples

These Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise whites from Drouhin are on the whole representative of the vintage in whites — some good beyond expectations for the vintage, others not bad but lacking some inspiration.

Interestingly, some very late harvesting of the whites, along with some early harvesting. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Joseph DROUHIN (Beaune) -- 2015 Part I: Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Bottle and Cask Samples

The story of the vintage here is similar to elsewhere: early and rapid flowering, some fungal diseases that were, however, successfully treated, dry July that retarded veraison (turning of color of the grapes) a little, rain in August that provided freshness and ripening for the grapes. The heat over the summer provided for ripe grapes and tannins and thickened the grape skins. 

Harvesting began on 2 September. The health of the grapes and uniform ripening due to the rapid flowering meant that there was very little sorting of the grapes required. Yields for the Côte d’Or reds were low to very low. Generally vinifications lasted two to three weeks and were adapted to the conditions of the vintage in order to preserve freshness and elegance. In particular, there was no bâtonnage (stirring of the lees), but the wines were kept on the lees in order to preserve freshness. 

Drouhin’s estate vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since at least 1996. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Domaine FOURRIER (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel and Tank

Jean-Marie Fourrier said that harvesting began on 1 September and lasted six days. As usual, all wines were fermented without whole clusters. Malolactic fermentations began and finished early: by mid-February, most had finished. He expected to bottle the wines in February 2017. 

As for the vintage, he compared it to a cross between 2009 and 2010 in style. 

The wines for the rich collectors have become the Clos Saint-Jacques and the Griotte-Chambertin, but look at the whole lineup and you’ll see that one can do quite well with the premiers crus and even the village wines, and for much better value. (Continue reading here.) 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Domaine Henri GOUGES (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- 2015 Reds Tasted from Barrel, a 2015 White Tasted from Bottle, and a 2014 Red Tasted from Bottle

Gregory Gouges said that with the dry summer, the grass in the vineyards took water from the vines in 2015. As a result, he removed a number of grape bunches over the summer. Harvesting began on 1 September and lasted 4-1/2 days. Importantly, he was able to keep the acidity. Overall, yield was just 24 hl/ha., ranging from 18 hl/ha for the Vaucrains (the lowest) to 33 hl/ha for the Clos des Porrets-Saint-Georges (the highest). (The estate was hit hard by the freeze in 2016, and overall yield is only 16 hl/ha for the estate in 2016, although Gregory says that the quality is very good; some wines, such as the Chènes Carteaux, will not be produced in 2016 because the quantities were so small.)

The grapes here were entirely destemmed, as is customary. Malolactic fermentations were early because of the warm winter, and all were finished by mid-January. Gregory expected an early bottling, beginning in December 2016. Alcohols range from 12.7º to 13.3º. 

These are very good wines, but as is the case with so many estates, don’t loose sight of the outstanding 2014s. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2014 Tasted from Bottle

The white was bottled inFebruary, the reds in May and June. My review of Mugnier’s 2014s tasted from bottle is here. As you can see, all the reds from bottle are at the top end of my estimates from barrel except for the magnificent Musigny, which has exceeded my high range.

This classic, fresh vintage is the type that I think Mugnier does best. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel and Tank

The harvesting for the reds began on 8 September with the Clos de la Maréchale and then the Bonnes-Mares (the white had been harvested a week earlier). Grapes were entirely destemmed. Timing of the malolactic fermentations was “all over the place,” with the latest finishing in May. The grapes had natural alcohols of about 13º and that’s also the level of the finished wines. Frédéric Mugnier described the acidities as “average.” 

These wines are a good example of the vintage in the sense that they display the high quality of lower appellations and the compression of quality overall. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Domaine ARNOUX-LACHAUX (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014 Tasted from Bottle

2014 is an outstanding vintage for Arnoux-Lachaux; in the previous post I expressed my great enthusiasm for the 2015s, but don’t let that discourage you from the great 2014s here (especially as they were produced in considerably greater quantity than the 2015s).

My review of all of Arnoux-Lachaux’s 2014s from cask is here; tasting these wines now from bottle, they generally show at the upper-end or above of my estimations of them from barrel. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Domaine ARNOUX-LACHAUX (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel and Bottle

I’ve known the wines of this estate through three generations: Robert Arnoux, his son-in-law Pascal Lachaux, and now Pascal’s son and Arnoux’s grandson, Charles Lachaux (Pascal is still involved, though). There have been changes in styles of the wines during this long period, but the wines have always been of high quality. That said, these 2015s are potentially the best of all the vintages I’ve known here. Of course, it helps to have excellently-sited and cared-for vineyards and old vines (the youngest are in their early 40s, average age for the domaine is 50-60 years, and the Romanée-Saint-Vivant vines are 90 years-old).

Harvesting took place from 3 to 7 September. Yields were small — generally about 25-30 hl/ha for village wines, 20 hl/ha for the premiers crus, and 15-18 hl/ha for the grands crus. Overall, this represents about half a full cellar (and half of 2014). Charles attributes the reduced production to the small grapes due to the grass in the rows competing with the vines for water during the dry summer. All wines are minimum 70% whole clusters, as indicated below. Chaptalization was minimum, 0.1 or 0.2º, in some cases none. New oak is 15% for the village wines ranging up to 35% for the Romanée-Saint-Vivant; Charles said that he couldn’t reduce the new oak as much in 2014 because he did not have enough used barrels. Timing of malolactic fermentations was normal for the estate. The pHs here finished around 3.70, which was lower (i.e., higher acid) than Charles expected for the year. 

The changes that Charles has instituted are major, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Among the changes in the vineyard are a new canopy management system (cutting the tops of the vines later and taller in the past, thereby permitting more photosynthesis and earlier ripening). Another change is in the pruning system. He is now pruning longer using a system that predominated in older days in Chassagne and Puligny. Charles says that he was inspired to used this system by Luc Pavelot of Domaine Pavelot in Pernand-Vergelesses who has always used this system, and Charles says the Domaine Leroy does something similar.

In the cellar, the major changes have been the reduction of new oak (which had been 100% new at one time) and the use of whole clusters, which prior to Charles had been long eschewed here.

These are some of the most successful wines of 2015 at all levels and worthy of your highest interest, even if you have not followed the estate in recent years. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

FAIVELEY (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- Part II: 2015 Red Grands Crus Tasted from Barrel

As I reported in the previous post, Faiveley’s harvest on the Côte d’Or took place between 2 and 11 September. For the reds, production is about 15% below a normal harvest. The grand cru reds were made with about 25% whole clusters. In the recent past, new oak has been about 2/3 for the grands crus but in 2015, that figure is 50-65%.

Comparing these wines to the premiers crus, one sees that there generally were upper limits to quality for grands crus, so that many of the premiers crus showed equally well — until one gets to the two great Chambertin-Clos de Bèzes and the Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley, all three of which are in the very select group of top wines of the vintage. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, March 3, 2017

FAIVELEY (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- Part I: 2015 Red Premiers Crus Tasted from Cask

Erwan Faiveley said that the changes to more elegant wines when he took over and brought in Bernard Hervet had maybe gone too far, and the 2015s represented an adjustment back, reaching a happy medium. I agree wholeheartedly, with the 2015s arguably being the most memorable of my more than twenty years of annual visits to Faiveley. The one unfortunate drawback was that the wines from Chambolle-Musigny were all completely reduced, and so not in condition to permit tasting them when I visited.

Harvesting on the Côte d’Or and the Côte Chalonnaise took place between 2 and 11 September. For the reds, production is about 15% below a normal harvest. For reds, the premiers and grands crus were made with about 25% whole clusters. In the recent past, new oak has been about 2/3 for the grands crus and 1/3 to 2/3 for the premiers crus; for 2015, those numbers are about 50-65% for the grands crus and 35-50% for the premiers crus. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Domaine François LAMARCHE (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

Harvesting began on 10 September and lasted six days, except for the Bourgogne-Passetoutgrains and the Bourgogne-Hautes Côtes de Nuits, which were harvested ten days after the other vineyards. Each wine was made with 30% whole clusters. Malolactic fermentations were normal. Maximum alcohols are 13.2º.

The estate is organic and parts are biodynamic.

Here is yet another very successful estate in 2015 worth looking out for. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Domaine Jean GRIVOT (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014 Tasted from Bottle

My evaluation of these and other 2014 Grivot wines tasted from barrel is found here. These wines demonstrate the great quality that can be found in 2014s from top producers. The grands crus, in particular, are showing extremely well — at the top end or even exceeding my appreciation from barrel. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Domaine Jean GRIVOT (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

Étienne Grivot said that harvesting began on 10 September and went to about 18 September. He waited to harvest because the grapes up to then had a bitterness in them. 

A normal vintage here is 300 barrels; in 2015 it was 240 barrels (and in 2016, it is but 200 barrels).

Étienne described the vintage as classic/modern. The bunches were entirely destemmed but the berries were kept whole. Malolactic fermentations were very late — among the latest ever that he has experienced, which is saying something given that over the 30 years that I have been visiting this estate, there have been many vintages where I tasted wines where malolactic fermentations still had not finished by October or November.

Grivot is a consistently reliable and outstanding producer, and fans will have nothing but pleasure with these wines. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Domaine Georges MUGNERET-GIBOURG (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

This was one of my magical visits tasting 2015s, where wine after wine was beyond expectation. If you are interested in the 2015 vintage I strongly urge you to seek the wines of Mugneret-Gibourg out, whether the Bourgogne or the grands crus, even though they can be difficult to come across.

Following a 2014 vintage that was about normal in quantity, 2015 is down about 20% and 2016 will be down about 40% from normal. Harvesting began on 4 September. As usual, there is no whole cluster used here, although in 2017 there likely will be a separate cuvée of Vosne-Romanée made with whole clusters as an experiment. Malolactic fermentations began over the winter and finished in March 2016, and the wines were then racked in July. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Louis JADOT (Beaune) -- Part IV: 2015 Whites Tasted from Barrel

As it sometimes does, Jadot partially blocked malolactic acidity in its 2015 whites.

With respect to the sucrosity that I note in many of the wines below, it is not like the sucrosity of 2003s where the wines often tasted sweet. Here it is a certain richness of texture, and based on my past experience, it will disappear with aging.

In news, Jadot has bought an estate that includes Meursault Narvaux, Charmes, and Perrières among its holdings.

Overall, the collection is not as outstanding as the 2015 reds, but there is good quality here, more than one originally expected from the 2015 white vintage. As with reds, the best values appear to be in lower appellations and premiers crus. Aging potential appears moderate for the most part. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Louis JADOT (Beaune) -- 2015 Part I: Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Barrel

For an operation with as many different wines as Jadot has, the quality is really quite amazing. Harvesting started on 29 August, with the whites, I suppose. There was very little triage required. Alcohols began quickly. Malolactic fermentations mostly finished in spring, some in July.

Very successful wines here that are certainly worthy of your interest. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Domaine Bruno CLAVELIER (Vosne-Romanée): 2015 Tasted from Barrel

Bruno Clavelier said that he harvested between 5 and 12 September, finishing just before the rains came. The challenge of the vintage, he said, was to preserve the balance in the wines. Malolactic fermentations were late, as is typical at this estate. For the village wines, about 20-25% new wood was used, for the premiers crus it was about 30-40%. Clavelier uses a system of layering grapes between stems (he calls it a sandwich system), and it corresponds to about 1/3 whole clusters in this vintage. Alcohols are about 12.5º for the regional wines and up to 13.5º at the most for the others.

Overall, he described the vintage as one of a lot of sun and with finesse to it.

Clavelier has long been organic and biodynamic.

This is an estate of high consistency; my next posting will review many of Clavelier’s 2014s from bottle, and you’ll see high quality throughout there, too.

We start with three village Vosnes that display the diversity of their terroirs. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Domaine DUBLÈRE/Blair PETHEL (Savigny-les-Beaune) Part I -- 2015 Reds Tasted from Barrel

American Blair Pethel is in his second decade of making wines in Burgundy and, as always, they are most worthy of your consideration.

Malolactic fermentations finished in spring and summer. As usual (from 2010 on), no whole clusters were used in these wines. Blair expected to bottle these reds in March 2017. (Continuer reading here.)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Domaine Réyane et Pascal BOULEY (Volnay) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

Not having the hails that affected quantity in 2012-2013-2014, one would have hoped that 2015 gave more wine here, but that was not the case. The small berries meant that 2015 is only 30% the size of a normal vintage here. There is excellent quality, though, so these are wines to act on, should you come across them.

Harvesting took place between 3 and 8 September. For most of the wines, the malolactic fermentations were rapid, finishing in November and December. The Champans was made with 20% whole clusters, the rest of the wines are entirely from destemmed fruit. There was no acidification. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Domaine Georges NOËLLAT/Maxime CHEURLIN-NOËLLAT (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

I’ve been reporting since the renewal of this estate about 5 years ago under Maxime Cheurlin on the wines of note. Starting at a high level (with old vines and great terroirs), they have been improving each year. 

Harvesting here took place between 12 and 14 September. Wines that had whole clusters in them are Vosne-Chaume, Chambolle-Feusselottes, and Échézeaux.

Maxime has added wines as a négociant and in the future will be adding more, both as a négociant and as a proprietor (I believe that the estate started with 5.5 ha when he began and he told me last fall that it was now up to 11 ha, although 4 ha in the Hautes-Côtes would require new planting). Wines below marked with an asterisk (*) are from bought-in grapes will be sold under the name Maxime Cheurlin-Noëllat (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Domaine TRAPET Père et Fils (Gevrey-Chambertin): 2015 Tasted from Bottle and Barrel

Jean-Louis Trapet said that harvesting began on 5-6 September and evidently went very rapidly as he also said that he finished just before the rains (which came only a few days later). Most of the malolactic fermentations finished in May, but for one wine, it was still continuing when I visited in early November 2016. Usually he uses about 30-40% whole clusters, but in 2015 he used 70% (and for the the Gevrey-Chambertin “Capita"and Chambertin, 100%).

The estate is organic and biodynamic.

These are astonishing wines, and as in 2005, the Chambertin is a candidate for the greatest wine that I tasted from the vintage. They are worth a special effort to seek out. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Domaine Robert CHEVILLON (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel and a Couple of 2014s from Bottle

Chevillon provided one of my most memorable visits to taste 2015s. Each wine was a jewel; that, of course, is not totally unexpected, as Chevillon is as consistent a producer as I know in Burgundy. Nevertheless, these wines exceeded my already high expectations.

Harvesting here took place between 3 and 10 September. As always, all grapes were destemmed. The malolactic fermentation for the village wine finished at the beginning of 2016; for the premiers crus, the malolactic fermentations finished in the spring. (Continue reading here.)