Monday, July 17, 2017

Domaine TORTOCHOT (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Sample and Bottle

Tortochot is an estate with great holdings: Chambertin and three other grands crus; five well-sited premiers crus in Gevrey, Morey, and Chambolle; a number of village Gevrey and Morey vineyards that are well-sited; and a Bourgogne rouge. 

The wines were disappointing for a long time, so I’ve never bothered to visit and only come across the wines from time to time, but I had noticed a significant uptick in the wines I’d tried over the last ten years or so. This selection indicates that it is possible to get good wine here, but also that there remains more work to do. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Domaine HERESTZYN-MAZZINI (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

This estate springs out of Domaine Herestzyn in Gevrey-Chambertin (which also still exists). In 2012, Florence Herestzyn and her husband, Simon Mazzini, leased 5.5 hectares from her father (Stanislaus) and aunt to begin the domain.

Some whole clusters are used in the wines (usually about 30-40%). The aim is to get finesse (in Gevrey, that’s a relative term compared to some other terroirs) into the wines, and they succeed well. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Jérôme GALEYRAND (St-Philibert) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

Jérôme Galeyrand is originally from the Loire region and has no family background in wine. He was a cheese wholesaler in northwest France when he happened to do an apprenticeship with Alain Burguet in Gevrey-Chambertin about twenty years ago. Captivated by wine, he set up his own estate about fifteen years ago. He has five hectares — only regional and village wines, but the quality is excellent and worthy of your investigation.

Galeyrand works without pesticides and does uses some whole clusters in his wines. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

RIDGE VINEYARDS -- Current National Releases

From not just one of California’s, but one of the world’s, iconic producers, this is a solid set of releases with a fabulous Geyserville. The other wines show a stronger oak signature than I recall for recent vintages, but with further bottle aging, they should come into better focus. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Domaine Henri RICHARD -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

This estate is one I previously have not sampled. It began conversion to organic methods in 2001 and received certification in 2005. Based on these three wines, there’s something of interest here should you come across the wines. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Domaine Henri MAGNIEN (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

Charles Magnien, grandson of Henri, has been in charge of this 6 ha estate since 2009. Apparently, much of the production is sold to restaurants in and around Gevrey. I understand that the vines are planted in a very old clone known as Pinot Magnien that supposedly gives extra depth and spice to the wines. 

This appears to be an estate worth investigating should you come across the wines. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Jean-Michel GUILLON (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

I’ve known of this producer for some time, but this was my first opportunity to sample the wines. As you can see, I was favorably impressed. 

Jean-Michel Guillon started with 2.3 ha or vines in 1980 and now has built it up to 14.8 ha (with 21 appellations!). The estate is now passing to his son, Eric.(Continue reading here.)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Domaine Christophe PERROT-MINOT/ PERROT MINOT SARL* (Morey-St-Denis) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

When I used to regularly visit this estate in the early 2000s, Christophe Perrot was into heavy extraction. In recent years, he’s eased up and his wines are much more approachable, better-balanced, and to my liking. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine DROUHIN-LAROZE (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

I used to visit this estate annually to taste and had favorable impressions. But in the 2007 vintage, some wines were subject to/ruined by reverse osmosis, a practice that I find generally destroys the purity and texture of Burgundies, and I then stopped visiting. Occasional wines I’ve tasted from subsequent vintages have proved good, as did these. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Domaine de COURCEL (Pommard) -- 2014 Tasted from Bottle

My review of the de Courcel reds from cask samples is here. With yields of only 5-6 hl/ha in 2014, these wines are extremely rare, but should you come across them, they are  worthy of your high attention. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine de COURCEL (Pommard): 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples

Harvest dates here were the same as for Confuron-Cotétidot, which I just reviewed; not surprising as Yves Confuron is responsible for the wines at both estates. 

Yield in 2015 is a minuscule 13 hl/ha, but up from 6 hl/ha in 2014 and 4 hl/ha in 2013. Yes, Pommard and other Côte de Beaune areas are hurting. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Domaine J. CONFURON-COTÉTIDOT (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

Always one of, if not the, latest harvesters in Burgundy, Yves Confuron began on 19 September in 2015. (In 2016, it was 4 October.) Also as always, these wines are made entirely with whole clusters. 

The approaches here may be idiosyncratic, but as with another idiosyncratic (and ultra-late harvesting) winemaker, Laurent Ponsot, the results are convincing: the wines are regularly among the best of their respective classes. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Domaine du Comte LIGER-BELAIR (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

Louis-Michel Liger-Belair said that he harvested between 5 and 10 September in 2015. There had been some oïdium on the hillside vineyards, and he treated it with salt water. He thinks the main effect of the rain at harvest was on the morale, not the wines.

Malolactic fermentations were late, with the last ones finishing in August. 

The estate practices biodynamic cultivation.

As usual, superb wines across the board here. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Domaine Anne GROS (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Tank and from Barrel

Harvesting here began on 7 September on the Côte de Nuits and on 19 September for the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits. The Clos Vougeot had high yields, but the others had smaller, but not catastrophic, yields. 

All grapes were destemmed, as is customary here. Malolactic fermentations began in January and February and went rather fast. As usual, the wines are bottled early here, and they were already in stainless steel awaiting bottling when I visited in mid-November 2016. Alcohols are about 13º for the regional appellations, 13.5º for the rest. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Northern Rhône Wines Recently Tasted Part VIII: Entrefaux/Tardy, Faurie, Faury, Gonon, Graillot, Levet, Marsanne, Paillard/Vignes des Pères, Perret Saint-Clair/Basset, Souiillard

Conventional wisdom is that 2014 is a problem vintage and 2015 is a great vintage in the region. As usual, conventional wisdom misses the true story.

There’s plenty of good 2014 around, although one wants to be careful, as always, in choosing producers. As for 2015, it has a rich style with moderate acidity, but with the wrong producers, those factors can get out of hand and the wines can become unbalanced.

Earlier reviews of Northern Rhônes are here, here here,  here hereherehere, and here 

All wines below are red, except as specifically noted otherwise. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Domaine Jacques PRIEUR (Meursault) -- 2015 Part II: Côte de Nuits Reds Tasted from Barrel Samples

As I indicated on 2015 at Prieur, many of the Côte de Beaune vineyards suffered from the hails of the three previous vintages. But beginning with the Corton-Bressandes and continuing to these wines, that was not the case, yet I found relative disappointment here. It’s almost as though there had been a reversion to the winemaking of some time ago here that prized extraction and power over finesse and precision. Or perhaps that was just the result of the very small yields of the vintage here and the fact that, with exceptions, it is the lesser appellations and not the top terroirs are the real story of 2015. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Domaine Jacques PRIEUR (Meursault) -- 2015 Part I: Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Barrel Samples

Harvesting for the reds took place between 7 and 11 September. Malolactic fermentations were rather long.

As was so often the case on the Côte de Beaune, the vineyards for most of these wines suffered from the hails of 2012-13-14 and were not at full strength.

In other news from the estate, the vines for the Vlonay-Champans have been ripped out, so there will be no wine from that vineyard for some years. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine FOLLIN-ARBELET (Aloxe-Corton) -- 2015s Tasted from Barrel and a Pair of 2014s Tasted from Bottle

Franck Follin-Arbelet said that he began harvesting on 2 September. As with the great majority of producers, he have very small yields. He included about 15-20% whole clusters overall and did very little punching down (pigeage). Malolactic fermentations were rather late here.

The wines at this estate are not flashy and not necessarily easy to understand young, but they are well worth your investigating and the wait for maturation. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Domaine CAMUS-BRUCHON (Savigny-les-Beaune) -- 2015 Tasted from Tank Sample

Guillaume Camus said that he began harvesting on 2 September and the harvest lasted 6-1/2 days. About 20-30% of the stems were retained. He gave the wines 12 months in cask before moving them to stainless steel tanks in advance of bottling. There was no bâtonnage (stirring of the lies). Malolactic fermentations began in March, which was earlier than usual, and some finished in May, some later. There were also some instances of some malos that began even later and went until August.

Gillaume said that there was so little juice that he had to really work to get it out. Alcohols are about 12.7º for the Bourgogne, 13º for the village and premier cru wines.

The vines here are generally old and extremely old and this is a very good source for wines of quality much better than the prices would suggest. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Domaine Denis MORTET (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrels

Arnaud Mortet said that he began harvesting on 3 September. He was one of the lucky ones, with overall yield of about 40 hl/ha. (2016 will be much lower because Mortet has significant holdings in areas that were hit by the 27 April 2016.) Arnaud said that he had no problem with the drought over the summer, a prime cause of low yields at other estates, because he works the soil very deep, encouraging the wines to go down, and then stopped working the soil early. Maturities were the highest ever for the estate with potential alcohols in the range of 12.5-13.6/7º. He used a fair amount of whole clusters in the vinification. Malolactic fermentations finished between March and June, which is not late for this estate.

The trend here to less use of whole clusters and less new oak continues, adding freshness and elegance to the wines.

Mortet fans will be happy that the number of offerings has increased in significant ways with new premiers and grands crus in recent years, but those mindful of price will still find good village wines at lower prices.

I found these wines less easy to judge than usual, and it is possible that they are underrated here.(Continue reading here.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Domaine Sylvain CATHIARD (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

Sébastien Cathiard said that he began harvest in 2015 on 12 September. Harvest lasted three days, and he said that he experienced no sanitary problems with the grapes. All grapes were destemmed. The wines are 12.5-13.5º alcohol with very little chaptalization.  New oak is 50% for villages wines, 55-67% for premier crus and the grand cru. Sébastien always does a mixture of remontage (pumping over) and pigeage (punching down); in 2015, he did a bit more pigeage than in 2014. Macerations lasted 24-27 days. Malolactic fermentations were late: En Orveaux was the first to finish, in April 2016, and when I visited in November, there were still some barrels of Malconsorts going. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Comte Georges de VOGÜÉ (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2014 Tasted from Bottle

My review of these wines tasted in autumn 2015 is here. The wines were bottled beginning in January 2016 with the Chambolle-Musigny through March 2016 for the Musigny. 

Technical director François Millet compares 2014 to 2011 and 2007 in the sense that there was a warm spring followed by a less sunny summer. But as good as those two earlier years were here, this group is on a higher level still. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Domaine Comte Georges de VOGÜÉ (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Tasted from Cask

Technical director François Millet said that yields were low due to the June and July dryness in 2015. In August, there was just enough rain, and harvesting began on 3 September. Malolactic fermentations finished in July. 

Although I don’t taste the white wine when I visit (because the volume is so small), in 2015 it appears that the estate will issue it as Musigny once again (the last 20-odd vintages have been declassified to Bourgogne as a result of replanting in the early 1990s; as there is no white wine permitted for the Chambolle-Musigny appellation, if the wine is not labelled Musigny, it must be declassified to Bourgogne). (Continue reading here.)