Monday, January 22, 2018

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Frédéric Mugnier said that harvest began on 25 September. Crop size was about half normal. There was no triage and no chaptalization, and all grapes were destemmed. Some alcoholic fermentations finished in barrel, which is unusual. Malolactic fermentations were rather light, mostly finishing in the spring. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Domaine MÉO-CAMUZET (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Tank and Barrel Samples

Jean-Nicolas Méo said that for Vosne-Romanée vineyards, the yields were fairly normal; for Clos-de-Vougeot, they were about 70-75% normal; and for the négociant wines, they were about 2/3 of normal, although for Chambolle-Musigny, that figure was only 1/3.

Harvesting generally began on 26 September, although a little was taken in on the 24th. Not much sorting was necessary. No chaptalization was done, and yet alcohols are just a little above those of 2015. Malolactic fermentations finished in March, April, and May, which is rather normal. Jean-Nicolas noted that lab analyses of the pHs show higher that he thought — most are around 3.5, although a few are around 3.7.

Wines marked with an asterisk (*) are négociant wines under the Méo-Camuzet Frère & Soeurs label. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Domaine de la ROMANÉE-CONTI (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

Aubert de Villaine called the vintage the most beautiful that he has ever seen from the standpoint of the the condition of the vines. The truth is, it’s one more extremely beautiful vintage at the Domaine, where it seems that no foot can go wrong, regardless of the challenges and the style of the vintage. But as I’ve mentioned in other posts, many 2015s have already begun to close up, and I could see that happening with these wines.

Details of the vintage and my tasting of these wines from barrel in November 2016 are here.

The wines were bottled between February and April 2017. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Domaine de la ROMANÉE-CONTI (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

The frost on the morning of 27 April, devastating that Bâtard-Montrachet (not offered to the public) and the Montrachet, and severely hitting the Grands-Echézeaux and Echézeaux vineyards. (The rest — Corton, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Richebourg, La Tâche, and Romanée-Conti — escaped damage completely or almost completely.) 

The rain in the early part of the vintage was relentless, surpassing the totals of 1910 that had wiped out almost completely the production for that vintage. As with most organic and biodynamic estates that I visited, the mildew resulting from the humid conditions was ferocious and required vigilance and a great deal of work in the vineyards. Additionally, there was the long flowering period (9-25 June), leading to expectation of uneven ripening. But then the warm, dry weather came, allowing the grapes to develop and for overall even ripening. With some rain before harvest to refresh the vines, everything in the second half went as well as could be hoped.

Already by 15 September, the grapes were quite ripe, but they were allowed to develop a further week. Harvesting was from 22 to 29 September, with the dates for each wine indicated below.

For the second consecutive vintage, there was no botrytis. With the even ripening, there was almost no sorting of the grapes necessary, and whole clusters were largely used throughout. 

The result at the Domaine is yet another vintage of great wines.

As you may already know, the frost so severely affected the Chassagne side of Montrachet that there essentially was no harvest. Seven Montrachet producers (Amiot, Lafon, Fleurot-Larose, Lamy-Pillot, Leflaive, Petitjean, and the Domaine) from the Chassagne side combined their meager crop to produce just over two barrels of wine, vinified by Leflaive. The bottles will be divided among the producers; it’s not clear what will then happen, but it is possible that the bottles will be put up for a charity auction.

Finally before the reviews, I should mention that Bernard Noblet, who has been with the Domaine since 1978 and was the chef de cave since 1986, retired at the end of 2017. You don’t need me to tell you that Bernard did a superb job as the right-hand-man at the estate. His successor is Alexandre Bernier, a young vigneron, who has already worked at the estate for several years, and so one expects nothing other than a smooth hand-off. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Domaine François LAMARCHE (Vose-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel Samples

Harvesting began on 26 September. Overall losses were half of a normal crop. Each cuvéecontains 30% whole clusters. No new oak was used so that the vintage can be seen as it is, explained Nathalie Lamarche; it is a spiritual vintage for expression of Pinot Noir, and so this is what the estate wishes to emphasize. Malolactic fermentations were rather late here. 

These wines were served from barrel samples at room temperature. I’m used to tasting (and drinking) Burgundy at cellar temperature, so the warmth of the wines added an additional challenge to their evaluation. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Domaine Ghislaine BARTHOD (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Harvesting here began on 24 September. What little there was from the Combottes and Châtelots vineyards was declassified to the village Chambolle. For the rest, the harvest is down 50-60% from a normal vintage. 

As usual, all grapes were destemmed. There was no chaptalization here, with the grapes being picked at 12.5-13.3º natural alcohol. Malolactic fermentations finished in March and April. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Domaine Louis BOILLOT et Fils (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Part II: Côte de Nuits Reds Tasted from Barrel

Background on the harvest at Boillot is here.

This remarkable selection of wines shows wines potentially at the level of the an appellation above; that is, the Bourgogne at the level of a good village wine, the village wines at the level of good premiers crus, and the premiers crus at the level of grands crus. With high prices due to low stocks and high demand for Burgundy, it is wines such as this that most Burgundy fans need to focus on. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Domaine Louis BOILLOT et Fils (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Part I: Côte de Beaune Tasted from Barrel

Louis Boillot has much of his vineyards located in the areas most affected by the frost — especially village Volnay, Pommard, and Beaune; Nuits-Pruliers; Gevrey-Chambertin; Volnay-Champans; and Volnay-Caillerets with overall losses of 70-80% from a normal vintage. The wine that was made is worthy of your serious interest.

Harvesting began around 19 or 20 September. As always, grapes were entirely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations were early, with many finishing by Christmas, others in March. 

Louis is looking to March and April 2018 for bottling.

All these wines are of very good quality, but pay attention to the village wines, which are almost at the same level as the premiers crus. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Domaine DUJAC (Morey-Saint-Denis -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

At least as showing for the moment, one can see with Dujac’s wines the ceiling one hits for the top wines in 2015 compared with the greater potential for the top appellations in 2016. But one can also see with several of these wines that the 2015 vintage is closing down early.

My review of these wines and other Dujac wines tasted from barrel in November 2016 is here and here. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Domaine DUJAC (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2016 Part III: Grands Crus Tasted from Barrel

I’ve mentioned previously that in 2015, one sees the vintage’s strength in the quality of the lesser appellations; the wines from the grands crus can be truly outstanding, but with a small number of exceptions, the grands crus hit ceilings that are below their maximum potential. In 2016, although there are very good wines from top producers from lesser appellations, it is with the top appellations that one sees the vintage at its most impressive. And that is certainly the case with Dujac, where the vintage has been most successful. These wines are all in the top group for their respective appellations, and the more one continues through the list, the greater the wines get and the fewer the challengers for top wine of the appellation. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

DUJAC (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2016 Part II: Premier Cru Reds (Domaine and Maison Fils & Père) Tasted from Barrel

There’s quite a good selection here, and quality goes from good for premier cru to what would be more than good for grand cru. Alas, the Chambolle-Gruenchers, habitually one of my favorite wines at this estate, was declassified into the village Chambolle due to minute quantity, as I previously reported. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Domaine Comte Georges de VOGÜÉ (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

As with virtually everywhere in Chambolle-Musigny, the vines suffered greatly from the April 27/28 frost, especially from sunburn as the sun passed through the ice. Overall loss was 70% of a normal crop (that is, production was only 30% of a normal crop). Even that could have been worse, but as with other producers I visited, the second crop manage to catch up to the first crop by harvest, which began on 24 September. 

Other than the Bonnes-Mares, no pigeage (punching down) was used on these wines. Malolactic fermentations finished in June and July, which is normal for de Vogüé.

Technical director François Millet has become known for his poetic descriptions of each vintage. For 2016, he said the message is the month of May: not too hot, not too cold, lots of flowers. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Maison MARCHAND-TAWSE (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- 2016 Part III: Whites Tasted from Tank

Marchand-Tawse is known best for its red wines, which are produced in much greater number than the whites. But the wines below demonstrate that the whites are also worthy of attention, and the amply demonstrate the favorable aspects of the vintage’s whites. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Domaine Emmanuel ROUGET (Flagey-Echézeaux) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Overall, Emmanuel Rouget said, he only has 20% of a normal crop, although the Cros Parantoux and Beaumonts vineyards did escape the frost.

Harvesting began on 1 October. There was very little triage, and as usual here, all grapes were destemmed. There was no chaptalization and alcohols are almost the same as in 2015.

Malolactic fermentations are a little on the late side — the Bourgogne-Passetoutgrains had not even started when I visited on the last day of October, and the Bourgogne-Hautes Côtes de Nuits was still in full malo. (It’s not unusual for Rouget to still have wines in malo when I visit in October-November.)

Bottling will take place in July, as usual.

As usual, this is an excellent set of wines. Emmanuel says that the acidity of the vintage gives the wines energy and finesse. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Domaine Georges NOËLLAT/Maison Maxime CHEURLIN-NOËLLAT (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Maxime Cheurlin said that losses overall were 40% from a full harvest. There was little triage, but many passes in the vineyards that froze were required. 

All grapes were destemmed. Malolactic fermentations were late, and indeed, some still had not finished when I visited on 31 October; I tasted those near the end of their malos, but others I did not. Additionally, four appellations were not made in 2016 because of damage from the frost. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Domaine Henri GOUGES (Nuits-Saint-Georges): 2016 Tasted from Barrel and a 2015 and 2014 Tasted from Bottle

Gregory Gouges reported that production overall in 2016 was 16 hl/ha, roughly half of what the estate aims for each year. The vineyards south of Nuits suffered the most. The two flagship vineyards, Vaucrains and Les Saint-Georges, yielded but 10 and 11 hl/ha, respectively. The wine from two vineyards, Chaignots (50% of a normal crop) and Chênes Carteaux (10% of a normal crop) was declassified into the village Nuits in order to keep the village wine quantity sufficient (it is necessary to insure a sufficient quantity of village wine for commercial reasons, such as supply to restaurants).

There was a little mildew, but the estate continued to work without chemical treatments, and in the end, only about 2-3% was lost to mildew.

Harvest took place between 3 and 7 October, finishing before the rain. There was almost no triage — the harvesters were instructed not to take bunches that were not good, and in the end, only about 2-3% was eliminated. The estate uses chaptalization only in years where there is insufficient maturity or there is some dilution due to large yield, neither of which was the case in 2016. Pigeage and remontage (punching down and pumping over) were like normal, but fermentation temperatures were a little lower than usual because of the lower masses. As usual here, whole clusters were not used.

Malolactic fermentations began in December; the reds finished in June, but the whites were later — finishing just a little before my visit at the end of October.

Bottling will probably begin in early 2018.(Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Domaine TRAPET Père & Fils (Gevrey-Chambertin): 2016 Tasted from Tank and Cask

Jean-Louis Trapet said that the frost affected the wines in Chambertin and Marsannay, but not really the other appellations. With the rain at the beginning of the season, the vineyards had to be worked manually. Additionally, there was mildew that weakened the vines. As a result, the first half of the season was quite difficult. However, with the favorable second half of the year, things went differently, and once again this estate has come up with some of the most brilliant wines in Burgundy.

Harvesting began around 27-28 September, and a significant triage of the grapes was necessary. Fermentations included some whole clusters, and there was very little chaptalization — only enough to prolong fermentations. Malolactic fermentations were late here, as is usually the case. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Domaine ROSSIGNOL-TRAPET (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- A Pair of 2015s Tasted from Bottle

A couple of bottles were already open when I visited to taste the 2016s, and here were my views: (Continue reading here.)

Domaine ROSSIGNOL-TRAPET (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Losses here were heavy in parts of Gevrey-Chambertin, not to mention the Côte de Beaune holdings. Losses were not only due to the frost, but also the following mildew, which seems to have posed a special challenge to many biodynamic estates such as this one in 2016.

At harvest, there was a little triage, but most of the grapes were healthy. There was just a little chaptalization — to extend fermentation time. As in 2015 and 2017, here was no pigeage (punching down). About 25-30% whole clusters were included in the wines. Malolactic fermentations here were very early, finished by Christmas 2016. Overall, the wines seemed lighter in extraction and more elegant than in some other vintages here presumably a result of the lack of pigeage.

The lesser appellations should be bottled around Christmas this year; for the remainder, bottling should take place from February through the end of May 2018. (Continue reading here.)