Sunday, March 11, 2018

BOUCHARD Père & Fils (Beaune) -- 2016 Part III: Whites Tasted from Bottle and Barrel/Tank Samples

Bouchard generally harvested the Chardonnays after the Pinot Noirs in 2016. More on vintage conditions is located here.

Malolactic fermentations generally were a little later than usual because the cold winter of 2016-17 cooled the cellar. As a rule, they began between January and March and finished in mid-June. Barrels were rolled (bâtonnage) two or three times.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

BOUCHARD Père & Fils (Beaune) -- 2016 Part I: Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Cask and Tank Samples

Harvesting began on 21 September; it finished, on the Côte de Nuits, on 6 October. The grapes were in excellent health, but triage was needed nonetheless to eliminate those second and third generation grapes that had not fully ripened. Overall, crop was 50% off a full vintage, the smallest since 2003; in addition to the frost, mildew seriously held down the crop, and in some areas vines were blocked by the drought in the second half of the summer. 

Vinification varied according to the level of yields. Where there were low yield vines and concentrated grape bunches, maceration was eight to ten days and the crush was moderated to limit extraction. Where yields were normal and bunches larger, the maceration was ten to thirteen days. There was no pigeage (punching down).

For the red wines, malolactic fermentations generally were early.

Beginning with the 2016 vintage, Bouchard will have a new label. Instead of the current label, which is quite individual and therefore easily identifiable at a distance, the new one is understated and almost generic in appearance. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Domaine FOLLIN-ARBELET (Aloxe-Corton) -- 2016s Tasted from Barrel and a Pair of 2015s from Bottle

Franck Follin-Arbelet said that losses from the frost meant that he did only about 30-35% of a full harvest. The harvesting began on 22 September. There was no red Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru in 2016, and the Aloxe-Corton and  Aloxe-Vercots also suffered badly. However,  following on the frost, there were no problems with mildew, and as a result, there was no need to do a triage. Whole clusters were used in about 10-20%, he said, but more for volume than anything else. 

Malolactic fermentations were late, many finishing in spring, but others dragged on until September.

As usual, there is very good quality here, and the best values probably come from the premier cru wines. The wines show the freshness of the vintage, a contrast to the 2015s where it is the power and ripeness that dominate. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Domaine H. de MONTILLE (Meursault) -- 2016 Part I: Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Barrel Samples

Harvesting for de Montille and associated Château de Puligny-Montrachet began on 17 September. There was light chaptalization for a couple of cuvées, otherwise none, and no acidification.

The vintage required 13 treatments for mildew and oïdium vs. 8 in 2017.

Overall, the estate was down 20% from a full harvest, but some areas such as Pommard and Beaune, suffered much more seriously. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Domaine David DUBAND (Chavannes) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

David Duband characterized the amount of production in 2015 as “rather good.” 

As with the 2016s discussed in the prior posts, these are very elegant wines, stressing the finesse more than most and light on the palate. They they may not be to the taste of all. 

The estate has been certified organic since 2006.

As mentioned previously, the same wines may also be found under the François Feuillet label. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Domaine David DUBAND (Chavannes) -- 2016 Part I: Premiers Crus, Village, and Regional Wines Tasted from Barrel

David Duband said that overall, he lost about 40% of a normal production in 2016; Morey was ok, there were some losses in Gevrey, and heavy losses in Nuits and Chambolle.

Harvesting began on 25 September. There was no triage. Generally, the wines in Chambolle were composed 80% of whole clusters, for Gevrey it was 95-100%. Malolactic fermentations finished over the winter. New oak is 30% for the Hautes Côtes de Nuits and village wines, 40% for the premiers and grands crus.

These wines are in a style of great finesse — some may find them too light, but I appreciate them for their purity and overall harmony.

You may also find some of these wines under the François Feuillet label; Feuillet is a financial backer of Duband. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Domaine Jacques PRIEUR (Meursault) -- 2016 Part II -- Red Grands Crus Tasted from Barrel Samples

Prieur’s grand cru holdings are among the most enviable in the Côte d’Or. Not just these reds, but also Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, and Corton-Charlemagne (as well as Meursault-Perrières and Puligny-Combettes) in white, which I’ll review in my next post. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Domaine Jean-Marc & Thomas BOULEY (Volnay) -- 2016 Tasted from Tank and Barrel

Thomas Bouley said that overall, he lacked about 70% of a normal crop, making it the smallest vintage since 2012. Harvesting began on 20 September with the reds; the only white was the Aligoté, which is always the last wine harvested here. No red Bourgogne or Beaune 1er Cru Reversées was produced in 2016.

Under the difficult conditions, successful wines were made, and I look forward to tasting the 2017s. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Recently Tasted Northern Rhônes Part X -- 2014, 2015, and 2016: Domaine des 4 Vents, Balthazar, Belle, Burgaud, Clape, Curtat, Darnaud, Durand

All wines below are red unless otherwise indicated. 

2015 and 2016 both are looking like spectacular vintages with more power to the 2015s, a little more freshness to the 2016s, to make a gross generalization; and the 2014s from the proper addresses are not to be snubbed, either. But as always, be aware that your producer is your best guide.

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

(Continue reading here.)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Joseph DROUHIN (Beaune) -- 2016 Part III: Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Bottle and Barrel Samples

In the areas hit by frost, although later generation grapes largely did catch up to the first generation grapes, substantial triage nevertheless was necessary to eliminate those grapes that did were not fully ripe. Drouhin uses whole clusters in vintages it feels are appropriate, but here, in order to preserve the fresh and fruity quality of the wines, grapes were either mostly or entirely destemmed.

Of particular note, also, is that year-in and year-out, Drouhin provides outstanding wine and great value for the lesser appellations. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, February 2, 2018

Joseph DROUHIN (Beaune) -- 2016 Part II: Premier and Grand Cru Whites Tasted from Bottle and Barrel Sample

These high-end whites are typical of what I found in my visits for 2016: fresh wines often with good energy that are typical of their terroirs. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Joseph DROUHIN (Beaune) -- 2016 Part I: Chablis Village, 1er Cru, and Grand Cru; Côte Chalonnaise; and Côte d'Or Village Whites Tasted from Bottle

Harvest dates are given below for each wine. All grapes were destemmed.  Many of Drouhin’s whites started malolactic fermentation in the autumn before the weather turned cold. 

In Chablis, Drouhin’s 2016 yield was less than half a crop. All the damage was due to the frost; the hail on 13 May did not affect Drouhin’s wines. What remained on the vines made for very good wines, though.

These Chablis wines go under the name Drouhin-Vaudon, the Domaine de Vaudon being Drouhin’s initial purchase in the region, many years ago.

The Vaudéir and Clos were raised in oak, the others in stainless steel. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Domaine Hubert et Laurent LIGNIER (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2016 Part I: Regional and Village Wines Tasted from Bottle and Barrel

Laurent Lignier said that he lost quite a bit of crop in the Nuits-Saint-Georges, Chambolle-Musigny, Bourgogne, Bourgne-Aligoté, Bourgogne-Passetoutgrains, and Pommard appellations. But the Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin appellations were rather normal in yield, and indeed a bit above 2014.

2016 was the first vintage of conversion to organic viticulture and that gave problems with the mildew, mostly in the vineyards lower down from the slopes. 

Harvesting began on 28 September. There was no chaptalization. Whole clusters were used for some wines. With the cold cellar here, malolactic fermentations tended to be rather late — they finished between April and September, with most finishing in June and July. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Domaine Georges MUGNERET-GIBOURG (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Harvesting here began 24 September. All grapes were destemmed. Malolactic fermentations were “classic”— finishing in spring and the wines were racked in June. 

As with the majority estates that I visited, there was at least one wine that will not be made or commercialized in 2016; here, it was the Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru, Les Feusselottes. But what wine was made in the other appellations is, as usual, worthy of the most serous attention. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

My review of these wines tasted from barrel the previous year is here. As  you can see, it is a particularly successful vintage, and as with so many other producers, the lower appellations are particularly strong, providing a compression of quality. (Continue reading here.)

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.)