Friday, January 30, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2013 Burgundies -- Summary of Vintage Conditions

When I visited Burgundy in October and November 2013 to taste the 2012s, Sylvain Pitiot of Clos de Tart summed up the general opinion of the producers that I visited: 2012 was the most difficult vintage he’d ever done – until 2013. In spite of that, producers promised decent wines from 2013 (although in reduced quantities), but nothing more. A year later, the wines at estates I visited mostly exceeded expectations. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Domaine GACHOT-MONOT -- 2013s from Cask and Bottle, and Some 2012s from Bottle

Domaine GACHOT-MONOT (Corgoloin)

The bulk of Damien Gachot’s vines are in regional appellations (Bourgogne-Pinot Noir, -Passetoutgrains, -Chardonnay, and-Aligoté) and Côte de Nuits-Villages, but there is a small amount of village wine from Nuits-Saint-Georges and Chambolle-Musigny, and even smaller amounts of premiers crus from Nuits and Chambolle. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Domaine de COURCEL -- 2013s from Cask and a Pair of 2012s from Bottle

Domaine de COURCEL (Pommard)

2013s from Cask

Yves Confuron, of Domaine Confuron-Cotétidot that I just reviewed, is also responsible for the wines here. The wines are made the same way at both estates and Yves began harvesting for both on the same very date, October 15. Alas, there was not much to be harvested because of the disastrous hail. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Domaine CONFURON-COTETIDOT -- 2013s from Cask

Domaine CONFURON-COTETIDOT (Vosne-Romanée)

2013s from Cask

The small yields have hit especially hard here. In 2012, yields were but 20-22 hl/ha; in 2013 there were 14-16 hl/ha; and in 2014, when many Côte de Nuits producers finally received a vintage of decent size, Confuron-Cotétidot was one of a not insignificant minority that did not – same quantity as 2012. But at least one can say the same here as at many other estates that I visited –the quality did not suffer, the horrendous conditions notwithstanding. And not suffering for Confuron-Cotétidot means wines of the highest quality – on the same level as those of some other producers whose wines have now gone to speculative levels, something that has not happened here (yet). (Continue reading.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

BOUCHARD Père et Fils Part III -- 2013 Côte d'Or Whites from Cask and Bottle

BOUCHARD Père et Fils (Beaune)

2013 Côte d’Or Whites from Cask and Bottle

In addition to information about the harvest here, specific to the whites there was no leaf-pulling to allow more sun until the beginning of the preparation for harvest, September 10. In 2012, there was widespread destemming of the whites because of damage from hail, but in 2013 it was not necessary, so almost all whites are whole cluster. Unlike the reds, the white grapes had thin skins, so the early harvesting by Bouchard preserved the quality of the vintage and avoided rot that many white producers had to deal with after the October 5-6 storms.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

BOUCHARD Père et Fils Part II -- 2013 Côtes de Nuits Reds from Cask

BOUCHARD Père et Fils (Beaune)

2013 Côte de Nuits Reds from Cask

Although not struck by the hail, the problems with setting of the fruit (coulure) resulted in yields on the Côte de Nuits that were 30-50% below normal. For other information on Bouchard’s handling of the 2013 vintage, see here.

BOUCHARD Père et Fils Part I -- 2013 Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Cask and Bottle

BOUCHARD Père et Fils (Beaune)

2013 Côte de Beaune Reds from Cask and Bottle

Maître de Chai Frédéric Weber said that harvesting began on September 30 and finished on October 11. By October 5, when a major storm hit, 80% of the vines had been harvested. As elsewhere, the loose clusters helped protect against rot. But the Côte de Beaune vineyards were hit by hail, suffering 40-70% losses. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Domaine Hubert LIGNIER -- 2012s Tasted from Bottle

Domaine Hubert LIGNIER (Morey-Saint-Denis)

2012s Tasted from Bottle

Laurent Lignier said that volume in 2012 was about half a normal crop. He did almost no chaptalization. The wines were bottled between June and August 2014, a little later than most producers, and the bottling was done by gravity and without fining or filtration. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Domaine Hubert LIGNIER -- 2013s tasted from Cask

Domaine Hubert LIGNIER (Morey-Saint-Denis)

2013s Tasted from Cask

Laurent Lignier said that volume in 2013 in general was a bit more than in 2012. In 2014, volumes are better, but there was some mid-July 2014 hail that hit about 10-20% of the vines in Morey and Gevrey. 2014 also marked the year that the estate moved into organic viticulture. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Domaine Jean-Marc et Hugues PAVELOT -- 2013s tasted fro Cask

Domaine Jean-Marc et Hugues PAVELOT (Savigny-les-Beaune)

2013s Tasted from Cask

Hugues Pavelot reported that the crop was down 50-60% from a normal vintage overall, they were about 20 hl/ha. He said that harvesting began on October 3, and rot at harvest was not especially bad because he had earlier taken off a large part of the hail-damaged clusters. (Continue reading here.) 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Joseph DROUHIN Part I -- 2013 Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Beaune -- Cask Samples and from Bottle

Joseph DROUHIN (Beaune)

Part I: 2013 Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise
Tasted from Cask and Bottle

The story here is the same as elsewhere – late harvest, heavy (20-90%) on the Côte de Beaune from Meursault north due to hail, small yields even where there was no hail due to coulure and millerandage (set problems and small berries), late harvest. The cool conditions at harvest meant that various cellar processes were slower than usual. The good news, along with the quality of the wines, is that except for Beaune-Clos des Mouches, prices will remain stable (presumably in euros, so that there will be a reduction in dollars and, to a lesser extent, pounds).

Domaine LEFLAIVE -- 2013s from Cask

Domaine LEFLAIVE (Puligny-Montrachet)

2013s Tasted from Cask

Antoine LePetit said that while still small (there was a little damage from the July 23 hail, and then the small berries with little juice), 2013 was considerably larger in quantity than 2012. 2014 will return to normal yields. The harvesting began on September 28, finishing on October 6. He said it was difficult to prioritize what to do because of the constantly changing conditions. In particular, botrytis began to show around October 3-4. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Domaine de LA POUSSE D'OR -- 2013s Tasted from Cask

Domaine de LA POUSSE D’OR (Volnay)

2013s Tasted from Cask

Harvesting began on October 2 and finished on October 8. Lots of sorting was necessary. As is customary here, the grapes were entirely destemmed. The malolactic fermentations were relatively late, with most finishing in May and June, a few continuing into July. Obviously, quantities are very reduced on the Côte de Beaune, where almost all the vineyards suffered from the hail; on the Côte de Nuits, the yields varied from one vineyard to the next. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Louis JADOT Part IV -- 2013 Whites Tasted from Cask

Louis JADOT (Beaune)

Part IV – 2013 Whites Tasted from Cask

For the most part, Meursault escaped the hail, and Puligny, Chassagne, and Santenay did not suffer from the hail. The vineyards further north at Savigny-Pernand, on the other hand, were very badly hit – as you’ll see below, they produced wines of quality, just not much in quantity. Malolactic fermentations were blocked for some of the wines after the second week. Overall, it looks like a very good vintage for the whites here. (Continue reading here.)

Louis JADOT Part III -- 2013 Central and Southern Côte de Nuits from Cask

Louis JADOT (Beaune)

Part III – 2013 Southern and Central Côte de Nuits
Tasted from Cask

As with the Northern Côte de Nuits, there are very good wines here with a few potentially great ones that, alas, are available only in very tiny quantities. (Continue reading here.)

Louis JADOT Part II -- 2013 Northern Côte de Nuits from Cask

Louis JADOT (Beaune)

Part II -- 2013 Northern Côte de Nuits Tasted from Cask

Jadot has a rash of outstanding premiers crus from this area, and some ravishing grands crus, too. (Continue reading.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Louis JADOT Part I -- 2013 Côte de Beaune Reds from Cask

Louis JADOT (Beaune)

Part I -- 2013 Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Cask

Technical Director Frédéric Barnier said that overall, village wines are down 20-30% in volume from a normal year. For Pernand-Vergelesses, the figure is 40-50%; for Savigny-les-Beaune, almost all was destroyed; for Beaune, the hail destruction was 60-70%, with the worst losses in the southern part of the appellation and high on the hill. Meursault was not so badly hit. For the Beaune premiers crus, the losses were 33% in some areas, 75% in others, and overall, about 50%. For vineyards affected by hail, there was not a lot to sort, but where there was a good crop, there was also a lot of sorting to do.

MOMMESIN (CLOS DE TART) -- 2013 Tasted from Cask

MOMMESIN (CLOS DE TART) (Morey-Saint-Denis)

Sylvain Pitiot, who has guided this property so well since 1996 is retiring. As of January 1, 2015 Jacques Devagues, most recently of Domaine de l’Arlot, has taken over as Sylvain’s successor. Sylvain will stay on to work with Devagues for three months and then continue to consult through the vinification of the 2015 vintage. Obviously, I wish both of them the best.

Domaine BONNEAU-DU-MARTRAY -- 2013s from Cask

Domaine BONNEAU-DU-MARTRAY (Pernand-Vergelesses)

2013s Tasted from Cask

Like so many estates on the Côte de Beaune, this estate has been hit hard by the hails of 2012-2013-2014. With yields of 13.64 hl/ha for the Corton-Charlemagne and 10.83 hl/ha for the Corton, there is only 30% of a normal crop in 2013 and with the small crop in 2012, no more left to sell (or for me to taste).

Both wines are highly successful:

2013 Corton-Charlemagne
The nose here is most pure. The body is medium-full with classic, complex hazelnut flavors. The wine is long and intense with a seamless combination of finesse and power. This is one of the most impressive Corton-Charlemagnes in my long history of visits to this estate.

The grapes were harvested from late morning October 7 until October 11. The skies were gray, but only on October 10 was there rain, and that was followed by wind that quickly dried the grapes. Here, too, the grapes that survived the hail were in healthy condition. The malolactic fermentations began in December 2013 and were finished by late March 2014. (94-98)

2013 Corton
The red Corton is pure, intense, concentrated, and balanced with a steely texture and minerality. Coming from white grape, it of course is different from the Cortons such as Bressandes, Clos-du-Roy, and Renardes of the east-facing slope, but just as compelling, nevertheless.

The red Corton is from grapes harvested the afternoon of October 6 and the morning of October 7. With the dried, hail-affected grapes eliminated, there was need to take out only 6% of what was left on the table de trie. As always since 1995, the grapes are completely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations were late, beginning in May 2014 and finished in mid-August. (93-96)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Domaine des Comtes LAFON -- 2013s from Cask

Domaine des Comtes LAFON (Meursault)

2013s Tasted from Cask

Dominique Lafon said that he began picking with the whites on September 25 and finished the harvest on October 9, with a two-day pause in between. He said that he didn’t have to do much triage and that the vibrating table de trie was very effective in taking out the dry berries (which resulted from hail damage). The whites suffered virtually no hail, only the reds. Still, the harvest for white (as well as red, of course) was very reduced because the grapes were small and had very little juice in them. The whites constitute about 50% of a normal harvest, the reds about 1/3 of a normal harvest.

Chaptalization was on the order of 0.5º. Malolactic fermentations were very slow, and indeed some had not finished when I visited on November 18.

As always, we start with the reds, which are entirely from destemmed grapes:

2013 Monthélie 1er Cru – Les Duresses
For what little has been produced, this is a minor gem with pure, delicate red cherry fruit and nice acidic support. (89-92)

2013 Volnay 1er Cru – Clos des Chênes
But two barrels (600 bottles) of this wine in 2013. The wine shows greater density than usual, although the customary laciness is there, along with pure raspberry fruit. (90-94)

2013 Volnay 1er Cru – Les Champans
Here there are but four barrels in 2013. The wine is fleshy, as is typical, with dark fruit and quite a bit of tannin. (90-93)

2013 Volnay 1er Cru – Santenots-du-Milieu
The nose here is smoky. The mouth is smooth, silky, and dense with red and dark cherry fruit and good structure. It is clearly a step above the others and should be outstanding. (92-95)

Next to the whites:

2013 Meursault
The Meursault shows good, spicy mouth with liveliness and length. The yields may be tiny, but the wine is a major success. (90-93)

2013 Meursault    Clos de la Barre
There was just a little hail here. At least a part of the wine was put in stainless steel to get it to finish malolactic fermentation and then put back in barrel. The wine is quite primary, but has plenty of substance. (90-93)

2013 Meursault   Désirée
The vines here are now about 7-8 years old. The nose is floral, the mouth dense, pure, and long, although the complexity of the Clos de la Barre (from much older vines) is not there. (87-91)

2013 Meursault 1er Cru – Bouchères
This wine was only 75+% finished with its malolactic fermentation. It is full and lemony with finesse that often is not found in Bouchères. (90-93)

2013 Meursault 1er Cru – La Goutte d’Or
The Goutte d’Or is light on the palate with good finesse and saltiness. It should make an excellent wine – keeping in mind that Goutte d’Or normally is a wine that needs some time in bottle to achieve its full potential. (91-94)

2013 Meursault 1er Cru – Porouzots
The vines here are about 50 years-old. This is another wine that was transferred to stainless steel to promote the finishing of the malolactic fermentation, and then retransferred back to barrel. The wine is long and buttery with good finesse and excellent length. (91-94)

2013 Meursault 1er Cru – Genevrières
The vines here are about 70 years old. The wine shows coconut aromas. The mouth is light and just short of sucrosity in texture. There’s plenty of density here. This an excellent wine, even if I have preferred Lafon’s Genevrières from other vintages. (92-95)

2013 Meursault 1er Cru – Charmes
This wine is medium-weight with good structure, liveliness, and length. (92-95)

2013 Meursault 1er Cru – Perrières
This wine was racked in July and Dominique said that he was planning on bottling it soon. The wine shows finesse, purity, and depth, but is less tightly-wound than in some years. In short, an extremely good wine, but Perrières can be much greater than this. (92-95)

2013 Montrachet
Here is the one appellation where Lafon managed to get decent yields. Crop is 90% of normal. The wine is deep, pure, buttery, and complex – here we have an outstanding Montrachet, that is, a great, maybe very great, wine. (95-99)

Olivier BERNSTEIN -- 2013s from Cask

Olivier BERNSTEIN (Beaune)

This was my first visit to Olivier Bernstein, and I have no prior experience with the wines from bottle. Unfortunately, when I visited, M. Bernstein had a problem with his train from Paris, so I was not able to meet him; however his cellarmaster was an informed host. 

This is a negociant operation, with Bernstein purchasing grapes from which he makes wines. (He owns the Gevrey-Champeaux and Mazis-Chambertin parcels.) Bernstein began in Burgundy with the 2007 vintage, and beginning with 2011, he established a most stylish aging cellar in central Beaune, although the grapes are vinified in Gevrey-Chambertin. Currently, eleven wines are being made: one village, three premiers crus, and seven grands crus.

2013s from Cask
The wines here are aged entirely in new oak. The barrel maker is Chassin and the wood comes from Fontainebleau and Jupie.

Harvesting began on September 29. In 2013, Bernstein generally used 50% whole clusters – the policy changes according to the vintage. The stems are collected in the vineyards. The first team cuts off the small clusters and the second team the larger ones. The smaller clusters are then used for the whole cluster fermentation. Generally, chaptalization is 0.3-0.8º.

These wines are extremely well-made. They are also rather modern in style, not of a style that appeals to me. The wines are dark, relatively extracted, and woody with a smooth, often creamy texture – admittedly, they less woody as one goes up in appellation. If one finds that the wines resemble those from Bernard Dugat-Py, it’s no surprise, as Bernstein’s cellarmaster is Dugat-Py’s nephew.

I expect to get a better view on Bernstein’s wines in a few months when I’ll have the opportunity to taste some from bottle. For the moment, given my respect for how well-made the wines are but also recognizing that the style seems not to be for me, I present my observations alone – I would not know how to formulate a score.

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin
This comes from several parcels near Clos Prieur. The vines are 40-60 years-old. The nose is very wood with good dark fruit below. The mouth is smooth with dark fruit and good structure, especially for the vintage.

2013 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Lavrottes
Here the vines are 28 years-old. The nose shows a very strong oak overlay. The mouth shows the finesse that I have found in the past for Lavrottes, despite its situation below Bonnes-Mares, with dark fruit, and a light, almost Volnay-Caillerets-like texture. The wine would be pretty, were it not so heavily-marked by the oak.

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru – Les Champeaux
The Champeaux is less woody in the nose than the Lavrottes. The mouth shows finesse with a light texture and dark fruit. This is a pretty wine, but I’m not sure that it expresses what I think of as Champeaux.

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru – Les Cazetiers
The vines here are more than 50 years-old. In both nose and mouth, the wood has been somewhat digested compared to earlier wines. The mouth shows more penetration and power than that of the Champeaux, although there still is quite a bit of finesse that combines with a creamy texture. I find more typicity of vineyard here than in the Champeaux.

2013 Charmes-Chambertin
Here the vines average 48 years. The nose is quite woody. The mouth is dark and dense with finesse, but it is almost impenetrable, nevertheless.

2013 Clos-Vougeot
The vines are in the middle of the Clos, near Echézeaux. They are about fifty years-old. 60% whole cluster in this wine. This wine is dense with some wood showing as well as the finesse of the vintage. It is very long in its dark fruit and shows good acidity.

2013 Clos de la Roche
The nose shows good minerality. The mouth is calm with none of the tension I usually associate with Clos de la Roche (but which is absent from many wines from that vineyard in 2013). The wine has good finesse, penetration, and length.

2013 Bonnes-Mares
This wine is rather southern in its situation in Bonnes-Mares and has more white than red soils. The wood is better digested here than in any of the preceding wines, and the terroir does come through more clearly, as a result. The wine is a bit dry on the finish, but has nice elegance. The vines here are 80 years-old and 80% whole clusters were used on this wine.

2013 Mazis-Chambertin
This wine is from 80+ year-old vines in the Mazis-bas part of the vineyard. It displays finesse with dark fruit, penetration, and length. There’s plenty of attractiveness to this wine, but it’s in a style I still am not understanding.

2013 Chambertin-Clos-de-Bèze
The wine shows finesse with dark fruit, purity, and length, along with wood tannins. It is an introspective wine.

2013 Chambertin
The wine is dark and dense with finesse, a silky texture, enormous length and great balance. There is finesse here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Domaine Paul et Marie JACQUESON -- 2013s from Bottle and a 2012 from Bottle

Domaine Paul et Marie JACQUESON (Rully)

This estate was created in 1966 by Paul Jacqueson’s grandfather, and over the years it has rightly built a reputation as one of the best sources on the Côte Chalonnaise, both for red and white wines. I am always happy to find the wines on a restaurant list or in a store, as I know I will find stylish quality at a most attractive price.

In the vineyards, the estate practices lutte raisonnée (use of non-organic treatments only as a last resort) with no herbicides at all. The fields are worked by hand and by machine

2013s from Bottle

Vintage conditions on the Côte Chalonnaise were essentially the same as in the Côte d’Or. Happily, hail was not a factor in 2013. Harvesting began on September 29 and finished on October 12. There was triage for the reds and even more so for the whites. All grapes are destemmed here. Chaptalization was on the order of 1º in 2013 (there was none in either 2012 or 2014). The reds are all bottled without filtration.

We start with the white wines:

2013 Bouzeron  Les Cordères
Bouzeron, of course, is entirely from Aligoté. The vines were planted in 1937. The wine raised in wooden barrels. It is fresh, light, and mineral. 87/B+

2013 Rully 1er Cru – Margotés
The Margotés is from vines planted in 1999. It is raised 20% in new oak. The wine is light, smooth, mineral, and pure. 89/A-

2013 Rully 1er Cru – La Pucelle
The Pucelle is the white that I most frequently find in restaurants and shops. It comes from vines planted in 1992. The soils are mostly limestone, but there is some clay. The nose has pure lime blossom aromas. The mouth is pure, light, and focused with lime and mineral flavors. 91/A

2013 Rully 1er Cru – Grésigny
The Grésigny is from vines planted in 1950 on rocky limestone soils. It, too, is raised 20% in new oak. The wine is denser than the foregoing with purity and clarity. 90+/A

2013 Rully 1er Cru – Raclot
The Raclot is from vines planted in 1991 in a vineyard next to Les Clous. There are but 22 ares planted, so it is a rarity. The wine is dense, pure, light, fresh, and mineral. 90/A

Next we turn to the reds:

2013 Rully 1er Cru – Les Chaponnières
This wine is from vines planted in 1987 on clay soils. It is fresh and pure with crunchy dark fruits. 90/A

2013 Rully 1er Cru – Les Clous
This wine comes from vines planted in 1967 on limestone-clay soils. It is fresh and crunchy with dark fruit and finesse. It is an outstanding wine. 92/A

2013 Mercurey 1er Cru – Les Naugues
The Naugues is from vines planted in 1962. 25% new oak on this wine. The nose is quite mineral and pure. The mouth shows dark fruit and more body and power than the Clous, but still with finesse and freshness. 91/A

A 2012 from Bottle

2012 Rully 1er Cru – Les Clous

This is denser than the 2013 version with depth and dark fruits, especially blueberries. Like the 2013, it is a lovely wine. 92/A