Sunday, January 31, 2016

Domaine Follin-Arbelet (Aloxe-Corton) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask

Franck Follin-Arbelet said that he began harvest on 12 September. The vines were badly hit by the hail, but aside from that, there was no botrytis even though there was plenty of rain over the summer. He did have to do a trie to sort out grapes damaged by the hail, by sunburn, and by acetic rot from the Asian fruit fly (one parcel in Aloxe-Corton).  Overall, yields are down about 20-25% from the maximums (in 2015 it is down 40-50%). Grapes were entirely destemmed in 2014. Malolactic fermentations were heterogenous, although most finished in July, August, and September. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal (Bligny-les-Beaune) -- 2014s Tasted from Bottle and Tank

Claude Maréchal is a prime example of how the producer should be your first and most important focus in selecting wines. He has but a single premier cru, Les Lavières in Savigny-les-Beaune; other holdings are either Côte de Beaune village or regional appellations, yet he consistently produces wines of outstanding quality. Several three-star restaurants, such as Lameloise and Pic, carry his wines, as well as some of the better establishments in Burgundy and Paris. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bouchard Père & Fils (Beaune) -- 2014 Part III -- Whites Tasted from Bottle and Cask Samples


Harvesting of the Chardonnay whites began on 13 September. The cool nights and lower temperatures over the summer had kept the acidities high, but the September weather assured full ripeness. For the parcels hit by hail (Meursault, Beaune), the grapes were fully destemmed in order to assure that there would not be vegetal aspects. The skins were rather thick, and so the grapes were given somewhat more time than usual in the pressoir, with the first part of the pressing removed. The wines were rolled twice in barrel (bâtonnage). (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bouchard Père & Fils (Beaune) -- 2014 Part II -- Côte de Nuits Reds Tasted from Bottle and Cask Samples


Most of the introductory information about the Côte de Nuits reds is the same as for the Côte de Beaune reds reported here.  But without the factor of the hail on the Côte de Nuits, there were some differences. There was a maceration à froid for the Côte de Nuits wine, and overall maceration times generally were longer here, and for the grands crus, maceration times went up to fifteen days. Also, use of whole clusters was 30-40% vs. 15-25% for the Côte de Beaune. (Continue reading here.) 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bouchard Père & Fils (Beaune) -- 2014 Part I -- Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Cask and Tank Samples

Harvesting began on 11 September with the reds and lasted ten days (for both Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits), said cellarmaster Frédéric Weber. The Côte de Beaune gave very concentrated reds, he continued, due to the small yields, the smallest since 20013. Maceration was limited to 12 days and there was only one punching down per day for the first five-six days. (Continue reading here.) 


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Domaine Faiveley (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- 2014 Part I: Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Cask and Tank Samples



Harvesting in 2014 began on 11 September and proceeded very quickly, said Erwan Faiveley. There was very little use of whole clusters – mostly in the Mercurey, Framboisère; Chambolle-Amoureuses; Musigny; and Nuits-Chaignots. Malolactic fermentations tended to be rather late, and in fact, for some wines, they had to be assembled “en masse” in order to get the malos to finish. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine A. Rousseau P. & F. (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask

Harvesting began on 12 September. Quantities are “not enormous, but ok.” There was a small sorting primarily for rot. The Asian fruit fly was a problem for three locations near the forest, but otherwise not. Grapes were entirely destemmed, and then “a small amount” of stems were added back for fermentation. Malolactic fermentations were heterogeneous – the village Gevrey finished in February, some of the others continued into the summer. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron (Prémeaux-Prissey) -- 2014s Tasted from Tank and Cask

Alain Meunier said that for the estate, yields in 2014 (nearly 40 hl/ha) were almost double those of 2013 (20 hl/ha) and superior to 2015 (about 33-35 hl/ha). Harvesting began on 27 or 28 September, rather late. The Asian fruit fly didn’t pose much of a problem, but nonetheless, there was a substantial sorting to be done in order to garner only the healthy and ripe grapes. All grapes were destemmed in this vintage and there was a little chapatalization, but less than in 2013. Malolactic fermentations were heterogenous – finishing between January and May, which explains the order of tasting that is somewhat different from usual, as several wines were already in tank in preparation for bottling, while others were seeing more time in cask. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Domaine Jean-Marc & Thomas Bouley (Volnay) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask

Volume here is roughly equal for 2013, 2014, and 2015. Harvesting began on 13 September. With the small yields and the rapid maturation, it was a quick harvest and there was little need for sorting: the berries damaged by the hail fell off on their own over the summer and there were no problems here with the Asian fruit fly. Malolactic fermentations were extremely rapid – most were done by the end of November and mid-December 2014, a few continued into the following spring. In general, the wines show high pH’s. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Domaine des Comtes Lafon (Meursault) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask and Tank

Hail and the other vicissitudes of the vintage took their toll: yields for the estate are once again very small. Harvesting in 2014 began on 10 September for the reds, 16 September for the whites (the Montrachet was harvested on 3 October). Alcohols came in at 12.5-13.5º natural. Malolactic fermentations were relatively early, finishing in January and February. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Domaine Guyon (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask and Tank

This estate is run by Jean-Pierre Guyon, who began here in 1991 and recently has been joined by his brother Michel. From their father, 2.5 ha were handed down, and the estate now consists of 9 ha. The cellar is located on the route nationale in Vosne-Romanée, and the estate is not to be confused with Domaine Antonin Guyon in Savigny-les-Beaune. I’ve been favorably impressed by the wines I’ve tasted in the United States and so made a visit to learn more about the wines. I’m glad I did. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Domaine Sylvain Cathiard (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask

Under Sylvain Cathiard, this estate already achieved a cult reputation, but since son Sébastien has took over a few years ago, the wines have improved still more. He reported that harvesting took place from 17 to 20 September. There was no hail over the summer. The grapes were healthy, not requiring much sorting, and most of what was done took place in the vineyards to combat the Asian fruit fly. As soon as there was any acetic odor indicating that there had been a fruit fly attack, all the grapes on the vine were cut off. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Domaine Chantal Rémy/Héritiers Louis Rémy (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask

For various reasons, many years I wind up tasting at the same cellar twice on the same trip. I find this to be very useful as it gives me insight as to how the wines are changing over time in the barrel and also is a reality check on the consistency of my evaluations. (Note: the wines can change while in barrel and still be perceived at the same or similar quality level, which is generally the case when I taste the wines more than once on a trip.) (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Domaine Réyane et Pascal Bouley (Volnay) -- 2014s Tasted from Tank



The vines here are located in the center of the 2012-13-14 hailstorms; in addition, with the damage done to the vines in those three years and the small berries of 2015, that is a small vintage, too. 2014 is about 35% of a normal crop, 2015 about half. That said, the good news is that there is quality here and nothing that should stop fans of this estate from buying the 2014s, should they be able to find them. Even before considering the stress that three consecutive years of hail put on the vines, this is a good vintage, and adding that stress in, the feat is even more impressive.


Harvesting in 2014 took place from 13 to 18 September. As always, there was a sorting here, but in this vintage, there really wasn’t a lot to sort out – not much rot or problem with the Asian fruit fly. The grapes were entirely destemmed. All cuvées received some chaptalization. Malolactic fermentations finished in December 2014. Bottling was to take place in mid-November 2015.

The wines were tasted from tank while awaiting the bottling a few weeks later. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Domaine de l'Arlot (Prémeaux-Prissey) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask and Tank

2014 is a transitional vintage in some ways at Domaine de l’Arlot: Jacques Devauges, who had been the technical director for several years, fermented the wines in 2014 but left on January 1, 2015 to go to Clos de Tart where he is now succeeding Sylvain Pitiot as the technical director there. Géraldine Godot in turn moved from Alex Gambal to replace Devagues as technical director at Domaine de l’Arlot and has been responsible for raising the wines. Despite these changes, there is great continuity and the wines remain in the style that was established before Devauges’s arrival under Olivier Leriche and the vintage shows well.


The whites here were harvested on 11, 13, and 14 September. The harvest for the reds began on 17 September. Mme Godot said that the quantity was above 2013, but at 30 hl/ha was still below a normal harvest.

There was a little hail in Vosne-Romanée but none in the Nuits vineyards. Other than a few selected cuvées, there was not a lot of sorting to do. The malolactics were early – 90% finished by Christmas.

The estate is certified organic and it practices biodynamic methods but is not  certified as such. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Domaine Jean Chauvenet (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask

Christophe Drag, Jean-Chauvenet's son-in-law, said that he began harvesting on 13 September. He suffered no hail, but there was lots of sorting to do. Among the issues were a little sunburn and in the Charmois, there was a little Asian fruit fly. Overall yields were 47 hl/ha, a full vintage (2015 came in at 29 hl/ha).


In this vintage, all grapes were destemmed. Chaptalization was on the order of 0.5-1.0º. Malolactic fermentions were rather early for this address, finished by the end of June. These are some of the most structured wines (in the context of the vintage) that I tasted on my tasting trip. (Continue reading here.)