Saturday, March 26, 2016

Weingut Wittmann (Westhofen, Rheinhessen) -- 2014s Tasted from Bottle

I began visiting Wittmann each year about 10-12 years ago because each year at the Wiesbaded Grosses Gewächs preview, I noticed the same five or six estates produced the greatest wines, and Wittmann was on that list and unknown to me (and the same for his neighbor across the street, K.-F. Groebe). Simply put, this estate consistently produces some of the greatest wines in Germany. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Domaine Bonneau-du-Martray (Pernand-Vergelesses) -- 2014s Tasted from Tank Sample and 2013s Tasted from Bottle

The hail of 28 June hit the Bonneau-du-Martray holdings hard, ripping and perforating the leaves, and hitting branches. Beginning on 1 July, the team started with biodynamic applications to counter the effects, healthwise, but the quantities could not be recovered. For Corton-Charlemagne, the losses amounted to about 16,000 bottles, almost 1/3 of the crop – in two minutes’ time of hail; for Corton, the crop is short by about a quarter. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Domaine Confuron-Cotétidot (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask and a Couple of Surprises at the End

Yves Confuron continued to have small volumes in 2014 and again in 2015; not what he wants as it puts stress from an economic standpoint. (In 2012 and 2014, yields were about 22-24 hl/ha; in 2013 they were 14-17 hl/ha.)  As always, (1) he was very late to begin harvesting – 25 September in this instance, (2) all wines are entirely whole cluster, and (3) the malolactic fermentations were very late. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Domaine François Lamarche (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask Samples

Harvesting began on 16 September. There was a little hail damage in the Grande Rue and Échézeaux. Overall, quantity was a little above that of 2013; 2015 is normal quantity. Each wine has 30% whole clusters, no chaptalization. Malolactic fermentations were normal. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask, Tank Sample, and Bottle

Louis-Michel Liger-Belair said that he began harvest on 15 September. He aims to make 35 hl/ha in reds, but in 2014 he made 28 hl/ha (in 2015, it was 26 hl/ha); there was some hail damage in 2014 in Reignots, La Romanée, and Échézeaux, and smaller amounts in some of the other vineyards. He used whole clusters only in premiers crus and grands crus. Malolactic fermentations were late here. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Domaine de la Pousse d'Or (Volnay) -- 2014s Tasted from Tank

Harvesting began on 20 or 21 September. The estate looks to 35 hl/ha as a full vintage, and in 2014, it made 30 hl/ha on the Côte de Nuits and 20 hl/ha on the Côte de Beaune (due to hail, of course). As is customary here, all grapes were destemmed – an exception being an experimental lot on the Côte de Nuits where less than 10% of stems were retained. Malolactic fermentations were late, finishing just before the 2015 harvest. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Joseph Drouhin (Beaune) -- 2014 Part II: Côte de Nuits Reds Tasted from Bottle and from Cask Sample

Drouhin’s Côte de Nuits reds are excellent across the board. They also provide a good example of what I call the compression of quality in the vintage. Several of the village wines are qualitatively at the premier cru level, and several premiers crus are qualitatively at the grand cru level. Correspondingly, at the top end, it is only the last few grand cru wines that similarly perform above their expected level. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Joseph Drouhin (Beaune) -- 2014 Part I: Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Bottle, Tank Sample, and Cask Sample

Drouhin makes wine from Chablis to the Beaujolais, so conditions were variable, especially with hail, which hit the vines on the Côte de Beaune hard and less so in the Mâconnais; additionally, millerandage reduced some yields by 30% from a normal vintage. Overall, Drouhin estimates that 2014 was 5-10% below an average harvest, and in line with the ten-year average. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Domaine de Chérisey/Martelet de Chérisey (Hameau de Blagny) -- 2014s from Tank and Cask

This estate, which sells both under the label Domaine de Chérisey and Domaine Martelet de Chérisey, is not well-known, yet it produces what I think are some of the finest white wines of Burgundy. All come from the slopes around the Hameau of Blagny. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Benjamin Leroux (Beaune) -- 2014 Part I: Reds Tasted from Cask

Although I have tasted Bejamin Leroux’s wines under his own label in the past at his cellar location, I believe that this was the first time I tasted there since Benjamin gave up his position as régisseur at Domaine des Épeneaux (Comte Armand) to devote himself fully to his label. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Château de Puligny-Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Maison DEux Montille (Meursault) -- 2014s Tasted from Cask and Tank Samples and Bottle

Château de Puligny-Montrachet

Étienne de Montille operated this estate for several years, and then some years ago, he and his sister Alix purchased it. There have since been some switching of vines between here and the de Montille estate and a few sales of property. For the most part, this is a producer of white wines at all levels and some reds up to medium-level (I tasted none of the reds on this visit). The quality is high here, unlike the days before Étienne began running the operation. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Domaine Fourrier (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2014s Tasted from Tank

Jean-Marie Fourrier said that in 2015, his production was a little bit larger than in 2014, and so he will keep his prices stable (welcome news, but atypical; I fear 2015 prices are generally going to be ferociously high). As for 2014, Jean-Marie said that the style and yields are the same as in 1999. He described the vegetal cycle as “simple” but with some traps. There was a little oïdium in the spring; one had to be around on the long holiday weekends in May (and in 2014, there were three of them in France); if you left and then came back three days later, it was too late. Jean-Marie said that one had to be proactive and treat as soon as one saw the first signs. That way, also, one would use less sulfur in the vineyards. If one waited, one would have low phenolics and then have to over-extract. (Continue reading here.)