Monday, June 26, 2017

Domaine DROUHIN-LAROZE (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples



I used to visit this estate annually to taste and had favorable impressions. But in the 2007 vintage, some wines were subject to/ruined by reverse osmosis, a practice that I find generally destroys the purity and texture of Burgundies, and I then stopped visiting. Occasional wines I’ve tasted from subsequent vintages have proved good, as did these. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Domaine de COURCEL (Pommard) -- 2014 Tasted from Bottle


My review of the de Courcel reds from cask samples is here. With yields of only 5-6 hl/ha in 2014, these wines are extremely rare, but should you come across them, they are  worthy of your high attention. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine de COURCEL (Pommard): 2015 Tasted from Barrel Samples



Harvest dates here were the same as for Confuron-Cotétidot, which I just reviewed; not surprising as Yves Confuron is responsible for the wines at both estates. 

Yield in 2015 is a minuscule 13 hl/ha, but up from 6 hl/ha in 2014 and 4 hl/ha in 2013. Yes, Pommard and other Côte de Beaune areas are hurting. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Domaine J. CONFURON-COTÉTIDOT (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel



Always one of, if not the, latest harvesters in Burgundy, Yves Confuron began on 19 September in 2015. (In 2016, it was 4 October.) Also as always, these wines are made entirely with whole clusters. 

The approaches here may be idiosyncratic, but as with another idiosyncratic (and ultra-late harvesting) winemaker, Laurent Ponsot, the results are convincing: the wines are regularly among the best of their respective classes. (Continue reading here.)


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Domaine du Comte LIGER-BELAIR (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel


Louis-Michel Liger-Belair said that he harvested between 5 and 10 September in 2015. There had been some oïdium on the hillside vineyards, and he treated it with salt water. He thinks the main effect of the rain at harvest was on the morale, not the wines.

Malolactic fermentations were late, with the last ones finishing in August. 

The estate practices biodynamic cultivation.

As usual, superb wines across the board here. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Domaine Anne GROS (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Tank and from Barrel


Harvesting here began on 7 September on the Côte de Nuits and on 19 September for the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits. The Clos Vougeot had high yields, but the others had smaller, but not catastrophic, yields. 

All grapes were destemmed, as is customary here. Malolactic fermentations began in January and February and went rather fast. As usual, the wines are bottled early here, and they were already in stainless steel awaiting bottling when I visited in mid-November 2016. Alcohols are about 13º for the regional appellations, 13.5º for the rest. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Northern Rhône Wines Recently Tasted Part VIII: Entrefaux/Tardy, Faurie, Faury, Gonon, Graillot, Levet, Marsanne, Paillard/Vignes des Pères, Perret Saint-Clair/Basset, Souiillard



Conventional wisdom is that 2014 is a problem vintage and 2015 is a great vintage in the region. As usual, conventional wisdom misses the true story.

There’s plenty of good 2014 around, although one wants to be careful, as always, in choosing producers. As for 2015, it has a rich style with moderate acidity, but with the wrong producers, those factors can get out of hand and the wines can become unbalanced.

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

All wines below are red, except as specifically noted otherwise. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Domaine Jacques PRIEUR (Meursault) -- 2015 Part II: Côte de Nuits Reds Tasted from Barrel Samples

As I indicated on 2015 at Prieur, many of the Côte de Beaune vineyards suffered from the hails of the three previous vintages. But beginning with the Corton-Bressandes and continuing to these wines, that was not the case, yet I found relative disappointment here. It’s almost as though there had been a reversion to the winemaking of some time ago here that prized extraction and power over finesse and precision. Or perhaps that was just the result of the very small yields of the vintage here and the fact that, with exceptions, it is the lesser appellations and not the top terroirs are the real story of 2015. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Domaine Jacques PRIEUR (Meursault) -- 2015 Part I: Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Barrel Samples

Harvesting for the reds took place between 7 and 11 September. Malolactic fermentations were rather long.

As was so often the case on the Côte de Beaune, the vineyards for most of these wines suffered from the hails of 2012-13-14 and were not at full strength.

In other news from the estate, the vines for the Vlonay-Champans have been ripped out, so there will be no wine from that vineyard for some years. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine FOLLIN-ARBELET (Aloxe-Corton) -- 2015s Tasted from Barrel and a Pair of 2014s Tasted from Bottle


Franck Follin-Arbelet said that he began harvesting on 2 September. As with the great majority of producers, he have very small yields. He included about 15-20% whole clusters overall and did very little punching down (pigeage). Malolactic fermentations were rather late here.

The wines at this estate are not flashy and not necessarily easy to understand young, but they are well worth your investigating and the wait for maturation. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Domaine CAMUS-BRUCHON (Savigny-les-Beaune) -- 2015 Tasted from Tank Sample


Guillaume Camus said that he began harvesting on 2 September and the harvest lasted 6-1/2 days. About 20-30% of the stems were retained. He gave the wines 12 months in cask before moving them to stainless steel tanks in advance of bottling. There was no bâtonnage (stirring of the lies). Malolactic fermentations began in March, which was earlier than usual, and some finished in May, some later. There were also some instances of some malos that began even later and went until August.

Gillaume said that there was so little juice that he had to really work to get it out. Alcohols are about 12.7º for the Bourgogne, 13º for the village and premier cru wines.

The vines here are generally old and extremely old and this is a very good source for wines of quality much better than the prices would suggest. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Domaine Denis MORTET (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrels



Arnaud Mortet said that he began harvesting on 3 September. He was one of the lucky ones, with overall yield of about 40 hl/ha. (2016 will be much lower because Mortet has significant holdings in areas that were hit by the 27 April 2016.) Arnaud said that he had no problem with the drought over the summer, a prime cause of low yields at other estates, because he works the soil very deep, encouraging the wines to go down, and then stopped working the soil early. Maturities were the highest ever for the estate with potential alcohols in the range of 12.5-13.6/7º. He used a fair amount of whole clusters in the vinification. Malolactic fermentations finished between March and June, which is not late for this estate.

The trend here to less use of whole clusters and less new oak continues, adding freshness and elegance to the wines.

Mortet fans will be happy that the number of offerings has increased in significant ways with new premiers and grands crus in recent years, but those mindful of price will still find good village wines at lower prices.

I found these wines less easy to judge than usual, and it is possible that they are underrated here.(Continue reading here.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Domaine Sylvain CATHIARD (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel


Sébastien Cathiard said that he began harvest in 2015 on 12 September. Harvest lasted three days, and he said that he experienced no sanitary problems with the grapes. All grapes were destemmed. The wines are 12.5-13.5º alcohol with very little chaptalization.  New oak is 50% for villages wines, 55-67% for premier crus and the grand cru. Sébastien always does a mixture of remontage (pumping over) and pigeage (punching down); in 2015, he did a bit more pigeage than in 2014. Macerations lasted 24-27 days. Malolactic fermentations were late: En Orveaux was the first to finish, in April 2016, and when I visited in November, there were still some barrels of Malconsorts going. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Comte Georges de VOGÜÉ (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2014 Tasted from Bottle


My review of these wines tasted in autumn 2015 is here. The wines were bottled beginning in January 2016 with the Chambolle-Musigny through March 2016 for the Musigny. 

Technical director François Millet compares 2014 to 2011 and 2007 in the sense that there was a warm spring followed by a less sunny summer. But as good as those two earlier years were here, this group is on a higher level still. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Domaine Comte Georges de VOGÜÉ (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Tasted from Cask

Technical director François Millet said that yields were low due to the June and July dryness in 2015. In August, there was just enough rain, and harvesting began on 3 September. Malolactic fermentations finished in July. 

Although I don’t taste the white wine when I visit (because the volume is so small), in 2015 it appears that the estate will issue it as Musigny once again (the last 20-odd vintages have been declassified to Bourgogne as a result of replanting in the early 1990s; as there is no white wine permitted for the Chambolle-Musigny appellation, if the wine is not labelled Musigny, it must be declassified to Bourgogne). (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Domaine GENOT-BOULANGER (Meursault) -- 2015 Part I: Reds Tasted from Tank and Barrel Samples



This estate was created in the 1970s by a Parisian pharmacist, first in Mercurey, then it moved to Beaune. It is now in Meursault.

Over the years, the domaine expanded greatly (the first purchase of Côte d’Or property was only in 1995), but much of the production was sold to négociants. Today, the estate comprises 22 ha and 30 appellations, fifteen in each color, and with the emphasis on estate bottling. The Côte Chalonnaise holdings, which at one time had been as high as 13 ha, are now 4 ha, with the remainder being in the Côte d’Or.

Aude and Guillaume Lavollée became the third generation to run the estate, beginning in 2008. The immediately began changes in the vineyards, converting the estate to organic viticulture. Beginning with the 2011 vintage, the estate was entirely organic and certification was achieved in 2015. 

There is excellent quality here. Especially for those who are frustrated because the allocations of so many estates of long recognition are full, this is a property to look for.

Harvesting in 2015 began on 2 September with the whites. For the reds, the premiers crus and grands crus from the Côte de Nuits have 20-40% whole cluster, except for the Clos-Vougeot, which has 80% whole clusters. For the reds, malolactic fermentations finished rather early.

The grapes were not cooled in 2015 and remontage (pumping over) was used rather than the more extractive punching down, because the terroirs here naturally give structure, said Guillaume Lavollée. Usually, fermentation goes for 2-3 weeks; in 2015, it was 17-18 days. After that, the wines spend 10-12 months in barrel, then six months in cask. For the reds, 20% new oak except for the Bougogne. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Domaine des Comtes LAFON (Meursault) -- 2015 Part II: Whites


Dominique Lafon began harvesting the whites on 27 August. As you can see below, malolactic fermentations were quite slow for some wines, and some placed in stainless steel to finish their malos before being returned to barrel.

These are some of the best 2015 whites that I have encountered. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Domaine des COMTES LAFON (Meursault) -- 2015 Part I: Reds



Dominique Lafon said that for the reds, he began harvesting with the Clos des Chênes on 31 August; the Monthélie was harvested on 5 September. The grapes were almost all destemmed (exception for the Clos des Chênes). Malolactic fermentations finished in February. Dominique expected to bottle the Monthélie in March or April, the others a little later.

As usual here, we begin with the reds:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Domaine Emmanuel ROUGET (Flagey-Échézeaux) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel

Emmanuel Rouget said that he began harvesting on 11 September (in 2016, it was 1 October). He waited to harvest because he had blockages of maturity, and he doesn’t regret having waited. Despite the blockages of maturity, his wines came in at or near 14º alcohol with no chaptalization. He said that although it rained for about half the time he harvested, it didn’t have an effect because he used cases that drain.

As usual here, the grapes were entirely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations finished in June, and he said that the wines have evolved well since then. 

As at almost all the estates where I taste, the regional and village appellations showed extremely well, but what is especially notable here is that Rouget managed to get extra quality from his top wines that many other producers did not in 2015. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Domaine Robert GROFFIER Père & Fils (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2015 Tasted from Cask Samples


Nicolas Groffier said that he began harvesting on 5 September. Yields in 2015 were just 17 hl/ha, making for an even smaller vintage than 2016, a fact that is rather amazing when one considers that most of the estate’s land is in Chambolle-Musigny and regional appellations below the route nationale, areas that were severely affected by the 2016 frost. 

There was a little chaptalization, mostly in Gevrey-Chambertin, taking the wine fro 12.2/3º to 13º.  As detailed below, there was some whole cluster beginning at the village wine, but not for the two regional wines. Nicolas held back the malolactic fermentations so that they only began in May (and finished in June). He says that the wines did not advance with the malolactic fermentation, reminding him of 2005. He added that the wines need a lot of air, making him think of 2005 and 1995 — beautiful wines to store for 15+ years.

Nicolas is the third generation of producer that I have visited at this estate; the wines have always been very good here, but he is bringing greater purity to the wines, fitting with contemporary Burgundy standards. With the tiny yields in 2015, you’ll be lucky to come across these wines, but they will provide excellent wine. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Domaine Ghislaine BARTHOD (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Tasted from Barrel


Ghislaine Barthod said that harvesting began on 5 September and took five days. As always, the wines here are completely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations finished in April and May. Overall production is roughly comparable to 2011 and 2013, less than one would like (and in 2016, production is way down due to the frost).

As always, this is a cellar of wonderful wines from start to finish. The compression of quality in 2015 that I have mentioned is most evident here – as wonderful as the top wines, are, the entry-level wines are not much less in quality. Barthod’s top wines can close up for quite some time after their initial open phase, so if you are looking for her wine to drink while waiting for the premiers crus, don’t overlook the fabulous Bourgogne. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Domaine Louis BOILLOT et Fils (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Part I: Côte de Beaune Tasted from Barrel



Louis Boillot said that he began harvesting on 31 August with the Les Angles in Volnay (13.5º natural alcohol). The harvest lasted 5-1/2 or six days, and yields varied from 20 hl/ha to 35, depending on the parcel. 

As always, Louis destemmed completely. He acidified a few Côte de Beaune wines but did not chaptalize any wines (the lowest alcohol for the vintage is 12.8º). He did not pigeage (punching down), only remontage (pumping over) in order not to over-extract. The wines spent 18 days in the fermentation tanks instead of the typical 22. New oak is about 20-25%. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Recent Beaujolais Wines Drunk -- Part I

The good news is that each year brings the discovery of more producers of quality.  However, quantities in recent years have been mixed (and in 2016, as in Côte d’Or, some properties had very small or essentially non-existent crops), and quality, too.

Many 2014s are classic Beaujolais, light and with fresh, expressive fruit. Others, however just seem rather pinched.

The 2015s are all over the lot. I’ve heard of alcohols as high as 17%, although the highest I’ve come across have been stated alcohols of 14.5% (which, of course, is still very high for Beaujolais and could in fact be even higher). The big surprise is that the stated alcohols don’t give any clue to the freshness in the wines. Some at 13% stated alcohol lack freshness, others at 14.5% have freshness and balance. When the wines are good, they are very, very good; but not all are, and some can be very, very bad.

The first two 2016s I tasted are listed below under Guignier (very early bottling — drunk in February) show a lot of promise for the vintage.

Other reviews of Beaujolais that may still be on the market are found herehere, and here. (Continue reading here.)