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.)