Sunday, October 29, 2017

Domaine Réyane et Pascal BOULEY/Pierrick BOULEY (Volnay) -- 2016s Tasted from Barrel Samples

Young Pierrick Bouley has been working with his father Pascal in the past years and gradually taking over the estate. Beginning with the 2016 vintage, new foreign customers will see the wines under the label "Pierrick Bouley,” French customers will continue to see the estate’s wines under the "Réyane et Pascal Bouley" label, and existing foreign customers will be able to choose whether they want to switch to the new name. The négociant wine(s) (see below) will be under the "Pierrick Bouley” label, regardless of where sold.

Pierrick said that 2016 was about like 2012 (one of the years of severe hail damage in Volnay) in quantity. As for style, he said that the wines were more typically Burgundian than 2015, characterized by good freshness. The wines were racked a month ago and presented in drawn-off barrel samples.

Harvesting here began on 20 September and finished on the 27th. There was very little triage. All bunches were destemmed. There was no chaptalization other than 1 kg of sugar added to the Bourgogne. Nor was there any acidification. Four wines have not received any SO2 up to now. There was less pigeage (punching down) than previously, now only two times in three weeks.

Malolactic fermentations took place in November and December. Pierrick said that he was thinking of bottling the wines at the end of the year because they taste so good now. 

As with most estates that I’ve visited so far, there is an appellation that was not made in 2016. Here, it was Beaune. For the appellations that were made, you’ll see pitifully low yields for most of them. Keep reading until the end, though, for fortunately it is the last three wines that turned out commercial yields. The silver lining in this year of disastrous yields is that the three best vineyards were the ones that did not suffer from the freeze and so produced decent quantities of wine (indeed, the Champans and Clos des Chênes were abundant). (Continue reading here.)

Friday, October 27, 2017

News from Burgundy and Impressions from Week 1 of Tastings

I’ve now completed week one of three of my annual fall Burgundy tasting trip. I’ll provide detailed notes on the estates that I visited and the wines that I tasted, but I thought it would be useful here to summarize my overall impressions thus far.

But first, some news that you may not be aware of and that I learned this week. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Domaine Michel LAFARGE (Volnay) -- 2016 tasted from tank and barrel

It was fitting that I began my tastings at Michel Lafarge: my first visit to review Burgundy for The Fine Wine Review started at this estate, and I’ve visited every year since, making this the thirtieth consecutive year I’ve visited. Throughout that time, Lafarge has been consistent in upholding the highest standards, notwithstanding the many years that posed very difficult conditions such as rain, hail, and now frost.

It was Michel Lafarge who received me on that first visit and for many years thereafter. In more recent years, Michel’s son Frédéric has received me, but I often see Michel to say hi, too. Frédéric is about the same age now as Michel was on that first visit, and Michel will be turning 89 in just a few weeks. Time flies!

Lafarge’s vines suffered from the freezes on the nights of 27, 28, and 29 April. Losses amounted to about 70%. Following the freezes, there was lots of mildew, but the estate was equipped to handle it well.

Harvesting began on 21 September with the Volnay 1er Cru, Clos du Château des Ducs. As always, all grapes were destemmed by hand. Generally, the wines finished their malolactic fermentations in March or April, but the Bourgogne-Passetoutgrains was considerably later. Alcohols are in the 12.8-13.0º range and there was very little chaptalization. 

Frédéric characterizes the vintage as joyous, and I agree. The style here, as with many of the 2016s that I’ve tasted, is similar to 2014 but with more gentleness to it. Without knowing the story of 2016, one would not guess that these wines came from a very small harvest. The wines are very good expressions of their respective terroirs.

Overall, in the last five years, Lafarge has made as much wine as it makes in two normal years; to put it another way, the average for each of the past five years is only 40% of a normal year’s harvest. This, alas, is typical of the producers on the Côte de Beaune. (In 2017, there was a harvest of normal quantity, the first since 2009.) (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

2016 Red Wines from Beaujolais and Southern Burgundy Recently Sampled -- Chermette, Coudert, Dupré, Foillard, Gauthier, and Guillot-Broux

When it's done right, the 2016 vintage down here is most attractive with classic wines that have good liveliness, crispness, and firmness, plus excellent expressiveness of fruit -- a classic vintage. But depending on where one was, there were problems with freezes and hail, and so not everyone had the same chances to work with top fruit. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Prelude to Reports on Burgundy Visits: Summary of 2016 Vintage Conditions

This coming Monday, 23 October, I begin my annual visits in Burgundy to taste the most recent vintage, mostly from cask (2016 this year), and to taste many of the wines of the one before that from bottle (2015 this year). As I have time, I’ll be providing reports on the wines while I’m still in Burgundy and then I’ll continue to write up my notes until all visits have been reported. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Domaine Paul et Marie JACQUESON (Rully) -- 2015s Tasted from Bottle

With the double-whammy of small harvests and increasing demand for the top Côte d’Or wines, many Burgundy fans have been crying out in despair. But the wise ones have known that the top producers (and their numbers are increasing each year) on the Côte Chalonnaise have been producing outstanding wines at moderate prices.

Jacqueson, in particular, is one of my favorite estates in the region, both in red and in white. Should you come across the outstanding 2014s, reviewed heredon't hesitate about them, either. (Continue reading here.)

2016 Reichsgraf von KESSELSTATT (Mosel)

This is the first vintage made of Kesselstatt wines since the tragically premature death of Anagret Reh-Gartner, and I’m pleased to say that the quality continues just as high as before, notwithstanding the challenging conditions that included a long flowering period, downy mildew, and hail. But those conditions did take a toll in the amount of wine produced; in the past thirty years, only two other vintages have been smaller. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Albert MOROT (Beaune) -- 2015 from Bottle

This is a very good Beaune estate whose wines, for whatever reason, I rarely see. Whatever the damage from the hail in 2012-13-14, it did not seem to carry over to 2015, except in reduced yields. 

All of the following wines are red. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Red Wines from Northern Burgundy Recently Tasted: Cadette. Soeur Cadette, Montanet, Camu, Dauvissat, Savary

This region, including areas not far from Chablis, used to be a tough one for red wines. But with global warming, recent vintages and increased experience of the producers with Pinot Noir, and in some cases the César grape, are changing things, making for attractive, affordable red wines with elegance. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

VDP GG Tasting -- 2015 and 2014 Lemberger from Württemberg: Dautel, Haidle, Kistenmacher-Hengerer, Neipperg, Wöhrwag

Out of fourteen wines from 2015 and one from 2014 presented in Wiesbaden, the wines below are the only ones I found worth reviewing. Too many others were hot, jammy, alcoholic, and otherwise unimpressive. The situation is emblematic of the weakness of the GG program applied to Lemberger (better-known for its name used in Austria, Blaufränkisch). Why apply the name Grosses Gewächs to so many wines not reviewed here that are mediocre and not better than the average wine of this type? It only cheapens the GG image. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

VDP GG Tasting -- 2015 Spätburgunder from the Ahr: Meyer-Näkel and Nelles

In the past, the Ahr VDP producers who showed their Spätburgunders at the Wiesbaden tasting were perhaps the worst offenders for over-oaking and over-extracting. The good news is that the wines are less extracted and oaky than before. But there is still work to be done here. Fewer than half of the wines exhibited merited a write-up here, and even of those four wines, none was truly exciting. (Continue reading here.)