Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Domaine HEITZ-LOCHARDET (Chassagne-Montrachet) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

The wines from this estate have only appeared on the market beginning with the 2013 vintage; prior to that, Joseph Drouhin was fortunate enough to take the harvest; as you can see below, there are some very choice appellations.

Production is now biodynamic.

The wines I’ve tasted have been good to very good, but there is a lot of promise here, and this is an estate worth watching. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Étienne SAUZET (Puligny-Montrachet) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

For the most part, this selection of wines seems more about the vintage than the respective terroirs. There’s a touch of tropical fruit to several of them and except for the Combettes, terroir is not a strong element. Perhaps with time they will shape up? (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

Domaine du CROIX (Beaune) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

David Croix has made very good wines whenever I have tasted them, although one the whole, these wines were a little below what I was expecting. It will be interesting in the future to see how his additional duties at Domaine Roulot affect the white wines there.

All wines below are red wines. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Domaine ARNOUX-LACHAUX (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

My explanation of the 2015 vintage at Arnoux-Lachaux and review of the wines (mostly) from barrel is here.

As I’ve written before, Jean-Charles Lachaux has taken the domaine in a new stylistic direction and is doing an excellent job with it. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Domaine FOURRIER (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

As one would expect, another very successful vintage from Jean-Marie Fourrier. These wines and others are reviewed from barrel here.

The compression of quality in the 2015 is quite evident with these wines, with not all that much difference in quality showing between the village wine and the premiers crus. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

More Reds from Southwest France: Ilbert/Château Combel-la-Serre, Jouves, Château Laurou/Salmona, Château Peyros/Lesgourgues. Plageols, Le Roc

As with the previous posting, plenty of very good values to be had here. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Southwest France Reds Recently Tasted: Château Bellevue la Forêt/Grant, La Colombière/Cauvin, Clos la Coutale/Bernède, Élian da Ros, Château la Grave/Bernède

Particularly with the shortage of crop in many parts of Europe, wine prices are rising quite rapidly. Some of the best values for your money in France remain in the Southwest. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 11, 2018

Olivier LEFLAIVE Frères (Puligny-Montrachet) -- 2016 Whites Tasted from Bottle

Over the years, I’ve had very little wine from this Leflaive, the reason being that I never found anything interesting that made me want to try more. A couple of years ago that began to change, and others also seemed to notice something going on here. Curiously, this occurred despite the fact that Frank Grux, who has been in charge of making the wines since 1988, still remains at the head of winemaking.

When I inquired of the domaine, I was told that the grapes are now harvested a bit earlier than before, less new oak is used, and there is less bâtonnage (stirring of the lees) than before. Whether that’s the full story or if there’s more to be told, these wines show that there are wines worthy of interest now. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Domaine Albert MOROT (Beaune) -- 2016 Tasted from Bottle

When one thinks of Beaune, one thinks first of the négociants who own large portions of the vineyards. Then there are “outsiders" from other villages, such as Lafarge and de Montille in Volnay, who make Beaune wines that one frequently finds on good Burgundy lists. But there are good vignerons in Beaune producing wine, and none better that I know than Albert Morot. 

As with all producers in Beaune and Savigny, Morot was badly affected by the frost in late April. No wine was produced from Grèves, Marconnets, Dessus des Marconnets, or the white Savigny vineyard. Overall, the estate produced 23 hl/ha.

Harvesting began on 21 September. All grapes were destemmed in 2016. About 30% new oak is used, a combination of Chassin Père & Fils and François Frères, and the toast is medium.

Morot bottled these wines in November 2017, and they appear to be very good for early and medium-term drinking. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

CHANSON (Beaune) -- 2016 Part II: Whites Tasted from Bottle

My introduction to Chanson is here .

This selection of whites is good, but not as impressive as the selection of reds I previously reviewed.

The Savigny-Hauts Marconnets, Beaune-Clos des Mouches, and Corton-Vergennes are estate wines, the Viré-Clessé and Chablis are négociant wines. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, April 30, 2018

CHANSON (Beaune) -- 2016 Part I: Reds Tasted from Bottle

In the latter part of the twentieth century, Chanson, a Beaune négociant dating to 1750, was known for tannic, old-style (not necessarily in the best sense of the term) wines. 

In 1999, the Bollinger Champagne house acquired Chanson, including its vineyards. Following a labelling scandal shortly after the sale, Gilles de Courcel was hired to head up operations, and then Jean-Pierre Confuron was handed control over vineyard and winemaking  operations. Confuron is the brother of Yves Confuron of Domaine Confuron-Cotétidot in Vosne-Romanée and of de Courcel’s eponymous estate in Pommard. Working with the same methods as the home estate in Vosne, such as late harvesting and use of all whole clusters. Horses are used to plough the vineyards, which are organically cultivated.

New oak is 30% for the wines, tending to François Frères for reds and Damy for whites. 

Chanson now owns 45 ha, all on the Côte de Beaune, which in a normal year supplies about a quarter of the total production (which extends from Chablis down to the Beaujolais). 

All of the wines below are estate wines except for the Gevrey-Chambertin and the Corton.

As this sampling of the reds (and the sampling of the whites to follow) shows, this is a producer worthy of your serious attention. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Domaine DE COURCEL (Pommard) -- 2016 Tasted from Cask Samples

Yves Confuron, of Domaine Confuron-Cotétidot, has also long been responsible for this great estate. The wines are superb, but alas, once again we have a year of minuscule yields. 

As is standard, the harvest is very late and the grapes are not destemmed. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Domaine CONFURON-COTÉTIDOT (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Yves Confuron said that harvesting began on 5 October and he had no problem with the rains that came some days later (presumably all the grapes were in — the small yields made for very rapid harvesting). Overall yield for the estate in 2016 was but 11 hl/ha. As always, the grapes were vinified without destemming.

Year after year, this estate produces, at all appellation levels, some of the most compelling wines in Burgundy to my taste.  The village wines are at premier cru level, the premiers crus at grand cru level, and the grands crus at the top of their respective appellations.

The wines may not be as easy to understand as those from other estates and may need more time than many, but the quality here is magnificent. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Domaine DIGIOIA-ROYER (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Tasted from Bottle and Barrel

Michel Digioia said that for the whole domaine, his production was only 40% of a full vintage. Chambolle, of course, was very badly hit, and no wine was produced from Savigny-les-Beaune.

He began harvesting on 25 September, and the Hautes Côtes de Nuits was harvested on 30 September. Malolactic fermentations were a little later than usual here — the Chambolles finished in April and May, the Bourgogne-Hautes Côtes de Nuits in July. As usual, grapes were entirely destemmed.

One definitely feels the effect of the frost in the concentration of these wines. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Comte LIGER-BELAIR (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Harvesting began on 24 September, said Louis-Michel Liger-Belair. Overall losses were about 35% of a full crop. These losses included 99% of the Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Grandes Vignes white and 85% of the red from that vineyard, 35% of Echézeaux, 25% of Suchots, and 40% for vines at the bottom of Vosne-Romanée. 

Malolactic fermentations were late here.

As in other years, quality is high across the board at this biodynamic estate. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, April 20, 2018

2016 Bruno CLAVELIER (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Bruno Clavelier said that in 2016, he produced only one barrel per hectare (2.3 hl/ha) for regional appellations. For the Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru appellations, he was able to produce three barrels per hectare (about 7 hl/ha). Village yields in Vosne were about 15 hl/ha. The Vosne premiers crus made about 27-30 hl/ha. For the Gevrey-Corbeaux and Nuits-Cras, production was more or less normal, and for the Corton, there was only a little frost damage.

Harvesting began on 21 September and finished on the 25th. Use of stems was a bit more than usual because of the small volumes; overall it was in the 40-60% range. Malolactic fermentations were a bit earlier than usual, beginning in the spring.

As usual, the quality at this longtime organic and biodynamic estate is excellent. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Louis JADOT (Beaune) -- 2016: Part VII: Grand Cru Chablis and Côte de Beaune Whites Tasted from Barrel

Background on the vintage at Jadot is located here. As it often does, Jadot blocked full malolactic fermentation in about half the 2016 white wines.

The three Chablis Grand Cru wines below are all from grapes that Jadot purchases and vinifies in large casks. The wines are then aged in oak, about 30% new, prior to bottling. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Louis JADOT (Beaune) -- 2016 Part V: Village Whites Tasted from Barrel

Background on the vintage at Jadot is located here. As it often does, Jadot blocked full malolactic fermentation in about half the 2016 white wines.

As with the reds, there is excellent value to be had from Jadot’s wines from less fashionable appellations. (Continue reading here.)