Monday, January 29, 2018

Domaine Hubert et Laurent LIGNIER (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2016 Part I: Regional and Village Wines Tasted from Bottle and Barrel

Laurent Lignier said that he lost quite a bit of crop in the Nuits-Saint-Georges, Chambolle-Musigny, Bourgogne, Bourgne-Aligoté, Bourgogne-Passetoutgrains, and Pommard appellations. But the Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin appellations were rather normal in yield, and indeed a bit above 2014.

2016 was the first vintage of conversion to organic viticulture and that gave problems with the mildew, mostly in the vineyards lower down from the slopes. 

Harvesting began on 28 September. There was no chaptalization. Whole clusters were used for some wines. With the cold cellar here, malolactic fermentations tended to be rather late — they finished between April and September, with most finishing in June and July. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Domaine Georges MUGNERET-GIBOURG (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Harvesting here began 24 September. All grapes were destemmed. Malolactic fermentations were “classic”— finishing in spring and the wines were racked in June. 

As with the majority estates that I visited, there was at least one wine that will not be made or commercialized in 2016; here, it was the Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru, Les Feusselottes. But what wine was made in the other appellations is, as usual, worthy of the most serous attention. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

My review of these wines tasted from barrel the previous year is here. As  you can see, it is a particularly successful vintage, and as with so many other producers, the lower appellations are particularly strong, providing a compression of quality. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Frédéric Mugnier said that harvest began on 25 September. Crop size was about half normal. There was no triage and no chaptalization, and all grapes were destemmed. Some alcoholic fermentations finished in barrel, which is unusual. Malolactic fermentations were rather light, mostly finishing in the spring. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Domaine MÉO-CAMUZET (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Tank and Barrel Samples

Jean-Nicolas Méo said that for Vosne-Romanée vineyards, the yields were fairly normal; for Clos-de-Vougeot, they were about 70-75% normal; and for the négociant wines, they were about 2/3 of normal, although for Chambolle-Musigny, that figure was only 1/3.

Harvesting generally began on 26 September, although a little was taken in on the 24th. Not much sorting was necessary. No chaptalization was done, and yet alcohols are just a little above those of 2015. Malolactic fermentations finished in March, April, and May, which is rather normal. Jean-Nicolas noted that lab analyses of the pHs show higher that he thought — most are around 3.5, although a few are around 3.7.

Wines marked with an asterisk (*) are négociant wines under the Méo-Camuzet Frère & Soeurs label. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Domaine de la ROMANÉE-CONTI (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

Aubert de Villaine called the vintage the most beautiful that he has ever seen from the standpoint of the the condition of the vines. The truth is, it’s one more extremely beautiful vintage at the Domaine, where it seems that no foot can go wrong, regardless of the challenges and the style of the vintage. But as I’ve mentioned in other posts, many 2015s have already begun to close up, and I could see that happening with these wines.

Details of the vintage and my tasting of these wines from barrel in November 2016 are here.

The wines were bottled between February and April 2017. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Domaine de la ROMANÉE-CONTI (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

The frost on the morning of 27 April, devastating that Bâtard-Montrachet (not offered to the public) and the Montrachet, and severely hitting the Grands-Echézeaux and Echézeaux vineyards. (The rest — Corton, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Richebourg, La Tâche, and Romanée-Conti — escaped damage completely or almost completely.) 

The rain in the early part of the vintage was relentless, surpassing the totals of 1910 that had wiped out almost completely the production for that vintage. As with most organic and biodynamic estates that I visited, the mildew resulting from the humid conditions was ferocious and required vigilance and a great deal of work in the vineyards. Additionally, there was the long flowering period (9-25 June), leading to expectation of uneven ripening. But then the warm, dry weather came, allowing the grapes to develop and for overall even ripening. With some rain before harvest to refresh the vines, everything in the second half went as well as could be hoped.

Already by 15 September, the grapes were quite ripe, but they were allowed to develop a further week. Harvesting was from 22 to 29 September, with the dates for each wine indicated below.

For the second consecutive vintage, there was no botrytis. With the even ripening, there was almost no sorting of the grapes necessary, and whole clusters were largely used throughout. 

The result at the Domaine is yet another vintage of great wines.

As you may already know, the frost so severely affected the Chassagne side of Montrachet that there essentially was no harvest. Seven Montrachet producers (Amiot, Lafon, Fleurot-Larose, Lamy-Pillot, Leflaive, Petitjean, and the Domaine) from the Chassagne side combined their meager crop to produce just over two barrels of wine, vinified by Leflaive. The bottles will be divided among the producers; it’s not clear what will then happen, but it is possible that the bottles will be put up for a charity auction.

Finally before the reviews, I should mention that Bernard Noblet, who has been with the Domaine since 1978 and was the chef de cave since 1986, retired at the end of 2017. You don’t need me to tell you that Bernard did a superb job as the right-hand-man at the estate. His successor is Alexandre Bernier, a young vigneron, who has already worked at the estate for several years, and so one expects nothing other than a smooth hand-off. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Domaine François LAMARCHE (Vose-Romanée) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel Samples

Harvesting began on 26 September. Overall losses were half of a normal crop. Each cuvéecontains 30% whole clusters. No new oak was used so that the vintage can be seen as it is, explained Nathalie Lamarche; it is a spiritual vintage for expression of Pinot Noir, and so this is what the estate wishes to emphasize. Malolactic fermentations were rather late here. 

These wines were served from barrel samples at room temperature. I’m used to tasting (and drinking) Burgundy at cellar temperature, so the warmth of the wines added an additional challenge to their evaluation. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Domaine Ghislaine BARTHOD (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Tasted from Barrel

Harvesting here began on 24 September. What little there was from the Combottes and Châtelots vineyards was declassified to the village Chambolle. For the rest, the harvest is down 50-60% from a normal vintage. 

As usual, all grapes were destemmed. There was no chaptalization here, with the grapes being picked at 12.5-13.3º natural alcohol. Malolactic fermentations finished in March and April. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Domaine Louis BOILLOT et Fils (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Part II: Côte de Nuits Reds Tasted from Barrel

Background on the harvest at Boillot is here.

This remarkable selection of wines shows wines potentially at the level of the an appellation above; that is, the Bourgogne at the level of a good village wine, the village wines at the level of good premiers crus, and the premiers crus at the level of grands crus. With high prices due to low stocks and high demand for Burgundy, it is wines such as this that most Burgundy fans need to focus on. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Domaine Louis BOILLOT et Fils (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2016 Part I: Côte de Beaune Tasted from Barrel

Louis Boillot has much of his vineyards located in the areas most affected by the frost — especially village Volnay, Pommard, and Beaune; Nuits-Pruliers; Gevrey-Chambertin; Volnay-Champans; and Volnay-Caillerets with overall losses of 70-80% from a normal vintage. The wine that was made is worthy of your serious interest.

Harvesting began around 19 or 20 September. As always, grapes were entirely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations were early, with many finishing by Christmas, others in March. 

Louis is looking to March and April 2018 for bottling.

All these wines are of very good quality, but pay attention to the village wines, which are almost at the same level as the premiers crus. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Domaine DUJAC (Morey-Saint-Denis -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

At least as showing for the moment, one can see with Dujac’s wines the ceiling one hits for the top wines in 2015 compared with the greater potential for the top appellations in 2016. But one can also see with several of these wines that the 2015 vintage is closing down early.

My review of these wines and other Dujac wines tasted from barrel in November 2016 is here and here. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Domaine DUJAC (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2016 Part III: Grands Crus Tasted from Barrel

I’ve mentioned previously that in 2015, one sees the vintage’s strength in the quality of the lesser appellations; the wines from the grands crus can be truly outstanding, but with a small number of exceptions, the grands crus hit ceilings that are below their maximum potential. In 2016, although there are very good wines from top producers from lesser appellations, it is with the top appellations that one sees the vintage at its most impressive. And that is certainly the case with Dujac, where the vintage has been most successful. These wines are all in the top group for their respective appellations, and the more one continues through the list, the greater the wines get and the fewer the challengers for top wine of the appellation. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

DUJAC (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2016 Part II: Premier Cru Reds (Domaine and Maison Fils & Père) Tasted from Barrel

There’s quite a good selection here, and quality goes from good for premier cru to what would be more than good for grand cru. Alas, the Chambolle-Gruenchers, habitually one of my favorite wines at this estate, was declassified into the village Chambolle due to minute quantity, as I previously reported. (Continue reading here.)