November 8th 2016
A beautiful bright, crisp Thursday morning and the first visit of the day is to the fantastic Domaine Marc Colin in Chassagne Montrachet. One of our favourite domaines, the 2015s certainly didn’t disappoint. Our primary focus here is the whites although the reds were supple and delicious too. At the value end of the spectrum the St Aubin ‘Sentier de Clou’ offers wonderful mineral lift that adds excellent balance to the ripe citrus fruit. The St Aubin ‘Fontenottes’ is a proper crowd pleaser to drink relatively early and the St Aubin 1er Cru ‘En Remilly’ my favourite of the three, has gorgeous depth and texture to it and will need 24 months in the cellar.
The three Chassagne 1er Crus are excellent wines in 2015. ‘Chenevottes’ is very mineral and elegant with lots of restraint. Really lovely. The ‘Champ Gains’ perhaps richer and warmer with lovely richness of fruit offset by some racy acidity. Then the star of the show, ‘Vide Bourse’ 1er Cru, a tightly wound, mineral focused 2015 that has wonderful poise and exquisite balance. This is pure class and illustrates the finest points of 2015 for white Burgundy.
Unexpectedly we were lucky enough to be given a taste of the Grand Cru Le Le Montrachet 2014 now in bottle and in people’s cellars. For anyone lucky enough to have secured a few bottles earlier this year you’re in for a real treat. Still incredibly youthful, this blockbuster Grand Cru is hugely complex and mineral driven on the palate, only revealing occasional snippets of the extraordinary potential that will undoubtedly follow in due course.
Next stop Jean-Marc Boillot, producer of a broad selection of Goedhuis favourites across several communes. For lovers of our Montagny 1er Cru ‘Vieux Chateau’, this was a beauty that will drink upon arrival. Slightly richer than the more taut 2014 with a creaminess to the palate but complemented by lots of freshness. The Rully ‘Rabource’ is another that will offers great value for money this year. Here the broad citrus and orange zest nose has considerable poise and drive and is very Puligny in style.
Next up, the Puligny Montrachets all of which are sensational wines in their own right this year each reflecting their own site and terroir perfectly. However the soils with a higher percentage of clay which retained water in this hot vintage certainly favoured the 1er Cru ‘Referts’ which I though was outstanding. Also notable was the stonier soiled Champ Canet, a wine of substance with a certain creaminess to the palate and razor-like acidity on the finish. The ‘Combettes’ vineyard which sits just above ‘Referts’ displays incredible balance and complexity in a fatter, richer style. Of the reds, the peppery spiciness and suppleness of the Pommard ‘Jarolieres’ certainly stood out, but for me it was all about the whites whose progress will be intriguing to follow over the next five years.
Georgie and I had one final visit before a dash back to Lyon airport, and one that I was looking forward to particularly in the form of Benjamin Leroux. Since 2014 this hugely talented young winemaker (ex Comte Armand in Pommard) has been producing incredible things in his cellars in the heart of Beaune. Across the board Ben’s 2015s are nothing short of sensational.
There are approximately 40 different wines of which we sampled a third. The same few adjectives kept creeping into my notes. ‘Polished’, ‘balanced’ and ‘refined’. Leroux is no longer simply a young winemaker to watch. With his 2015s, he is now one of Burgundy’s stellar growers and I really feel that no cellar can afford to be without these wines any longer.
There were many star turns here. If I were to choose three, the Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru, produced for the first time this year, would certainly be one. A complex wine that has huge wow factor with a finish that builds and builds. The 2015 Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru is truly exceptional and a marked contrast to the rusticity of De Courcel’s ‘Rugiens’ tasted the day before. So understated with ultra-fine tannins and a beautiful elegance to the dark intense cherry fruit. The 2015 Nuits St Georges ‘Boudots’ is a five star knockout wine. Absolutely gorgeous and refined with layer upon layer of complex dark fruits each vying for attention. A beauty that will reward 10 years of cellaring.
Of the Grand Crus, the Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche are incredible wines. The floral scented and dark currant nose on the Clos St Denis is complemented by a finely structured palate that I thought was particularly attractive. But it was the power and intensity and deliciously sweet layered red fruits of the Clos de La Roche that stole the show for me. I for one, will be reserving a case or two of Ben’s wines for my cellar!