November 10th 2017
Day eight and a big day for us: eight domaines today on our agenda.
By 8.30am we were standing with Nathalie Tollot of Tollot Beaut tasting her range. Unfortunately the frost damaged a large chunk of her vines so Natalie has decided to blend the two Savignys and both 1er Cru Beaunes. The star for me was her Aloxe Corton 1er Cru Vercots on the border with Pernand, which showed a bit more volume and intensity than her delicious village Aloxe. These vines were untouched by the frost. We finished on the Corton Bressandes which was harder to taste today and a brilliantly open, powerful and juicy Corton. One to watch.
Next up we tasted with Francois at Marquis d’Angerville. This top flight domaine in Volnay needs little introduction, his wines are always graceful, wonderfully intense and show their individual terroirs extremely well. They made no Volnay village this year but his flight of 1er Crus was a joy to behold. The two stars were Caillerets, which is more on limestone so portrays a supreme elegance and finesse, and a Champans that was very ‘soyeux’ and intense due to the warmer soils. The Clos des Ducs is always the most powerful and serious. Fantastic wine.
After tasting two domaines my stomach I am afraid will always rumble, I was regretting the meagre fruit salad consumed at breakfast and looking forward to another plate of ‘Rognons de Bourgogne’.
Next up Patrick Javillier, a legend in Meursault, whose wines we all adore. It is no secret that his Bourgogne Oligocene is one of the greatest Bourgognes we buy. A superb lemony freshness courses through this great value wine. All his 1er Crus really showed their individual terroirs, my stand outs are his Tillets 1er Cru, always so mineral and fresh and an impressive, broader and his more voluminous Tete de Murger that finishes with a vibrancy and freshness that I adore. The Corton Charlemagne was hard to spit out and is always one of the greatest wines on our list.
A few minutes drive and we arrive at Domaine Leflaive, a quintessential Puligny Montrachet domaine that delivers Puligny of the very highest quality. The wines are always taut, mineral, fresh and speak of their terroirs. We all loved everything in the range, from a brilliant village Puligny, to a very masculine 1er Cru Clavoillon, to an outstanding voluminous and seductive Combettes. What a brilliant wine, very hard to spit this one out, again. The Grand Crus need no introduction, these are flat out gorgeous, from a layered big bold Bienvenue Batard to a floral, mineral and saline Chevalier that did actually blow the mind. This is the zenith of what this outstanding wine region can deliver.
A very quick stop for lunch at Auberge des Vignerons; a jambon persillé and green salad because we have to be at Patrick Bize in Savigny, toute suite.We were hosted by Chisa Bize who told us that they are unfortunately 80% down overall, which is very sad but luckily what does remain needs serious attention. The single vineyard Grands Liards is so delicious and will be priced so we can all drink a lot of it. The 1er Cru Vergelesses on very poor thin calcaire soil is special. So dark, so wild, elegant yet builds in power to the finish. This is a very good wine that deserves special attention.
Next we drive south to Comte Armand where we are tasting with Paul Zinetti, another top flight Volnay/Pommard domain. There is no Volnay village this year, 2 barrels of Fremiers only and the Clos des Epenaux Grand Cru is only 31 barrels (normally 70). The quality is fabulous and we were treated to a vertical of Clos from 2015, 2003, 2002 and a very special 2000!
Our final tasting at the end of the day with Olivier Lamy in St Aubin is always one of the highlights. From a floral peachy Frionnes, to my personal love the En Remilly, whose vineyard is just over the hill from Le Montrachet, racy acidity and the tell tale freshness of the vintage makes this a JL must in the cellar.