Tasting Burgundy 2018 | Fourrier, Cathiard, Mortet, Rousseau & Ponsot

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November 13th 2019

On Tuesday night we had dinner at Bistro des Cocottes with the wine trade legend Roy Richards, who brought a couple of extremely generous bottles to share with us.

Before getting into them we drank a couple of lovely whites including 2016 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly from Bernard Moreau and a really impressive 2016 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Le Charmois by Marc Colin. We eased into a bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux 2013 from Denis Mortet. The 2013s are the Burgundians’ favourite drinking vintage right now, as they offer supple fruit and soft tannins.

Roy then produced an unlabelled hand-blown bottle that was thought to be a vintage made some time between 1928 and 1949. It was a remarkable historical example of how long great Burgundy wines last, offering pleasant secondary aromas and a silky finish.

unlabelled-hand-blown-bottle-

The second bottle Roy brought was a surprisingly great 2011 – a vintage that most people have either drunk by now or left alone. It was bottle no 2,495 of Clos du Chateau from Comte Liger Belair and proved once again that in Burgundy, it’s not the vintage that matters but who the winemaker is – and that can also swing back into 2018!

The day!

Fourrier – Very harmonious wines which are very true to the vintage. When you taste these wines, the tannins are very silky. You can feel the tightness of tannins with the growers who picked early. Here it is very different. All the wines are very beautiful. Fourrier’s range of 1er Crus, including Cherbaudes, Champeaux, Goulots, Combe Aux Moines and Clos Saint-Jacques are already so delicious and the challenge will be not to open them too early.

Cathiard – Lots of freshness with Sebastien’s wines. Lovely sandy tannins. He likes to respect the physiology of the plants. The energy, balance, freshness and lovely fruit of these wines are fantastic. I walked away from here with a massive smile!

Also, Sebastien often shows a selection of blind wines at the end of the barrel tasting to test his visitors’ palates.

Blind wines:
2017 Vosne-Romanée Village
2015 Nuits-Saint-George Premier Cru Aux Thorey
2016 Côteaux Bourguignons Les Croix Blanches
2016  Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Aux Malconsorts
2014 Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Aux Malconsorts
2018 Hautes Côtes de Nuits

With a combined work experience of 95 years in the wine trade, not one of us hit the bulls-eye! We quickly grabbed our coats worried that our allocations would be slashed!

Mortet – visiting Mortet was a real treat, one of the most in-demand producers whose wines from village to Chambertin Grand Cru are all sought after. These wines were so pleasurable to taste today that I cannot even imagine how much they will improve with a bit of time!

fourrier-cathiard-mortet

Rousseau – was in excellent form and the entire range was showing extremely well. One of the standout wines was the Clos de la Roche but it was the Clos Saint-Jacques that blew us away.

Ponsot – The Domaine now makes wines from 12 Grand Cru vineyards (among other 1er Cru and village wines) and has by far the largest holding in the famous Clos de la Roche vineyard. The 2018 whites have a really big following and you can see why. Ponsot’s Clos des Monts Luisants is Aligoté at its very best, thus was superb as was the Corton Charlemagne, textbook. You can really see the quality of the material at the top end, especially with the Corton Bressandes and Chappelle Chambertin, both showed really well. The Clos de la Roche was an utterly seamless grand cru with outstanding depth of texture and an impression of energy and power to its red and black fruit and earth flavors. Superb!

domaine-ponsot

To conclude:

On our second day, Jacques Dauvages of Clos des Lambrays notes that 2018 has been the hottest year in Burgundy since 1901. He hasn’t witnessed a vintage like this since he started in 2001. His three points for 2018 are yields, harvest dates and the difficulty of wine making.

2018 is not a vintage that you can generalise. It really is estate by estate, you can see the appellation distinction between the whites and the reds.

Aubert de Villaine of DRC compares the 2018 vintage to 1947 which is very high praise indeed.