We arrived in Beaune on Sunday night in time for a delicious supper at Le Gourmandin, including bumping into the Berrys’ team!
Raining hard today first thing. First port of call is Bonneau du Martray to taste their top notch duo of Grand Crus. Biodynamic for a number of years, we met with Jean Charles who told us that 1/3rd of the crop was destroyed by hail in 60 seconds, talk of how they can combat this terror from the skies.
The Corton Charlemagne was very pure with lovely broadness and weight. White stone peachy fruit, aromas of pear. Hazelnuts. Lovely brightness of fruit with pronounced acidity.
The Corton rouge was elegant and pretty rather than powerful. Very natural fruit. Again such wonderfully bright fruit. Finishes long. A delicious Corton. The vines for this wine are from small parcels of vines on the Charlemagne side of the hill, just below the white vineyards where the soil is redder.
Next stop Chandon de Briailles in Savigny where Claude took us through her flight in their new tasting room. I also spotted a case of 2010 magnums Savigny Lavieres she had sitting in the corner that JL also has nestled in his cellar!
The style here suits the vintage, brighter fruit, elegance, low alcohol (12.3 to 12.5 for Premiers Crus and 12.8 for Grand Cru), with wonderful clarity and cool restraint.
**A tiny crop, they normally make around the 200 barrel mark, this year they made 50 barrels only. Very sad. Here we are tasting before the malos are complete.
The Savigny Fourneaux and Pernand Vergelesses both have a cooler fruit character. The Savigny has darker fruits, perfumed, floral with hints of earth. Wonderful clarity in both wines. My star before entering Grand Cru territory is the Ile de Vergelesses which was darker, smokier and had a sweeter fruit character. It was more generous and really delicious!
We then had the pleasure to taste the 3 Grand Crus, with Marechaudes first up. It is situated just below Bressandes, 3 barrels were made which is about normal, the maximum would be 5 in some years. This is a very seductive cuvée. 30% whole cluster pressing gives the wine a lovely ripeness and a sweeter style. Interesting to note that this vineyard wasn’t touched by hail, which hovered literally over its border. Extraordinary.
Bressandes is darker, a little more exotic, wilder fruit and more voluminous on the palate. I love this cuvée, it will age beautifully and us always very good value for a serious Grand Cru.
Clos du Roi, from the top part of the very steep vineyard is situated above Bressandes. The wine is very pure with intense pretty red fruits and some floral notes, yet masculine, tauter and more textured on the palate due to the white clay (on limestone/sand). Lots of power and drive. Tannins are super fine. You can really taste the whole bunch pressing in the finish. Very long.
It is brightening, the sky reveals a pocket of blue and we are motoring to Fourrier in Gevrey!! 30 minutes drive from Savigny to Gevrey.
Jean Marie summed up the vintage beautifully. “˜Sweet character and well integrated tannins that support the crunchy pretty red fruits.’
This is certainly a vintage to let the natural fruit express itself.
All the wines are as you would expect from this domaine, very good indeed. This vintage doesn’t command power and structure, you buy these wines because you want to drink sweet pretty Pinot fruit, wines that are elegant and the majority are harmonious. At the very top level, the stand out wines are broader with more obvious volume and this is epitomised by the enviable Clos St Jacques and his Griotte Chambertin.
Domaine d’Eugenie and Olivier Lamy awaited us after lunch. Watch this space.