The first day finished with a couple of bottles at Au Bout du Monde followed by a cracking dinner at Caves Madeleine, a stone’s throw from our hotel, and an early night.
A quick breakfast and a drive through the autumnal vines took us to Marc Colin for an 8.00 am tasting. Damien Colin described 2018 as a combination of freshness and “gourmandise”. He uses slightly larger 300l barrels to bring out these characteristics, particularly important in this warm vintage. What a fantastic start, this is clearly going to be a star domaine this year. The entire range was exemplary, from St Aubin to Le Montrachet. A relatively generous vintage for whites, but here there is a wonderful precision and the distinctive style of each appellation and terroir is evident. Hard to choose any favourites, but the Puligny Montrachet Les Enceignieres and Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Chenevottes really stood out.
On to Tollot-Beaut. Nathalie Tollot was very upbeat, and her range of wines was truly delicious. She noted that in 2018 the picking date was crucial to keep purity and freshness in the wines. All her 2018s were bright, pretty and pure, with good richness and volume of fruit. The Savigny Lavières has a fantastic saline mineral core, so typical of that vineyard, which makes this a brilliant wine to lay down – and great value. The Beaune Grèves was showing beautifully, with the Corton Bressandes, unsurprisingly showing its Grand Cru stature, balancing power and voluptuous fruit.
The final tasting of the morning was at Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Vosne Romanée. Tasting this sought after domaine’s wines is always a huge pleasure – if only we got a little bit more! Their 2018s had such purity and unforced elegance with underlying power and superfine silky tannins. A great range culminating in a Cros Parantoux which had an astonishing intensity and crescendo of flavour that seemed to go on forever.
A classic Burgundian lunch at Le Chambolle of jambon persillé and coq au vin set us up for our tasting with Ghislaine Barthod and Louis Boillot. Another decent size crop is very welcome in this cellar which was hit so hard two years ago. Ghislaine’s premiers crus are some of the most sought after wines in any vintage, whether a tense, mineral Chatelots (a vineyard that really suits this warmer vintage), a dark velvety Beaux Bruns or Les Cras, with its precision and drive. The Barthod’s Chambolle Musigny Village was also excellent; get your hands on a case of this beauty if you can. Louis’ Gevrey Villages balances rich, dark fruit with an unforced finesse, while his premier cru Champonnets is absolutely superb; harmonious, elegant, with so much potential.
At family-run Domaine Jean Grivot in Vosne Romanée, Etienne Grivot oversees one of the finest collections of vineyards in the entire Côte d’Or. His Vosne Romanée Villages has juicy, sweet ripe fruit, a velvety texture and such fine-grained tannins; this performs far above its village appellation. To taste the whole range from Vosne Romanée Les Rouges, via Nuits St Georges Boudots up to a staggering Richebourg was a magnificent experience; the perfect end to a brilliant day’s tasting.