Chassagne-Montrachet


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  • Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet 2018

    £64.99

    “The 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet Village had been blended in July and fined three weeks prior to my visit. It has a delightful bouquet of orange blossom, tinned peach and touches of wild mint, quite intense for a Village Cru. The palate is taut, fresh and spicy on the entry, with touches of white pepper and fennel infusing the citrus fruit. An almost clinical saline finish lingers in the mouth. Superb. Drink: 2021-2036. 90-92 points

    Readers will know the high esteem in which I hold Domaine Bernard Moreau and winemaker Alexandre Moreau. You want the best Chassagne-Montrachet? This is where you call first. I have absolutely no reason to alter that view with respect to the 2018s. “We started picking on 30 August, the same date as 2017 but the profile of the vintage is different,” Moreau told me surrounded by stainless steel vats. “This was because of the size of the crop and the heat. I like to have freshness and not too much alcohol, so I was anxious about the picking date. So I controlled the maturity, constantly tasting in the vineyard and soon realised that the sugar level can rise quicker than the phenolic maturity. I have now started the harvest in August in 2015, 2017 and 2018. I couldn’t understand why if August was so warm, the increase in sugar level was actually quite slow. I knew it was generous, but I did not know it would be so generous in older vineyards – something that I have never seen. For example, I haven’t made nine barrels of Chassagne Chenevottes since I began, then again, yields are only just above 50hl/ha for the Premier Crus. Maybe people are expecting something like 2003, but the 2018s are not heavy at all. For the Village and Premier Crus the alcohol is between 13.0° and 13.5°. As usual we practice natural fermentations, no racking and so forth – the only difference in 2018 is that it was a super-long alcoholic fermentation. Many barrels were fermenting until July – and I don’t mind that – I like to play this game as you have activity in the barrel with the fine lees in suspension and natural CO2 that protects your wine. The pH is around 3.19, which gives them a lot of freshness. It is not a vintage for early bottling and so most of the Premier Crus will be bottled next Spring.””

    Neal Martin, Vinous (01/20)

    In Stock

  • Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru La Cardeuse 2018

    £65.95

    “The 2018 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru La Cardeuse is deeper and more concentrated, wafting from the glass with aromas of rose petals, red berries, cherries, cinnamon and sweet soil tones. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, with superb concentration, ripe tannins and lively acids, concluding with a long, perfumed finish. This is a brilliant wine with a pedigree going back to the 1952 vintage that consumers fixated on the Côte d’Or more famous red wine producing villages overlook to their disadvantage. 92-94 points

    Alex and Benoit Moreau began their harvest on August 30, afraid of waiting too long given the warm conditions, and reported finished alcohols between 12.15% and 13.3%. This was a large crop for the domaine, even for its premiers crus and old vines: Chenevottes, for example, yielded fully 62 hetoliters per hectare, its most generous in 20 years. Most of the domaine’s white wine fermentations lasted into June-July 2019. As usual, I made Domaine Bernard Moreau one of my last stops during my time in Burgundy to catch the wines at their best, and the young 2018s showed superbly: it’s a more immediate vintage than 2017 but beautifully balanced. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a better address to which to direct readers looking to take a tour of some of Chassagne-Montrachet’s most interesting terroirs. I also revisited the superb 2017s in bottle, wines that number among the vintage’s finest.

    What are the rudiments of this 14-hectare estate’s success? As I wrote last year, the domaine represents a loose division of labor between two brothers: Benoit, who concerns himself with the vineyards, and Alex, who oversees the cellar. In the vineyard, they use only organic fertilizers and no pesticides. In the cellar, Alex Moreau appreciates long fermentations and extended sur lie élevage without stirring, the wines finishing their maturation in stainless steel where they generally see a light fining. New oak, largely from François Frères, is judiciously chosen. Beautifully balanced and differentiated by site, these are some of the most compelling white Burgundies being made today, and I once again warmly recommend them to readers.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/20)

    In Stock

  • Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes Rouge 2018

    £39.95

    “Bursting with aromas of rose petals, berries, spices and blood orange, the 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes is medium to full-bodied, charming and succulent, with a perfumed core of fruit, powdery tannins and a nicely defined finish. Vinified with 30% whole cluster and finishing up at 13.1% alcohol, this delicious Chassagne is one of the sleepers of the vintage. Drinking window: 2020-2040. 91 points

    Alex and Benoit Moreau began their harvest on August 30, afraid of waiting too long given the warm conditions, and reported finished alcohols between 12.15% and 13.3%. This was a large crop for the domaine, even for its premiers crus and old vines: Chenevottes, for example, yielded fully 62 hetoliters per hectare, its most generous in 20 years. Most of the domaine’s white wine fermentations lasted into June-July 2019. As usual, I made Domaine Bernard Moreau one of my last stops during my time in Burgundy to catch the wines at their best, and the young 2018s showed superbly: it’s a more immediate vintage than 2017 but beautifully balanced. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a better address to which to direct readers looking to take a tour of some of Chassagne-Montrachet’s most interesting terroirs. I also revisited the superb 2017s in bottle, wines that number among the vintage’s finest.

    What are the rudiments of this 14-hectare estate’s success? As I wrote last year, the domaine represents a loose division of labor between two brothers: Benoit, who concerns himself with the vineyards, and Alex, who oversees the cellar. In the vineyard, they use only organic fertilizers and no pesticides. In the cellar, Alex Moreau appreciates long fermentations and extended sur lie élevage without stirring, the wines finishing their maturation in stainless steel where they generally see a light fining. New oak, largely from François Frères, is judiciously chosen. Beautifully balanced and differentiated by site, these are some of the most compelling white Burgundies being made today, and I once again warmly recommend them to readers”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/20)

    In Stock

  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Margot 2019

    £59.99

    “The 2019 Chassagne-Montrachet Village “Margot”, the name of this particular cuvée rather than the lieu-dit, comes from four parcels and is raised in 15% new oak. It has a well defined bouquet with orange pith and yellow plum aromas that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is full of energy with impressive depth, gorgeous orange zest and mandarin notes, almond and a little walnut. Very harmonious and very persistent on the finish, this punches well above its weight. Drinking window: 2022-2036. 91-93 points

    Since splitting with his brother Joseph, whose wines will hopefully be added to this report in the not-too-distant future, winemaker Damien Colin, together with his sister Caroline, has continued to create some of the best Burgundy wines you will find in Saint-Aubin, Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet, from his winery based in the confusingly-titled village of Gamay. “It is a complicated growing season with the frost and the ‘canicule’ [heat wave]. In some appellations we produced just 30% of a normal crop in 2019, though there are others that produced a normal yield.” Damien Colin added that in Saint-Aubin, parcels located on the slopes that normally escape frost, were affected in 2019. Vines on flatter areas that are prone to frost damage seemed to escape Scot-free. He continued saying that in Saint-Aubin, buds had already begun opening, allowing moisture to enter, causing some of them to ‘explode’ when it turned to ice.

    “Flowering was normal and then there was a heatwave in the summer, but the vines did not suffer much hydric stress despite the high temperatures that reached around 40°C. The harvest was small, so the maturity came very quickly. The vintage was expected to be 15 September but by the end of August the natural alcohol was around 12.0° to 12.5°. Therefore, we brought the picking forward and began on 7 September until 18-19 September. For the whites the alcohol degree is 13.5° to 14.0°C but with high acidity, mainly tartaric. The malic was low so after the malolactic fermentation the acidity levels are still good. The harvest was rapid because of the small yields, though we had to keep stopping and starting to be precise in terms of picking. The fermentation was quite quick, finishing around mid-November and the malos passed normally in springtime. From 2019 we no longer use SO2 until after the malolactic, which was fine in 2019 as the fruit was healthy. The SO2 inhibits some of the natural yeasts and without SO2 we have a broad spectrum of yeasts that engender more complex wine. The Village Crus are matured in around 15% new oak and the Premier Crus between 20% and 25% new oak. The 2019s are all taken from vat and will be bottled next spring with the final six months in tank.”

    The 2019s from Domaine Marc Colin do not disappoint and it is remarkable, almost irrational that such freshness could be conjured in such a dry and warm season. Standout? Perhaps surprising to some, it is not their morsel of Montrachet, good as that is, but a thrilling Bâtard-Montrachet, a Grand Cru that I feel over-performs in this vintage. If unable to splash the cash, then head for their outstanding Saint-Aubin Les Charmois or Les Combes or just buy both. I also found much to admire apropos their nervy Chassagne-Montrachets, particularly in Les Vides Bourses. Not every cuvée hit the bulls-eye, but generally these 2019s continue to consolidate Damien Colin’s reputation as winemaker par excellence. Pressing him to choose between 2018 and 2019 he replies: “It is difficult for me to say one vintage is better than the other. I find more terroir character in 2019 and I think that they will need more time.””

    Neal Martin, Vinous (12/20)

    In Stock

  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Caillerets 2019

    £119.75

    Three bottles available

    “The 2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets is very promising, opening in the glass with notes of pear, fresh peach, white flowers, beeswax and pastry cream. Medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with terrific structuring dry extract, lively acids and a long, mineral finish, it’s once again one of the highlights of the portfolio. 93-95 points

    Damien Colin reported that his yields were some 30% below average and that the crop ripened rapidly, “even very rapidly.” Indeed, having projected a September 15 start, he began picking on September 7. Alcohol levels came in for the most part between 13% and 13.5%, with good phenolic maturity and lower pHs than in 2018. Having learned from a succession of warm vintages, every effort was made to retain freshness: working with cool grapes, minimal bâtonnage and moderate percentages of new oak. And in the vineyards, Colin is backing off rognage, working more flexibly to adapt to the vintage. All this translates to a very fine vintage chez Colin, delivering wines that are more concentrated and more clearly defined by site than the charming, open and expressive 2018s, also revisited here.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/21)

     

    In Stock

  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes Rouge 2015

    £44.95

    “The 2015 Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge Vieilles Vignes, from 70-year-old vines located in three parcels, has a lovely nose, a touch of damp mulch tincturing the lively red cherry and crushed strawberry fruit. It almost seems like there is some stem addition, but in fact it is 100% de-stemmy. The palate is well balanced with a gentle grip on the entry, fleshier than many red Chassagne 2015s, perhaps reflecting the warmth of the growing season, a slight grittiness on the texture towards the finish. This is very fine. Drink: 2018-2025. 87-89 points

    Damien Colin informed me that he had been taking English lessons in recent weeks so he invited me to conduct the tasting in his second language, rather than French as we usually do. I must say, he has a good teacher because he spoke very well. But it was the wines that did the talking, fluently translating the vagaries of their respective terroirs. A few of his whites had been bottled in August just before the harvest, although most of the range will be bottled early spring next year. “The 2015 vintage was easy,” Damien told me, laughing at that thought after the trauma of the 2016. “After the high temperatures we started picking on 2 September. We thought that the fruit would be riper after a sunny vintage but the alcoholic degree was very correct in the end, between 12.5° and 13.0°. The problem was the acidity but after the malolactic the acidity levels stayed constant. [A phenomenon that a couple of growers had told me, including David Croix at Domaine des Croix.] The wines were less rich and fresher than we expected. We search more and more freshness and acidity, and we had a lot of that in Saint Aubin because of the limestone soils. The vinification was normal although now we are using more and more foudres, which we like because it helps us keep the freshness and does not impart too much taste of the wood. In addition we discovered that there is more carbonic gas remaining after the two fermentations so that means that the wine is more protected and we do not need to use so much SO2. It means these wines have more energy. We use 30-40% maximum for each cuvée.”

    This was another very impressive set of wines from Damien and Joseph Colin, reaffirming their position as one of the best winemakers in the Côte de Beaune. As I remarked to Damien, I felt that their strongest suit is their Saint Aubins, whose limestone soils advantaged them in the warmth of the 2015 season, imparting the acidity naturally and retaining good pH levels. This was evidenced by the Chassagne-Montrachet that did not quite deliver the same race and nervosité. If you can find their Grand Crus, then you have my congratulations. As I mention in the tasting notes, they had the novel idea of commissioning a specially-made barrel with staves alternating between old and new to inhibit the influence of the oak. I thought this worked especially well with the exemplary Montrachet Grand Cru. Overall, it was a marvelous set of whites from Joseph and Damien Colin that are mostly strongly recommended.”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (228)

    In Stock

  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Champs Gain 2019

    £89.99

    “The 2019 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Champs Gain 1er Cru is more reserved on the nose compared to the Chenevottes, touches of lemon rind and light fumé aromas. The palate is very well balanced with a crisp opening. Quintessentially Chassagne, there are lovely orange pith and tangerine notes coming through towards the finish with a long spicy aftertaste tinged with crème brûlée. Excellent. Drinking window: 2022-2040. 91-93 points

    Since splitting with his brother Joseph, whose wines will hopefully be added to this report in the not-too-distant future, winemaker Damien Colin, together with his sister Caroline, has continued to create some of the best Burgundy wines you will find in Saint-Aubin, Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet, from his winery based in the confusingly-titled village of Gamay. “It is a complicated growing season with the frost and the ‘canicule’ [heat wave]. In some appellations we produced just 30% of a normal crop in 2019, though there are others that produced a normal yield.” Damien Colin added that in Saint-Aubin, parcels located on the slopes that normally escape frost, were affected in 2019. Vines on flatter areas that are prone to frost damage seemed to escape Scot-free. He continued saying that in Saint-Aubin, buds had already begun opening, allowing moisture to enter, causing some of them to ‘explode’ when it turned to ice.

    “Flowering was normal and then there was a heatwave in the summer, but the vines did not suffer much hydric stress despite the high temperatures that reached around 40°C. The harvest was small, so the maturity came very quickly. The vintage was expected to be 15 September but by the end of August the natural alcohol was around 12.0° to 12.5°. Therefore, we brought the picking forward and began on 7 September until 18-19 September. For the whites the alcohol degree is 13.5° to 14.0°C but with high acidity, mainly tartaric. The malic was low so after the malolactic fermentation the acidity levels are still good. The harvest was rapid because of the small yields, though we had to keep stopping and starting to be precise in terms of picking. The fermentation was quite quick, finishing around mid-November and the malos passed normally in springtime. From 2019 we no longer use SO2 until after the malolactic, which was fine in 2019 as the fruit was healthy. The SO2 inhibits some of the natural yeasts and without SO2 we have a broad spectrum of yeasts that engender more complex wine. The Village Crus are matured in around 15% new oak and the Premier Crus between 20% and 25% new oak. The 2019s are all taken from vat and will be bottled next spring with the final six months in tank.”

    The 2019s from Domaine Marc Colin do not disappoint and it is remarkable, almost irrational that such freshness could be conjured in such a dry and warm season. Standout? Perhaps surprising to some, it is not their morsel of Montrachet, good as that is, but a thrilling Bâtard-Montrachet, a Grand Cru that I feel over-performs in this vintage. If unable to splash the cash, then head for their outstanding Saint-Aubin Les Charmois or Les Combes or just buy both. I also found much to admire apropos their nervy Chassagne-Montrachets, particularly in Les Vides Bourses. Not every cuvée hit the bulls-eye, but generally these 2019s continue to consolidate Damien Colin’s reputation as winemaker par excellence. Pressing him to choose between 2018 and 2019 he replies: “It is difficult for me to say one vintage is better than the other. I find more terroir character in 2019 and I think that they will need more time.””

    Neal Martin, Vinous (12/20)

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  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Vide-Bourses 2017

    £99.75

    “The 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Vide Bourse bursts with aromas of pear, Meyer lemon, honeycomb and toasty new oak. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, muscular and quite youthfully introverted, with lively acids and fine overall balance. In this generally quite open and expressive vintage chez Colin, it’s one wine that will need a little time. Drink: 2025-2045. 92+ points

    Damien Colin continues his progression towards longer élevage in larger vessels: In 2017, he purchased more 300- and 350-liter barrels, a trend that continued in 2018, and after a year in wood, his wines now see a protracted sojourn in tank on the lees. He’s adding less sulfur dioxide at harvest, finding that fermentations last longer. And longer élevage with attendant natural clarification meant that he was able to bottle his 2017s entirely without fining or filtration. Those 2017s, revisited from bottle, confirmed their fine showing last year; and 2018, rounder and more immediate in style, looks to be another success for Domaine Marc Colin, as my notes testify.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/20)

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  • Olivier Leflaive Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Abbaye de Morgeot Recolte du Domaine 2018

    £69.95

    “The 2017 is a great success for Olivier Leflaive and the house’s able winemaker Franck Grux. While the scale of this important négociant house sometimes wins it short shrift from Burgundy collectors, the truth of the matter is found in the glass. The whole range this year is very solid indeed, and with Leflaive’s “Récolte du Domaine” range, Grux has evidently pulled out all the stops to produce wines that can confound the prejudices of even the most skeptical. Many of these bottlings are derived from Olivier Leflaive’s share of the Domaine Leflaive vineyards, which only recently reverted to him, and these cuvées in particular are worth every effort to seek out.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (11/19)

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