Chassagne-Montrachet


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  • Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet 2018

    £47.99

    “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

  • Leroy Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Chenevottes 2014

    £419.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Les Encegnieres 2015

    £59.99

    “The 2015 Chassagne Montrachet les Encegnieres was matured in 20% new oak with 30% aged in foudres. It offers quite a complex array of scents: citrus peel, oyster shell, wet granite and a subtle fumé-like aroma. It seemed relatively mercurial in the glass compared to its peers. The palate is very well balanced with fine acidity, good body and depth here with fine tension and energy displayed on the finish. This should become a very satisfying Chassagne-Montrachet punching at premier cru quality. Drink: 2018-2028. 90-92 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 Margaux 2016

    £59.99

    “The 2016 Chassagne-Montrachet “Margaux” is a blend of premier cru vineyards (see producer introduction for details). It has quite a complex nose of lemon curd, white pepper, lanolin and yellow fruit, not a million miles away from a white northern Rhône in style. The palate is well balanced with lemon zest, peach, apricot and a touch of passionfruit, the acidity well judged, perhaps the oak a little more conspicuous on the finish even though it is the same as the other village crus. Give this a couple of years in bottle because it will be a delicious Chassagne. Drink: 2019-2028. 89-91 points

    This writer has regaled the wines of Domaine Marc Colin for a few vintages now. Of course, things never stay the same. Damian Colin informed me that as of one month before my visit in October 2017, his brother Joseph had amicably branched out under his own name, resulting in a split of their 20 hectares of holdings, with Joseph overseeing around six hectares and Damian, together with his sister Caroline, the remainder. These currently include the precious parcels of grand cru, the Montrachet a fermage with their father and Bâtard-Montrachet rented from their parents. Of course, I wish Joseph all the best and will endeavor to taste his wines as soon as I can.

    As usual we tasted Damian’s portfolio in the tasting room with its slight rearrangements due to the frosts, Damian speaking in English which improves dramatically each time we meet. “It was very difficult because of the frost in April,” he began, as doubtless many others in his locale would do. “During the nights of 26 and 27 April the temperature fell to -5° Celsius, but the damage was done via a combination of the frost and sun the following morning. In 2017, faced with the same problem, we burned bales of straw in the vineyard. But in 2016 the result is that there is 70% crop less than normal. The Chassagne-Montrachet and Saint-Aubin premier crus were severely affected, with Saint-Aubin village and Aligoté less so. There was a big attack of oidium in June around Saint-Aubin and Puligny-Montrachet, hail in Remilly and Chatenerie. But this was not as damaging as the oidium. After June it was warm with a lot of humidity but there was no rot. There was some rain at the beginning of September, which was important because it had been so dry. We started the harvest on 23 September for six days, whereas it is usually ten days, and we did not have to do a lot of sorting because the maturity was very good. The fermentation was normal, classic you might say. For the reds we now undertake pre-ferment cooling periods and longer fermentation for more color and aromas. Normally we have four different Chassagne-Montrachet premier crus. This year there is no Chenevottes…it was completely wiped out. So we introduced the Chassagne-Montrachet “Margaux” cuvée, named after my paternal grandmother Marguerite, a mix of 80% Enseignères and 20% Les Parclot. In addition, there is the Saint-Aubin “3C,” a mix of three different premier crus: Combes, Les Créots and Clos des Meix. Thirdly, there is Saint-Aubin “Luce,” the nickname of my maternal grandmother, which is a blend of Fontenots and other parcels. For the Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet, we asked a tonnelier to make a barrel corresponding to the exact size of our [diminished] production. So they cut the ends off of a one-year-old barrel and replaced each end panel with new wood, representing 40% of the surface area. There are 130 liters of the Bâtard-Montrachet and 170 liters of the Montrachet.”

    This was a less consistent range from Damian but one not without its peaks, and that is simply down to the challenges thrown by what can only be described as the beginning of a growing season from hell. I felt that those vines in Chassagne-Montrachet were discombobulated by the frost, hail and oidium and even those that survived appeared muted and missed some of their usual nervosité compared to the range of Saint-Aubins. They seem to have shrugged off the growing season more successfully, including some really quite superb village crus that should not be ignored. The grand crus are outstanding, particularly the Montrachet, although finding any will be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (234)

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  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Margot 2019

    £44.99

    “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 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)

    In Stock

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

    £89.99

    “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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  • Francois Carillon Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Clos Saint-Jean 2017

    £69.99

    Review to follow

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  • Francois Carillon Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Macherelles 2017

    £74.99

    “The 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Macherelles is brighter and more precise than the Chassagne village, offering up notions of citrus oil, ripe lemons, crisp orchard fruit and spices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample but stony, with good concentration and depth, concluding with a vibrant, mineral finish. 89-91 points

    The 2017 vintage is a great success for François Carillon, who has produced his most successful range of wines since the inception of his eponymous domaine in 2010. Of course, this estate is only a new incarnation of a long-standing family tradition that stretches back many generations: François is named after his great-grandfather, François Virot, the pioneering regisseur of Domaine Leflaive who must rank among the 20th century’s greatest white winemakers, and he began working with his father, Louis Carillon, with the 1988 vintage. François’s style is richer and more gourmand than his brother’s, and he harvests later; but in 2017, the texture and flesh is tempered by succulent acids, and though the wines are broad and textural, they are also pure and precise on both the nose and the palate. The influence of new wood—in the past, sometimes a little prominent for this reviewer’s palate—is also deftly judged. In short, this is an exceptional set of wines that suggests that Carillon has arrived at a mature style of his own. His great-grandfather would be proud.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (242)

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