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  • Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin 2017


    “The 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Village, which matures in 40% new oak, has a lovely red cherry and wild strawberry bouquet that feels delicate and pure. The palate is very well balanced with a fine acidity, lightly spiced with a dash of white pepper towards the finish. It has a directness that is pleasing, a no-frills but quite delicious Village Cru in the making. Excellent. Drinking window: 2012-2026. 89-91 points

    Domaine Claude Dugat is one of the most picturesque wineries, located in the outskirts of Gevrey in an erstwhile tithe barn. Claude Dugat has handed over the reins to his son Bertrand, who works in the cellar, and his daughter Lataetia, out in the vines where organic and now biodynamic tenets are employed – the fifth generation since Maurice Dugat bought the holdings in 1955. This was the first time I tasted with both son and daughter together. There is certainly a revised approach at the domaine, with more emphasis on early picking and modest use of new oak. Bertrand told me that after the dry summer, the vines were thirsty and so the shower just before harvest was much needed. This year he commenced picking on September 3, compared to September 19 in 2016, and was surprised by the good yields. Although Bertrand was only too pleased with a good crop, make no mistake that quantities are tiny even by Burgundy’s standard, with just one-and-a-quarter barrels of the Griotte-Chambertin (the Grand Crus are all matured entirely in new wood.) I have found much to admire in recent vintages. Bertrand Dugat came across tentative in his first couple of vintages, which is better than being over-confident. The purity of fruit and intensity are extremely impressive and whilst not quite as riveting as their splendid 2016s, I admire the expression of each respective terroir, the wines conveying a sense of honesty and transparency. It is no surprise that the Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin lead the pack, despite the former being shrouded in reduction. Perhaps this year the growing season shaved some length off the Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, though the Lavaux Saint-Jacques reveals wonderful linearity and persistence.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (01/19)

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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016


    “The 2016 Charmes Chambertin les Mazoyeres Grand Cru, which is 100% whole cluster from their single parcel of century old vines, has a tightly wound, quite floral bouquet that gradually opens with aeration but remains a little laconic compared to its peers. The palate is medium-bodied with fleshy ripe red berry fruit, fine mineralité, quite dense (especially toward the second half) with touches of blood orange and spice toward the finish. This gets more interesting as it goes along! Good potential. Drink: 2022-2045. 92-94 points

    The big news earlier this year was winemaker Pierre Vincent’s move from Domaine de la Vougeraie to Domaine Leflaive. When key personnel transfer to another company, then it is bound to cause concern about the continued success. Pierre had been instrumental in improving the wines at Vougeraie over his 11-year tenure. Previously, the wines had been rather overextracted and Pierre imbued them with more terroir expression, greater restraint and more class. It was no surprise that Leflaive snapped him up. Winemakers come and go, but the vines stay the same. When I asked about who was taking Pierre’s place, I was informed that rather than highlighting a single person, they would prefer to emphasize that there is a winemaking team, obligatory when you have such a diaspora of vineyards the length and breadth of the region.

    “We used more whole bunches to gain more complexity,” François, one of their winemaking team told me and, indeed, examining the list of wines I can see that several cuvées include 100% whole bunch, even the entry-level “Terres de Famille” red includes 30%. “We found this gave more balance in the reds. We had good results [using whole bunch] with the 2015 and so tried to do the same with 2016. The yields were low and the concentration of the grapes was good. We lost 55% of the production because of frost and lost our Beaune Grèves and Beaune Clos du Roi entirely, although Les Damodes, Le Petit Noizon and Les Clos Blanc did not suffer damage. We started the picking on 15 September with the whites with the Les Clos Blanc. We did a small pigéage. I did not want a brutal extraction, so I used lower fermentation temperatures. The wines are all matured using one-third new, one-third one-year and one-third two-year oak, racked from barrel by barrel, from new into used barrels. I found that the malolactic fermentation in 2016 was longer than in 2015. The wines were racked just before harvest, and I will bottle them a little later in April 2018 rather than end February.”

    With such a wide array of propitious parcels scattered all across the Côte d’Or there is always bound to be a clutch of great wines from Domaine de la Vougeraie. Add into the mix the frost and mildew and ineluctably you will get a lot of variation in quality, and that is the case here. There are crus that I felt were discombobulated by the growing season and only just managed to stumble across the finish line, others that are quite brilliant, both white and red. I will leave readers to peruse the reviews. Buy carefully, and you might have a great and, dare I say, well-priced wine on your hands.”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (234)

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  • Heresztyn-Mazzini Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jouises Vieilles Vignes 2018


    “The 2019 Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Jouises” Vieilles Vignes is raised in 20% new oak with 50–60% whole bunch. This was quite reduced on the nose and difficult to read. The palate is more open, offering ebullient red fruit, and quite spicy, revealing a liberal sprinkling of black pepper on the finish. Good potential, though it deserves 4–5 years in bottle. Drinking window: 2024-2040. 91-93 points

    Champenoise Simon Heresztyn-Mazzini showed me through his 2019s this year. I noticed a large canvas photograph of him and his wife Florence posing next to Clos Saint-Denis. This year they built a new wall with a plaque to indicate the location of their prized holding à la Jacques Prieur and de Vogüé. “We were lucky because we had no frost during spring. The vineyard grew fast so that was tough, but we had no mildew of oïdium. The summer was wonderful, a bit dry and there was just a bit of blockage in the growth cycle. We are trying to pick the grapes not only when we see the sugar levels but according to phenolic ripeness. We started the harvest on 18 September and finished on 23 September. Yields were 35 to 42hl/ha. The alcohol levels are between 12.6° and 14.2°, quite high but with whole bunches there is a good balance. They don’t have any heaviness. We have been using the Billon cooperage for three years. The barrels can be a bit toasty in the beginning but they assimilate very well. We will add a bit of SO2 during racking and the reds will be bottled next May.” A bit like Duroché, Heresztyn-Mazzini has come out of nowhere in recent years. Though they perhaps do not attract the same fervour and attendant prices of their aforementioned neighbour, they have established a strong and loyal following for their wines that make judicious use of the old vine stock, low intervention winemaking, assiduous use of stems and minimal SO2. Their Clos Saint-Denis is excellent, but where I found the most pleasure vis-à-vis notional price is with their Gevrey-Chambertins La Perrière and Les Champonnets.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (12/20)

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  • Louis Boillot Gevrey-Chambertin 2017


    “From eight different lieux-dits and averaging over sixty years of age, the 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Village unfurls in the glass with notes of ripe berry fruit, grilled meats and rich soil tones. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, pure and succulent, with velvety tannins, tangy acids and good length on the finish. 89-91 points

    The 2017 vintage is a great success for this small but superb domaine. During our tasting in the cellar Boillot shares with his wife, Ghislaine Barthod, he observed that the wines “were pretty short to begin with, but they have gained greatly in depth and persistence with élevage”—a judgement readily verified in the glass. While Boillot is an experienced vigneron, his first solo vintage for his own label was 2003, and perhaps that’s why this address still flies under the radar. But with excellent old vine holdings in top appellations, deft winemaking and a classical aesthetic, readers should take note. Ploughed vineyards, destemmed grapes, classical cuvaisons and élevage in a moderate percentage of new barrels are the rudiments of the approach.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/19)

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  • Maume Gevrey-Chambertin En Pallud 2019


    “The 2019 Gevrey-Chambertin En Pallud is the largest cru of the domaine, from 0.64 hectares of vine located just below Mazis-Chambertin. It is raised in used barrels apart from one (I tasted from new Francois Freres and used). The precise bouquet presents red cherries, raspberry, crushed stone and wilted rose petals, beautifully focused. The palate is very finessed with silky tannins and pure red fruit. As Pinoté as Pinot Noir can be. I absolutely love this. Drinking window: 2022-2038. 92-94 points

    Back in the day, Maume was the bastion of “traditional Burgundy”. When perceived wisdom was towards lacquering new oak on sensitive Pinot Noir and producers dogmatically adopted Henri Jayer’s principles of complete de-stemming, Maume was one of a handful that stuck to their principles of using whole bunches. The wines were inconsistent as testified by a memorable vertical of Mazis-Chambertin in London a few years ago, but for every wine that they got wrong and tasted vegetal, when they got it right and given requisite bottle age, the wines could be profound. In many ways Maume was ahead of their time, as nowadays numerous producers now proselytize the same tenets. The original holdings were almost entirely bought out by Canadian entrepreneur Murray Tawse to create Domaine Tawse, whose wines can be found in this report.

    Contractually, Maume retained a few morsels of vine and to be honest, since then I have not paid them much attention. However, I did return on this trip, back to their rather dishevelled winery on the RN74. Bertrand’s Maume’s father, Bernard, answered the door. Don’t be deceived by his advancing years. Maume Senior is as sharp as a pin. He spoke eloquently about the terroir of Gevrey and had lost none of his faculties that served him during an illustrious career as a professor at the University of Dijon. Bertrand has had more than his fair share of demons. Despite life’s battle scars when we met, I could not help recall some of the amazing bottles he helped create, as well as observing the bond between father and son. Tasting their 2019s that were picked from 14 September from barrel, it was patently clear that Maume never lost the knack of producing what you might call “fermented wonderment”. I tasted few Village Crus as spellbinding as their 2019 Gevrey-Chambertin En Pallud or a generic red as fine as their 2019 Bourgogne Rouge from the lieu-dit of Les Vignes Blanches, grown on white limestone soils as its name implies. Maume retained a cult following, especially here in the UK, evidenced by the pallets ready to be picked by their transporter. Tasting these 2018s and 2019s I can understand why they continue to have a loyal following.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (12/20)

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  • Rossignol-Trapet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2018


    “The 2018 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes comes from vines averaging 60 years of age, within nine parcels that are representative of the appellation. It has a lovely bouquet of undergrowth scents percolating through red berry fruit that is slightly darker than the Bourgogne Rouge, the 50% whole cluster nicely integrated. The lightly spiced palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity and an elegant finish that exerts gentle grip. Give it two or three years in bottle. Drinking window: 2021-2032. 89-91 points

    Rossignol-Trapet is a domaine that is starting to step up a few gears in recent years. Their wines have performed impressively during the annual Burgfest blind tastings, a perfect litmus test to see who’s really doing the business inside the bottle. I met with brothers Nicolas and David Rossignol who gave me the lowdown on the growing season. “We started the harvest on 4 September until 12 September, commencing in Beaune and then through the Gevrey appellation, finishing with the Latricières-Chambertin. We used around 40-50% whole bunch except for the Bourgogne Rouge, the stems helping to add freshness and longevity. The wines underwent a two week cuvaison, the colour coming easily. There were some cuvées that took a while to finish their alcoholic fermentation, though they all eventually ended with zero sugar. The premier crus are all raised in around 25% new oak, the village crus will be bottled in February, the premier crus in March and the grand crus in April. I think it is a good idea to have a good length of élevage.””

    Neal Martin, Vinous (01/20)

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