Showing all 7 results

  • Chateau de la Tour Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru 2018

    £169.99

    “The 2018 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru “Cuvée Classique” displays good amplitude on the nose, incense and iris flower permeating the vibrant black fruit; there is real depth and complexity here. The mineral-driven palate is very well balanced with gentle grip and a chalky finish similar to the Vieilles Vignes. Superb. Drink: 2024-2055. 96 points

    It had been several years since I had sat down and tasted with winemaker and proprietor and president of the BIVB, François Labet. Our previous two meetings were cancelled due to surgery and pandemic respectively, though finally we were able to meet on the first sunny morning of my five-week stretch in Burgundy. I also had the chance to meet Labet’s son, Edouard, who will be stepping into his father’s shoes after entering the domaine in 2018. When Edouard exited the room for a moment, François took the opportunity praise his son, noting the role he has played in revising ideas and practices, including ushering biodynamics into the vineyard, even though organic viticulture was incepted as far back as in 1992. “You cannot see it in the vineyard but you can taste the difference in the wine,” he told me. There is also no SO2 used at harvest, while the use of whole clusters is less dogmatic than in the past.

    Together we tasted through both the 2018s and 2019s for Château de la Tour and Domaine Pierre Labet/François Labet. “It was quite an easy vintage in the vineyard,” François Labet told me. “It was in line with 2018: a warm and long summer. The flowering was difficult in 2019 because it was cold and rainy whereas in 2020 the flowering took three weeks. We had some heat waves in early summer and then the rest was pretty balanced. We started picking the 2019s on 27 August, starting with the old vines and we finished two weeks later. Everyone rushed into the vineyard because they were scared of the heat wave but the forecast of rain meant we took our time. We ended up with 22mm of rain on the second day of the harvest and this changed the fruit. We gained 8% in weight per berry. In one week the vines absorbed that moisture and the berries that were a bit too hard became fleshier. We are extending the barrel ageing for the 2019 so that for the Château de la Tour it is 22 months. I would have liked longer with the 2018s. We do whatever the wines need. We have custom made barrels. We buy the staves and cooper makes the barrels once the wine is made. In 2018 we picked from 4 September for the whites and the 2019 a couple of weeks later. All the wines in 2018 and 2019 are below 14° alcohol.” I also asked him about his approach towards the whites. “We conduct a long press cycle of crushed grapes that is scaled up. There is no SO2 and we allow a micro-oxidation in the vat below the press. Then the juice is transferred into vat and after débourbage [clarification] it is transferred into barrel straightaway with no inoculation. Sylvain Pataille consults for the whites.”

    In the past, it is true that I did not rate Labet’s wines as high as others and so to be frank, I did not know quite what to expect. But I found these wines to be at a higher level than previous vintages. “In my opinion, the kind of wines that we produce at the moment have no equivalent compared to past vintages,” Labet enthused. “We have the right viticulture, picking time and winemaking. Everything is now so controlled.” I concur. These wines conveyed much more purity and elegance than I expected. They did not seem so eager to impress or as hubristic as I found them previously. The result is that they articulate their respective terroirs with greater clarity. Even though the Domaine Pierre Labet wines do not occupy the most prestigious vineyards, they surpass their potential and represent great value. Pushing Labet to compare the two vintages, he opined: “The 2018 is a monster vintage and more muscular. The 2019 vintage is more elegant.” Readers should also note that I have included a wine that Labet makes on the island of Corsica and an intriguing Vin de Pays from a tiny plot of interloping Pinot Beurot, local word for Pinot Gris, located in Clos de Vougeot.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (12/20)

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  • Chateau de la Tour Clos-Vougeot Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru 2016

    £204.99

    “(13.2% alcohol; 18 hectoliters per hectare produced; from vines harvested on September 23): Bright, moderately saturated medium red. Explosive, fruit-dominated aromas of dark berries, cherry, spices, mint, menthol, flowers and minerals. Conveys compelling sappy energy in a silky, medium-bodied package, with its black fruit and herb flavors complicated by a touch of saline minerality. Boasts glorious density of fruit–and near-perfect balance in spite of the very low yield. The very long, rising, perfumed finish offers a serious tannic spine for aging but no rough edges. This penetrating, urgent, classic Clos Vougeot, a standout for the vintage, boasts real pinosity. François Labet told me that, beginning with his 2015s, he did not use enzymes and did not add any sulfur until the middle of the élevage, well after the malolactic fermentations finished. He bottled this 2016 with just 20 parts per million free sulfur and 35 total. Drinking window: 2026-2044. 96 points”

    Stephen Tanzer, Vinous (06/19)

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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016

    £179.95

    “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)

    In Stock

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

    £59.99

    “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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  • Jean-Pierre Guyon Vosne Romanee 2017

    £109.75

    “Guyon’s 2017 Vosne-Romanée Village offers up a complex bouquet of sweet wild berries, violet, warm spices, smoked meats and dried flowers. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, satiny and deep, with succulent acids and a fine but firm chassis of structuring stem tannins. 89-91 points

    My tasting with Jean-Pierre Guyon was one of the highlights of over two months tasting in Burgundy, as I hadn’t appreciated just how exciting the wines emerging from this six-hectare Vosne-Romanée domaine are. Guyon, whose first vintage was 1987, recounted how in the late 1980s and early 1990s he—along with many of his contemporaries—made heavily extracted, oaky wines, attempting to prove that Pinot Noir need not lack color or structure. Today, by contrast, his ambition is to revert to what he considers the old-fashioned way of doing things: that’s to say, vinification with mostly whole clusters; no sulfur additions, if possible, until the Spring following the harvest; a cuvaison of some twenty days; and gentle basket pressing. The consummation of this new approach, along with organic certification, dates to 2012. Thanks to an enviable patrimony of old vines (“I don’t have any young vines,” boasts Guyon), yields are low, stems ripe, and the new approach works remarkably successfully. While the wines are certainly marked by their whole cluster fermentation, which lends them lovely aromatic range, they have such natural concentration that they avoid being overtly stylized, and site distinctions are articulately expressed. Guyon’s 2017s, it would be fair to say, transcend the vintage norms in terms of depth and dimension, and I warmly encourage readers to acquaint themselves with this exciting domaine.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/19)

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  • Jean-Pierre Guyon Vosne Romanee Les Charmes de Mazieres 2017

    £159.75

    “Guyon walks the old-vine parcels that produce this cuvée a day or two before harvest, selecting grapes by taste and marking which vines to pick and which to relegate to the regular Vosne-Romanée. The ensuing 2017 Vosne-Romanée Les Charmes de Mazières is outstanding, unfurling in the glass with a deep but reserved bouquet of wild berries, rose petal, cinnamon, incense and orange rind. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied and deeper, more concentrated and more layered than the regular Vosne, framed by fine chewy tannins that will need some time. It’s a wine that transcends the vintage. 91-93 points

    My tasting with Jean-Pierre Guyon was one of the highlights of over two months tasting in Burgundy, as I hadn’t appreciated just how exciting the wines emerging from this six-hectare Vosne-Romanée domaine are. Guyon, whose first vintage was 1987, recounted how in the late 1980s and early 1990s he—along with many of his contemporaries—made heavily extracted, oaky wines, attempting to prove that Pinot Noir need not lack color or structure. Today, by contrast, his ambition is to revert to what he considers the old-fashioned way of doing things: that’s to say, vinification with mostly whole clusters; no sulfur additions, if possible, until the Spring following the harvest; a cuvaison of some twenty days; and gentle basket pressing. The consummation of this new approach, along with organic certification, dates to 2012. Thanks to an enviable patrimony of old vines (“I don’t have any young vines,” boasts Guyon), yields are low, stems ripe, and the new approach works remarkably successfully. While the wines are certainly marked by their whole cluster fermentation, which lends them lovely aromatic range, they have such natural concentration that they avoid being overtly stylized, and site distinctions are articulately expressed. Guyon’s 2017s, it would be fair to say, transcend the vintage norms in terms of depth and dimension, and I warmly encourage readers to acquaint themselves with this exciting domaine.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/19)

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  • Rossignol-Trapet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2018

    £43.25

    “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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