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ALONG THE BURGUNDY TRAIL – VINTAGE 2011

John Tilson • 3/4/13        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

route grand cru

 INTRODUCTION

I previously published a brief note on the 2011 Burgundy vintage where I called it “The Surprise Vintage” (To read that article click here). The weather conditions in 2011 were very unique even for Burgundy. Consider this quote from Aubert de Villaine, Co-Director of Domaine de la Romanée Conti, which was highlighted at the beginning of the Domaine De La Romanée 2011 harvest report dated September 30, 2011:

2011: “Never more than this year – in spite of the some forty-six harvests I have experienced since my beginnings as a winegrower in Burgundy – have I felt and understood the importance of luck and gamble in the success or the failure in the face of a vintage”.

The report went on to conclude: “Devattings have just finished. The wines are full of “fruit”. They already show some seduction and deepness, but also a lot of finesse. 2011 should be more in terms of elegance and purity rather than of power, even though it is too early to give a definitive opinion.” (The entire 2011 DRC vintage report is reprinted at the end of this article)

In last year’s article, Along The Burgundy Trail – Vintage 2010, this is what I had to say about the 2011 vintage:

“Next year I will have a report on the 2011 vintage. For me, it is way too early to make any sort of accurate determination about the wines at this very early stage. However, we do know the weather conditions were good, but far from perfect (after all it is Burgundy!). The winter brought very cold weather with a warming trend in February and March. The summer arrived in April leading to the belief that the harvest would be early. Then the summer was punctuated with cooling trends and some days of late rains. This led to some rot. The harvest started in late August/early September in warm dry weather. Several growers have compared the harvest to 2007. And some have also said that it should not have as many problems as that vintage with a higher overall quality for the reds. In short, it is expected to be a successful vintage. In that case, it is likely that the vintage will not be at the level of either 2009 or 2010 (although more to the style of the 2010) And, there is likely to be more variability in quality than in 2009 or 2010. Vamos a Ver!”

By the time of our visit, we really did not know exactly what to expect in terms of the quality and balance of the wines. The 2011 red wines had been mostly compared a year earlier to the 2007s and the 2007s were variable. However, after tasting the 2011s, what we found were wines that were generally beautifully balanced and full of fruit. I think the best of the 2011 Red Burgundies will prove to be better than the 2007s and many will compare favorably with wines from the past 2 vintages. They certainly do not seem to be as variable as the 2007s. Most of the 2011 Red Burgundies will have an early appeal and some people will say that they are wines to be consumed early. That maybe true. But, I would say that, while the 2011s certainly will be very enjoyable young, the wines will keep better than many would suspect. For the whites, it is less certain. There are some that compare favorably with the 2010s. But, I suspect most will be wines to drink relatively soon.

This report will concentrate on 2011 Red Burgundies tasted from barrel with a few notes on 2011 White Burgundies also tasted from barrel. The number of visits in this report is less than in prior years due to the difficulty in scheduling. We missed some of our favorites that we have historically visited and, hopefully, we will catch up with them this year. These include Domaine Liger-Belair, Domaine Ponsot, and Domaine Méo-Camuzet.  In recent years, Burgundy has gotten to be a very busy place with people from nearly every part of the world visiting. This year seemed particularly busy and it felt a bit like being at the United Nations!

Once again, the visits were mostly with the producers that we believe are making some of the best wines in Burgundy. As usual, we made a few changes. We added two visits (one with a producer that we visited many years ago and one that is new to us) and we did not re-visit one new domaine that we visited last year. We also tasted at a new negociant that we have visited the past two years, but found the 2011 wines not good and those wines are not reviewed here. Most of the producers we visited are ones with which we have a history of visiting and tasting from barrel for some 30 years.

There are very brief background notes included in this article, but under each producer is a link to access more detailed background notes from previous articles.  And, to read previous articles with notes on the 2010 Burgundies, as well as links to the 2009s, click here.

Also, If you are new to Burgundy or just need a refresher, I recommend you read A Simple Explanation of Burgundy.   If you would like to know how all Burgundy is tasted and evaluated from barrel, I recommend you read How Burgundy Is Tasted And Evaluated From Barrel.  

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Background And Tasting Notes on 2011 Red And White Burgundies Tasted  From Barrel As Well As Some Older Wines Tasted From Bottle On Site & Vintage Information

 

 

TASTING NOTES

COTE-DE-NUITS

clos vougeot

Chambolle-Musigny

Chambolle sign

 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue

BURGUNDY 2011 CDV MUSIGNY

This Domaine has a history dating back to 1450 and is by far the largest owner of the great Musigny vineyard. The current team, including winemaker Francois Millet and estate manager Jean-Luc Pepin, have been in place for more than 2 decades and the wines are a reflection of the great terroir, the care and management of the estate and vineyards, as well as the winemaking. The 2011 vintage represents the 26th year that Francois Millet has made the wines at this domaine. He says that there is no other year to compare with 2011. To him, he profoundly said, “2011 is like 2011”! He finds it a classic vintage with freshness, richness of the fruit, structure and balance, and minerality. The wines here in 2011 are simply gorgeous and very pure with a pronounced floral quality accenting the fruit. They compare very favorably with the 2010s.   (To read more background on this domaine click here).

FRANCOIS MILLET

Wines Tasted From Barrel

2011 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny.
This is a lovely Chambolle-Musigny. It has a deep color and a floral perfume with lots of floral tinged berry fruit. Rounded and supple, elegance is a keynote here. Very Good Plus Potential.     1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru.
This wine is made from declassified young vines Musigny. But the young vines Musigny used in this blend are 11-25 years of age! With a deep color and a great floral perfume this wine has gorgeous supple fruit with floral nuances and a tinge of spice. Soft, supple, rounded and flavorful this is a beautifully balanced wine with great appeal – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a stunning floral perfume with hints of blackberry and cherry fruit. It is very pure and supple with layers of blackberry and cherry fruit and a distinct floral quality accented by a hint of spice. There is a lot of charm to this wine, but also lots of flavor. Beautifully balanced, this is really gorgeous – Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2011 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Bonne Mares.
Dark in color this Bonnes Mares has a deep blackberry perfume with floral undertones.
It is rich and full with lots of fruit and has structure and depth with a nice underlying crispness. This is a wine that will surely repay extended aging – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Comte Georges Vogue Musigny Vielles Vignes.
This wine is made from vines that are in a range of 26-56 years old. Compte Georges Vogue is the largest owner of Musigny. This 2011 is a simply fabulous wine. The color is deep and the wine has a stunning floral perfume with a myriad of red and black fruits. It has great fruit, intensity, and flavor but is supple and rounded with a long lingering finish. Seamless and very pure this is a great Musigny – Exceptional Potential.        3-barrels

 

Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier

 mugnier chateau

We first started tasting here in the late 1980s shortly after Frederic Mugnier came back to take over the family domaine and began making wine. The first vintage was 1985. Frederic believes that typical Burgundy vintages are always completely different. His goal is to always make wine that reflects the vintage. Therefore, Frederic likes every vintage for its unique character. And, Frederic is always quick to point out that he is less interested in making great wine every year than he is in making good wine every year. This, again, speaks to the wide diversity in Burgundy vintages.

I love this approach. Vintage comparisons are difficult to make at a very early stage and the evolvement of the wines over time often yields surprises both good and not so good. Frederic’s approach is to not to try to chose a favorite vintage or to try to make wine that is the same. His goal is simply to farm the vineyards in a natural way and let nature take its course. Once the grapes are harvested, then the job is to make the wine with minimal intervention. BRAVO! The wines made here are, for me, consistently some of the best in Burgundy. (To read more on the background of this domaine click here).

The yields in 2011 were at about the same level as 2010. The 2011s here may be a bit like a 2000/2001 combination – perhaps a bit less rich than the 2000s and with more aromatics than the 2001s. They are very open and approachable now, but will certainly keep.  It so happens that we drank a 2000 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Musigny on this trip that was absolutely delicious and drinking beautifully. I have long felt that the 2000s were under rated and this Musigny was evidence of that. The 2001s seem to be a bit more restrained. But, no matter, the 2011s here, as usual, are simply gorgeous!

Wines Tasted From Barrel

 FREDDY MUGNIER

2011 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny.
This wine contains grapes from the young vines Musigny. It is always a lovely balanced wine and this 2011 is no exception. The color is deep and there is a great floral perfume with a cherry tinged nuance. Supple, lush, and rounded this wine has a wonderful combination of finesse and flavor with lot of appeal.
Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er Cru.
Les Fuees is a very well situated vineyard next to Bonnes Mares. The Mugnier parcel is 1.75 acres and consists of vines over 50 years old. With a deep color the wine has a lovely floral perfume. Elegant and beautifully balanced, it shows a lot of supple, very pure fruit and is very flavorful – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Jacques Frederic Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Maréchale 1er Cru.
Under the ownership of the Mugnier family since 1902, this vineyard had been rented out under a long term lease that expired in 2003 after 53 years. With a surface of some 21 acres, it is the largest single owner vineyard (monopole) in Burgundy. The average age of the vines here is nearly 50 years. Frederic has done a terrific job with this wine since taking the vineyard back 8 years ago. The wines now show a lot of flavor, but with balance, purity, and finesse.

The wine we tasted was a blend of different cuvées since the final blend had not been made at the time of our visit. It exhibited a deep color and a lovely berry perfume with lots of rich fruit and a nice suppleness. Balanced and very flavorful, based on this sample, this is likely to be yet another in the continuing trend of excellent wines that are now coming from this vineyard.

2011 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Bonnes Mares.
The holdings in Bonnes Mares are 0.89 acres at the top of the slope consisting of vines that are over 30 years of age. Deep color with a lovely floral berry perfume this wine has lots of supple fruit and shows an elegance and purity. It is rounded and very flavorful with good underlying structure – Outstanding Potential Plus.   2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru.
This Domaine owns 1.3 acres of vines in this vineyard that average 50 years of age. This is a stunning wine. It has a great floral, cherry perfume with lots of cherry fruit accented by floral notes and a faint tinge of spice. With great intensity and length the wine also retains great balance and elegance – Exceptional Potential.    3-barrels

2011 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Musigny.
The holdings in Musigny total 2.8 acres, with 85% consisting of vines that are over 60 years old. Only grapes from the old vines go into this bottling. This is a gorgeous wine. Deep in color it has a great berry perfume with floral nuances. Loaded with very pure fruit accented by a floral spice nuance, the wine has great intensity and balance and very long on the palate – Exceptional Potential.  3-barrels

Wines Tasted From Bottle

We tasted three 2010s that were showing beautifully and an older Clos de Maréchale that was remarkably good.

2010 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny.
Deep color this wine has a great floral, berry perfume. It is rounded with very pure fruit showing a floral undertone and is bright with a great degree of freshness. The intensity is balanced by a great elegance and while lovely to drink now, it should age effortlessly for many years Outstanding.   3-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine Jacques Frederic Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Maréchale 1er Cru.
With a deep color,  this wine has a lovely plummy, berry perfume with a kiss of spice. The fruit is very pure, bright, and crisp and there is a firm structure with some underlying tannins. There is plenty of fruit to keep the wine harmonious and in balance, but it needs a few years in the bottle to round out – Highly Recommended Plus/Outstanding Plus Potential.3-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Musigny.
This Musigny has evolved beautifully since the last tasting from barrel. It is deep in color with a stunningly complex perfume of cherries and berries with floral, spice tinged notes. The wine has great structure with lots of intensity and depth and there are layers of fruit with floral nuances and a vry long finish. Very bright and pure, this is a wine that will show great elegance with time and should age effortlessly for a very long time – Exceptional.  4-yellow-stars

2004 Domaine Jacques Frederic Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Maréchale 1er Cru.
This Clos de la Maréchale has evolved beautifully and shows the ability of the wine to age. It has a deep color and lovely perfume of berry fruit with a touch of spice and a faint smokiness. There is lots of fruit with a faint underlying smokiness and the wine is very flavorful and structured with good grip and a long finish. From this difficult year, this is an impressive wine by any standard that should continue to age for an extended period – Outstanding.   3-yellow-stars

 

Domaine Georges Roumier

 ROUMIER ENTRANCE

Georges Roumier founded this domaine and began producing wine in 1924. The first domaine wine was bottled here in 1945 making it one of the earlier properties to begin estate bottling. Since 1990, Christophe Roumier, George’s grandson, has been in charge of the domaine. Christophe’s reign has established this domaine as one of the best, and most consistent, in all of Burgundy. Christophe prefers old vines and low yields and very traditional vinification methods.We began tasting from barrel here in the early 1980s and in the years since have consistently found this domaine’s wines to be among the best of each respective vintage. Insofar as the 2011s are concerned, Christophe thinks they resemble the 2001s. The 2011s (we did not taste the Corton Charlemagne or the Musigny) are beautifully balanced wines with perhaps even more fruit than the 2001s and are approachable now, but with the ability to age for an extended period. (To read more on the background of this domaine click here).

ROUMIER 2010

Wines Tasted From Barrel

2011 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny.
With a very nice color this wine has a lovely floral perfume and is rounded and supple with very nice fruit and balance – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

 2011 Domaine Georges Roumier Morey-Saint-Denis Clos de Bussiere 1er Cru.
This vineyard is solely owned by the Domaine and is, therefore, designated Monopole. The oldest vines here are nearly 60 years old and the average age is around 30 years.
Deep in color this wine has  great perfume of berries and plums with a faint tinge of floral spiciness. It has lots of supple plumy fruit that is very pure and accented by a nice tinge of spice. Flavorful and balanced, this a lovely wine – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru.
With a deep perfume this wine has a lovely floral, berry perfume. It is rounded and supple with lots of fruit and is beautifully balanced. The wine has a lot of charm and is delicious now with the potential to keep for many years – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

 2011 Christophe Roumier Charmes Chambertin.
Like the Ruchottes Chambertin, Christophe farms this vineyard and makes the wine for the owner, Michel Bonnefond. He bottles a portion under his label and the balance is bottled for the owner under the Bonnefond label. The wines are identical except for the label. The vines here are in the Mazoyères section of Charmes.
With a deep color,  the wine has a gorgeous perfume of cherry fruit with floral notes. It has lovely fruit and is very pure with a nice underlying crispness. This is a delicious wine that will repay some age – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Christophe Roumier Ruchottes Chambertin.
This wine is made under the same arrangement as the Charmes Chambertin. It has a deep color and a lovely perfume with berry and plum fruit accented by a tinge of spice. It has lots of fruit and is very flavorful with a nice roundness offset by a nice crispness on the finish – Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a gorgeous floral perfume accented by cherry fruit and a kiss of spice. The fruit is very pure with a distinct floral note and the wine is beautifully balanced. It has intensity and depth and a long lasting finish. All in all, a beautiful wine –  Outstanding Plus Potential.    2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Roumier Bonnes Mares.
Deep in color this wine has a great berry perfume with floral undertones. It has layers of fruit and is rounded with a nice underlying crispness. There is a lot of richness in this wine and it structured for long term aging. This is a terrific Bonnes Mares – Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

Gevrey-Chambertin

Gevrey sign 2011

 

Domaine Armand Rousseau

 rousseau charles and son

Armand Rousseau started this domaine at the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1930s he was one of the first in Burgundy to begin the practice of domaine bottling. His son, Charles, took over in 1959 and maintained and enhanced the stature and reputation of the domaine. Now in the third generation, Charles’s son, Eric, is now in charge of the domaine and the vineyards and winemaking. Frederic Robert is in charge of the commercial aspects of the domaine. For as long as I have been involved in wine, this has been one of the most consistent producers of outstanding Burgundy. And, for me, Domaine Armand Rousseau produces the best wines from Gevrey-Chambertin. (To read more on the background of this domaine click here).

We began tasting here in the early 1980s. For most of those years we tasted with Charles. Charles is now retired, although still active at the domaine, where we see him each year to say hello and chat. In the last few years we have tasted with Frederic Robert. The yields here in 2011 where about the same as they were in 2007. Frederic also told us that the chemical analysis of the 2011 wines is almost identical to the 2007s. The 2007s here were very nice, but I think the 2011s are even better. For me, they seem to have more fruit and better balance. The Grand Crus, Charmes, Mazis, Clos de la Roche, and Ruchottes all seem particularly successful this year. We shall see. Given the similarities of the vintages, a 2007 and 2011 comparison tasting in a few years should be very interesting.

FREDERICK ROBERT BURGUNDY 2010

Wines Tasted From Barrel

2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin.
This wine was very open. It has a very nice color and a lovely perfume of berry fruit. Balanced and supple with berry fruit and a tinge of spice this is a wine that has charm and early appeal – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint-Jacques 1er Cru.
With a very nice color this Premier Cru has a bit more depth than the village wine, but is more restrained. There is a subtle berry perfume and lovely spice tinged berry fruit – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Charmes Chambertin.
This Charmes has a very nice color and a gorgeous perfume of berry fruit with floral nuances and a tinge of spice. It has lovely fruit and is supple and rounded with beautiful balance. There is some depth here and a nice underlying crispness. All in all, this is a lovely Charmes – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Mazis Chambertin.
The Mazis is particularly good this year and very expressive.  It has a deep color and a lovely perfume with lots of fruit on the palate. Supple and rounded the wine has depth and richeness with a very nice balance – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche.
With a deep color this is a really fine Clos de la Roche. It has a lovely berry perfume and lots of flavor. Berry fruit is intermingled with tinges of spice and the wine is balanced and very flavorful with long finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes.
Clos des Ruchottes is a monopole (sole owner) vineyard within Ruchottes Chambertin representing about 1/3 of that vineyard. This 2011 is really fine. It has a deep color and a lovely spice tinged perfume. It is concentrated with very pure fruit showing just a tinge of spice. Flavorful and balanced this wine is delicious and has great appeal – Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru.
Consistently great, the 2011 Clos Saint-Jacques is true to form. With a deep color the wine has a stunning perfume of berry and cherry fruit with faint spice tinges. It also shows great cherry fruit on the palate with floral and spice notes. Balanced with depth and richness there is a very attractive suppleness and a long finish – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Armand Roussseau Chambertin Clos de Beze.
With a deep color this wine shows a lovely spice tinged perfume. It has lots of fruit and is very pure with intensity and concentration. Well balanced and very pure and precise this is a simply gorgeous wine – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Armand Roussseau Chambertin.
The 2011 Chambertin is again very special. It has a deep color and a great perfume of berries and cherries with spicy floral nuances. Very concentrated, the wine is mouth coating, but in perfect balance. Layers of fruit are wrapped around faint floral nuances and hints of spice and the finish goes on and on. This is a great wine that compares favorably with the 2010 and 2009 – Exceptional Potential.    3-barrels

 

 Morey-Saint-Denis

MOREY ST DENIS SIGN BURGUNDY 2011

 

Domaine Clos De Tart

 Clos de tart

 This domaine dates back to 1141 and has had only 3 owners during this time. It is nearly 19 acres in size and is the largest single owner (monopole) Grand Cru in Burgundy. (To read more on the background of this domaine click here).

As usual, with the estate’s director, Sylvain Pitiot, we tasted several different cuvées. These included ones from different parts of the vineyard, older vines and younger vines, as well as lots that were vinified differently. This year there were 8 cuvées. These were presented blind with each of us asked to guess the individual lots and give our preferences. The decision as to the final blend had not been made at the time of our tasting so the notes here reflect my general impressions.

Clos de tart cellar

Wines Tasted From Barrel

2011 Clos De Tart.

All the cuvées showed impressive fruit. There were three that stood out. One from the top part of the vineyard, one from the entire vineyard made with 100% whole berry fermentation, and another from older vines with 100% whole berry fermentation. A blend of the latter two was very impressive. It seems likely that the final blend here should be really good with lots of fruit and richness.

 

Domaine Dujac

 dujac sign 2

Domaine Dujac today is a family business. It was started by Jacques Seysses in the late 1960s. We have been tasting here since the early 1980s. This year we tasted with Jacques’s son, Jeremy, who with his wife, Diana, are now in charge of the vineyards and wine making.  (To read more on the background of this domaine click here)

The yields here were close to normal in 2011, but with great variation by vineyard. For instance, Clos de la Roche was close to normal while Clos Saint Denis was about ½ normal. Jeremy said there was a lot of sorting of the harvested grapes owing to the incidence of botrytis and lady bugs! But, the end result is very nice wines in a range of 12-13% alcohol with lots of fruit.  And, while the 2011 vintage is compared by many to the 2007 vintage, the 2011 wines from Dujac are much better than the 2007s from this domaine. The 2011s have more fruit and depth and much better balance and should drink beautifully over an extended period.

Jeremy

 Wines Tasted From Barrel

 2011 Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis.
This is a very nice village wine with a deep color and a lovely floral perfume. It is soft, rounded, and supple with plummy fruit and a nice finish – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Domaine Dujac Chambolle-Musigny.
This wine has a deep color and a lovely berry perfume with a floral undertone. It has very nice fruit with a firm underlying structure – Very Good Potential.  1-barrel

2011 Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a nice floral, berry perfume. It has lovely plummy fruit with a faint tinge of spice and is rounded and supple – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Domaine Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combettes 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a great spice tinged blackberry perfume. It has a lot of supple fruit and is balanced and flavorful – Very Good Potential Plus.       1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Dujac Charmes Chambertin.
This is a really lovely Charmes that is loaded with supple cherry fruit. The wine has a deep color and a very nice perfume of berries and cherries with an underlying floral note. It is rounded and intensely fruit with a well defined structure showing a nice underlying crispness that gives the wine lift and balance – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Dujac Chambolle-Musigny Les Gruechers 1er Cru.
Deep in color this wine has a subtle perfume of berry fruit. It is quite rich with a lot of fruit and some underlying tannin that is yet to be resolved – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Domaine Dujac Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts 1er Cru.
This is a really lovely wine. It has a deep color and a great floral perfume. It has lots of fruit with a floral undertone and is very expressive and balanced with lots of flavor – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Dujac Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts 1er Cru.
With a recent acquisition, Domaine Dujac is now a large owner of this vineyard. This wine shows a lot of structure and depth. It has a deep color and a lovely floral, berry, spice perfume. The fruit is well defined and shows an underlying crispness. Very pure and flavorful this is a wine that should age beautifully – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Dujac Echezeaux.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely floral, berry perfume. It has lots of fruit and is well structured with depth and richness. This is a charming wine that will show great elegance – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche.
This is a Clos de la Roche with structure and depth. It has a lovely spice tinged berry perfume and lots of fruit on the palate. It is very well defined with a nice underlying crispness and a long finish – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Dujac Clos Saint-Denis.
This is a really gorgeous Clos Saint-Denis. It has a deep color and a stunning perfume with berries and cherries intermingled with a lovely floral undertone. There is a lot of rich concentrated fruit and the wine maintains a great elegance and sense of balance. This is a wine with a long life ahead – Outstanding Potential Plus.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Dujac Bonnes Mares.
This Bonnes Mares has a great berry perfume with floral, spice nuances. It has layers of fruit and is well structured with richness and depth. The balance here is accented by an underlying crispness that also shows through on the finish. This is a keeper – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

Domaine Dujac also makes very small amounts of Chambertin and Romanée Saint Vivant (under an arrangement with the owners whereby the production is divided in return for Domaine Dujac taking care of the vineyards and making and bottling the wine).

Nuits-Saint-Georges

 Nuits-Saint-Georges

 

Domaine Robert Chevillon

Robert Chevillon sign

Domaine Robert Chevillon has some 33 acres of vineyards located in Nuits-Saint-Georges with almost 2/3s of the vineyards classified Premier Cru. Nearly all of the vineyards consist of very old vines. We first visited here in the early 1980s when we would meet and taste with Robert Chevillon. It was always an interesting visit since we spoke very little French and Robert spoke very little English. Nonetheless, we communicated and the wines spoke for themselves. Like Henri Jayer, the wines here were most always really delicious from barrel vintage after vintage. The quality was amazingly consistent which led us to give Robert the title “Le Roi de Nuits-Saint-Georges” (“The King of Nuits-Saint-Georges”). Each time we would tell him that, he would smile and shrug his shoulders. A modest man, he made wonderful age worthy wines. I still have Domaine Robert Chevillon wines in my cellar back to the late 1970s and they have aged beautifully.

Now in the fifth generation, wine was first made here in 1947 by Robert’s father, but it was sold to negociants. When Robert took over he began domaine bottling. Some 10 years ago, Robert turned over the responsibility of the domaine to his sons, Bertrand and Denis, although Robert is still active. When we asked Bertrand if any changes had been made since we last visited with Robert, we were told that nothing had changed. Everything continues with the brothers as it was for their father. This domaine has not missed a beat since. This is a remarkable domaine made even more so by the fact that all the vineyards are located in Nuits-Saint-Georges which has no Grand Crus. However, it is felt that the Premier Cru vineyards of Les Cailles, Les Vaucrains, and Les Saint-Georges deserve Grand Cru status and this is currently being evaluated by the authorities. Robert Chevillon’s holdings in these vineyards consist of vines that are nearly 80 years old. The Robert Chevillon Premier Cru wines are stunning and the best of them are more than a match for many Grand Crus. They are wines I buy every year and the consistency is remarkable.

The yields here in 2011 were in between the large crop of 2009 and the small crop of 2010. Bertrand compares the 2011s to a combination of 2000 and 2001 – 2000 for the fruit and 2001 for the structure and back bone. The Domaine Robert Chevillon wines I have from both of these vintages are delicious to drink now and will keep for years into the future.

The 2011s from Domaine Robert Chevillon are simply gorgeous across the entire range and are wines to buy!

 Bertrand Chevillon

Wines Tasted From Barrel

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges “Vielles Vignes”.
This wine is made from grapes grown on just over 8 acres of vines that are 50 years old. It has a very nice color and a gorgeous berry perfume showing floral nuances. Soft, supple and rounded with lovely fruit this wine has a lot of appeal – Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Chaignots 1er Cru.
The Les Chaignots vineyard holding consists of nearly 4 acres of vines with an age of 60 years. This wine has a deep color and a great perfume of spice tinged fruit accented by floral undertones. The fruit is very pure with a faint spice tinge and the wine is very flavorful with structure and depth – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges  Les Busselottes 1er Cru.
The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard holding just over 1 ½ acres in size that is planted with vines that are 46 years of age. The wine shows a lot of fruit with a gorgeous perfume and deep rounded fruit flavors accented by a tinge of spice. It shows a lot of finesse and charm and is very forward and beautifully balanced – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Perrières 1er Cru.
The holding in Les Perrières is about 1 ½ acres consisting of vines that are 50 years old. As compared with the Les Busselottes, this wine is more restrained and shows more minerality. There is a nice floral berry perfume and lovely berry fruit with a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Roncières 1er Cru.
Here the vineyard holdings are about 2 ½ acres and the vines are 52 years old. The wine has a very nice color and a lovely floral spice tinged perfume. It is rounded with lovely fruit showing just a hint of floral spiciness and is soft and supple – Very Good Potential Plus.      1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er Cru.
The holdings here consist of about 1 ½ acres of vines that are 55 years old. With a very nice color this wine has a deep spice tinged perfume and has lots of supple fruit with depth and richness. Beautifully balanced, this is really lovely – Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er Cru.
The Les Cailles vineyard holding is approximately 3 acres in size and the vines are 77 years of age. With a deep color this wine has an intense perfume with floral berry nuances accented by a touch of spice. There is a lot of fruit and the wine has a lot of richness and depth with impressive length on the palate. This is very impressive – Outstanding Plus Potential.         2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Vaucrains 1er Cru.
The Vaucrains vineyard holding is about 4 acres in size and is planted with vines that are 77 years old. This wine looks to be a real winner. It has a deep color and a great perfume showing intense fruit with just a tinge of spice. It has layers of deep rich fruit and the wine is beautifully balanced with a long, lingering finish – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges
The holding in Le Saint-Georges is about 1 ½ acres and is planted with vines that are 75 years old. With a deep color this wine has a great berry perfume with a touch of spice and mint. Brimming with cherry and berry fruit it has depth and richness and is well structured with a long finish. This is a terrific wine – Outstanding Plus Potential. 2n-half-barrels

In addition to the wines tasted, Domaine Robert Chevillon makes small quantities of Bourgogne Aligoté, Bourgogne Blanc, Bourgogne Passetoutgrain (1/3 Pinot Noir and 2/3 Gamay), Bougogne Rouge, and Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc. The latter wine is made from  a small (less than ½ acre) vineyard made up of 50 year old Pinot Blanc vines. This wine is consistently wonderful and ages like the red wines!

Vosne-Romanée

 Romanee-Conti vosne romanee

 

Domaine Anne Gros

 anne gros sign

We began tasting here in the 1980s when the domaine was known as Francois Gros. Anne Gros is now in her 24rd year of being in charge of this domaine which she took over from her father, Francois. She is the first woman in the Gros family to be in charge of a domaine and during her tenure she has continued to add vineyards and make gorgeous wines. (To read more on the background of Domaine Anne Gros, including a chart showing the relationship of all the various members of the Gros family, click here).

Wines Tasted From Barrel

Most of the wines tasted here were in stainless steel tanks and soon to be bottled.

2011 Domaine Anne Gros Bourgogne Rouge.
This wine has a nice color and a lovely berry perfume. On the palate, it has bright, crisp, very pure fruit and a nice finish – Very Good Potential.  1-barrel

2011 Domaine Anne Gros Haut Cote-de-Nuits Bougogne Rouge.
With a nice color this wine has a lovely perfume and is supple, round, and fruity with a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Domaine Anne Gros Chambolle-Musigny Les Combes Orveaux.
This wine has a nice color and a lovely floral perfume with berry fruit. It is very pure and supple with an elegance that is accented by a bright crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential Plus.     1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Anne Gros Vosne-Romanée Les Barreaux.
This wine is made from 80-90 year old vines located at the top of Richebourg near Cros Parantoux. It has a deep color and a lovely floral perfume with hints of plum. It is supple and rounded with lovely plummy fruit accented by floral notes and a tinge of spice – Very Good Potential Plus.     1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Anne Gros Echezeaux.
The first vintage for Echezeaux was 2007. The vines here are 30 years old. The wine has a deep color and lovely perfume with a touch of spice. There is nice spice tinged fruit on the palate and the wine has a firm underlying structure – Very Good Potential Plus.  1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Les Grand Maupertuis.
The oldest vines here are over 100 years of age and the average age is 60-65 years. The vineyard is situated within Clos Vougeot in a prime section at the top just below Grands Echezeaux which is known as Les Grand Maupertuis. This is a lovely Cols Vougeot with a dark color and a great perfume showing plum and blackberry fruit accented by spice tinged floral notes. It has lots of fruit with richness and depth and is very pure and supple – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Anne Gros Richebourg.
The vines here are over 80 years of age. With a deep color this Richebourg has a deep color and a lovely perfume with blackberry fruit accented a touch of spice and a faint floral quality. It has lots of fruit and is well structured with good backbone. A spicy element is also present and the wine has a long finish – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

 

Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg

 DOMAINE MUGNERET GIBOURG

We first tasted here in the early 1980s with the late Dr. Georges Mugneret. The wines were delicious then and have been amazingly consistent over the years with the Mugneret sisters, Marie-Christine and Marie-Andrée, carrying on the tradition. As usual, the 2011s here are beautifully balanced and have gorgeous fruit. This small domaine is one of the real success stories of the 2011 vintage. (To read more background on this domaine click here).

mARIE CHRISTINE 2011

Wines Tasted From Barrel

2011 Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Bourgogne.
This wine is made from grapes grown on very old low yielding vines on a slope in Vosne-Romanée just at the border of Nuits St. Georges. With a deep color this Bourgogne has a gorgeous perfume and is brimming with supple, rounded fruit. It is beautifully balanced and should be a terrific value – Very Good Potential Plus.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Georges Mugneret Gibourg Vosne-Romanée.
The production of this wine has been greatly reduced since 2009 when a large part of the vineyard was killed by frost and replanted. This 2011 is really gorgeous.  Deep in color the wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with berry fruit and tinges of spice. There is lots of fruit that shows a floral quality underneath and the wine is flavorful and rounded with a lovely finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vignes Rondes 1er Cru.
This is a lovely Nuits-Saint-Georges. With a deep color the wine has a gorgeous perfume. It has lots of blackberry fruit showing a floral accent and is round and supple. Balanced and flavorful this wine has a lot of appeal – Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Chaignots 1er Cru.
Like the Les Vignes Rondes, this is another lovely Nuits-Saint-Georges. It has a deep color and very nice floral perfume with hints of blackberry. There is a lot of blackberry fruit on the palate and the wine is supple and rounded with very nice balance – Outstanding Potential.      2-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Chambolle-Musigny Les Feusselottes 1er Cru.
With a deep color this Chambolle-Musigny has a great spice tinged floral perfume. On the palate there is a lot of very pure fruit that is very expressive and balanced with floral, spicy accents. Very refined and elegant, yet with a lot of flavor this is impressive – Outstanding Potential.       2-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru.
This wine is made from grapes grown on the young eleven year old vines in Ruchottes Chambertin. Those vines were planted in 2000 and represent about ½ of the holdings in Ruchottes Chambertin. This is the last year for this wine as the vines are old enough in 2012 to be classified Grand Cru. This is gorgeous. With a deep color the wine has a great perfume of berry fruit with a faint spicy accent. There is a lot of very pure fruit on the palate and the wine is fresh and bright with lovely flavor and balance – Outstanding Potential.     2-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Ruchottes Chambertin Vielles Vignes.
With a deep color this Ruchottes has a stunning floral perfume with cherry and berry fruit and a tinge of spice. On the palate, it has great fruit, flavor and intensity. A myriad of fruit is accented by floral, spice notes and the wine is very pure and balanced with a long lasting finish – Exceptional Potential.    3-barrels

 2011 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux.
This Echezeaux has a deep color and lovely floral perfume with a hint of spice. The fruit is very pure and supple with floral, spice nuances and the wine is beautifully balanced. This is an elegant wine with great style and appeal – Outstanding Plus Potential.    2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Clos Vougeot.
From a parcel of 1 ¼ acres at the top of the vineyard near the Chateau, 125 cases of this wine was produced in 2011. This is simply a fabulous wine and a great Clos Vougeot. The color is deep and the perfume is gorgeous with floral notes intertwined with berry fruit and a kiss of spice. The fruit is very pure and the wine is impeccably balanced. Elegance is matched here with great intensity and flavor and the finish goes on and on – Exceptional Potential.    3-barrels

 

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti

 drc OFFICE

The individual vineyards that comprise the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) date back to Roman times and the present domaine has it origins dating back to 1869. This is the premier estate in Burgundy. The wines made at the Domaine de la Romanée Conti are unquestionably the greatest and most consistent in Burgundy with an unparalleled track record. The wines are very long lived and do not show their full potential until many years after bottling. For some 30 years I have been tasting wines here from barrel. There have been many great wines during this period. And, while they are accessible at a young age, one thing is for certain. The wines are best when they are older. Wines dating back to the 1930s can still be memorable drinking experiences today. (To read more background on this domaine click here)

The 2011 crop was reduced by about 30% by the incidence of rot. The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s early assessment of the vintage was that “2011 should be more in terms of elegance and purity rather than of power…”  I think this is certainly true, but I would also add that the wines have suppleness and an intensity of fruit that also sets them apart. And, certainly the reduction in the size of the crop contributes to the intensity of the wines. The 2010s tasted from bottle were showing beautifully. The wines have great purity and a lot of depth and charm. They should age effortlessly for a very long time. How the 2011s evolve relative to the great 2010s and 2009s remains to be seen. Check back in 10-20 years for a progress report!

Wines Tasted From Barrel

This year, for the first time, we tasted with Bertrand de Villaine, Aubert de Villaine’s 42 year old nephew, who guided us through the wines. Aubert has been at the helm since 1974 and will soon retire. Bertrand is being groomed to take over. We had a very good tasting and an extremely favorable impression of the wines as the following notes will attest.

  BERTRAND DRC

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Corton.
With a deep color this wine has a gorgeous perfume of plums and blackberries with a touch of spice. It has a lot of supple fruit, again predominately plums and blackberries and a lovely finish – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Vosne-Romanée Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cuvée Duvault-Blochet.
This wine was made from a blend of second harvest grapes from all the domaine’s vineyards and also from some of the youngest vines. This is the seventh vintage since 1999 that this wine has been made. It is named for Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet who purchased the Romanée Conti Vineyard in 1869 and went on to purchase holdings in Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, and Richebourg that are the origins of the domaine that exists today. The wine is only made in years where it is felt that it will reflect the characteristics of the vintage.
With a deep color this wine is very forward. It has a gorgeous berry and cherry perfume and has lovely fruit. Round, lush, and supple there are very nice flavors rendered in a very elegant style – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely spice tinged berry perfume. It has layers of fruit with a spicy accent and has richness and depth with a nice suppleness. Very open and expressive this is a really delicious Echezeaux – Outstanding Plus Potential.    2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Echezeaux.
This is a really lovely and elegant Grands Echezeaux with a decided floral note. It has a lovely berry perfume with floral undertones and lots of floral tinged berry fruit. It is supple and rounded with depth and richness and a lovely finish – Outstanding Plus Potential. 2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanee Saint Vivant.
This is a Romanée Saint Vivant with a lot of charm and finesse. It has a deep color and a gorgeous floral perfume with cherry and berry fruit. With layers of supple fruit the wine has a underlying floral note. Balanced and very expressive this is lovely – Outstanding Plus Potential.    2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg.
With a deep color and a lovely plum and berry perfume accented by a hint of spice, this Richebourg is a wine with lovely balance and a lot of finesse. It is has lots of supple fruit with a faint exotic nuance and lovely finish – Outstanding Plus Potentia2n-half-barrelsl.

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tache.
This La Tache has a deep color and a great perfume of blackberry fruit with a faint exotic spice nuance. It has great fruit and intensity with lots of flavor and a great underlying structure. Harmonious and balanced with a long finish, this is very special – Exceptional Potential.    3-barrels

2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée Conti.
The orietal spice characteristic of Romanée Conti is very much in evidence at this early stage of its evolution. The color is deep and the wine exhibits a stunning floral perfume with berry fruit and oriental spice. There is a great intensity of fruit with oriental spice undertones and the wine has great elegance and length – Exceptional Potential.    3-barrels

  DRC 2010 tasting

 Wines Tasted From Bottle

Our tasting of the 2010 red wines now in bottle confirmed our findings in tastings from barrel last year. These are wines of great elegance and finesse, but they also have a lot of intensity and focus with very bright fruit. Also, we tasted the 2010 Montrachet which looks to be one of the greatest DRC Montrachets. These are spectacular wines that are just now being offered for sale.

2010 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Corton.
With a very nice color this wine has a lovely berry perfume with faint floral spicy perfume. It is elegant and finesseful with a bright spice tinged fruit and a nice underlying crispness on the finish – Outstanding.   3-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine de la Romanée Conti Echezeaux.
With a deep berry perfume showing a floral nuance and a kiss of oriental spice this wine has a lot of fruit and is well balanced and very flavorful. There is a lot of structure to this wine and it has impressive depth. All in all, a really fine Echezeaux – Outstanding Plus.   3-n-half-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Echezeaux.
This has proven to be a really great Grands Echezeaux. It has a deep color and a great floral perfume accented by oriental spice tinged berry fruit. The berry and cherry fruit is very pure and accented by a floral undertone. There is a lot of depth and richness to this wine and the balance is impeccable. Long on the finish with a bright underlying crispness this is stunning – Exceptional.    4-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée Saint Vivant.
This is a Romanée Saint Vivant of great harmony, elegance, and flavor. The color is deep and the wine has a great perfume showing floral, berry fruit and a tinge of oriental spice. Very elegant and expressive, but with layers of fruit and impressive richness, there is a seamless quality to this wine. It is very long on the palate with a faint tinge of oriental spice and a lovely bright underlying crispness – Exceptional.   4-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg.
This is a Richebourg with a lot of richness and depth, yet impeccably balanced. It has a deep color and a lovely plum and berry perfume with a faint oriental spice tinged floral nuance. With a myriad of very pure fruit there are floral accents and a faint exotic nuance. Underneath there is a bright crispness and the finish goes on and on – Exceptional.      4-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tache.
This is a great La Tache with structure and depth. It will require a lot of time to show its full potential, but what a wine it will be. With a deep color the wine has a great perfume showing berry fruit, oriental spice, and a faint whiff of smokiness. It is concentrated with lots of richness and has a cornucopia of pure fruit with a faint underlying spice quality. Impressively rich, yet with a firm underlying structure, the wine is gorgeous with a very long lingering finish. This is a La Tache for the ages – Exceptional.   4-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée-Conti.
Absolutely stunning! This is a very great Romanée Conti. It will evolve and develop over many decades. It has a deep color and gorgeous faintly floral perfume that is accented by hints of oriental spice and exotic fruit. The balance is impeccable and the myriad of fruit flavors are interwoven with oriental spice and floral accents. The wine is seamless with very impressive depth, yet on the finish there is a brightness underneath that gives an indication of the long life ahead – Exceptional Plus.    4-n-half-yellow-stars

2010 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet.
This is a very great Montrachet. It will be fascinating to watch the evolution of this wine over time along side the also very great 2008 Montrachet. These two are my favorite Montrachets of the recent vintages and I see a lot of similarities.
The wine has a light golden yellow color and a deep perfume that is faintly honeyed and floral with a citrus, mineral component and a kiss of spice. There are layers of bright honey tinged fruit with citrus undertones. There is also great viscosity and the wine coats the palate masking the underlying minerality which shows up on the finish. And, the finish is very long and lasting. With some years to fully develop this will be an amazing Montrachet – Exceptional Plus.    4-n-half-yellow-stars

 

Vougeot

Vougeot Sign

 

Domaine Hudelot-Noellat

Hedelot - Noellat sign

Some 50 years ago Alain Hudelot began acquiring vineyards including part of his father’s holdings in Clos Vougeot. In 1963 he married the grand daughter of Charles Noellat and, after much legal maneuvering, the domaine was expanded. Alain’s grandson, Charles Van Canneyt, returned to take over the domaine in 2008 assisted by Vincent Mugnier who came in 2005. This domaine has holdings in some of the best vineyards and recent vintages have been consistently at a high level. Charles believes his 2011s may be a bit less concentrated than the 2010s, but with lots of fruit. For me, the 2011s are remarkable over virtually the entire range and compare very favorably at this stage of their evolution with the 2010s. At the time of our visit, the wines were scheduled to be bottled early to preserve the fruit. Charles is doing a remarkable job. These are wines to buy! (To read more about the wines of  this domaine click here).

Charles van canneyt

Wines Tasted From Barrel

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne.
There are 18 different vineyard parcels that go into this Bourgogne mostly from Chambolle-Musigny. This wine is really delicious and should be a great buy. Deep in color the wine has a lovely berry perfume has lots of rounded, supple fruit. It is very appealing has great charm. This is a wine you can drink right now and over the next year or two. It is not often that you find a Bourgogne this good – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle-Musigny.
This wine comes from 11 vineyard parcels that are scattered across the appellation. The 2011 production was 875 cases and, like the Bourgogne, this wine is really delicious with early appeal. It has a deep color and a great floral perfume with lots of supple fruit. Rounded and very pure this Chambolle exudes charm with flavor and finesse – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanée.
This is another delicious village wine. It has a deep color and a gorgeous floral perfume. Very pure and elegant it has lots of floral tinged fruit and a nice underlying crispness. Beautifully balanced, this wine will drink well early and should age well – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Bas de Combe.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely berry perfume. It has nice fruit with a firm backbone and shows a crispness of the finish. More restrained that the other wines and not as supple, but still very nice – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Vougeot Les Petits Vougeots 1er Cru.
This rather obscure vineyard is very well situated and produces a wine with a lot of elegance and charm. The yields here in 2011 were half of what they were in 2009 and the wine has an extra dimension of richness. This 2011 is a worthy match for the lovely 2010. It has a deep color and a great floral perfume. There is a lot of supple fruit accented by a floral tinge and the wine has balance and intensity. This is really delicious Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Murgers 1er Cru.
This is a Nuits-Saint-Georges that has a lot of charm. It is deep in color with a lovely floral, berry perfume showing just a touch of spice. The wine has gorgeous fruit and is well structured with a nice underlying crispness. Flavorful and balanced this is delicious – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely cherry tinged perfume with a faint hint of spice. It has lots of cherry fruit and is supple and round with great elegance and style. Beautifully balanced with a nice underlying crispness, this is a gorgeous wine – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts
This wine has a deep color and a lovely spice tinged berry perfume. It has lovely berry fruit with a very nice structure and is flavorful with a nice underlying crispness. This is a wine that should benefit from a few years age – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely floral, berry perfume with a faint tinge of spice. It is very elegant, yet with lots of flavor, and has a lot of berry fruit that is accented by a faint floral nuance. Well structured with a good backbone this is also a wine that should evolve beautifully over the next several years – Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts 1er Cru.
There were 50 cases of this wine produced in 2011. It is a great success. With a deep color and a lovely perfume of spice tinged berries and plums, the wine has lots of very pure fruit and great intensity. It is balanced and harmonious with impressive length on the finish and should age beautifully – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Clos Vougeot.
The grapes for this wine come from 2 parcels of old vines in the northernmost section of the vineyard. One is to the left of the Chateau and the other is to the right. The production in 2011 was 300 cases. This looks to be a great Clos Vougeot. It has a stunning floral perfume that is intermingled with berries, cherries, and spice. The wine has layers of supple berry fruit accented by a faint floral undertone and is silky and lush with intensity and a very long finish – Exceptional Potential.   3-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Romanée-Saint-Vivant.
The vines here are over 80 years old. The production in 2011 was 200 cases.
This wine has a deep color and a lovely spice tinged perfume. The fruit is very pure and the wine has gorgeous flavor with floral, spice tinges. It is balanced and very refined with lots of finesse. This should evolve beautifully – Outstanding Plus Potential. 2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Richebourg.
The vines in Richebourg were planted in the early 1920s and are adjacent to the parcel owned by the Domaine de la Romanée Conti. The production in 2011 was 125 cases.
This Richebourg has a deep color and a lovely perfume of plums and berries with a faint floral nuance. It has a lot of supple berry fruit with a faint hint of exotic spice. The wine has richness with a nice underlying crispness. Again, this is a wine of finesse over power and is very appealing – Outstanding Plus Potential. 2n-half-barrels


 

COTES DE BEAUNE

Beaune_Hospices

Puligny Montrachet

puligny montrachet

Domaine Leflaive

Domaine-Leflaive-2

Domaine Leflaive is located in Puligny-Montrachet. The Leflaive family has been in Burgundy for more than 400 years. The expansion of the domaine began in 1905 with Joseph Leflaive. Now in the 3rd generation Ann-Claude has been in control since 1993. For many years Domaine Leflaive has been the greatest white wine estate in Burgundy with wines that are very age worthy. Wines back into the 1970s can be gorgeous and I still have some in my cellar that are drinking beautifully. However, like  many White Burgundy producers, in recent years there have been some incidences of  Premox (premature oxidation) with the wines. Some of the problems seem to have been due to corks, but some of the more recent problems may have been due to storage. At this point, the verdict is still out.  (To read more background on this domaine click here).

Wines Tasted From Barrel

This year we again tasted with Eric Remy after tasting with Antoine Lepetit the last couple of years. Eric joined Domaine Leflaive as assistant winemaker in 2003 and became the winemaker in 2008. Today he is in charge of all wine operations at Domaine Leflaive.

We asked about Premox (premature oxidation) as we have had Premox problems with some Domaine Leflaive wines including a few on our trip last year and one this year. Eric said that there have been some problems that are mostly with the 2002s and 2004s. These problems they attribute to the corks and the supplier was changed in 2007. On this trip we had a 2008 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet that had aged very quickly and was fully mature. It is possible that storage may have been an issue as we also had a 2007 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet that was gorgeous with many years of life ahead. Hopefully, the problem with the 2008 was storage.

The 2011 harvest was early from August 25-31. Yields were down about 10-15%. The levels of sugar and alcohol were not very high. Eric compares the 2011 vintage to 2007 with similar acidity, but more concentration. The wines we tasted were in tank and being readied for bottling. This year we tasted the full range of wines with the exception of the Montrachet which we have never tasted here. (The Domaine Leflaive’s Montrachet holding is a tiny 0.2 acres and the production is miniscule). We found some really great 2011s here that should compare favorably with the 2010s. The top wines will make an interesting comparison to taste with the 2010s after bottling and a few years down the line.

 Eric domaine leflaive

2011 Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne.
Light yellow in color this wine has a nice perfume and is rounded and supple with a nice underlying crispness. Rather restrained at this juncture, it will be interesting to taste again after bottling.

2011 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet.
The vineyards that produce the grapes for this wine total 11.5 acres.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely perfume with hints of peach and citrus. It has very nice citrus tinged fruit and a nice crisp finish – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Domaine Leflaive Meursault sous le Dos d’Âne 1er Cru.
The grapes for this wine come from a 4 acre vineyard of young vines planted in 1995 and 2004. It has a light yellow color and a lovely perfume with tinges of citrus and pineapple. With very nice crisp citrus tinged fruit, the wine has elegance and finesse. There is also an intriguing hint of pineapple on the finish. This should be lovely – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet Le Clavoillon 1er Cru.
The Domaine Leflaive holdings in this vineyard total 11.4 acres with an average vine age of 40 years.
This wine has a light yellow color and a lovely perfume with floral, citrus, and peach nuances and a faint tropical note. It has lovely citrus tinged fruit and is finesseful with a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er Cru.
The vineyard holdings here are 3.1 acres with an average vine age of over 30 years.
With a light yellow color the wine has lovely floral perfume with hints of citrus and peach. It is flavorful, rounded, and supple with a nice underlying crispness. Peach and citrus flavors are accented by a nice mineral nuance and the finish is long and crisp – Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2011 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru.
The Domaine Leflaive vineyard holdings here are 1.8 acres with an average vine age of around 45 years.
Light yellow in color the wine has a lovely perfume showing floral, citrus nuances. It is finesseful, even racy, with floral and citrus flavors and a nice crisp finish – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er Cru.
Domaine Leflaive’s holdings in Les Pucelles total 7.6 acres with an average vine age of about 40 years.
This wine is consistently the star of the Domaine Leflaive’s Premier Crus and so it is again this year. Light yellow in color the wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with hints of citrus and quince. It has gorgeous fruit showing citrus and pear nuances with a faint tropical nuance and a nice underlying crispness. Very elegant with lots of flavor the wine is also beautifully balanced with a long crisp finish – Outstanding Plus Potential.     2n-half-barrels

2010 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet.
The Domaine Leflaive holding of  Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet is 2.8 acres with a vine age of about 55 years.
This is one of my favorite wines year in and year out. I love it for the richness that is offset by vibrant acidity. This 2011 is light yellow in color and has a deep floral perfume with hints of citrus and tropical fruit. The wine has a wonderful balance of fruit and acidity and is very expressive with a lot of finesse. This is a wine that should blossom over a period of many years – Outstanding Plus Potential.     2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet.
The holdings here total 4.7 acres with an average vine age of around 40 years.
This is a delicious and very well defined Batard. It has a light yellow color and a great floral perfume with hints of citrus and peach. The wine has richness and depth with lots of floral tinged fruit and a great underlying structure – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

2010 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet.
The holdings of Chevalier-Montrachet total 4.9 acres with an average age of near 50 years.
This 2011 Chevalier is really gorgeous. Light yellow in color the wine has a great floral perfume with citrus and honeyed nuances. It is round and silky with intensity and depth of flavor and is beautifully structured. The fruit has nuances of peach and citrus and there is a nice underlying crispness. With a long lasting finish, this is a wine that should age and develop over a long period of time – Exceptional Potential.   3-barrels

 

Alex Gambal

ALEX GAMBAL SIGN

We first met Alex Gamble many years ago. We lost touch and this was our first visit to his winery. The story here is quite remarkable. Alex Gambal is an American whose background was in the real estate business. But, he fell in love with Burgundy wine. On a vacation to Burgundy with his family, he met another American, Becky Wasserman, who had moved to Burgundy years before. Becky had established a business as a Burgundy wine broker and she encouraged him to start by working with her. He accepted and moved to Burgundy with his family in 1993. During this time he also studied winemaking in Beaune for a year before establishing his negociant business in 1997. He first purchased wine and in 1998 began making his own wine from purchased grapes. In 2003 he was able to purchase his first vineyard and in 2004 to purchase a building which has been renovated into the current winery facility and offices. Many of the relationships that enabled him to make these initial purchases came from the parents of his children’s classmates who were in the real estate and wine business.  In the succeeding years, Alex has continued to buy vineyards and establish financial partnerships (many of whom are with Americans) to buy vineyards in Burgundy. These arrangements often involve the partners receiving bottled wine produced from those vineyards at “market value”. By being able to effectively sell a portion of the production at a higher price than through a traditional marketing arrangement, Alex is able to pay more for vineyards that come up for sale.

So in 20 years, literally starting from scratch, Alex Gambal, a Burgundian “outsider”, has been able to establish a thriving business. Production today averages 5,000-6,000 cases per year and about 20 different wines are produced. Quite a number of these are produced in small quantities of under 100 cases. About 1/3 of the production comes from estate vineyards and 2/3s from wine made from mostly from grapes purchased under long term contracts with a small amount purchased as juice. Since 2009 there have been no purchased wines. The estate vineyards consist of vineyards that produce Bourgogne (red and white), Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Picotins, Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie 1er Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet L’Ormeau, Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseigneres and Batard Montrachet. The vineyards are now being converted to biodynamic and may be certified in time for this year’s harvest.

This is how Alex describes the winemaking: “Our winemaking is practical and is based on Burgundy practices and tradition. That is to say that there are no great wines without great grapes; thus our focus is on the vineyard and the work necessary to harvest the ripest grapes as possible. Each growing season is different and we respect what nature gives; we harvest when the grapes are ready (not when it is convenient for us) and use the grapes indigenous yeasts. We understand that wine is as much a living product as is the vine.”

Both the red and white wines here show a lot of elegance and finesse in 2011. Since this is the first time I have tasted Alex Gambal wines I have no frame of reference with which to compare. But, I would say that the 2011s are wines that generally will give a lot of pleasure at an early stage of their life and are very fine examples of wines from this vintage.

Wines Tasted From Barrel

Red Wines

Negociant

2011 Alex Gambal Chambolle-Musigny.
The production of this wine is 75 cases. It has a nice color and a lovely floral perfume. Balanced and supple with very nice floral tinged berry fruit this is an appealing wine – Very Good Potential.     1-barrel

2011 Alex Gambal Chambolle-Musigny Aux Echanges 1er Cru.
Aux Echanges is a monopole (single owner) vineyard with grapes sold to 3 different producers. The production is 75 cases. With a very nice color this wine has a floral, berry perfume with lots of floral tinged cherry fruit. It is supple and rounded with a very nice balance showing a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.1n-half-barrels

2011 Alex Gambal Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru.
The production of this wine is very small with only 1 ½ barrels (less than 40 cases) produced. It has a very nice color and lovely spice tinged berry perfume. Supple and rounded the wine has lots of fruit and a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Alex Gambal Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes.
There are 175 cases of this wine which is made from grapes grown on 2 different parcels. It has a deep color and a gorgeous floral perfume. The wine has very pure supple fruit and is balanced with lovely crispness on the finish – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Alex Gambal Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes.
There are 50 cases of this wine. It has a deep color and a very nice berry perfume with a tinge of spice. Berry fruit is accented by spicy nuance and the wine is balanced, supple and flavorful with a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Plus  Potential.  1n-half-barrels

2011 Alex Gambal Clos Vougeot.
There are 75 cases of this wine which is made from 30 year old vines located on the mid slope of the Clos. It is really lovely with a great expression of fruit. The wine has a deep color and a gorgeous floral perfume. It has lots of berry fruit showing just a tinge of spice and is supple and rounded with lots of flavor and a long finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

 2011 Alex Gambal Latricieres Chambertin.
The production of this wine is under 90 cases. The vines here are 35-40 years old and the wine is gorgeous. It has a deep color and a great floral perfume with cherry fruit and a tinge of spice. Very elegant and supple with lovely balance, the wine has depth and richness and a long finish – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

White Wines

Domaine

2011 Alex Gambal Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie 1er Cru.
There are 75 cases of this wine. Light yellow in color with a lovely citrus tinged perfume showing a hint of spice, it has lovely fruit and flavor. Citrus and a faint spice are intermingled and accented by a faint honeyed nuance and the finish has a nice crispness Very Good Plus Potential.  1n-half-barrels

2011 Alex Gambal Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseigneres.
The vines here are 40 years old and the production is 150 cases. This is a really lovely wine. Light yellow in color it has a great perfume with hints of citrus and peach and a faint floral spice nuance. The wine is elegant and finesseful yet is flavorful and has a very nice underlying crispness – Outstanding Potential.     2-barrels

2011 Alex Gambal Batard Montrachet.There are under 40 cases of this wine. It has great style and finesse with early appeal. The wine has a light yellow color and a lovely floral perfume with hints of peach and citrus. Flavorful with lots of fruit there is an attractive underlying crispness and the wine has depth and richness with a nice crisp finish – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

Negociant

2011 Alex Gambal Saint-Aubin Dents de Chien 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color, this is a racy, mineral driven wine. It has a nice floral tinged perfume and has lovely crisp citrus tinged fruit and a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential.     1-barrel

2011 Alex Gambal Chassagne-Montrachet.
The grapes for this wine come from 2 separate parcels. It has a light yellow color and and a nice floral perfume with a hint of citrus. Rounded with lovely citrus tinged fruit showing a faint honeyed quality this is a lovely wine with early appeal – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Alex Gambal Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Saint-Jean 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of peach and a touch of citrus. It has lovely fruit and is elegant and finesseful with a nice crisp finish –Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2011 Alex Gambal Puligny-Montrachet.
This Puligny-Montrachet is made from grapes grown on 60 year old vines. The color is light yellow and the wine has lovely floral perfume that is honeyed with citrus and spice accents. With lovely citrus and peach tinged fruit this wine has richness and balance and a nice citrus tinged finish. This is a really lovely village wine – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Alex Gambal Corton Charlemagne.
Beginning in 2001 this wine has been purchased as juice from 2 suppliers. The wine is light yellow in color and has a lovely floral perfume with honeyed citrus nuances. It is finesseful and crisp with lovely spice tinged fruit with a faint citrus undertone. This wine is very expressive and should be delicious to drink at an early age – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

 

Bouchard Père & Fils

BOUCHARD

The history of this negociant dates back to 1731. In 1995 Champagne Joseph Henriot acquired the property consisting of an extensive inventory of some 1,000,000 bottled wines including 2000 bottles of pre phylloxera wine, the largest vineyard holdings in the Cote d’ Or, the buildings and winery, and the name and brands. This looks to have been one of the greatest acquisitions in the long history of Burgundy.

 Since Joseph Henriot acquired the property there have been major investments made in the property and vineyards with the focus exclusively on the wines of Burgundy. These include a new winery facility in 2005 and significant increases in vineyard holdings. The major vineyard acquisitions were Domaine Ropiteau, a major Meursault estate, in 1996 and William Fevre, one of the most important domaines in Chablis, in 1998. Today Bouchard continues to be the largest land owner in the Cote d’Or with 325 acres of vineyards, including 30 acres of Grand Cru and 185 acres of Premier Cru.

Philippe Prost, who has been with Bouchard since 1978 and is currently in charge of winemaking and production, says one of the most important things that Joseph Henriot brought to Bouchard was a willingness to do what ever it takes to make the best wines.

Bouchard historically has had three types of bottlings, each with different labels and capsules: 1) Negociant – primarily buying grapes rather than juice or completed wines; 2) Exclusive – where they do not own the land, but handle the wine including bottling and marketing; 3) Domaine bottled from their own vineyards. The majority of their production is Domaine bottlings, but negociant bottlings can go up to nearly 50% of the total.

The wines here can be excellent and, in recent years, have been very consistent (with the exception of some white wine vintages in the period from the late 90s to the early years of 2000 where quite a number of white wines have been plagued by premature oxidation or Premox). However, Philippe told us last year that since 2005 they believe that problem is behind them. They have made many changes. Prior to 2005 they used 1200 new barrels per year. They have been reducing the amount of new oak and in 2010 used only 750 new barrels. Also the amount of time that the wines are aged in wood has been reduced significantly. And, after experimenting with Diam corks for 8 years, in 2010 they used all Diam corks. Diam corks are made by grinding up natural corks and stripping all the aromas out of the cork. Then the ground up cork is molded back together with polyurethane. This neutralizes the flavor of the cork and the binding material is designed to breathe slightly like a natural cork. Reportedly, all Champagne corks use this technology. If that is the case, then I can attest to the fact that, after opening thousands of bottles of Champagne, I have very rarely ever had a corked bottle and never one with Premox! Also, Bouchard has changed the shape of the bottle to insure a tighter seal. They feel that all these things and a few others are the solution to the problem. So I know Burgundy lovers every where will rejoice if the dreaded Premox is a thing of the past!

This year Philippe again emphasized that the Premox problem is behind them. He says that the problem with natural corks is that they are not totally uniform and vary in quality. Using all Diam corks eliminates the problems. Also, he said they are continuing to reduce the amount of new wood for the white wines as they believe that the use to too much new oak has been part of the Premox problem as well. We will need to wait at least 5 more years to see if Philippe is right. I sure hope so. And, if this is the case, that others will follow these procedures to eliminate Premox. He also spoke of the 2012 vintage where the average crop is down 30% with some vineyards down as much as 90%! (To read more on Bouchard Père et Fils and the 2010s click here).

philippe prost

2011 Red and White wines at Bouchard are very open and expressive. They are lovely wines across the entire range and the best wines seem to have the structure to age very well.

Wines Tasted From Barrel

Red Wines

bouchard vineyard

Domaine

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils   Monthelie.
This wine was tasted from bottle. It has a very nice color and a lovely spice tinged perfume. The fruit has a floral tinge and the wine is very crisp. This is a wine to drink now for the fruit – Recommended.   1-yellow-star

2010 2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils   Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Lavieres 1er Cru.
With a very nice color this wine has a floral spice tinged perfume and nice fruit, again with a faint spiciness. The wine is fruity and crisp and has early appeal – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils  Monthelie Clos Les Champs Fulliot.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely perfume with hints of plum and a faint floral undertone. It has lovely fruit with faint floral and spice nuances and a nice crisp finish –Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils  Beaune Clos De La Mousse 1er Cru.
This vineyard is a Bouchard Père & Fils  monopole meaning they are the sole owner. It is a gorgeous wine with a lot of charm and early appeal. With a deep color the wine has a lovely cherry, berry perfume with a touch of spice. It has lovely fruit and is supple and rounded with lots of flavor – Outstanding Potential.     2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Teurons 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with just a kiss of spice. It has a lot of supple, floral tinged fruit and is flavorful and balanced. This is another wine with a lot of charm and early appeal – Very Good Plus Potential.     1n-half-barrels

2011 2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils  Beaune Grèves De L’Enfant Jésus 1er Cru.
This is consistently one of the best Beaune Premier Crus. The vineyard is another Bouchard Père & Fils monopole and has been owned since 1791. It is situated in the heart of the large 80 acre Beaune Grèves vineyard. Beaune Grèves De L’Enfant Jésus is capable of aging for a very long time. I have had a bottle of 1959 in the last 10 years which was delicious, but have not tasted any thing older. In the Bouchard cellars they have a 1865 Beaune Grèves De L’Enfant Jésus which they say is delicious to drink today!
The wine has a dark color and a deep floral perfume with plum and blackberry fruit. It is concentrated with a myriad of layered fruit and is structured, yet supple, with a long lasting finish. This looks to be a wine that will drink beautifully for a very long time – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot 1er Cru.
This is a consistently very fine wine. This 2011 is lovely. It has a dark color and a floral perfume with a kiss of vanilla. It has great plum and berry fruit and is supple and rounded with lovely balance a long finish. This is a wine with lots of charm and early appeal that will also keep for an extended period – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely spice tinged berry perfume. It has pure berry fruit with a good backbone and a nice crispness on the finish. Just now it is a bit restrained, but should evolve and open over time. It is one to definitely look at again after bottling – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru.
Another consistently beautiful wine this 2011 is really lovely. It has a dark color and a deep perfume of plums and cherries. The wine has lots of plum and cherry fruit with floral spice nuances and is concentrated, supple and balanced. Drink it now or for many years into the future – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Le Corton.
With a dark color this Corton has a lovely floral perfume with tinges of blackberry fruit. It has lots of fruit and is balanced with a nice suppleness showing an underlying crispness. Deceptively forward, this wine should evolve beautifully over many years – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils   Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er Cru.
The vines here are 27 years old. The wine has deep color and a lovely spice tinged plum perfume. It has very nice plum like fruit with a floral accent and has a nice finish with an underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.  1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Clos Vougeot.
There were 125 barrels of this wine produced in 2011, the same as in 2010. It is also very much like the 2010 at this stage in its evolution. The color is dark and the wine has a great floral perfume with an exotic nuance. It is lush and rounded with concentration and depth and has layers of fruit with a faint exotic tinge. Very expressive, this is a delicious wine – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

Negociant

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Chambolle Musigny Les Noirots 1er Cru.
The vines here are 35 years old and the vineyard is under long term contact to Bouchard where they do the farming, vinification, and bottling. Like the 2010, this is a really lovely Chambolle. The wine has a deep color and a lovely floral perfume and is lush, supple, and rounded. The fruit is very pure and accented by a nice underlying crispness. This is really delicious with lots of charm and appeal – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely spice tinged berry perfume with a faint underlying floral nuance. It has a lot of supple fruit and is beautifully balanced with depth and concentration. This is another wine that is very expressive and has great elegance – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Chambertin-Clos-De-Beze.
There were 300 cases of this wine produced in 2011. At this stage it is a match for the 2010. Dark in color the wine has a great perfume of berries and cherries with a faint tinge of spice. It is very flavorful with layers of cherry and berry fruit with a very faint spiciness and has a long lingering finish. This is gorgeous – Outstanding Plus Potential.
2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Chapelle-Chambertin.
There were 200 cases of this wine produced in 2011. It is very impressive. The color is dark and the wine has a great floral berry perfume. There is a lot of intensity and the wine has lots of supple fruit. Rounded and balanced with a nice underlying crispness, this a delicious wine – Outstanding Plus Potential.     2n-half-barrels

White Wines

The 2011 Bouchard white wines are lovely, forward, and expressive. They will drink beautifully early on and many will also age over a considerable period of time, particularly some of the Meursaults and Grand Crus.

 BOUCHARD MONTRACHET

Domaine

2011 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Montmains 1er Cru.
This wine was tasted from bottle. It has a light yellow color and a lovely floral citrus perfume. With very nice supple fruit showing a floral, citrus, mineral tinge the wine is elegant and finesseful with a nice crispness on the finish – Highly Recommended.  2-yellow-stars

2011 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Montee De Tonnerre 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a nice citrus, mineral tinged perfume. It has nice fruit with citrus and mineral nuances and is very pure with an underlying crispness –Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Vaulorent 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color with a nice perfume showing floral, citrus, and mineral nuances this wine has nice pure fruit with citrus and mineral undertones. The finish shows a nice crispness and the wine shows a lot of finesse – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Bougros Côte Bouguerots Grand Cru.
Light yellow in color this Chablis has a lovely perfume showing citrus with floral nuance and a faint minerality. It has lovely fruit with a citrus tinged minerality and is flavorful with some crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential Plus.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru.
This wine has a light yellow color and a lovely citrus tinged, faintly floral perfume. It has very pure fruit with citrus accents and is rounded and flavorful with a nice citrus and mineral driven crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential Plus.   1n-half-barrels

2011Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru.
Light yellow in color this Chablis has a lovely citrus and mineral tinged perfume with floral and melon nuances. It is flavorful with concentration and depth and has very nice fruit with citrus and mineral undertones and a nice crispness on the finish – Outstanding Potential.2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Les Clous 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with a hint of pineapple. It has lovely fruit and is rounded and quite seductive with a faint pineapple quality and a nice citrus tinge on the finish – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Clos Saint-Landry 1er Cru.
This wine was tasted from bottle. The vineyard has been owned by Bouchard since 1791. The wine was always used to blend with other wines up until 1985 when it was first bottled separately. This 2011 is lovely with a lot of charm and early appeal. Light yellow in color the wine has a subtle perfume with floral, citrus, and mint nuances. It is delicate and finesseful with lovely fruit and is rounded and very tasty – Highly Recommended.   2-yellow-stars

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Charmes 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely perfume showing hints of citrus and pineapple. It has great purity and is lush and round with tropical fruit nuances accented by hints of citrus and a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Genevières 1er Cru.
This is a lovely Meursault. It has a light yellow color and a lovely floral perfume with hints of citrus. The wine is very elegant and beautifully balanced with very pure citrus tinged fruit showing a faint tropical nuance. There is depth and flavor with a nice underlying crispness on the finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Perrières 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this Meursault has a very nice floral citrus tinged perfume. It is flavorful and rounded with floral grapefruit nuances. Quite expressive and balanced, this is a really lovely elegant wine with a nice underlying crispness. It is very true to the vintage – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Bouchard Père & Fils Les Champs-Gain 1er Cru.
This was the one negociant white wine that we tasted. There were 425 cases produced.
The wine has a light yellow color and a nice faintly floral citrus tinged perfume. It is finesseful with lovely fruit showing floral citrus nuances and a faint underlying minerality. Balanced with a nice crispness on the finish, this is a lovely wine – Very Good Plus Potential.      1n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Corton-Charlemagne.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely pineapple, floral, citrus tinged perfume. It is flavorful with finesse and balance and has lovely fruit with floral citrus nuances. Very expressive and even seductive, this is a wine with a lot of early appeal – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Chevalier-Montrachet.
Domaine Bouchard owns about one-third of this great Grand Cru. The first parcel was purchased in 1838. Light yellow in color this 2011 is a very finesseful and elegant Chevalier. It has a floral citrus tinged perfume and lovely floral tinged fruit with hints of citrus. The wine is balanced and flavorful with a lot of charm and early appeal – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte.
This wine is made from vines in Chevalier-Montrachet that are an exact extension of Montrachet and was, at one time, classified as Montrachet. It bears the name of the small house (La Cabotte in French) that sits in the vineyard. As is typical, there is an extra dimension of depth in this wine as compared with the Chevalier. Light yellow in color the wine has a great perfume with floral citrus nuances and hints of peach. There is an expression of elegance with depth and richness and lots of fruit with peach and citrus tinges. This is a wine of style, flavor, and balance – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Montrachet.
Speaking of the 2010 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Montrachet last year I said: This is a phenomenal Montrachet and one of the best I have ever tasted from barrel. I have yet to taste the 2010 now that it is bottled. But, I purchased the wine and will taste it once it arrives and settles down. So tasting this 2011 is a very tough act to follow. And, although tasting barrel samples is tricky, the 2011 does not have the phenomenal structure and intensity of the 2010. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful Montrachet that, while forward, should age well for many years. That is assuming Philippe is right and that Premox is a thing of the past.
The wine has a light yellow color and a deep perfume with floral citrus nuances and an underlying honeyed quality. It has lovely peach tinged fruit with floral, citrus and honeyed accents and is beautifully balanced with a long lingering finish – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

 

 

Camille Giroud

 CAMILLE GIROUD SIGN

This company was founded in 1865 by Camille Giroud’s father in law. They selected wines based on the potential for long aging and were bottled and kept in their cellars for a long time until they felt they were ready to be released. Lucien succeeded Camille and looked for tannic wines to age. After his death, the two Giroud brothers became the managers and decided to construct a winery and vinify wines for the first time as well as continuing to buy finished wines. The 1990s were the discovery years and by the early 2000s they were out of capital. In 2002 an American group headed by Joe Wender and Ann Colgin purchased Camille Giroud and hired David Croix as wine maker. At that time the company had very few contracts with growers. In the last several years those have increased steadily. David is now in charge of production and is a believer in clarity and non invasive wine making. New oak is only around 15% for most wines with about 40-50% for the Chambertin. There is no fining or filtering.

Today Camille Giroud owns a total of about 1½ acres of 2 Premier Cru vineyards in Beaune both of which have old vines. Most wines are made using purchased grapes and a smaller amount is from purchased wine. Some 30 different wines are produced each year consisting of approximately 80% red and 20% white. The annual production averages around 5000 cases. There is also a large inventory of old wines which are sold periodically.

Last year was my first visit to taste at Camille Giroud. The dedication here is obvious and David Croix has done a really good job of getting this house back in the game. This is a house to watch. (To read notes on the Camille Giroud 2010s click here)

This year we again tasted with David Croix. In speaking of the 2011s, David commented on the fact that while the weather conditions were very much like 2007, the wines are different which is certainly true. As is typical of most of the 2011s tasted, the wines here have lovely fruit and are very approachable. They compare favorably with the 2010s. The best wines here have depth and flavor and are worth seeking out as the quantities are generally very small.

Wines Tasted From Barrel

CAMILLE GIROUD CELLAR

 Red Wines

2011 Camille Giroud Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Peuillets 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely plum and berry perfume with floral notes. It has lovely flora tinged fruit and a nice underlying crispness with just a bit of tannin underneath – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Camille Giroud Volnay.
This wine has a deep color and a lovely spice tinged floral berry perfume. It has very good fruit with just a touch of spice and a firm underlying backbone – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Camille Giroud Beaune Les Cras 1er Cru.
The vines here are nearly 100 years old. The production in 2011 is 75 cases. With a deep color the wine has a lovely floral perfume with a faint tinge of spice. There is very pure berry and cherry fruit and a nice underlying crispness. This is a lovely, elegant wine – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Camile Giroud Beaune Les Avaux 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine had a lovely berry perfume and nice spice tinged berry fruit. It has structure and a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential.  1-barrel

2011 Camille Giroud Volnay Les Laurets 1er Cru.
The production of this wine is 150 cases. It has a deep color and a lovely floral perfume. The wine is rounded and supple with plum and berry fruit and a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru.
After the harvest this parcel was sold so this is the last vintage for Camille Giroud. This is a really lovely wine. It has a deep color and lovely floral perfume with hints of berries and plums. It is rounded and supple with delicious berry and plum fruit and has a nice underlying crispness on the finish – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Pommard Clos de Verger 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely floral perfume. It has very nice balance and is supple and rounded with a very nice finish – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Aloxe-Corton Valozières 1er Cru.
This vineyard is situated just below the grand cru Corton Bressandes. The wine has a deep color and a subtle floral perfume. It has lots of fruit with just a kiss of spice and is well structured with depth and flavor – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Gevrey-Chambertin.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely berry perfume with a faint floral spice accent. It is supple and rounded with lovely spice tinged berry fruit and has a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.     1n-half-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Vosne-Romanée.
The vines here are 40 years old and the 2011 production is 175 cases. This is a really lovely Vosne-Romanée. The wine has a dark color and a lovely plum tinged perfume with faint hints of spice. With lots of plum and blackberry fruit, it is supple and lush with a faint spiciness. Balanced with a nice underlying crispness, this is a wine with a lot appeal – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint-Jacques 1er Cru.
The vines here are 50-60 years old. 2011 is the first vintage for this wine. The production is 75 cases. With a deep color the wine has a lovely berry perfume with a tinge of mint. It has lots of very pure berry fruit and is supple and rounded with a nice crispness on the finish. This is a really nice wine – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Corton Rognets.
The vines here are 50 years old and there were around 60 cases produced in 2011. The wine has a deep color and lovely floral berry tinged perfume with a touch of spice. It is silky and rounded with a myriad of fruits and a nice spiciness. Balanced with lots of flavor, this is a delicious wine – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Charmes Chambertin.
This wine is made from 50 year old vines from the upper part of the vineyard. The production in 2011 was 100 cases the same as 2010. And, like the 2010 the wine is really lovely. It has a deep color and a very nice floral perfume with cherry fruit showing just a hint of spice. With layers of very pure fruit, the wine is supple and rich with lots of flavor yet it elegant and finesseful – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Corton Clos du Roi.
There were 100 cases of this wine produced in 2011. With a deep color the wine has a nice floral perfume and lots of plum and berry fruit. It is quite rich and has depth and structure with nice underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Latricières Chambertin.
With a very nice color this wine has a nice floral berry perfume. It has lovely floral tinged fruit and is supple and rounded with a nice crispness on the finish. This is a wine of elegance and finesse with early appeal – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Camille Giroud Chambertin.
With a very nice color this wine has a lovely floral berry perfume with hints of spice. It has lots of cherry fruit with a faint spiciness and has a nice crispness underneath. The wine is very elegant yet there is also depth and richness – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

White Wines

2011 Camille Giroud Auxey-Duress Blanc.
Light yellow in color this wine has a nice floral perfume with intriguing hints of citrus and pineapple. It has lovely pure floral tinged fruit and is supple and elegant with a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011Camille Giroud Chassagne Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Cru.
Light yellow gold in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of peach and citrus. It has lovely supple rounded fruit with peach and citrus undertones and a nice citrus tinge crispness on the finish – Very Good Plus Potential.             1n-half-barrels

2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Tête de Clos 1er Cru.
This is a small vineyard situated just above Morgeot. The grapes for this wine came from a parcel of 60 year old vines. There were 75 cases produced in 2011. The wine is gorgeous. It is light yellow in color and has a great perfume showing hints of citrus with a floral, faintly honeyed, undertone. Very pure with lovely fruit the wine is at the same time very mineral driven, even racy, with great focus and intensity and impressive length – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

 

Joseph Drouhin

 JOSEPH DROUHIN SIGN

Joseph Drouhin founded his wine business in Beaune in 1880 at the age of 22. His son, Maurice, succeeded him and began to purchase vineyards and land. Robert Drouhin succeeded Maurice in 1957 and acquired many more vineyards. Today Philippe, Veronique, Laurent, and Frederick represent the fourth generation of the Drouhin family. (To read more background on Joseph Drouhin and notes on the 2010s click here)

This year we tasted again with Frederick. We were presented 18 wines to taste this year including 2 Grand Crus, whereas last year we tasted 22 wines and 6 Grand Crus. As a result, it is more difficult to give a general view of the vintage here. We did not taste the Montrachet, but, based on what we tasted, it seems that the 2011 white wines, while very nice, should probably be consumed relatively soon. The reds I am less sure. We tasted none of the flagship red wines such as Musigny, Grands Echezeaux, Griottes Chambertin and Chambertin Clos-de-Beze which we have tasted in the past. In total, we tasted 8 red wines and 1 grand cru versus 10 red wines and 3 grand crus last year. But, of the 8 red wines we tasted, 7 were the same as last year. The red wines we tasted are also very nice, but, again, my guess is that they too should be consumed relatively soon.

  Frederick Drouhin

Wines Tasted From Barrel
(Including a few that were already bottled)

Red Wines

2011 Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune.
This wine was tasted from bottle.
With a deep color this wine has a nice plumy perfume and is supple and rounded with plum and berry fruit. It is a wine to drink early for the fruit – Recommended. 1-yellow-star

2011 Joseph Drouhin Savigny-les-Beaune Clos des Godeaux.
This is a Joseph Drouhin monopole vineyard meaning they are the sold owner. The 7 ½ acre vineyard is situated within the Les Godeaux vineyard. It was purchased 3 years ago. This is an elegant wine. It has a very nice color and a floral berry perfume. There is lovely supple floral tinged fruit on the palate and the wine is supple and nicely balanced – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er Cru.
This is a wine that is capable of aging for a very long time. This 2011 was rather restrained at the time of our tasting. It has a deep color and a subtle perfume of berry fruit with a touch of spice. There is also nice spice tinged berry fruit on the palate and the wine has some underlying tannin – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Grèves 1er Cru.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely spice tinged berry perfume with a faint smoky nuance. It has lovely berry fruit with hints of spice and a good backbone with some crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin.
This is a village wine made from grapes harvested from three different vineyards. It has a deep color and a lovely floral spice tinged perfume. The wine has very good fruit showing just a tinge of spice and is supple with some crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru.
This wine is a blend of grapes from 3 vineyards. It has a deep color and a lovely spice tinged floral perfume. The wine is supple and rounded with very nice fruit and balance – Very Good Plus Potential.     1n-half-barrels

2011 Joseph Drouhin Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Procès 1er Cru.
This wine has a deep color and a lovely berry perfume showing a hint of spice. It has very nice berry fruit and is rounded with a firm underlying backbone – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Clos de Vougeot.
This wine is made from grapes grown on a 1 ¼ acre parcel situated in the upper portion of the Clos. It has a very nice color and a lovely berry perfume with faint floral nuances. There is lovely supple fruit on the palate and the wine is balanced with a nice crispness on the finish. This is a wine of elegance and finesse and has early appeal – Outstanding Potential.     2-barrels

White Wines

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the Joseph Drouhin wines are very age worthy, both reds and whites (To read notes on two older Joseph Drouhin wines that are amazingly good click here ) But since the late 90s and into the 2000s, this domaine has also suffered from the dreaded Premox (premature oxidation). Since that time numerous changes have been made that they believe will correct the problem. These changes include: changing the cork supplier, adding a process to clean the corks to remove any foreign elements, increasing the width of the corks at the bottom, and making the necks of the bottles straighter to assure a better seal. Hopefully this will render Premox a thing of the past.

2011 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Vaudon Réserve de Vaudon.
This wine was tasted from bottle.
The wine has a light yellow color and a nice floral citrus perfume with a hint of flintiness. It has floral tinged citrus fruit with a crisp underlying minerality and a nice crisp finish – Recommended Plus.   1-n-half-yellow-stars

2011 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Montmains 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this Chablis has a lovely floral citrus tinged perfume. It has lovely fruit with tinges of peach and citrus and a faint minerality. The wine is finesseful with a nice underlying crispness and has early appeal – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Saint-Véran Blanc.
Light yellow in color this wine has a nice floral citrus tinged perfume. It has floral tinged fruit and is rounded and very pure with a faint citrus tinge – Very Good Potential.  1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has lovely floral perfume with hints of peach and a citrus tinged minerality. It is lovely and rounded with a lot of finesse and citrus tinged fruit – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Joseph Drouhin Rully Blanc.
This wine was tasted from bottle.
The wine has a light yellow color and a lovely floral citrus tinged perfume. It has lovely fruit with a nice citrus tang that gives the wine lift and vibrancy. This is a very nice wine with early appeal – Highly Recommended.    2-yellow-stars

2011 Joseph Drouhin Meursault.
Light yellow in color this wine has a nice floral perfume. It is rounded with very pure fruit and has a nice crisp finish – Very Good Potential.   1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has lovely perfume with faint hints of citrus and peach. It has lots of floral tinged supple fruit and is rounded and flavorful with an underlying hint of citrus – Very Good Plus Potential.  1n-half-barrels

2011 Joseph Drouhin Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume. It has very nice citrus tinged fruit and is rounded and supple with some crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2011 Joseph Drouhin Meursault Perrières.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral tinged perfume with a hint of mint. The fruit is very pure with a citrus accent and the wine is very flvorful with an underlying crispness that carries through on the finish – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of citrus and a faint underlying minerality. It has very pure citrus tinged fruit and is elegant and flavorful with a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

 

Pierre Yves Colin-Morey

pierre yves colin-morey

Pierre Yves is the eldest son of Marc Colin. He was the winemaker at his father’s domaine from 2001 to 2005 and set up a negociant business with his wife Caroline Morey in 2001. In 2006 he left his father’s domaine and now concentrates on white wines both as a negociant and grower. The domaine has some 10 acres of vineyard located in Saint-Aubin and Chassagne-Montrachet. Pierre Yves does not differentiate between wines made from purchased grapes or barrels and estate grown grapes. All the wines are treated the same.

In a very short time, he has established a reputation for making some of the best white wines in Burgundy. His wines are very pure and have great elegance and breed. His Saint-Aubins are real values. Saint-Aubin is situated in the hills just above Chassagne-Montrachet and Pierre Yves crafts wines from here that are the equal of many Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Crus. His domaine Chassagne-Montachets are also consistently at a very high level. And his Premier Cru and  Grand Cru negociant wines are magnificent. The current production is about 60% domaine wines from Saint-Aubin and Chassagne-Montrachet and 40% negociant Premier Cru and Grand Crus wines. The negociant wines are made in very small quantities of 1-3 barrels each (25 to 75 cases.

In terms of recent White Burgundy vintages, Pierre Yves believes the 09 white wines are like 85 or 89. The vintage was quite ripe, but the wines have very good underlying structure and Pierre Yves says it is rare to have this balance. He likes the 2010s even more. They are not over ripe and are very pure with good acidity. The acidities in 2010 are close to 2008, but with more elegance. The acidities in 2004 and 2007 are higher with less ripe fruit. His favorite recent white Burgundy vintages are 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

My taste corresponds with Pierre Yves. I like very much the 2004s and 2007s for their vibrant acidities. The 2008s may be even better for the ripeness and purity with good acidities just a bit lower than the 2004s and 2007s. And, at this early stage, I also agree that the 2010s seem very close to the 2008s. These are my two favorite recent White Burgundy vintages. (To read more about the  Pierre Yves Colin-Morey wines click here)

Our recent visit was focused on the 2011s. Pierre Yves said that he likes the vintage very much for the acidity and the fruit. The acidities here are about the same as in 2010, but Pierre Yves believes the 2011s may have even more fruit. That is the case here, but this is the exception rather than the rule based on the 2011s we tasted. The 2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey white wines are again brilliant and seem to be on par with the 2010s at this early stage. They are certain to be some of the best white wines of the vintage and are wines to buy! The evolution of the 2010s and 2011s here will be most interesting. And, I can also say that to date the wines of Pierre Yves have not had any Premox (premature oxidation) problems that have plagued so many other White Burgundy producers (To read about Premox click here and to read the follow-up Premox article click here)

 Wines Tasted From Barrel
(Saint-Aubins tasted from bottle)

White Wines

Domaine

2011 Domaine Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin En Remilly 1er Cru.
This wine was tasted from bottle. It is very close to the 2010. Pale yellow in color the wine has a lovely perfume with floral citrus notes. A wine of great finesse, yet also with great intensity, it has lovely citrus tinged fruit with a distinct minerality. Beautifully balanced and very pure this is really gorgeous – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2011 Domaine Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin La Chateniere 1er Cru.
This wine was also tasted from bottle and is lovely, but seemingly not as racy as the 2010. The wine has a pale yellow color and a nice perfume with faint floral citrus notes. It has lovely very pure fruit and is expressive and beautifully balanced with a nice crisp finish. This is a lovely wine with a lot of finesse – Highly Recommended Plus.   2-n-half-yellow-stars

2011 Domaine Pierre Yves Colin- Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Ancegnieres.
This is a delicious wine. It has a light yellow color and a lovely floral perfume tinged with citrus and a faint spiciness. It is balanced and very flavorful and rounded with lots of floral tinged fruit and a nice underlying citrus mineral tinge – Outstanding Potential.2-barrels

2011 Domaine Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes 1er Cru.
This is a gorgeous wine. It has a light yellow color and a great floral peach tinged perfume with a hint of citrus. With lovely fruit it is elegant and finesseful with great style. The flavors hint of peach and citrus with floral nuances and the wine has a citrus tinged minerality that is manifest on the finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Domaine Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru.
The grapes for this wine come 2/3s from vines 70 years old and 1/3 from vines 20 years old. This is grand cru quality. The wine has a light yellow color and a great floral perfume with hints of pineapple and citrus and a faint kiss of spice. It has stunning floral tinged fruit with citrus and pineapple nuances. Supple, yet with a very nice underlying crispness the wine has great clarity with a long lingering finish. Delicious – Outstanding Plus Potential. 2n-half-barrels

Negociant

2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Baudines 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color with a gorgeous floral perfume tinged with peach, citrus, and faint spiciness this wine rocks! It has great fruit that is complex with peach and citrus accented by faint hints of pear and spice. Finesseful and balanced with depth and flavor followed by a long crisp finish, this is a wine that is irresistible – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru.
This wine is made from vines that are 85 years old in the Premier Cru vineyard of Les Folatières which is situated at the same elevation as Les Caillerets, Chevalier Montrachet and Montrachet. It is grand cru quality. Light yellow in color the wine has a lovely floral mineral tinged perfume with hints of citrus and spice. It is very well defined with great structure and lovely floral tinged fruit showing a nice underlying minerality. Elegant with beautiful balance the wine has great purity and a long finish – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru.
This is a very seductive and attractive wine with a lot of charm. It is light yellow in color with a lovely floral perfume showing a kiss of citrus and spice. Silky and supple with very pure fruit the wine has floral citrus tinged flavors and is very elegant with a long finish – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Meursault Perrières 1er Cru.
This is simple a gorgeous wine. It is light yellow in color and has a lovely floral citrus perfume with hints of minerality. There is great intensity of fruit with an underlying citrus and mineral nuance and the wine is very pure and defined with a long finish – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Batard Montrachet.
This is a Batard with a lot of class and breed. It has a light yellow color and a great floral tinged perfume with hints of citrus and a very faint hint of spice. It has very pure concentrated fruit showing great balance and an underlying crispness and a long finish. Time could yield even more complexity – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels

2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chevalier Montrachet.
This is a great wine with syle and definition. It has a gorgeous floral perfume with faintly honeyed mineral nuances. There is a lot of fruit with purity and complexity. Hints of peach and citrus are intertwined with and faint honeyed quality and the wine has a very long lingering finish. Bravo – Exceptional Potential.   3-barrels

Red Wine

Negociant

Pierre Yves makes a small amount of red wine. We tasted one which is lovely.

2011 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Volnay Champans 1er Cru.
This is a very pretty wine with great charm. It is delicious now but should also keep for many years. The wine has a nice color and a great floral perfume infused with cherry fruit. With lots of supple refined floral tinged cherry fruit on the palate it is balanced and has elegance and flavor wiht a lovely finish showing a nice crispness – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

 

Remoissenet Pere & Fils

 Remoissenet sign 1

This firm was founded in 1877 and was headed by Roland Remoissenet for some 30 years. In 2005 he retired and sold the firm to New York financiers, Edward and Howard Milstein with minority interests held by Maison Louis Jadot and Toronto based Halpern Enterprises. Included in the sale was a very large inventory of reportedly over a million bottles. Bernard Repolt, most recently President of Louis Jadot, is now the director.

Under the new regime things are on the upswing. Wines are made from some 50 differnet appellations with the proportion approximately ½ red and ½ white. A lot of the wines are made in relatively small quantities. The vineyard holdings total just 5 acres of Beaune 1er crus, including Marconnets, Bressandes and Grèves. The white wines are consistently very fine and the red wines are steadily improving and were gorgeous in 2009 and again in 2010. In now looks as if this house has pretty much hit full stride. The wines are gorgeous across the entire line and are wines to buy. And, even more so as I suspect many of them will represent really good relative value. (To read more about Remoissenet Pere & Fils wines click here).

Tasting again this year with Bernard, I found the wines impressive and very consistent across the entire range. I would now say that with the success of this 2011 vintage, this house is definitely in top form.

Wines Tasted From Barrel

remoissenet

Red Wines

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Grand Clos Rousseau 1er Cru.
With a very nice color this wine has a lovely spice tinged berry perfume. It has lovely berry fruit, again with a faint touch of spice, and is balanced with a nice crispness on the finish – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Beaune Grèves 1er Cru.
This wine has a very nice color and a spicy berry perfume. It has very pure berry fruit and a faint tinge of spice with a nice underlying crispness which carries through on the finish – Very Good Potential.    1-barrel

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Beaune Marconnets 1er Cru.
There were 175 cases of this wine produced in 2011. This wine has a very nice color and a gorgeous floral perfume with spice tinged berry fruit. It has lots of berry fruit with floral spice nuances and is rounded and supple yet with a bright underlying crispness. This is really lovely – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Volnay Robardelles 1er Cru.
There were 75 cases of this wine produced in 2011. And, like the 2009 and 2010, it is Outstanding.
This Volnay has a very nice color and an intense perfume of plums and berries with a floral undertone and hint of spice. On the palate, it has lots of fruit and is very pure and flavorful with floral nuances. Rounded and supple with lots of flavor this is a really gorgeous wine – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Vosne-Romanée.
This wine is made from grapes coming from two different vineyards. The production in 2011 was 250 cases.  Like the 2010, this is a really beautiful village wine. It has a gorgeous floral perfume with cherry fruit and a tinge of spice. It is very pure and velvety with lots of fruit and is beautifully balanced. The wine is elegant, yet is very flavorful and shows a nice underlying crispness on the finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin.
With a very nice color this wine has a lovely berry perfume with tinges of spice. It is rounded and supple with very fruit and is well balanced with a nice crispness of the finish. This is a very nice village wine – Very Good Plus Potential.1n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Damodes 1er Cru.
The production of this wine in 2011 was 100 cases.  The wine has a very nice color and a lovely perfume of spice tinged berry fruit. On the palate, it has very nice berry fruit with a floral spice tinge and is very well structured with some underlying crispness – Very Good plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Les Echanges Premier Cru.
There were 50 cases of this wine produced in 2011.  This is a rather obscure wine that has great fruit and style. It has a deep color and a lovely floral perfume with a tinge of spice. Balanced with lovely fruit showing a floral nuance, the wine has lots of fruit and a lot of charm – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er Cru.
There were about 40 cases of this wine produced in 2011.  With a very nice color the wine has a lovely perfume of floral tinged berry fruit. It has lots of fruit and flavor and is beautifully balanced. This is a very elegant and stylistic wine with a lot of appeal – Outstanding Potential.    2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin Trio 1er Cru.
There were 50 cases of this wine made in 2011.  This wine is a blend of grapes from 3 vineyards. It has a deep color and a lovely berry perfume with a tinge of spice. On the palate, the wine has a lot of very pure fruit and is nicely balanced with some underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential. 1n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Corton Renardes.
There were 75 cases of this wine produced in 2010. The wine has a very nice color and nice berry perfume. It has very good fruit and is balanced and flavorful with a nice crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Clos Vougeot.
This is a gorgeous Clos Vougeot. It has a deep color and shows a gorgeous floral berry fruit with a tinge of spice. On the palate it has layers of fruit and great intensity and is beautifully balanced with a long finish showing a nice underlying crispness – Outstanding Plus Potential.   2n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Charmes Chambertin.
There were 75 cases of this wine produced in 2011.  The wine has a deep color and a lovely berry perfume. It has great fruit and flavor and is rounded and lush. Beautifully balanced with a lot of elegance, this is a really gorgeous wine – Outstanding Plus Potential.    2n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chapelle Chambertin.
There were 50 cases of this wine produced in 2011. The wine has a deep color and a stunning perfume with a myriad of fruits showing floral undertones. It has lots of fruit and is concentrated with lots of flavor and beautiful balance. With a long lingering finish, this is a delicious wine – Outstanding Plus Potential.     2n-half-barrels

White Wines

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Santenay Blanc Beaurepaire 1er Cru.
This is a relatively unknown wine that is worth seeking out. The production in 2011 is 250 cases. The wine is light yellow in color and has a gorgeous floral tinged perfume. It is rounded and elegant with lovely floral tinged fruit showing citrus and tropical nuances. A nice underlying crispness gives the wine a nice brightness that carries into the finish. This is really lovely – Outstanding Potential.      2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Le Maltroie 1er Cru.
With a light yellow color this wine has a lovely floral citrus tinged perfume with just a hint of spice. It is elegant with lovely fruit and is balanced with a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.    1n-half-barrels

2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral citrus tinged perfume and very pure fruit that is very expressive. Peach and citrus are intertwined with a floral nuance and there is a nice overall balance with a nice crisp finish – Very Good Plus Potential.   1n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Cru.
The production of this wine is 50 cases.  With a light yellow color the wine has a lovely floral perfume with a hint of citrus. It has lovely fruit with a floral citrus note and is very elegant and finesseful with a nice underlying crispness – Very Good Plus Potential.  1n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral mineral tinged perfume. On the palate it has very nice fruit with a floral nuance and a citrus tinged minerality. Racy, yet with a suppleness underneath this is very attractive – Very Good Plus Potential.  1n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Meursault Les Cras 1er Cru.
Les Cras is a very small vineyard located on the north side of Meursault and not often seen. This is a really lovely wine. It has a light yellow color and a lovely perfume with floral citrus notes. There is lots of fruit and the wine is rounded but with and bright underlying citrus tinged minerality. Balanced and flavorful this is a very stylistic Meursault – Outstanding Potential.  2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Meursault Charmes 1er Cru.
This is a beautiful Meursault with a lot of elegance. It is light yellow in color and has a goregeous perfume with floral tropical notes. With lovely very pure fruit accented by floral citrus nuances the wine is balanced with a bright underlying crispness –  Outstanding Potential.     2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Meursault Genevières 1er Cru.
This is a Meursault with intensity and great style. It is light yellow in color and has a deep floral perfume that is accented by a hint of citrus and a faint tropical undertone. It is lush and rounded with very pure fruit and is balanced with a long crisp finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Corton Charlemagne
The 2011 production of this wine is 125 cases.  Light yellow in color the wine has a lovely perfume with floral nuances and hints of citrus. It has very nice floral tinged fruit and is rounded and supple with a long crisp finish – Outstanding Potential.   2-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chevalier Montrachet.
There are only 25 cases of this wine in 2011.  This wine is light yellow in color and has a lovely floral citrus perfume with hints of peach. It has lots of very pure fruit and is beautifully balanced. Flavors of peach and citrus are accented by floral notes and the finish is long with a nice crispness – Outstanding Plus Potential.     2n-half-barrels

2011 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Montrachet.
Light yellow in color this is a lovely Montrachet with a lovely floral perfume showing tinges of citrus and tropical fruit. There is lots of very pure fruit and the wine has intensity and depth with lovely balance and a long finish with a nice underlying crispness – Outstanding Plus Potential.  2n-half-barrels


 

CONCLUSION

With the very short crop of 2012s (and higher prices), the best of the 2011s are certainly wines to buy. There are many wonderful wines in this review and no doubt there are wines of similar quality at some of our other favorite producers that we were unable to visit this year. In short, it must be remembered that Burgundies are never inexpensive as a result of the quality of the wines, the small amount produced, and the ever increasing world wide demand. So, if you love Burgundy, this vintage offers many really delicious wines.

 

BURGUNDY VINTAGE REPORTS 2012 – 2007

The last few vintages of Burgundy really tell a story. For, in Burgundy, it is almost never the case that any two vintages are the same. This is due to the fickle nature of the weather. Sun, rain, frost, freezes, hail, and wind can all have a positive or negative effect on the harvest depending on when they occur. These weather patterns can also cause the onset of various diseases that can affect the quality and quantity. And, many times the crop is impacted negatively or positively by changes in the weather in the last few days or weeks before harvest. This accounts for the variability of Burgundy versus wines from warmer New World areas where the weather is almost always warm with little variability around the time of harvest. In Burgundy, it is not that unusual to have “miracle” vintages which are saved by a late warm spell. And, thankfully, recent vintages have been spared the conditions that caused some of the really poor vintages of the early years prior to the 1980s.

Below is a brief UNDERGOUND commentary on recent Burgundy vintages:

2012

The 2012 vintage in Burgundy was, yet again, different. The weather into July was, in a word, terrible! But, there was a big change from mid-July into September when the weather was the exact opposite and well nigh perfect with warm, mostly sunny weather. The terrible weather conditions into July did result in a crop that was severely reduced. However, the weather from then on produced a crop of very healthy grapes. That is the good news. But, the bad news is that the production is very low. Some have called it the lowest production ever. In some vineyards production was down as much as 90%. Some growers have called 2012 “classic”. Others are saying it is better than any of the most recent vintages. For me, like all vintages at this very early stage, it is impossible to know precisely how the wine will evolve. But, what I do know is that there will be producers who make a very high quality wine in very limited quantities. This, in turn, will result in higher prices. For consumers, that gives all the more appeal to the 2011s which are just now starting to be offered for sale.

2011

This vintage was characterized by terrible weather followed by good weather just in time for harvest. Hence I call 2011 THE SURPRISE VINTAGE. The winter brought very cold weather with a warming trend in February and March. The summer arrived in April leading to the belief that the harvest would be early. Then the summer was punctuated with cooling trends and some days of late rains. This led to some rot. The harvest started in late August/early September in warm dry weather. The quantity, like 2010, was again below average. Several growers compare the harvest to 2007. And some have also said that it did not have as many problems as 2007 with a higher overall quality for the reds. For me, it is a better vintage than 2007 for the red wines. Many of the 2011s have beautiful balance and lots of fruit. They will have a lot of early appeal, but are likely to keep better than most people expect. In short, the vintage does not look to be at the level of either 2009 or 2010 and there is surely more variability. But, there are some 2011s that compare favorably to the 2009s and 2010s. And, given the very small crop of very high quality fruit in 2012, 2011 is a vintage to buy as the 2012s are expected to be in very short supply and also very expensive. For the white wines, it also looks to be a very good vintage, but a more variable vintage. Some of the best wines are similar to 2007, but with more fruit. Others are lighter and without the structure for long term aging. Nonetheless, they are nice wines that will have early appeal.

2010

An early freeze affected many vines in parts of Burgundy and some vines were lost. Spring came late, but warm weather followed until June when the weather cooled. July warmed up again, but August was variable with many cool days and some rain. By September the weather warmed up again and the harvest began (To read the DRC 2010 harvest report click here). Very simply, the 2010 vintage is another great vintage for the best producers of Red and White Burgundies. Yet, compared with the 2009s, the wines are completely different. In fact, I cannot recall two such vintages back to back at such a high level, yet so different, in my 30 or so years of tasting Burgundies from barrel. And, I would also add that I don’t know of any vintage quite like the 2010. For the red wines, some have said that perhaps it is a combination of 2000 and 2001. Others have said that it is somewhat like 2001 or 2008. And still others have said maybe like 2006 or a combination of 2008 and 2005. These 2010 comparisons may very well prove to be somewhat valid. But, for me, the 2010 Red Burgundies, at this stage in their evolution, defy comparison. What I can say is, at the best producers, the wines have a purity and freshness in the fruit that is truly remarkable. The wines are bright and vibrant and brimming with fruit that has a zesty crispness. They have great charm and flavor with silky tannins. It can also be said that the 2010 vintage includes the combination of a warm vintage with ripe grapes and a cool vintage with freshness. It is this combination, along with low yields, which produced wines of remarkable purity, freshness, balance, flavor and vibrant acidity for both the red and white wines. It is for that reason that I call the 2010 vintage THE VINTAGE OF YIN AND YANG. And, always for me, it is this combination that gives me great pleasure.

2009

This is the real story of recent years for Red Burgundy. Here it looks to be a great vintage. The 2009 vintage is by far the best since 2005 and one of the three best vintages, the others being 1990 and 2005, that I have ever tasted from barrel. Some have also compared in to 1999. Going further back, perhaps 2009 is like 1959, although I certainly did not taste the 1959s from barrel! Whether it turns out to be as good as 2005, 1990, or 1959 remains to be seen. And, how the 2010 vintage will compare is yet another story to be determined. The 2009 Red Burgundies have tremendous fruit and depth. The 2009 whites are also attractive. But, for me, maybe not up to the 2007, 2008 and 2010 vintages which are my favorite recent White Burgundy vintages. But time will tell. Interestingly, it is just the opposite for Red Burgundy. The weather conditions at harvest were ideal. Warm sunny days began in August and continued well into the fall. But, it was not always easy even in 2009 as April, May, June, and July were subject to rains which necessitated protecting the vines from mildew. However, with the warm weather beginning in August the vines produced a crop of excellent fruit which some growers compare to the best they have ever seen. However, for some who picked late there may be some over ripeness. However, the general consensus for recent vintage comparisons seems to be 1999 and 2005 for both for quality and quantity. This is very high praise indeed. And, I think Aubert de Villaine, Co-Director of Domaine De La Romanée Conti, said it best when he summed up 2009 by saying “We would like to make wines like 2009 every year. But, if we did, we would not be in Burgundy!”

2008

This year was characterized by difficult weather conditions throughout the year. June, July, and August had frequent rains. In September the rains let up, but came back the second week of September. Botrytis set in very quickly and had the rain continued, the harvest would have been a disaster. But there was a “Burgundian miracle” as the rain stopped, a north wind set in to dry the grapes, and the weather warmed to promote ripening and intensify sugar and acidity. In that regard, the vintage can be compared to 1996. It is a successful year for 2008 reds, but most will require patience. For me, the whites are better. They are wines that can be compared to a blend of 2006 (rich and rounded) and 2007 (racy and mineral driven with breed and backbone to give them a long life).

2007

The year 2007 was not unlike 2008 in that it was saved by a late warming trend in the latter part of August and September. In the spring, it looked like it would be a warm summer and an early harvest. Some were thinking of 2003. But the rains came in May and continued until the end of August. The harvest produced Pinot Noir grapes that were fully ripe, but also some bunches with unripe grapes and botrytis. Many top growers were able to deal with these problems in the vineyard and others resorted to sorting after the harvest. So, while it was possible to produce lovely balanced red wines with great early appeal that are somewhat like the 2000s, it was also possible to produce wines that are rather thin and uninteresting. Selection here is the key. The opposite is true for the whites. The white wines are more consistent and are racy, mineral driven, and very pure. The year 2007 is one of my favorites of recent White Burgundy vintages just behind 2008 and 2010.

 

 

2011 DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEÉ-CONTI VINTAGE REPORT

SOCIÉTÉ CIVILE
DU
DOMAINE DE LA ROMANÉE-CONTI

                                                                                                       September 30, 2011

” 2011: ‘Never more than this year – in spite of the some forty-six harvests I have experienced since my beginnings as a winegrower in Burgundy – have I felt and understood the importance of luck and gamble in the success or the failure in the face of a vintage’.

At the time I am beginning to write this traditional report, trying to describe the broad outline of the vintage just after the harvest, the North wind that we had been expecting since May is back, bringing full sun and fresh nights, offering a wonderful end of season, enhancing the autumnal colours of the vineyards and intensifying the scents coming out from the wineries where the wines are fermenting. When today the vigneron awakens in these blessed mornings, he cannot help thinking of what the 2011 harvest would have been if April had not been hotter than July and had not led the vineyards to an ultra-early vegetative cycle in which they were permanently ahead of the seasons.

2011 seems indeed to give credit to those who talk of a climatic change or at least of a climatic disorder.

The vegetative cycle of the vineyards was marked by an outstanding earliness due to very high temperatures in early April. Those unusual temperatures were associated with drought conditions that were also unusual in Spring.

The vineyards like heat and drought. They were prosperous until the flowering, with no attacks from their usual enemies: mildew and oidium – and progressed quickly and harmoniously. There was only one drawback: under the sudden effect of a few very hot days, quite a few berries “roasted” in the sun.

By the very early flowering – the mid-flowering occurred on May 20th, at around the same time as in 2003 or 2007 – we saw a complete change in the weather with dominant winds from the West and South bringing rain and storms. The North wind, which is usually accompanied by beautiful dry weather, was never there, even though it blew on Palm Sunday, April 17th, and, should have been the prevailing wind of the year, if we trust the old saying.

But it is well known that gods do their utmost to deceive us, humans – Homer repeats it throughout the Odyssey – and the vignerons, like poor Ulysses shaken by elements, had to cope with those chaotic conditions that lasted in May, July and August in the form of sudden alternations of cold, rains, heat, sometimes scorching, followed each time by violent storms .

In this general context, the Cote de Nuits was spared. Rains were not as frequent as in the Cote de Beaune. For instance, Nicolas Jacob, our vineyard manager, and his young team managed to protect the vineyards from mildew and oidium all through the Spring without too much difficulty. They did the ploughing and organised all the vineyard works in time, while keeping exclusively to biological treatments. In 2011 especially knowledge, experience and tenacity were put to the test for months in order to win the challenge.

But the ultimate enemy was on the look-out: botrytis indeed did not take much time to appear. Rains had provoked abnormally big berries and at veraison (which spread out over three weeks) micro-cracks and even bursts had formed in the loose skins.

Fortunately, the low temperatures in July slowed down the vegetative cycle and the development of botrytis. Botrytis indeed likes damp heat, but stops its action as soon as it is cold. This cold phase was favourable as it strengthened and thickened the skins of the grapes.

By August 15th, there was a complete “change of scenery”: hot and stormy weather set in with very high temperatures, almost scorching, and the maturation of the grapes accelerated. Thanks to the reserves of water retained in the soil and the luminosity favoured by still-long days, photosynthesis functioned at full blast and the production of sugars increased very quickly while acidities fell, both in a spectacular manner.

The vintage was taking a totally different direction, far more qualitative. This came as a relief to us.

Of course the storms, that regularly accompanied the return of heat, provoked anguish. Some places in Burgundy were hit by murderous hail storms, but the Vosne area was spared. We should have seen a spectacular progression of botrytis, but that did not happen thanks to the thickness of the grape skins and to the quick return of the sun after each storm.

During that time, the Cote de Nuits profited from the heat and was not much affected by storms. By late August, even if a good part of the advance that had been gained in the springtime was lost as the weeks went by in June/July, the grapes were approaching full maturity. The vineyards were reaching the end of their cycle but we were aware that if the storms had kept on coming back after each period of heat, the botrytis might explode and we ran the risk of losing the crop.

Never more than this year – in spite of the some forty-six harvests I have experienced since my beginnings as a winegrower in Burgundy – have I felt and understood the importance of luck and gamble in the success or the failure in the face of a vintage.

Wanting absolutely to wait until the grapes are fully ripe is the first rule. Doing it at the risk of losing the crop is the second one. Both are linked and both played their part to the fullest in 201l. 1) We had to wait beyond reason in order to pick ripe grapes. 2) We were lucky not to have any storms or humidity during the entire harvest, whereas those unfavourable conditions were everywhere around us and could have caused an explosion ofbotrytis should have they lasted 2 or 3 days more. The gods were at our side again.

We began the harvest in Corton on Friday September 2 and in Vosne-Romanee on September 5th. The weather was hot and dry, but uncertain, and we feared the pessimistic weather forecast for the following days. Thankfully the harvest proceeded from September 5th to 13h without any rain at all during the day.

In early September, the mildew had “bitten” the upper leaves of the vineyards and autumn colours were beginning to appear everywhere. There were also many berries that had roasted in spring, “figgy” berries that we had absolutely to keep for their richness in sugar and also an unusual number of green berries that had not changed colours.

Needless to say how important and difficult the work in the vineyards was this year. The harvester who cut the grapes that went their way to the winery had a major job: like a miner filtering the gravel by the river’s edge in the hope of finding gold, he was asked to follow rules that are different every year and pick up the material, i. e. grapes that the fermentation in vats would transform into Romanee-Conti, La Tache … the gesture of the harvester is the last selective and qualitative human gesture before the grapes go into the vats with their definitive qualities and defaults.

The harvesters were given clear instructions this year: let fall the berries that had roasted in spring, cut with clippers the parts of the grapes that had been affected by botrytis and most important, as it required judgement and experience, leave behind the vines bearing big or unripe berries where botrytis had largely developed. Those vines were harvested in a second passage at the end of the “big harvest”.

Of course, the final touch to the sorting was accomplished in the winery where the grapes, before falling into the vats, passed by a team of 14 people assigned to reject what might have been neglected by harvesters. It should be noted that the vibrating table, set this year at the head of the sorting table, eliminated an impressive quantity of ladybugs and larva!

Due to the delicate sorting, the picking was not rapid and lasted until September 13 th in hot weather with the threat of storms and rains hanging over us every day like a sword of Damocles … that never arrived.

That is why I would like to stress again the importance of luck in the success of a vintage. If the grapes had been wet, even if only after one storm, the crop would have been lost in the twinkling of an eye. But on the contrary, the dates we had chosen to harvest were the right ones and we can thank the gods for giving us a mild end of season… and the possibility to harvest perfectly ripened grapes.

We must admit that the reduction of the crop, due to the attacks from the botrytis and other enemies of the vineyards and of the grapes, was significant in 2011, despite the defences we used. It should be around 30%. But this reduction is also a factor of quality. It has to be looked at like the result of a natural thinning: while the yield is reduced, the quality of the grapes is increased. In 2011 we would never have reached full maturity if a part of the crop had not been eliminated by botrytis or “roasting”.

It rained more in the Cote de Beaune where the Montrachet was hit by hail in July, but the damage was not too serious. The veraison of the Chardonnay was late and the berries resisted better to the rainy period in early August. The botrytis had less impact than in the Cote de Nuits until September 3rd when a storm in the south of the Cote de Beaune resulted in many berries turning sour. We harvested earlier than expected, on September 6th, and the grapes that we picked were wonderfully golden with a 10% percentage of noble botrytis.

The vineyards were harvested in the following order:

Corton : September 2

La Tache: September 3-5-6

Romanee-Conti et Montrachet: September 6

Richebourg : September 7-8

Romanee-St-Vivant : September 8-9

Grands-Echezeaux : September 9-10

Echezeaux : September 10-11

The vinification went without any particular problems. The only necessity was to cool down the grapes that were harvested in the sun and arrived warm at the winery, but of course we have modern methods to control temperatures. Bernard Noblet and his team were constantly on the watch. Their work was not easy: when the harvest takes place in warm conditions indeed, the vats tend to ferment all at the same time and it is essential to guide them on the way and rack off at the right time. Fermentations were especially long: 21 to 24 days with a good increase of temperature.

Devattings have just finished. The wines are full of “fruit”. They already show some seduction and deepness, but also a lot of finesse. 2011 should be more in terms of elegance and purity rather than of power, even though it is too early to give a definitive opinion.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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