Tag Archives: Burgundy

Eurocentric Tasting – 9/07/2013

Neville Yates imports wines from Europe, South Africa and New Zealand under his Eurocentric banner. I was first introduced to him when I was the wine buyer for King & Godfree, tasting a few of the wines with him. On my journey I visited some German wineries and caught up with several more at Prowein, leading me to surmise that he has one of the best collection of German producers in Australia. His range is eclectic at times with more than a few ‘natural’ producers that come up with some interesting examples. He was showing some of the new arrivals at Pei Modern in Melbourne.

Francesco Scanavino Diamant Blanc 2008
Very classic metodo classico nose. Generous fruit, fairly simple and clean on the front, hint if creamy texture.

Lancelot-Pienne Blanc de Blancs
Fairly developed open autolysis notes, very yeasty bready. Nice oxidative citrus.

Champagne Geoffroy Expression Brut
Cleaner tighter yeast notes. Rounder more earthy savoury dark berry notes, heavier on the pinot noir?

Champagne Secret Rosé
Open generous ripe red fruit nose, but tight fine and crisp savoury texture on the palate.

Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Brut
Fine pure but very complex cheesy charcuterie nose. Bold full expressive combination of red citrus and subtle savoury meats.

Benoit Ente Bourgogne Aligoté 2009
Oak dominant chardonnay style. Soft gentle vanilla creamy texture, some white peach.

Gautheron Chablis 2011
Sharp fig kiwi skin, overly leesy. Flat and dull.

Domaine Oudin Chablis 2009
Rich creamy buttery chardonnay openness. Overworked flabby lacking focus and crispness.

Domaine Arnaud Tessier Meursault Casse-Tetes 2010
Nice developed stone fruit and oak maturity integrated. Bold and generous but not heavy or hot, fairly rich and creamy from malo, but elegant and complex.

Arnaud Ente 2008 Meursault
Much more exuberant and flintier, more citrus than stone. Fuller smokier toaster, better malo integration, dense.

Dombeya Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2011
Big whack of ripe creamy juicy pineapple. Fairly soft subtle but showing that sweet vanilla pineapple crumble character.

Domaine Montvac Mélodine Vacqueyras 2011
Spicy quince apricot kernel. Open light round spice fruit friendliness.

Willi Schaefer Graacher Trocken 2011
Clean pure lime sherbet. Crisp very light pure and excellent for the price.

Schloss Lieser Dry 2011
More intense mineralic ripe deep fruit notes. More intensity and character, fuller fresher.

Emrich-Schönleber Monziger Halenberg Trocken 2011
Slightly earthy red soil minerality, subtle orange sherbet. Bold texture, generosity and density of fruit and acid.

Rebholz Kastanienbusch GG 2011
Open savoury earthy natural wild style. Subtle subdued broad. Singular.

Pierre Frick Riesling 2010
Candied oxidised pear banana caramel. Nondescript middling Alsace wine.

Grunhauser Bruderberg 2011
Intense quince floral kumquat notes. Density of viscosity and sugar, nice bite of acidic quince notes.

Emrich-Schönleber Lenz 2010
On the stripped side, de-acidified? Flat on the finish.

Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Riesling 2009
Nice density and ripeness. Great depth and character, dry sweet well-balanced.

William Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Kabinett 2011
Spicy savoury mineral complexity, nice lively fruit profile, round and yet brisk.

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Kabinett 2011
Very quiet subtle nose, but delivering plenty on the palate, wonderful length and focus, but plenty of personality.

Rebholz Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Spätlese 2011
Wild green pepper spice fig. Generosity yet exquisitely balanced sweetness. Loving this producer.

Schäfer Frölich Halenberg Spätlese 2009
Nice talcy flinty lifted citrus floral minerality. Bold full viscous sweetness, but just a hint of complex savouriness.

Schäfer-Fröhlich Halenberg Spätlese 2005
Nice generous soft rich ripe but not heavy. Still plenty of life but looking simple currently.

Dombeya Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2012
Tight green under-ripe.

Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2012
Big tropical passion fruit. Delivers exactly what people want and is very good to boot.

Sebastian Riffault Akmèniné Sancerre 2008 (naturel)
Smells like pure honey. But still dry. Interesting, not sure it’s great though. Hipster wine?

Intellego Chenin Blanc 2011 Swartland
Interesting texturally. Different in terms of fruit to Vouvray etc.

Domaine de la Tournelle Trousseau des Corvées 2011
Clean sharp precise but good personality. Most certainly a food wine.

Roland Pignard Beaujolais Villages 2010
Strawberry spice. Very lovely.

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Les Charmes 2011
Lean spicy under-ripe.

Pierre Thillardon Chenas Les Boccards 2010
Mean and lean, sharp.

Emile Ballard Le Grand Chemin 2008
Nice soft berry notes. Still on the sharp acidic side, a little aldehydic.

Scanavino Barbera d’Asti 2011
Tight brisk, great balance of dark fruits and spicy mulberry.

Domaine Des Espiers Cotes Du Rhone 2011
Bright fresh sufficiently savoury spicy but light and friendly with a touch of length.

Domaine Des Espiers Gigondas 2010
Earthy savoury spice, base of dark fruits underneath. Round soft yet fresh savoury red berries.

Domaine Faury Syrah 2011
Quite spicy and peppery. On the boring side…

Domaine Faury Saint Joseph 2009
A tad too much sweet oak.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes

Here endeth the lesson (Beaujolais, France)

Fourteen and some months after I left Australia I arrived at my last day visiting wineries, and it certainly has been quite a journey. As it turns out I am very glad to be finishing in Burgundy, partly because I generally love the wines and they are amongst my favourite in Europe, but also as Burgundy is such a diverse and often complicated region that I was glad to have had all the previous experience before visiting. Having already visited the Chablis and the Cote d’Or on my previous trip in 2010 there was very little that surprised me in these regions and it was more a question of familiarising myself further. South of the Cote de Beaune on the other hand was a different story, as not only did I know very little about these appelations but I had had almost no tasting experience with them. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to secure any appointments either in the Cote Challonaise or the Cote Maconnaise and had to be content with driving through parts of the area to see the type of landscape it is. One of the more famous appelations in the Cote Maconnaise is the village of Chardonnay, not because of the quality of the wines but because it is supposedly the birthplace of possibly my favourite white grape variety. Technically still part of Macon but a different appelation to the south is the famous Beaujolais which totally took me by surprise, and I was pretty happy to finish somewhere that did. The king of varieties here is gamay, and there are no other parts of the world that grow it in the quantity or quality they do here. There is a separate appelation for Beaujolais Blanc wines which are 100% chardonnay, but really it’s the gamay that makes this region what it is.

A cold day in Beaujolais

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Winery Visits

Domaine du Vissoux – 13/12/2012

Beaujolais Blanc 2011
Nice bright fresh citrus and floral, crisp fruitiness, a little minerality but just nice and clean. Zingy zesty fresh not overly fruity or fat, extremely focused and fresh, clean mineralic acidity, lovely balance and extension on the palate, very complete, but clean and light. Great balance and harmony.

Les Griottes Beaujolais 2012
Lovely and bright and fresh, clean and straight, good acids but nice and short and fresh. Light and a little spicy with good fruit concentration. Cassis and myrtle.

Vielles Vigne 2011
A little stinky at first but blowing off and opening up, spicy and dark, good deep earth characters. Bright intense on the mid-palate, very fresh and great acidity, nice and savoury too, great concentration.

Les Griottes 2011
More closed and fresh, light and clean, more simple less concentrated fruit nose. Light fresh balanced good red fruits, a little earthy. A much more simple vintage, prefer the 2010 and 2012.

Cuvee Traditionelle 2011
Slightly closed and a bit reductive now, needs a little bit longer in the bottle to settle down, soft and subtle, nice dark fruits. Supple tannins with plenty of freshness and liveliness. More on the mid-palate with a little more extension. Integrated spice.

Couer de la Vendage 2011
The vintage isn’t expressing the different terroirs and styles well, bright intense, more tannins on the front but clean finish, very light but very tight, needs more time to open and express more. Very intense and quite concentrated.

Brouilly 2011
Deep dark spicy fruits with some dark salted chocolate and bramble. Soft and fuller, richer and heavier on the palate, intense full expressive tannins, tight and balanced, nice extension with potential for ageing. Lengthy tannins and tighter structure all around.

Fleurie Pensierre 2011
More whole bunch stalk maceration character, dark woody but crisp and intense. Soft and velvety, longer on the palate, fresh bright and light, nice dark red fruit characters, clean and appealing. Lovely and savoury spice.

Fleurie Les Garants 2011
Softer and fuller structure, more fruit less spice and savoury tannin. Round and long.

Moulin-a-Vent 2011
Dark full and round, denser and heavier in structure and darker in fruit, well managed maceration. For those liking fuller wines.

Moulin-a-Vent la Rochelle 2010
Really concentrated and spicy very floral as well, violets and dark marmalade. Deep intense masculine structured concentrated complex with some cassis sweetness on the back.

Extra Brut Cremant de Bourgogne
Crisp mineralic nose, nice lime and lemon aromas, a little autolysis but very fresh and light. Some spice and herb notes, quite complex and interesting, leesy and a little cheesy too. Some soy notes for complexity.

Domaine du Vissoux

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes

Paul Janin & Fils – 13/12/2012

Beaujolais Village 2011
Bright and spicy, dark red fruits, stalky, woody but not oaky, foresty. Full and soft, some structure and sweet tannins, some creaminess in the texture, round but still very fresh and not too full in fruit, good acid giving some brightness.

Moulin a Vent 2011
Darker fruit, earthier intensity, deeper more mature spice. Riper and fuller extension on the palate, still very light and fresh but deeper and longer. Still nice soft full tannins, certainly more savoury characters. Dark and stormy.

Clos du Tremblay Moulin a Vent 2011
Quite intense very mature and confident, subtle and aloof, distant almost. Serious fruit and minerality. Dense and very focused, really intense core of dark fruit, fine yet firm tannins, drive and extension with plenty of aging potential, tight and needing time for the more complex characters to develop.

Beaujolais Blanc 2011
Really lovely bright traditional English marmalade with some nice ripe florals. Carries through on the palate with just a little creaminess and some vanilla and lanolin texture.

Paul Janin & Fils

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes

So good they named it twice (Cote de Beaune, France – Day Two)

The famous village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wasn’t always named as such, it was renamed from just Chateauneuf after the Papal regime had all of their best vineyards here back in the 15th century. The association with this important period in history was strong enough to change the name of the village, thereby highlighting the importance of viticulture, and today it is the largest single appelation in France. This isn’t the only village in France that has changed its name to signify the importance of viticulture, some of the most famous are in Burgundy. Within the Cote d’Or, villages that neighboured the best grand cru vineyards began to take the name of the vineyard to lift their profile. Gevrey became Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle became Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne became Vosne-Romanee and Aloxe became Aloxe Corton. Arguably the most famous white wines in the world come from the Montrachet Grand Cru vineyards which are between the villages of Puligny and Chassagne, and thus they both took the name of the vineyard and became Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet respectively. In a way this is like a seal of approval or a sponsorship, but in the same way that a sponsorship from Pepsi doesn’t guarantee that The Spice Girls are good, just because the fruit comes from a classified vineyard it doesn’t mean it will be the same style or the same quality. This is one of the problems with the appelation classification system, is that it is merely for a place and not for the human influence, and two wines from the same vineyard but a different producer can be very different. As I always say, trust the producer first and the rest will follow.

Barrels and bottles

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Winery Visits

A Beaune to pick (Cote de Beaune, France – Day One)

Something that amazed me when I first came to Burgundy back in 2010 was how small the region was compared to how important it was, particularly in comparison to Bordeaux which is as big as it is important. The Cote d’Or stretches for about 40 kilometres from North-East to South-West, and is as narrow as 500 metres wide in such places as Premeaux-Prissey. The amount of wine that is produced can’t be that much considering the yields of only a few tonnes per hectare, and yet you can find Burgundy all around the world. Despite the relatively small size of the region there are a lot of differences between each part, particularly between the Cote des Nuits and the Cote de Beaune. The Cote de Beaunes starts in Aloxe-Corton, stretches north of the town of Beaune (the heart of the Cote d’Or) and continues past it all the way to just past Chassagne-Montrachet. I was always confused by the claim that the red wines of the Cote des Nuits were more feminine than their counterparts further south, whereas I (and several of my fellow students at university) felt the opposite was true. Pinot noir from the Cote de Beaune is first and foremost lighter, more pure and fresh, shows the minerality better and most importantly is more approachable sooner. I much prefer the red wines of the Cote de Beaune for all of these reasons, but it is also the chardonnay wines that distinguish this part of Burgundy as supreme, with the Montrachet Grand Cru parcels producing arguably the best white wines in the world. I was thrilled to visit three producers today that all exemplify the style of the Cote des Beaune yet have their own unique expression of it.

Ma Cuisine, one of the best dining experiences of my trip

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Winery Visits

Domaine Bruno Colin – 11/12/2012

Chassagne-Montrachet 2011
Brisk very bright and crisp, sharp biting citrus notes. Quite creamy in texture actually, very gentle and supple, quite sexy, supple, lovely and round and approachable, wonderfully appealing style with just a little cheekiness.

Charmois Saint Aubin Premier Cru 2011
Moving into a melon area, a little rich and creamy on the nose. Soft gentle supple and subtle, some creamy sweet texture, a little nut characteristic, round and opulent but not heavy or fat. Quite rich and ripe though, good acidity but perhaps lacking in precision.

Les Chaumees Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2010
Smoky toasty ripe peach lemon, creamy richness, very intense and fine. Generous and rich again, nice and ripe, white peach moving into some pineapple and lime, very supple and generous, a hands off approach but not the same crispness and high acids as previous producers. Texture good.

Les Maltroie Chassagne-Montrachet Premier 2010
Bolder concentration, very heavy mineralics and florals, ripe dense stone fruit, full expression. Generous again, subdued, lacking a little intensity and character, the wines are on the simple side for now, they may improve with age. I’d like to see some funky things being done on the wines. Perhaps fining them or fermenting in tank is not the way to go, too modern?

Les Maltroie Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2008
Honey lemon floral mineral, a little waxy, a little cheesy. Very bright and fresh, nice intensity, some zing and bite to it, much better expression, high acids and freshness, appears younger and more exuberant than the 2010 somehow.

Chassagne-Montrachet Vielles Vignes 2010
Dark intense fruits, black olives, a little spice and brambley characters. Dark and extractive on the palate, full robust and not-subtle tannins, quite biting and a little aggressive, thankfully not heavy or too long. But a bit of a work-out. Right decision to move towards stainless steel tanks.

Domaine Bruno Colin

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes

Domaine Blain-Gagnard – 11/12/2012

Chassagne-Montrachet 2011
Bright crisp fresh citrus, quite flinty mineralic and zingy, some burnt toast. Dense and compact, good level of ripeness adding some weight and structure, not too tense or aggressive, supportive acids. Approachable but with lots of character.

Clos St Jean Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
Quite aromatic but not too exuberant, friendly but elegant and fine, nice minerality, fresh and forward. Quite light and fresh, very precise and direct, a little but more density and structure, more length as well. Complex but tight for now, needs another year in the bottle. Balanced with good personality.

Boudriotte Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
Denser darker mineralic quality, black limestone granite, less fruit and less floral. Extremely tight and closed, much longer and more complex on the palate, heavy mineral qualities, density and structure, compact but still very elegant and well balanced.

Morgeot Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
More aromatic, richer and denser nose, floral ripe stone fruit characters, very intense and flinty. Deeper and richer, very round and certainly a much more contemplative wine. Opulent and rich without being fat and heavy, some creamy texture but still retaining freshness acidity and minerality on the palate.

Caillerets Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
Intense flinty seashell citrus floral notes, bright and fresh yet concentrated and full. Soft and generous, forgiving but firm, quite dense in structure, round and rich but focused, great purity and longevity, Approachable but deserving of cellaring, sits in the perfect spot, wonderfully balanced.

Criots Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2011
Quite complex and intense, very deep and brooding, still quite charming with floral and nice ripe stone fruit characters, but showing very assured minerality. Astonishingly subtle, deep complexity, exceptional length, expressive but elegant, some freshness but much more serious, and more deserving of cellaring.

Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2011
Not as expressive and open, certainly not in a floral vein, brooding and complex, quite stoic in fact. Just a hint of salty caramel and some green elements. More subtle and complex but without the same structure, less intensity of minerals, fresh but very quiet and lacking a little character. All on the mid- and back-palate.

Le Montrachet Grand Cru 2011
Very seductive but also very mysterious, lots going on all in harmony so nothing really stands out, there are some interesting lanolin characters though. Intense balanced broad yet focused, the best length of all. Really not expressing much at all, extremely mysterious and slightly confusing wine. Amazing though, needs time.

2011 Chassagne Montrachet
Lovely bright red fruits some spice and a little earthy. Wonderful purity and minerality, freshness and acidity but all about the red fruits, soft fresh tannins.

2011 Clos St Jean Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru
Bright fresh red fruits on the nose but also a little smoky and stalky, on the brown characters, Soft round opulent and silky tannins.

2011 Morgeot Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru
Slightly darker in colour but still very light and pure. A little more savoury and ripe vegetal characters. Fresh but more intense and rustic, density and better for aging, more masculine and robust. Expressive but the tannins are pretty strong now, the fruit isn’t expressing very much.

2011 Pitures Volnay Premier Cru
Bright fresh and intense, red fruits with a little but of blood orange as well. Dense and a little tannic, perhaps needs a little more ripeness in the fruit, certainly more time in bottle. On the rustic side, certainly long.

2011 Champaux Volnay Premier Cru
Much darker fruits; blackcurrant black berry blueberry, black olives on the nose as well. Better structure fuller and rounder, soft but firm tannins, much better balance and expression.

2011 Pommard
Nice fresh bright clean expression of the dark fruits and earthy masculinity rusticity of the appelation. Nice and soft and generous which has a lot to do with the vintage.

Domaine Blain-Gagnard

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes

Marc Morey – 10/12/2012

Bourgogne Aligote 2011
very tight fresh green citrus, a little citric tropical notes too. Nice and full flavoured, very fresh with good acidity, friendly and balanced, nothing wrong with it at all, just a good dry young drinking white wine with some texture and length.

Saint Aubin Charmois Premier Cru 2011
Classic chardonnay, bright rich ripe citrus and peach, good minerality on the nose. Dense and ripe, taken to good point of ripeness, perhaps some skin contact or perhaps the lees contact, richness depth and length, ripe and full on the palate, some length but not super long.

Chassagne 2011
A little richer and soapier on the nose, more minerality coming through, a little leesy but very mineralic. Wonderful purity and density, good depth and extension, long and straight but in a few will open out a little.

Les Chenvottes Chassagne Premier Cru 2010
Much more complexity on the nose, showing the seashell characters, some sweet smoky notes, a little toasty brioche. Very rich creamy but not fat, quite delicate with great finesse, nice ripeness and lines, round on the palate, plenty more time to develop. Good density and intensity of minerals.

En Virondot Chassagne Premer Cur 2009
Very open mineral nose, crush sea shell elements, a little rubbery, perhaps closed. Very delicate ripe tropical notes. Volume and weight but already shifting backwards on the palate, more alcohol and viscosity, but well handled, good balance and freshness, nice integrated oak and plenty of acidity.

Les Vergers Chassagne Premier Cru 2008
Very intense, already ageing very well, concentrated tight vintage, fruit characters fleshing and opening out a lot. Picking up some developed richness from some age, round rich and creamy, developed fruit and minerality, showing even some sweet caramel notes. Full but soft texture, very long and complex.

En Virondot Chassagne Premier Cru 2008
Very intense, very quiet, very complex. Extremely complete chardonnay. Simply stunning. Nothing more to say.

Morgeot Chassagne Premer Cru 2006
Dark and deep, black fruits and black olives. Very young for its age. Quite full and intense but not heavy at all, nice and fresh and precise, good purity and finesse, ripe and intense yes but not at the sacrifice of elegance and approachability. Sitting in a nice place.

Domaine Marc Morey

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes

Ballot-Millot – 10/12/2012

2011 Meursault
Surprising amount of minerality, a little green, a little flint. Nice and straight, good texture, nice mouth feel, good savoury components, not too rich or fat or heavy, ot creamy quite crunchy, not what I imagined Meursault to be.

2011 Les Criots Meursault
Toastier and more intense burnt minerals, almost magma-like, deeper and broader also richer in texture, but still not heavy fat or too creamy, not over ripe, plenty of good savoury flavours and textures. Deserving of cellaring.

2011 Narveaux Meursault
Softer and quieter, more complex, less vibrancy, needs more time. Fine straight, a little creaminess, quite closed for the moment, needs a little more time.

2011 Meursault Charmes Premier Cru
Denser riper yellow floral and citrus notes, very intense scratchy minerality, Rich rolling ripeness, tall on the palate, straight and focused but lifted and dense at the same time. Nice balance and extension, a little citrus pith note.

2011 Meusault Genevrieres
Volumous bold and rich, very intense smoky flinty minerality. Very rich ripe and complex, broad but also focused, very gentle texture, creamy but not fat or sweet, round and rolling, still bright with some floral notes.

2011 Meursault Perriere
Green vegetal smoky minerality, tight linear citrus lime notes. Denser and a little too tight on the front, a biting acidity almost tart, perhaps too much tartaric acidity. Definitely needing more time.

2011 Chassagne Morgeot
Closed but complex, very shy and unassuming, Soft and light but really building on the palate, like a coiled spring waiting to explode, very intense and serious, wonderfully rich and mineralic but needing time.

Volnay Santenots 2010 Premier Cru
Nice tight bright classic Cote de Beaune nose, red cherry with some stalky elements as well. Fresh pure but inense, good ripe red fruits, approachable and balanced with finesse elegance and mouth filling soft tannins. Couldn’t ask for more.

Volnay Taille-pieds 2010 Premier Cru
Soft quiet delicate nose, long and elegant, some brightness but not the same intensity. Perfect silky tannins, very elegant and long, still fresh and bright, a touch of warmth on the end. Soft and haunting.

Pommard Charmots Premier Cru 2010
Light and fruity, quite candied and fresh, very bright but also soft. Soft silky ripe round, nice dark red sweet fruits, very delicate with some nice supporting minerality and savoury texture.

Pommard Pezerolles Premier Cru 2010
Darker fuller and more roust with floral notes. Richer and fuller, a little bit heavier and denser but still amazingly delicate and rich compared to other appelations and producers. Wonderful purity and depth, round and long with silky tannins. I do love silky tannins.

Domaine Ballot-Millot

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes