Liberty Wines Burgundy Tasting - 11 January 2017
Liberty Wines hosted 15 producers for a fabulous Burgundy Tasting. The event was held at Dartmouth House, a stunningly beautiful Georgian house in Mayfair, which also acts as HQ to the English-Speaking Union.
This was one of the first opportunities to taste the 2015 vintage which is reputed to be one of the very best of recent years and comparisons are already being made to the outstanding vintage of 2005.
Following a mild winter in 2014, a frost-free spring enabled early flowering to proceed without a hitch. Abundant sunshine followed throughout the summer and temperatures hit over 40C for a number of days in June. In early July, the Côte de Beaune received some welcome rain and temperatures finally dropped in August which brought with it cloudier and wetter weather bringing relief to the vines. This was followed by a beautiful September during which all grapes were picked. Berries were small and concentrated resulting in lower yields but most producers have managed to retain good levels of acidity.
With such an array of talent on show, it was extremely difficult to select my favourites. Below I have profiled some of the most outstanding producers and their wines which I had the pleasure of tasting.
Domaine Chevalier was established in 1850 by Emile Dubois. It is located in Ladoix in the north of the Côte de Beaune and covers approximately 15 hectares of chalky-clay soils. The Domaine is now run by grandson, Claude Chevalier, and his daughters, Julie and Chloé. Their white wines tend to be very fruit forward with well integrated oak and fresh acidity.
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2015: Simply stunning; a stylish white Burgundy with excellent fruit concentration and a long finish.
Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru ‘Les Valozières’ 2015: An extremely elegant and fruity Pinot Noir with excellent potential to develop.
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2014: Another beautiful wine packed full of ripe citrus and stone fruit, good levels of acidity and a very long finish.
Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru ‘Les Valozières’ 2014: Bright red cherries, silky tannins and a hint of smoke, this wine is pure, rich and intense.
Domaine Borgeot was established in 1903 and is now run by 4th generation brothers, Laurent and Pascal. They own 23 hectares of ‘la lutte raisonnee’ vineyards across the four communes of Bouzeron, Santenay, Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet in the Côte de Beaune. ‘La lutte raisonnée’ translates to 'the reasoned struggle'; this style of viticulture is very respectful to the land, uses less chemicals and only organic fertilisers. Their red wines undergo a long maceration period before fermentation which gives them added depth and minerality and all wines are aged in oak, of which 25% is new.
Puligny-Montrachet ‘Les Grands Champs’ 2015: An elegant wine displaying aromas and flavours of vanilla, oak, peaches and cream, apricots and pineapple.
Puligny-Montrachet ‘Les Grands Champs’ 2012: Amazingly aromatic nose, fantastic depth of flavour and still developing. Ripe citrus, stone fruit and heaps of tropical fruit – fabulous!
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Clos St. Jean’ 2012: Pronounced minerality, lively acidity and just a hint of cream, this wine is fresh, floral and has a good length.
Located in Nuits-St.-Georges, Jean-Claude Boisset and his wife founded the business in 1961. It is now run out of a former convent by their children, Jean-Charles and Nathalie. Winemaker, Grégory Patriat, creates wines from some of the most prestigious plots in Burgundy with minimal human intervention. He uses native yeasts and never more than 30% new oak to produce concentrated wines which reflect the local terroir.
Pommard 2015: Pure fruit, great structure and a good body, this perfumed beauty has excellent ageing potential.
Gevrey-Chambertin 2015: Lavish and velvety, zesty acidity, black cherry, blackcurrant and a hint of spice, this elegant wine has a long lingering finish.
Chambolle 1er Cru ‘Les Charmes’ 2015: Silky and concentrated, ripe black fruit with a hint of toast, this wine has heaps of potential for development.
David Moret is a micro-négociant from Beaune who first purchased barrels in the late 1990’s and established Moret-Nomine in 2000. Having graduated with a degree in winemaking, he buys small parcels of grapes from some of the best known domaines in Burgundy which he ferments in his own small cellars using indigenous yeasts. His wines are rested in oak before bottling, and bottled without fining or filtration.
Rully 2015: This excellent white Burgundy balances acidity and richness perfectly and has aromas and flavours of ripe citrus, stone fruit and tropical fruit.
Puligny-Montrachet 2015: Fine, elegant and stylish, this wine has good minerality and pure fruit.
Meursault 1er Cru ‘Les Charmes’ 2014: Incredibly aromatic and bursting with flavour, this fabulous Meursault has elegance, grace, an excellent concentration of fruit, well-integrated oak and a long finish.
Meursault 1er Cru ‘Les Perrières’ 2014: Fresh, with racy acidity and good depth of flavour, this wine is complex and has great development potential.
Located in Volnay, just 5km south of Beaune, this domaine is run by 6th generation, Guillaume Glantenay. He owns around 9 hectares of vineyards across the five communes of Volnay, Pommard, Monthélie, Meursault and Chambolle-Musigny. With the focus firmly on elegance and purity of fruit, Guillaume uses 15-20% whole bunch pressing to add perfume and lightly toasted oak to support the wines.
Pommard 2014: Attractively perfumed with ripe soft tannins, this wine has good length and well integrated oak.
Chambolle-Musigny 2014: Superb wine with fresh acidity, a good concentration of fruit and excellent potential to age.
Volnay 1er Cru ‘Les Santenots’ 2014: Elegant, perfumed and packed full of black cherries, blackberries and raspberries, this wine has ripe soft tannins and a touch of finesse.
Domaine Claude Dugat
Domaine Claude Dugat was founded in 1955 and is located in Gevrey-Chambertin. Covering an area of 6 hectares, this family owned domaine is run by Claude, his wife, Marie-Thérèse, and his three children, Laetitia, Bertrand, and Jeanne. The governing principle is the protection and preservation of the terroir and they farm some of the region’s oldest vines which provide low yields but excellent concentration of fruit. Only natural fertilizers are used and all grapes are harvested by hand. Grapes are de-stemmed, pressed and fermented in concrete using native yeasts. They are then rested for a minimum of 12 months in Burgundian barrels before being bottled without fining or filtration.
Gevrey-Chambertin 2014: Perfumed, with silky tannins, this elegant wine is bursting with violets and ripe blackberries.
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru 2014: Powerful yet elegant, this vibrant wine has racy acidity, a fabulous concentration of black fruit and a long lingering finish.
In summary, many of the 2015 wines are already displaying excellent typicity, good levels of acidity, pure fruit and the potential to develop. Whilst some of their older counterparts are showing increased development and in some cases, greater depth of flavour and complexity, I firmly believe that 2015 is a vintage to watch.
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