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My Favorite Burgundies

My Favorite Burgundies

Clive Coates
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 510
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  • Book Info
    My Favorite Burgundies
    Book Description:

    In this book, Clive Coates, a Master of Wine who has spent four decades of his distinguished career in Burgundy, shares his vast insider's knowledge of one of the world's most exciting, complex, and intractable wine regions. Personal rather than encyclopedic, and informed by Coates's unparalleled access to regular, extensive tastings, this book imparts the author's philosophy and expertise as to how best approach, appreciate, and discuss the wines of Burgundy. Coates updates and supplements the domaine profiles featured in his two previous books,Côte D'OrandThe Wines of Burgundywith new in-depth assessments of specific vineyards. Divided into three sections-Vineyard Profiles, Domaine Profiles, and Vintage Assessments-My Favorite Burgundiesconsiders the leading vineyards and today's top estates, and features detailed maps and a wealth of tasting notes that reflect how the wine develops as it ages. Enlivened by Coates's singular, firsthand knowledge and precise descriptions, this is an indispensable guide for amateur and professional enophiles alike.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95660-5
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)

    • Puligny-Montrachet, Les Folatières, 2006
      (pp. 3-7)

      LES, OR EZ FOLATIÈRES, is Puligny’s largest first growth, at 17.65 hectares. It lies on the same altitude as Les Caillerets, Chevalier-Montrachet, and Le Montrachet itself, but to the north, between 250 and 300 metres above sea level. It includes thelieux-ditsof En La Richarde, a recent addition, Peux Bois, and Au Chaniot—all of which are at the southern end.

      While many would argue that Caillerets is possibly the best of the Pulignypremiers crus, Folatières is certainly among the very best. Those further upslope—Le Garenne, La Truffière, Les Champs Gain, and others—are lighter and less...

    • Chassagne-Montrachet, Les Caillerets, 2007
      (pp. 8-11)

      APART FROM MORGEOT, a name which can be given to anypremier cruvineyard downslope from the little road which connects Chassagne and Santenay, and to all the land immediately upslope from Fairendes, close to the village, to Clos Pitois on the Santenay border—a surface area of 52 hectares—and apart from the mainly red wine vineyard of Clos-Saint-Jean, Les Caillerets is Chassagne’s largestpremier cru. It is also widely recognised as the best.

      Theclimat—which includes the subdivisions of En Cailleret, Chassagne, Vigne Derrière, and Les Combards—covers 10.68 hectares and lies at an altitude of between...

    • Meursault, Les Genevrières, 2008
      (pp. 12-15)

      GENEVRIÈRES is the second largest of the Meursaultpremiers crus, and, with Charmes and Perrières, one of the “big three.” It lies on two levels on either side of the Route desGrands Crus; the upper part, thedessus, being on the same latitude as the Perrières, and on the slope; while lower down, next to the upper part of Les Charmes, and on flatter land, is the Genevrièresdessous.

      Between Perrières and Genevrièresdessusis a minor road which reaches up towards the unofficialdeuxièmes crusof Narvaux, Tillets, and so on, which lie above the first growths, and...

    • Volnay, Les Santenots, 2005
      (pp. 16-19)

      SANTENOTS IS AN ANOMALY. It lies within the commune of Meursault, but with some minute exceptions, Pinot Noir rather than Chardonnay is grown here. Of course it is on the north side of Meursault, adjacent to Volnay Les Cailleretes—the authorities have for years allowed the wine to be called Volnay. And no one would disagree for a minute that the red grape produces by far the more interesting wine.

      The vineyard has probably always been planted in Pinot Noir. We have evidence from Thomas Jefferson that red wines made twice the price of whites in this part of the...

    • Nuits-Saint-Georges, Les Saint-Georges, THE 2005 AND 2006 VINTAGES
      (pp. 20-24)

      DOWN AT THE BOTTOM of the middle section of Nuits-Saint-Georges, underneath Les Vaucrains and Les Chaines-Carteaux, and between Les Cailles and Les Didiers, lies the 7.52 hectare vineyard of Les Saint-Georges, widely considered, not only by the town itself, which has adopted the name as its suffix, to be Nuits’ bestclimat.

      It could also be Nuits’ oldest. The Abbé Courtepée, writing before the French Revolution, stated that it was already planted with vines in the year AD 1000. In 1023 the land was given by Humbert, archdeacon of Autun, to the Chapitre of Saint-Denis, whose base was up in...

    • Vosne-Romanée, Les Premiers Crus
      (pp. 25-36)

      NOWHERE IS WINE more noble than in Vosne-Romanée. Between the Nuits-Saint-Georgespremier cruof Boudots to the south and the walls of the Clos de Vougeot at the northern end lie the 240 hectares of Vosne-Romanée vineyard: the most valuable piece of vinous real estate in the world.

      Fifty-eight hectares of this ispremier cru, and there are twelve of these; six of them lie just above thegrands crus; the other six on the same altitude or a little further down the slope. Theclimatsare listed, as was the tasting whose notes are below, roughly in south-north order....

    • Romanée-Saint-Vivant
      (pp. 37-40)

      THE ROMANÉE-SAINT-VIVANT owners are as follows: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (5.29 hectares); Leroy (0.99 ha); Domaine de Corton-Grancey (Louis Latour) (0.76 ha); Jean-Jacques Confuron (0.50 ha); Christophe and France Poisot, wine made by by Franck Follin-Arbelet (0.49 ha); Hudelot-Noëllat (0.48 ha); Robert Arnoux (now Arnoux-Lachaux) (0.35 ha); Domaine de L’Arlot (0.25 ha); Wilfred Jaeger, leased to the Domaine Dujac (0.17 ha); and Sylvain Cathiard (0.17 ha). In total, the surface area is 9.44 hectares.

      There have been two major changes in recent years. What is now exploited by the Domaine Dujac belonged until 2005 to the Domaine Charles Thomas. The...

    • Richebourg
      (pp. 41-45)

      THE OWNERS of Richebourg are as follows: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (3.51 hectares); Leroy (0.78 ha); Gros Frère et Soeur (0.69 ha); A. F. Gros (0.60 ha); Anne Gros (0.60 ha); Thibault Ligier-Belair (0.52 ha)—this was leased out on a sharecropping basis to Denis Mugneret until the 2001 vintage; Méo-Camuzet (0.35 ha); Grivot (0.32 ha); Mongeard-Mugneret (0.31 ha); Alain Hudelot-Noëllat (0.28 ha); and the Clos Frantin (Albert Bichot) (0.07 ha). In total, the surface area is 8.03 hectares.

      There have been a number of changes in recent years. The Leroy vines were acquired from Charles Noëllat in 1988. This...

    • Echézeaux and Grands-Echézeaux
      (pp. 46-52)

      ECHÉZEAUX LINES UP after Corton and Clos de Vougeot as the third largest red winegrand cruin Burgundy. There are nearly 38 hectares (ha): production can be as much as 1,200 hectolitres (158,000 bottles).

      The principal proprietors are as follows (I have asterisked the best): *Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (4.67 ha); Mongeard-Mugneret (3.80 ha) (some leased off); *Gros Frère et Soeur (2.11 ha); *Emmanuel Rouget (1.43 ha) (exploiting the land of Georges, Henri, and Lucien Jayer); *Lamarche (1.32 ha); *Mugneret-Gibourg (1.24 ha); *Domaine de Perdrix (1.15 ha); *Domaine du Clos Frantin (1.00 ha); *Jean-Marc Millot (0.87 ha); *Joseph Faiveley...

    • Clos de Vougeot, 2005
      (pp. 53-58)

      BURGUNDY IS LIGHT ON IMAGES, while in Bordeaux, most of thechâteaufacades are known to wine-lovers all over the world, for the images are depicted on the labels on the bottles. Burgundy has only two immediately recognizable to outsiders: the interior courtyard of the Hospices in Beaune and the Château of the Clos de Vougeot.

      Like much of Burgundy, the origins of the Clos de Vougeot are ecclesiastical. In 1098, Robert, Abbot of the Clunaic Benedictine abbey of Molesmes, near Langres, north of Dijon, decided to form a new order. He felt strongly that the original virtues of poverty,...

    • Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses, 2005
      (pp. 59-62)

      TOGETHER WITH Gevrey-Chambertin’s Clos-Saint-Jacques, Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses is the primepremier crucandidate for promotion togrand cru. This is already widely acknowledged. You only have to look at the prices. Frédérick Mugnier demanded 250 euros for his 2009, the same price as for his Bonnes-Mares, while hispremier cruFuées, a top-drawer site, was a mere 120 euros.

      The vineyard measures 5.12 hectares and is divided between fourteen different proprietors. Apart from an anomalous bump above the vineyard road, which lies at the northen end and on the same level as the bottom of Le Musigny, the land is...

    • Bonnes-Mares
      (pp. 63-69)

      THE PRINCIPAL PRODUCERS of Bonnes-Mares are as follows: De Vogüé, 2.70 hectares (ha); Drouhin Laroze, 1.49 ha; Georges Roumier, 1.39 ha; Bart, 1.03 ha; Robert Groffier, 0.97 ha; Fougeray de Beauclair, 0.92 ha (this will revert back to Bruno Clair in 2016); Vougeraie, 0.70 ha; Bruno Clair, 0.63 ha; Dujac, 0.59 ha; Naigeon, 0.50 ha; Peraizeau, 0.39 ha; J. F. Mugnier, 0.34 ha; Newman, 0.33 ha; Georges Lignier, 0.29 ha; Hervé Roumier, 0.29 ha; Louis Jadot, 0.27 ha; Auvenay, 0.26 ha; Bouchard Père et Fils, 0.24 ha; Joseph Drouhin, 0.23 ha; Arlaud, 0.20 ha; Hudelot-Baillet, 0.13 ha; and Charlopin-Parizot, 0.12...

    • Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos-Saint-Jacques, 2005, 2002, and 1999
      (pp. 70-74)

      TOGETHER WITH Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses, Gevrey-Chambertin’s Clos-Saint-Jacques is the prime candidate for promotion frompremier cru to grand cru. Anyone who has any—and there are five who share the 6.72 hectares—considers the wine superior to anything else in the village save Chambertin and Clos de Bèze and prices it accordingly.ChezRousseau you will be given it to taste after the Charmes, Mazis, and Ruchottes (remember that one always tastes in ascending order of quality), and the wine will be given a little more new wood, as its constitution can take it. All in all, the wine of...


    • Hospices de Beaune BEAUNE
      (pp. 77-80)

      ROLAND MASSE—genial, tubby, balding, of medium height, and in his mid-fifties—has ruled over the wine side of the Hospices de Beaune since the 2000 vintage. Prior to this, he spent eighteen years at the Domaine Bertagna in Vougeot.

      The Hospices de Beaune wine setup is, as he will willingly concede, an anomaly. The vines are tended by one group of people; the wine is made by the Hospice’s own team; but then, following the famous auction on the third Sunday of November, directly after the harvest, the barrels are collected by a third party and matured until bottling...

    • Domaine Marquis d’Angerville VOLNAY
      (pp. 81-86)

      VOLNAY, AS EVERY COMMENTARY on the wines of Burgundy will tell you, produces the most fragrant, elegant, intense, and delicate wines of the whole of the Côte. It is harder, I would suggest, for a winemaker to get their Volnay completely right than, say, the Pommard in the vat next door. The precision has to be even more exact. Yet, paradoxically, there are more top growers in this commune than there are in its red wine neighbours to the north. Among the very, very best is the Domaine Marquis d’Angerville.

      It was in 1805, the year of the Battle of...

    • Domaine Denis Bachelet GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN
      (pp. 87-90)

      “I DIDN’T START OFF at a very good time,” says Denis Bachelet, a slight, somewhat shy, and diffident man in his late forties. “My first vintage was 1983, when there was a good deal of rot. Then there was 1984: a year of rain, low temperatures, and and absence of sun. And then 1985. A very cold winter. As a result of the frost, I made only half my normal crop.”

      I first visited Denis in the autumn of 1986 to sample these 1985s. He had produced twenty barrels of wine. (He made fifty in 1986.) He had vinified all...

    • Domaine Bonneau du Martray PERNAND-VERGELESSES
      (pp. 91-97)

      IN TOTAL, THERE ARE some 160.19 hectares ofgrand cruland on the slopes of Corton hill. Split up between the three villages, this represents 22.43 hectares in Ladoix, 120.51 in Aloxe-Corton, and 17.26 in Pernand-Vergelesses. Out of the 160.19 hectares, 71.88canproduce Corton-Charlemagne: this includes all the Pernand land, 48.57 hectares in Aloxe-Corton, and 6.05 hectares in Ladoix. I saycan. The growers have the option in the Corton-Charlemagne appellation to plant either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. And to complicate matters further, they also have the right—though few exercise it—to plant Chardonnay elsewhere on the hill,...

    • Domaine Sylvain Cathiard VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 98-100)

      I FIRST VISITED Sylvain Cathiard to taste his 1992 vintage. I had already been to sample the 1990 vintage next door two years earlier in his father’s cellar—the wines were labled André Cathiard-Molinier—but I had not been very impressed. Much had already been passed down the line. And I didn’t take to the man. “Un homme dur” (a hard man), as his son puts it.

      But in the autumn of 1993, I had much liked what I sawchezSylvain. The cellar was spotless—always a good sign—and the wines were pure and intense, and though Sylvain...

    • Domaine Bruno Clair MARSANNAY
      (pp. 101-105)

      THE SENIOR ESTATE in Marsannay is that of Bruno Clair. Bruno’s domaine is the successor and inheritor of the bulk of what was the Domaine Clair-Daü, split up in the mid-1980s. But even before this split, Bruno had set up on his own, mainly by taking on vines in Marsannay itself, replanting land in that commune which had been neglected, and pioneering similar plots in Morey-Saint-Denis and elsewhere. To this, we must add some one-hundred-year-old vines in Savigny-Lès-Beaune, Les Dominodes, passed on by his father. In all, in 1985, a total of 6 hectares, built up between 1979 and 1985....

    • Domaine Dujac MOREY-SAINT-DENIS
      (pp. 106-110)

      UNLIKE MOST Burgundian estates, whether they have been bottling for a number of decades or only embarked on this path recently, the Domaine Dujac is a recent creation. It dates from 1968. Jacques Seysses, the founder, is in his early seventies and has now taken a back seat in favour of his sons Jeremy and Alec and Jeremy’s wife, Diana, a trained wine chemist (oenologue). They have been working as a trio now for a few vintages. Have things changed? Should we expect more radical differences in the wines to come compared with the Dujacs of old? I went up...

    • Domaine Fourrier GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN
      (pp. 111-113)

      SOME FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, when I was composing my bookCôte d’Or, I commented on the Fourrier domaine. Jean-Marie Fourrier had recently taken over from his father, Jean-Claude. Changes for the better were in progress. I said, in effect, that this was a domaine to watch. A decade further on, inThe Wines of Burgundy, I gave the domaine two stars: “There are brilliant wines here.” Recent visits, culminating with a vertical tasting of hispremier cruChampeaux, and a comparative tasting of the five Clos-Saint-Jacques, has clearly shown that this accolade is truly merited. The Fourrier estate is one...

    • Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET
      (pp. 114-116)

      THE COMMUNE of Chassagne-Montrachet contains some 380 hectares of vineyard (I’m excluding the generic wine) of which 160 hectares or so arepremier cruand10 grand cru. This is much larger than Puligny, though not as extensive as Meursault. Moreover, in Chassagne, as opposed to Puligny, there is a greater proportion of important self-sufficient wine estates and most of these produce very good wine. One of those with the highest reputation is that of Jean-Noël Gagnard. The wines have been very good for a long time. With a recent extension to the winery and the arrival of daughter Caroline...

    • Domaine Grivot VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 117-122)

      I DON’T LIKE half bottles: stupid size. Not nearly enough for one—let alone two. But for some reason, lurking about in the Château Coates cellar, I owned a half of the Domaine Grivot’s Clos de Vougeot 1964. Eventually I opened it at the end of a boozy dinner. My friend said she’d take half a glass up to bed with her. I finished the washing up and relaxed with the rest. It was delicious.

      Etienne Grivot disagrees. He was born in 1959, and it never occurred to him that his role in life was not to follow his father,...

    • Domaine Anne Gros VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 123-126)

      AS WILL BE EXPLAINED more fully in the next chapter, there are four Gros estates in Vosne-Romanée. Confusingly, one is called Domaine Anne Gros and another is Domaine A. F. Gros (A. F. standing for Anne-Francoise). Moreover, in the early years of Anne’s responsibility in the early 1990s, her wine appeared as Anne et Francois Gros, Francois being the name of her father. It pays to pay attention. In earlier articles on the Groses, I have sometimes included a family tree.

      This Anne—our Anne for the purposes of this chapter—was born in 1966, the only child of Francois...

    • Domaine Michel Gros VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 127-131)

      VOSNE-ROMANÉE is a commune rich ingrand cru climatsand a village replete with growers of the highest quality. One of the longest-established of this first division, owners inter alia of the monopoly of an excellentpremier cru, Clos des Réas, and no less than 2 hectares, one-quarter, in the best part of Richebourg, one of the grandestgrands crusof them all, is the Gros family. There are now four separate Gros exploitations: Domaine Michel Gros, Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur, Domaine Anne Gros, and Domaine A. F. Gros.

      The dynasty begins with Alphonse Gros, born in 1804 at...

    • Domaine des Comtes Lafon MEURSAULT
      (pp. 132-137)

      THERE ARE FEW ESTATES in the Côte d’Or—if we exclude the merchant domaines: Bouchard Pere et Fils, Drouhin, Jadot—which are equally successful in Chardonnay as in Pinot Noir. Offhand, I can only think of eight or nine. But one such is the Domaine des Comte Lafon in Meursault. In 2013 the man in charge, Dominique Lafon, turned fifty-five and celebrated his thirtieth vintage. Having been to the local wine schools, and done a vintage in California, he joined his father René in 1981, as junior partner, worked alongside him in 1982, and was in charge from 1983. “Yes,”...

    • Domaine Lamarche VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 138-141)

      THE 11 HECTARE Domaine Lamarche has had its ups and downs—the latter perhaps inevitable during a period where until relatively recently profit was hard to come by—but is now definitely on the up. Progressively since 1990 or so, quality has moved from “good” to “very fine.” In a village replete with overachievers, it is a relief that such an important establishment, and possessor of one of the fourgrand crumonopolies in the commune of Vosne-Romanée, now produces wines as good as they should be.

      The Lamarches begin with Jean-Constant, born in Sombernon in the Hautes Côtes in...

    • Domaine Clos des Lambrays MOREY-SAINT-DENIS
      (pp. 142-146)

      SINCE THE INAUGURATION ofappellation contrôlée(AC) in Burgundy in the 1930s, and the classification of land intogrand cru,premier cru, and so on, there have been frequent minor adjustments to the original legislation, nibbling at the edges in order to redefine the status, usually upwards, of a particular parcel of neighbouring vines. It is easy to see where Clos de Vougeot begins and ends, less so with Clos de la Roche, which has grown in size quite substantially in sixty years. Many othergrands crusandpremiers crushave been expanded and, especially in the Côte Chalonnaise but...

    • Domaine Leroy VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 147-153)

      ALMOST A CENTURY AND A HALF ago, in 1868, François Leroy set himself up as a wine merchant in his native village of Auxey-Duresses, just round the corner from Meursault. The business was expanded by his son Joseph, who took over at about the turn of the century, and further developed by the next generation in the person of Henri, born in 1894, who entered the family affair in 1919. Henri diversified intoeaux de vieand cognac, establishing a model distillery at Ségonzac and as well as fine wine, sold lesser bulk wine to Germany, where it was made...

    • Vicomte de Liger-Belair VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 154-158)

      THE VICOMTE DE LIGER-BELAIR is both ancient and modern: ancient because it was acquired by Louis Liger-Belair, Napoleonic general, in 1815; and modern in that it was relaunched by his successor Vicomte Louis-Michel Liger-Belair in 2000. Since 1827, the diamond in the crown of the estate has been the monopoly of La Romanée, one of the very fewgrand crumonopolies in Burgundy—and the smallest.

      The minusculeclimatof Romanée lies directly above that of La Romanée-Conti and is separated from it by a path. Further upslope is thepremier cruAux Reignots, to the north is Richebourg, to...

    • Domaine Ponsot MOREY-SAINT-DENIS
      (pp. 159-164)

      UP ON THE SLOPES above Clos de la Roche lies a 1 hectare vineyard that produces a wine which is truly unique: apremier cru blancexclusively produced from the Aligoté grape. Elsewhere in Burgundy, only generic wines can be made from the Aligoté, and such is the fashion for Chardonnay that this poor, unfashionable grape variety is increasingly confined to lesser vineyards, the flat lands on the “wrong” side of the main road (which would probably be better suited to potatoes and beets) and hidden corners further up where the microclimate and the aspect are not of the first...

    • Domaine de la Pousse d’Or VOLNAY
      (pp. 165-173)

      LOOK UP FROM THE PLAIN which lies below the village of Volnay, surrounded by its vines in the middle of the Côte de Beaune, and one building sticks out. This is the imposing headquarters of the Domaine de la Pousse d’Or.

      What is now the 17 hectare Domaine de la Pousse d’Or has its nucleus in two domaines which were grouped together in 1964. It was then 13 hectares and the land comprised several of the choicest parcels, all of them of significant area, of these two long-standing estates, whose histories can be traced back into the eighteenth century or...

    • Domaine Ramonet CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET
      (pp. 174-179)

      IT IS THE SPRING of 1978. A small man, seventy-two years of age and very much a peasant, with an old stained pullover, baggy trousers, and the inevitablecasquetteon his head, arrives at a lawyer’s office in Beaune. He is about to buy 25 ares and 90 centiares—enough to make about four and half barrels—of Le Montrachet, the finest white wine vineyard in the world. The vendors are the Milan and Mathey-Blanchet families: gentlepeople. Pierre Ramonet is a man of the soil. Apart from the occasional meal at some of his clients—Lameloise, Alan Chapel, Troisgros, Bocuse...

    • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti VOSNE-ROMANÉE
      (pp. 180-187)

      VOSNE-ROMANÉE is the first of the six great— in the sense that it possessesgrand cru climats—communes of the Côte d’Or as one travels north out of Nuits-Saint-Georges. The village of Vosne is small and tranquil, set a few hundred metres away from the main road, and forms a rectangle, at one end of which lies a modest church and at the other a more imposing town hall. Beyond this rectangle, at the northwest corner of the village, along a little road which abruptly stops at the entrance to the vineyard of Romanée-Saint-Vivant, the traveller will find, not without...

    • Domaine Joseph Roty GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN
      (pp. 188-190)

      JOSEPH ROTY, who died in 2008, was not the easiest person to do business with. Indeed, to do anything with. Both he and the rest of his family:madame, sons Philippe and Pierre-Jean, seem to have an almost paranoiac distrust of outsiders, the local bureaucracy, and other people in general. They do not consort with their neighbours, play no part in Gevrey-Chambertin promotional activities, and are closed to almost all journalists, including myself.

      My breakup with Joseph Roty goes back to 1990 or so. I’d learned that a visitchezRoty required at least an hour and a half. It...

    • Domaine Guy Roulot MEURSAULT
      (pp. 191-195)

      IS IT GETTING HARDER to produce white wines of purity, complexity, and precision? It is not, I would suggest, harder in the sense of not knowing what to do. But perhaps it is more difficult to be able to do it. Sixty years ago it was not unusual to be vintaging in October. Today these harvests, like 2008, are rare. What was uncommon then was to be starting in August or in the first week of September, as in 2011 and 2007. If you compare the 1945–55 decade with the first ten years of this millennium, you will see...

    • Domaine Georges Roumier CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY
      (pp. 196-202)

      FOR CHAMBOLLES with a difference, wines which are substantial, even sturdy, as well as velvety and elegant, the best source is the Roumier domaine: to be precise, because there are two others in the village, the Domaine Georges Roumier. This is one of the longeste-stablished estate-bottling domaines in the Côte d’Or. And one of the very best of all.

      The nucleus of this domaine lies in the dowry of Geneviève Quanquin, who married Georges Roumier in 1924. Georges, who was born in 1898, came from Dun-Les-Places, in the Charollais cattle country near Saulieu. When he arrived in Chambolle, he took...

    • Domaine Armand Rousseau GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN
      (pp. 203-208)

      WHEN IT COMES to Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Burgundy is a minefield. Large portions of both vineyards are owned by underachievers. Though several of these—notably Damoy, Drouhin-Laroze, Jean & Jean-Louis Trapet, and their cousins Rossignol-Trapet—have showed welcome signs of progress in the past decade or so, the wines of many of the rest of the growers in the village need to be approached with caution. You are better off with the holdings of outsiders such as Drouhin, Bouchard Père et Fils, and Louis Jadot, all based in Beaune, Faiveley in Nuits-Saint-Georges, and Bruno Clair in Marsannay, or...

    • Clos de Tart MOREY-SAINT-DENIS
      (pp. 209-214)

      THERE ARE ONLY FIVEgrand crumonopolies in Burgundy. Four in Vosne: La Romanée, La Romanée-Conti, La Grande Rue, and La Tâche; and one in Morey-Saint-Denis: Clos de Tart. Most people would include the adjoining Clos des Lambrays but technically it is not, for a small segment is owned by the Domaine Taupenot-Merme opposite. Clos de Tart, directly above the village, and comprising 7 hectares 53 ares 28 centiares, has belonged since 1932 to the Mommessin family, only the third proprietor of this vineyard since the Middle Ages. It is largely such continuity, plus the inevitable bits of luck along...

    • Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY
      (pp. 215-220)

      DELICATE, FEMININE, and fragrant, the epitome of finesse; lace, silk, and taffeta; violets and dog-roses; raspberries and blackcurrants with a finish of liquorice; amplitude and generosity; intensity without a trace of hardness. All this has been said by those attempting to describe the taste of Musigny. It goes further: an ode by Keats; the oboe solo from the Sixth Symphony of Beethoven; a Fabergé egg. What is it about Musigny which excites the imagination to such realms of fantasy?

      Musigny is indeed an individual and distinctive wine. It is totally dissimilar from the othergrand cruof Chambolle, Bonnes-Mares. But...


    • When to Drink Your Burgundy
      (pp. 222-222)

      The following applies to a very good (but not great and super-concentrated) vintage, and to 75 centilitre (cl) bottles. For a great year, multiply by 25 percent. For a lesser year, take off 25 percent. For half bottles, reduce by 20 percent. For magnums, increase likewise.

      A few words of advice: One of the silliest things I have ever seen written about fine wine—in this case the journalist was writing about Musigny—was that “great wine should be great from the get-go.” This is absolute nonsense. Many wines, especially those from the biggest, most concentrated vintages, go through a...

    • About the Assessments
      (pp. 223-224)

      AS I HAVE SAID in the preface, these vintage assessments come largely from two series of tastings. The three-year-on tastings take place at the end of August, twenty-two or so months after the harvest, in the Beaune headquarters of Roy Richards, assembled and sorted by Jasper Morris. A group of us, mainly British Burgundy importers, sample some three hundred wines, arranged in appropriate series, over three days. The tasting is blind, but we normally know what we are tasting—that is, VolnayPremier Cruor Clos de Vougeot. When it comes to mixed flights, we will be aware, for example,...

    • Chablis
      (pp. 225-243)

      There are currently almost 5,000 hectares of vineyard in production in the Chablis area. Just over a hundred of these are thegrand cruvineyards, a continuous slope of undulating vines facing southwest and directly overlooking the town itself.

      Looking up at the slope from the town, thesegrands crusare, from left to right: Bougros, Preuses, Vaudésir, incorporating La Moutonne of Domaine Long-Depaquit, Grenouilles, Valmur, Les Clos, and Blanchots. It is generally agreed that Les Clos is the bestgrand cru, producing the most powerful and long-lasting wines, the ones with the most intensity and richest flavour. Valmur and...

    • The Three-Year-On Tastings
      (pp. 244-401)

      Savigny-Lès-Beaune—thelès, with an accent, meaning “by” or “near to”—is the most dividedvignoblein Burgundy. Part of the vineyard lies on the south-facing slope of the Bois de Noël, as it curves round from Pernand-Vergelesses. Opposite, on the northeast-facing incline of Mont Battois—down which the motorway thunders from the Morvan into the plain of Beaune—are the other half of Savigny’spremiers crus, adjoining those of Beaune. The flatter land between thepremiers crusis villageappellation contrôlée(AC), as is an important but normally overlooked chunk of vineyard on south-facing higher ground beyond the village....

    • The Ten-Year-On Tastings
      (pp. 402-472)

      The 2002 red Burgundies, although not at the top levels in the same league as the great 1999s (or indeed 2005), have proved to be very popular on the market place. The red wines have a good colour, a refreshing acidity, medium-full body, lots of plump fruit, and ripe tannins. They are relaxed wines. There is a French phrase, applied to people, “bien dans sa peau” (literally: comfortable within one’s skin—that is, at ease with oneself), which is an apt description of the 2002s. The vintage is fine at the generic level. The village andpremiers crusare also...

    • Other Tastings
      (pp. 473-488)

      This shows a drop of some 10 percent compared with the average and is similar to 1991, but the deficit was more marked in village andpremier cruthan ingrand cru, and among those in the Côte de Nuits who picked late. “Plump, ripe, and succulent yet nevertheless with the ability to age well,” was how I described the 1995 red Burgundies at the outset. Three years subsequently, as usual, the tasting group gathered together a representative selection to see how the wines were progressing in bottle. “Watch out,” said many. They have tightened up. The backbone and tannins...


    • Premature Oxidation of White Burgundy
      (pp. 491-493)

      SOME FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, it began to become apparent that some of what should have been the bestpremiers crusand others were not holding up as they should have been. Fine white Burgundy, after all, is the supreme dry white wine for aging. Anything halfway decent should be better at ten years rather than five. While one might be prepared to accept certain other chardonnays which were already aging at five years, if this occurred in a top Puligny or Meursault, it just wouldn’t do. At first these bad bottles appeared merely to be some unfortunate one-offs. But as...

    • Biodynamism
      (pp. 494-495)

      BIODYNAMISM FOLLOWS the precepts of the educationalist and social philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Applied to viticulture, it follows on from the biological approach, acknowledging that not only should one be as environmentally friendly as possible, eschewing the use of herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, chemical fertilisation, and the rest, and that the land should be ploughed in order to be given back its natural level of micro-fauna and micro-flora; but that there are further interests to be persued—most importantly, the influence of the moon, stars, and their astrological positionvis à visthe earth, and that the vine will respond...

    • So You Think Today’s Burgundies Are Brilliant?
      (pp. 496-496)

      BURGUNDY HAS NOT had a bad vintage since 1984. It is as ifLe Bon Dieuis smiling on the region and rewarding the growers for their dedication and individualism, their refusal to submit to uniformity and indulge in petty jealousies, and their reasonableness with prices. The standard of the wines, and the very large number of praiseworthy domaines and merchants is far higher than it has ever, ever been in the past. Yet things can only get better—much better. While everyone is well-equipped in their cellars—sorting tables, temperature control, attention to the minute details ofélevage, and...

    • What Are Winemakers Doing about Global Warming?
      (pp. 497-500)

      THERE MAY STILL BE a few nutters out there who believe that the world is flat. There are certianly those who, astonishingly enough in view of the contrary scientific evidence, persist in believing in Intelligent Design, whom we used to call Creationists. There may indeed be some left who still consider it a good idea to sell arms to corrupt and oppressive regimes, on the basis that the mad dictators who rule them are, temporarily at least, against the same people that we are. As at least one American president has said: he may be a nasty bastard, but at...