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Burgundy 2009 – 12/1/11 tastings

The day's top wines live from the Burgundy 2009 en primeur tastings in London


By Rosemary George MW

The day began with the full range of William Fèvre Chablis from petit Chablis to a repeat performance of the grands crus. For me, the producer’s Vaulorent ler Cru was the star. Then on to the full range of Domaine Simonnet-Febvre, with Jean-Philippe Archimbaud. Archimbaud has been making the wine in Chablis since the 2004 vintage and his wine making has gradually evolved towards less oak ageing and longer time in vat and barrel before bottling. The premiers crus are aged in vat alone. Next stop, Flint Wines who featured a pair of Chablis from Domaine Bernard Defaix. There are several Defaix in Chablis – this is Bernard and his son Didier, who actually makes the wine, and who is not to be confused with cousin Daniel. And finally on to Howard Ripley for a selection of Chablis, from Jean-Paul Droin, Louis Michel and a repeat of some William Fèvre.

Domaine William Fèvre, Vaulorent, Chablis 1er Cru 2009
Quite a delicate nose; quite fragrant palate, elegant and mineral, with a delicate finish; beautifully understated but expressive. Very fine minerality. Drink 2016-18. (18 points)
£315-348/case (in bond)
John Armit Wines, London W11 (020 7908 0600), Avery’s of Bristol (01275 811100), Berry Bros & Rudd, London SW1 (0870 900 4300), Laytons Wine Merchants (020 7288 8888), Howard Ripley (020 8877 3065)

Domaine Simonnet-Febvre, Montmains, Chablis 1er Cru 2009
Quite full, leafy nose. Firm fresh acidity and minerality; elegance with a refreshing lift on the finish. Long, rounded and understated. Nicely balanced. Should be drinking well 2016-18. (18 points).
£154.29/case (duty paid ex VAT)
Louis Latour, London W1 (020 7409 7276)

Domaine Bernard Defaix, Chablis 2009
Quite a rich leesy nose; with rich, rounded fruit on the palate, full and quite ripe as you would expect from the vintage, but with good balancing acidity. (18 points)
£88/case (in bond) Flint Wines, London (020 8777 4737)

Domaine Jean-Paul Droin, Vaillons, Chablis ler Cru 2009
Light colour; quite tight knit leafy fruit. A rounded palate; ripe and textured, with some weight. Quite mouth filling with a long finish. (17 points)
£78/case of 6 bottles; £145/case (all prices in bond) John Armit Wines, London W11 (020 7908 0655), Howard Ripley (020 8877 3065)

Domaine Louis Michel, Vaudésir, Chablis Grand Cru 2009
Quite a delicate, elegant nose. The wines from this estate are never very forthcoming in their first flush of youth. This is elegant, but discreetly powerful, with the weight you would expect from a grand cru. Should develop well and be drinking nicely from 2015 onwards. (18 points)
£132/case of 6 bottles (in bond) Howard Ripley (020 8877 3065)

Côte d’Or

By Stephen Brook

A mere five tastings today, with everything from an array of simple Bourgogne Blancs to the starriest grands crus. It comes as no surprise that many grands crus are priced at over £1000 per case, but it’s alarming to see quite a few red premiers crus creeping up to that level. The prices of the white wines seem relatively stable compared to last year. The good news is that there is no shortage of excellent whites, including premiers crus, priced at £180 to £350. Those are in bond prices, so add 20-30 percent to estimate the delivered price, inclusive of taxes. If you must have the finest premiers crus – Meursault Perrieres or Puligny Caillerets, for example – especially from the best known producers, then expect to pay a good deal more. But you don’t have to pay £750 a case for a splendid white Burgundy. The reds are another matter. Here prices have crept up, reflecting both the quality of the vintage and the coat-tail effect of the 2009 Bordeaux hype. But the increases are not dramatic, and are mostly confined to prestigious villages such as Chambolle and Vosne. I’m always on the lookout for little known properties that offer terrific value. I found one this morning in Domaine Guiton in Bligny: reds with beguiling freshness at £172 to £228 a case – not the most profound wines I’ve tasted, but wines with purity and Pinot typicity that will give terrific pleasure. It’s also worth comparing prices from different importers. Often, but not always, wines from the likes of Goedhuis, Ripley, and Flint are slightly less expensive than from the big-name merchants.

Joseph Drouhin, Grand Cru, Bâtard-Montrachet 2009
(white) Lively lemony nose. Suave and velvety, with tremendous weight of fruit that’s close to tropical, but with sufficient acidity to keep it from being heavy. Long. Drink 2014-2022. (18.5 points)
POA Bordeaux Index, London EC1N 8AH (020 7269 0703)

François Mikulski, Genevrières, Meursault 1er Cru 2009
(white) Muted nose: apricot and talc. Rich, full-bodied, and generous, a powerful spicy wine that’s still tight and mineral. Excellent length. Drink 2013-2020. (17.5 points)
£465/case (in bond) Bordeaux Index, London EC1N 8AH (020 7269 0703)

Joseph Drouhin, Grand Cru, Griotte-Chambertin 2009
Sumptuous cherry nose, lush and seductive. Rounded and full-bodied, with very ripe tannins, but not heavy or extracted, as good acidity gives it drive and punch. Good length and excellent potential. Drink 2014-2025. (18.5 points)
£1650/case (in bond) Bordeaux Index, London EC1N 8AH (020 7269 0703)

Lucie et Auguste Lignier, Grand Cru, Clos de la Roche 2009
Sweet intense cherry nose, quite oaky, but has purity and finesse. Velvety and concentrated, with fine tannins and a seamless texture, elegant acidity and excellent balance and length. Drink 2015-2025. (18 points)
£990/case (in bond) Flint Wines, London (020 8777 4737)

Domaine Pierre Damoy, Grand Cru, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, 2009
Lush, voluptuous cherry nose. Very rich and sumptuous, concentrated but not extracted, with very ripe tannins, and ample grip, persistence, and freshness. Drink 2015-2030. (18 points)
£1090/case (in bond) Flint Wines, London (020 8777 4737)

Domaine Marquis d’Angerville, Clos des Ducs, Volnay 1er Cru 2009
Muted red fruits nose. Medium-bodied, fresh, and limpid, with charm, purity, finesse, and intensity. Tight and elegant, this has length and ageability. Drink 2014-2025. (18 points)
£725/case (in bond) John Armit Wines, London W11 (020 7908 0655), Justerini & Brooks, London SW1 (020 7484 6400)

Domaine de l’Arlot, Clos des Fôrets Saint-Georges, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru 2009
Robust black cherry nose. Rich and flamboyant, with lavish fruit and fine acidity. This is dramatic and vigorous, with a restrained toastiness, and firm but ripe tannins. Long and built to last. Drink 2015-2028. (17.5 points)
£468/case (in bond) Howard Ripley (020 8877 3065)

Côte Chalonnaise & Mâconnais

By Margaret Rand

The best advice I can give to any buyer of Burgundy this vintage is ‘first choose your wine merchant’. Some merchants have sourced wines brilliantly and chosen with great perspicacity (i.e. I like their wines). Others have more mixed offerings. Of those I have tasted so far, Goedhuis, Berry Bros & Rudd and, from today’s tastings, Flint are good hunting grounds. Bordeaux Index was also good but had no Mâconnais or Côte Chalonnaise. Flint are new arrivals and have a mixture of established names and new growers of great verve and talent. Finding good new growers in Burgundy is a competitive business: they reckon there’s a window of about a year in which to pounce, before somebody else does. They say that they favour classic balance in Burgundy: acidity and minerality rather than opulence and oak. That’s my preference too. The very creamy, cushiony whites that some producers have made this year (it’s mostly about picking dates) are not, to my mind, the point of Burgundy. Only two recommendations today, owing to a dearth of wines from the right areas.

Domaine Clos des Rocs, Mâcon Loché 2009
Nice crisp acidity and nutty fruit, a note of sour milk; very appealing. It’s well structured and has personality, too, and balance, and a fine mineral texture. Drink 2011-8. (17 points)
£85/case (in bond) Flint Wines, London (020 8777 4737)

Domaine Chataigneraie-Laborier, La Roche, Pouilly-Fuissé 2009
Peach and orange-zest fruit and some oak: an intense, vivid wine with a mineral finish. Drink 2011-7. (16.5 points)
£145/case (in bond) Flint Wines, London (020 8777 4737)

Written by Rosemary George MW, Stephen Brook & Margaret Rand

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