2006 Burgundy

Burgundy Brigade

Burgundy Brigade

Post by Chuck Hayward | October 11th, 2010

Getting wind of a Burgundy tasting sends most of us in the wine trade into a vinous tizzy. And so it was last week that we jumped across the bay to

Some '06 Burgs, ready to taste

RN74, San Francisco’s shrine to Burgundy and location for a tasting of assorted releases from the Vineyard Brands portfolio. Founded in 1971 by Robert Haas, a former New York City retailer, Vineyard Brands quickly became one of the country’s top importers of quality Burgundy and we looked forward to exploring their collection of estates.

Rather than the new releases we were expecting, we were fortunate that Vineyard Brands had decided to give us another look at reds and whites from 2006. Four years after vintage, it was an ideal time to assess the development of these wines and get a feel for where they are headed. Upon release, Stephen Tanzer observed that the ’06 whites were “rich, powerful wines, often high in alcohol. Their glycerol textures and often exotic tropical fruit character give them great early sex appeal.” At the same time, Bruce Sanderson noted in the Wine Spectator  that “the young Pinots also amazed me, with their immediate charm, seduction and balance.” (more…)

2006 Burgundy Barrel Sample Tasting

by Mike Supple

The following wines were presented by Frederick Wildman & Sons, LTD. Representatives (i.e. the wine maker and/or owner) of each Domaine poured the wines and answered our questions. Overall this was a fantastic showing of the 2006 vintage in Burgundy. While the weather was somewhat challenging (including a hail storm that destroyed much of the crop in the Grand Cru vineyard Chambertin), Burgundy was built on cool-climate vintages, and 2006 is turning out to be a very classic vintage. For more information on how various winemakers feel the weather affected their 2006 wines, view my previous posts: Louis Carillon, Jean-Marc Boillot, Etienne-Sauzet, Thierry & Pascale Matrot / Mongeard-Mugneret, Bernard Morey, Vincent Girardin / Dauvissat, Louis Michel, Laurent Tribut, Thibault Liger-Belair / Bruno Clair, Henri Gouges / Ponsot and Arnoux.

**These wines are all very young and many still in barrel. This means that the majority of the aromas and flavors are primary young fruits, and we only get an impression on what the future holds for any of these wines.**

Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils

2006 Chablis
Very pale lemon-green in the glass. Light flint aromas backed by lemon and honeydew. Flint again on the palate with bigger green pear flavors and a touch of lemon. Hint of green asparagus on the finish. 87-88pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chablis 1er Cru “Vaillon”
Pale lemon-green with a clear rim. Interesting floral aromas of iris and jasmine over flinty lemon. Chalky on the palate with sweet lmeon and light slate. Fairly bold acid throughout the palate, and a touch of honey on the finish. 88-90pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chablis Grand Cru “Vaudesir”
Pale lemon-yellow core with a clear rim. Pear and honey aromas with a touch of white truffle. Very structured minerality in the mouth; bold acidity. Light toast and citrus zest with a touch of honeydew. 89-91pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chablis Grand Cru “Valmur”
Pale lemon-yellow from the core out to the rim. Toasty ripe lemons and pears on the nose with a nice mineral streak. Sweet fruit entry on the palate. Fleshy ripe fruit, yet big enough acid to keep the fruit delicate and restrained. Honey and yellow pear linger on the finish. 90-93pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chablis Grand Cru “Blanchot”
[This vineyard is named “Blanchot” due to the high limestone content in the soil.]
Pale lemon-green with a clear rim. Very floral in the nose with a bold steely minerality, candied lemons and yellow apple. Very strong minerality in the mouth with flavors that match the aromas and add a little more pear. Medium length finish. 89-91pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos”
Pale lemon-green with a clear rim. Pear and white fig aromas. Huge minerality in the mouth. Very flinty and steely from front to back. Medium acid. Big fig flavors with a touch of citrus. Very young. 91-93pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chablis Grand Cru “Clos des Hospices”
Pale lemon-yellow with a clear rim. Sweet Meyer lemon and light honeydew aromas over a rigid line of minerality. Toasted lemons on the front of the palate are followed by a rush of big flint. Very nice balance of acidity and fruit. Good length on the finish with a lingering note of honey. 91-94pts. -Mike Supple

Olivier Leflaive

2006 Chablis “Les Deux Rives”
A nice simple AC Chablis with good acid and moderate citrus fruit notes. 86-87pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chablis 1er Cru “Cote de Lechet”
Toasty with ripe melon and lemon cream Medium acid and good length in the finish. 87-89pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Bourgogne Blanc “Les Setilles”
Flint and pear aromas. Good acid in the mouth. A little overripe fruit, but good minerality. 87-89pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Meursault
Very toasty aromas. Light white jasmine florals followed by flint and sweet citrus. Rich and toasty in the mouth with great acid. Melon and lemon flavors, slate, and a smoky finish. 90-92pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Meursault 1er Cru “Charmes”
Similar to the AC Meursault aromas, adding a touch of sulfur and ripe pear. Softer in the mouth with medium acidity. Lemon zest and a smoky finish. 89-91pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “Abbaye de Morgeot”
Light lemon aromas with toast, yellow pear and a hint of smoke. Sweet citrus on the front of the palate with a good amount of flinty minerality underlying the whole palate. A little hollow on the mid-palate. 89-91pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Champ Gain”
Very light aromas. Floral notes, minearls and a light candied lemon. Very nice mouthfeel. Rich lemon and green apple. Laser-like acidity and a strong streak of minerals. Long finish with honeyed citrus. 91-93pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
Very flinty aromas with green pear and blue slate. Great acid on the front of the palate. Big Meyer lemon flavors with lime, vanilla and slate. The acid is a little high making it a touch austere on the finish. This wine needs a few years. 90-92pts. -Mike Supple

Domaine Armand Rousseau

2006 Gevrey-Chambertin
Pale ruby core with purple tints, and a lighter pink rim. Raspberry aromas with a touch of earth, oak and violets. Good acid on the palate. Fresh strawverry and raspberry fruits. Medium (-) body. Fairly soft, medium tannins. 87-89pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
Light ruby and violet core with a violet rim. Aromas of cinnamon, raspberry, light cedar, black truffle and a touch of earth. Somewhat light bodied on the palate. Ripe fruit, good earth and truffle notes up front. Medium acid and tannins. Caramel and black fruits on the finish. Medium (+) length. 91-93pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Chambertin Grand Cru
Medium ruby/violet core with a pink/violet rim. Very perfumed aromas. Candied violets and oak. The fruit is somewhat subdued and first, but raspberry and blueberry come out as the wine opens. Closed, tight and young on the palate. Medium body with impressively ripe and approachable tannins. Caramel and toast with a hint of herbal notes on the lingering red fruit and vanilla toast finish. 92-94pts. -Mike Supple

Domaine Jacques Prieur
(Due to hail damage, Prieur did NOT produce a Grand Cru Chambertin in 2006. All of the remaining fruit was declassified and used in a 1er Cru Gevrey-Chambertin.)

2006 Meursault “Clos de Mazeray” Monopole
Very pale yellow core with a clear rim. Lemon aromas backed by cream, toast, vanilla and fresh oak. Pear flavors on the front of the palate. Medium (+) acid. Nice toast, citrus, and a hint of cream on the finish. 88-90pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Beaune 1er Cru “Champ Pimonts”
Pale lemon-yellow core with a clear rim. Buttery coconut aromas, butterscotch and ripe yellow apple. Very ripe flavors. Great body and balance. Toast, butter, lemon and apples. Great balanced acid and a long finish. 91-94pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Combettes”
Pale lemon-yellow core with a clear rim. Toasty butter aromas, lemon, butterscotch and green pear. Oak up front on the palate is a bit intense. Smooth lemon zest on the mid-palate, and fairly high acid on the finish. Good components, but a little disjointed. 88-90pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Volnay 1er Cru “Santenots”
Light ruby core with a pink rim. Brown sugar, cherry and a touch of herbal aromas. Light body; muted flavors. Some dark fruit and earth. 87-89pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Beaune 1er Cru “Champ Pimonts”
Medium ruby core with a pink rim. Light chalk aromas over Bing cherry and straw. Fairly light and lifted aromas. Cinnamon on the palate with wet earth and slate. Very closed and little fruit showing. Rather high tannins and a bitter finish. 85-87pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Corton-Bressandes
Medium ruby color all the way out to the rim. Sweet caramel, raspberry and orange zest are accented by a touch of sweet herbs and cedar. Sweet and delicate on the palate. A lot of tannin, but impressively round and ripe. Long, spicy dark fruit finish. 90-93pts. -Mike Supple

2006 Clos de Vougeot
Medium ruby/purple core with a pink/purple rim. Blueberry, crushed violets, flint and black cherry aromas. Flint and slate dominate the palate. The fruits are somewhat muted and closed right now, but it is balanced very well. This wine needs some years in the bottle. 91-94pts. -Mike Supple

Burgundy/Alsace Day 5 – 08 June 2007

by Mike Supple

The ground is a bit wet this morning from some brief showers early in the AM. Not everywhere is wet, as the micro-climates in Burgundy seem even more intense than those of the San Francisco Bay Area. The storm remnants trickles in small rivers down the clay and sand driveway of Domaine Ponsot, located in Morey-St-Denis.

Domaine Ponsot

The Domaine was established by William Ponsot in 1872 after the end of the Franco-Prussian war. He purchased the house and vineyards, including Clos des Monts Luisants and Clos de la Roche. This history is clearly not lost on Laurent Ponsot who greets us by bursting on to a second-story balcony, long, curly dark hair flowing all around, as he calls out, “Bienvenue!”

He tries to play dumb at first, but we quickly realize his English is flawless, and his wit is quite sharp.

According to Laurent, 2006 was truly a challenging vineyard and the “wine was made more in the vineyards than the cellar”. The key to a great 2006 for Laurent was when the grapes were harvested. In his opinion too many of his neighbors pick just when the grapes are beginning to ripen, but he generally waits another 7-10 days until the fruit achieves phenolic ripeness. For Ponsot, 2006 is like 2004 in terms of balance: pH, alcohol, ripeness. The 2006 vintage was quite a bit smaller than his average though.

Total Production (in bottles):
2002 – 40,000
2004 – 50,000
2005 – 20,000
2006 – 20,000

As we wandered among the barrels he hands us Riedel tasting glasses. I personally am a huge proponent of proper glassware for tasting, and this was the first time all trip we tasted from Riedel – it’s all about the little touches….

This was truly an exceptional tasting experience. I found many similarities in these wines to those of Thibault Liger-Belair. Overall the 2006 vintage for Ponsot is amazingly subtle, balanced and elegant.

2006 Morey-St-Denis Clos des Monts Luisants Vieilles Vignes 1er Cru
100% Aligote.
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee de l’Abeille
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Chambolle-Musigny Cuvee des Cigales
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Chambolle-Musigny les Charmes 1er Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Morey-St-Denis Cuvee des Allouettes 1er Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Chambertin Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Clos St-Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

Domaine Robert Arnoux

Pascal Lachaux, son-in-law of the late Robert Arnoux, has been in charge of this famous estate since 1990. They have fantastic holdings in some of the best vineyards in Burgundy, including Romanee-St-Vivant, Clos Vougeot and Echezeaux, as well as 1er Crus in Nuits-St-Georges and Vosne-Romanee.

As I previously mentioned, we had the chance to dine with Pascal and his wife Florence a couple of days ago, and I have been looking forward to trying their ’05s ever since. Yes, I said ’05s. There are only so many barrel samples one can try of fierce, enamel-stripping wine just a few months old before moving on to the fierce, enamel-stripping bold and fruity wines that have been in bottle a mere few months.

Although the production level of these wines (like most great Burgundies) is very low, we can take heart in the fact that Pascal exports about 70% of his production. England is their largest market, followed by Asia, and then the US.

The 2005 Arnoux wines are not overly concentrated – Pascal does put an emphasis on the fruit, trying not to over-extract or bring out too much oak. He racked the wines a month before bottling (bottled in February) when the moon is waning. By racking during this part of the lunar cycle, the atmospheric pressure is higher so the lees hug the bottom of the barrels. This way more wine can be racked off without pulling out any sediment.

2005 Chambolle-Musigny Villages
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Vosne Romanee Villages
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Nuits-St-Georges Les Proces 1er Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Vosne Romanee Les Chaumes 1er Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Echezeaux Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Romanee-St-Vivant Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2000 Echezeaux Grand Cru
Very rich aromas of black and white truffles and green herbs over roasted fruits, tobacco, red cherries, cassis and a touch of smoke. There is a hint of violet on the front palate, followed by liquorice and raspberry. Great balance on the palate with a nice purity of fruit. Lusch, full cassis through the mid-palate. Very ripe, supple tannins are well integrated. Very long spicy cherry finish with a bold mineral note. 96 pts. -Mike Supple

Domaine Weinbach

Domaine Arnoux is unfortunately our last stop in Burgundy, but on the bright side we are heading off to Alsace to visit the lovely Faller family of Domaine Weinbach. After all the rich lunches and dinners, we decide to stop at a pizzeria on the way up to Alsace for some pizza and a beer. The moral of this story is, do not let me order the food if you are looking for something a bit lighter. But I still don’t understand what is wrong with having three types of cheese, two meats and giant wedges of potato on pizza!

Not being responsible for the driving, I seize the opportunity and promptly pass out in the back seat of the car, waking only briefly in the middle when the traffic slows down for a sudden (but thankfully brief) thunderstorm.

We approach Alsace in the early evening under gorgeous clear blue skies. And remember, this time of year in Alsace the sun doesn’t set until just before 10:00, so early evening is still mid-day!

After dumping our bags at the hotel and grabbing a quick shower, we head out for the last 15 minutes of the business day to find a couple of souvenirs in the quaint town of Keysersberg, who’s mascot (if you will) is the stork. I’ve made the mistake of returning home empty-handed before…not a pretty sight! 😉

Our evening begins at Domaine Weinbach, where we meet Laurence and Catherine Faller, and Laurence’s boyfriend Mark. A bottle of 2005 Weinbach Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg Cuvee Ste Catherine helps us all get to know one another before we head to the Auberge de l’Ill, the extroardinary Micheline 3-star restaurant in Illhaeusern.

Laurence, Mark, Catherine, Shaun, Mike – On the River Ill (pronounced “eel”)

When we enter the restaurant, we are ceremoniously greeted by everyone who works here (easily 20+ people), including the head chef. Clearly the Fallers are no strangers to the establishment. Before being seated for the meal, we are all ushered outside to have drinks on the bank of the beautiful River Ill. And what better whet our appetites than a fresh bottle of the classic 2005 Weinbach Muscat Reserve?

The inside of the restaurant is a feat of architectural wonder, but when it comes down to it, all that matters is that the atmosphere was great, the service high-class, the chairs comfortable, and the meal one of the best I have ever had in my life.

2004 Weinbach Riesling Cuvee Ste Catherine
2004 Weinbach Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg Cuvee Ste Catherine l’Inedit
2002 Weinbach Pinot Gris Ste Catherine
1998 Weinbach Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Furstentum Selection de Grains Nobles

Dinner (at least mine, there were variations around the table, and wines were paired accordingly):
Chilled soup of tomato, cod and squid ink gnocchi
Lobster over fresh fennel, orange dressing and falafel
Noisettes of deer in a mushroom and wine sauce
Cheese (roquefort, comte, epoisse, munster)
Pre-dessert: macaroon,s raspberry tarts, chocolates, lemon cream pastries
Dessert: Vacherin Glacee – a local delicacy – strawberry and vanilla ice cream, meringue, clotted whipped cream, fresh strawberries
Post-dessert: coffee and chocolates back out by the river

Burgundy Day 4 – 07 June 2007

by Mike Supple

Things are starting to wind down here, as tomorrow is our last day in Burgundy. We left the hotel a little later in the morning (yay, three whole hours of sleep this time!) and spent the day at a slightly more leisurely pace. In the morning we visited Domaine Bruno Clair and had lunch prepared for us by his wife. After lunch we took a couple of hours and drove through some of the more famous Grand Cru regions, and spent a while walking around La Tache, Romanee Conti, La Romanee, Les Richebourgs, Romanee St Vivant, etc.

I’m now putting the day a little out of order, but here are some photos of this unbelievable area:

Mike Supple at La Tache

Monument to the ancestors of Thibault Ligier Belair, looking across La Tache

Gnarly old Pinot Noir vine in Romanee St Vivant

Looking across Romanee Conti and La Romanee – Unbelievably rich soil!

Les Richebourgs – Baby Pinot Noir grapes, smaller than peas

Shaun Bishop at La Romanee

After our little jaunt in god’s country, we headed to Domaine Henri Gouges, toured the vineyards, tasted with Christian and Pierre (Grandsons of Henri Gouges), followed by a home cooked meal at the Domaine.

Domaine Bruno Clair

Philippe Brun, the winemaker for Bruno Clair, began our tasting for us. He is pictured to the right climbing to the top of the barrels to get us our samples. The history of Domaine Bruno Clair is unfortunately fraught with loss of vineyards due to family dissension, as is the case with so many of Burgundy’s domaines. However, Bruno has been working hard to regain the rights to many of his vineyards, and his production will begin increasing, beginning with the 2006 vintage. In 1988, Bruno inherited approximately 15 hectares of land from his father, but about half of this was locked in to 18 year contracts with Jadot. In 2006 those contracts expired, and the amount of premier cru and grand cru wines Bruno can produce pratically doubled. For the first time, Bruno Clair now produces a domaine Bonnes Mares Grand Cru. Approximately 2/3 of his holdings in this vineyard are still tied up, but they will be his again in 2017, at which point his production of Bonnes Mares will triple.

Besides having access to great land, Bruno takes meticulous care in both the vineyard and the winery, where he is assisted by Philippe. Due to his great passion for the vineyard, Bruno spends as much time there as possible, and truly believes great wine starts in the vine. If the grapes that show up at the winery are not of utmost quality, even the most skilled winemaker in the world cannot make anything worthwhile with them. In order to produce great grapes, one must understand the how the geology works in Burgundy. The vineyards of Burgundy all run along rolling hills. The top of the hills are mostly limestone, and the bottom and valleys are heavily clay. The limestone (aside from allowing water to drain) tends to give the wines a more intense mineral character, while adding finesse at the same time. At the bottom of the hills, the soil is a rich heavy clay, which adds depth, intensity and complexity to the wines. Thus, the obvious choice for a perfect wine would be one that combines the finesse of limestone with the depth and intensity of clay: thus the vineyards in the middle of the hillsides that combine these two soil types tend to produce the best wines. Oddly enough, just about all the Grand Cru vineyards are located in this middle hill region. For this reason, Bruno feels that, “Avec les Grand Crus il n’y a pas de mauvaises anées” (with Grand Crus, there are no bad vintages). It comes down to a matter of respecting the geography and working with what you have. Some years can be greater and some can be lesser, but when treated well, the wine should never be bad.

When asked to compare the 2006 vintage to another one, both Philippe and Bruno agreed that while it might have some similarities here and there to other vintages, it really is something all on its own.

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Marsanny Les Vaudenelles
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Marsanny Les Grasses Tetes
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bruno Clair Marsanny Le Longerois
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Chambolle-Musigny Les Veroilles
Some of the younger vines in the Domaine ~15 years old.
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru La Dominode
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru La Petite Chapelle
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos du Fonteny
This is a monopole, planted with 21 year old vines.
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Cazetieres
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St-Jacques
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru
Very old vines: 2/3 planted in 1912, 1/3 planted in 1973
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Bruno Clair Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
The first year for Bruno Clair Bonnes Mares.
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Bruno Clair Marsannay Le Longerois
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Bruno Clair Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru La Dominode
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St-Jacques
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Bruno Clair Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

After the tasting, we had lunch prepared for us by Bruno’s wife, Isabelle. Lunch was quite the scene, as we got into rather intense arguments and discussions over French and American politics. He also went into his cellar and pulled out an ’88 and a ’95 for us to try. 1995 was not a particularly stunning vintage for Burgundy, so we tested the bottle to see how it had evolved. See notes below.

Les vins:
2006 Bruno Clair Marsanny Rose
-a delicious little wine: bright strawberry notes, with a crisp and refreshing finish
2005 Bruno Clair Marsanny Blanc
-Fresh aromas of tropical fruits, bold pineapple and a hint of meon. Good minerality and nickel on the front of th palate Well balanced, smooth and clean
2005 Bruno Clair Morey-St-Denis en la Rue de Vergy
2005 Bruno Clair Corton Charlemagne
1998 Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Cazetieres
-Great truffle aromas over dark red cherries. Rich, smooth and clear aromas. Lively on the palate with spicy fruit and kirsch liquer flabors. Good acid supported by a supple tannic strength.
1995 Bruno Clair Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru
-Notes of horse sweat giving a very rustic quality to the fruit aromas. Very minerally on the palate with notes of orange zest. Strong tannins make this tough to drink right now. Probably needs another 5 – 10 years to settle, but the fruit made fade first.

Le repas:
Jambon persil – a regional dish of chilled ham and parsley
Roast chicken
Tomato, cucumber, black olive and feta salad
Pasta salad – bow-tie with cantaloupe, mozzarella, and lardon
Couscous with raisins, green peppers and red peppers
Fresh coleslaw of cabbage, carrots and raisins
Raspberry tort

Domaine Henri Gouges

The Gouge family has controlled the current Domaine since 1919. In the 1930’s, Henri Gouges played an active role in delineating the crus in Burgundy for the Institut Nationale d’Appellation d’Origine. Today the estate is run by Henri Gouges’ two grandsons, Christian and Pierre. Christian met up with us first, and took us on a drive to see his vineyards up close; we were joined later by Pierre in the cellar who led us through the wines. This is somewhat of a role reversal, as Christian is usually in the cellar while Pierre works the vines. In this first picture, Christian shows Shaun the vines in the 1er Cru vineyard Les Chenes Carteaux. These vines have all been evenly pruned to keep the lumber of leaves per stem at approximately 7 or 8. The pruning is done by a machine that drives over the rows. Vines of a similar age tend to grow a specific number of leaves based on the length of the rootstock and the height of the stems. Thus, the machine can be set to crop at a specific height, leaving exactly 7-8 leaves per stem.

Close-up of a grape bunch at Les Chenes Carteaux

Pierre and Christian were among the first to plant a specific variety of grass between their rows of vines, and they currently ave about 7 of their 15 hectares planted with grass. There are several reasons behind using the grass. Grapes are more concentrated and intense the more stress their is on the vine. By having grass between the rows, the majority of the rainwater is absorbed and used by the grass, stressing the grape vine and causing it to grow roots deeper into the soil. The grass also protects the soil from erosion during heavy rains. Due to the added stress to the vine caused by the grass, Christian and Pierre have noted that their grapes planted in the grassy rows in general are much smaller. Smaller grapes mean thicker skins, more resistance to disease and rot, and a higher concentration of sugar and acid. In the winery, the thicker skins add to the intensity of color in the wine, as well as the power of the tannins.

Back at the winery we noticed a lot of construction going on. The old winery has been completely ripped out, and an entire new winery being built – hopefully in time for the 2007 vintages. When we asked about comparing other vintages to 2006, we again received what has become a rather common answer: there aren’t really any other vintages is resembles. 2006 is truly its own animal. For the red wines, in the best Domaines there is a great depth and purity of fruit which is complemented by a fantastic elegance and finesse. When it comes to whites, they are simply amazing. Round, rich and ripe yet retaining incredible acid levels allowing the wines to be balanced, focused, crisp and pure. For Christian, 2006 is a vintage of fruit; silky with integrated tannins: “Il a tres belle couleur en 2006, un pinot de plaisir”.

Before getting to the wines, I need to mention that none of the red wines had gone through malolactic fermentation. Christian believes in following the biology of the wine, and therefor does not start this fermentation but rather lets it happen naturally. Some years it is early and quick, others late and long. He actually prefers to have a later malolactic fermentation, because while the wine is going through this process it is laden with carbon dioxide gas. This gas in the wine is a good thing during the heat of summer because it stops the wine from absorbing oxygen and becoming too oxidized. All of that said, malolactic fermentation changes the impression a wine gives on the nose and palate, so it would not be fair to score these wines right now. I will give notes as to the aromas and mouthfeel, but these could definitely change after the malolactic fermentation.

2006 Dom Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets St-Georges
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges Villages
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Chenes Carteaux
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets St-Georges
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets St-Georges
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Chenes Carteaux
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les St-Georges
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

Christian and Pierre have an truly amazing and very extensive cellar full of their wines from 1919 to the present. Before dinner they selected a couple for us to try. The first was a 1972 Les St-Georges (because neither Shaun nor myself had ever tried a Pinot from 1972) and the second was a 1940 Clos des Porrets. This is a particularly interesting vintage, because it happened at the beginning of World War II. This made getting any help in the vineyards particularly difficult. This brought up the interesting topic of the theft of wines during WWII. The Nazis, under Hitler’s orders, went in to cellars throughout France and confiscated wines from the best regions and best vintages. In an effort to keep from losing all these irreplaceable wines, many Frenchmen began erecting false walls in their cellars, blocking off large areas and hiding many wines. This sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. By keeping the walls as warm and moist as possible, mold was encouraged to grow quickly to make the walls appear older. Spiders were also collected and placed on the walls to add to the aged feel and help pull off the farce. The proprietor at the time of Dom Henri Gouges erected such a wall in his cellar, and his wines were protected.

A stack of bottles from 1944 and 1940 – all the older bottles in the cellar have recently been recorked.

Les vins:
2005 Dom Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru La Perriere
1972 Dom Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les St-Georges
-Bold truffle and earth nose. Spicy and gamy with black cherry aromas. Slightly oxidized and materized on the nose. In the mouth the wine is sweet, earthy and smoky with light metallics leading to lingering cherry. The tannins are almost gone, but there is still a lively acid on the mid-palate.
1940 Dom Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets
-The color is still amazingly bright with garnet hues. Smoky and metallic on the front of the nose, followed by earth, black truffle, mint and anise. Very good acidity, and incredibly supple on the palate. Better and livelier than the 1972.

Le repas:
-Saumon pate avec mayonnaise Dijon (no egg) et le salade
-Filets du veau et du porc avec pommes de terre au gratin
-Tart des fruits

Burgundy Day 3 – 06 June 2007

by Mike Supple

After another full night of 3 or so hours of sleep, we were off to try more wine. This time we headed north to Chablis. Chablis technically falls under the Burgundy appellation, but it is often argued that it really is not Burgundy at all. The climate and soil are rather different, and the Chardonnay produced in Chablis is generally much racier, crisper and more acidic (although not any less balanced). Due to the northern latitude, the climate is cooler and the harvest is generally later in Chablis than the rest of Burgundy by about a week. However, in 2006 the harvest began (depending on the Domaine) about a week earlier than in the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits. This put the Chablis harvest some time in the first couple of weeks in September. 2007 has been an even warmer year, and the harvest is likely to take place by the end of August throughout all of Burgundy and even in to Chablis.

To give a little more geographical location, the town of Chablis is just under a two hour drive north from the center of Burgundy, and approximately two hours south-east of Paris.

Domaine Rene et Vincent Dauvissat

Our first tasting of the day was with Vincent Dauvissat, of the acclaimed Domaine Rene & Vincent Dauvissat. Unfortunately for us, Dauvissat’s production is absolutely minuscule, and very little reaches the United States. He has a very loyal following among France’s most esteemed restaurateurs, hence the availability of his wines for export is sharply limited. He also reserves approximately 25% of each vintage to be sold directly out of his cellar to local fans. That being said, if you can find it, I highly recommend it. His wines, from the Petit Chablis through the Grand Cru all over deliver at every level. (Of course we are only visiting domaines whose wine we absolutely stand behind, so saying that is somewhat of a moot point.)

The Dauvissat domaine consists of approximately 23 acres, which Vincent farms himself. During the spring and summer his cave is usually closed to the public because he is working in the vineyard from 5:00AM until 10:00 PM. We were thus very fortunate to have the opportunity to drag him out of the fields today. He practices rather traditional methods of winemaking, even using many smaller wooden barrels generally used only in Chablis. These barrels hold approximately 20% less wine than the larger barrels used worldwide. The smaller sized barrel increases the ratio of surface area to volume of wine, increasing the amount of oxygen contact with the wine. This method is not used in other parts of Burgundy, as the extra oxygen can cause the wines to over oxidize and have a shorter lifespan, but the power and acidity of Chablis allows for it, creating rounder more balanced wines. Dauvissat uses 20% new oak for his Grand Cru wines ad 15% new oak for his premier crus.

Larger barrels on left, smaller on right – la cave de Dauvissat
In 2006, Dauvissat had a smaller crop than 2005. The harvest took place on September 18, 2006. The crop was very concentrated with good acidity, which should lend itself to a long ageability. 2005 also had more botrytis, which causes difficulties for the yeast during alcoholic fermentation, so 2006 underwent a much faster, smoother fermentation process. The 2006 vintage to him is reminiscent of 1989; early harvest and powerful wines, yet 2006 has better acidity than 1989. The alcohol levels are very similar to 2005 and the acid is slightly higher in 2006.

2006 Dauvissat Petit Chablis
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dauvissat Chablis
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dauvissat Chablis 1er Cru Sechet
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dauvissat Chablis 1er Cru Forest
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
Very rich with riper fruit aromas, yet retains a very steely mineral focus and purity. In the mouth candied pineapple flavors surround light lemon notes. Great, round mouthfeel; delicate and bold at the same time with an amazing, lingering finish. -Mike Supple

2006 Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
Light green herbs and a hint of asparagus are underscored by a very bold minerality, accented with light floral and lime aromas. This wine is fat and powerful with very focused acidity, keeping it well balanced. A streak of minerals runs under deep fruit flavors of apricot and white peach. -Mike Supple

Following the barrel samples he brought out an amazing treat:
1988 Dauvissat Chablis 1er Cru La Forest (91)
I just want to go on the record and say that the Wine Spectator rating of 74 for this wine is absolutely crazy. Granted, I don’t know what it tasted like in 1990, so it very well could have merited that rating at the time. If you still have any bottles of this wine around, or you can find some, DRINK THEM! The aromas are amazingly rich and smoky with sweet wild honeycomb and dried apricot balanced by lemon curd. In the mouth the wine is still showing amazing acidity. Powerful and ripe with flavors of lemon, smoky white peach and bold minerals. Although the smoke, minerality and cream come over top of the fruit, the balanced and mouth feel are still incredible. The finish is long and lingering, touched by hints of apricot. -Mike Supple

Domaine Louis Michel & Fils

Domaine Louis Michel et Fils is run by Jean-Loup Michel and Annick Gicqueau-Michel, the son and daughter of Louis. This morning, Annick’s young son Guillaume came home to help in the family business, leaving a web-design based job in Paris. We had the chance to meet with the all, and they are all quite excited about having Guillaume around to help. The learning process for the next generation of Domaine Louis Michel is underway.

The focus of the Michel domaine is to let the grapes express the individual terroir in as pure a manner as possible. For this reason, they do not use any oak at all for fermentation or for aging. Rather, all of the fermentation takes place in large temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The land of Domaine Louis Michel & Fils consists of approximately 45 acres, the majority of which are premier crus. The soil in their vineyards is laden with limestone, and not using oak allows the limestone to show forth as pure, focused, racy minerality in all their wines.

Like Dauvissat, Jean-Loup harvested his 2006 vintage before the rest of Burgundy this year, and the alcohol content is similar to 2005; these two vintages are the highest in alcohol in Jean-Loup’s memory.

An interesting side note: a few of the Louis Michel et Fils Village (not 1er or grand cru) wines are bottled in screw cap for the American market. This option was made available to the rest of the world, but not many are interested. I would have thought at least some of the newly emerging markets in Russia and Eastern Europe would be open to the idea, but Annick says that in these countries where they are just beginning to develop a wine culture, they want everything to be strictly traditional: screw caps are right out.

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Petit Chablis
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis
Two versions of this wine are in separate tanks: a clean, crisp version destined for the screw cap bottle and then the American market, and a wine still on the lees. There are slight differences, but both have the same crisp minerality and focus.
(Tasting notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Montmain
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Forets
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume
Always one of my favorite vineyards in Chablis. Fourchaume is actually split into two sections, and contains a smaller sub-appellation called “Vaulurent”. The Michel Fourchaume vines are within this sub-appellation. This is the only 1er Cru vineyard which actually touches a Grand Cru vineyard (Preuses). The next closest is the Cote de Brechain vineyard, a sub-appellation of the 1er cru Montee de Tonnerre, however Cote de Brechain is separated from the Grand Cru “Blanchot” by a road.
Rich aromas of honeycomb and sweet dried apricot are supported by a bold minerality. In the mouth the wine has an incredibly nice feel; both full and round. The wine is balanced and the acidity and minerality offset the almost swee white peach and lingering apricot finish. -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple
2005 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Montmain (90)
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume (91)
Rich pear, white peach and nectarine surround a high mineral core with notes of wet flint. The wine presents a light herbaceousness on the palate. The wine is very full, and has a nice, balanced acidic structure with citrus flavors and underlying sweeter nectarine and tropical notes leading in to a bright mineral finish. -Mike Supple

2005 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos (93)
Sweet and spicy with pure and focused fruit aromas of nectarine and dried apricot accented with light floral notes and dense minerality. Rich and creamy on the palate (and no oak!) this is a very full yet focused wine with a strong minerality and bold acid throughout the palate. Hints of white peach and creamy hazelnut linger on the finish. -Mike Supple

After the tasting, the Michel family took us to the Micheline Rated “Hostellerie des Clos” where we were treated to lunch.

2001 Louis Michel et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
2000 Domaine Thierry et Pascal Matrot Blagny 1er Cru La Piece Sous le Bois

-Amuse Bouches: Layered butter pastry, smoked salmon puree on brioche, cheese puffs
-Chilled seafood bisque
-Oeufs en meurette a l’Irancy – poached eggs in a Pinot Noir reduction sauce, topped with mushrooms and lardon
-Roast free-range duckling and glazed vegetables
-Roast free-range duckling leg on a bed of mixed greens

Domaine Laurent Tribut

After lunch we traveled from the clean and modern style of Domaine Louis Michel et Fils to the more rustic farming approach of winemaking at Domaine Laurent Tribut. Laurent entered the wine-making tradition when he married Marie-Clotilde Dauvissat, the daughter of Rene Dauvissat. Laurent is a very friendly and hard working man, whose rough hands clearly show the dedication he has to his vineyards. His approach to vineyard management is very similar to the intense hands-on style of Vincent Dauvissat. Like Dauvissat, the wines in 2006 have approximately the same alcohol content as 2005 (about 0.5% lower in ’06) and the ’06 wines are higher in acidity. I have mentioned this several times, because this is somewhat of a rare and exciting combination in wine: the high alcohol comes from the high sugar in the rich, ripe grapes. Usually acid is lost when the grapes get this ripe, but in 2006 the natural acid levels remained very high, giving better balance to the wines and allowing great aging potential.

Laurent produces only three wines: a Chablis Villages and two Premier Crus. In Laurent’s opinion his two premier cru vineyards esentially are no different: they have very similar soil types, same southern exposure. The major difference is that the Beauroy is approximately 5 years older than the 25 year old Cote de Lechet.

1 down, 4,392,747 bottles to go
2006 Laurent Tribut Chablis
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Laurent Tribut Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Lechet
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Laurent Tribut Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Laurent Tribut Chablis (88)
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Laurent Tribut Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy (90)
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair

Two hours and a brief rain shower later, we were back in the warm sun of Nuits-St-Georges for a visit with Thibault Liger-Belair. Readers take note: Domaine Liger-Belair is the hottest thing in Burgundy right now, and this name will be on the lips of every critic; it is only a matter of when, not if.

Winemaking has been the Liger-Belair legacy, with vineyards passing from generation to generation since 1720. After a brief restructuring period, Thibault took over the vineyards in 2001 (at the age of 26) and harvested his first wines in 2002 under his own name: Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair.

Thibault has the utmost respect for the land and the vines, and for this reason began organically farming his wines in 2002. He decided that was not quite enough, and made the change to biodynamic farming in 2004. Thibault is young and passionate about his wines and brings his energy and ideas to the vineyards and the winery. Rather than work with set ideas in mind on his method of wine production, he constantly adapts to the needs of the individual vineyards and barrels. Rather than use modern equipment to check for sugar levels, ripeness, acidity, etc in his grapes, he instead relies on his palate. It was through a series of trial and error that he decided that just because a wine is statistically perfect, it does not mean that it tastes right. When the grapes taste right in the field, they will taste right in the bottle.

Through his methods of biodynamic farming, Thibault has brought life back to the soil of his vineyards. When he began working with them, the vineyards were tired and the soil was gray. By applying various biodynamic methods, his soils have all revitalized, re oxidized, and are now a vibrant iron red. He also plows a few of his vineyards by horse, rather than tractor (including his vines in Clos de Vougeot and Richebourg). His dramatic new approach to a classic style of winemaking is turning heads, and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanee Conti recently began using horses in Richebourg as well. There are 9 owners of vines within Richebourg, and Thibault’s holdings are the third largest, behind DRC and Leroy. At an age of 70 years, Thibault’s vines are the oldest in Richebourg. An interesting side note: Thibault’s family sold the vineyard La Tache to DRC in 1936.

Thibault is intent upon making wines that he likes; striving to make each wine truly express its terroir, he never makes thick, extracted, inky black Pinot Noir. In order to express this terroir, he works with each vintage on its own, allowing the good qualities to show through, rather than trying to force it to be something it is not. In 2003 the acid levels after harvest were somewhat low, and many winemakers added tartartic acid to their wines in an effort to stabilize the wines and protect them from bacteria. While this does work in the short run, tartaric acid never truly integrates itself in to the wine, and after 3 to 5 years the acid will begin to destabilize causing an unpleasant metallic character in the wine. Thibault instead worked carefully in the winery and let the wines express themselves in their true manner, and ended up with some monstrously gorgeous and intense Pinot Noir with amazing ability to age.

For Thibault, 2006 “is a light vintage, but not thin; a real basket of fruit in ’06. It is a very long wine with a long finish and very ripe acidity”. 2006 was a little more challenging of a vintage than 2005, and Thibault took many steps to allow his wines to show their true potential and terroir. By keeping his cellar cool while the wines were fermenting, he kept an intensity of fruit and aromas and reduced extraction in his wines. Nor did he use any punch down methods and used very minimal pump-overs. Again, this reduced the amount of extraction and tannin present in the wine. The end result are beautiful elegant, supple wines, in many ways reminiscent of Mongeard-Mugneret.

We caught Thibault on film describing the 2006 vintage, comparing it to others, and explaining why he started making biodynamic wines. Look for those videos here shortly!

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Hautes Cotes de Nuits Corvee de Villy
Cool and spicy on the nose with hints of orange zest and ripe black cherry. The wine enters the mouth with a smooth, silky feel. Nice balance with a good tannic structure on the mid-palate. The fruits are rich and dark yet not overpowering.
This vineyard is biodynamic as of 2004. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Bourgogne Rouge Grand Chaillots
Dark fruit aromas of blueberry, candied red cherry and a hint of cranberry are accented by a light charcoal minerality. Nice mouthfeel and a good tannic backbone.
Only 5 barrels of this wine were produced in 2006 from a 1/2 hectare piece of land. Aged in 3 year old barrels (the oldest barrels used by Dom Thibault Liger-Belair). -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-St-Georges la Charmott
Light sage and other dried herb aromas are followed by rich black cherry, raspberry and strawberry, surrounded by a light toasty quality. Very well balanced – this is lush and supple on the palate without getting too dense. Fairly high tannins, but well integrated on the palate. Rich cherry is backed by lighter charcoal and hints of earthy minerality. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee aux Reas
Light caramel and spicy cassis aromas with hints of melted licorice and blackberry. Supple on the palate. Nice purity of fruit – rich raspberry – and solid tannic structure. Very bold minerality on the finish.
These vines are on the southern part of Vosne-Romanee, across the street from the 1er cru vineyards. The vines are 60 years old. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Toppe au Vert
A little wild and rustic on the nose. Full minerality on the palate with hints of slate and nickel. The mouthfeel is very full, but the finish is a touch short.
One of his negociant bottlings. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Grunchers
Very toasty aromas with a bright herbaceousness over rich black cherry. Well balanced on the palate with hints of mocha over the rich fruit and full bold mineral body.
One of his negociant bottlings.-Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Gevrey Chambertin La Croix de Choix
A new wine this vintage for Liger-Belair.
Great nose – powerful fruit aromas of raspberries surrounded by spicy anise and lighter floral notes. Delicate on the front of the palate, building to a nice full finish. Round on the mid-palate with light herbs, rich fruit, nicely balanced tannins and a bold mineral streak in the finish.
54 year old vines. Production: 17 hectoliters/hectare. No destemming, no sulfur treatments. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Corton les Rognets Grand Cru
Very bright on the nose with floral notes and spicy fresh anise. Candied cherry and licorice dominate the front palate, with darker blackberry fruit coming in on the mid-palate. This is a very balanced, soft and lush wine with a fantastic mouthfeel. Should be approachable at a young age, but have the ability to age well.
One of his negociant bottlings. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Corton Renards Grand Cru
This wine just finished going through malolactic fermentation, and has slightly reduced qualities to it.
Ripe, fresh fruits on the nose with light herbaceous notes. Smooth with powerful fruit flavors, but less intense tannins. The fruit is rich and has a candied quality to it, but not to the extent where the wine becomes cloying.
One of his negociant bottlings. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
Very herbaceous up front, with bold fruit rushing in behind. Ripe raspberry and blackberry are followed by sweet and spicy strawberry notes. Round and full in the mouth, with bolder more powerful tannins. Great depth with sweet dark fruits and a lingering toasty quality. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les St-Georges
Rich caramel aromas over ripe, full cherry, raspberry, blackberry and strawberry surrounding light hints of earth and mineral. Supple and rich on the palate. Great mouthfeel with full ripe fruits, yet stays in balance with the tannins. Good structure and minerality with cherry and hints of spicy anise on the finish. -Mike Supple

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Richebourg Grand Cru
A little tight and shy on the nose: light yet elegant fruit aromas waft over nice violet and lilac floral notes. Good power on the palate: great depth of fruit with a bold minerality. Manages to remain elegant and never gets too bold. Very long, lingering finish.
From 70 year old vines – the oldest in the Richebourg vineyard. -Mike Supple

2005 Thibault Liger-Belair Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (92-94)
This wine was bottled one month prior to tasting.
Very interesting nose: spicy nutmeg and caramel accented by bold, ripe cherry and blackberry fruits, followed by a lingering vanilla spice. Great balance on the palate. Very rich fruits with a bold yet integrated tannic structure. Silky and smooth on the mid-palate, and an intense, long lingering finish. Outstanding! -Mike Supple

2005 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les St-Georges (91-93)
Cooler aromas with fresh spicy anise ober black cherries, hints of earth and iron, and light notes of cassis. Silky and rich on the front of the palate, and quickly gives way to an underlying deeper power. This wine is naturally 14.8% alcohol, but none of the heat is present on the palate. Outstanding balance of fruit, tannins and minerality. Light orange zest, cherries and cassis lead to a very long finish. -Mike Supple

Dinner with Thibault Liger-Belair at La Cabotte in Nuits-St-Georges

La Cabotte is a fun restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere, owned and operated by a husband (head chef) and wife (hostess etc). Unfortunately, they may be leaving soon to go to New York, but the restaurant will stay open, left in the capable hands of one of their other chefs. I can only hope the food remains as amazing.

Thibault speaks English incredibly well, and has a boisterous, fun and welcoming personality. Long story short: dinner was a blast. At La Cabotte we ran in to Olivier L’Arlot – winemaker of Domaine L’Arlot – and his wife, who were gracious enough to share their dinner wines with us, spreading the fun around.

-1999 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc
-We had a the 1999 Leflaive 1er Cru Les Pucelles last night, and were disappointed by how oxidized it had already become. However, this little Bourgogne Blanc had a lot of life left in it, and was drinking beautifully.
-2003 Domaine Bertagne Clos Vougeot Les Cras
-Very buttery minerality on the nose. Great balance on the palate with a spicy cream quality.
-2003 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les St-Georges
-This is a huge wine with 15% natural alcohol – that is so well balanced the alcohol does not come through in the least. Intense fruit is accented by light mint and herbal notes with a bold lingering minerality.
-2005 Thibault Liger-Belair Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
-2001 Domaine Lafarge Volnay Villages

The meal:
-Amuse Bouches: Fried potato balls in a cumin aioli, tempura cone (picture a thin ice cream cone) filled with mashed potato and Comte, gaspazcho
-Tempura frog’s legs over risotto and fresh herbs
-Roast duckling breast with golden potatoes, mushrooms, and a cassis glaze (yes, I chose duck twice in one day – for the record, this one was prepared a little better)
-Fromages: goat cheese from Puligny, Citaux, Epoisse, Comte and 2 Blue cheeses
-Tart tatin with ice cream made from salted cream and caramel

Encore, on a trop manger!

Burgundy Day 2 – 05 June 2007

by Mike Supple

Today’s tastings had us travelling from Vosne-Romanee in the Cote de Nuits down to Chassagne-Montrachet in the Cote de Beaune. We tasted more amazing wines, met some great wine makers, and continued to explore the intense local cuisine.

Most of what we are tasting is still 2006 white barrel samples, but the various winemakers brought out some of the big guns today, both while tasting and at the meals. Burgundy truly is an exceptional wine region that can show how incredibly smooth, silky, elegant and seductive a well made Pinot Noir can be.

Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret

We are staying in the Hotel Le Richebourg, located in the south end of Vosne-Romanee, just north of Nuits-St-Georges. Turns out that our balconies look directly out on to Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret – which made going there to taste this morning a rather convenient short walk.

Mongeard-Mugneret is a well respected name in red Burgundy world wide, and I greatly anticipated this part of our trip. Mongeard-Mugneret wines are known to be a very classic style of Burgundy, always focused and pure regardless of the vintage, with an amazing balance and silkiness on the palate.

We met with Vincent Mongeard, the owner and wine-maker since 1997. That date is however somewhat misleading. The winery and cellars are all located below the house in which Vincent was raised, and when we asked how long he has been making the wine for Mongeard-Mugneret, he simply laughed and said, “Depuis la naissance” (since birth).

While somewhat quiet and reserved at first Vincent really opened up as the tasting progressed, and shared many of his philosophies on where Burgundy is headed, how the 2006 vintage is coming along (to which he compared his reds somewhat to 2002), and how pricing works (or at least should in his mind) in Burgundy. Much of this we have on video, which will be viewable right here shortly.

After tasting through several of his wines in different vintages, I couldn’t help but ask how he maintained such finesse in his wines in both good and lesser vintages. Particularly in 2003 and 2005 when the hotter weather has made so many of the other 2005 reds much more bold, fruit forward and extracted. For Vincent, the most important aspect of making the wine (and the reason they always have such a silky quality) is picking the grapes at the optimum time for the proper balance of acid and sugar. This in turn makes the wine incredibly balanced, which brings out the smooth mouthfeel. In 2005, the power of the wine was toned down some by his use of 100% new oak barrels. This is generally not something he does, but felt that the 2005 was a vintage that not only could be, but must be, toned with strong oak. That being said, none of his 2005s have an overpowering new oak quality to them. The oak that he uses is very expense: he uses only very dry oak. Making a barrel with such dry oak is difficult, as it lends itself to breaking more easily. However, the dry oak has such tight grains that it softens the wine without adding too much flavor or aroma to the wine.

2006 was a vintage “tres mechant”, to which hand-sorting played a major roll. They had to be very selective as to which berries made through to guarantee a certain intensity, quality and purity of fruit. For Mongeard-Mugneret, 2006 is a very good vintage that expresses the individual terroir of each vineyard very well.

2006 Mongeard-Mugneret Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Narbontins
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne Romanee Villages
Still undergoing malolactic fermentation.
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Mongeard-Mugneret Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru
Malo has finished and the wine has been sulfured.
A hint of candied licorice aromas dance behind rich red cherry. The new oak is somewhat present on the front of the palate, but this is a big wine with big tannins. Powerful raspberry and candied cherries lead into a sweet finish accented by a mineral quality. This is a nicely concentrated wine. -Mike Supple

2006 Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru
Gamy aromas with rustic hints to the fruit. Toasty notes up font are followed by very intense, focused fruit with blueberry characteristics. In the mouth the wine is rich and toasty with spicy hints of vanilly. Dark and rich, yet very nicely balanced with fairly powerful tannic structure. Nice lingering minerality. -Mike Supple

2005 Mongeard-Mugneret Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru (N/A)
This wine was unfortunately corked and there was no back-up immediately available. -Mike Supple

2005 Mongeard-Mugneret Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
Hints of cranberry on the nose over sweet red cherry and blackberry, followed by light notes of violet. In the mouth? Wow! Elegance, finesse and purity. Very bold and full, yet remains balanced with a fantastic ripe tannic structure. The depth of fruit is amazing, and the sweet dark flavors linger for a long time. -Mike Supple

2004 Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Orveaux (91)
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2004 Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru (90-93)
The grapes for this wine all come from a specific plot within Echezeaux that is separate from where Vincent gets his other Echezeaux grapes. These vines are aged 75+ years, and have never been replanted. Rather, they are letting the vines continue to produce until the quality drops or the yields get too low, at which point they will all be ripped out and replanted.
Heavy dill aromas up front are followed by more subtle, cool dark fruits. Light wet stone leads to aromas of cassis and blackberry. The dill is still bold on the palate, followed by a sweet, dark core of fruit. This is a full yet very soft and lush wine with a nice intensity of tannins on the back-end. -Mike Supple

2003 Mongeard-Mugneret Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru (92-95)
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

1985 Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru (97+)
The aromas are rich and toasty. Sweet red cherries with a touch of dried tobacco are supported by hints of roast tomato, pecorino romano cheese and rich blackberries and raspberries. The mouthfeel is simply outstanding. This is a very seductive, elegant wine. Rich raspberry and cherry flavors are accented by light white and black truffle. The tannins are still powerful, and the life of the fruit suggests this could age another 5-10 years easily. -Mike Supple

Bernard Morey et Fils

Shaun Bishop with Bernard Morey

A 45 minute taxi-ride away from Mongeard-Mugneret, and we were in the heart of Chassagne-Montrachet, waiting to wander through the caves of Bernard Morey. When Bernard’s father, Albert Morey, retired in 1981, he divided his property among his two sons, Bernard and Jean Marc. Bernard makes many wines both from the properties he acquired, as well as juice and grapes he acquires as a negociant. In an average vintage, his total production is around 10,000 cases and is divided into approximately 60% white and 40% red, 80% of which is Domaine wine. His two sons, Thomas and Vincent, having completed internships in Bordeaux and Alsace, help Bernard in the vineyards and the winery. Bernard is also the Mayor of Chassagne-Montrachet, and has been since 1995.

Bernard makes his wines in a fairly intense and powerful style, and therefore usually waits to harvest his grapes, giving them time to ripen further. This vintage however was somewhat different due to the heat. The grapes were ripening so quickly during harvest that a few days of waiting could have meant a jump of a percent or more in alcohol.

Many of Bernard’s vineyards are on hillsides, which proved to be an extra boon this year: a lot of rain fell in August, and rather than diluting the intensity of his grapes, the limestone hillsides provided good drainage to appropriately get rid of the water so it did not negatively affect the grapes.

An interesting side note: Bernard feels that St-Aubin is potentially one of the best rising values in white Burgundy. Until recently, due to the location of the vineyards, the grapes did not ripen quite enough to give the full depth and character of many other vineyards. For this reason, the price of St-Aubin has remained lower. Thanks to the recent warming trend across the globe, the grapes of St-Aubin are able to reach full maturity, and the wines are increasing in quality faster than they are increasing in price.

2006 Bernard Morey Bourgogne Blanc
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey St-Aubin Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey St-Aubin 1er Cru Le Puits
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey St-Aubin 1er Cru Les Charmois
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Santenay 1er Cru Passetemps
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Beaune 1er Cru Les Greves
The Greves vineyard was the last white vineyard harvested by Bernard. He also grows Pinot Noir in the vineyard, and rather than harvesting twice, he waited a few days for the Pinot to be ready and harvested them both at once.
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Puligny-Montrachet
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Macherelles
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chenevottes
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St. Jean
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Baudines
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Embrazees
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Dents de Chien
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Vide Bourse
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Truffiere
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Bernard Morey Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

After the tasting, we walked down to a local restaurant of which Bernard is part owner. On the way, we passed the Domaine of Michel Niellon who happened to be outside at the time. And what else should he be wearing, but *gasp* a Robert Mondavi shirt. Who says the French don’t drink American wine? Oh yeah, everyone in Bordeaux did. Perhaps the Burgundians are just a little more adventurous than the Bordelais.

Lunch at “Le Chassagne”
1959 Morey Puligny Montrachet
This wine is a blend of two 1er Cru vineyards: Champ-Gain and Morgeot. We tasted this wine blind. Rich and golden yellow in color, but without a hint of brown. The nose also smelled rather fresh, and the palate had such an intensity of acid and lively fruit, that we did not think it could be older than early to mid 1980s. Boy were we wrong! A light truffle aroma was present over rich creamy fruits. In the mouth the wine had a gorgeous texture with an amazing depth of fruit and minerality, leading to the long, lingering creamy, caramel finish.
1999 Morey Santenay 1er Cru Grand Clos Roussea

-Amuse Bouche: salmon wrapped in creme fraiche and sesame seeds; puff pastry with poppy seeds; fresh olives.
-Tuna tartare in an avacado and cream sauce
-Escargots and langoustines
-Sadre de Saone (wild Turbot) with white asparagus
-Assorted Cheeses

Domaine Vincent Girardin

That’s the last time I ask for a bottle of the house Chardonnay…

As is evidenced by the enormous number of wines in his portfolio, Vincent Girardin is one of the hardest working negociants in Burgundy (he also owns 37 acres of his own across Burgundy). He began working with some of the lesser known appellations in Burgundy, and makes some outstanding wines for great values. Once he had made a name for himself, he continued to grow, and now produced many great 1er Cru and Grand Cru wines as well. While he produces both red and white, today we were tasting only the 2006 whites at his cellar in Meursault.

In 2006 Vincent harvested his whites rather early, but wishes he had perhaps harvested even a bit earlier: the riper fruit gives a fatter, rounder wine with higher alcohol, but does not have as much acidic intensity. The alcohol content in his wines ranges from 13.5% – 14.5% in 2006. He has not stirred the lees in any of his wines, and is using drastically less new oak on his wines in 2006. He felt that doing this would allow the terroir to express itself better in each of his wines; while the wines might be somewhat less exuberant they will have more personality. The amount of new oak he is using in 2006 is approximately: 15% for Village wines, 25% for 1er Cru and 35% for Grand Cru.

2006 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes
(Notes to come. ) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Meursault Les Narvaux
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Romanee
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Champ Gain
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatieres
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (92-94)
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Quintessence de Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
This is a small section of the vineyard entirely in the middle of the slope.
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Vincent Girardin Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

After the tasting we joined Vincent and his wife Veronique back at their house and met their two young sons (9 and 11) – potential great winemakers of the future! We were joined by Pascal Lachaux and his wife Florence (Arnoux) Lachaux of Domaine Robert Arnoux. We will be tasting the Arnoux wines on Friday.

We (minus the kids) went to an outstanding local restaurant in Puligny Montrachet, which is aptly named “Le Montrachet”. The game of food and wine continues…

2004 Vincent Dancer Chassagne Montrachet La Romanee
1999 Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles
-This wine was oxidized and past its prime already. Rather disappointing. If you have any of this in your cellar, try a bottle now, as you may want to drink it soon.
1999 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Tessons, Clos de Mon Plaisir
1999 Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets Clos des 60 Ouvrees
1998 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Grands Epenots

-Amuse bouche: langoustine, cheese puffs, cream pastry, chilled mache soup
-White and green asparagus with shaved Parmesan cheese
-Roasted lamb chops with golden potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes
-Fromages: Epoises, Citeaux, Cindre, Melic de Chambertin, Delice de Pommard

Trip to Burgundy – 04 June 2007 – 2006 Burgundy Tasting Notes

by Mike Supple

Today was an outstanding day of sampling and feasting, and bodes well for the upcoming week, as Shaun Bishop and I make our way around Burgundy.

We started our trip off with one of the most famous white wine regions in the world – Puligny Montrachet – home of some of the best Chardonnay (and white wines in general).

We are tasting many of the 2006 white barrel samples. Bear in mind that any tasting notes and scores I give for the 2006 whites are just a rough first impression of these wines. Many of them have just recently finished going through malolactic fermentation, some are still in the middle of it, and others are still undergoing the primary alcoholic fermentation. Barrel samples this young and raw do not give a clear idea of where the wines will end up, but we are getting a very good impression of the quality of the vintage in general. 2006 is going to be a fantastic vintage for White Burgundy. In many ways it is similar to 2005, with outstanding acid levels, but also a purity and richness that accompanies it. Often in Burgundy, a great vintage is measured by the red wines. I have not tasted many 2006 red yet, so I cannot speak personally to it, but from what I’ve heard, 2006 will not be quite as stunning for the red. Do NOT let this dissuade you from the 2006 whites. If you miss these wines, you will be sorely disappointed.

Domaine Louis Carillon et Fils
We met with Jacques Carillon this morning and he gave us some great insights into Puligny-Montrachet as well as the 2006 vintage.

For those who do not know Dom Louis Carillon, the Domaine has been in the family and has been passed down from father to son since 1632. It is currently being run by Jacques Carillon (wine maker) and Francois Carillon (vineyard manager). As with most great Burgundy producers, their production is limited to a few hundred cases at the most for the Premiers Crus, and a barrel or so (25 cases) of the Grands Crus. In Carillon’s opinion, the 2006 vintage is in between characteristics of 2004 and 2005, but his is closer to 2005. Where the other Domaines fall will depend heavily on when they harvested: earlier harvest means higher acidity and closer to 2004, while later harvest means riper fruit with softer acid which is more like 2005.
Jacques Carillon is a somewhat quiet man, and clearly passionate about what he does. While there, he ran back and forth between his various cellars to bring us samples of each of his wines. In Puligny, the water table is very high. For this reason, cellars cannot go below a certain depth, or they would flood. Instead of large deep cellars, many Domaines have long winding ones, and often several different smaller ones under various parts of their property.
A few of his village appellation wines of which he has a larger production, he has vinified several different lots separately. To give us a better idea of twhat the wines will be like as a whole, he pulled samples from the different lots for us to try. For the sake of brevity, I am combining notes into one large impression of the wine in these cases.

2006 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet Villages
Malo lactic fermentation finished three months ago, and the wine is still separated into 5 different cuvees (separated by harvest date). The assemblage will happen in July.
The aromas are light and toasty over bright tropical notes and hints of green apple leading in to a deeper note of caramel. In the mouth the wine has very nice acidity. This is a bold, rather powerful wine with a solid streak of minerality underneath it. The flavors are primarily tropical, with pineapple showing very clearly. -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Louis Carillon Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Macherelles
These vines were planted in 2003, so this is the 4th year of the vines, and the first year they are allowed to produce the wine under the 1er Cru designation. There will be around 250 cases of this produced.
The aromas are very rich, with a nice flinty quality over rich lemon and vanilla. The wine enters the palate very creamy , leading in to a nice medium body. Green pear and lemon dominate the palate. Stronger acidity kicks in on the back end, brining light smoky notes and some bold spice. This is a rounder wine with slightly less acid than the ’06 Puligny-Montrachet. -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champs Canet
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Dom Louis Carillon Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
Only 2 barrels of this wine will be produced (~50 cases).
This is an incredibly well balanced wine that is very full and rich on the nose. The bright fruit is surrounded by a strong fliny, wet stone minerality. On the palate the acid is bold from front to back, but the fruit is dense and supports the acid well. Great depth and balance, with flinty lemon and green apple qualities. Very long finish. -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Louis Carillon Chassagne-Montrachet Villages
This is from the 1er Cru vineyard Les Macherelles, but the vines were too young in 2005 to be allowed to carry the 1er Cru designation.
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champs Canet
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er CruLes Combettes
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Dom Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot

Jean-Marc Boillot worked for 13 vintages in his family’s domaine, Henri Boillot. Determined to improve his family’s wines, he walked out in protest and began his own domaine in 1984. He made wine for Olivier Leflaive for the next four years, while at the same time producing wines under his own label. He now runs his domaine from his grandfather Henri Boillot’s house and cellars in the village of Pommard.
Boillot produces wines from his own vineyards, as well as purchasing many and producing negociant wines. The negociant side is becoming more and more difficult to support however, as large corporations (like Jadot, Louis Latour) and champagne-backed companies (like LVMH – think Dom Perignon) are able to step in with huge bank accounts and offer outrageous amounts of money for the wines. This is artificially inflating the cost of the wines, while at the same time making it more difficult for the smaller negociants to compete.
Touching base quickly on my previous point of overlooked outstanding white vintages in years when the reds are not as critically acclaimed, when asked to rank recent white vintages in his order of preference, Jean-Marc replied: “2004, 2006, 2005”.
Boillot produces mostly white wines, but does dabble a little in the reds as well. We asked him which is more gratifying to make: “With Pinot Noir it is possible to make the greatest red wine in the world…but only once every 10 years”.

2006 J.M. Boillot Montagny 1er Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Rully St-Jacques
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Rully 1er Cru Meix Cadot
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Rully 1er Cru Gresigny
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot St-Aubin 1er Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Meursault Charrons
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Bourgogne Blanc
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Macherelles
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Puligny-Montrachet Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes
Herbaceous up front followed by a fierce minerality and a rich lemon aroma. Rich and full throughout the palate, this is a very powerful wine with great depth and structure. Even through the power, the wine maintains a subtle finesse. Powerful citrus fruit flavors float over a core of minerality, leading to a creamy lemon zest finish. -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Truffiere
Strong limestone characteristics make this a very structured and elegant wine, with hints of floral notes over lemon and light tropical notes. In the mouth the wine has a fantastic balanced purity to it. Flavors of honeydew melon and lemon lead in to a long spicy, toasty finish. -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
This is a very complex and focused wine, even at this young age. Full, rich citrus aromas are complemented by hints of fresh anise and wet flint. Mango and light anise flavors come through on the front palate. Full, rich and very well balanced with nice structure and a lingering finish. This wine is more powerful than the Truffiere, but has slightly less minerality. -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Volnay –
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Carelle Sous Chapelle
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Pitures
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens
In Boillot’s opinion, Rugiens should be a Grand Cru vineyard, and often produces wines better than Corton.
The nose has a dark toasty herbaceousness to it over rich dark fruits. In the mouth black cherries dominate the palate. Sweet blackberry and strawberry lead in to the finish. Great texture: powerful, yet elegant. -Mike Supple

2006 J.M. Boillot Pommard 1er Cru Jarollieres
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

After the tasting, we sat down to a home-cooked lunch prepared for us by Jean-Marc’s wife, Veronique. How she managed to find time to cook this amazing meal for us, I have no idea. She is a professional oenologist, and has 38 clients spread throughout Burgundy. She consults in some of the most prestigious wineries in Burgundy (her husband’s included).

Our “light” lunch:
Clear noodles in a light creme freche, served chilled, and topped with yellow tomato, fresh mozzerella, langoustine (crayfish), fresh passion fruit and sweet basil.
Pan seared fillet de veau topped with olive oil, cracked pepper, rose petal salt and sliced black truffle.
Green salad composed of fresh local vegetables: asperge sauvage (wild asparagus, only available 15 days of the year), peas, yellow squash, green asparagus, carrots and cucumber, served with a fresh red bell pepper and grapefruit dressing.
Cheese plate: a semi-firm Italian cow’s milk infused with black truffles, a soft cow’s milk from Pommard infused with cassis, a soft goat’s milk.

Domaine Etienne-Sauzet

Gerard Boudot is the lively and outspoken owner and winemaker of Domaine Etienne-Sauzet. Gerard strives to express the terroir as fully as possible in each of his wines, making “purity and precision” the key to his winemaking style.
In sampling from barrels Gerard took samples from several different barrels that each contained wine from a specific vineyard, then mixed them before having us taste them. This should give us a better overall impression of where each wine is headed. Again, remember that since these wines are so young, all notes and scores could change as the wines mature.

2006 Sauzet Chassagne-Montrachet Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Gain
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perriers
This is the younges 1er Cru for Sauzet, with vines aged 20 years. This wine is still undergoing alcoholic fermentation and as sugar levels around 3 grams.
The nose is very dense, lush and tropical. On the palate ripe pear and melon are accented by a light apricot. Medium in body, with a nice acid. Slight sweetness to the finish will disappear once the alcoholic fermentation is complete. -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts
The soil in this vineyard is largely dense clay, giving the wine much more power.
On the nose the aromas are much fatter with rich tropical fruits and green pear dominating. The wine enters the palate sweet and rich, with toasty notes of white peach, pear and light pineapple. A solid acid core lends great balance to this wine, which finishes long and clean. -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatieres
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Canet
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes
57 year old vines.
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Sauzet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Canet
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Sauzet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

Domaine Thierry & Pascale Matrot

The wild and gregarious winemaker Thierry Pascale lead us through the tasting of his 2006 whites and 2005 reds. Domaine Matrot is one of the oldest estate-bottlers in Burgundy and a key player in the best Meursault. Thierry has a rather keen and sarcastic sense of humor and is rather quick tongued in both French and English, which is much more of a rarity in Burgundy than in Bordeaux.

2006 Matrot Bourgogne Blanc
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Matrot Meursault Villages
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Matrot Meursault Les Chevalieres
A special cuvee made only for the U.S. market, aged in 30% new oak.
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Matrot Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Matrot Meursault-Charmes 1er Cru
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Matrot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chalumeaux
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2006 Matrot Puligny-Montrachet La Quintessence
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Matrot Monthelie
A blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Beurot, a white grape in the Pinot Family.
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Matrot Meursault Rouge
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

2005 Matrot Volnay-Santenots 1er Cru
Dark fruit aromas of blackberry with hints of cassis, light dill, and basil over fresh raspberry. The palate entry is smooth as silk. The wine has great balance with some nice bold tannins in the back showing its ability to age. Rich and full, with pretty dark red and black fruits in the lingering finish. -Mike Supple

2005 Matrot Blagny 1er Cru La Piece Sous le Bois
Black truffle notes over spicy rich dark fruit aromas: blackberry and a hint of plum. The palate is spicy and dark with blackberry and cassis flavors complemented by a touch of sweet licorice. The tannins are present but ripe, giving this wine a fantastic mouthfeel. -Mike Supple

2003 Matrot Blagny 1er Cru La Piece Sous le Bois
(Notes to come.) -Mike Supple

Thierry threw in this lovely 2003 for us to try as a way to accent one of his theories. Over the past century, 1911, 1929, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1985 and 1989 are all hailed as great vintages. A commonality between them all is that they were extremely hot. In general this lowers the acid content and raises the alcohol content in the wines. 2003 was such a vintage, and has been somewhat cast aside due to the lower acid content. It is an incredibly ripe and fruit forward vintage, and several of the ’03s I’ve had are showing very well. Thierry believes that because of the similarities these other great vintages had to 2003, would could quite possible be in for a great surprise in several years when the 2003 begins to age gracefully, maintaining its fruit and structure.

Dinner was prepared for us chez Matrot by Thierry’s wife (and business partner) Pascale. Elsa, their youngest of three daughters, also joined us for dinner. We also ate with another friend of theirs, who is shy and asked not to have his photo posted online. Thierry’s wit and wisdom was clearly (at the very least) matched by Pascale, and Elsa inherited it as well. Needless to say, dinner was a raucous, friendly, and delicious event.

The wines served with dinner were:
2003 Matrot Puligny Montrachet Village
1992 Matrot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chalumeaux
1990 Matrot Meursault-Charmes 1er Cru
1983 Matrot Volnat-Santenots 1er Cru

And the meal:
Homemade tomato and cheese tart
Mache Salad
Potatoes baked in a light oil and garlic
Roast Guinea Hen
Cheese plate: Citeaux (a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese made in the Abbye of Citeaux in Dijon, and rarely found outside of Burgundy – it’s amazing), Parmesan, Cantal (cow’s milk from Auvergne), and another from the south of France pronounced “lay-oh” but which I did not get the spelling
Dessert: Sweet cherry cake made from cherries picked from the Matrot domaine