Fermented Grape

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Disappointing 2008 Bouchard Père et Fils Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts

Drunk November 2017 @ home

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I'm a big fan of Burgundy wine, but not such a fan of the crazy prices for top Appellations these days. Vosne-Romanée (Côte de Nuits , Cote d'Or) wines are a particular favourite and an opportunity to buy a Premier Cru from the Les Beaux Monts vineyard from Bouchard Père et Fils in Beaune a few years back on a wine tasting visit to the region was welcome. 

So I finally opened the 2008 vintage bottle a couple of days ago. First impressions were disappointing as the nose was very limited. More like a villages than a Premier Cru. The wine itself was heavy in acidity and a little tannic despite 9 years of ageing. Complexity was lacking. Gutted as was over 70 euros. I see the wine is now on sale for well over 100 euros. 

2008 was a tough year in Burgundy for winemakers. Fortunately, 2009 and 2010 were much, much kinder. The vintage is so important in Burgundy, compared with more stable climatic regions like California.

Vosne-Romanée map

2008 Burgundy Vintage Report

Little sunshine March/April sunshine and rainfall double the norm and more rain and a cool June saw protracted flowering with plenty of mildew around. July was sunnier but cool, dull weather returned mid-August and ripening was slow and erratic, grey rot creating further problems. A bright, sunny dawn on 14 September, with drying north-easterly winds, began concentrating grapes and clearing infection: sunshine persisted, and picking got fully underway under ideal conditions in the latter part of September.

Despite mildew, rot, and inconsistent ripening, 2008’s cool weather and late drying sunshine created a good balance of bright acidity and ripeness. Hallmarks are dark red colour, great purity of fruit, and a serious rather than showy character. The wines don’t have great depth but the best have purity and focus.

Domaine Bernard Moureau et fils Chassagne-Montrachet 2013, Burgundy

Drunk June 2017 @ home

The winery

Domaine Bernard Moureau is located in Burgundy's Chassagne-Montrachet. The majority of the domaine’s 14 hectares (out of which 9 are owned and five are farmed) were assembled by Marcel Moreau in the 1930s. Bernard Moreau, the father of Alexandre and Benoit who presently run the domaine, took over the vineyards and cellar in the early 1960s at the age of 14 years. Around two thirds of production uses the Chardonnay grape.

In 1977 the reputation of this great estate was fully established under the leadership of Bernard and Françoise Moreau and the winery was named Domaine Bernard Moreau. In addition to the changes in equipment, farming and wine making, they also purchased additional land bringing the vineyard total to 14 hectares. To help with wine making, viticulture and sales, sons Alex and Benoît joined the Domaine after having worked in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Alex and Benoit have loosely split the responsibilities of the operation with Benoit more focused on the vineyards and Alex more focused on the cellar. There first vintage was 1995 and they took over control of the vineyards and winemaking in 1999. 

The Domaine applies a hands-off approach in the vineyard and in the winery. Chemical herbicides and pesticides aren't used in the Domaine's vineyards and worganic fertilisers are in sole use. Harvest is done by by hand and natural yeasts are used in fermentation. To ensure greater flavor intensity they farm the land for lower yields through pruning, debudding, green harvesting in August, leaf thinning for Pinot Noir (on the morning sun side), and the planting of cover crops in certain vineyards to encourage competition and soak up moisture.

Wines are aged in oak, without racking or lees stirring, retaining the natural carbon dioxide of the process for as long as possible. The Bourgognes are aged in older barrels, before being assembled in tanks. The village wines are aged in barrels 25% of which are new, and the premiere crus are aged in 30-50% new oak. The total elevage in barrels is considered vintage by vintage and vary between 12-20 months, plus another one to three months in tank to slowly settle the lees. The wines are bottled without filtration but with a slight fining. Bernard states, “For our Pinot Noirs we don’t do any racking, fining or filtration. We want to make the purest expression of the Pinot Noir from our vineyards.”

Domaine Bernard Moureau vineyards Burgundy

The Domaine’s most famous own vineyard is its 0.35 hectares of Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Les Grandes Rouchotes.

The Wine

Represents 30% of the Domaine's production. Alexandre Moreau described 2013 as "a very complicated season, with "good acidity but also a bit of botrytis, giving false sweetness," . "We had no idea what we had, but the vintage has turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The wines are rounder than the 2012s, which were very taut here."

20% new oak; made from multiple parcels, combined in the press, with two-thirds of the fruit coming from the Puligny side of the appellation.

 Fermented Grape Tasting Notes

This Chassagne-Montrachet village wine had nice aromas of peach and citrus but slightly austere for me with moderately high acidity, clean on the palate,  so not that easy drinking. Good villages wine from the area but you pay the price in Burgundy. 

Sessantanni Primitivo Di Manduria DOP 2013, San Marzano, Apulia, Italy

Drunk June 2017 @ home

The winery

Cantine San Marzano

In 1962 nineteen vineyard owners from San Marzano in Apulia (Southern Italy),  whose families   had   farmed   the   land   for   generations, combined   their   efforts   to   establish   “Cantine San Marzano”. Since then this co-ooperative has grown significantly, attracting over 1200 vine growers producing elegant wines in a traditional style with distinctive varietal  and  regional characters, seasonal variation and local terroir.

Apulia  region

Manduria, Province of Taranto, Apulia, Italy

Manduria, Province of Taranto, Apulia, Italy

Apulia, in the heart of the acclaimed DOP (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta) “Primitivo di Manduria” area, is a strip of land between the Ionian and the Adriatic seas. It is situated in the province of Taranto and Brindisi, in Puglia, an area known for its wine and olive trees growing in a red soil surface. 

Puglia is a southern region of Italy forming the heel of Italy’s “boot,” with its capital Bari.

The vineyard’s soils and the Mediterranean terroir play a fundamental role in the production wines, with an extreme climate, frosts, drought and the sirocco winds making it difficult for wine makers. 

The wine

Production area: 60 year old vineyards, selected in San Marzano and Sava. The soil is mainly “red earth”, with a fine texture and a generally calcareous underground with few emerging rocks. The well-known redness of these soils is due to the presence of iron oxides. The climate is characterised by high temperatures all year round, very little rainfall and a wide temperature range between night and dayThis is the central area of d.o.p. “Primitivo di Manduria”.

Harvest period: Second half of September.

Vinification: Grapes are hand-harvested in advanced status of ripening. Maceration: 18 days on 80% of the mass, 25 days on remaining 20% (with selected autochthonous yeasts). Thermo- controlled alcoholic fermentation at 24-26°C.

Ageing: 12 months in fine French and American wood barrels

Ageing potential:  Up to 7 years.

Serving temperature: About 18°C.

Fermented Grape Tasting Notes

The Primitivo Sessantanni showcases a completely new generation of Southern Italian wine making. With a reassuringly heavy bottle, in the glass it is ruby red with jammy, pruny aromas which continue on the palate. Significant legs on the glass. This is a big full bodied wine, like a Port or Barossa Shiraz but also very different. The palate is dominated by intense, fleshy fruit - plums and black cherry. It is ultra smooth with soft, fine tannins with a long finish. Ideally suited for meat. 

A little heavy but nevertheless very enjoyable and a lovely example of Italian wine with a distinctive style reflecting the terroir of the South. Managed to pick up on a Primitivo 25% off offer at the Swiss Co-op at around CHF 20 so also great price and one more bottle to sample tucked in the cellar.

Rippon Pinot Noir 2011, Lake Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand

Drunk March 2015 @ home

The Winery

Originally bought in 1912 by the Mills family, it was in 1975 that Rolfe and Lois Mills, the third generation of the family on the farm, started to plant a series of experimental rows of vines near Lake Wanaka in Central Otago. In 1982 they planted the first block of vines with the express interest of producing high quality wine. In 1989 their first commercial vintage was released. The land continues to be farmed by the Mills family with Rolfe's son Nick now in charge, and production is entirely biodynamic with no irrigation.

ick Mills, Rippon

See Nick's video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGMd1jQEE2s

Nick Mills returned home after several years away, working with Alain and Sophie Meunier at Domaine JJ Confuron, and Pascal Marchand (late of Domaine Comte Armand and now at Domaine de la Vougeraie) in Burgundy.

Nick Mills on Biodynamics, "Granted custodianship over this very special piece of land, the family's principle goal is to create vins de terroir, wines that are an accurate reflection of their surroundings. It is the micro-life in our soils which, in their ability to metabolise minerals into a form that vines can assimilate, are the link in between plants and the earth. This simple biology is the essential framework in producing a wine which is true to its soil and site. With this understanding comes an absolute respect for the land and life therein and it is for this reason that Rippon is run biodynamically. Decisions made in the vineyard and winery first consider the effect the outcome may have on the micro-flora of the soils, vines & wines. Rippon does not use herbicides, fungicides, pesticides or soluble nitrogenous fertilisers on the property. All the property's organic waste matter is recycled to make around 40 tonnes of fungal dominant compost every year. This is spread back over the land during the first descending moon after harvest as an inoculation of beneficial micro-flora for the whole property...and thus starts a diverse and vital web of life on which to live and produce."

The estate is around 15 hectares in size and sits on a north facing escarpment. 

The wine

This Pinot had great aromas and lovely intense, concentrated flavours of cherry and blackberry with a hint of spice, earthy notes on the palate. Fine tannins, and a long juicy finish. Very enjoyable balance of fruit, acidity and tannin from this bio wine with powerful flavours. 

Château Haut-Marbuzet 2010, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux

Drunk@home December 2015

The winery

Château Haut-Marbuzet is a Bordeaux wine estate in the Saint-Estèphe appellation area of the Haut-Médoc. 

It was founded in the 18th century, taking its name from Marbuzet, the area where the property resides and  established by Alexander de Segur, who owned several Bordeaux wine properties including another, much better known St. Estephe vineyard, Calon Segur. At his death, the land was divided and sold and in 1825, the land was purchased by the MacCarthy family, who officially established the modern estate as it is known today.

In 1952 after Hervé Duboscq acquired Château Haut-Marbuzet, the focus and reputation of quality increased and his son Henri is now the current owner of the estate.  The Duboscq family also owns two other Bordeaux estates in the St. Estephe, appellation, Chateau Chambert Marbuzet and Tour de Marbuzet.

Initially listed among the Cru Bourgeois in 1932, and later promoted to Grand Bourgeois Exceptionnel in 1978, the estate was classified as one of 9 Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnels in the 2003 official listing.  

Located between châteaux Cos d'Estournel and Montrose, the vineyard covers 65 hectares and is planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. Overlooking the Gironde estuary, it is mainly located on the gravel ridge of Marbuzet and the plateau of Long Treytin with gravel, clay and limestone soils. On average, the vines are close to 30 years of age. 

On average, the estate produces about 30,000 cases of Haut Marbuzet per year. There is a second wine, MacCarthy. A second wine is produced from the vines under 12 years old, under the label Château MacCarthy, which bears the name of the Irish Jacobite family who created the vineyard.

The wine

This 2010 Château Haut-Marbuzet had a powerful blackcurrant nose which continued on the palate with a fruity dark fruit style. Quite high acidity and not the smoothest of finishes meant that a 35 euro price seems excessive. Despite this being a top vintage, pleasant enough but not outstanding.