Burgundy

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. 

Jospeh Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2011, Burgundy

Drunk@home December 2015

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The wine

This Joseph Drouhin wine is made from Pinot Noir at the heart of the famous Chambolle-Musigny vineyard, with an East exposure. The name of the village Chambolle is probably derived from the Celtic "cambola", already reputed for its vineyards in Gallo-Roman times and cultivated by the monks in the Middle Ages.  

Drouhin owns several Premier Cru parcels in the appellation and since they are too small, these vineyards (Noirots, Hauts Doix, Borniques, Plantes, Combottes) are harvested and vinified together.  The total area is 1.3 ha. (3.25 acres) with average age of the vines of 32 years.The name given to this wine is therefore Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru (since the components of this "cuvée" are all Premier Crus). The vineyards have been organic since 1990 and more recently use biodynamic cultivation techniques so only authorised products for biological cultivation are used: infusions and macerations of plant materials, sulfur and copper, powdered rock. Natural predators are not eliminated.

Yields are kept low, around 20% less than allowed by the current law. Harvesting is by hand, in small open crates in order to preserve the integrity of the fruit. Maceration and vinification take 2 to 3 weeks using indigenous yeasts
"Pigeage" (punching down of the cap during fermentation): once a day until half of fermentation is done; one pumping over (remontage) per day until the end of the fermentation.

The wine was aged in French Oak barrels (20% in new oak) for 14 to 18 months and the finished bottle can be cellared for 8-25 years.

Fermented Grape tasting notes

Burgundy's 2011 vintage was pretty poor quality rot, storms, hail and changeable temperatures.  Compared with the excellent 2010 vintage, Pinot Noir quality was variable and careful selection by producer is key. 

Fortunately this Jospeh Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2011 was very good. The nose was strong with cherry and the forest floor which continued on the palate with plum, black cherry and spice with fine tannins and a nice level of acidity.  Fruit, acidity, tannin were finely balanced and with a light style. Expensive but this was top Burgundy and shows the quality of the Chambolle-Musigny area with its highly fragranced wines. 

Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets Grand Cru Domaine des Héritiers 2004, Aloxe-Corton, Burgundy, France

Drunk September 2015 @ home

The vineyard

The commune of Aloxe-Corton in the Côte de Beaune has the unusual distinction of having over half its area covered in Grand Cru vineyards.

The Grand Cru vineyard of Les Pougets is directly adjacent to Le Charlemagne climat, on the upper and mid-slope.  It is among the five vineyards of the commune in which the variegated soils, alternating between chalk and iron-rich marl, produce both Corton Pougets and Corton Charlemagne.

This wine is fermented in vats during 3-4 weeks  and aged 18-20 months in oak barrels before bottling.

2004 was a tough year for wine producers in Burgundy with outbreaks of oidium (which attacks the grape and is powdery mildew fungus that devastated the vineyards of Europe in the mid-nineteenth century) as well as a hail.

It was also cold, wet and grey during the growing season which followed a cool winter, spring being a long time arriving. The weather continued unsettled in April and May, with delayed flowering.

After this wet and cool summer, September produced the first settled period of sunny weather in 2004.  

Reds were generally poor with some exhibiting too much acidity but the best examples did show elegance and purity if handled carefully by their producers.

The wine

FermentedGrape.com tasting notes

This Corton-Pougets Grand Cru Domaine des Héritiers 2004 from Louis Jadot was what I would deem as OK but it did not taste like a Grand Cru from Burgundy and I think the poor vintage was certainly to blame. If you don't have the sunshine, just like in 2013, then you get too much acidity, too much flesh, not enough of the Pinot Noir fragrances and earthy characteristics with the finesse you expect. 

At the price, around £40, it was not good value for money, but such is the curse of Burgundy these days. In the poor vintages, you need to pick carefully and then cellar for a long period. Maybe I will be more excited tonight on my second try?

Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice 2010, Domaine de la Vougeraie, Burgundy, France

Drunk JivaHill Resort, Crozet, France, August 2015 

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The winery

Domaine de la Vougeraie , based in the village of Premeaux-Prissey, close to Nuits St. Georges in the North of Burgundy represents a collection of remarkable vineyard plots acquired through two generations of strategic acquisition by its owners, the Boisset Family.

The third largest wine conglomerate in France, and the largest single producer in Burgundy, the Boisset Family has risen from humble beginnings in 1961, when an enterprising, 18-year-old Jean-Claude Boisset founded a negociant business in Nuits-St.-George. Three years later he purchased his first vines, and five years after that, he and his wife gave birth to their son Jean-Charles who, along with his sister Nathalie, currently runs the business. In the course of Jean-Charles Boisset's lifetime, the Boisset Family has acquired dozens of domaines and probably hundreds of vineyard plots in Burgundy.

In 1999, Jean-Charles and his sister combined the 86.4 acres across 28 different appellations  that the family owned into a new domaine which they called Vougeraie. They then began to transition all the vineyards to organic and biodynamic viticulture and it is now the largest organic and biodynamic producer in the Cote d'Or. The name comes from the significant holdings, plus the fact that it is Jean-Claude Boisset’s home, in the village of Vougeot. The winery is located however in the old Claudine Deschamps (Madame Jean-Claude Boisset) cellars in Prémeaux. 



With nearly 40 hectares of vineyard and over 30 different appellations, including six grand crus(Musigny, Bonnes Mares, Clos Vougeot, Charmes Chambertin, Mazoyères, Corton Clos du Roi and Corton Charlemagne), this is one of Burgundy’s leading domaines.

The wines were made by Pascal Marchand of Comte Armand in Pommard, from 1999 to 2005 and subsequently by Pierre Vincent who has maintained the more delicate approach. The winemaking has extensive sorting, fermentations are with ambient yeasts and multiple rackings take place according to the phases of the moon to clarify the wine.

Pierre Vincent Wine Maker

Pierre Vincent Wine Maker

The wine

La Justice is produced from two hectares located at the bottom of the village with two distinct terroirs. The alluvial “les graviers” gives very concentrated grapes of confirmed maturity, whereas the higher part yields a lighter style wine. The stronger characteristics of La Justice make this a wine to lay down.

The Domaine's Gevrey-Chambertin is assembled from several parcels.To the east of the village’s land lies La Justice which lies on the centreline of the cone containing geological material which has fallen from the coomb over 1000's of years. Part of this cuvée comes from a neighbouring climat, Craite-Paille.

The wine was harvested on September 25th, 2010 under very poor conditions with a yield of 41 hl/ha. The harvest 100% de-stemmed, not crushed and vatted by gravity. No yeast addition. Maceration: pre-fermentation, cold (12-15°C) during 5 days. Length of maceration: 20 days. Cap-punched once a day until mid-fermentation and light pumping-over until the end of maceration. Pressing with the vertical press.

Aged 16 months in oak barrels (30 % Toasting: gentle and slow. Source of wood: Allier grains fins ,Cher and Cîteaux). Light and soft filtration. No fining. Bottling by gravity January 18th, 2012. (Leaf Day) Limited to 1,998 bottles

FermentedGrape.com Tasting notes

A wonderfully robust Gevrey-Chambertin with its distinctive power so different from other styles from Burgundy, most certainly a masculine Pinot Noir. The aromas of the forest floor were abundant and the wine was deep ruby in colour. It was smooth and concentrated in fruit on the palate with a long finish with hints of spice, truffles.  Very enjoyable with red meat and a top class wine from Burgundy. I will be trying to check out more of the Domaine's wines given their biodynamic credentials.