The Semi-Annual Burgundy Report

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It’s a great time of the year to be in the wine business. Although, to be honest, all year is a great time to be in the wine business. But right now is when we have a multitude of trade tastings and with those come the wine makers. And with the wine makers comes knowledge. Specifically, knowledge about the vintage. And if there is one area in the world that is vintage specific its Burgundy. Early hail can wipe out a vintage, overbearing summer heat can destroy the fruit, late august rains can finish what otherwise may have been an exemplary vintage. Burgundy, by its geographic location gets all things that nature can conjure up – snow, ice, hail, scorching sun and devastating floods. And its why I find the wines from Burgundy some of the most intoxicating and complex wines in the world.
 
Over the last two weeks I have been privileged to taste some of my old favorites, like Bachelet-Monnot and Genot-Boulanger, and I have tasted some new and very exciting wines from the likes of Didier Fornerol and Charles Audoin. The vintages I concentrated on were 2015, 2016 and the new releases of 2017.
 
A short paragraph on the vintages can not do them any justice and so I apologize in advance – I would be more than happy to field phone call questions over each vintage and give much greater depth, but in order to keep you interested in this report I figure I should precis the salient points as best I can.
 
2015. An extraordinary vintage in both red and white Burgundy. The wines were built to be cellared. But 4 years on and their acidity and structure are still showing off their greatness. In a few more years they will encapsulate everything beautiful about Burgundy.
 
2016. A nail-biter. Frost in April destroyed large swathes of vineyards, without compassion. Yields were miniscule and scarcity became the norm. Rarity drove the prices higher, but the best wines are truly sublime – balancing great acidity with serious, concentrated fruit. Possibly less aging potential but that just means more to drink, now.
 
2017. A tremendously expressive vintage. Fruit forward, subtle, generous, silky smooth. These wines are the temptresses of yore. High tones and immediately accessible. Longer ageing potential than the 2016 but not as long as the 2015.These wines are a must have in any serious Burgundy collector’s cellar.
 
All the wines I have reviewed are presently in stock with their respective importers. However these wines do sell quickly and I cannot confirm an order’s status until such time as the wines have been paid for and I place a firm order. I will make this offering available until Thursday, March 28 at which time I must have entered all requests and orders with the importers. Delivery will then be the following week. The offering is for any quantity of any wine. Discounts are as follows: 6 bottles, 5%, 12 bottles, 10%, 13-24 bottles 15%, above 24 bottles, 20%.
 
And so here are my notes in absolutely no particular order. Where I could I have written scores since I know that people like to compare critics notes. I too, for the purpose of this article have used the Parker 100 score formula to rate the wines.
 
Domaine Taupenot – Merme Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains 2017.
Price: $28
Grape: Gamay/Pinot Noir
Red
CP: 90

Vineyards are located in Morey. 2017 offers great quality at this price and for this vintage. Layers of jammy fruit, soft, lush with a brightness coming from the gamay. Easy drinking.
 
Domaine Gouffier, Mercurey Les Murgers 2016
Price: $43
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP: 94

Great aromas of cedar and dark oak. Lovely polished front, very pretty. Creamy berries on the mid-palate and great length. Delicious.
 
Monthelie Douhairet Porcheret, 1er Cru Les Duresses 2015
Price: $55
Graper: Pinot Noir
Red
CP: 93

So elegent. Globs of kirsch and almond oil. Very creamy. Persistent, bright raspberry, cherry and red currant. Saliva inducing. Excellent aging potential.
 
Charles Audoin, Marsanny Blanc 2017 eta 3/26
Price: $50
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 90. RP 92

Offers up aromas of pears and peaches. Hint of jasmine or at least, white flowers. Touch of citrus syrup on the front followed by fleshy white fruit . Marsanny was hit hard by frosts in 2016 but the vines bounced back in 2017 with real intensity. This is a stunner. Very limited.
 
Domaine Marc Delienne Arpayé, Brouilly Pierreux 2017 SOLD OUT
Price: $31
Grape: Gamay
Red
CP 93. RP 91.

Lovely aromas of cassis, ripe cherries and subtle grilled meats. On the palate, medium bodied, savory and fine-grained with a juicy core of soft red fruit.
 
Domaine Garnier et Fils, Chablis Village, 2017
Price: $32
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP: 90

Northern Chablis, bordering champagne. Very mineral driven with pretty peach and apricot scented bouquet. Soft apple on the front, think Granny Smith meets Golden Delicious. Great length, this is a wonderful ‘with food’ Chablis.
 
Monthelie Duhairet Porcheret, Monthelie Cuvée Miss Armande 2014 12btls left
Price: $35
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 94

Fabulous value. Sadly only 17 bottles remain in inventory as of 3/11. Waxy with tremendous fruit driven mid palate. Hint of caramel and frais du bois.
 
Monthelie Duhairet Porcheret, Monthelie Cuvée Miss Armande 2015 62 btls left
Price: $38
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP: 95

Fuller bodied than the ’14. High-toned aromas of white flower, lilly and blossom. Very elegent. Great depth. Core of gritty white stone fruit on the palate. Great ageing potential. 95 bottles remining as of 3/11/19
 
Domaine Buisson-Charles Bougogne Chardonnay 2016
Price: $44 62 btls remaining
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 91

No new oak – 2-3 neutral barrels only. Grapes come from vineyards in Meursault. Aromas of pinenut.
Palate is medium bodied and harmonious. Silky smooth in the mouth with a hint of dried honey developing toward the finish. Excellent white Burgundy
 
Domaine Buisson-Charles Hautes Coutures 2016
Price: $44
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 90: RP 89

Upfront nose of blackberry and plum. Palate is medium bodied with gritty black fruit, good acidity and a nice grainy texture. Delightful pinot with substance.
 
Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay Les Favieres 2015 SOLD OUT
Price: $53
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 95: RP 93+

Les Favières is a stunning wine, the generosity of the vintage and the precision typical of the site making for a magical combination. Opening in the glass with notes of raspberries, red berries, plums, spices, licorice and dried flowers, it's medium to full-bodied, strikingly deep and vibrant, with a long, searingly intense and undeniably mineral finish. More than just a great value, this is a simply brilliant wine that will amply reward extended bottle age.
 
Domaine Denis Mortet Marsannay Les Longeroies 2015 SOLD OUT
Price: $69
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 93: RP 91-93

Matured in 20% new oak. Offers dark fruit with touch of savory herb and tobacco infusing the fruit. Palate is balanced with sappy black fruit and fine salinity. Lot of energy in the wine.
 
Domaine Launay-Horiot Pommard Les Perrieres 2015 SOLD OUT
Price: $59
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 90: RP 88

The 2015 Pommard Les Perrières has quite a rich bouquet with touches of fig infusing the kirsch and cassis aromas. The palate is sweet on the entry with bold tannin, moderate complexity with a firm, slightly confit-like finish that needs to muster a little more precision.
 
Domaine Moreau-Naudet Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2016
Price: $64
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 92: RP 91

A cuvée produced from four of this large premier cru's climats, the 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons wafts from the glass with notes of citrus oil, green apples, pastry cream and white flowers. On the palate, it's elegantly glossy, medium to full-bodied and nicely focused, with impressive tension and cut for the vintage.
 
Domaine Moreau-Naudet Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2016

Price: $38
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 90: RP 91

The 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Montmains (which hails from the lieux-dits of Vaux Miolot and Butteaux) offers up aromas of white flowers, green apple and bread dough. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, glossy and concentrated, with a deep, blocky profile and good underlying tension. It's a definite success.
 
Domaine Moreau-Naudet Chablis 1er Cru Montées de Tonnere 2016
Price: $69
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 92: RP 92+

The 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre is the most youthfully reticent of these premiers crus, unfurling slowly to reveal notes of green apples, beeswax, dried white flowers and pastry cream. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and textural, with lots of concentration and structure held in reserve, structured around tangy acids. It's an impressively serious Montée de Tonnerre
 
Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Puligny Montrachet 2017
Price: $80
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 96: RP 90+

Aromas of ripe citrus fruit, vanilla pod and white flowers. Medium to full bodied, elegant and textural, fine-boned, with good tension, succulent acidity and very long finish. I wish this could be my house wine.
 
Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatieres 2017
Price: $135
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 97: RP 94+

The 2017 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières is exceptional, and once again one of the high points of the Bachelet brothers' portfolio. Offering up aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers and honeycomb, the wine is medium to full-bodied, satiny and layered, with excellent depth and dimension at the core, good concentration and chewy extract despite its elegant, integrated profile, concluding with superb length on the finish.
 
Domaine Genot-Boulanger Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Vergers
Price: $96
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 96

Very powerful wine. Intense aromas of white stone fruit and blossom. Citrus peel, dried orange peel and apricot blossom, all well-defined. Palate is generous and round with great weight.
 
Domaine Genot-Boulanger Aloxe Corton 1er Cru Clos du Chapitre 2016
Price: $98
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 95

Displaying a medium-to-dark ruby color and a rich, deep, and metallic nose, the Aloxe-Corton Le Clos Du Chapitre is a highly-expressive, profound, lively, beautifully-crafted, and medium-to-full-bodied wine. Ripe, juicy black currants and blueberries are intermingled with metals and mineral in its structured yet broad and seductive personality.
 
Domaine Didier Fornerol Cote de Nuits Villages Blanc
Price: $45
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 95

Terrific value for this kind of quality. First time I have tried Fornerol and was not disappointed. Lovely round texture. Touch of lime flower and green apple bouquet. Tangy, with a hint of mango on the front palate, great acidity and a lively citrus finish. Very refreshing.
 
Domaine Didier Fornerol Cote de Nuits Villages Rue des Fions 2016
Price: $53
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 94

Another great value. Precise, with gorgeous scents of baked black cherries and strawberries. Palate is medium bodied with a ripe and forward entry.
 
Domaine Didier Fornerol Bourgogne Rouge
Price: $27
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 94

This may be the best value, entry level Burgundy I have tasted in years. Robust, earthy but balanced with a black fruit glycerin. This is a rich, elegant tasty wine that for the price could be a weekend staple.
 
Domaine David Duband Hautes Côte de Nuits Louis Auguste 2016
Price: $42
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 93

Love this producer. Pure elegance in every glass. Auguste is a mid-weight entry delivering gobs of black fruit, grippy tannins and excellent length. Exotic scents of tar, smoke, incense and licorice. Layers of flavors.
Duband makes some of the most exquisite Grand Cru wines. Sadly they cost a fortune so I was delighted to try this ‘entry’ level wine and to discover that it is every bit as good as his $1,000 wines.
 
Domaine Simon Bize Bourgogne Blanc Les Perrières 2015
Price: $49
Grape: Chardonnay
White
CP 92: RP 90+

The 2015 Bourgogne Blanc Les Perrières reveals notes of white flowers, honeycomb and green apples, followed by a medium to full-bodied, elegantly glossy palate that's nicely concentrated and built around tangy acids, concluding with a mouthwatering finish. As usual, this is a decidedly superior Bourgogne Blanc that will be well worth seeking out.
 
Domaine Y. Clerget Volnay 2017
Price: $68
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 93

The 2017 Volnay Village bursts from the glass with an expressive bouquet of juicy red fruits, plums and currant leaf. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and expressive, with a juicy core of fruit and melting tannins. While it doesn't display as much substance as its 2016 counterpart, it's more elegantly rendered.
 
Domaine Y. Clerget Volnay 1er Cru Versueil 2017
Price: $118
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 96: RP 92+

Aromas of cassis, cherries, sweet red berries, dark chocolate and spices introduce the 2017 Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Verseuil, a medium to full-bodied wine that's supple, charming and elegant, with a pure core of juicy fruit and a fragrant finish.
Few of Burgundy's young vignerons and vigneronnes have garnered more breathless critical accolades in the last eighteen months than the young and immensely personable Thibaud Clerget. This is a domaine reborn from the ashes, as Thibaud's father retired from winemaking in 2009, and the grapes were sold to Maison Henri Boillot. Clerget apprenticed, first chez Boillot in Meursault and then at Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat in Vougeot, before reviving the family domaine with the 2015 vintage. 
 
Domaine Y. Clerget Volnay Clos de Vougeot 2017
Price: $260
Grape: Pinot Noir
Red
CP 95: RP 93+

The 2017 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru saw a little whole cluster fermentation this year. Offering up aromas of dried flowers, warm spices, citrus rind, dark chocolate and sweet berry fruit, the wine is full-bodied, ample and lavish, with a succulent core of fruit and fine-grained structuring tannins. It's a giving, expressive Clos Vougeot that will drink well in the comparatively near term.

That's it!
As a reminder, if you wish to purchase any of these wines please e-mail me as soon as possible. The end date for this offering is March 28. All orders must be accompanied by a credit card. There is a 20% restocking fee for any orders taken given and subsequently cancelled.