Côte de Nuits Wine
Following a bumper crop in 2018, the vineyards of the Côte de Nuits experienced a relatively 'short' vintage in 2019 but one of superb promise; critics noting flamboyant, perfumed and expressive aromatics and with richness married to a clarity and freshness which is 'almost irrational' (Neal Martin, vinous.com) considering the heat of the year. We await our allocations eagerly, but in the meantime we have many exciting offerings in good drinking windows.
Our first addition in the Côte de Nuits, hailing from heart of Vougeot, is Domaine Bertagna. Covering 21 hectares of highly-coveted vineyards (including several monopoles), it has been under the ownership of Eva Reh since 1982. The Vougeot blanc 1er Cru 'Les Cras' 2018 shows the trademark rich and generous style of the domaine; bursting with white flower, citrus fruit and grilled nuts on the nose, it shows a great balance of both density and freshness. A full, succulent Vougeot from 2017 starts off the selection of Pinot Noirs with sandalwood, ripe tomato and spice abundant. The Nuit-Saint-Georges 1er Cru 'Les Murgers' from the underrated 2013 vintage is in an excellent drinking window with a supple mouth-feel and impressive density preceded by black cherry, cranberry and spice aromatics.
The second of two new additions in the Côte de Nuits, Frédéric Magnien is based in his family domaine in Morey-Saint-Denis, where he has been developing his reputation as one of the sharpest and most meticulous winemakers in the Côte d'Or since his first vintage in 1995. Frédéric sources grapes from a selection of superb vineyards in Morey', Chambolle' and Gevrey' with a strong commitment to biodynamics and a 'hands-off ' approach to vinification. From 2015 onwards, he has aged a number of his wines in terracotta 'jarres' in order to emphasise terroir and purity.
Starting off his range is the Marsannay 'Coeur d'Argile' 2017 which is bright and black cherry-scented with a sappy texture and great acidity. Travelling 10 minutes south to the village of Brochon (north of Gevrey-Chambertin), is where the fruit is grown for the fantastic value Côtes de Nuits-Villages 'Croix Violette'. The flavour profile becomes a little more red cherry here with an expressed minerality, supple mouthfeel and crisp acidity. Next comes his Gevrey-Chambertin 'Vieilles-Vignes' 2017 which is from 55 year-old vines on limestone dominated soil and shows an earthy complexity with firm but approachable tannins. It is a superb example of the appellation; forward enough to be drunk with great pleasure in the short term but sturdy enough for successful cellaring. From fruit grown close to the Domaine, Frédéric produces a relative rarity: a Morey-Saint-Denis at village level (uniquely most of the appellation is dominated by Premier- and Grand Cru sites). From the much lauded 2016 vintage, it shows blackberry and clove on the nose with a succulent, dark, almost balsamic core.
Moving up the qualitative stratum, 'Lavaut Saint Jacques' is without question one of the most structured and noble Premier Crus in Gevrey' and Frédéric's 2017 shows outstanding complexity, density and length with defined black fruit and autumn leaf flavours showing throughout. This is a great example of the benefits of his new mphora-led wine philosophy; surprisingly delicious now with a great future ahead. We are also very lucky to have secured a small allocation of Chambertin 'Clos de Beze' 2017 (one of the greatest of all the Grand Cru vineyards), this a brooding wine of obvious class built for the long-term but with immediate gratification offered through an intense spectrum of flavours including cassis, liquorice, toasted nuts and crushed stone.
Our long-serving supplier of wines from his 'Pascal Frères' H.Q. in the Southern Rhône, Yves Chéron, also boasts some vine-holdings in Burgundy that his grandfather Paul Misset cannily acquired when prices slumped in the Great Depression. His Chambolle-Musigny 'Les Condemennes' has soft red fruit aromas and flavours offset by delicate tannins and fresh acidity. His Vosne-Romanée 'Les Barraux' is denser and darker with a plummy bouquet and dark fruit palate which will develop more complexity with 5-10 years age. Completing his range is an impressive Clos de Vougeot that is steeped in briary black fruit flavours with notes of leather and game and wild herbs in support.
Finally, we are making available a small parcel of the seminal 2005 vintage of Clos des Lambrays from the iconic Domaine des Lambrays. This near monopole vineyard is the largest parcel of Grand Cru vines owned by a single family at 8.8 hectares and since 1979 has been under the stewardship of star winemaker Thierry Brouin. The 2005 has been critically lauded as 'the finest Clos des Lambrays between the 1970s and the 2010.' (William Kelley, wineadvocate.com).
Based in the centre of Gevrey-Chambertin, where they have completed work on a smart new winery, siblings Sarah and Richard Bastien of Domaine Henri Richard typify a new breed of producer deploying organic and biodynamic viticulture to produce high-quality wines. Sarah's partner Guillaume Berthier oversees the wine-making with an emphasis on minimal intervention and a strong sense of terroir. Their 'Aux Corvées' bottling comes from a 2 hectare parcel of vines to the east of the village and has an attractive red fruit bouquet with delicate pitchy undertones and a core of bright strawberry fruit offset by fine-grained tannins that will support at least 10 years bottle age. The Grand Cru bottling of Charmes-Chambertin is a marvellous expression of Pinot Noir with dark hedgerow berry aromas and a concentrated core of autumnal fruit offset by fresh acidity. It makes a fine foil for classic Burgundian dishes such as coq au vin and boeuf Bourgignon.
Domaine Gavignet-Béthnie extends over 9 hectares on the Côte de Nuits including a Premier Cru parcel on the 'Les Poulettes' climat of Nuits-Saints-George, 1 kilometre south of the town. Run by sisters Christine and Claire who produce traditional wines with a strong sense of terroir – the 2016 vintage is already approachable and exhibits bright cherry aromas and a mid-weight hedgerow fruit palate with spicy undertones and supple tannins.