Another recent addition to our portfolio, we were delighted to see the wines of Romain and Virginie Taupenot showing so well in the 2014 vintage (something that was also highlighted by Jancis Robinson in her recent article on Burgundy 2014). The domaine has always owned some very fine and significant parcels of vineyard throughout the Côte de Nuits. Their 13.5 hectares of vineyard cover the Villages of Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-St. Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits-St. Georges. Additionally, they have some holdings in the Côte de Beaune in Corton, St. Romain and Auxey-Duresses, all of which originally came from a different arm of the family.
Romain describes himself as a ‘vigneron paresseux’ – or a ‘lazy vigneron’. A modest and self-deprecating comment perhaps, but it does hint at his policy of minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery. It is clear that Romain believes that great wine is made in the vineyard; his vines are organically cultivated to allow the vineyard to express its true character. The winemaking is unobtrusive; use of oak is measured in order to preserve Pinot’s aromatics. Despite his insistence on a laid-back approach, he comes across as a grower intent on raising the bar and elevating the quality of his wines and the standing of his domaine. Today, all of the wines impress for their beautiful scent, expressive aromatics and a core of plush, textural fruit.
Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Chambolle-Musigny 2014
The Chambolle-Musigny is a blend of two different parcels from this appellation. One lies closer to Morey-St. Denis and contributes spicier notes whereas the other, which lies closer to Vosne-Romanée, provides fruitier and more floral aromas. Use of new oak is judicious allow fruit to be at the fore. The 2014 has a pretty red colour with berry and spice aromas and lovely purity of flavour. Never a heavy wine, it still retains the suppleness and ease of fine Chambolle, as well as the cherry scented aromas of Chambolle-Musigny. Fragrant lavender adds further complexity to the cherry notes, along with a hint of smoke, this is a Villages wine that has the elegance and finesse of a higher status. Drink 2017-2021
£165 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Morey-St. Denis 2014
Produced from two different parcels of vines in Morey-Saint-Denis where the berries produced are particularly small, which in turn contributes to a more structural Morey. The 2014 has typical black fruit and spice, with some of the austerity of a wine that will take a few years longer (compared to the Chambolle) to open and reveal its true nature. Full, blackberry and cherry fruit precede a fine-grained texture and smooth, supple finish. Again, a good example of a Villages wine that punches well above its weight. Drink 2018-2023
£170 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Morey-St. Denis 1er Cru La Riotte 2014
From vines of over 55 years in age, this is a, full-natured wine with dark fruits and a touch of black pepper. La Riotte Premier Cru shares the same subsoil as Mazoyères-Chambertin and there is undeniably a richness on the points to the inherent quality in the vineyard. The 2014 has typically compact tannins and a powerful spicy character that hints at the need to open out over time. The overall impression of this vintage is a marked silkiness and finesse. A moreish blackberry and spice fruit character dominates the long, fine finish. Drink 2020-2026
£265 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Nuits-St. Georges, 1er Cru Les Pruliers 2014
One of the standout wines of our tasting was Romain Taupenot’s Pruliers. It is elegant in style in contrast to the more muscular examples that can be typical of this vineyard. It reveals striking dark fruits, with plum, cassis and dried fruit too. The texture is particularly smooth, combining succulent fruit, gentle acidity and ripe tannins. The overall sense is of a flowing, almost glossy palate that is remarkably appealing suggesting that this may be broached relatively early Nevertheless, behind the somewhat distracting texture lies a powerful wine that will reward ageing for those who can resist. Drink 2020-2027
£265 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Chambolle-Musigny, 1er Cru La Combe d’Orveaux 2014
Combe d’Orveaux is a fascinating vineyard, with different segments classified as Villages, Premier Cru and Grand Cru, depending on the specific location of the vines. Vines average approximately 65 in age, giving a great depth and underlying intensity to the wine. Romain has 0.47 hectares of vines here and, similarly to his other Premier Crus, he ages the wine in one-third new oak. The 2014 has typical spice and cherry scent along with a very pure floral touch on the bouquet. The palate is considerably brighter in terms of red fruit, with richness and freshness aplenty. An extremely fine wine typical of this appellation, with the depth of flavour of a great Premier Cru. Drink 2019-2026
£295 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2014*
Romain’s Charmes-Chambertin showed particularly well on our tasting and challenged his Mazoyères in terms of depth of fruit and structure, while perhaps suggesting a year or so less staying power than the latter. Approximately 40 per cent new oak is employed which gives gentle spice and toast notes, although it is the vibrant red fruit that carries the wine and comes to the fore. The 2014 is characterised by succulent berry fruit, and the firm tannin and richness of a notable Grand Cru. Notes of herbs and wild strawberries add intrigue and complexity. This Charmes shows excellent poise and length and possesses a fine harmony suggesting that it will age well over the long-term. Drink 2020 to 2031
£480 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru 2014*
Considerably smaller in size than Charmes-Chambertin, this two hectare vineyard is perhaps less well-known. The two Grand Crus lie side by side and are frequently blended together and bottled as Charmes-Chambertin. Since 2000, however, Romain has been bottling his Mazoyères (of which he owns almost half the Grand Cru) separately from his Charmes. Although they are made in the same way, the Mazoyères vineyard delivers a slightly more imposing style and can normally warrant an additional year or two of ageing in the cellar. The 2014 is no less striking; it is always a touch more austere in youth and takes time to really open and show the full array of aromas and flavours. The rich, full flavour on the palate then comes to the fore, brimming with cassis, strawberries, raspberry, cherry and spice. This has noticeable depth of flavour, fine tannin that is considerably rich and powerful and a long finish. A remarkably fine showing, which amply illustrates the strides forward made at this domaine. Drink 2021 to 2032.
£500 per six bottles in bond