“With one arm and one eye you could make good wine in 2009.” - Laurent Ponsot.
In 2009, in Burgundy, the weather was so favourable that it elicited the above quote from Laurent Ponsot. When we visited, and tasted from his impeccable range of 2009s, he stressed that there was so little remedial work required in the vineyards, that his team’s presence was barely necessitated.
A cold winter, cool spring and relatively cool early summer meant that the threat from rot was almost non existent. July brought about a mixture of hot spells and wet spells, both of which were beneficial to the ripening process, never placing the vine under any strain. August and September were dominated by bright sunny days and generally cool nights, which provided ideal conditions for a slow ripening period. A little rain in early September caused no problems and actually provided some much needed moisture for the vines. As a consequence of this even weather pattern, producers had the luxury of deciding when and where to pick in near idyllic conditions. Across the length and breadth of the Côte d’Or, the harvest was virtually complete when the rains returned properly in late September.
So what of the wines? The greatest variable, which affects the resultant style of the wines, in such a vintage is the timing of harvest. This is never uniform, with some producers picking several weeks early than neighbouring domaines. Nonetheless, an impressive level of ripeness was achieved from very healthy grapes. Etienne de Montille commented that the health of the fruit was such that in 2009 he was able to commence a high proportion of whole cluster fermentations (where the fermentation starts from within the berry). The skins and stems were so beautifully ripe that this form of fermentation posed no difficulties. Indeed many growers commented on the ripeness of the stems in the 2009 vintage which aside from imparting a little more tannin, bring a sense of minty vibrancy to young wines.
In the main, the young wines exhibit a lovely balance and intensity of fruit, bright, vibrant acidity, with high natural sugar levels giving rise to good alcohol levels. These are perfumed and even slightly exotic wines yet with an air of classicism too. A winning combination of ripeness and acidity allied to rich fruit and terrific terroir definition.
The white wines have impressive roundness and depth yet are underscored by fine lively acidities. Balanced, and despite their evident richness, they are seldom heavy. There is a vein of zesty, citrus acidity and minerality apparent in the best white wines.
The red wines have lovely vibrant colours allied to aromas of red and black fruits. This is often backed up with a spice element. These are rich and ripe wines with fine amplitude on the palate. Round silky tannins are often imperceptible within the glossy textures of the wines. The easily gained natural alcohol levels are also a vital ingredient in the compelling balance. Flattering is a good descriptor for the wines of the 2009 Burgundy vintage.
Inevitably, when discussing a new vintage, one looks to draw comparisons. The renowned 2005 vintage is the perhaps the most likely candidate for comparison from recent years, though there are distinct differences. 2009 was not nearly as homogenous as 2005 – there is much more variation in 2009. Moreover the Pinot Noir of 2005 showed more backbone and certainly more obvious tannin. They were denser in style, compact and are likely to need patient cellarage before they begrudgingly unlock their charms. They will potentially age for longer on account of these characteristics and their progress will be more turbulent whereas the 2009s will have a more gentle evolution. There is a race and poise common to the 2009s – it is more of the classicist’s vintage with the individual traits of the vineyard as well expressed as you are likely to find. Their characters are open and expressive as well as easy to evaluate.
With the whites, it is a trickier question. They do not possess the opulence that made the 2005s appealing in their youth. They are tighter wound, yet there is an undeniable richness offset by bright acidity. They are not in the more linear 2007 style, so perhaps the most fitting comparison might be made to 2001 or even 2002. Both of these vintages showed good early drinking appeal, with the 2002s predicted to evolve over a longer period. Each had ample fruit and balanced acidities in line with the overriding character traits of 2009.
There is no question that 2009 will rank as a great Burgundy vintage, time will tell just how good, though it is likely that the open nature of the vintage will lead to many wines being consumed over the mid-term, rather than being left to mature to their full potential.
Emmanuel and Frederic Humbert are the eponymous Humbert Frères who make brilliant burgundy in a style that belies their appearance. The Humbert Frères look like two props for a formidable rugby team but their wines are characterised by finesse and elegance backed up with concentration and power. It is a brilliant approach. They took over the running of the Domaine from their parents in 1989. The vineyards are of a very high order and unsurprisingly the better ones correspond to those of Claude and Bernard Dugat of Dugat-Py who are cousins of the brothers. The first commercial vintage was 1997 but it was the 1998 vintage which transformed the fortunes of the Domaine when the winery was completely overhauled and temperature control added. 2002 was a great vintage for them with 2005 eclipsing it and 2009 showing as well. All of the work in the Domaine is done by hand with Frederic overseeing the vineyards and the phlegmatic Manou making the wines. This is a great source of Gevrey-Chambertin .
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Craipillot 2009
Craipillot is a very small vineyard to the west of the village just below Clos St.Jacques. It is here, to the west, that the finest Premier Cru vineyards of Gevrey are situated. This is quite a backward example with a mass of dark, brooding, exotic ripe fruit at its centre. Structured and powerful with the fine freshness and bright acidity that is common to all the Humbert wines. This well-built Premier Cru looks set to develop really well and in due course the class of the 65 year old vine fruit will shine through. Drink: 2015-2022
£580/ 12 bottles in bond
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, La Petite Chapelle 2009
Manou Humbert’s vines in La Petite Chapelle average just 25 year old. The vineyard itself is located close to Mazis-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin. Deep in colour, with tremendous ripe berry fruit on the nose, this wine immediately impresses with its effortless elegance and purity. It always impresses to taste the concentration of fruit in the Gevrey at this cellar, and yet the extraction must be so well managed as there is seldom any dry tannin. Instead, as here, the tannins are silky and mineral-nuanced while the palate is underscored by the kind of vibrancy that ensures longevity. Pure and sleek – one of the more feminine Gevrey. Drink: 2013-2018
£580/ 12 bottles in bond
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Les Poissenots 2009
This is effectively an extension of the Estournelles-St Jacques vineyard to the extreme west of the appellation, where the vines are planted on light stony soils. Humbert Frères happily own nearly half of the vineyard mass. Poissenots is fascinating in that it captures a bright acidity in almost every vintage. The 2009 is an impressive effort. Boasting a very deep hue in the glass, the fruit suggests dark berry and spice with a fragrant, almost violetty overlay. Bolder than both the Craipillot and the Petite Chapelle, there is an extra element of concentration here, which is offset by an enlivening acidity. The tannins are so sleekly expressed that they seem barely perceptible, lost in the glossy depths of the wine. This is seemingly a blend of the best characteristics of both Petite Chapelle and Craipillot, which makes for a winning combination of power and refinement. Drink: 2016-2022
£455/ 12 bottles in bond
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Estournelles-St Jacques 2009
Situated on the Côte-St-Jacques to the west of the village, Humbert Frères’ parcel of vines averages around 50 years of age. Suitably deep in colour, the nose captures dark cherry and berry fruits, notes of spice and discreet toast. There is such a juicy concentration of fruit to this wine that it is fascinating to taste at such a young age. Very expressive, layered and long, this is authoritative juice. A more powerful wine with richness and structure – this is close to a Grand Cru in proportion and moreover, in terms of definition and the overriding sense of minerality. This is absolutely outstanding and an exemplary Premier Cru, which seduces with its wealth of glossy fruit. A classic in the making – it is easy to see why Manou’s star is in the ascendant. Drink: 2016-2024
£635/ 12 bottles in bond
Charmes-Chambertin, Grand Cru 2009
Charmes-Chambertin is the largest of the Grand Cru vineyards of Gevrey and is in fact a combination of Aux Charmes (20 hectares) and Mazoyères (30 hectares). It is located just below Le Chambertin itself. The sole Grand Cru in the Humbert cellar shows an intense hue in the glass, with aromas of dark cherry, spice and toast. This is a very refined style, an effortless expression in keeping with the style at this domaine. The tannin quality impresses once more, so fine-grained that the texture is silken. With undeniable richness and succulence, and the freshness that is inherent in all the 2009s at this cellar, the 2009 Charmes-Chambertin is set to develop well in bottle. An outstanding Grand Cru burgundy. Drink: 2016-2026
£770/ 12 bottles in bond
DOMAINE ROBERT SIRUGUE
Robert Sirugue was a very commercially minded grower in Vosne-Romanée whose emphasis was in easily selling all his wines each year into the marketplace. His 10 hectares of fine vineyards and his personable nature ensured he was successful every year. However, he retired in 2007 and his son Jean-Louis and daughter Marie-France took over. They have chosen a very different route. The turnaround in such a short period of time is truly remarkable.
Over half the holdings are in generic Bourgogne Rouge and there is a little Chambolle-Musigny but the remainder are very good vineyards in Vosne-Romanée. They have nearly 1.5 hectares of Les Petit-Monts, a great vineyard just higher up the slope above Richebourg and La Romanée-Conti. There is also a remarkable Grands Echezeaux from a third of a hectare. Everything is now carefully hand harvested and a further selection made at the winery before being fully destemmed. These impressive improvements have all been made in just three years and the quality will rise even further. This is definitely a domaine on the up. The basic Bourgogne Rouge is an excellent example.
Bourgogne Rouge 2009
Appealing, fresh, red fruits on the nose. This is a supple, charming Bourgogne offering ample density and an appealing palate of freshly crushed hedgerow fruit. Very elegant and complete – this impressive Bourgogne Rouge will drink from shipment. Drink: 2011-2015.
£100/ 12 bottles in bond
A terrific blend from a number of parcels through Vosne, from Les Réas in the south, bordering Nuits St Georges, to Les Chalandins in the north towards Clos Vougeot. This reveals beautifully scented aromas of red fruits. It is a taut mineral wine, pure and vibrant but with impressive volume of fruit to counter-balance this. Silky in texture with a lovely balanced weight. This is a very finely-tuned village level Vosne-Romanée on account of the flexibility permitted by blending such excellent lieux-dits. Drink: 2014-2019
£260/ 12 bottles in bond
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Les Petits-Monts 2009
The class of Petits-Monts, located just above Richebourg, shines through in Sirugue’s 2009 example. There is lovely pure fruit on the nose with a note of exotic spice and a beautifully floral overlay. The bright core of dense, ripe fruit at the heart of this wine is immediately seductive. This is an absolutely beguiling Burgundy combining finesse and power, with firm yet sleek tannins. Outstanding – a real find from this rejuvenated domaine. Drink: 2015-2022
£395/ 12 bottles in bond
DOMAINE DE MONTILLE
The de Montille family descends from one of France’s most distinguished noble families and their roots in the Côte de Nuits extend back to Philip the Bold (1342-1404). The reputation of the domaine in more recent history is due to current proprietor Etienne and his lawyer father Hubert. Etienne trained as an international banker and his father was a lawyer so neither of them was dependent upon the domaine for a living. It was this financial freedom that enabled them to develop and run the domaine exactly as they wished, making wines in the style they wanted rather than what their customers might have dictated.
Today, there are nearly 16 hectares of vineyards, which include some of the finest sites in Volnay and Pommard. In 1993 the family acquired a half hectare of Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Le Cailleret, a vineyard which adjoins Le Montrachet and produces a wine of near Grand Cru quality. In 2004 a hectare of Corton and nearly half a hectare of Corton-Charlemagne were added and, as if that were not impressive enough, almost a third of a hectare in the prized top section of the Clos de Vougeot. At the same time Etienne managed to add another one and a half hectares of Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Aux Malconsorts as well as a further half hectare of the Malconsorts vineyard which is in fact contained within the legendary vineyard of La Tâche. This latter is bottled as Cuvée Christianne in tribute to Etienne’s mother.
Etienne started experimenting with biodynamics in the Volnay 1er Cru, Les Mitans, vineyard some years ago and now all his vineyards are cultivated in this way. Not because Etienne believes biodynamics are better but simply because he believes he will make better wine by utilising biodynamics. He is of the belief that low yields and old vines are not the complete answer; the vineyard is paramount. Some soils will support old vines and the consequent low yields whereas others will not. As always in Burgundy, it is the combination of the terroir and the producer.
Etienne is a believer in whole cluster fermentation, a technique he was able to utilise almost completely with the 2009 vintage and which heightens freshness and minerality. Vinification is traditional, with a long maceration and the use of new oak never exceeding 25%. Stylistically the emphasis is on concentration and purity of fruit allied to firm structure and focused, above all, on longevity to enhance complexity. Alcohol levels rarely exceed 12.5 degrees in any of the wines. This moderate alcohol level leads to wines that are invariably reticent in youth and which only begin to show their real class after a period of maturation.
The white wines are made by Etienne’s sister Alix with all the care and attention to detail that Etienne devotes to the red wines. Her arrival in 2004 was precipitated by the addition of the Corton-Charlemagne vines to the already important Puligny Cailleret holdings; combined these make de Montille a more recognised guardian of great white Burgundy.
Domaine de Montille was extremely successful in 2009 producing some of the finest wines we tasted during our visits.
Volnay 1er Cru, Les Champans 2009
The vineyard of Les Champans is situated to the south of the village of Volnay, with the famous Premier Cru of Les Caillerets to its immediate south. The terroir is noticeably stony across this moderately steep vineyard. The wine exudes deep, succulent hedgerow fruits on the nose; sweet, scented and ripe. The fruit is so pure, bright and fresh – with silky, silky tannins. There is plenty of body to this refined, mineral Volnay which gently coats the palate with lifted red fruits. Sleek, classically Volnay and tremendously long. It is a challenge to recall a more appealing de Montille Champans. Drink: 2014-2020
£265/ 6 bottles in bond
available in magnum
Volnay 1er Cru, Les Brouillards 2009
Les Brouillards is situated to the north of the Premier Cru of Les Mitans, which adjoins Pommard. This stony terroir brings out finesse in the resultant wines. In a very different manner to the Champans, it really impresses. Much more scented, with a deeper, spicier fruit which still captures elements of loganberry and wild strawberry. A typically elegant example with appealing volume and dimension, there is a suppleness to the Brouillards which entices even as a barrel sample. Long and fine-tuned, on this showing it is hard to believe that Brouillards was previously amalgamated into the generic Volnay Premier Cru chez de Montille. Drink: 2014-2020
£235/6 bottles in bond
Volnay 1er Cru, Les Taillepieds 2009
Les Taillepieds ranks among the handful of leading vineyards In Volnay and is located towards the centre of the village. The soil is hard marl with a relatively high percentage of limestone present which gives the wine both vigour and elegance. Deep fruits are expressed on the nose, with notes of spice and a little fresh jamminess. Full and round with such a sleek, glossy nature, and silky fine-grained tannins, this is an effortless Volnay. There is plenty of body to this vintage and a terrific freshness to the fruit. Freshly crushed, almost crunchy berry notes meld with a minty, stemmy quality. So elegant and already complex, everything seems in such harmony. Another impressive Volnay which has excelled in the 2009 vintage. Drink: 2014-2022
£285/ 6 bottles in bond
available in magnum
Beaune 1er Cru, Les Grèves 2009
Grèves is the largest of the prominent vineyards of Beaune, situated mid-slope, extending over 30 hectares. Dark in the glass with a positive, violet-scented nose of cherries and soft red fruits. This is rich and ripe, linear and structured. The impeccably fine-grained tannins are laced through a spicy, gloriously juicy fruit. Minerally and long to the finish. Again another successful Côte de Beaune red for de Montille stable and a wine which owes much to whole cluster fermentation. Superb. Drink: 2014-2020
£195/ 6 bottles in bond
available in magnum
Pommard 1er Cru, Les Pezerolles 2009
On the Beaune side of the commune, Les Pezerolles lies above Grand Epenots. The aromas capture notes of blueberry and ripe cherry, scented with a peppery, violet note. Effortless and harmonious on the palate, there is no rugged edge to the 2009 Pezerolles, which suggests that it was harvested towards the cusp of sur-maturité and is none the worse for it. Succulent, fresh fruit with long-drawn tannins leading to a sleek, flowing finish. A very refined Pommard with ample richness and backbone. Drink: 2014-2022
£265/ 6 bottles in bond
available in magnum
Pommard 1er Cru, Les Rugiens 2009
Les Rugiens is situated on the Volnay side of Pommard on steep rocky soils. It exhibits some of the silkiness of Volnay yet backed up with the richness that one associates with Pommard. Good colour and a deep opulent nose dominated by black fruits. This is a much bigger-framed Pommard than the Pezerolles with bold fruit and terrific ripeness on show. There is simply a mass of spicy ripe fruit overlying everything else. Great intensity and depth. It leads to a really, long, mouthfilling finish. Outstanding. Drink: 2015-2022
£345/ 6 bottles in bond
available in magnum
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Aux Malconsorts, ‘Cuvée Christianne’ 2009
In addition to the domaine’s conventional holding in Aux Malconsorts, the de Montille family have almost half an hectare which actually protrudes into La Tâche. Etienne decided to call this monopole ‘Christianne’ after his mother. It is always interesting to taste ‘Cuvée Christianne’ alongside the straight Malconsorts as the differences in style are significant. The scented fruit is deeper, more intense with a spicy nuance on the palate. Layer upon layer of gloriously textural fruit gently fills the mouth – utterly seamless. There is an impressive intensity to the 2009 but it continues to capture the elegance and refinement for which the wine is becoming renowned. There is something a little more exotic here, more of a sauvage character, and a resonating almost sappy acidity that carries the wine to a staggeringly long finish. Stunning. Drink: 2015-2025
£898/ 6 bottles in bond
available in magnum
Beaune Blanc 1er Cru, Les Aigrots 2009
Beaune produces a small amount of very high quality white wine which accounts for just 5% or so of total production. Les Aigrots lies immediately north of Les Clos de Mouches which, by common consent, produces one of the finest white wines of the Côte d’Or. Les Aigrots is in a forward drinking style, with soft, perfumed aromas, akin to quince. The palate follows in a similar vein with a rounded fruit, full and soft yet almost appley with no oak immediately evident but just gently underpinning it. Slightly spicy, this is very appealing with potential for the mid-term but it can be enjoyed from shipment. Drink: 2011-2014
£145/ 6 bottles in bond
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Le Cailleret 2009
Le Cailleret is an impeccably situated vineyard, adjoining Le Montrachet itself (indeed a very small quantity can be sold as Montrachet such is its proximity). If that were not enough, its neighbour to the south is the illustrious Premier Cru of Les Pucelles which itself can approach Grand Cru quality. de Montille’s 2009 Le Cailleret is a very poised style with honeyed citrus fruits and racy mineral intensity. There is an oily, gently viscous quality to it with juicy peach and citrus to the fore. Again a wine that approaches Grand Cru status with its weight, persistence and individuality. It finishes with a mineral flourish. A great vintage for Alix de Montille’s Le Cailleret. Drink: 2013-2017
£360/ 6 bottles in bond
Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru 2009
The Corton-Charlemagne is a recent acquisition by the de Montille family and they have not been slow to make their mark. This tightly wound, mineral wine shows a silky texture. Very mineral, with rich citrus and grapefruit fruit held in check. This impresses greatly with bright acidity and a long, linear finish. A beautifully poised Corton-Charlemagne with a stony, grippy finish and gently honeyed edge. Drink: 2013-2019
£390/ 6 bottles in bond
DOMAINE PATRICK JAVILLIER
Patrick Javillier is one of the finest producers in Meursault, which is high praise indeed when you consider the company he is keeping. Indeed, one well-known wine writer has called Patrick the King of Meursault and another of equal repute stated that there was no one in Burgundy producing better regional or village wines.
Patrick took over the domaine from his father in 1974 giving up his career as an electrical engineer. It then comprised just 3 hectares of which two were village Meursault and the third given over to Aligoté. Patrick has expanded it now to 10 hectares in 5 communes encompassing 14 separate appellations.
However, the core of Domaine Javillier will always be in Meursault where it has 6 different village level climats. Despite this diversity of vineyards Patrick’s most interesting Meursault wines are actually blends of different vineyards as he believes the whole is greater than the sum of the component parts. He vinifies each parcel separately and then adjust the elevage accordingly to maximise the results before finally assembling the final cuveé. So Javillier’s Les Clousots is a blend of Premier Cru Les Clous Dessus and Les Crotots, the latter a noted vineyard immediately to the east and actually adjoining Premier Cru Les Porusots.
Javillier’s top Meursault, the Tête de Murger is a blend from Casse-Tête and Les Murgers. The former contributing minerality and focus whereas the Les Murgers provides length and richness. With Casse-Tête due south of the village and Les Murgers due north it is not illogical that they should have different attributes.
Javillier also produce an outstanding Bourgogne Blanc, Cuveé Oligocène, which is always one of the finest examples of its kind in burgundy because it is better than most of the village Meursault produced in the entire commune.
Bourgogne Blanc, Cuvée Oligocène 2009
Cuvée Oligocène is sourced from a vineyard on the border with Puligny-Montrachet, known as Les Pellans. Bizarrely, half of the vineyard lies within the Meursault appellation and half is classified as Bourgogne Blanc. Monsieur Javillier’s Bourgogne is certainly one of the finest examples of its kind that we ever taste. It is deeper in hue than many of the water-white, anodyne Bourgogne Blanc that one encounters. The palate immediately nods to Meursault, with a roundness and texture of a different league. Gently mineral, lively and mouth-watering with notes of peach and citrus. This lingers well and will clearly provide satisfying drinking over the next four years. Think Meursault more than Bourgogne. Drink: 2011-2013
£155/ 12 bottles in bond
Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru, Les Montchenevoy 2009
Monsieur Javillier’s Montchenevoy is the least recognised of all his wines, largely on account of the difficulty in marketing white Savigny-lès-Beaune. Nonetheless this well-situated vineyard is demanding of greater attention. Often white Savigny fall into a lacklustre, loose-knit category of early maturing white, yet Montchenevoy is something else. It is a wine that hinges on the taut lines of its fruit and the mouth-watering acidity on show. It has that rapier-like cut and mineral race of a young Chablis. In leaner years this can be too bracing perhaps but, backed with the generosity of 2009, this has to be an interesting purchase for consumption in the next three to four years. Drink: 2011-2015
£180/ 12 bottles in bond
Meursault, Les Tillets 2009
Les Tillets is a large lieu-dit situated right on the top of the slope on the Puligny side of Meursault. Javillier has six separate parcels making 1.5 hectares in total. It is a vineyard site that suits his wine making. The nose is aromatic with white flower and yellow fruits evident as well as a slight spice note. The palate is tightly wound and very mineral. The acidity and the minerality really work well here, in perfect balance with the rich fruit. This has finesse and persistence but requires time before it will all meld. Linear at present this will develop additional richness to further compliment the minerality. Drink: 2012-2015
£290/ 12 bottles in bond
Meursault, Les Clousots 2009
‘Les Clousots’ is an intriguing blend from two Premier Cru vineyards, namely Les Clous and Les Crotots. Each of Monsieur Javillier’s parcels total somewhere in the region of half a hectare, and both are of similar age, 35 years. The two vineyards lie just below the more recognisable vineyard of Les Poruzots. Aromatically, this is a restrained Meursault; similarly on the palate, there is tautness and restraint. Juicy and expressive fruit characters of peach and citrus, even tropical fruits emerge, in this appealing yet understated Meursault. Silky-fine in texture, this is a very complete example with impeccable poise. Patrick’s decision to blend is certainly vindicated as Les Clousots is far greater than the sum of its parts, minerality on one hand and mouthfeel on the other. Drink: 2012-2016
£335/ 12 bottles in bond
Meursault, Cuvée Tête de Murger 2009
This is the second of Monsieur Javillier’s Meursault to be a blend of two Premier Cru vineyards, in this case Casse-Tête and Les Murgers. To Patrick this cuvée is the epitome of Meursault, with Casse-Tête bringing the volume and weight and Murgers the race and mineral traits. This is a rich Meursault, but never extravagant, the poise that has been achieved here is hugely impressive. This lingering Meursault is slow to offer its charms, gently unfurling with layers of juicy peach and stony mineral touches. A very fine-tuned blend in which the sense of concentration gradually builds – all smoky mineral nuances and succulent fruit. It is difficult to recall a more enthralling Tête de Murger. Drink: 2014-2018
£440/ 12 bottles in bond
Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru 2009
The prized Grand Cru of the Javillier stable is something of an unsung hero. His sixtieth of a hectare in this famed Grand Cru is situated in the sector known as Les Pougets, which benefits from a full southerly exposure. Typically conservative on the nose, there is a restraint on the palate, yet mouth-watering zesty, almost oily, grapefruit nuances emerge. The impressive density of fruit is countered by cutting, minerally-nuanced acidity. As one would expect, the mineral traits power through on the finish; this is very taut, very smoky/ stony and incredibly linear. It is most definitely a Corton-Charlemagne demanding of at least six years cellarage. Outstanding. Drink: 2016-2020
£385/ 6 bottles in bond
Sourced from a third of a hectare and 40 year old vines. Patrick has now ceded the red wine making to his daughter Marion and he freely admits she is making a better job of it than he was. This has an expansive bouquet of red and black berry fruits and a touch of spice. The palate is rich and layered with a dense texture. Beneath the fruit one can detect the structure but the fruit dominates this wine at present. This certainly has volume and a long persistent finish. Further maturation will round this out really well. Drink: 2014-2018
£240/ 12 bottles in bond
DOMAINE LOUIS CARILLON
Domaine Carillon has definitely been in existence in Puligny-Montrachet since 1632 and it could well be almost 500 years because there is archive record of a Jehan Carillon dated 1520. They have been one of the finest sources in Puligny-Montrachet for years but from the 2010 vintage the Domaine will be amicably divided between the sons Jacques and Francois. The 12 hectares of vineyards include prime Premier Cru sites as well as an exceptional Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet which is always more Batard then Bienvenues.
What makes the Carillon wines stand out is their terroir-derived definition without any signature from the domaine apart from the poise, elegance and vigour that characterise all their wines. The village Puligny-Montrachet is always a text book example but it is in the Premier Crus that the real brilliance is to be found. Les Perrières is always as fine as it should be but the Les Referts can even outclass it in certain years. It changes from year to year which again is testament to the integrity of the wine making at Domaine Carillon.
The generic Puligny from Carillon is a blend of 11 separate parcels with the vines averaging around 35 years of age. Domaine Carillon’s village level Puligny invariably epitomises all that Puligny should be; it emphasises the class, refinement and tension between fruit and acidity. The 2009 retains the linearity of this classic style, with a ripe yet mouth-watering fruit and an appealing darting, fresh acidity. A villages wine that would be equal if not superior to many domaines’ more expensive Premier Cru. It is little wonder it is so avidly followed. Drink: 2012-2015
£290/ 12 bottles in bond
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Combettes 2009
As the vines have aged, the quality of Carillon’s Combettes has risen accordingly. Perhaps even more dramatically than one might have expected. This vineyard’s location on the border with Meursault might make for a more opulently-styled wine but not in this instance. This possesses an expressive mineral element on the palate; far leaner and far more focused than anticipated. Very persistent with great intensity of fruit. The only tell-tale sign is a honeyed edge to the palate which alludes to its proximity to Meursault. Drink: 2013-2016
£425/ 12 bottles in bond
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Perrières 2009
The stony vineyard of Les Perrières is famed for producing very mineral, focused wines. The Carillon family have three quarters of a hectare in four separate parcels within Les Perrières, across which the average vine age is in the region of 30-40 years. There is a tightly wound richness to the 2009, which possesses a firm core of mineral-infused fruit. There is no denying the energy in this wine – mouth-watering nuances of grapefruit, stony, almost smoky mineral notes all presented with great clarity. This is almost grippy in character and refuses to fade. Impressive. Drink: 2014-2018
£450/ 12 bottles in bond
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Referts 2009
The vineyard of Les Referts lies on meagre soil and adjoins the Meursault border. The Carillon family own just one quarter of a hectare within this impressive Premier Cru. More restrained aromatically, the 2009 Referts shows both breadth and precision. The fruit of citrus and piercing grapefruit possesses impressive density, with a appetizing ripe juicy succulence. Less austere than some vintages of Referts chez Carillon, there is a sense of roundness, though the hallmark, salty, nervy minerality remains. The palate of this impressive Referts tightens and tapers to a long, driven finish. It suggests opulence but remains refined. Beautifully pure. Drink: 2014-2018
£450/ 12 bottles in bond
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Champs Gain 2009 (Francois Carillon label)
Les Champs Gain is at the top of the slope, above Folatieres. The soil is thin and calcareous so the vines have to dig deep to flourish. The style here is taut and mineral with dramatic focus and drive. There is great concentration of fruit beneath the steely aspect of youth and this should develop greater richness and roundness in bottle with already a slight honeysuckle note which broadens and softens it. Another wine of great purity and energy, perfectly expressing its terroir. Drink: 2014-2018
£425/ 12 bottles in bond
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Macharelles 2009
Domaine Carillon has owned a parcel of vines in the Chassagne Premier Cru vineyard of Macharelles for some time. Previously this wine was released as a village level wine on account of the young age of the vines. Now with the maturity of the vines, it merits release at its full Premier Cru status. This is a broad, opulent style backed by flinty, mineral nuances, with elements of piercing grapefruit, and riper notes of succulent white peach. Lingering and juicy in style, there is a welcoming softness to this wine, which will lead to comparatively early consumption. Drink: 2012-2015.
£350/ 12 bottles in bond
DOMAINE HUBERT LAMY
The Lamy family have lived in St-Aubin since 1640 and have always been vignerons. However it is the developments over the last 20 years that have transformed the domaine and propelled Hubert’s son Olivier to the forefront of young winemakers in Burgundy. Olivier joined his father formally at the domaine in 1995 which fortuitously coincided with a period of further vineyard acquisition all around St-Aubin.
Today, Olivier is firmly ensconced at the helm and controls 17 hectares of vineyard over 18 appellations. Three quarters of the production is chardonnay principally from Premier Cru vineyards in St-Aubin which are often the finest of the entire appellation. The quality of the red wines has also risen dramatically since Olivier’s arrival. He is a thoughtful, intelligent winemaker who has driven the quality of his white wines to very high levels indeed. One well known and respected commentator has suggested that Olivier Lamy was just about the most talented young wine maker in Burgundy. Few would disagree.
St Aubin 1er Cru, Derrière Chez Edouard 2009 (rouge)
This curiously named vineyard of which the Lamy family own half a hectare of old vines is situated directly above the village. There is a sophistication to the fruit here, which perhaps owes much to the 50 year old vines in this parcel. None of that savoury, rustic edge of St Aubin rouge, nor is this lacking in substance. Deeply fruited, scented – packed with ripe crunchy red fruits of loganberry and spiced raspberry, this is an appealing St Aubin which illustrates just how well the reds at this domaine have come on under Olivier Lamy’s stewardship. Drink: 2012-2017
£225/ 12 bottles in bond
St Aubin 1er Cru, Clos de Meix 2009
The Lamy’s parcel in Clos de Meix comprises younger vines immediately adjoining the village of St Aubin at its western edge. This walled vineyard enjoys good exposure, which is reflected in the ripe accessible style of the wines. More opulent and open on the nose than the other Premier Cru at this cellar and with a far riper aspect to it than the Frionnes, there is a lively acidity as well as flinty minerality to the fruit on the palate. A more rounded style with a juicy, appealing nature. Expressive to the last. Drink: 2012-2015
£240/ 12 bottles in bond
St Aubin 1er Cru, Clos de la Chatenière 2009
The vineyard of Clos de la Chatenière is situated away from St Aubin itself on the road to Chassagne-Montrachet. It is a hard vineyard to cultivate on account of the large stones that dominate the terroir. It therefore necessitates considerable manual work. The terroir coupled with the steepness of the site – as a white-knuckle, off-roading trip in Monsieur Lamy’s jeep proved – renders this one of the most labour-intensive parcels in the Lamy domaine. The resultant wine has a distinctly floral nose; it is rich and ripe on the palate with a yellow fruit character discernible. More voluminous than many St Aubin Premier Cru, there is a discreet mineral vein but it is less marked than in the Clos de Meix or Frionnes. This St Aubin emphasises power and structure yet retains great balance. Very impressive – one of the gems of the Lamy cellar. Drink: 2012-2015
£280/ 12 bottles in bond
St Aubin 1er Cru, En Remilly 2009
On the northern side of the Mont Rachet lies the Premier Cru vineyard of St Aubin En Remilly yet on the southern side one finds the Grand Cru vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet. This is a more driven, intense style of St Aubin, with a firmer structure more in evidence. Citrussy, with almost orangey notes, scented with a salty, mineral flintiness, there is already appetizing complexity in the 2009 En Remilly. Round and full yet conversely pin-pointed and racy, the acidity lends it a tangy note to the long, flowing finish. This is really fine and easily outclasses many village level Puligny-Montrachet this vintage. Drink: 2012-2015
£280/ 12 bottles in bond