I recall a time when cold winters were seen to offer vines the chance to regenerate after the productivity of harvest. Yet the dramatic cold temperatures witnessed in the run up to the New Year 2010 were welcomed by few. Where frost pockets fell some vines perished as a result of temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees.
Spring started late, but brought with it fine conditions which allowed the vines the chance to make up for lost time. However, by early June the weather hand turned cool and flowering was therefore uneven and protracted. The result was many small, millerandé, berries which would have the eventual influence of a reduced yield.
July was a fairly typical month – summer had finally found its stride and fine, bright conditions were witnessed with temperatures hitting low 30s Celsius. Such fine conditions were not to last however and August can easily be characterised as a dull, wet month with intermittent bright days. For the record, it is worth stressing that the rainfall in August 2010 mirrored the level witnessed in 2009. Rot became a concern, but temperatures were so much lower than the seasonal norm that they easily suppressed that fear.
Although September commenced in a similar vein, making growers anxious about a long, drawn-out and late harvest, fine conditions did return and ripeness was gained at a pace. But it was not plain-sailing; a storm hit areas of the Côte de Beaune and there was hail around Chassagne and Santenay. Fears over inclement weather – and subsequent rot – influenced growers’ decisions on harvest date. Whatever approach any grower took, considerable triage and sorting on reception at the cellars were necessitated. September was certainly a month of intermittent rain but the days were predominantly bright. For fruit to ripen, light is more significant than heat and so there were a few problems with ripeness. Indeed Olivier Lamy commented that growers would normally count one hundred days from flowering to harvest, which would have meant that he should have commenced picking on the 21st September, but the combination of sun and wind accelerated ripeness bringing the harvest window forward to the 14th, some seven days earlier. Growers who ran by the hundred day rule and missed this window of opportunity have produced far fatter and weightier styles.
The concentration in the 2010s is largely borne of nature; it has not been brought about by steps that growers may have taken. Admittedly, growers had plenty to do in ensuring the fruit that made it through to the press was of sufficiently high quality, but the regulation of yield was largely taken out of their hands. Many growers would have hoped for a higher yield than they achieved and this is understandable given that at some cellars 2010 was the lowest yielding vintage since 2003 – a vintage that was shaped by a very different set of climatic data. ‘Unique’ is an overplayed and misused word in much wine writing, but the unique character trait of the 2010s is this effortless sense of density in the resultant wines which has been shaped by the conditions that prevailed. The vintage has captured both aroma and freshness. It is the bright acidities coupled with this easy richness that render the best of the vintage so beguiling.
Results may not be entirely homogenous as a consequence of the location and impact of the climate as well as decisions taken by the grower, but there are some truly startling results. Vintages of this nature rely heavily on the dedication and skill of the vigneron. We commented in our review of 2009 Burgundy that growers had then alluded to the ease with which that vintage was harvested – with the sentiment that only a fool would turn in sub-standard wine. By contrast, in 2010 a considerable amount of work was necessary. In such vintages it is those vignerons with the greatest understanding both of their vineyards and of their own role who have the ability to maximise what nature has provided.
In specific instances, the fruit quality in 2010 is on par with that of 2009, despite differences in style. It is, however, a vintage about which one may not easily generalise. The parcels and vineyards that have come through the best may even have yielded wines that will transcend the quality of 2009s and 2005s but these are more the exception than the rule. Is this not part of the fascinating complexity of Burgundy, over which generalisations are seldom valid?
In terms of style – and I realise there is a danger of appearing to generalise here – the 2010 reds may be lighter in hue than the 2009s but they have plenty of expressive fruit on both nose and palate. They are fragrant, lifted, vibrant wines, with the best exhibiting a seamless wealth of fruit underscored by fine tannins and bright acidity. There is something of the precision and poise of 2002, yet with more volume. With respect to the whites, we tasted some of the most impressive Puligny that we have encountered in many vintages. The wines are long-drawn, mineral and more assertive than in 2009, the latter perhaps showing more breadth and weight. The 2010 whites are livelier, more mineral and linear – all citrus and pithy grapefruit nuances. Is this a vintage for mid to long-term ageing? It would seem to have all the prerequisites in abundance.
So 2010 is a fascinating year and one that brings together a more classic impression than 2009’s flattering exoticism. The only real downside is that the best of the vintage will not be plentiful – flowering complications combined with the need to sort fruit had a dramatic impact on yield. Pressure on the best the vintage has to offer will be intense.
Simon Larkin MW
Domaine Humbert Frères
Emmanuel and Fredéric 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 Humbert 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. The 2002 vintage was a great one for them with 2005 eclipsing it and 2009 showing equally well. The 2010s may well be the very best wines yet.
All of the work in the domaine is done by hand. Fredéric oversees the vineyards while the phlegmatic Manou makes the wines. This is a great source of Gevrey-Chambertin delivering consistently fine wines, year in year out.
Domaine Humbert Frères, Fixin 2010
Not many are familiar with the appellation of Fixin, one of the more northerly in Burgundy, and contiguous with the Gevrey vineyards themselves. The value offered is worthy of attention, particularly when the wine is fashioned by one of the leading growers in Gevrey-Chambertin. Supple, accessible, with an appealing, juicy berry fruit and a fragrant violet touch. This is in need of a year or two’s cellarage at which stage it will provide rewarding and immensely affordable drinking! Drink: 2012-2015
£185 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Humbert Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Craipillot 2010
Made with 30% whole cluster fermentation from the fruit of 65 year old vines, the 2010 is very lifted and perfumed for Craipillot with gently spiced nuances. The palate shows a supple mineral-infused fruit, pleasingly layered and that gradually builds a sense of complexity. Silky and fine-tuned this is a truly elegant Gevrey, revealing a long, silky, startlingly pure finish. Drink: 2017-2023
£545 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Humbert Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, La Petite Chapelle 2010
A Premier Cru from a parcel of comparatively young vines (just 25 years old), La Petite Chapelle 2010 offers restrained aromas of fresh dark berry fruit. There is a plumpness about this wine in 2010; an effortless, flowing style with admirable concentration offset by a lively fresh vein that carries the fruit to a minerally and long-drawn finish. An underrated Premier Cru that really impresses this year as befits a vineyard located so close to the two famous Grands Crus of Mazis- and Chapelle-Chambertin. Drink: 2017-2023
£545 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Humbert Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Poissenots 2010
Poissenots is something of a signature wine for Manou Humbert and is the largest holding of the domaine. It is effectively an extension of the Premier Cru of Estournelles St. Jacques and lies to the west of the appellation. A lively nose of scented dark cherry leads to a palate that is packed with glossy, freshly crushed berry fruits; very juicy and succulent with a taut mineral vein coursing through. As ever there is an extra element of concentration here, not that the wine is at all weighty, underpinned as it is by an enlivening acidity, characteristic of wines from this impressive Premier Cru. With such beautiful balance and length, one can understand Manou’s pride in his 2010s. Drink: 2018-2025
£485 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Humbert Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Estournelles St. Jacques 2010
On the Côte St. Jacques to the west of the village we find, arguably, Domaine Humbert’s finest wine. The 2010 offers notes of fresh cherry and spice with discreet toasty, savoury notes. This is a rich wine; broad with an impressive, succulent core of fruit. In contrast to the Poissenots, this is a more muscular style with the stature approaching that of a Grand Cru and the minerality to suit. Taut, racy yet ripe there is terrific grip and substance here. One of the most impressive young vintages tasted of this particular wine – so beautifully poised and with so much potential. Drink: 2017-2025
£595 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Humbert Frères, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2010
Located just below Le Chambertin itself, Charmes is the sole Grand Cru in the Humbert cellar. Deeper in the glass, with darker fruit notes on the nose, this shows as a very expressive young Grand Cru. The palate is laden with black fruit and subtle toast – almost that penetrating juiciness of cassis with discreet spices too. Very silky and flowing, the broad swathe of fruit impresses greatly as does the energy and direction of the wine. A very detailed, elegant Charmes, structural yet giving, with a stunning sense of purity. Drink 2017-2025
£695 per twelve bottles in bond
Domaine Robert Sirugue
Robert Sirugue was a commercially-minded grower in Vosne-Romanée whose emphasis was on easily selling all his wines each year into the marketplace. His 10 hectares of fine vineyards and his personable nature ensured he was successful.
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 2010s represent our second purchase from this resurgent domaine and pleasingly the quality has edged higher once more.
Domaine Robert Sirugue, Vosne-Romanée 2010
Domaine Sirugue has 10 acres of village Vosne-Romanée and it is always a textbook example. The 2010 has a vibrant colour and a lovely, deep, scented nose of dark fruits. On the palate the wine is assertive and structured. There is a succulent aspect which is not uncommon in the classic 2010 vintage. Spicy and full-bodied, this is very impressive. There is terrific balance and a long lifted finish. Drink: 2014-2018
£240 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Robert Sirugue, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Les Petits-Monts 2010
One of the seven Premier cru vineyards of Vosne-Romanée, Les Petits-Monts is small at 3.6 hectares; Domaine Robert Sirugue owns a third of a hectare. It lies higher up the slope, on less rich soil, than Richebourg, which it adjoins. Again a deep colour in the glass and a nose dominated by oak nuances which currently subdue the red and black fruit character – but it is all a matter of time. The palate exhibits brilliant fruit quality, a velvety balance and great refinement, all of which are features of the vineyard. This is very expressive and the oak that is apparent on the nose appears almost non-existent on the palate. This is very deft wine-making, maximising the potential of the vineyard and the classic style of the 2010 vintage. Great length and finesse allied to power – this is deserving of far greater attention. Drink: 2016-2022.
£370 per twelve bottle case
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 Christiane in tribute to Etienne’s mother.
Etienne started experimenting with biodynamics in the Volnay 1er Cru, Les Mitans, some years ago. 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 terroir and producer.
Etienne is a believer in whole cluster fermentation, a technique he was able to utilise almost completely with the 2009 vintage and one 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. The focus is, above all, on longevity in order to promote and enhance complexity. Alcohol levels rarely exceed 12.5 degrees in any of the wines. This moderate level invariably leads to wines that are reticent in youth and which only begin to show their real class after a period of bottle maturation.
The white wines are made by Etienne’s sister Alix with all the care and attention to detail that Etienne devotes to the reds. 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.
The 2010 vintage seems very well suited to the de Montille winemaking style with the emphasis on purity of fruit, vineyard expression and vibrancy.
Domaine de Montille, Beaune 1er Cru, Les Sizies 2010
Les Sizies is a small 8 hectare vineyard on a gentle slope immediately to the west of Beaune itself. It is, in a way, de Montille’s entry level wine. The 2010 is pale in colour with a gently floral and black cherry nose backed up by a refined, pure palate of red berry fruits. There is a subtle intensity to this wine with a crushed fruit aspect which gives it a very appealing, generous nature. The 2010 vintage is good for Les Sizies, making for an attractive wine for the near and medium term. Drink: 2013-2016
£265 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine de Montille, Beaune 1er Cru, Les Grèves 2010
Les Grèves is a large 31 hectare vineyard that occupies almost the entire depth of the Côte d’Or slope immediately northwest of Beaune. Along with Premier Cru Les Teurons, it is regarded as producing the finest wines of the commune and it should be stressed that in 2010 de Montille has made an outstanding Greves. This again is pale in the glass but the colour belies the palate. The wealth of fruit on show gives this wine considerable drive. There are fine-grained tannins which provide the structure as well as considerable freshness from the acidity both of which give this direction. There is really good potential here and, despite the depth and concentration, there is also a reserved aspect which will need time to unfurl. Excellent. Drink: 2015-2020
£195 per six bottle case in bond
Domaine de Montille, Volnay 1er Cru, Les Champans 2010
Les Champans is an excellent 11 hectare vineyard north of the famed Le Cailleret and due east of Clos des Chênes. Domaine de Montille has a hectare of vines and makes a rich, powerful, focused wine. The nose is rather muted yet the palate exhibits a wealth of sweet fruit with an almost opulent touch which is rare in 2010. Fresh and focused with a lifted style and good intensity, this is immediately persuasive. More generous with a fresh aspect and terrific balance, the 2010 Champans is already a complete wine with expressive volume and energy. The quality of Champans shines through in 2010. Drink: 2015-2020
£535 per twelve bottles in bond
Domaine de Montille, Volnay 1er Cru, Les Taillepieds 2010
Les Taillepieds lies immediately upslope from Les Champans and de Montille has two parcels totalling 1.5 hectares – almost a quarter of the entire vineyard. The vines are 25 years old. This wine has another dimension to it; Taillepieds is always one of de Montille’s strongest wines and in 2010 it does not disappoint. The colour is again pale but the nose is both mineral and floral. The fruit is sweet and ripe with good density and a fine tannic structure. Allied to this is a definite spicy note with fresh acidity that will keep this wine alive over some considerable time. A long, refined finish completes this outstanding wine. Very, very impressive. Drink: 2016-2024
£290 per six bottle case in bond
Domaine de Montille, Volnay, 1er Cru Les Brouillards 2010
Brouillards is a 5.6 hectare vineyard immediately adjoining Les Mitans north of the village itself with its northern extremity the border with Pommard. De Montille own a third of a hectare located on the upper slope, which is particularly stony and is the favoured site within the vineyard. The Premier Cru of Les Brouillards emphasises the purity of the fruit rather than the structure or power. The 2010 is a finessed example with a lovely soft red fruit nose with a pronounced floral element shining through. This has a very elegant character, strong but refined, very positive fruit and a real flourish to the finish. Medium-bodied with silky tannins, this is a wine with a bright future but it already reveals a supple accent and juiciness, which is only emphasised by the freshness of the vintage. Drink: 2014-2020
£430 per 12 in bond
Pommard 1er Cru, Les Pézerolles 2010
From an entire hectare of this prized vineyard, de Montille craft what is one of the domaine’s most individual wines. Pezerolles is higher up the slope and actually adjoins Les Epenots on the Beaune border. In the right hands it is of a similar calibre to Les Rugiens and Les Epenots. Although this is a little closed on the nose, the palate is all soft, red fruits and is dominated by a strawberry compote character. While larger-scaled and bigger-framed than the Volnays, Les Pézerolles is nevertheless an incredibly appealing Pommard that can be enjoyed much earlier than Les Rugiens (and often is). Closed at present, but with admirable poise and concentration, this has great potential. Drink: 2016-2024
£535 per twelve bottle case in bond
Pommard 1er Cru, Les Rugiens 2010
Les Rugiens is located to the south of the village on steep, rocky soil near the border with Volnay. Les Rugiens is a great vineyard, producing rich, robust, intense wines. The nose is all fresh red fruits of cherry and raspberry. Really good acidity allied to a touch of minerality lend this wine both elegance and power. Supple, silky-textured as well as focused and concentrated. This is in a more linear style to the Pezerolles. The palate shows more of a dark fruit quality. Structured and powerful, this will develop well over many years because of the great balance and wealth of component parts. An outstanding Rugiens that clearly illustrates why its claims for Grand Cru status are more than reasonable. Drink: 2018-2026
£365 per six bottle case in bond
Nuits-St-Georges, Aux Saints-Juliens 2010
This is a generic Nuits-St-Georges sourced from a half hectare in the lieu-dit Aux Saints-Juliens. Itis gentle in style with none of the rusticity one often associates with village Nuits-St-Georges. A softly scented nose of raspberry and strawberry leads into a deft palate of fine-grained tannins and medium-bodied fruit with an elegant, refined finish. This is very attractive now but will develop well over the medium term. Drink: 2014-2018
£290 per twelve bottle case in bond
Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru, Aux Thorey 2010
Aux Thorey is at the top of the slope with a southerly aspect and just to the north of the village of Nuits-st-Georges towards Vosne-Romanée. de Montille has three quarters of a hectare and makes a very elegant wine with generous fruit. Here is found the complexity one expects from vineyards north of Nuits-St-Georges. Although this is currently rather closed and subdued, there is depth and concentration on the palate. This is quite a powerful wine but nowhere near ready and will require time to show its undoubted class. Drink: 2016-2022
£435 per twelve bottles in bond
Corton, Clos du Roi Grand Cru 2010
Of the 21 Grand Cru vineyards for red Corton, the Clos du Roi is the finest, perfectly situated mid-slope, just to the north of Aloxe-Corton. Of the near 11 hectares, de Montille have just under one hectare in their ownership. Again, like so many of the de Montille wines in 2010, the paleness of the colour is offset by the purity and depth of the fruit on the palate. This was 100% whole bunch fermented and the fruit is rich and full. This has more attack and poise with a refined intensity. Spicy and elegant, with a beguiling forest fruit nature, the natural power of the Clos du Roi vineyard has been tempered in 2010 into finessed control. This is exceptional. Drink: 2016-2022
£375 per six bottle case in bond
Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2010
Within its 50 hectares there are over 80 different proprietors in Clos de Vougeot and de Montille have just a third of a hectare situated on the lower part of the upper slope in a sub section called Dix Journaux. It adjoins Les Amoureuses and Le Musigny immediately to the north in Chambolle-Musigny. This is an expressive wine with black fruits evident on the nose and a full rich palate. A structural example with fine-grained tannins that give it an almost powdery texture but the depth of fruit is what dominates this wine. The de Montille style of Clos de Vougeot is based on elegance rather than sheer power. This is beautifully made with an almost seamless quality. Outstanding. Drink: 2018-2024
£435 per six bottle case in bond
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Aux Malconsorts 2010
Of the 13 premier Cru vineyards in Vosne-Romanée, the 6 hectares of Malconsorts are among the most widely sought after and de Montille has almost a hectare. The reason is simple: location, location, location. It adjoins La Tâche and seems to share the same terroir. In 2010 this was 100% whole bunch fermented. The nose is like a basket of ripe cherries with a definite floral note in addition. The nose alone informs you of the potential class of the wine on the palate. This is very impressive with great intensity and a streak of minerality to counter the wealth off fruit. In 2010 this seems to have even more life and lift than normal although it is only a glimpse of what will develop. The silky tannins are woven into the wine which has a great finish. Always a star with de Montille this is exceptional in 2010. Drink: 2018-2026.
£655 per six bottle case in bond
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Aux Malconsorts, Cuvée Christiane 2010
Christiane is an adjunct to Malconsorts that actually is within the confines of La Tache rather than simply adjoining this legendary monopole as aux Malconsorts does. Christiane is very Burgundian anomaly and it is only half a hectare and a monopole of Domaine de Montille. It is their finest wine and one of the great wines of Burgundy. As good as Aux Malconsorts is, there is always another dimension to Christiane that is not simply greater depth and concentration. The fruit emphasis is more dark fruits, cassis and cherries rather than the red fruits of Malconsorts itself. This is understated yet mouth filling with a denser sappier aspect. It seems to offer more yet remains somewhat closed. Even in this reticent state the wine shows geater amplitude and volume; there is so much more to come. Tremendous balance and length but still juvenile. A great wine in 2010. Drink: 2018-2028
£1025 per six bottle case in bond
Beaune Blanc 1er Cru, Les Aigrots 2010
Only 5% of the wine from the commune of Beaune is white and Les Aigrots lies immediately north of the finest white wine vineyard of the Beaune appellation, Clos des Mouches. Les Aigrots lies about 250 metres above sea level so some way up the slope. de Montille has just under half a hectare and makes a very attractive version every year. In 2010 there is plenty of soft fruit on the nose with apricot and peach to the fore. This is ripe and round and almost opulent but the vein of acidity that runs through the better 2010s keeps this in check, bringing an invigorating, pineapple-like note to the palate on the finish. This is a textural wine, as always, and perfect for short- to medium- term consumption. Drink: 2013-2016
£290 per twelve bottles in bond
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Le Cailleret 2010
Le Cailleret is a great Premier Cru vineyard. Just over 3 hectares in size, de Montille have almost a quarter of it. Le Cailleret lies above Les Pucelles and alongside Le Montrachet; unsurprisingly it shares some of the remarkable characteristics of its neighbours. The nose is mineral and citrus but has an overriding stony character. Far more assertive on the plate than the Aigrots, this is both lifted and intense. There appears to be an almost coiled aspect to this wine and if good Puligny-Montrachet should always be a wine with tension then this is a great wine. Aristocratic in every sense. Drink : 2015-2020
£385 per six bottles in bond
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2010
Sourced from a recently acquired parcel at the eastern edge of Les Pougets, regarded as one of the best sites on the great hill of Corton. The nose is full and aromatic with weight and a rich, almost waxy, element. Expansive on the palate. Full and broad with a ripe overlay of melon and grapefruit. Good acidity but the weight of the fruit requires that lift. This has intensity and depth. It may not have the finesse of the Les Caillerets but it has more weight and power. Masculine and full bodied. Very impressive. Drink: 2016-2022
£399 per six 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.
Javillier produces an outstanding Bourgogne Blanc, Cuveé Oligocène. It is always one of the finest examples of its kind in Burgundy being better than most of the village Meursault produced in the entire commune.
Domaine Patrick Javillier, Bourgogne Blanc, Cuvée Oligocène 2010
A perennial overachiever, Javillier’s Cuvée Oligocène is one of handful of category-defying Bourgognes Blanc. It offers a mouth-watering fruit, with plenty of mineral nuances and a gentle leesy touch. There is a roundness and depth apparent that is immediately suggestive of Meursault particularly when allied to a tapered, linear finish. This will provide great drinking upon shipment and reward short-term cellarage. Perhaps a little more patience may be merited with this vintage than with the more open, accessible 2009. Drink: 2013-2015
£150 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Patrick Javillier, Meursault, Les Tillets 2010
Les Tillets impressed us greatly this year, punching well above its weight. Tasted just prior to bottling, this offered abundant, wonderfully ripe citrus fruits, with mouthwatering grapefruit to the fore. Round, lush and juicy with an underlying minerality, this showed impressive focus and precision in 2010 with a terrific vibrant acidity – and therefore we preferred it to the weightier, and seemingly lower acid Clousots and Murger. This is an expressive Meursault with plenty of energy and one of the finest Tillets that Monsieur Javillier has produced. A really smart purchase this vintage. Drink: 2014-2018
£275 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine Patrick Javillier, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2010
Pale in the glass, the aromas here suggest stoney mineral notes allied to oily citrus, almost orangey characteristics. The palate is characterised by pithy grapefruit notes, with riper more succulent fruits behind. This is very much in a linear style, bright as a new pin with a mouth-watering, darting acidity leading to an impressively long finish. Again this shows terrific energy, a word that is likely to be overused when describing the whites of 2010, and yet is so apt here. The mineral notes seem almost saline on the finish. This is a very fine Corton-Charlemagne, all minerality and race which belies its not insubstantial volume of fruit. Hugely impressive this vintage. Drink: 2016-2022
£375 per six bottle case in bond
Domaine Francois 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 textbook 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.
François Carillon, Bourgogne-Chardonnay 2010
Sourced from four separate parcels ranging in age from 35 to 50 years and all from within Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne-Montrachet. The wine sees no new wood but is 100% barrel fermented. The 2009 was the first vintage of this wine and it displayed the richness and opulence of that vintage but the 2010 is markedly different. The nose is more mineral and citrus and the palate is far less expansive with a tightly wound core of fruit and acidity overlain by a mineral element. There is a lovely balance between the restrained power and the fine acidity which give this wine some tension which will ensure it will drink well over the next two or even three years. Very classy for a Bourgogne Blanc but it should be given its sourcing and wine making. Drink 2012-14
£150 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine François Carillon, Puligny-Montrachet 2010
Francois Carillon’s village Puligny-Montrachet is as good, if not better, than most of the Premier Cru wines from the commune. The fruit is sourced from 11 different parcels and the vines average 35 years of age both of which factors contribute to the great quality. In 2010 this is definitely classic in style – pure, concentrated, precise and mineral. The fresh acidity beautifully counterbalances a fine depth of fruit, which gives this slightly softer focus than usual. But allied to this suppleness is the tension one expects. This is, as ever, way above village level quality. Drink: 2014-2018
£295 per twelve bottle case in bond
Domaine François Carillon, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Champs Gain 2010
Les Champs Gain is an 11 hectare vineyard high on the slope above Les Folatieres. The soil is thin and calcareous with roots having to go deep to survive. There is rarely any over-ripeness or lack of acidity in Les Champs Gain; its higher altitude means it ripens later and will invariably have a perky acidity to it. But the 2010 has a wonderful concentration of rich fruit too. There is also a delicious vein of minerality laced into the palate which along with the richness sets this apart. This is a really fine Champs Gain. Drink: 2014-2020
£297.50 per six bottle case in bond
Domaine François Carillon, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Perrières 2010
Famed for producing very mineral wines, the stoney vineyard of Perrières boasts a vine age of approximately 40 years chez Carillon. The 2010 Perrières impresses from the outset with ripe bold fruit and stoney notes on the nose; the palate is powerful with tightly packed fruit. This is far more imposing than the Combettes – a more masculine frame, a wine of terrific, effortless concentration. Very classic in style this is vibrant, markedly mineral and possesses an incredibly long lingering finish. A real star from Francois Carillon this vintage – a wine with great potential for ageing. Drink: 2014-2020.
£297.50 per six bottle case in bond
Domaine François Carillon, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru, Les Clos St Jean 2010
Les Clos St. Jean is situated at the top of the slope above the village of Chassagne on relatively thin and stony soils for Chassagne. This is a terroir that naturally brings a focus, tension and energy to offset the more typical mid-palate opulence of premier cru Chassagne. Francois strikes a fine balance here, bringing his trademark Puligny purity to the typically softer-textured Chassagne. Drink: 2014-2018
£247.50 per six bottles case 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.
Humbert Lamy, St. Aubin 1er Cru, Clos du Meix 2010
The walled vineyard of Clos du Meix lies to the west of the village and the 0.7 hectare that Domaine Lamy cultivate has a vine age of 20 years. It enjoys very good aspect so the style is different from the other Premier Cru wines. This is immediately softer on the palate and more accessible. There is a lovely floral and citrus element to the nose and then a mineral and wet stone character to the palate. Fresh acidity and a focused aspect bring a taut drive to this wine and give it real energy. This is a fine wine and showcases the wine-making skills of Olivier Lamy. Drink: 2012-2016
£105 per six bottle case in bond
Humbert Lamy, St. Aubin 1er Cru, Clos de la Chatenière 2010
La Chatenière is a 8.5 hectare south facing vineyard on limestone rich soils. Lamy have 1.25 hectares of 45-50 year old vines right in the middle of the vineyard. The slope is 45 degrees and everything has to be done by hand. It is always an impressive Premier Cru perhaps because of the sheer effort required to actually make it. The nose has a definite oak aspect to it but buffered by a floral, mineral element. There is a twist of lime acidity to it which simply adds more drive to the focus and definition. This has an intense core of fruit with a lifted character. In 2010 this has more finesse than usual and is a serious challenger to the En Remilly. Drink: 2012-2016
£135 per six bottle case in bond
Humbert Lamy, St. Aubin 1er Cru, En Remilly 2010
En Remilly is a large 30 hectare vineyard at the top of the slope north east of the village. If you climb another 100 metres from the top of the vineyard over Mont Rachet you find yourself with a great view of Puligny-Montrachet and the Grand Cru of Chevalier-Montrachet below your feet. In 2010 this En Remilly has a really tight well defined character to it. There is a citrus note to the nose which follows through to the palate but here one also encounters spice, lime blossom and a mineral touch. This is powerful and very long but with real elegance. Again, this is a tribute to very high-quality wine-making. Tight is a very good description. Graceful and refined, this is a very fine Premier Cru and a star in the hands of Olivier Lamy. Drink: 2013-2017
£135 per six bottle case in bond
Humbert Lamy, St. Aubin Rouge 1er Cru, Derriere chez Edouard 2010
The 10 hectare Derriere chez Edouard vineyard lies to the west of St. Aubin and Lamy have half a hectare of 50 year old Pinot Noir vines. This has a lovely nose of raspberry and loganberry with a vibrant aspect in the glass. The palate is a showcase for the old vines – dense, rich and concentrated with fine grained tannins to give it structure. This has lovely freshness and purity and is very solid in the best sense of the word. Surprisingly backward for a St. Aubin this has great potential and is a real value. Drink: 2015-2020
£105 per six bottle case in bond