Posts with the label "chardonnay"


2010 White Burgundy

2010 White Burgundy

Tuesday 9th July 2019
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Last week Burgundy-specialist merchants and journalists gathered to taste 29 White Burgundies from the 2010 vintage, an experience that was impressive and, dare I say, surprising. The element that was most encouraging being the absence of premoxed wines. 

Almost all were in good condition, except a slightly tired, bruised-fruit Pernot Belicard Puligny that may have just been a bad bottle and a Terre de Velle Puligny that was just about holding on. The regional wines, at the lowest end of the quality pyramid, were tiring a little but nothing more than you would have expected and still showed rather well considering.  Certain wines displayed  more unctuosity alcohol and exotic fruit, recalling the botrytis that affected some of the crop, these were fine and still very much alive now but did not necessarily offer excitement or suggest further ageing potential. 

Vintage Report: Burgundy 2017 - Beguiling Burgundian Elegance

Vintage Report: Burgundy 2017 - Beguiling Burgundian Elegance

Thursday 3rd January 2019
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

The 2017 vintage is already being lauded as a great year for whites, but make no mistake this is a superb red vintage, too. When producers like Freddy Mugnier say “I think these were the best, most healthy, grapes I have ever picked” you sit up and take notice. For the Pinots display a beguiling mix of ripe, sensual fruit, delicacy, elegance and freshness. What’s more they offer vivid terroir characteristics - this is a red burgundy lover’s vintage par excellence.

The season started early and resulted in a precocious harvest (taking place between 3rd and 13th September for Pinot Noir). Based on readings taken throughout the calendar year, 2017 was the warmest on record. However the summer was remarkably well-balanced without any extremes in temperature. After a successful flowering, drought was the only potential danger, but rainfall at the end of August put paid to that. Conditions for harvest were perfect with sunny, warm days and cooler nights. There was one notable day of rain within the first two weeks of September otherwise growers could pick when they liked. All of this sounds rather easy, and largely it was, but there were two key factors for making really great, rather than merely “good” Pinots in 2017: Yields and élévage. In the words of Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, who has made a stunning range of 2017s “there was time to pick and to get ripe fruit, even with high yields, but if you did not control yields the wines will be a little diluted.” The second factor was to make sure the beautifully ripe, seductive fruit of the vintage was captured and not allowed to dry out, many of the growers we visited in November had already begun racking their wines in preparation for a slightly earlier bottling than usual. Early in the season green harvests were seen by many as crucial elements in controlling yields. By harvest time, grapes were uniformly ripe and very healthy, almost all producers we spoke to made it clear that tables de tries were largely redundant. Despite this fruit ripeness, sugars were in perfect balance, alcohols ranging between a balanced 13 to 13.5%. Such was the maturity of the stalks and grapes that those who practice whole bunch fermentations often included a greater percentage than usual in their fermenters, which seems to have been a successful approach, adding nerve and complexity to the wines. Whether whole-bunch or de-stalked though, the wines commonly display ripe, pliable fruit textures and, despite it not being a particularly high acid vintage, a distinct energy and freshness.

Domaine Bruno Clair: Our Man in Marsannay

Domaine Bruno Clair: Our Man in Marsannay

Thursday 13th September 2018
by Mark Dearing

Domaine Bruno Clair today concludes its grape harvest, one of the earliest in living memory. Like the rest of Europe, Burgundy has sweltered in the hot and dry summer of 2018. 

Reports suggest that less than a millimetre of rain has fallen since early June. Hot weather has really been the only concern though, coming soon after a series of complicated vintages marked by frost and hailstorms which posed far greater challenges for Burgundy’s vignerons. Nevertheless, thirty-three degrees centigrade in mid-September poses problems and the need to keep the freshly picked grapes as cool as possible is a concern. In Bruno Clair’s words though, “better too hot than wet.” 

A Tasting with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards

A Tasting with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards

Friday 6th July 2018
by Julian Campbell

We’ve been championing the wines from the ultra-remote Peay vineyard for a few years now. Planted in 1998, the vineyard turns 20 this year and quality levels have never been higher. 

The lion’s share of production goes to Pinot Noir, followed by Chardonnay and Syrah (alongside minute quantities of other varieties that don’t make it across the pond). The vineyard is nestled amongst huge redwoods, 600 feet above sea level, four miles from the coast and within the inversion layer. Effectively within the fog line, this a truly cool Californian vineyard whose year round temperatures are moderated in a meaningful way by the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Contrary to being further in-land, out on the coast the higher you get the warmer it becomes. At 600 feet you hit something of a sweet spot, cool enough to moderate ripening but not so affected by fog as to be constantly battling mildew.  Being 600 feet lower than the lowest vineyards in the nearby Fort Ross and Seaview AVA, (home to the likes of Hirsch, Flowers and Martinelli) means that average yearly temperatures are 12-13 degrees lower at the Peay’s vineyard. That’s a meaningful drop. It is hardly surprising they were repeatedly told that ripening grapes would be a struggle out here and indeed today their tiny yields are testament to this perilous spot. Truly, this is winemaking on the edge.

A Burgundy Tasting: Burgfest 2015

A Burgundy Tasting: Burgfest 2015

Friday 15th June 2018
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

At the end of May the Burgfest team, an 11-strong group comprising a mix of burgundy specialist journalists and merchants, gathered at the tranquil Hameau de Barboron in the forest above Savigny-Les-Beaune to taste the great white crus of Burgundy from the 2015 vintage.  

We braved our wild boar-infested surroundings and knuckled down to taste 235 white burgundies blind over four mornings. The wines were organised in flights by village and then by vineyard or vineyard style, ranging from four to nine wines each.  The line-up was pretty mouth-watering:  tranches of Grand Cru Chablis, Meursault Perrieres, Chassagne Caillerets and Puligny Folatieres were just a few courses on a very appetising menu that was to culminate with nine Chevalier Montrachets and four Montrachets at the end of the last morning.  This was an unparalleled and unmissable opportunity to taste the great whites of Burgundy side by side, and what a thrill it ended up being.  Herewith my own personal thoughts on the wines.