(2021) This is the négociant bottling of the Clos de Vougeot from Moillard, and from the exceptional 2003 vintage where heat and sun were unrelenting during the growing season and everything from vineyard orientation to choice of picking dates could make a huge difference to the wine in bottle. The trick it seems was in harvesting grapes before the excess heat and humidity damaged the crop, but not so early that phenolic ripeness (of skins, tannins, pips) had not been reached. Dense and quite youthful in colour, a thin rim of brick. The nose has very nice fruit, red fruits of cherry and raspberry, and there's plenty of sous-bois, also a faint touch of greeness perhaps. There's a floral or wild garrigue high note in there too. In the mouth a very pleasing weight and texture, a coffee-ish quality that might be a barrel component, but it sits very nicely. No sign of raisining or over-ripeness, a menthol touch which I guess stems from the early picking, but actually adds a cool freshness to the wine. Nutty notes of dryness towards the finish, but there's juiciness too and it has very good length. A savoury wine for sure, but with texture and suppleness. Very tough to call on whether this should be cellared further, but I am happy to have opened this bottle now.
(2021) From a tiny plot of little over 0.3 hectares facing south-east and largely limestone, also including rock, marl, sand, red silt, and large crushed pebbles. Planted over 1990 and 1991. Benoit says the acidity is always a little higher here. A beautifully perfumed and bright style here, and yes, reminds me of pomegranate and redcurrant (groseilles is French for redcurrant) with a lovely bite of energising acidity, but free-flowing and juicy, a stripe of fine tannin, but such lovely elegance here. Approximate bottle equivalent price given.
(2021) From an east-facing vineyard of limestone soil in the Côte de Nuits, where large blocks of stone give the vineyard its name, vines were planted in 1950-1951. Deep, and relatively saturated garnet in colour, the nose is suffused with spiced black fruits, a little wild cherry note, and sweet earthiness hinting at menthol in this very young wine. In the mouth there's a phalanx of tannin and keen cherry-pit acidity driving for now, the firm, savoury fruit more in the red fruit specturm, a little umami and hard, steely precision of cool concentration. A tightly-wound wine that will need years to properly develop its aromas and flavours, and will cellar for decades. Intensity and balance are both superb already. Price and stockist quoted is for the previous vintage at time of review. Around 280€ per bottle in France.
(2021) What a lovely young wine this is, from a 'monopole' walled vineyard in the middle of Volnay, extending to 2.3 hectares and named 'Bousse d'Or' because authorities would not allow a domaine and vineyard of the same name. Vineyards were planted between the 1950s and 1970s. There's a delightful raspberry-scented, bright red fruit character here, spices, flowers and pomegranate in a fragrant and crunchy profile. In the mouth it is so racy and bright, etched and edged by its acidity and tight tannins, the character is red fruited again, with fine length and lots of character. Price quoted at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2021) From a famous vineyard with an easterly sun exposure, the soil a mixture of clay and limestone, half of the vines were planted in 1979, the remainder in 1987. Benoit thinks the red wines of Corton are under-appreciated and under-valued, perhaps based on poorer wines once made by local négociants. Good depth of colour but far from opaque. So much more meaty substance than the Volnay, earthy, smoky, meaty. The perfume begins to emerge and certainly on tasting the sweet, ripe, cherry fruit is almost surprisingly bright, but there is that earthy, truffly character too, quite a masculine spine of tannin, but it is not at all austere or overly muscular. Perhaps lacks a touch of the zipping freshness of some others here, but very fine indeed. Price is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2021) From Dugat's sustainably farmed vineyards on clay and limestone soils, there is a very gentle fermentatin and ageing for around 18 months in barrels, around half of which were new. Gorgeous colour, pale and transulscent garnet with a broad rim of brick, the nose suffused with sweet damp forest floor and gentle coffee and tobacco leaf, a soft pulpy red fruit too, fragrant hints of anise and violet. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and has a silkiness, the tannins resolved and the cherry-pit acidity giving very nice freshness. Fruit at first appeared faded, but still sweet and most importantly, still there, but seemed to gain weight in the glass giving this immense drinkability, a medium to long finish and hugely enjoyable. Recent vintages cost around £80 per bottle.
(2019) Bouchard's monopole vineyard is one of the most famous in Burgundy, a 1er Cru often rated as having Grand Cru credentials, and its unusual name stemming from the time when the vineyard was worked by Carmelite nuns, one of whom prayed for the birth of the child that would one day become Louis XIV of France. It's a fabulous Burgundy, laden with chicory, spice, sweet chestnut, so much perfume here, old roses and earl grey nuances. Gently smoky, there's a buoyant cherry compote fruitiness. The palate is positively silky - especially given its lowly 12.5% alcohol - with a smooth, mouth-filling supple red fruit depth, coffee and chocolate, sandalwood and tobacco spice. Long and beautifully balanced by refined acidity and silky tannins. This wine is also renowned for its longevity, so it is a 'baby' in its own right.
(2018) From the Grand Cru vineyard acquired by Georges Mugneret in 1977, with the help of Charles Rousseau, composed of thin, stony soils. The domaine is now worked by Georges' daughters, and this wine will see around 70% new oak. The colour is pale, but with a garnet hue and little sign of age. Perfumed and touched by herbs and a meatiness, lovely firm berry fruit with some liquorice and chestnut character. In the mouth the sweetness of the fruit fairly explodes, real ripeness here and even lusciousness, the fleshy berry fruit soon caught up in a dried cherry acidity and purposeful but ripe, coffeeish tannins, the oak very delicate just adding a touch of cedar and smoke way in the background. This has good length, dry, the fruit and a delicate herbs and spices character again, and a poised but really quite powerful finish. Very hard to say whether this should be cellared further: it has loads of fruit and charm still, but does finish just a touch dry, so perhaps drinking now and over the next five years would be the sensible path. It should also be decanted as it throws a significant sediment, but also opens nicely in the glass, so give it a little air.
(2018) A fabled wine, now selling for £600 or so per bottle (but that's not what I paid almost 20 years ago). The colour is certainly faded, a broad, pale rim, but definitely still some garnet at the core of this. Immediately on opening and pouring a small taste to check the wine I thought it was fairly oxidised, but pouring the first proper glasses around an hour later and the wine seemed to have drawn itself together as if by magic. There is a touch of leafiness, a touch of roasted chestnut, some spice and a touch of dried blood, some firm red fruit too. Over an hour or so of drinking it opens, the palate perhaps just a moment past its prime, but such lovely mineral precision to this, the acidity so perfect, tannins sweetly resolved, and the impression left is of dry redcurrant fruit, but a building warmth of spices and some weight, really quite richly satisfying despite the ethereal red fruits and light gaminess that float into the ether as you drink.
(2016) Haunting, beguiling and seductive, so much finesse so much soulful, deep red fruit pulp ripeness but also smoke and tobacco, truffle and just a touch of undergrowth, but really it is creamy fruit. The beautiful fragrance transfers seamlessly to the palate. So much fruit, a complete strawberry fruit pulp punch with fabulous depth and delightful tannin and acid structure – still giving lovely support with the sweet fruit persisting.