Nicolas Potel was until recently one of the leading lights of new breed of ‘super-négociants’ in Burgundy, who have modernised the whole business model of buying, ageing and selling parcels of wine from excellent growers in the region. Potel came from the family of the top domaine Pousse d’Or, but on the death of his father in 1996 the Domaine was sold, and Nicolas struck out on his own.
A meteoric rise to the top of the Burgundy league followed, with dozens of Potel négociant wines, sourced from all over Burgundy, gaining a loyal following. But more recently Potel has sold his négociant business and is instead concentrating on his own portfolio of wines, including the small selection below.
Nicolas Potel Les Charmeuses (France) Rully Vieilles Vignes 2004
Herb and nettle notes dominate the nose, with a little honeysuckle and dry apple fruit emerging. On the palate this is very dry, with that dry Cox’s Pippin fruit quality, plenty of pithy lemon and mineral acidity, and an elegant, food-friendly finish. 87/100. £8.92.
Nicolas Potel Les Charmeuses (France) St Romain Vieilles Vignes 2004
Much more new, smoky oak seems evident on the nose, with more fat and buttery richness. On the palate this is perhaps slightly under-fruited, but there is a sweetness to the fruit that is there, and a fleshier appeal, before more of that dry, citrus acidity and a little touch of spice. 88/100. £9.96.
Nicolas Potel Les Charmeuses (France) Chassagne-Montrachet 2004
Lots more oak again, with a toast and a vanillin note, over quite precise citrus and apple fruit. There’s a buttery quality too, and onto the palate, the quality of the fruit really comes through – a steely precision of ripe, but lithe and elegant white fruit wrapped in nicely integrated acidity. Fine length and persistence here. 90/100. £15.00.
Nicolas Potel Les Charmeuses (France) Savigny-les-Beaune Vieilles Vignes 2004
Quite a dank, mushroomy, earth and briar quality that is very Burgundian. The palate has decent fruit, with a dryness and savoury, slightly leafy quality to it, just hints of richness and sweetness, and a moderate but nicely balanced finish. 87/100. £13.79.