(2017) Crémant, France's other sparkling wines, are gaining in popularity and it is not hard to see why with an example like this all-Chardonnay, traditional method wine from Burgundy. The nose has delicate apple pie notes of pastry and creamy ripe pear and apple, a touch of citrus but real richness. The mousse is soft and rolling, adding to the expansive and easy-drinking quality of the sweet, ripe fruit, but the acidity is there giving this elegance and really good balance into a long, poised finish. For the price of entry-level own-brand supermarket Champagnes this delivers most impressively on quality.
(2017) A very pleasing hint of mineraly, flinty character to this, but more apple fruit really floods the nose, the lick of mineral salts a really pleasing adjunct. In the mouth good texture, the salinity definitely there and giving proper Chablis character, some nuttiness and loads of apple fruit before a long, zest citrus finish. Lovely example.
(2017) From an estate that farms its vineyards organically, and governed by phases of the moon, this is from Fixin, an appellation north of Gevrey-Chambertin, and is firm, sappy, stalky and a touch green, but all that is charming and gives a certain precision to the nose and palate. Again that stemminess on the palate, a brisk, firm tannin and acid structure but there's a touch of smoothing oak and plenty of cherry-fresh fruit to give this charm as well as seriousness.
(2017) What a superb wine this is from Gagnard, from an organic vineyard in the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune owned by grower Caroline Lestimé. Aged for 12 to 15 months in barrel, one-third new, there is obvious nutty, creamy oak overlaying the citrus and apple, with a nice sour, cabbage nuance that adds a complex, savoury note. The palate brims with zesty fruit, but that cashew and Brazil nut character is there, and a burst of refreshing, almost tangerine or lime acidity. A delightful white Burgundy.
(2016) A wine showing its power, even though now fully mature. Ruby core with a medium brick rim, some old wine aromas of leafiness and decay, but never dominating the briar and truffle and the soft, autumnal berry fruit. On the palate soft and delicious, though it faded fairly quickly (a drop left over was almost devoid of fruit next morning) but sweet elegance to the finish on first drinking, mellow but robust tannins and cherry fruit acids into a nice, spicy finish.
(2016) Tasted just over a year ago, this wine really impressed: a Chablis Premier Cru with a touch of creamy oak to smooth the pristine Chablis apple and flint character. Now, the wine tastes just as sleek and refined, but that vivacious core of steely precision is even more evident, wrapped in a sheen of oatmeal but riveting in its freshness and vitality. A great price for a Premier Cru of this undoubted quality.
(2016) From quality-conscious négociant Albert Bichot, this is aged in oak, 20% of which is new. It does have toast and a rich oatmeal and almond creaminess, and a ripe, sweet apple fruit that's very appealing. Then a hint of minerals, of slightly flinty character adds lots of interest. On the palate, very racy, the taut acidity driving the wine, layered with creamy nuttiness and bright citrus and crisp apple fruit. Fine white Burgundy.
(2016) A rare white Côte de Nuits-Villages from the small Monts de Boncourt vineyard, which produces just 1500 bottles. The oak quality is lovely: fragrant and gentle, with nutty linseed notes and caraway. In the mouth, it has pristine fruit, all clean cut apples and citrus, with a hint of spice from the oak filling in, and a long, poised, fresh acid finish that hints at salinity.
(2016) The Chaillots of this vineyard are the 'Cailloux' of the Rhône: similar large, rounded pebbles that give good natural drainage. From the ripe 2014 vintage, Damian Gachot's garnet-hued Pinot is immediately fragrant and elegant, the cherry fruit character joined by plenty of briary, woodlandy Pinosity and a smoothing touch of cedar and smokiness, in an alluring and complex profile. Just delicious and delightful on the palate, the feather-light tannins and crisp and juicy acidity supporting creamy-ripe berry fruit, but always tempered and gentle, the stony, gravelly terroir showing through. Just a lovely Burgundy.
(2016) A whiff of flint and a not untypical whiff of a creamy, cheesy character (from some lees ageing, and possibly a touch of oak) then very tight apple fruit aromas. Plenty of lemony and lime rind freshness and acid punch, in a long, polished and delightful Chablis - and a proper Premier Cru at a most attractive price.