(2019) An interesting wine from the Louis Latour company, who are based in Burgundy but who have extensive vineyard holdings in Beaujolais just further south. This comes from the heart of the Beaujolais region, but it is not Beaujolais but 'Coteaux Bourgignons', because the wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir, which has had minimal exposure to oak, but which comes from chalk and limestone soils. It has terrific lift and buouyancy, violet florals and cherry leap from the glass, with a nice undercurrent of soft, truffly Pinot character. In the mouth it is savoury with plenty of tang from sour orange and cherry again, good tannins and plenty of sappy character to set against that core of sweet fruit. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2019) Moreau's Petit Chablis is a wine on the dry but fruity side - is there a smidgeon of Chablis 'minerality'? Perhaps, but really this majors on a peach downy fruitiness, lime and a palate that shows more of that quite concentrated peach and apricot, a refreshingly zesty grapefruit acidity keeping it bright and focused. Note that a Louis Moreau Petit Chablis bearing a different label is in Waitrose, Majestic and others.
(2019) A lovely unoaked example of a Chardonnay from Burgundy that nods towards the New World with its delicious ripeness and clarity, but not at the expense of Burgundian restraint. Creamy on the nose, the aromas are of an applie pie taken straight from the oven, buttery pastry notes, ripe apples and pears. In the mouth there is weight here, again a buttery richness from both the ripe fruit and, I suspect lees stirring and malolactic fermentation, to round and soften the edges. Sweet fruit on the mid-palate runs into more of that firm apple and lemon acidity into a juicy, balanced finish. Watch the video for food-matching ideas and more information.
(2019) The vineyards for Petit Chablis are scattered around the periphery of the main Chablis appellation, mostly close to the treeline at the top of the famous slopes, and rarely on the Kimmeridgian soils that are synonymous with the flinty, oyster shell quality of 1er and Grand Cru wines. But do not look down your nose at the best examples, still made with care from 100% Chardonnay and usually, as in this case, unoaked. It's a very smart wine made by M&S winemaker Sue Daniels, marrying very fresh, lightly grassy and boldly lemony aromas with a fuller, riper fruit character on the palate, a creamy texture and hints of mango and exotic fruit soon licked into shape by the citrus and, yes, slightly salty, acidity. Watch the video for more information and food matching suggestions.
(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.
(2019) Chardonnay from the south Burgundy, this has very little oak that I can detect, though there is perhaps a smidgeon giving a creamy almond and pastry touch to the ripe orchard fruits, maybe just a fleeting glimpse of something floral too. In the mouth it has medium body and a typically versatile combination of sweet fruit - but not too much of it - creamy texture and refined balancing acidity. Long with just a whisper of toast, it is fresh and appetising.
(2018) Best showing yet for this: in a terrific place with lots of coffee and truffle, fabulous fruit too and delicate floral nuances. Seamless palate, spicy and rich, brimming with red fruit and that truffly, deep, smoky finish. I would probably not hold for too much longer, as it is singing now on evidence of this bottle. Stockist/price is for more recent vintages - this wine has very limited availability in the UK.
(2018) I was surprised in some ways to see that there are around 80 tasting notes for Bouchard wines in my database, because as an important Burgundy producer and négociant they do stay slightly under the radar compared to the likes of Jadot and Louis Latour. I was also surprised to see that I hadn't tasted the Côte de Beaune-Villages since the 2000 vintage, as it is a lovely minor Burgundy (yes, even at £20 a bottle that's minor for Burgundy). With a bright cherry perfume backed up by some deeper, sweet earth and briar, but really it is all about the fruit. In the mouth, truly vinous with cherry and grape fruitiness, quite a substantial mouthfeel, ripe but relatively chunky tannins and good cleansing acidity.
(2018) It may not be on your radar as yet, but there's a buzz about the crémant wines of France - France's 'other' sparkling wines made by the Traditional Method with in-bottle secondary fermentation, but not in Champagne. From Burgundy, this is a blend of 92% Chardonnay and, intriguingly, 8% Gamay.
(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.