There was something serene about this tasting. So many of the wines were in their, and our, comfort zone. They had fruit, flesh, balanced acidity, persistence and personality. Very few were out of balance. Very few tasted like the greatest white burgundy of all time, but I suspect that the absence of the word scintillating in the tasting notes reflected more the sense of poise. This is a very lovely vintage for white Burgundy and a very consistent one.
The key to the vintage lies in the fact that there was no real pressure to judge the picking date exactly right – crucial in both 2013 and 2015. The window in 2014 was much wider, because the weather leading up to the harvest was moderately cool (unlike 2009 or 2015), and without damaging storms during the harvest (unlike 2013)
Of course not every wine was perfect. Perhaps a dozen out of the 200-plus had peachy or honeysuckle notes, indicative of grapes picked slightly too late. These wines were often still attractive, but should probably be drunk young. Many more of the wines were greener in style, coupled with reductive notes which could be ascribed to either picking too early or else – and in my opinion this is more likely – a deliberate winemaking choice to counter the possibilities of premature oxidation. These wines are noticeably austere in youth, but at least they frequently showed intensity and persistence, which earned them good scores in this tasting. For me, it is not essential for fine wines to be user friendly in their youth – I need them to show their qualities when they are ready for drinking.
A note on closures: we recorded which bottles were closed using DIAM – this may not completely reflect what is available in the marketplace: some producers offer alternative closures, and the sample bottle provided may not be the same as what is available in a given market. Equally the eventual proof of the value of DIAM will come when opening mature bottles much later on. However the statistics for this tasting were very positive for DIAM. Of my top scoring bottles (18 or above), 21 out of 41 (51%) were bottled using DIAM, compared to 37 out of 126 (29%0 for those scoring 16-17.5, 13 out of 47 (28%) for those scoring below 16 and 1 of the 4 faulty wines (25%).
Two of the four faulty wines had TCA faults – i.e. less than 1% of the total tasting, but more accurately 1.36% of the 147 wines closed with cork: a far less catastrophic figure than would have been the case 10 years ago.
Like everybody, I was enormously taken by the qualities of 2014 Chablis when tasting during the year after the vintage, and then perhaps slightly less enamoured when trying them again in 2016. This comprehensive tasting of 56 premier and grand cru wines was reassuring – the overall standard is very high, and there are many adorable wines which are accessible in their youth but which will keep very well. But perhaps there were fewer truly outstanding wines than we might have hoped for.
Among the premiers crus, there was a clear step up when we moved on to Vaillons from the ‘mixed bag’ of outlying vineyards, but the sweet spot was the trio from Butteaux at the end of the Montmains flight. Fourchaume was a little subdued following on, and probably should have been placed earlier in the day.
Chablis Côte de Léchet, Daniel Dampt 89
Very pale colour. Not much nose at first, then the expected oyster shells. Quite austere for the vintage, then fattens out rather more behind. Fine balance.
Chablis Troesmes, Isabelle & Denis Pommier 89
Pale colour, a touch of asparagus, some cooked bacon. Then the more genuine fruit from the grapes starts to blossom. There’s a very good underlying acidity and good persistence. DIAM 10
Chablis Vaucoupin, Jean-Marc Brocard 87
Pale lemon colour, a floral exuberant nose, quite lush for Chablis. Some baked apples. Good volume on the palate and with more weight than the first wine, showing the hoped for mineral acidity to counterbalance the opulent start. DIAM 5
Chablis Vaucoupin, Gilbert Picq & ses Fils 85
Fine pale colour with an elegant crystalline nose and a suggestion of some fat, ripe but not heavy. Quite full on the palate, a Chablis which is approachable young. Leaner at the finish.
Chablis Côte de Léchet, Laurent Tribut 83
Pale colour, rather plump nose with a little bruised apple. Lacks purity. Then aggressive acidity. The balance is all over the place at the moment. Revisit later as it is impossible to judge at the moment. Past experience of this producer suggests that this may well turn around.
Second Flight: Vaillons
Chablis Séchet, Samuel Billaud 94
Pale colour with the lightest of green tints. Very fine pure racy nose. Pure white fruit on the palate, much more on minerality than acidity, good persistence and with the typical dry character of Vaillons. DIAM 5
Chablis Vaillons, Jean Collet & Fils 91
Elegant light colour with a pleasing floral nose and some apple fruit. Superb on the palate with impressive density, very backward, a fine Chablis in the making. DIAM 5
Chablis Les Lys, Daniel Dampt 90
A little touch of pale green. A classy floral bouquet, excellent energy behind but this is not a full-bodied wine. I like the elegance and the persistence. Classic stony feel and predominantly white fruit.
Chablis Vaillons, JP & B Droin 90
Pale clean colour, a beautiful Chablisien nose with an undertone of suave fruit. Slightly riper than some but not heavy. Real concentration behind, a little youthful bitterness, a wine with the power to develop over a long period. DIAM 5
Chablis Vaillons, Domaine Gérard Duplessis 87
Pale colour, slightly bruised fruit. A few small bubbles. Some oak effect beneath. A little bit disjointed at this stage.
Third Flight: Montmains
Chablis Butteaux Vieilles Vignes, Louis Michel & Fils 94
Pale colour with a faint green tint, light bouquet both floral and mineral. This is fabulous wine with a racy identity and great potential. There’s a little sweetly generous fruit on the palate but it all hangs together beautifully.
Chablis Butteaux, Domaine E & E Vocoret 93
Fresh clear colour, surprisingly little bouquet at first. More character on the palate and very nicely balanced. The fruit comes through in several waves yet retains discretion. Good persistence.
Chablis La Forêt, Domaine Pinson Frères 93
Lean and green, a little reduction but also the suggestion of high class fruit. Very concentrated on the palate, extremely backward yet with very good typicity. Generously persistent. An explosion waiting to happen, but be patient.
Chablis Butteaux, Jean-Marc Brocard 91
Bright pale lemon colour, a certain light reduction on the nose, but suggests considerable density of fruit as well. Tight, concentrated, far from ready yet. It keeps building.
Chablis Forêts, Domaine Moreau-Naudet 90
Very pale colour, fresh bouquet with some oak as well as fruit. Tense and concentrated, the flavours keep building. A little bit of yellow fruit mixed in here.
Chablis Montmain, Domaine JP&B Droin 90
Pale bright and clear, attractive fruit with some ripe apple notes, a hint of reduction but not aggressive. Tight and lean but with excellent backbone. Some lemony notes, good persistence. DIAM 5
Chablis Montmain, Domaine Pinson Frères 89
Pale colour with a light green tint and some archetypal marine minerals. A lovely array of fine ripe fruit, a little sweetness perhaps assisted by the oak, good acidity behind, racy and attractive.
Chablis La Forest, Domaine Vincent Dauvissat 89
Fine bright pale colour. The nose is full-bodied in an oxidative style. Yet the wine is fresh on the palate. This should emerge as a beautiful wine but future development has to be taken on trust. Very long. The light oxidative element remains throughout.
Chablis La Forêt, Jean-Claude Bessin 89
Pale with a faint green tint, while perfumed, faint peach aromatics. Light and fresh with some youthful bitterness, possibly a touch of oak, potentially very enjoyable if not quite classic.
Chablis Montmains, Domaine Laurent Tribut 87
Fine clear colour, some light cheesy notes as well as fruit and minerals, not very easy to read at the moment. Good weight of fruit on the palate but again quite backward. This may merit more later.
Fourth Flight: Fourchaume
Chablis Fourchaume Vieilles Vignes, Le Domaine d’Henri 91
Pale colour, a touch of reduction on otherwise opulent fruit. Only a hint, and this is really lovely on the palate, until a very faintly grilled note at the finish. Succulent and generous though. DIAM 30
Chablis Vaulorent, Domaine William Fevre 91
Very pale colour with a light green tint, noticeable concentration. Pure, dramatically energetic white fruit, oak very nicely judged in support, exceptionally persistent. Very fine indeed. DIAM 10
Chablis Fourchaume, Domaine JP & B Droin 90
Pale lemon colour with slight green tints. An enticing bouquet, full and gracious yet nicely balanced. There is excellent weight to this; impressive texture, some yellow fruit with the acidity intelligently woven in. Very persistent. DIAM 10
Chablis Fourchaume, Isabelle & Denis Pommier 90
Light colour, some wealth of fruit, a little reduction, but in a minor key. There is notable concentration of fruit here, vibrant acidity, good persistence. How Fourchaumes though? More yellow than white. Intensity certainly, class perhaps. DIAM 10
Chablis Fourchaume, Le Domaine d’Henri 88
Pale lemon and lime colour, noticeable reduction which partially blows off. More yellow fruit than white and a little reductive note is still present at the back. Add or subtract points according to your tolerance for reduction, I have taken a middle position. Oak at the finish. DIAM 10
Chablis La Fourchaume, Jean-Claude Bessin 87
A palish colour with light green tints, one of the more austere Fourchaumes. Firm on the palate too, slightly lacking the expected generosity of this cru.
Chablis Fourchaume Héritage, Le Domaine d’Henri 87
Pale yellow with a soft but agreeable nose, tighter on the palate, lemony acidity, medium bodied. Good wine without hitting the heights of their vieilles vignes today. DIAM 10
Chablis Fourchaume, Domaine Gérard Duplessis 83
Pale colour, odd grilled, almost herbaceous nose. Not clear to me what is happening here with this very atypical wine for the vintage. The pyrazines return on the palate. Lean and awkward but there is some good fruit which wants to escape.
Fifth Flight: Mont de Milieu and Montée de Tonnerre
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, Samuel Billaud 94
Palish colour, honeysuckle succulence, extrovert style, graciously perfumed and deliciously balanced on the palate. Feel the sunshine on the grapes. Long, luscious, lovely and yet not over the top.
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, Domaine Jean Collet & Fils 92
Light colour, a little anonymous, then greater weight shows through. Impressive intensity, yellow plum and tangerine fruit, both to be expected here, very long finish. Growing in the glass. This may deserve more in due course.
Chablis Mont de Milieu, Samuel Billaud 91
Pale colour with the faintest of green tints, peaches and light plum but not as exuberant as that suggests, some oak tannins but the wood is very much subdued by the concentration of the fruit. This has very good energy and is long and powerful on the palate. A Chablis for white meat rather than fish.
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, Domaine William Fèvre 91
Paler colour with a touch of reduction, holding back the fruit on the nose. Middleweight on the palate, more austere than fruity, so not the most typical expression of Montée de Tonnerre. Something in reserve though. DIAM 10
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, Domaine JP&B Droin 91
Fine bright colour with green tints, concentrated fruit on the nose, really promising. Some reduction too. There is real class beneath, a fresh minerality backing up the classic mirabelle notes. Quite high acidity. Exceptional persistence. Fully ripe yet with high acidity. DIAM 10
Chablis Mont de Milieu, Domaine Pinson Frères 89
Pale colour, medium density of fruit with a slight cheesiness, more concentration on the palate, perhaps some oak restraining the aromatics, very good finish. Some oak tannins. Perhaps this needs more time for the detail to emerge.
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, Louis Michel & Fils 89
Pale colour with light green tints, a perfumed nose with a little peachiness, but beguiling rather than intimidating. Pretty and stylish, some softness behind, a very good wine but just lacking a touch of grip for top class.
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, Domaine Raveneau 88
Pale yellow and a touch cheesy, firm acidity on the palate along with some characteristic yellow fruit notes. It’s a bit unknit at the moment but could develop really well. Does it have enough vineyard typicity?
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, Domaine Gérard Duplessis 87
One of the paler colours and a slightly subdued nose. Not aiming for an immediate market. The fruit however is easier to appreciate on the palate though a sulphury note coarsens the finish.
Chablis Grand Cru
Three flights were tasted, beginning with Valmur which immediately delivered notably more weight and presence than the 1ers crus. Then a mixed flight which was largely Vaudésir, and finally a cheerful collection from Les Clos, in which there were many excellent wines – but perhaps they were more backward and so offered less excitement on the day, since I note that in fact I scored a Valmur and a Grenouille higher.
First Flight: Valmur
Chablis Valmur, Grand Cru, Domaine Jean Collet & Fils 95
Palish colour, with a hint of generous but balanced fruit, a little underlying oak. There’s real weight to this, impressive depth, oak again but nicely in harmony with the fruit. Very long, an impressive wine.
Chablis Valmur, Grand Cru, Domaine JP & B Droin 94
Pale lemon colour, with some ripe fruit, quite rich, possibly some oak. But there is youth, vibrancy, zestiness. The oak slightly dominates the palate but the fruit will definitely win. Scored for its potential, so please be patient. DIAM 10
Chablis Valmur, Grand Cru, Domaine Christian Moreau 92
Palish colour with a magnificent zesty nose, even more concentrated than the first wine, with an excellent thread of acidity. This is a huge mouthful but only just balanced. Actually becomes more refined with time in the glass.
Chablis Valmur, Grand Cru, Jean-Claude Bessin 90
Concentrated pale colour, slight oxidative notes, but unlike the Maison Dampt wine there is more resilience and a better natural acidity. Lemony notes at the back. Hard to judge today, but there is a volume of fruit at the finish to give hope for a higher score.
Chablis Valmur, Grand Cru, Maison Dampt 87
Pale colour but the nose suggests a touch of oak and a faint hint of oxidation. Plenty of volume but a little heat; this doesn’t show the authority of the other grands crus ( nor indeed as it turns out the other Dampt wines from domaine fruit).
Chablis Grand Cru Grenouille, Domaine JP & B Droin 95
Pale lemon and lime with a powerful nose, clearly ripe, a hint of spice, yet intense and balanced. Tightly knit, exceptional concentration of fruit, excellent fruit acid balance, very intense. Good persistence. DIAM 10
Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, Domaine JP&B Droin 95
Pale lemon and lime colour, ripe concentrated nose, a little bit of spice, intense and interesting. Perhaps some wood in the background, shows with the tannic grip, but the fruit is clearly dominant. Plenty in reserve, lemon and lime steeliness, good length. DIAM 10
Chablis Grand Cru, Bougros, Côte Bouguerots, Domaine William Fèvre 94
Pale colour with light green tint. A backward, reflective and perhaps a touch reductive nose, but suggestive of great power. Bread stick bouquet. Quite linear, definitely backward. After the chiselled backbone a little more breadth of fruit emerges. Superb persistence. DIAM 10
Chablis Grand Cru La Moutonne, Domaine Long Depaquit 94
Pale colour with light green tint. A complex, maybe fractionally vegetal nose, but indicating good concentration. This is very powerful on the palate, infused with succulent ripe fruit, enough acidity to hold it together, and great length. DIAM 30
Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, Louis Michel & Fils 89
Palish colour, a little less intensity to the bouquet, with some signs of elegance – but it broadens out significantly at the back – even a bit clumsy at the finish. Probably it just needs time.
Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, Domaine Christian Moreau 87
Pale straw colour, noticeably oaky, perhaps too much so. Oak, then acidity, then fruit, and in its youth showing a trifle short. (Or else just going through a difficult phase, given the greater success of Moreau’s other wines in the tasting.)
Third Flight: Les Clos
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Domaine Christian Moreau 94
Palish colour, very slightly boiled-sweet, but good fruit energy nonetheless; impressive, almost electric intensity. Good persistence. This continues to grow on the palate. Very fine.
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Samuel Billaud 94
Pale colour, some elegance to the fruit along with well chosen oak, graceful and balanced. The quality of the fruit is very classy and the balance of the wine excellent. No worry about using oak at this level. Very long finish.
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Domaine JP & B Droin 94
Fine pale colour with a lean and lemony style, very good intensity behind. Has not had time to develop detailed personality but everything seems to be in place for the future. But is the lemon and lime character too simplistic – or just a question of the subtleties needing longer to emerge? The latter I think. DIAM10
Chablis Grand Cru Clos des Hospices dans Les Clos, Domaine Christian Moreau 94
Clear bright colour with a green tint, plenty of new oak but there should be enough wine to cover it. Indeed there is, majestic structure, excellent acidity, vibrant dancing fruit. Very good.
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Domaine William Fèvre 93
Pale colour with notable green tints, reductive style, but not dramatically so. Quite a fine chassis to this, long and elegant, not blockbuster. More at the back of the palate than the front. Very, very young perhaps? DIAM 10
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Domaine Gérard Duplessis 89
Pale colour with a very faint green tint, elegant fruit on the nose, stylish and floral. There is fair concentration too but a hint of pomade. No more than middleweight. Nice wine but I hoped for more from Les Clos.
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Domaine Pinson Frères 87
Pale colour but rather a heavy heady nose, cheesy notes, this needs to clean up. Pont l’Evêque! This aspect mars the wine at the moment but the concentration of fruit is there so it could grow out of this difficult stage.
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Jean-Marc Brocard OOC
The quality of the vintage is as apparent in St-Aubin as elsewhere. The vineyards up the valley had their customary more austere characteristics while the two which overhang Le Montrachet showed their sunnier selves but in quite different ways. Those from Murgers Dents de Chien were rather richer than the more precise En Remilly offerings, which may take longer to come round.
St-Aubin Les Perrières, Domaine Agnès Paquet 89
Pale colour with a faint green tint. Agile nose with some fresh apple notes, delicious. Accessible on the palate with some flesh, yet attractively crisp behind. Good length, elegant and correct
St-Aubin En Montceau, Marc Colin 89
Pale colour, fresh nose, relatively discreet. This is quite austere, which can suit St-Aubin, but then opens out nicely to offer a little more flesh at the back. DIAM 10
St-Aubin La Chatenière, Olivier Leflaive Frères 89
Pale colour, fresh but anonymous nose, this is quite lean but delivers good persistence, and fattens out nicely at the finish. Bracing, refreshing, with power to add. DIAM 10
St-Aubin Clos de la Chatenière, Domaine Hubert Lamy 88
Pure clear pale colour, lively green fruit, fresh acidity on the palate, tight and understated. Lacks flesh for a higher score. Perhaps this will come with time.
St-Aubin Le Charmois, Pascal Clément 87
Pale colour, light fruit on the nose, soft and rounded on the palate, easy going and accessible but with well balanced acidity at the back. Lemon-custard notes.
St-Aubin Les Champlots, Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils 85
Pale straw colour, quite powerful fruit, a touch of evolution on the nose, biscuit at first on the palate but then good weight. A little touch of caramel, quite oak dominant, disjointed at this stage.
St-Aubin La Chatenière, Domaine Henri Prudhon 85
Pale straw, some bruised apple and furniture polish. Then freshens up, but only a bit. There is better acidity on the palate but the bouquet is discordant. Quite a lot of sulphur currently showing.
Second Flight: Murgers Dents de Chien & En Remilly
St-Aubin En Remilly, Château de Puligny 91
Pale colour, faintly reductive, lean, tight, yet coiled for the future. It is very discreet at the moment but there is certainly a real elegance here, lovely apple and lemon acidity, with finely balanced fruit. DIAM 30
St-Aubin En Remilly, Olivier Leflaive Frères 91
Pale colour, faint green tint, lightly reductive. Vibrant on the palate, a little oak in support, excellent fresh acidity, indeed a mineral feel to this wine. Persistent and with the most in reserve. DIAM 10
St-Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien, Domaine Hubert Lamy 90
Clear pale colour with a light green tint. Beautiful fresh bouquet, plenty of charm and a little bit of oak. There is an impressive volume of fruit on the palate, accessible, with a light lemon acidity. A pleasure from quite early on.
St-Aubin En Remilly, Domaine Hubert Lamy 90
Pale colour, faint green tint, lightly reductive. Stylish while retaining a lean profile, but very long. Excellent balance between fruit and structure. A little oak shows at the back.
St-Aubin En Remilly, Domaine Henri Prudhon 89
Pale straw with a full fat quite oaky nose. This is really pleasing in a full fleshy forward way yet with excellent acidity behind, so there is plenty of future despite its accessibility.
St-Aubin En Remilly, Marc Colin 88
Pale colour, floral nose, openly juicy, more acidity than flesh on the palate however. Medium length, could use more personality, perhaps we just need to wait. DIAM 10.
St-Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien, Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils 87
Pale straw with a fat, slightly oaky nose. A touch heavy on the palate with firm acidity. Is the fruit evolving too quickly, or the oak overstated? (Probably just showing the 2 year barrel ageing here.)
St-Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien, Domaine Henri Prudhon 85
Pale straw with a lightly oxidative nose. Attractive fruit behind, good flesh and acid balance, long finish. Perhaps not for the long term but delicious in the near future. However the evolution of the bouquet costs it a point.
A mixed bag of appellations
Beaune Clos des Mouches, Joseph Drouhin 91
Bright pure clear colour with a powerful hit of new oak on the nose – but there is plenty of fruit to accompany it: it’s a style rather than a fault. Excellent volume of fruit with great density and charm, and enough acidity to balance. Very good indeed within its style but quercophobes should avoid.
Meursault-Blagny La Genelotte, Comtesse de Cherisey 90
Palish colour with a light green tint, some fruit on the nose but slightly hidden at the moment. Tight and lean yet with a sense of much more to come. There is good tension at the back, not really knit yet – but with power to add.
Meursault-Blagny Sous le Dos d’Ane, Olivier Leflaive Frères 89
Pale colour with a green tint, lean and lightly reductive nose, but suggests good class. Lovely balance on the palate, with just the right level of new oak mixed in, very stylish and with excellent length. DIAM 10
Nuits-St-Georges, La Perrière, Domaine Henri Gouges 87
Faint green tint and a fresh nose with some apples to it. Clean and fresh with good depth behind, racy, moderate flesh, enjoyable for the medium term.
The joy of the vintage showed in the relatively even ripeness across the flights. Just a few wines had a peachy over-ripe character, while the lean and reductive wines were much less excessive in their style than in 2013. The wines were also very true to their individual vineyards with Genevrières showing a classic reserved elegance, Charmes a broad-brush opulence, while Perrières offered a depth and class over and above the other two, with more opulence yet still entirely balanced. But not all wines were successful and it should be remembered that Meursault suffered from hail more than the other appellations in the tasting.
First Flight: Poruzots, Bouchères, Goutte d’Or
Meursault Poruzots, Château de Puligny-Montrachet 94
Pale colour with a faint green tint, yet rather oaky on the nose – but the balance really works on the palate, lively and lifted, with a long racy and exceptionally classy finish. Great potential. DIAM 30
Meursault Porusots, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 93
Pale straw, just a hint of reduction, but predominantly fruit forward. High class fruit, and good quality oak, with an excellent thread of acidity. Lovely finish. Quite a lot of oak but it can handle it. DIAM 30
Meursault La Goutte d’Or, Arnaud Ente 92
Pale colour with reductive notes. This is very concentrated wine, a bit lacking charm at the moment but there is plenty of fruit, good acid balance and very good length. With time in the glass the charm begins to emerge and the length is certainly there.
Meursault Bouchères, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 91
Fine clear colour with a graceful elegant nose. Tight, lean, concentrated, plenty of oak but a wealth of fruit. This has enormous energy to it and the power to age very well. DIAM 30.
Meursault Clos des Bouchères, Domaine Roulot 89
Pale straw, plenty of oak on the nose, but attractive fruit too. Good weight but the oak is a trifle over dominant in youth, shows power but leaves the detail dormant.
Meursault Poruzots, Domaine Antoine Jobard 85
The colour here is a little fuller and the nose rather blander. This shows a blunt edge in its youth which may just need time to resolve. At the moment the fruit acid balance is not very exciting.
Meursault Goutte d’Or, Domaine Coche Bizouard 85
Palish colour, perfumed and peachy, a little on the exotic side. Surmaturité. This is pretty but not classy, not typically Meursault and a bit weak at the finish.
Second Flight: Genevrières
Meursault Genevrières, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 94
Fresh pale colour, a light green tint, some reduction but not aggressive. The class appears on the palate, quite firm acidity, very long and very well balanced. The class and intensity are certainly there. DIAM 30
Meursault Genevrières, Domaine Antoine Jobard 93
Clear pale straw, some weight to the nose, what about elegance? It is quite firm, even a bit rustic, but a huge solid weight. There’s a lot for the future but don’t expect immediate charm. However the weight at the back is very impressive.
Meursault Genevrières, Domaine Michel Bouzereau & Fils 91
Pale colour with a gentle softly oaked nose, the balance of this wine is very attractive, there is a good weight of fruit, perhaps just medium intensity. Very easy going and attractive though.
Meursault Les Genevrières, Domaine Tessier 89
Pale colour with lively fruit, quite grapey, medium bodied. Accessible. An easy fruit and oak balance but the latter does dominate a little at the back. Not quite enough class for a top score.
Third Flight: Charmes
Meursault Charmes, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 94
Pale colour, lean and backward nose, with a little touch of reduction. Powerful lemon and lime acidity, this is a backward wine, tightly coiled, but with the ability to develop very well from here. DIAM 30
Meursault Charmes, Domaine Coche-Bizouard 94
Clear bright pale colour with a touch of reduction. A leaner style than some, but very well constructed, attractive oak, good weight, a little bit of bacon fat lurking in the background. This is a classy wine with the ability to develop further. DIAM 10
Meursault Charmes, Domaine Antoine Jobard 93
Lemon straw colour with a rumbustious nose and quite a lot of oak. Then it is rather tighter on the palate. This is exceptionally weighty but it is not fine – yet. However I like the potential for this to develop over a long period. Currently a bit chunky nonetheless.
Meursault Charmes, Charmes du Dessus, Domaine Michel Bouzereau & Fils 92
Pale straw, an elegant grapey nose, with some opulent notes as if later picked. Yet the fruit on the palate retains a good balance, there is enough acidity, and good hope for the future. Finishes with attractive elegance
Meursault Les Charmes Dessus, Domaine Tessier 91
Pale straw colour, quite heavy nose, partly oak, possibly alcohol. Full-bodied but not clumsy on the palate, this is a large-scale Charmes that works very well. Exceptional persistence. Winemaker has chosen to leave more CO2 in, which may be a good call.
Meursault Charmes, Olivier Leflaive Frères 91
Pale colour, very pleasing fruit on the nose, this has weight, concentration, good acidity, medium plus length, and indeed fits the charming epithet. Very easy to enjoy. DIAM 10
Meursault Charmes Dessus, Château de Meursault 90
Fine clear colour, well judged oak on the nose, suited to Charmes. Actually there really is rather a lot of oak on the palate but it avoids a drying effect on the fruit.
Meursault Charmes, Domaine Ballot Millot 89
Clear bright colour, a hint of reduction, a touch of grapiness. Pleasing, accessible, easy going. Is there a faint touch of pyrazine? Lemon acidity, quite ripe flavours too.
Meursault Charmes, Pascal Clément 88
Pale to mid straw, opulent nose, peachy, later picked. Attractive on the palate, a wine which will come forward relatively soon but should hold.
Meursault Charmes, Vincent Girardin 87
Pale colour, some oak, a mite of reduction, quite a complex youthful nose waiting to settle down. Doesn’t quite have the nobility of fruit and the oak is too powerful at the back, may even dry the wine out slightly.
Meursault Charmes, Domaine du Pavillon, Bichot (from magnum) 87
Pale to mid straw colour, a slightly clumsy nose, robust on the palate but with a touch of heat behind. Not a subtle example but enjoyable. Oak returns at the finish . DIAM GF
Fourth Flight: Perrières
Meursault Perrières, Domaine Ballot-Millot 95
Fine pale straw, a rich but balanced nose showing the class of the vineyard. The balance of this wine is impeccable, oak certainly appears at the back along with acidity but the overall feeling is of sheer class.
Meursault Les Perrières, Vincent Girardin 93
Fine pale colour, the bouquet suggests detergent, discreetly. But this is really good on the palate. There is harmony between fruit and oak, a natural sense of balance, plenty for the future. Both weight of fruit and balance. A little touch of honey to finish.
Meursault Perrières, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 93
Pale bright colour, bouquet full of energy, very pure, very direct, some lime notes, no more than medium bodied but a very attractive example, with a racy purity. This one grew in stature in the glass. DIAM 30
Meursault Les Perrières, Domaine Heitz Lochardet 92
Pale colour with green reflections, attractive floral notes. This is in the leaner, limier style, but with a gracious overlay and good persistence.
Meursault Perrières, Domaine Michel Bouzereau & Fils 92
Clear bright colour, a peachy opulence to the nose. More complex on the palate with a well woven texture balancing barrel toast and acidity. Fine long finish, well judged.
Meursault Perrières, Château de Meursault 91
Fine clear colour with an attractive, ripe, perfumed nose. Some oak emerges, but all consistent with a senior vineyard. Plenty of sunshine in this glass. Also plenty of oak, but the structure suggests the two can combine for the long haul. Even so, maybe a mite less oak?
Meursault Perrières, Domaine Roulot 91
Pale colour, green tints, lightly floral, a little bit reductive, encourages more saliva behind. Lean, tense, very good wine, there may be more opulence to develop through the middle.
Meursault Les Perrières, Domaine de Montille 88
Pale straw, at first shows a sweaty, clumsy nose, difficult. Then powerful and rather cleaner fruit on the palate but it’s a bit out of harmony. Slightly sweet oak notes. Interesting but not truly classy at this stage. DIAM 30
Meursault Perrières, Domaine Pernot-Belicard 87
Bright pale straw, unusual nose suggestive of sauvignon blanc, though with weight. Citric feel to it behind. But there is massive weight too and the sauvignon notes begin to play down and peaches take over. A nice wine but does not quite fulfill Perrières class.
Corton-Charlemagne, Charlemagne, Corton Blanc
The wines were presented in two flights, the first concentrating on the Pernand end of the appellation, the second including various other Corton vineyards. There were of course some differences in quality but even more marked were the differences in style. Quite a mixed bag overall and the flesh of the vintage was perhaps more apparent than the classical stony backbone from this generally heterogenous appellation.
Charlemagne, Domaine de la Vougeraie 95
Bright pale colour with a racy mineral nose, perhaps some brisk yellow fruit too. Lively on the palate, plenty happening here, not quite harmonious yet but I think it will achieve it. Excellent aftertaste, high class and balanced, finishing on perfect mineral raciness.
Corton-Charlemagne, Olivier Leflaive Frères 95
Pale colour with a green tint, lemony notes, a little reduction. Lean, tight, coiled, concentrated. This has plenty to give later on though the style is not the most opulent. The balance is really impressive, this wine keeps growing in the glass. DIAM 10
Corton Charlemagne, Domaine Patrick Javillier (from magnum) 94
Pale colour, gracefully oaked, some attractive fruit and floral notes. This has a dynamic tension to it, good body, lean, powerful fruit through the middle and an excellent conclusion. Plenty of oak round the edges but the wine itself controls it.
Corton-Charlemagne, Sylvain Loichet 92
Palish colour with a lean, fairly mineral nose. Huge intensity on the palate, concentrated, balanced, intense. Is it so concentrated we cannot see it all, or is it a monolith?
Corton Charlemagne, Domaine de Montille 92
Very pale with green highlights. Floral. A little reduction but attractively so. Vibrant, juicy, just ripe enough, plenty of energy, enough oak. A fine example. DIAM 30
Corton-Charlemagne, Jean Chartron 91
Pale straw, some weight of fruit to the nose, a little oak builds behind. Strong, powerful wine, the oak becomes a little dominant but it is not drying out the fruit. Slightly on the edge between concentration and voluptuousness but the fruit is probably just staying inside its corset. DIAM 10
Corton-Charlemagne, Albert Bichot 91
Pale straw, fruit and oak both quite apparent, which will win? They are both very much present on the palate but the fruit holds its on and the acidity offers a good balance. This needs time to develop its personality. A little bit of fierce oak at the back perhaps? DIAM 30
Corton Charlemagne, Domaine Follin Arbelet 91
Bright pale straw, peachily opulent, good weight on the palate, zesty acidity, a touch of lemon balm. Perhaps more modern than classic but an interesting wine – very persistent certainly.
Corton-Vergennes, Château de Meursault 91
Pale straw, rich bright and peachy, certainly a late harvest element which personally I feel is better suited to eg Meursault Perrières than Corton-Charlemagne. But the palate keeps this in check – a little bit the oak too. This is different but could actually be a really good wine, certainly offering an impressive after taste.
Corton-Vergennes, Domaine Chanson 90
Bright and pale, tense reductive nose, overdone or just OK? A certain opulence behind, the sweetness comes largely from the oak. Maybe tails away a touch but still good. DIAM 30
Corton Charlemagne, Héritiers Louis Jadot 89
Fine pale straw with light green tints. Softly oaked with an undercurrent of ripe fruit. Maximum oak but not quite too much. Ditto on the palate but maybe the oak is delivering too strong a vanilla flavour and a little sweetness. The fruit may come through more later. DIAM GC (30)
Corton-Charlemagne, Domaine Tollot Beaut 89
Pale straw, rather a heavy nose with barrel char evident. Unsubtle. Actually better purity on the palate but the oak still seems a little out of kilter. Some mineral energy behind. DIAM 30
Corton Charlemagne, Domaine Rollin 89
Pale straw, a richer, heavier nose than its predecessors. Full, fleshy, good acidity behind. It is a powerful and slightly late picked style of wine, works well this year.
Corton Charlemagne, Henri Boillot 89
Pale straw, rich honeyed nose, very full, balanced by high acidity. But this weighs somewhat heavily. Yellow plums and peaches. How will this hang together later on?
Corton Charlemagne, Louis Latour 85
Pale to mid straw, rather a heavy nose, perhaps some bruised apple. Full rounded sweet fruit, I find rather heavy and unsubtle. There is a little bit of barrel caramel. But if this is your style then it’s a good wine in its style.
Corton Clos Blanche, Claire & Stéphane Follin Arbelet 85
Mid straw, quite opulent, precarious. Full ripe yellow fruit, kept tense nonetheless by the acidity. Sweet and sour saved by the reduction from falling off the cliff. NB Bottled under DIAM 5 but the cork was saturated.
The first flight, from the ‘potager’ (vineyards whose names suggest the kitchen garden) were their usual enjoyable selves without having the depth of flavour or the multiple layers which earn the top scores. The grander vineyards did not quite kick on, or perhaps we took time to adapt to the greater demands on our palates
First Flight: ‘potager’
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées, Philippe Colin 91
Pale straw, light bouquet, with some elegance which continues in the mouth. Extremely stylish with a lovely fruit-acid-oak balance and good persistence. The most complete wine in this flight.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées, Vincent Girardin 90
Pale colour with green tints, lightly reductive nose, greener fruit behind. Very attractive on the palate, middleweight, well balanced finish.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées, Clos de la Truffière, Domaine Michel Niellon 90
Pale colour with green tints, lightly reductive nose but with a floral aspect. A bundle of energy, some ripe greengage notes, well judged oak behind, very good balance.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes, Domaine Bernard Moreau 89
Pale straw, more fruit than oak. Medium depth of fruit here on the palate, good acidity, the oak is well integrated. Still shows a youthful edge.
Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St Marc, Olivier Leflaive Frères 88
Pale colour with light green tint, gently reductive nose. Lean and tight, lemon tingling, acidity quite pronounced, good persistence. DIAM 10
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes, Philippe Colin 88
Pale straw, fresh fruit salad bouquet, vigorous on the palate although both bitter and lightly toasty from the barrel. Gains weight and freshness though.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes, Domaine Chanson 88
Pale to mid straw, quite heady bouquet, kept in check by a very modest reduction. There is good weight on the palate, without much complexity, and a long finish albeit slightly soft. DIAM30
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées, Jean-Noël Gagnard 87
Fuller colour, some CO2, rich waxy nose, buttery and also a little bit saline. A richer, oakier style that may be living dangerously. Acidity behind not entirely integrated.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers, Philippe Colin 87
Fine pale light straw, graceful floral bouquet, a slight sucrosity on the palate, as much due to oak as the fruit, makes the wine appealing but one dimensional.
Chassagne-Montrachet Champgain, Domaine Michel Niellon 93
Fine pale colour, plenty of energy to the nose, excellent flesh on the palate in fine balance. There is a gracious polish to this, very good density and fine weight
Chassagne-Montrachet Blanchot-Dessus, Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils 91
Pale lemon, a richer style of wine on the nose, thick textured, good weight to this, firm acidity, a buttery finish. A little bit disjointed at this stage but with the weight to turn into something very interesting.
Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie, Domaine Heitz Lochardet 90
Pale colour, tightly coiled nose, fresh limes, good intensity, the reduction makes the finish quite firm but this will ease with time. Potentially very fine.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vide Bourses Marc Colin 90
Pale colour with a light green tint, floral notes, a little reduction but mostly showing the fruit. There is good weight to this wine, with a little youthful bitterness. DIAM 10
Chassagne-Montrachet Vide Bourse, Pascal Clément 89
Pale straw with lively fruit salad notes, some greener fruit, but lively and not dominated by oak. Correct acidity behind, and good length.
Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie, Bernard Moreau 89
Pale straw, the oak is quite prominent but with attractive fruit too which continues nicely on the palate. Very accessible, easy-going wine, both fruit and oak forward.
Chassagne-Montrachet Clos de la Maltroie, Domaine Michel Niellon 85
Pale colour, rather dull nose, possibly even a bit dilute. Nothing dominates the palate either. Slightly unsubtle oak.
Third Flight: Greater Morgeot
Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot, Abbaye de Morgeot, Benjamin Leroux 92
Pale straw, good intensity to the nose, a certain amount of oak. Very dense behind, maybe a shade too much barrel, attractive acidity, holds together very well.
Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot, Abbaye de Morgeot, Olivier Leflaive Frères 91
Pale colour with a light green tint, reduction evident. This has marvellous intensity on the palate and the oak usage is subdued. Great acid balance, very special. But the reduction is too pronounced, costing a point. DIAM 10
Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot, Marquis de Laguiche 89
Pale straw colour, ripe and fruity with a softer edge. Quite weighty in a slightly obvious style, but perhaps fair enough for Morgeot. Decent acidity.
Chassagne-Montrachet Tête du Clos, Camille Giroud 89
Clear pale colour, with a fresh, mineral nose. Good weight to this, some fine acidity, could just fill out a touch more behind.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Petit Clos, Jean-Noël Gagnard 85
Pale to mid straw, a touch of bruised apple, oxidative notes. This also mars the palate but as ever, it could just be a stage.
Chassagne-Montrachet La Boudriotte, Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils OOC
corked, though only lightly so. Really good intensity behind.
Fourth Flight: stony ground
Chassagne-Montrachet Grandes Ruchottes, Domaine Bernard Moreau 93
Pale straw, softly and gently oaked with some weight of fruit in the background. Opulent yet balanced, plenty of oak but it can handle it, good acid balance and impressive length.
Chassagne-Montrachet La Grande Montagne, Domaine Paul Pillot 91
Very pale lemon and lime colour, a light bouquet, less ripe fruit, not overtly reduced. Perhaps a little bit understated and the reduction lends a touch of rubber – but there is plenty of intensity.
Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée, Domaine Paul Pillot 91
Pale colour, the nose is discreet but there is plenty of fruit on the palate. Quite an introvert but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to say. This may add more in due course.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Baudines, Domaine JM Pillot 91
Fine bright pale colour with light green tints, faintly reductive. Perhaps some mineral notes from the upper hillside, good fruit in reserve though not very fleshy, but the finish is persistent and classy.
Chassagne-Montrachet En Virondot, Domaine Marc Morey 90
Pale straw colour, very faint green highlights, tightly knit but very concentrated, opens out nicely behind. A limey intensity, but the detail of personality is a bit hidden.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Baudines, Pascal Clément 89
Pale straw, softly oaky but with appealing fruit, easy going, accessible but with enough weight behind.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embrazées, Domaine V&S Morey 87
Pale straw, a touch of toast, tight reduction shows on the palate and rather awkward oaking.
Fifth Flight: Caillerets
Chassagne-Montrachet Caillerets, Domaine Blain-Gagnard 93
Pale straw with light green tints. Rather introvert, but this is elegant and persistent. Should there be more to it? Perhaps for some, but the class is enough in itself.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets, Marc Colin & Fils 92
Bright pale colour, attractive density of fruit on the nose which follows through on the palate. A bouncing rumbustious Caillerets but with the right acidity to balance it. Initially the class and refinement were somewhat hidden, but they began to emerge with air. DIAM 10
Chassagne-Montrachet Cailleret, Jean Chartron 91
Pale straw colour, good weight of fruit, ripe apples, plenty of energy. A joyous romp…. Love the weight without finding it slutty, but it is certainly in the plumper style.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets, Domaine V&S Morey 90
Pale straw colour, somewhat confused nose at first. Not setting out to be overtly charming. A few soft peach notes behind. This slight over-ripeness continues on to the palate. A little barrel char. Hard to make sense of at this point, but I think it will give a lot of pleasure – perhaps not for the longest term.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets, Domaine Paul Pillot 90
Clean, clear pale colour with an attractive bouquet of fresh fruit. Excellent density on the palate, the barrel is quite firm though and restricts the fruit. Disjointed but nonetheless intense. This could be much more interesting later on.
Chassagne-Montrachet Le Cailleret, Domaine Vincent Girardin 89
Fine pale colour. A slight caramel oak to the nose, and this oak is drying the fruit a touch on the palate. Saline acidity. Hasn’t quite got the balance right. Later on the caramel fades giving way to a saline fruit salad. Enjoyable not noble peaches and cream
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets, Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot corked
From the very start Puligny showed impressive qualities. Sometimes the premiers crus from the top of the hill lack depth of fruit, but not in 2014, when the characteristic judicious fleshiness covered the bones. Thereafter we found several excellent wines throughout the appellation, not just in the most famous vineyards.
First Flight: up the hill
Puligny-Montrachet Sous le Puits, Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils 91
Fine bright pale lemon, a mix of clean oak and vibrant fruit, not going the reductive route but looking very healthy. A bundle of energy on the palate, yellow plums, a touch of a fresh waxiness, good acid balance. Not complicated but really lovely.
Puligny-Montrachet Truffière, JM Boillot 90
Fine clear colour, powerful fruit with the occasional reductive note round the edge. There’s good weight to this, even some flesh, light peach notes but without suggesting too much over ripeness. Good length and definition.
Puligny-Montrachet Hameau de Blagny, Comtesse de Cherisey 89
Pale lemon and lime, good clean fruit on the nose, some sucrosity on the palate, then a stonier feel beneath. Not so much flesh in between the two, but that reflects this part of the appellation.
Puligny-Montrachet La Truffière, Domaine V&S Morey 89
Fine pale colour with light green tint. Slightly discreet nose at first, then fills out the palate very nicely. Good fruit and oak balance, just enough acidity, this is attractive for the medium term.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Chalumeaux, Château de Puligny-Montrachet 87
Pale straw, a little bit of positive reduction. Then some pyrazines which leave a sour note at the finish. Not sure where this will go from here though there is some intensity. Maybe misjudging this. DIAM 30
Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne, Pascal Clément 85
Mid straw colour, with some bruised apples on the nose – advanced at this stage. Peaches too. Plump and easy going, lacks the class which this vintage should have.
Second Flight: Champgain
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain, Arnaud Ente 94
Pale colour, green tints, light reduction, slightly higher class fruit on the nose. There’s a good keen acidity to this but very well integrated with the flesh. Very good potential here without anything overstated.
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain, Domaine de la Vougeraie 93
Pale straw, delicious fruit on the nose, yellow plums and greengages, nicely balanced, complex, a reductive edge to an otherwise full bodied wine. The palate maintains the narrative with a youthful bitterness. This has multiple layers to it, potentially an extremely classy wine admittedly with plenty of oak.
Puligny-Montrachet Champgain, Dominique Lafon 90
Pale colour, green tints, light reduction, slightly covering its class at first. Middleweight, fresh on the palate, acidity balances nicely, good length. DIAM 30
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain, Château de Meursault 90
Fine pale straw with ripe fruit and some concentration. Attractive fruit here, impressive weight, backward, some youthful bitterness. Needs time to show its paces.
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain, Benjamin Leroux 89
Pale straw, some oak, rich and plummy, possibly peachy, the acidity does not sit in quite such good balance. This may integrate better later but is a trifle disjointed for now. But there is a potential upside.
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain, Domaine Pernot-Belicard 87
Pale straw with a green edge, concentrated, backward, very faintly reduced, leaving a slightly bitter trace but nothing damaging. Sweetly ripe fruit returns at the back. The nose then seems to evolve and the oak becomes more prominent.
Third Flight: Folatières
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières, Domaine Bachelet Monnot 94
Pale straw. Quite full-bodied from the nose with a touch of bacon fat. Lovely fruit on the palate, significant volume, a beautiful zesty touch, oak put firmly back in its place. A dancing wine of significant quality. The aromatics suggest very good ripeness.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières, Domaine Chanson 93
Bright lemon and lime, some reduction, but a good sense of energy. Indeed a firm reduction but the concentration is absolutely there and the finish is impressive, long and in no way firm. DIAM 30
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières, Sébastien Magnien 91
Pale colour, green tint, lively, fresh a little reductive. At first discreet on the palate but then more builds behind. A little bit fruit salad and doesn’t quite fill out the palate, but still a good wine, and there may be more lying in wait. Comes up at the end.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières, Olivier Leflaive Frères (Domaine) 90
Pale straw, quite classy, lots of energy, oak too. This certainly fills the palate, the oak is quite toasty but the fruit wins. Good acidity, nice finale. But perhaps a bit monolithic. DIAM 10
Puligny-Montrachet Folatières, Domaine Louis Jadot 89
Pale straw with green reflections, prettily perfumed, a little touch of oak, well chosen for quality but too much in quantity – a fact emphasised on the palate where the oak is definitely on the dry side. DIAM 30
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières, Domaine B&T Glantenay 89
Pale straw, plump fruit but generous yet attractive oak, perfectly well integrated. Ripe fruit, good power, not especially elegant but not without class either. Persistent finish but is there a touch of heat at the back.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières, Château de Puligny-Montrachet 87
Pale straw, the nose is a touch diffuse, some CO2 prickle. Easily oaked, fruit-salad notes, pleasant but does not kick on.
Puligny-Montrachet Folatières, Jean Chartron 87
Fine pale colour, light discreet nose, more reductive than otherwise. The oak is rather too prominent on the palate, which dries the fruit a touch. DIAM 10
Fourth Flight: Referts & Perrières
Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts, Jean-Philippe Fichet 91
Pale straw, quite juicy fruit, very attractive on the palate with good weight and length. Balanced in all dimensions. Very good persistence.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts, Vincent Girardin 90
Fine pale colour, lime and greengage nose with a fresh character, very grapey. Middleweight, some depth, easy going and attractive. Sound, balanced finish with good persistence.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières, Jacques Carillon 90
Pale colour with a light green tint, fresh floral nose, hint of jasmine. Racy with an excellent fruit-acid balance and graceful oak coming in at the end.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts, Domaine Bachelet Monnot 89
Pale straw, lemony notes to the nose, quite elegant, a little nervous tension to this which is agreeable. Less flesh than some.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts, Jacques Carillon 89
Pale lemon colour, quite neutral nose, some flesh on the palate but the fruit is quite subdued. Perfectly enjoyable but not memorable.
Puligny-Montrachet Referts, JM Boillot 87
Pale straw with vigorous fruit. Good weight on the palate, softly oaked, firm acidity, finishes on a little barrel toast and slightly green wood.
Fifth Flight: Champ Canet & Combettes
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes, JM Boillot 96
Pale colour, tight concentrated fruit, the personality is quite hidden in youth but the concentration is absolutely there. This builds beautifully in the mouth, the oak is perfectly judged and the finish is exceptionally persistent.
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Canet, JM Boillot 93
Bright pale colour, faintly green some fresh reductive notes. Lean and tight on the palate with a lemon tingle – coming from the reduction rather than lack of ripeness. Good length, and the wine opens out nicely as the reduction reduces.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Champs Canet, Jacques Carillon 92
Pale colour, fresh grapey nose, plenty of concentration here. Discreet rather than flamboyant but everything is in place.
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Canet, Château de Meursault 91
Attractive pale straw colour with excellent weight of fruit. Quite a strong oak component but there is enough fruit to match. A little bit toasty, so will need time to settle. Good density behind.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes, Vincent Girardin 90
Pale colour, fresh peaches on the nose, honeysuckle, late picked. This is really pretty and anybody who drinks it young will love it, but it is unlikely to mature classically.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes, Etienne Sauzet 89
Pale colour, neutral nose, more opulent on the palate with well judged oak, could use a touch more personality and a little more fruit concentration.
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Canet, Etienne Sauzet 85
Pale straw, oaky nose, suggests early evolution but it may just be the wrong choice of oak. Quite fat in the mouth but more driven by the oak than the fruit. Hard to see a long term future from this sample.
Sixth Flight: Pucelles & Cailleret
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles, Olivier Leflaive Frères 97
Very elegant pure lemon colour with a delicious nose, beautifully managed perfume. The quality of the fruit on the palate is very classy and this has a glorious sense of precision. If there is a touch of reduction it is perfectly managed. Oak starts to emerge more. DIAM 10
Puligny-Montrachet Le Cailleret, Domaine de Montille 95
Fine pale straw colour, some CO2. Lively bouquet but with quite strong reductive notes. Superb concentration on the palate, huge energy, the fruit in the mouth can shrug off the reduction. Indeed the reduction diminishes on the nose too and this becomes a sublime wine. Very long classy finish, steely with a touch of lime infusion. DIAM 30
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles, Domaine Leflaive 94
Pale colour with a discreet lemon and lime nose, but a suggestion of concentration. The citrus theme continues on the palate but it is not too dominant. A very pure and classy wine, the lemon notes continue through to the back of the palate. DIAM ‘D’
Puligny-Montrachet Clos du Cailleret, Jean Chartron 92
Bright clear colour, some fresh oak apparent on the nose, soft and gracious on the palate too but with elegant waves of flavour. Less oak and it would be better still but it is nonetheless a pretty wine and it holds together well at the finish.
3Puligny-Montrachet Le Cailleret, Domaine Michel Bouzereau & Fils 85
Pale to mid straw, slightly clumsy oak and a hint of bruised apple. Freshens up a little but this is living dangerously. The weight is there, but showing neither precision nor class. A slightly flawed bottle?
The Grands Crus
High expectations which were certainly met by the majority of the wines. The question about this vintage was not about the overall consistent high quality, but whether the top appellations would soar to the highest level or not. One or two wines did come very close, whilst most continued to demonstrate the overall consistency of the vintage.
Amongst the Montrachets, there were two superb wines and another which may also have great qualities, but which is currently hidden by over strong reduction. The fourth wine was puzzling as I was impressed with the Bouchard Montrachet from cask.
First Flight: Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet
Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Jacques Carillon 97
Pale colour with green tints, backward nose with some sulphur. Then a wealth of fine white fruit on the palate, very distinguished and ready to speak now. Superb persistence. A wine of great quality that is also fairly accessible but will certainly hold. Very Bienvenues.
Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils 95
Bright pale straw colour, fruit and oak equally present on the nose. There is good tension to this wine, the reductive character is subtly done, medium weight but more notable persistence. The power on the palate is understated but undeniably present.
Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine de la Vougeraie 92
Bright pale lemon, perhaps a hint of rubbery reduction, makes it a little difficult to taste. But there is plenty of wine underneath and the persistence is good. Quite a lot of oak. It may be that this wine really needs a lot more time to be understood.
Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Vincent Girardin 89
Fine pale straw with lemon and lime touches. Very graceful, suave, gently oaked nose, becomes quite buttery. Also fat and fleshy on the palate before being reined in by brisk lemony acidity. Not quite convincing, maybe a little late picked, and the buttery character of the oak imposes.
Second Flight: Bâtard-Montrachet
Bâtard-Montrachet, Olivier Leflaive Frères 95
Fine clear colour, quite a powerful reduction on the bouquet. Then there is impressive intensity on the palate, reductive lime notes, but otherwise a sense of purity, honed steel and persistence. The reduction is near the limit, but the real wine still shows through. DIAM10
Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine Bachelet Monnot 95
Pale straw, a little sulphur without obvious reduction, just flattening the nose. This has grand cru weight, the fruit which emerges on the palate is generous and will be enjoyable, but the sulphur will need to resolve first. Very long finish, a little youthful bitterness.
Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine Blain Gagnard 94
Fine clear colour, a little reduction, but gently done, the bouquet opens out to offer quite graceful fruit and floral notes. Elegant again on the palate up front, much oakier behind, but the fruit should win. Indeed it blossoms with aeration.
Bâtard-Montrachet, Henri Boillot 94
Pale to mid straw, fine and elegant bouquet, very attractive. This is solid, classic wine with all the power, not too much oak, superbly integrated acidity and a lively spring in its step – all without sacrificing the expected weight of the appellation.
Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine de la Vougeraie 91
Pale straw, a little oak, the suggestion of concentrated fruit, but just a little overwhelmed by the oak. Strong acidity, apple and lime notes, medium length. A bit clunky. But this still has the chance to develop.
Bâtard-Montrachet, Benjamin Leroux 91
Pale straw colour, quite exotic nose with some hints of peach and honeysuckle. The oak is quite firm as well. Slightly recipe winemaking perhaps. Good acidity, fair length, missing the element of flair. Becomes much more succulent with time though still an element of surmaturité.
Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard 89
Pale straw. Comes out of the blocks rapidly with a touch of banana to the fruit. This has four square intensity and prominent acidity, it is quite Bâtard in style, and will benefit from ageing: except that the wine became a little clumsier with aeration, so was marked down
Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine V&S Morey 85
Full mid straw, sweetly but not clumsily oaked. Or maybe it is. Buttery notes. Then a touch of viognier suggesting late picking. Certainly a rich wine but I would prefer more elegance.
Third Flight: Chevalier-Montrachet
Chevalier-Montrachet, Domaine Leflaive 97
Clear bright mid straw. There is a fresh lime component but also a beautiful floral aspect, but still very attractive. A wealth of intensity, this is glorious fruit and will hold together. Very long indeed, opulent for Chevalier but the balance is entirely there. First class.
Chevalier-Montrachet, Jean Chartron 96
Very pale colour. Concentrated, chiselled, mineral nose, full of authority. This has good intensity and lifted minerals, quite a lot of new oak, but still weight and charm and class. On re-tasting, the balance stands out. Very fine indeed.
Chevalier-Montrachet, Philippe Colin 95
Pale to mid straw, rich fruit on the nose but not top-heavy. Clearly some concentration here. I would prefer a slightly more sensitive oaking but the fruit weight is there and the acid balance is good. Very persistent.
Chevalier-Montrachet, Olivier Leflaive Frères 95
Pale colour with a sulphury reduction. Plenty of concentration here, but the sulphur masks the detail. Not a problem as this is designed for the long term, but it makes it difficult to judge today. The Acid balance is good though and the persistence exceptional. DIAM 10
Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte, Bouchard Père& Fils 91
Pale straw, surprisingly light given the exotic fruit of the nose. The peaches are served with cream from high class oak. This will find many friends but is not classic in style, and could use some more evident minerality. Perhaps just hidden inside the oak in youth. DIAM10
Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles, Héritiers Louis Jadot 90
Mid straw, heavily oaked, perhaps a bit clumsy to my taste but there’s no doubting the power. How much of that is down to the oak? Too much perhaps, I would like to see more zest in Chevalier. As with the wine above, perhaps it is just a question of time. DIAM GC
Chevalier-Montrachet, Les Demoiselles, Louis Latour ?
Full yellow and evolved nose. Not going anywhere. Picked too late, oaked too much but this may be what they want. (Certainly the house style leans this way, but surely it cannot be intended to be as extreme as this?)
Fourth Flight: Montrachet
Montrachet, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 99
Bright clear lemon and lime, some elegance to the bouquet as well as concentration. Understated, but the class blossoms on the palate. Magical integration between the fruit and the acidity, very subtly nuanced. There is majesty in this from the vineyard and skill from the winemaker. DIAM 30
Montrachet, Marc Colin & Fils 98
Poised attractive pale colour with some green highlights. Lean but concentrated, very backward as it should be, great promise. The bouquet emerges from the chrysalis and it is fabulous, nuanced, more floral than fruit, skilfully oaked. Very tightly knit, but more hidden than absent. DIAM 10
Montrachet, Olivier Leflaive Frères 94?
Very fine pale colour, with some green highlights. Tight reduction on the nose is currently hiding the fruit. This gets deeper and meatier, almost too much. Intensity maybe but this is so lean at the moment. Splashing helps a bit but not enough. Maybe 24 hours open? DIAM 10
Montrachet, Bouchard Père & Fils 89
Pale straw, probably the richest and oakiest, and least reduced nose. Broad-shouldered, but the oak dominates a touch and it isn’t subtle. Hints of caramel, saline acidity, and there isn’t the concentration at the back of the palate which there should be for Montrachet. DIAM 10