Grands Jours de Bourgogne 2018 Highlights

Burgundy welcomed many thousand visitors during the week beginning 12th March for the 14th edition of the Grands Jours de Bourgogne. I have attended pretty much every day of all those events since the first edition in 1992, This year’s version was probably the most stimulating to date, and allowing for inevitable minor inconveniences, the best organised.

The main events were all day tastings – Monday in Chablis, Tuesday for the Côte de Beaune (impossible to fit everything in), Wednesday for the Mâconnais, Thursday for the Côte Chalonnaise, the Jeunes talents and an organic salon, Friday for the Côte de Nuits.

I tasted with many old friends and also did some prospecting for new ones: either known domaines which for one reason or another I have not previously managed to visit, or entirely new names. Ignoring existing favourites, producers of interest included:

New: Jean-Baptiste Boudier (Pernand), Joseph Colin (St Aubin)

Revived: Yvon Clerget (Volnay/Pommard), Boursot (Chambolle-Musigny), Henri Magnien (Gevrey)

Off the beaten track: Domaines Jean Fery (Echevronne), Parigot (Meloisey), Petitot (Corgoloin).

And among domaines which I really should have visited before now, Bitouzet-Prieur (Volnay), F & L Pillot (Chassagne), Vincent Latour (Meursault). I need to get to H&G Buisson in St Romain and to renew my acquaintance with the excellent wines of Alain Hasard (Mercurey/Rully).

 

In the evenings there were various other events organised, notably a fascinating view of the future 1ers crus of Pouilly-Fuissé (there will be 22 of them), presented in geographical sequence from Chaintré through to Vergisson. The discovery for me was the finesse of the wines of Pouilly-Solutré coming between the exceptional depth of Fuissé and the hillside minerality of Vergisson.

On Thursday the negociants treated us to an excellent evening ‘Grandes Maisons, Grands Crus’ held in the impressively labyrinthine cellars of Clos Frantin – a tasting of 44 grands crus offered by 26 different houses, followed by food and some older vintages. The tasting itself was all from the 2015 vintages. My stand out wines included (no surprises I am afraid):

  • 2015 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros, Côte de Bouguerots, William Fèvre
  • 2015 Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru Domaine Louis Jadot
  • 2015 Montrachet Grand Cru, Bouchard Père & Fils
  • 2015 Mazis-Chambertin, Grand Cru, Joseph Faiveley
  • 2015 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru, Bouchard Père & Fils
  • 2015 Clos-St-Denis Grand Cru, Domaine André Gagey, Louis Jadot

 

Another event of interest was a vertical tasting of older vintages of Clos de Vougeot, the third of these which I have attended. We tasted around 20 wines from 2008 back to 1989. My favourites were:

2003 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, Domaine Méo-Camuzet                                            Rich purple a huge volume of fruit on the nose, very impressive, keeps growing. An excellent wealth of fruit on the palate, a few peach notes but predominantly red fruit, quite firm tannins, not overtly oaky though the tannins could be from the barrel, this has an excellent future.

and

1989 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, Joseph Drouhin         

Fine clear colour, still plenty of red accompanied by some orange touches. The fruit remains really elegant in the Drouhin style on the palate, with the correct weight for the appellation, a few tannins, still some acidity, but both in support of the fruit which lingers nicely. Time to drink up but this is still very good. Just a little dry now at the back but still a real pleasure.

with honourable mentions to the 2005 from Michel Gros, 2003 from Anne Gros and the vieilles vignes bottling from Chateau de la Tour, along with Gerard Raphet’s magnum of the unfashionable 2004 vintage.

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