Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

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Matt Mauldin
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Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#1 Post by Matt Mauldin » May 27th, 2019, 10:07 pm

In the tradition of Howard Cooper’s excellent and very informative travelogue posts, I’m compiling notes from my (all too quick) visits to Burgundy, the Northern Rhone and Barolo from May 6th to the 10th on this thread. I hope you enjoy.

Chablis and Burgundy (May 6th and 7th) – Laroche, William Fevre, Joseph Drouhin, Pierre Amiot, Genot-Boulanger, Bouchard, Meo-Camuzet

We started from Disneyland Paris the morning of May 6th for a pit stop in Chablis, starting with a short morning appointment with Domaine Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin in Chablis. Despite making excellent time and running a little ahead of schedule, we had an epic navigating meltdown on the way, missing an exit and costing us a half an hour. Benoit was hosting his Italian importers at the same time and the delay made it impossible to join in late. I spoke with Benoit later via email and he was very kind and gracious about my error. I hope to try again in the future. I’d followed some of the of the difficulties here with premox but after reading some recent reviews by Tim Atkin in Decanter and reading of the switch to Diam, I was excited for the visit. Oh well, zero for one. We got on track from there.

Domaine Laroche

Domaine Laroche was easy to book using the Rue de Vignerons website. We were given a tour of the historic Obédiencerie winery building (built in the 9th and 12th Century), which included an old press, current use barrel cellars, library bottle storage and a really cool ancient press from the 13th Century. Over 1000 years of history. The modern history of the domaine dates to the early 20th Century. Domaine Laroche developed from plantings within the Laroche family dating to 1850, and Michel Laroche has been an influential figure in the region for the past 50 years, building vineyard holdings to nearly 15 acres of grand crus, 52 acres of premier crus, and 156 acres of Chablis, as well as bottling négociant wines. They profess minimal inputs in winemaking, progressing from stainless aging of Chablis, to neutral oak and tank for premier cru, to as much as 20% new oak on grand crus (including use of 132L half-sized barrels). Farming is lutte raisonnée working toward organic certification. Laroche also owns Mas La Chevaliere in the Languedoc and Champy in Burgundy.

History aside, it was interesting to me seeing the 132L barrels in the cellar. In all my visits to barrel rooms, I’ve never seen these tiny barrels. I believe these are devoted solely to La Réserve de l’Obédience, but I could be mistaken. It was also interesting to see how many older vintages, up through the 1990’s, were bottled in clear glass.

We tasted four wines – 2016 Vieille Voye, 2015 Beauroys 1er Cru, 2016 Les Fourchaume Vieille Vignes 1er Cru, and 2005 Les Blanchots Grand Cru. Overall impression – the 2016’s were really nice in their expression of fruit purity and mineral expression and depth. The 2016 Les Fourchaume VV was my favorite of the tasting, lots of complexity. The 2005 Les Blanchots showed some maturity on the nose, but was very youthful and complex on the palate with a lot of complex depth. Solid overall, richer in style than the Fevre wines we tasted next. Cellar tracker wine notes here - https://tinyurl.com/y5g5nw9f

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We took a short walk across town, crossing the beautifully scenic river Serein and a busy road to get to the panoramic view of the grand cru vineyards at the Les Clos sign at the bottom of the hill, then headed back into town and to the William Fèvre tasting room.

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Domaine William Fèvre

William Fèvre we were able to walk right into the tasting room without an appointment, and they poured a full assortment of current release wines spanning the entire range. As is commonly known, Fèvre is owned by Henriot, as is Bouchard. The Domaine farms 193 acres (including nearly 40 acres each of grand and premier crus) and 90 separate parcels sustainably using organic practices. Wines in the range that are barrel-aged employ oak that is at least 5 years old. Closures were recently changed to Diam throughout the range.

We tasted 2017’s and 2016’s, starting with Petit Chablis and Chablis before moving into the premier and grand crus. Premier Crus (2017 Montmains, 2017 Vaillons, 2016 Côte de Léchet, 2016 Fourchaume) and Grand Crus (2016 Bougros, 2016 Les Preuses, 2016 Blanchot). This was a stellar tasting with the 2016’s standing out – in particular Fourchaume, Bourgros, Les Preuses, and Blanchot. Apart from their individual distinctions, each showing common traits of bright citrus and massive walls of marine-driven mineral and floral secondary notes, rich structures and great great depth. Cellar tracker wine notes here - https://tinyurl.com/y5g5nw9f

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Maison Joseph Drouhin

Finishing the first day in Beaune, we took the tour at Joseph Drouhin. This was my third visit to Burgundy, and this time I wanted to include some historic tours at larger houses into the mix. Drouhin was a great stop – including a tour of their expansive old barrel cellars beneath several blocks in the center of Beaune. Their cellars for the tour are primarily for show, but there are a few barrels aging for Hospices de Beaune bottlings. There was another old press here – dating to 1570, which has seen recent use at a special event.

According to our tour guide Jerome, Drouhin owns nearly 200 acres, with further purchases from about 740 acres. Drouhin remains family-owned, dating to 1880. Some basic info from their website - Domaine vineyard plots are farmed biodynamically, with hand-harvesting throughout the range. Highlights of vinification include natural yeast fermentation and modest (20%) use of new oak on many of the wines (including Grand Crus).

The lineup included six emblematic wines – three whites and three reds. 2015 Chablis Mont de Milieu 1er Cru which featured impressive vivacity considering the richer nature of the warm vintage. 2016 Chassagne Montrachet which seemed pretty run of the mill. 2015 Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru which stood out for richness, complexity, energy/tension, and was the wine of the flight – the full package. The reds were 2015 Beaune Champimonts 1er Cru, 2014 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru and 2011 Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains – all very nice. Link to Cellartracker wine notes - https://tinyurl.com/y5g5nw9f

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Our Monday dinner was at Le Relais de Saulx in Beaune. This was a very charming space in historic Beaune run by former Masterchef star Olivier Streiff, with his wife Nina Montchovet running front of house. The dinner was a nice mix of classic style with contemporary influence. The fois gras in two textures was excellent. There’s a choice of three main courses - I had fish and my wife had a risotto (there’s always a risotto course on the menu). I think we both wish we would have had the pigeon, which seemed to be the hit based on our observations. The wine list had plenty of desirable choices at reasonable pricing. We went with a non-fussy choice of a Monthelie 1er Cru, I think it was a 2011 or 2012. Would be happy to revisit.

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First day was a bit of a warmup. More to come from Burgundy – including Pierre Amiot, Genot-Boulanger, Bouchard and Meo-Camuzet.
Last edited by Matt Mauldin on June 16th, 2019, 8:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#2 Post by Matt Mauldin » May 30th, 2019, 9:30 pm

May 7th

Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils

The second day started with a morning appointment at Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils in Morey-Saint-Denis. We were hosted by Chantal Amiot, who runs sales and marketing for the domaine. Now in their 5th generation, they farm sustainably just under 20 acres in Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin. In the cellar, fermentations begin with natural yeasts, with Pinot Noir typically destemmed (some possible stem inclusion depending on vintage). Aging is primarily in neutral oak, and the wines are bottled unfiltered. They are imported in small quantities to the US and are in multiple international markets. While dining in Le Neuvième Art in Lyon later in the trip, we saw several Pierre Amiot selections on the wine list – nice placements!

We tasted a lineup of 2017’s – Morey-Saint-Denis, Morey-Saint Denis Aux Charmes 1er Cru, Morey-Saint Denis Les Blanchards 1er Cru, Morey-Saint Denis Les Ruchots 1er Cru, Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes 1er Cru, and Clos de la Roche. Stylistically, the lineup showed ample red fruit, a rich middle density of savory & sweet spices and florals, with a generosity to the flavors and structure. Of the MSD 1er Crus – Les Ruchots stood out, upping the ante of complexity and depth. The Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes 1er Cru added darkness to the fruit and secondary depth, with more serious structure. The Clos de la Roche had a deeper structure with darker earthier depth and loads of secondary complexity. It was a quick tasting, and the cellar (and thus the wines) were cold, but I got the sense that this lineup was very consistent, solid and fairly-priced across the board – with the potential for standout bottlings and very nice medium-term drinking. Cellar tracker wine notes included here - https://tinyurl.com/y5g5nw9f

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**2016 bottles pictured, 2017 is what we tasted**


Domaine Genot-Boulanger

Founded in 1974, Genot-Boulanger is a family-owned domaine with 54 acres in the Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise – including over 30 appellations with 3 grand crus and 13 premier crus. Guillaume and Aude Lavollée are the 4th generation of vignerons at the estate, beginning in 2008. During their time, they’ve undergone a process of conversion to organic farming, as well as refinements to production. With Corton-Charlemagne grand cru and premier crus in Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne Montrachet - whites are a big part of the identity of the domaine. Premier crus in Volnay, Pommard and Beaune; and grand crus in Corton and Clos Vougeot are the centerpieces of the reds.

Hand-harvested, with non-inoculated fermentations. Whites are whole-cluster pressed, barrel fermented, without lees stirring during malolactic, and with 12 months in barrel and 6 additional months in tank. With reds the degree of whole cluster depends on vintage. They are also fermented in barrel, extracted gently, and aged 12 months before finishing with 6 months in tank. Guillaume told us that he seeks to produce wines that will age well and prioritizes limiting his wines’ exposure to oxygen during production and aging.

We tasted with Guillaume at the domaine in Meursault. The lineup was 8 wines, all 2016’s – four Pinot Noirs including Mercurey En Sazenay 1er Cru, Beaune Grèves 1er Cru, Volnay Les Roncerets 1er Cru, and Clos Vougeot. Four whites including Puligny-Montrachet Les Levrons 1er Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Cru, Puligny Montrachet La Gerenne 1er Cru, and Meursault Bouchères 1er Cru.

To my palate, the wines from top to bottom displayed an impressive energy and tension, with excellent precision in the flavors and elegance to the structures. With the reds, the Beaune Grèves and Volnay Les Roncerets (each 30% whole cluster) progressing to the Clos Vougeot (80% whole cluster) showed common themes of succulent fruit, exotic floral, spice and mineral depth and very refined structure, with Roncerets and Vougeot growing darker and progressively more complex. The whites, tasted second, showed like a highlight reel. I loved them all, with the Chassagne Les Vergers being my favorite, and impressing with great depth, tension and elegance, and seamless notes of key lime, slate, dried florals and exotic spices. Cellartracker wine notes - https://tinyurl.com/y5g5nw9f

While researching places to visit, I was drawn to the story of contemporizing and reinvention of this domaine and it being a little under the radar. I ended up loving the wines. Also, kudos to Guillaume to showing his wines in top stemware (I think it was Zalto but I could be wrong), which no doubt heightened the experience.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#3 Post by Jayson Cohen » May 31st, 2019, 6:23 am

Thanks for the notes. Genot-Boulanger is a new discovery for me this year. Whites are so fresh and punchy while still having generous weight and strong aromatics in mouth.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#4 Post by Jeff Vaughan » May 31st, 2019, 8:19 am

I love these threads. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#5 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 2nd, 2019, 12:45 am

Bouchard & Méo-Camuzet

Bouchard Père et Fils

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The other Beaune tour was at Bouchard – a tour of the million-bottle cellar (with vintages dating to the 19th Century) and a tasting of 5 premier and 3 grand crus. The wines – Reds – 2014 Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot, 2013 Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Porêts Saint-Georges, 2014 Beaune 1er Cru Grèves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus, 2014 Bonnes Mares, 2013 Chambertin. Whites – 2013 Beaune 1er Cru Clos St. Landry Blanc, 2013 Meursault 1er Cru Gouttes d’Or, 2014 Chevalier-Montrachet.

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Great lineup. The brooding power of the L’Enfant Jesus stood out. The grand cru reds were a nice contrast, with the exotic depth and elegance of the Bonnes Mares and then the broad & rich complexity of the Chambertin. To my palate, all five of the reds were settled in to a reserved stage. The whites similarly showed great potential – a little more vibrant in the fruit presentation, especially on the 2013’s and most especially on the 2013 Meursault 1er Cru Gouttes d’Or, with dense and complex structures. The 2014 Chevalier-Montrachet had a massive core and complexity. Tasting notes – https://tinyurl.com/y5g5nw9f

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Domaine Méo-Camuzet

Our Airbnb apartment in Vosne-Romanée was at Méo-Camuzet, which I would highly recommend if you’re interested in staying outside of Beaune in one of the villages. It was adjacent to the domaine on Rue des Grands Crus, a short walk from La Tache, La Romanee Conti and Richebourg. Nathalie Meo was an excellent host, always helpful answering questions prior to the trip, personally greeting us upon arrival, and helping us arrange an epic cellar tasting at the Domaine.

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horse ploughing in background (upper-center-left)

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Méo-Camuzet today has 6 grand crus and 10 premier crus. They are farming organically, ploughing the soils by horse, and limiting yields through pruning, with further sorting at the winery. Fermentation is in temperature-controlled concrete, with destemming, gentle extractions, minimal sulfur usage, judicious use of new oak (primarily François Frères) depending on the wine and vintage, and bottling unfiltered by gravity. The Kermit Lynch website has full info on the history, vineyards and winemaking, as does the Méo-Camuzet website.

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We were hosted by assistant winemaker Peer Reiss and greeted and later seen-off by Nicholas Méo, tasting a lineup of 2017’s from bottle and 2018’s from barrel. The 2017’s – Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Clos Saint Philibert Blanc, Frère et Sœurs Fixin, Nuits St. Georges, Frère et Sœurs Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru, Nuits St. Georges 1er Crus Aux Murgers, Clos Vougeot Près le Cellier, Corton Clos-Rognet, and Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Brulées. Common threads of these 2017’s were rich red fruits – primarily fig and date, but with occasional cherry notes; and rich textures and dense with secondary notes tending toward savory spices and earth, with occasional cedar-leather, floral and mineral flourishes. Getting into the premier crus and grand crus the wines showed powerful and expansive mid-palates and finishes, with broad polished tannins. The Nuits St Georges and Corton Rognet showed richness and power, while the Clos Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée Aux Brulées showed more focus and cut with the fruit, more refined structure, and ramped up the complexity. Great lineup.

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2018 barrel samples were Nuits St. Georges 1er Crus Aux Murgers, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Aux Boudots, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Brulées, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cros Parantoux, and Richebourg. Common threads of these 2018’s were more delicacy in the red fruit notes – leaning more toward red and dark raspberry and cherry; with more of a mineral and floral presence – notes like melted stone and hibiscus, along with a more nuanced earth and spice, beautiful elegance and airy density, and very fine tannins. The Nuits St. Georges showed very nice complexity and structure, with elegance throughout. The Vosne-Romanée premier crus, especially the Aux Brulées, showed similarities with a more exotic flair to the secondary notes. Richebourg built on the aforementioned with an greater elegance and weightlessness on the palate.

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This was a real treat. Full notes on the previous link above.

Our second dinner in Beaune was at La Lune. This is a tiny chef’s counter space with a few tables in the historic city center. Japanese-French fusion – Japanese influence in the flavors, with French technique, with local/seasonal ingredients. Small-plate and sharing is the format, and the menu is very reasonably priced. This was an outstanding dinner – highlights included grilled scallops with a curry-based sauce, a turbot carpaccio, a tuna tartar with vegetable tempura, and a pigeon dish. We paired with a very nice 2013 Jean-Claude Bachelet Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes.

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Next up - Northern Rhone and Lyon (Rostaing, Sorrel, Guillaume Gilles)
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#6 Post by Marcus Dean » June 2nd, 2019, 1:16 am

Great report so far
Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#7 Post by Joshua Kates » June 2nd, 2019, 4:13 am

Yes, Matt,

Thanks for the write-up and the pics. I've had already Genot-Boulanger's that i've liked (and too bad about Droin, one of my favorites when sound).
I rarely get a chance to drink top end Meo wines with age, so the ones I've had have tended to be a little on the simple side, if that's the right word: classical, but to me not always so distinctive, though maybe I'm just expecting too much. In any case, did you arrange all this yourself, write to the wineries in advance and so forth? (Not ITB, or yes?) Thanks again!

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#8 Post by Alan Rath » June 2nd, 2019, 10:15 am

Great writeup, thanks for taking the time to do it! Particularly interested in your comparison of 17 and 18 vintages at Meo, it sounds like you thought the 17 vintage is "bigger" than 18, which came across almost more elegant and classic, did I interpret correctly?
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#9 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 2nd, 2019, 11:23 am

Thanks for the comments!

Jayson, that's a good description of Genot-Boulanger's wines.

Joshua, I arrange all of the visits myself. Typically, I research target visits and compile a list, and then email my top targets and keep working on it until I have the itinerary down like I want. It can be tricky, as response times vary (if at all). For instance, I got an email last minute (while in France) that one of my top targets could take me, however I'd already committed elsewhere so I had to graciously decline. I typically use Google translate, and I do email from my business 'ITB' email address, however I make clear that it is a personal visit and I often will put some context in the email as to why I'm interested in visiting and/or what I'm interested in learning. I definitely try to buy some wine on my visits, however this time a number of the places I visited had no wine to sell. If it's a paid tour, then I may or may not buy wine. This time around, with Laroche, Bouchard and Drouhin, I simply signed up for one of their regular tour offerings - I'd visited Burgundy before and had not ever gone to any of the larger houses, so I thought that would be good to do. With Méo-Camuzet, I booked the AirBnB and while communicating on the booking was able to arrange for the tour. I truly enjoy planning it out and doing it DIY, and the research involved is a great learning exercise, so I don't ask favors with any of my ITB colleagues who may have a connection.

Alan, yes that was my thought at the time and when going back and reading my notes. However, I wanted to conservatively lay out that impression, considering how wines can fill out while in barrel and giving room to defer to others on the board who have a longer history and way more context with Burgundy than I do. But yes, that's how they were showing to me at the time. The 17's I'd tasted earlier in the day at Pierre Amiot also had a roundness and richness to them. I liked both vintages.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#10 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 2nd, 2019, 11:26 am

An exceptional thread, thank you very much. Pics are fantastic.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#11 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 8th, 2019, 6:45 pm

Northern Rhone (May 8 & 9)

I recommend checking the bank holidays when planning a trip to France. The May 8th Victory Day holiday and persistent cold rain meant there wasn’t much going in Lyon outside of shopping and eating. We had the eating covered with dinner at Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Neuvième Art, which I’ll come back to at the end of this update. The next day we visited Côte-Rotie, Hermitage and Cornas before heading through the Alps into Italy.

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Domaine Rostaing

René Rostaing hosted a tasting with us and some nice folks from Germany. He stood behind a table and held court while pouring wines, engaging and freely giving thoughts on the wines and their style, answering questions with passion and conviction.

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The Domaine is in Ampuis very near the river, and next door to Guigal’s Chateau D’Ampuis. In the past few years, René has turned the Domaine over to his son Pierre, who he says will continue the traditions he’s established over the last three decades. Highlights of the Rostaing program include premier Côte-Rotie vineyard holdings in the La Landonne and La Viallière lieux-dits in Côte Blonde, and a small parcel in Côte Brune – according to René 32 plots in total with vine-age from very young (5-6 years) to very old (70-80 years); as well as holdings in Condrieu and in the Côteaux de Langeudoc. Grapes are harvested by hand, fermented primarily whole-cluster, and aged in mostly used and neutral 225L and 500L barrels. René was emphatic about the importance of minimizing new oak in Syrah and mentioned that they have less than 7% new barrels in the cellar in any given vintage.

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*Côte-Rôtie

We tasted 5 wines – 2015 Coteaux du Languedoc Puech Noble – 60% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache – which is aged 50% in tank and 50% in barrel. René mentioned that likes to use tank for Grenache aging to limit oxygen. He likened the Languedoc to the “wild west” and said he likes the spirit of experimentation in the wines from there. The wine had a nice mix of freshness and concentration with big chewy structure and round tannins. The 2016 Les Lézardes Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes was a very nice and well-rounded expression showing plum fruit, rocky minerality and dried floral notes with good depth throughout.

Next was two vintages of Côte-Rotie Cuvee Classique Ampodium – 2016 and 2013. René mentioned Ampodium comes from 17 different plots from throughout the appellation. The 2016 was deep and rich with iron, black cherry and dried herb/florals along a dense and impactful palate with strong depth. The 2013 was more red fruit-driven and more floral, smoky and peppery, with elegance and fine tannins. A nice contrast of vintages.

Last was the just-bottled 2017 Côte Brune. René commented that the 2017 vintage shows nice concentration and good typicity. The wine showed black cherry and raspberry fruit, iron/melted stone, spices, smoke – rich, dense and seamless – reserved but very complex, with mouth-coating concentration, fine tannins and plenty of length.

With the tasting spanning several vintages, I very much enjoyed the style of the lineup – to me traditional with refinement, along with boldness and complexity. It was a great tasting and experience.

Domaine Marc Sorrel

At the venerable Domaine Marc Sorrel we were hosted by Guillaume Sorrel, who is in the process of taking the reins of the Domaine from his father. The 4th generation, Guillaume’s not planning to change vineyard or winemaking practices, but he was busy making other changes by reorganizing the cellar and office space. 2018 is Marc’s last vintage, after beginning at the family Domaine in 1982.

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Sorrel’s vineyard holdings include plots in the prized Le Meal, Les Greffieux and Les Rocoules lieux-dits, among others. According to Guillaume, Sorrel’s flagship Le Greal bottling was named simply for a combination of the names of the Le Meal and Les Greffieux lieux-dits. Farming is organic. The Sorrel wines are famously traditionally made – Hermitage Rouge is partially destemmed, and Le Greal is completely whole cluster. Aging is in old French oak casks for at least 24 months. Le Greal typically sees a small percentage of Marsanne co-fermentation. Whites are whole-cluster pressed, with the Hermitage bottlings being solely Marsanne with some Roussanne in the Crozes-Hermitage. Bottling is unfiltered, and sulfur additions are minimal.

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Our tasting was 2018’s from barrel, which Guillaume informed us we were the first to try. 2018 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc is 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne, coming from 40-year-old vines with 12 months of barrel aging then 6 months in vat. It showed good typicity of butterscotch, pear, flowers and spices and rich structure and nice depth. 2018 Hermitage Blanc is 100% Marsanne and is aged a year in barrel and a year in vat. It shows similar typicity with minerality with finer structure and more depth. 2018 Hermitage Blanc Les Rocoules is 100% Marsanne with 2 years in barrel, showing a huge core of braised apple and pear fruit, ample secondary depth of spices and earth, with expansive secondary density and richness, and solid length.

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The reds see 2 years of barrel age. 2018 Crozes-Hermitage sets the tone with the black cherry fruit, iron, dried florals & herbs, and paprika spices, along with nice finesse and elegance. 2018 Hermitage shows similar notes while adding more exotic notes of melted stone, eastern spices and mesquite smoke – it has both impact and elegance, transitioning seamlessly through the palate and finishing with fine tannins and good length. 2018 Hermitage Le Greal comes from 100-year-old vines in the Le Meal lieu-dit, with a small percentage of Les Rocoules Marsanne co-fermented. It showed ample complexity of savory and root spices, plum & cherry, melted iron and liquid smoke; great palate intensity – broad, wide and deep with fine structure and a big finish.

The 2018 Sorrels showed beautiful depth, range and elegance. A great look at the producer and the vintage.

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* Hermitage

Domaine Guillaume Gilles

We met Guillaume Gilles near his old caves in the middle of Cornas. Gilles has been producing since 2005, when as a protégé of Robert Michel he was able to transition into producing his own wines with use of Michel’s old caves and by securing prime spots in lieux-dits such as Chaillot. Sticking with the theme of the day – Gilles leans very traditional as a producer, employing whole-cluster fermentation in most cases, fermenting with native yeasts, aging in old wood casks, and bottling unfiltered with low sulfur additions. He farms organically, with a total of 5 hectares (12.3 acres), 3.5 of which are in Cornas.

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Our tasting in the cave included the current releases as well as his 2018’s from barrel. Bottled wines started with 2017 Côtes du Rhône Blanc Les Peyrouses, which is Marsanne & Roussanne grown in Cornas off of the slope and near the river, on sandier & clay (non-granite) soils. This showed nice pure and brisk stone fruits and spices with appealing texture and depth. The 2017 Côtes du Rhône Rouge Les Peyrouses is positioned in the lineup on a par with the Cornas wines (with 100-year-old vines), showing a big core of red fruit, anise, spices and leather with very nice complexity and depth. The 2017 Cornas Nouvelle R comes from a plot near the top of the Cornas slope, which Guillaume describes as a cool site that he expects to warm further with climate change. The 2017 shows sauvage character, with complex notes of iron, tapenade, black cherry, lavender and spices along an elegant palate with rich density and fine grippy structure. The flagship is the Cornas bottling. The 2016 Cornas is a massive wine in terms of depth and stature – cherry & plum fruit; complex herbal notes – rosemary, lavender, medicinal; melted stone minerality; mesquite & leather & spices. It starts with elegance and expands seamlessly throughout, finishing with thick rounded tannins and tons of depth. Loved this one.

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Out of barrel we tasted 2018 Cornas Nouvelle R, showing similar notes to the 2017 along with a bit more mineral and earth. The 2018 Côtes du Rhône Les Peyrouses was big, rich and robust – with red fruit, sauvage, leather, spice and floral notes and a thick fleshy structure. Finally, we tasted three components of the Cornas bottling – a barrel from Chaillot (pure granite soils) showing braised red fruits, meatiness, florals, earth and spices; a barrel from Geynale (granite, limestone, clay and loess) with darker fruit, melted stone, tapenade, spices and flowers; and a barrel containing both plots blended showing a full range of the aforementioned characteristics. All three barrels showed great silkiness and fineness to the structure – elegance with great impact.

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Guillaume was very passionate in educating on his wines and was a great host. I was very impressed with the lineup – and thought the wines displayed terrific purity and focus. It was a great day in the Northern Rhône.

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*Cornas

Dinner in Lyon at Restaurant Le Neuvième Art was spectacular. The restaurant is in the Brotteaux district in the 6th arrondissement and is owned and operated by chef Christophe Roure. It is contemporary in cuisine as well as in the overall aesthetic of the setting. Beautiful flavors very creatively presented. Fois gras was tops of the trip. We paired with an amazing 2012 Jamet Côte-Rôtie, that sang right out of the bottle. The evening was capped off with a visit to the table by the chef.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone (update) and Barolo

#12 Post by Alex Goldstein » June 8th, 2019, 6:55 pm

Terrific notes, thanks for sharing.

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#13 Post by Kris Patten » June 8th, 2019, 7:14 pm

Thanks for posting all this Matt. Cool trip.

I laughed at the Jamet blur as I assume after all that tasting it may be an accurate representation of your view of the bottle!
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#14 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 8th, 2019, 7:34 pm

Indeed, Kris. Plus I was listening to the psychedelic 13th Floor Elevators while posting so the pic seemed to fit right in!
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#15 Post by c fu » June 8th, 2019, 8:46 pm

Jayson Cohen wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 6:23 am
Thanks for the notes. Genot-Boulanger is a new discovery for me this year. Whites are so fresh and punchy while still having generous weight and strong aromatics in mouth.
Ugh. We had a visit set up by missed the dumb train and missed appointment
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#16 Post by Scott Jameson » June 9th, 2019, 4:42 am

Thanks for the great notes and pictures !

We have an afternoon in Beaune in a few weeks, and I'm trying to decide between Bouchard and Drouhin. Which would you recommend if you could only visit one ?

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#17 Post by Howard Cooper » June 9th, 2019, 5:12 am

Matt Mauldin wrote:
May 27th, 2019, 10:07 pm
In the tradition of Howard Cooper’s excellent and very informative travelogue posts, I’m compiling notes from my (all too quick) visits to Burgundy, the Northern Rhone and Barolo from May 6th to the 10th on this thread. I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for the very kind words. [thankyou.gif] I have always felt indebted to the wonderful people at wineries who are so kind and generous with their wines but esp. with their time and so have always wanted to give back in a way by publicizing the places I visit. But, you certainly do me one better with all the beautiful pictures. [winner.gif] [worship.gif]

Glad you liked Relais de Saulx. Great little restaurant in Beaune recommended to me by a good friend.

I look forward to your notes on Barolo as we have not visited there and it is probably the wine region I have not visited that I most would like to see.
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#18 Post by Ramon C » June 9th, 2019, 5:17 am

Good read, notes and photos. Always wondered about Sorrel's wine styles and appreciate the information share. Thanks.
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#19 Post by Howard Cooper » June 9th, 2019, 5:19 am

Scott Jameson wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 4:42 am
Thanks for the great notes and pictures !

We have an afternoon in Beaune in a few weeks, and I'm trying to decide between Bouchard and Drouhin. Which would you recommend if you could only visit one ?
I like the wines at both wineries a good bit - Bouchard's wines are richer and Drouhin's more elegant, so you might go by which producer's wines you like better.

The cellars at both places are fascinating, but the ones at Bouchard are much grander in size and much more impressive. On the other hand, I like the store at Drouhin better as you sometimes can pick up some older wines at attractive prices. Of course, you could take the tour at Bouchard and then shop at Drouhin's store.

And, if you are longing for grand cru and premier cru Burgundies that are still (relatively) affordable, visit Amiot and then have Cote d'Or Imports ship the wines back to you. https://www.cotedorpdx.com/ If you buy six or more bottles at a single winery or store, they will pick up the wines for you (meaning you don't have to pay VAT) and then ship the wines to you (meaning you don't have to lug them home).
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#20 Post by Hao Lu » June 9th, 2019, 5:43 am

Very nice! Thanks for posting!

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#21 Post by Joshua Kates » June 9th, 2019, 8:48 am

Thanks Matt for the new posts; I assume Barolo is next?
Please keep them coming, following with interest--and thanks also for your extensive response to my questions above.
Joshua, I arrange all of the visits myself. Typically, I research target visits and compile a list, and then email my top targets and keep working on it until I have the itinerary down like I want. It can be tricky, as response times vary (if at all). For instance, I got an email last minute (while in France) that one of my top targets could take me, however I'd already committed elsewhere so I had to graciously decline. I typically use Google translate, and I do email from my business 'ITB' email address, however I make clear that it is a personal visit and I often will put some context in the email as to why I'm interested in visiting and/or what I'm interested in learning. I definitely try to buy some wine on my visits, however this time a number of the places I visited had no wine to sell. If it's a paid tour, then I may or may not buy wine. This time around, with Laroche, Bouchard and Drouhin, I simply signed up for one of their regular tour offerings - I'd visited Burgundy before and had not ever gone to any of the larger houses, so I thought that would be good to do. With Méo-Camuzet, I booked the AirBnB and while communicating on the booking was able to arrange for the tour. I truly enjoy planning it out and doing it DIY, and the research involved is a great learning exercise, so I don't ask favors with any of my ITB colleagues who may have a connection.[/quote}

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#22 Post by Howard Cooper » June 9th, 2019, 6:56 pm

Three suggestions about getting into wineries in Burgundy:

1. https://www.bourgogne-wines.com/our-exp ... ,9363.html Tons of names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of domaines in Burgundy complete with who speaks English and who takes visitors (which is not always correct).

2. Join a Burgundy group on Facebook. Become friends with some Burgundy producers who are there, esp. up and coming ones. Post tasting notes when you taste wines from these domaines - you will be surprised at how much esp. young and coming producers like it when you praise their wines publicly. But, don't lie.

3. Go to the Paulee Grand Tastings or other events when they have them in NYC or SF. Try talking some to producers there - no, I am not talking about producers like Rousseau, etc., that are typically mobbed, but the other ones who are more available. Let the ones who you like know how much you like their wines and ask about visiting them.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone (update) and Barolo

#23 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 9th, 2019, 9:08 pm

Thanks guys for the comments. Great advice from Howard on connecting with Burgundy producers and strategizing seeking appointments. Up and coming producers is a great way to lay out your visits. If you can grab a popular domaine to top it off, then you're going to have a great itinerary. On the Drouhin vs Bouchard, my tours were two different levels of wines. Drouhin was village and 1er Cru, while Bouchard was 1er and Grand Cru - so higher level wines at Bouchard. That said, based on what I paid for each I thought the Drouhin was a better value for the money. The level of wines tasted at Bourchard was well worth it, however I wished they would have provided upgraded stemware for that level of tasting (I did the upgraded tasting there). Wines are certainly excellent at both.

Yes, Barolo is next. First time there and it was a spectacular day. The visits were to Massolino, Vajra, Rinaldi and Burlotto. I hope to get that posted next weekend.
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#24 Post by Howard Cooper » June 10th, 2019, 4:32 am

Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 9:08 pm
The visits were to Massolino, Vajra, Rinaldi and Burlotto. I hope to get that posted next weekend.
Hope the visits were a fabulous as this sounds.
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#25 Post by Mike Grammer » June 10th, 2019, 6:33 am

Splendid report, Matt---immensely appreciated. Bummer indeed about non-visit to Droin (glad to read of the gracious response), and good on you for putting it behind you and getting the most out of the rest of your trip

We get some Genot-Boulanger in here once in a while and I've liked the wines. The Meo Clos St. Philibert has been stunning to me in 14 and 15 and an incredible QPR these days. The 15 Meo Corton Charlie (I'm opening the first of 3 bottles this Saturday) was my WOTY last year.

And yes, the tours at Drouhin and Bouchard are fun!

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#26 Post by Gus Siokis » June 11th, 2019, 3:43 pm

Matt,

Great report! We just returned from Europe last week and had a similar itinerary - Burgundy, Rhone then over to Piemonte. We overlapped on Amiot, Bouchard and Drouhin (ITB arranged) in Burgundy, Gilles in Rhone, and Burlotto in Piemonte. Where we differ....Y. Clerget, MC Thiriet, Marchand-Tawse, and Jadot (also ITB) in Burgundy. Xavier Gerard and Pierre Gonon in Rhone. Paolo Scavino and Giacomo Conterno in Piemonte.

If it wasn't for the advice from folks on this board especially Charlie F., Howard C., and Howard D. not sure it would have been the unbelievable trip it turned out to be....thank you again, gent's.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone (update) and Barolo

#27 Post by Todd F r e n c h » June 11th, 2019, 4:15 pm

Wow, what a fantastic report! I wish I could have traveled along with you!
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#28 Post by Howard Cooper » June 11th, 2019, 4:23 pm

Gus Siokis wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 3:43 pm
Matt,

Great report! We just returned from Europe last week and had a similar itinerary - Burgundy, Rhone then over to Piemonte. We overlapped on Amiot, Bouchard and Drouhin (ITB arranged) in Burgundy, Gilles in Rhone, and Burlotto in Piemonte. Where we differ....Y. Clerget, MC Thiriet, Marchand-Tawse, and Jadot (also ITB) in Burgundy. Xavier Gerard and Pierre Gonon in Rhone. Paolo Scavino and Giacomo Conterno in Piemonte.

If it wasn't for the advice from folks on this board especially Charlie F., Howard C., and Howard D. not sure it would have been the unbelievable trip it turned out to be....thank you again, gent's.
Glad I could be of help. I have tasted a few wines from MC Thiriet but have not tasted there. How was that visit. She seems like a very promising young producer.
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#29 Post by Gus Siokis » June 11th, 2019, 7:02 pm

It was good but she had to run after about 75 minutes to meet with Steen from WineHog. Very passionate and humble. Her place is tiny. We tasted through all of her 2018’s except for the Rosé. Our favorites were her new wines - Volnay Village Grand Champs (still going through Malo; beautiful color), Vezelay Village Chardonnay (malo is finished) and a wine from outside of Burgundy - Savagnin Arbois. This last one was really interesting...had almost a Sav Blanc feel to it. She mentioned she is bottling everything this summer but would have preferred to wait until the end of the year.

A few pics:
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#30 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 11th, 2019, 10:59 pm

Gus, sounds like you had a great trip as well. We overlapped at some good spots. I really enjoyed visiting these three regions together, and hope to do it again sometime. Looking forward to the final update on Barolo soon, hopefully this weekend.

Thanks all.
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#31 Post by Howard Cooper » June 12th, 2019, 4:40 am

Gus Siokis wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:02 pm
It was good but she had to run after about 75 minutes to meet with Steen from WineHog. Very passionate and humble. Her place is tiny. We tasted through all of her 2018’s except for the Rosé. Our favorites were her new wines - Volnay Village Grand Champs (still going through Malo; beautiful color), Vezelay Village Chardonnay (malo is finished) and a wine from outside of Burgundy - Savagnin Arbois. This last one was really interesting...had almost a Sav Blanc feel to it. She mentioned she is bottling everything this summer but would have preferred to wait until the end of the year.

Thanks for the update. Did not realize she now has some Volnay. Should be interesting. [cheers.gif]
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#32 Post by Gus Siokis » June 12th, 2019, 11:54 am

Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 10:59 pm
Gus, sounds like you had a great trip as well. We overlapped at some good spots. I really enjoyed visiting these three regions together, and hope to do it again sometime. Looking forward to the final update on Barolo soon, hopefully this weekend.

Thanks all.
We did. Agree on your notes on Gilles - really great wines. Highly recommend a visit with Xavier Gerard for your next visit. Xavier and Guillaume are buds. The visit with Gerard was by far our favorite of the entire trip. We met his mother and father. Had lunch with Xavier while we tasted through his wines. His mother made coffee for us and Xavier was just an overall funny and great guy. He has a new place for tastings/cave/space that's going to open in July.

We were somewhat flipped on the Bouchard vs. Drouhin tasting. We paid for the Virtuoso experience and it sounds like you did the Prodigio - correct? While at Drouhin it was a ITB tasting with a Clos de Mouches Rouge as the top flight. We definitely favored the whites at Bouchard over Drouhin and Reds at Drouhin over Bouchard. We also had a Jadot ITB tasting which was by far the better of three 'big' places we visited except for the really cool tour of the cellars which was worth the price of admission.

Lastly, we enjoyed our visit with Chantal at Pierre Amiot as well. Our experience was very consistent with yours (Thanks again, Howard!). Really great wines for unbelievable prices. Did you possibly taste the Charmes Chambertin? We didn't but did purchase a few bottles.

Gus
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#33 Post by Gus Siokis » June 12th, 2019, 12:04 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
June 12th, 2019, 4:40 am
Gus Siokis wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:02 pm
It was good but she had to run after about 75 minutes to meet with Steen from WineHog. Very passionate and humble. Her place is tiny. We tasted through all of her 2018’s except for the Rosé. Our favorites were her new wines - Volnay Village Grand Champs (still going through Malo; beautiful color), Vezelay Village Chardonnay (malo is finished) and a wine from outside of Burgundy - Savagnin Arbois. This last one was really interesting...had almost a Sav Blanc feel to it. She mentioned she is bottling everything this summer but would have preferred to wait until the end of the year.

Thanks for the update. Did not realize she now has some Volnay. Should be interesting. [cheers.gif]
Of course. Also, thanks for the tip on Cote d'Or Imports. Great folks to work with and we expect most of our wine to arrive in the US any day now. I was expecting them to hold the wines in France until it's cooler here in Atlanta but they reassured me the actual transit from France to the US to our house is in climate controlled transportation. champagne.gif
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#34 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 16th, 2019, 7:38 pm

Gus-

I'm right there with you on Xavier Gerard. I was in contact with him during my planning and he offered me a time, it just didn't work out with the plans on my end. I'll definitely keep him on the radar for next time.

At Bouchard we were the same as you - Virtuoso - 5 1er's and 3 GC. Sounds like you had a nice experience at Drouhin - they didn't have CdM on our tour... I had a similar take on the wines as you did. I loved the whites at Bouchard. Thought the reds were a little tight, or needed larger-bowled stems to show their best.

At Amiot, the only grand cru was the Clos de la Roche... Would have loved to try the Charmes Chambertin!

Hope all is well in Marietta. I'm an Atlanta-native!

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#35 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 16th, 2019, 7:57 pm

May 10 - Barolo

We arrived in Barolo by way of Turin. A recent Spring blast of wintry weather had given the Alps a fresh coating of snow and the bright sunny day had their snow-capped peaks on full display. This was our first visit to Barolo, and it displayed larger-than-life beauty that reminded me of being in the Grand Canyon or Big Sur for the first time. Pictures don’t do it justice – the vine-covered hills are larger and grander than they appear in photos. This was a one-day Barolo immersion visiting producers covering both major soil types – generally speaking, Helvetian to the east (Serralunga d’Alba) and Tortonian to the west and northwest (Barolo, La Morra and Verduno). The producers visited tended toward the traditional-influenced end of the stylistic spectrum.

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Massolino (Azienda Agricola Vigna Rionda)

Massolino is in the hilltop village of Serralunga d’Alba, with panoramic views of much of the Barolo region from its patio by the tasting room. Massolino was founded in 1896 by Giovanni Massolino, who was the first to bring electricity to the Serralunga d’Alba village. Subsequent generations helped to expand both the estate’s vineyards (Margheria, Parafada, Vigna Rionda and Parussi) and the region (co-founding the Consortium for the Defense of Barolo and Barbaresco in 1934). Today it is run by Franco and Roberto Massolino, both oenologists. Vineyards are in the Serralunga d’Alba area and sit between 1050-1200 feet above sea level. Production uses traditional methods in a recently renovated and very modern cellar. Fermentation vessels include oak casks, concrete and stainless steel. Barolo is fermented with macerations of up to 25-30 days for single-cru bottlings, with aging exclusively in Slavonian oak casks. Any barriques are used exclusively for Chardonnay.

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Our guide was Alessandro, who gave an impressive tour – starting with an overview of Barolo on the patio with the vineyard landscape as a backdrop – including detailed explanations of crus, soils, climate and exposures. This part of the visit alone was invaluable as a first-time visitor. From there it was a walk through the renovated cellars beneath the village and on to the tasting.

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The tasting was an overview of Massolino’s overall program. Starting with 2017 Langhe Riesling, which is grown within the Barolo DOCG – very precise and citrusy with a mineral spine, gaining a lush texture and richness through the palate – very nice. 2017 Langhe Chardonnay is grown in vineyards around Serralunga d’Alba and is fermented and aged in a combination of cement, barriques and larger barrels without mL – showing tropical fruit and leesy richness with some decent cut through the palate, not my favorite style of Chardonnay but well-made. The 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba is fermented and briefly aged in cement – showing leather, cherry and flowers with generous texture and spices. 2018 Barbera d’Alba also fermented and aged in cement, shows fresh berries, spices and flowers with soft structure and juicy acidity.

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The 2017 Langhe Nebbiolo comes from both Nebbiolo grown outside of the DOCG as well as from declassified and young vines from within Barolo – showing black cherry, rosemary and dried violets, supple and rich with a generous middle. 2015 Barolo comes from 4 crus in Serralunga d’Alba and 1 cru in Castiglione Falleto with extraction for 15 days – showing rose petal, dried herb, black cherry, iron and eastern spices; showing fine firm structure and good overall depth and length. 2014 Barolo Margheria – according to Alessandro, Margheria shows most elegantly young among their vineyards due to a higher percentage of sand in the soils. Extraction is shorter than their other single crus, at 15-20 days. The 2014 showed good overall complexity – black cherry, star anise, dried florals, savory spices with elegant weight, density and fine tannins. We finished with a crisp and rich 2018 Moscato d’Asti.

The Riesling surprised and stood out here leading up to the Barolos. The Barolos were very nice, showing appealing complimentary elegance, weight and firmness.

G.D. Vajra

G.D. Vajra is in the village of Vergne at 1300 feet of elevation within the Barolo commune. The estate is fourth generation with the winery being established in the early 70’s by Aldo Vaira. They are known for high-elevation elegant Barolo such as the Bricco delle Viole, as well as producing a great variety of other serious Piemonte wines. Farming is organic, and production is traditional (up to 50-day extraction on the cru Barolos and aging in Slavonian oak). Reading about G.D. Vajra I got a sense of the enthusiasm and passion that the family exudes for Piemonte and their estate.

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We did a tour as part of a larger group, touring the cellars and sitting for a tasting of their basic lineup. Francesca Vaira stopped in during the tasting and interacted with the group, telling stories about the wines. Francesca was very gracious and engaging however our group was kind of a dud (three other couples who skewed younger than us – we’re both 45), which dragged the experience down a little (I’m guessing a better-engaged group might have gotten to taste the Bricco delle Viole). I tried to elevate the group, to little avail!

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The wines tasted were 2017 Langhe Riesling – Vajra was first to plant Riesling in Barolo in 1985, an Alsace clone from a cool site with eastern exposure on sandy soils – very interesting coming on the heels of the Massolino Riesling, showing lush citrus, slate, white pepper and florals with nice mineral lift on the palate – generous and elegant – excellent. 2018 Rosabella Rosato – Nebbiolo, Barbara and Dolcetto – excellent crisp fruit and mineral-driven Rosé. 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo Claré J.C. employs a short carbonic maceration fermentation and shows supple cherry and floral notes with a bright and crisp structure and enough weight to add richness. The 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati had dark brooding serious structure with black cherry, earth, dried flowers and herb notes. The 2017 Barbera d’Alba was similar in its surprising structure and seriousness, showing plum, blackberry and root spices, with good depth and concentration. 2015 Barolo Albe is a blend of high elevation vineyards, the bottling is macerated for 25 days on average, seeing between 30-36 months of Slavonian oak aging – showing black cherry, tar, dried florals, licorice, rosemary and spices with an elegant palate, nice middle density, fine tannin and good gripping length – excellent QPR.

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I’m impressed with the diversity of the lineup and the careful quality attention paid to the non-Barolo wines – each was distinct and very enjoyable. The Barolo Albe looks like a QPR champion.

Giuseppi Rinaldi

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Next up was an amazing visit to revered Giuseppi Rinaldi in the village of Barolo. I’d communicated with Carlotta Rinaldi who’d graciously offered us the time, however vineyard duty called, and she was tied up applying copper treatments. Out hostess was Annalisa Rinaldi, who was wonderful in making us feel welcome and telling stories about the wines and her late husband while we toured and tasted.

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The estate was founded in 1916. The late Giuseppi Rinaldi was famed for his adherence to traditional methods of Barolo production – organic farming, indigenous yeasts, fermentation in old oak vats with limited temperature control, long macerations, hand punch downs, aging in old Slavonian casks for three-plus years and blending of crus. The wines are now grown and made by his daughters Carlotta (agronomist) and Marta (oenologist). According to Annalisa their vineyards are in the Brunate, Le Coste, Ravera, Bussia, Cannubi and San Lorenzo crus.

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We toured and tasted in the old cellar among the ancient fermentation vats and oak casks. The tasting was the 2017 Langhe Nebbiolo, 2015 Barolo Tre Tine and 2015 Barolo La Coste. The Langhe Nebbiolo showed notes of crushed stone, savory spices, rose hips and braised fig, with beautiful texture – rich and elegant, and fine structure and depth. The 2015 Barolos showed beautifully. The Tre Tine according to Annalisa comes from the Ravera, Le Coste, Cannubi and San Lorenzo crus – showing explosive aromatics of sandalwood, spices, rose hips, fig and star anise; seamless with an airy density with exotic depth, very fine tannins with great elegance and a big complex finish. The Brunate has at least 80% Brunate fruit with the balance coming from Le Coste – showing exotic aromatics of eastern spices, complex florals, dried herbs and fig fruit; with seamless and elegant layers, tons of depth and length, with very fine melted-stone notes to the tannins. This was an amazing tasting and experience.

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Comm. G.B. Burlotto

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The final stop was in the hilltop village of Verduno at G.B. Burlotto. We were welcomed by Cristina Burlotto at the front gate and led into a scenic patio that made its way into the historic structure – a grand Langhe farmhouse with antique appointments. G.B. Burlotto’s history dates to the mid-19th Century when G.B. Burlotto rose to prominence as one of the most famous winemakers in the world. Most recently under the winemaking of descendent Fabio Alessandria the estate has risen again to great acclaim.

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Burlotto owns 30 acres, 24 of which are in the relative cool-climate commune of Verduno, including in the famed Monvigliero Cru. A portion of the other 6 acres are in Cannubi. Farming is practicing organic. Fermentations are with native yeasts and take place in large oak vats without temperature control, with use of whole clusters (depending on the wine) and extended extractions for the reds – from 5 days with Barbera to 60 days for Monvigliero. Monvigliero is foot-treaded and fermented completely whole-cluster. Aging is in 35 to 50 hL Slavonian oak casks. According to Cristina, they practice a very traditional philosophy and “produce according to their own idea.” I.e. not for market. We toured the cellars and then tasted in a study in the farmhouse.

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The tasting began with the 2018 Langhe Sauvignon Blanc Viridis – which showed notes of lemon curd, white pepper, earthy stone and wheat straw along with pyrazines, with richness on the palate, nice weight in the middle, good acidity and mineral high-tones on the finish. The 2017 Verduno Pelaverga – notes of cherry fruit, black tea, white pepper and pressed flowers, with nice acidity and brightness along with easy structure. The 2017 Barbera d’Alba Aves is aged in tonneau – showing plum, spices and pressed flowers with richness on the palate and nice density, medium tannins and ample acidity, good depth and serious in style.

The Barolos were 2015’s, which Christina indicated was a good vintage for them. The 2015 Barolo Acclivi blends from multiple crus in Verduno – showing intense aromatics of cherry and persimmon fruit, black tea, iron, pressed flowers and exotics spices. Very complex and elegant on the palate with beautifully seamless density, and appealing dried herb notes emerging, well-framed with strong acidity and firm-fine tannins and finishing with full length. The 2015 Barolo Monvigliero was packed with notes of tobacco, leather, fig & berry, crushed stone, dried herbs and savory spices. Big presence on the palate, with great silky and seamless elegance, gaining weight and intensity while gliding effortlessly on the mid-palate. Well-structured with ample complementary acidity and broad-round tannins. Great depth and a full expressive finish. I’m still thinking of this one – what a great finale!

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Dinner in Turin was Stefano Fanti al Ristorante Circolo dei Lettori. Excellent traditional Piemonte cuisine in the Cicolo dei Lettori, a cultural center in the historic city center.

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That's all folks, thanks for reading!
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Steve Anderson
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#36 Post by Steve Anderson » June 16th, 2019, 10:41 pm

Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:45 pm
Northern Rhone (May 8 & 9)

I recommend checking the bank holidays when planning a trip to France. The May 8th Victory Day holiday and persistent cold rain meant there wasn’t much going in Lyon outside of shopping and eating. We had the eating covered with dinner at Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Neuvième Art, which I’ll come back to at the end of this update. The next day we visited Côte-Rotie, Hermitage and Cornas before heading through the Alps into Italy.
Matt, great report and photos! As noted in the Lelektsoglou thread we were probably close to crossing paths with you on the 8th and looks like we were in Cornas at the same time as you on the 9th.

Ran into the same issue on the May 8th VE Holiday in France. We weren't able to make any private visit bookings that day. Made use of a couple of apps and noted on the ruedesvignerons app that Ferraton was open for tasting that day, so salvaged the afternoon by making a short-notice, on line appointment. The walk along the Rhone in the wind and rain after that visit was short-lived and not as much fun. Fortunately that was the only day of rain for us.

Thanks again for a great report! Hopefully I will find the time to do the same.

Cheers! [cheers.gif]

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#37 Post by Jeremy Holmes » June 17th, 2019, 12:05 am

Nice trip Matt.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#38 Post by Brian Heslop » June 17th, 2019, 12:36 am

Great travelog Steve. You've hit all of my favorite places.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo

#39 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 17th, 2019, 8:55 pm

Steve Anderson wrote:
June 16th, 2019, 10:41 pm
Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:45 pm
Northern Rhone (May 8 & 9)

I recommend checking the bank holidays when planning a trip to France. The May 8th Victory Day holiday and persistent cold rain meant there wasn’t much going in Lyon outside of shopping and eating. We had the eating covered with dinner at Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Neuvième Art, which I’ll come back to at the end of this update. The next day we visited Côte-Rotie, Hermitage and Cornas before heading through the Alps into Italy.
Matt, great report and photos! As noted in the Lelektsoglou thread we were probably close to crossing paths with you on the 8th and looks like we were in Cornas at the same time as you on the 9th.

Ran into the same issue on the May 8th VE Holiday in France. We weren't able to make any private visit bookings that day. Made use of a couple of apps and noted on the ruedesvignerons app that Ferraton was open for tasting that day, so salvaged the afternoon by making a short-notice, on line appointment. The walk along the Rhone in the wind and rain after that visit was short-lived and not as much fun. Fortunately that was the only day of rain for us.

Thanks again for a great report! Hopefully I will find the time to do the same.

Cheers! [cheers.gif]

Steve
Steve, that was the most miserable cold rain I'd felt in a long time. Glad you found an appointment. Ferraton's not a bad consolation at all. I've enjoyed your pictures on Instagram and would love to read your thoughts on your visits sometime. We literally were right around the corner in the Northern Rhone. Cheers!
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#40 Post by Joshua Kates » June 18th, 2019, 1:10 pm

Thanks for the Barolo notes, Matt,
Equals of your previous ones. Rinaldi and Burlotto--doesn't get much better than that, and Vajre ain't half bad either.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#41 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 18th, 2019, 2:58 pm

Joshua Kates wrote:
June 18th, 2019, 1:10 pm
Thanks for the Barolo notes, Matt,
Equals of your previous ones. Rinaldi and Burlotto--doesn't get much better than that, and Vajre ain't half bad either.
Thanks Joshua, I had to pinch myself on some of the appointments. I was fortunate. Can't wait to go back to Barolo!
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#42 Post by Howard Cooper » June 19th, 2019, 4:35 am

Matt, sounds like a wonderful visit to Barolo. Fabulous list of producers.

BTW, Francesca Vajra came to our Country Club's wine club a couple of years ago and we tasted the 2013 Rivera and Bricco delle Viole, among other wines. All the wines were excellent, but these two were fabulous.
Howard

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#43 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 19th, 2019, 1:45 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
June 19th, 2019, 4:35 am
Matt, sounds like a wonderful visit to Barolo. Fabulous list of producers.

BTW, Francesca Vajra came to our Country Club's wine club a couple of years ago and we tasted the 2013 Rivera and Bricco delle Viole, among other wines. All the wines were excellent, but these two were fabulous.
Howard, I bet that was a great event. I was impressed with her as a brand ambassador in the brief time she visited our group.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#44 Post by Howard Cooper » June 20th, 2019, 4:39 am

Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 19th, 2019, 1:45 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
June 19th, 2019, 4:35 am
Matt, sounds like a wonderful visit to Barolo. Fabulous list of producers.

BTW, Francesca Vajra came to our Country Club's wine club a couple of years ago and we tasted the 2013 Rivera and Bricco delle Viole, among other wines. All the wines were excellent, but these two were fabulous.
Howard, I bet that was a great event. I was impressed with her as a brand ambassador in the brief time she visited our group.
Yes. She was very impressive and the wines were fabulous.
Howard

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone (update) and Barolo

#45 Post by Gus Siokis » June 27th, 2019, 8:09 pm

Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 16th, 2019, 7:38 pm
Gus-

I'm right there with you on Xavier Gerard. I was in contact with him during my planning and he offered me a time, it just didn't work out with the plans on my end. I'll definitely keep him on the radar for next time.

At Bouchard we were the same as you - Virtuoso - 5 1er's and 3 GC. Sounds like you had a nice experience at Drouhin - they didn't have CdM on our tour... I had a similar take on the wines as you did. I loved the whites at Bouchard. Thought the reds were a little tight, or needed larger-bowled stems to show their best.

At Amiot, the only grand cru was the Clos de la Roche... Would have loved to try the Charmes Chambertin!

Hope all is well in Marietta. I'm an Atlanta-native!

Matt
Hey Matt,

Sorry for the delay....travel has been a crazy for me the last few weeks. Yep, agreed on the reds vs. whites. Amiot: I would have loved to try it at the tasting before purchasing a few bottles. When I pop one I will let you know! What part of Atlanta? Small world....we live over in East Cobb.

Here are few pics of Xavier's place...and our tasting/food table. That's me in the blue shirt.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#46 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 27th, 2019, 10:50 pm

Gus, Thanks for the Gerard pics. Looks like a fun visit. I imagine those wines as being classic/traditional style. What was your take? How was his Condrieu?

East Cobb is close to where I grew up - Alpharetta. As a kid in the late 70's and 80's it was a tiny little town. Crazy to see it today. I lived my entire life in Atlanta metro before moving to California in early 2012.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#47 Post by Mike Evans » June 28th, 2019, 5:50 am

Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 10:50 pm
Gus, Thanks for the Gerard pics. Looks like a fun visit. I imagine those wines as being classic/traditional style. What was your take? How was his Condrieu?

East Cobb is close to where I grew up - Alpharetta. As a kid in the late 70's and 80's it was a tiny little town. Crazy to see it today. I lived my entire life in Atlanta metro before moving to California in early 2012.
It’s a small world. I went to high school in Alpharetta and a quick look at the index of a yearbook shows a Matt Mauldin who was a freshman when I was a senior. I’m not sure if you know, but they tore down the old MHS last year and are building a new STEM high school in its place.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#48 Post by Matt Mauldin » June 28th, 2019, 9:12 am

Mike Evans wrote:
June 28th, 2019, 5:50 am
Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 10:50 pm
Gus, Thanks for the Gerard pics. Looks like a fun visit. I imagine those wines as being classic/traditional style. What was your take? How was his Condrieu?

East Cobb is close to where I grew up - Alpharetta. As a kid in the late 70's and 80's it was a tiny little town. Crazy to see it today. I lived my entire life in Atlanta metro before moving to California in early 2012.
It’s a small world. I went to high school in Alpharetta and a quick look at the index of a yearbook shows a Matt Mauldin who was a freshman when I was a senior. I’m not sure if you know, but they tore down the old MHS last year and are building a new STEM high school in its place.
Small world indeed. Yep, I heard about that. My older sister went to the open house they had before tearing it down, as did some of my friends that I saw on Facebook when it happened. I'm sure we probably know some of the same people.
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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone (update) and Barolo

#49 Post by Dennis Borczon » June 28th, 2019, 10:43 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 5:19 am
Scott Jameson wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 4:42 am
Thanks for the great notes and pictures !

We have an afternoon in Beaune in a few weeks, and I'm trying to decide between Bouchard and Drouhin. Which would you recommend if you could only visit one ?
I like the wines at both wineries a good bit - Bouchard's wines are richer and Drouhin's more elegant, so you might go by which producer's wines you like better.

The cellars at both places are fascinating, but the ones at Bouchard are much grander in size and much more impressive. On the other hand, I like the store at Drouhin better as you sometimes can pick up some older wines at attractive prices. Of course, you could take the tour at Bouchard and then shop at Drouhin's store.

And, if you are longing for grand cru and premier cru Burgundies that are still (relatively) affordable, visit Amiot and then have Cote d'Or Imports ship the wines back to you. https://www.cotedorpdx.com/ If you buy six or more bottles at a single winery or store, they will pick up the wines for you (meaning you don't have to pay VAT) and then ship the wines to you (meaning you don't have to lug them home).
Went to both a couple of weeks ago. This sums it up perfectly. The tasting at Bouchard was conducted by a young lady who had been an assistant winemaker. They have a very comfortable room at Bouchard for tasting the wines (you can actually sit down!!!) I asked for a specific wine while there (couple of bottles of Chassagne En Remille) and nicked 3 750's...Heartily endorse both spots. Beware of shipping costs for the Cote d'Or imports. Not cheap by any means but at least you save on the VAT tax and this eases the pain quite a bit.

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Re: Wine visits - Chablis, Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Barolo (Update)

#50 Post by Howard Cooper » June 28th, 2019, 4:21 pm

Matt Mauldin wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 10:50 pm
Gus, Thanks for the Gerard pics. Looks like a fun visit. I imagine those wines as being classic/traditional style. What was your take? How was his Condrieu?

East Cobb is close to where I grew up - Alpharetta. As a kid in the late 70's and 80's it was a tiny little town. Crazy to see it today. I lived my entire life in Atlanta metro before moving to California in early 2012.
I guess this is the Georgia thread. I was born and grew up in Savannah. My sister lives in Sandy Springs.
Howard

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