Burgundy Visit: Maison Ilan

As previously detailed, Ray Walker likes to top his barrels up with marbles rather than using a wine other than the one originally housed in the barrel. We hooked up with him for a tasting this afternoon and he’d just got back from ‘marbles are us’ in Dijon. The back of his 4WD was full of boxes of these heavy glass toys and his car looked like it had been dumped on its guts and ready to cruise the sunset strip! He’ll need new springs and shock in the morning.

We descended into the cellars for a tasting of Ray’s 2010 and 2011’s.

2010 Morey St. Denis ‘Monts Luisants’ 1er Cru: sweet and spicy aromatics with a combination of red and black fruits. It is luscious in the mouth with good volume, a suggestion of grated ginger and a really fresh minerally finish.

2010 Morey St. Denis ‘Les Chaffots’ 1er Cru: Perhaps showing a little more red fruit and certainly more mineral at this stage. It is silky in the mouth with some pomegranate crunch and nice rocky detail.

2010 Charmes-Chambertin ‘Aux Charmes Hautes’: Great complexity, breadth and depth. The sweet raspberry, Satsuma plum and cherry fruits are tinged with some meat and earth. It is luscious and juicy with mouth-watering acidity and very good length of flavour. As you swirl the wine more vigorously you get a little liquorice.

2010 Chambertin: Just smells deeper and more serious. There’s a luscious sweetness to the fruits and they are laced with florals and aniseed spice. It is a mid-weight Chambertin but has good concentration and terrific balance and poise.

2011 Chambolle-Musigny ‘Les Feusselottes’ 1er Cru: This is a wine of engaging perfume and whilst there is a little liqueur cherry to the aroma, the whole package has a snappy, cool fruit feel. There’s decent flesh, really good balance and a big lick of minerals to the finish.

2011 Morey St. Denis ‘Monts Luisants’ 1er Cru: Really easy to taste from barrel right now. It is generous and sweet but has some meat, mineral and ginger spice adding complexity to the raspberry and plum fruits. It is mid-weight but full of flavours that play in that perfect space between sweet and savoury.

2011 Morey St. Denis ‘Les Chaffots’ 1er Cru: Slightly reduced but breathed quickly in the glass to show a smell reminiscent of red jelly crystals just as they’ve been hit with hot water. It is fine and lacy in the mouth with some rose petal characters and plenty of mineral.

2011 Volnay ‘Robardelles’ 1er Cru: You get a wine here that you can feel is from further south, with its mineral and earth chewy grip on the fruits. It is very much red fruited with the scent of violets and limestone. There’s good balance and it is what I think of as classic Volnay but don’t always get when I buy Volnay.

2011 Mazoyères-Chambertin: There’s a cool, dried herb note that runs through the sweet, dense fruits. It has a very pleasant floral spice and all components are beautifully proportioned. It is fine and detailed with great persistence.

2011 Charmes-Chambertin ‘Aux Charmes Hautes’ : This is a wine where the palate is crushed velvet. Fruits are generous, of the red persuasion and tinged with some perfumes of fresh and dried flowers. It is sappy, spicy, full and rich with very good length of flavour.

2011 Chambertin: Darker, more brooding, quite sultry and guarding all of the sexy things that will probably emerge with time. It has some dense Satsuma plum and raspberry fruits and is underpinned by iron and savoury notes of freshly tilled earth. Terrific potential here (don’t fuck it up Ray).


pretty bummed couldn’t work out a visit with ray when i was in the cote d’or last week.

Thanks, the wines sound great, must get my 2011 order in. I guess the above is the order Ray served them, interesting to see the Robardelles served before the GC’s. No Gevrey Corbeaux or Chambolle Feussellotes tasted? Cheers Mike

the Chambolle Feussellotes is in Jeremy’s notes.

Thanks for the notes, Jeremy. [cheers.gif]

I think part of the savory notes from the Chambertin 2011 could be from my forehead sweat at midnight when we were destemming and sorting the fruit…i’ll never forget that night, Ray…


Thank you for the notes. I loved Ray’s 2010s and as much as I recall, agree with all your descriptions. It is great to read your notes on the 2011s. I got the Volnay, the Chambolle and the two different wines from Charmes and loved reading about them.

I particularly loved this in your description of the Volnay - “it is what I think of as classic Volnay but don’t always get when I buy Volnay.” I think there should be a requirement that Ray make wine from each village so that we can all be sure we can get classic examples of wine from the village.


The real question is “Are you bringing any of his wines over for us to taste…”

Working on it Paul, may be able to snaffle a few 11’s.

I think I have my 09’s and 10’s sitting in Ray’s cellar. If you want a bottle or two I am quite happy for Jeremy to take a few, that is if he can get them back to Australia. Cheers Mike

Indeed you do! I still need to get wines to two clients in AUS, one in New Zealand (Hi, Mike), one in Spain, two in Germany, and six in the UK. Mike, I’ll be calling you tomorrow. But, if you would like some of them to go back with Mr Holmes, just let me know.

Thanks Mike,

I think we might have to catch up on my next NZ trip and drink one then…

Thank you Mike. Unfortunately we can only take 3 bottles each back to Australia and already have filled our quota, very kind of you.
Best Regards

That would be good. Wellington ideal. Cheers Mike

Begs the question as to what precious bottles filled the quota?