I am extremely thankful to fellow board member Peter Muto from Toronto who happened to be visiting at the same time and was able to squeeze me into a couple of his appointments. The night before, we ate at Caveau des Arches, quite nice, and had:
2008 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Boudriottes
This has some good steel and minerality, silvery citrus, with lemon and orange rind presenting, I think. Some struck flint, but very much in the background. On the tongue, decent structure, a little lighter than usual for Ramonet, but good handling of oak, some nut aspect, a tick of ginger and some pear and citrus mixed in at the back. I like the feel more than the flavours at this point. If it survives, should grow into something nice.
A grandson of Alain took us into the cellars for barrel tasting of the 2010s. He was extremely helpful and charming and it was a nice visit.
2010 Domaine Hudellot-Noellat Chambolle Musigny
From Vicard Barrel, good spiciness. Nice measure of fresh clean and currant fruit. Already fairly smooth, yet tangy too with small berries.
2010 Domaine Hudellot-Noellat Nuits-St.Georges 1er Cru Les Murgers
From Francois Freres barrel, just finished maloactic fermentation 2 weeks ago. Lovely cloves and cinnamon on top of strawberries. This does grip at the sides of the cheeks, as I find NSG often does, but it has requisite fruit. It is understandably still jumpy.
2010 Domaine Hudellot-Noellat Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Suchots
From Francois Freres barrel, mix of toasty cedar, cinnamon, blackberry and real sous-bois. Wow, super acidic at this point, black raspberries showing up. Will need plenty of time once it’s bottled.
2010 Hudellot-Noellat Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Malconsorts
Francois Freres barrel. They only made 2.5 barrels of this. Deep pepper, white and black, is here, plum, some chestnut too. A real herbaceousness. There’s also a ton of energy and tremendous elegance already. Tongue also finds fantastic fruit and underlying spices. A top performer-to-be. A real privilege to be allowed to taste, given that there is so little of it.
2010 Hudellot-Noellat Clos Vougeots
Lots of truffle oil here and roasted herbs. Blackberry as well. Quite powerful already, with red and black plums and some cedar. Character is built in, though not fully developed, of course
2010 Hudellot-Noellat Richebourg
Francois Freres barrel. Mmm—deep with tremendous spice accents—cumin and cardamom among them. Does rooibos tea make any sense? Ton of red berries too. Le gout, has power, but much fresher than the Clos Vougeots too—full yet light with raspberries and back end of cinnamon and cedar.
Sylvain Cathiard himself greeted us and took us around. I am deeply grateful that he found time for us, as he was very busy that day.
2010 Domaine Cathiard Vosne-Romanee Villages
From Remond barrel. Already very different from Hudellot-Noellat. Just finished maloactic fermentation. This has a defined sweetness, with floral, strawberries and cherries mixed in. Obviously some gas here (the CO2 yet to be integrated) but there are raw materials here.
2010 Domaine Cathiard Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru en Orveaux
From Remond Barrel, 100% new and left for 1 year. Lots of the Remond spice to be found, the raw materials are all here, this has fine energy, carry and lots of baking spices. Acidity and bits of cocoa and earth to go with lots of strawberries, a multifaceted effort.
2010 Domaine Cathiard Nuits-St. Georges 1er Cru Les Murgers
Remond Barrel. Sylvain explained this is a selection massiale. 67 year old vines. A bit sweet again, darker fruits here with plum and blackberry and even blueberry holding sway. Deep forest floor is also very present. On palate, extremely tasty already, with some creaminess and also crunchy dark berry fruits. Dad approves heartily of this one. Cherries and plums are added later.
2010 Domaine Cathiard Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Malconsorts
Unfortunately the Romanee-St-Vivant was just not able to be tasted today. This, also from Remond barrel, is clearly bolder stuff, comes at you with the spices and jumps out of the glass. He feels the wine does combine powerful structure and elegant finery. Certainly, everything is clearly there, it’s just really young. But if you’re looking for fruit, spices, minerality, tannins and earthiness, you will get them here.
Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot
A nearly one-man operation, a biodynamic producer, he is making some nice wines, albeit mostly at lower levels. His father started farming organically in 1960. My dad and I had a great visit here
2009 Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot Cote de Beaune Blanc Les Pierres Blanches
Pleasant aromatics of honey, some almonds and some apple crisp. Also pleasant in mouth, sweet peas, some pear and apple. Gentle.
2009 Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot Cote de Beaune Blanc La Combe d’Eve
More expression of mango, tropical fruits—background of sandalwood and sweet ginger too. It is more precise, with honey and some citrus—tangerine—and a tiny bit of nut. Not bad at all.
2009 Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot Rully La Pucelle
Real steel and minerality and grapefruit in the nostrils here. Lovely fresh water and floral aspects too. Dans la bouche, has a nicely gauged toast level and buttery side with a slightly bitter toffee middle. Well wound, this is quite classy for Rully and I did end up buying a bottle—one of his last 4!
2009 Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot Haut Cotes de Nuits Sous le Mont
Wow, the spices really drive at you, with even a bit of raisin and prune—almost Californian (this is the first 09 I’ve tried on my trip). In taste, very kinetic, jumpy, with lots of black fruit, a little big to be honest. Makes me wonder about the 09s. I am hearing the vignerons talk about it as a media-driven vintage and not necessarily one they view as classic. This, e.g., only spent 12 months in one-year-old oak.
2009 Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot Haut Cotes de Nuit en Gregoire
Less open this time, more nutmeg, cola maybe, bing cherry. Replays on palate a bit, but more about earth, mushrooms, merde a bit.
2009 Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot Beaune La Lulune
Very spicy scents, definitely cloves, some chocolate, along with ripe, ripe boysenberry and cherry. To taste, this is more balanced, still chewy, but acids are present. Fruit is blackberry, plum and raspberry. Fairly good.
2008 Emmanuel Giboulot Beaune La Lulune
Totally different—some veggies, but in an OK way, and especially some animale and sauvage nuances—meaty with currant underneath. Le gout is quite tasty, with acids and red berry fruit and apple skins. There’s also quite detectable rhubarb. This may end up being the better wine, more classic.
By far the most comprehensive tasting. Pascal Maillard was extremely open and enthusiastic about talking shop. We got into quite an animated discussion (yes, in French) about the influence which a winemaker can have on white wine—a lot, he says, because of batonnage, sulfur add, malo and all the other things you do to whites, versus red wine, where Pascal is insistent that red wine in any year is made in the vineyard and you have to have the raw materials if you have any hope of making something decent. By now, my French seems to be more than serviceable to get conversation going.
2009 Domaine Maillard Chorey-Les-Beaunes Blanc
Scents of smoky and bananas at the same time, curious. The bananas foster continues in the mouth. OK.
2009 Domaine Maillard Meursault Villages
Sniffs of hazelnut and apple pie, and some baked bread. This is a nice tasty Meursault, nuts again and a little minerality, with balanced oak.
2007 Domaine Maillard Corton Blanc
Not Corton-Charlemagne, this is made from a parcel within Renard. The alluring flint, the minerals, the smoke, the apple, all the great things you want in a white. Juicy yet stately, the tongue finds this, very nice lines and structure, lots of carrying acids and oak. Almond with bursting citrus and end notes of truffle. Approved by my dad, an excellent wine.
2009 Domaine Maillard Chorey-les-Beaunes
Damy barrels are used exclusively by Pascal. Red berries and quite a bit of earth. Decent entry level wine with juicy cherries showing.
2008 Domaine Maillard Savigny-Les-Beaunes
Raspberries, a little spice and pepper and apple skin bouquet. Zippy and more raspberries, good typical acidity and crunchy currant and berry.
2007 Domaine Maillard Pommard 1er Cru La Chamiere
Only 12 months in oak. Very deep plum and blackberry aromatics, a cherry counterpoint wafts up as well. Nice mouthfeel, there’s good smoky backhit and lots of black fruit. For an 07, good promise, has given me some faith that there were some good wines made in that year.
2009 Domaine Maillard Aloxe Corton
A little molasses kick-back in the nose, wild strawberries also maybe. Lighter, of course, on the mulled spiced side and maybe with more of that molasses, not that great actually.
2009 Domaine Maillard Volnay
Earth and smoke and dark cherry, some leather too. Well-balanced, has a very pure cherry presentation—and Pascal’s right, there’s nips of tabac at the back end. Good.
2007 Domaine Maillard Aloxe Corton 1er Cru Les Lollieres
I think I got that right. A little stem inclusion in this, he says. More of the molasses and strawberries mix, but intensified some. This is more precise and adds some decent cherry fruit, still just OK for me.
2007 Domaine Maillard Corton Renard
This is more than OK. Lovely bouquet of baking spices, game and red berries, very complex. To taste, it is full of light and brightness, and very expressive. It has some stemmy qualities and that works here because the meats and berries are so up there. Good tannins and acids, a nice wine that would please many discerning consumers.
2010 Domaine Maillard Savigny-Les-Beaunes
From Damy barrel. Still a bit vegetal at this point, some bilberry and raspberry underneath. Somewhat surprising damson plum to taste now. This has a long way yet to go.
2010 Domaine Maillard Aloxe Corton
From Damy barrel, gaminess again and some leather sniffs. This is still jumpy (partially because CO2 not yet integrated) but some promise, lots of bright fruit.
2010 Domaine Maillard Beaune Greves
From Damy barrel, more a sense of crème de cacao and lots of plums and blackberries poking through as well. In the mouth, fine and round, this wine will be an excellent match with a variety of food and really nice all told.
2010 Domaine Maillard Corton Renard
From new Damy barrel. Already can tell this will be a classic—funk, leather, coffee and berries are all in evidence. Dans la bouche, let me rephrase that. It will be a superstar classic. Fabulously expressive with just the right amount of sweetness, burgeoning complexity, tons of plum, cherry and berry fruit and lots of structure. A true winner.
2010 Domaine Maillard Corton Renard
From once-used Damy barrel. Great to see the difference, this presents as much more controlled and restrained, the aspects of the new barrel but also a small cola element. In taste, also dialed back—I definitely like the stuff in the new barrel better, but this will be a nice and smart add to the final product. Get some when you have the chance.
2010 Domaine Maillard Chorey-les-Beaunes Blanc
Grapefruit and sweet mustard, a very intriguing combination in the bouquet. Palate finds pink grapefruit for sure and also some nuttiness and a little pear. This promises to be good also.
Dinner at Aupres du Clocher, which was absolutely divine.
2002 J-M Roulot Meursault les Meix Chavaux
A pristine bottle, this remains very tightly coiled and gives little. Much swirling coaxes lemon, citrus, fresh-washed stones, perhaps some fresh-ground nutmeg and certain small dip of white pepper. Mouth finds it tremendously tactile still, extremely bracing, almost like a Chablis with slate and citrus pieces. Also a real saline quality for me. The acidity is quite nervy and you should be prepared for this, because I don’t think it will change. But THIS is white wine! And some sweetness and pears does emerge with the cheese plate. Love it.