Visit to Burgundy and Champagne

We just got home from two weeks in Paris and Burgundy (actually with a day in Champagne also). We had a wonderful time there, as always. Included in the trips were visits to wineries where we have loved the wines for a long time and a few exciting new wineries or wineries that were new to us. To start, I want to mention that, for the first time ever in Burgundy, we ordered wines at two restaurants where the wines we ordered elicited excited responses from our waiters. Given that we were not ordering DRC or Coche but wines from producers we had never tasted before made this very exciting. The first such experience wasa young new winery called Maison Thiriet. We asked our waiter whether they had any of her wines and he lit up. He said Camile Thiriet was a friend of his and we ordered a really nice 2016 CĂ´te du Nuits Villages. The other time this happened was completely innocent. We went to a restaurant called le Relais de Saulx. We saw on the list a Meursault En Barre from Heitz-Lochardet. Since we were visiting there the next day, we decided to order it. Our waitress, Nina, who apparently owns or manages to place with her husband who is the chef, just gushed about how great the wines there were. We found out from this wine and from the wines we tasted there that this is a very exciting newish domaine (more on the wines of Armand Heitz later). Just a beautiful bottle of wine. Do note also that both of these restaurants were great finds that I highly recommend. I still think about the poached eggs covered with slices of truffles that I ate at Maison du Colombier.

Our first appointment was at Bouchard, which has just beautiful cellars on the old castle walls in the city of Beaune. We mostly tasted 2013s at Bouchard and they were quite good. 2013 is a vintage with a good bit of guts and acidity but the wines are a bit rougher now and really are in need of time. As usual for me, I very much enjoyed the red wines, but I found their whites to be much better than their reds. My favorites of the whites we tasted were a very elegant 2013 Meursault Genevrieres and, of course, a truly magnificent 2010 Chevalier Montrachet le Cabottes. This was Tuesday.

That night, we had dinner with friends (who we were with the next three days) at Ma Cuisine where we had a cod dish that tasted a lot like homemade gefilte fish (very different from the bottled junk). Keeping in our theme of wines from producers we would be visiting, we had a 2012 Bernard Moreau CM Chenevottes. Beautiful golden color, at first I thought this was a bit old, but after just a few minutes the wine proved me wrong as it just needed a bit of time to open up. Fabulous wine. Then, we had a magnificent 2014 Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle Musigny les Charmes. Both Alex Moreau and Charles Van Canneyt are such fabulous wine producers (more on both later) and it was a treat to have their wines together that night.

We had three visits on Wednesday.

The first was at Rossignol-Trapet. This really is a producer a lot of people should know better. They have great holdings, make great wines and the wines are very well priced for the appellation. We tasted 2017s there. 2017 is not an easy vintage to drink now at some places because (at Hudelot-Noellat) the wines were still undergoing malolactic fermentation and in others the wines had just finished it and had not yet recovered. In general, this will be a vintage that tastes really fresh (excellent acidity) with good ripeness, but certainly not 2015 type ripeness. From the few properties where we tasted during our visit, I would not be surprised if the vintage eventually resembles vintages like 2000, 2001, 2007 or 2014 on red wines. In other words, vintages that a lot of critics won’t get excited about but vintages that a lot of us have gotten a lot of pleasure from. I love 2001 Rossignol-Trapet wines. The 2001 Latricieres Chambertin is fabulous right now and I think the 2017s also will be quite nice with time.

Our second appointment on Wednesday was at Hudelot-Noellat. He is where I have trouble with the terminology I started with in my first post on my trip. Charles Van Canneyt is only 29, but he started making the wine here back in 2008. So, is he a young rising producer or a superstar. Certainly, the wines he is producing these days qualify him for superstar status, but my guess is that at his age, the best is yet to come. The wines we tasted (all 2017s) were really impressive, even though they were still going through malolactic fermentation. Still, you could tell the incredible length of these wines. Really great stuff. My favorite of his premier crus was the VR les Suchots, but all of his wines including his village Vosne Romanee are going to be great wines. And, the Romanee St. Vivant and Richebourg were, well, just amazing.

Our last appointment of the day was at Domaine Yvon Clerget where Thibaud Clerget was nice enough to see us and let us taste his wine. He is DEFINITELY one of the young guns in Burgundy - I think he is in his early 20s. He worked for Charles Van Canneyt before taking over the family domaine where he is the 28th generation!!! We tasted a number of very excellent 2017 Volnays and an excellent Pommard Rugiens. My favorite of their Volnays were their Clos du Verseuil, a monopole of theirs, but all their wines were interesting. Their top wine is Clos Vougeot where Thibaud had us try the wine from three barrels, one with one year old oak, one with new oak with a light toast, and one with new oak with a medium toast. I liked the wine from the one year old barrel the most, but my wife liked the one from light toast. But, I think we all agreed that the best wine was where he blended the three together and gave us that to taste. Really excellent wine. A producer to watch.

On Thursday, we visited Mugneret-Gibourg. Is there anyone in Burgundy making better wines than Mugneret-Gibourg. Really. Again we tasted 2017s and the wines were truly magnificent. We had the Vosne Romanee, NSG Chaignots, CM Feusselottes, Echezeaux, Ruchottes Chambertin and Clos Vougeot. Boy were these wines good.

Then, on Thursday, we visited an older producer that was new to me, Domaine Pierre Amiot, where Chantal Amiot showed us around and gave us wine to taste. We had a long discussion of biodynamics and following the lunar calendar while there and I should caveat all of my notes on my visit to Burgundy by noting that last week was not, according to her lunar calendar book, a great week to taste Burgundy meaning, I guess, that all the wines are even better than I am saying if you taste them on a fruit day. In any case, we tasted 2016s here and, were finding on our trip that 2016 is a excellent vintage, even with all the frost and hail damage. In fact, Charles Van Canneyt told us that he thought the wines from this vintage were the best set of wines he had made so far. Amiot has a great set of vineyards from a variety of places in MSD as well as a couple of vineyard in Gevrey (Combottes and Charmes-Chambertin). The wines we tasted were very pure and well priced and should make for very fine drinking over the future. My favorites were the Clos de la Roche (always one of my favorite vineyards) and the Combottes (another favorite), and my wife fell in love with the MSD les Millandes. This is an under-the-radar producers more people should know about.

We started Friday with a visit to Domaine Bernard Moreau, where we had a wonderful visit with Alex Moreau’s wife Martine. One of my go to whites for a less expensive white Burgundy is their Bourgogne Blanc. When I praised this wine to Alex Moreau, I got a pretty big smile from him. I think sometimes producers put a lot of work into Bourgogne Red and White and love it when customers appreciate it. We tasted both 2016s from the bottle and 2017s from barrel here and boy are these excellent wines. For a value wine, I highly recommend finding the St. Aubin Remilly. But, I really liked everything here. Like virtually everwhere in the Cotes du Beaune, the frost did a number on a bunch of their vineyards in 2016, so although the quality is outstanding, the quantity is less. And, I am quickly becoming a fan of their red Chassagne-Montrachets. The 2016 VV was excellent, but the Cardeuse was a big step up. Now, the issue is how to find it. Thankfully, quantities are better in 2017 and the quality is again outstanding. The icing on the cake of the wonderful wines we had there was a simply outstanding taste from the barrel of their 2017 Chevalier Montrachet. Wow.

Our next appointment on Friday was with Heitz-Lochardet, currently a small domaine, but one that will become much larger over the next couple of years. The is a family that apparently has over 20 hectares of vines with all but 6 hectares currently sold to negociants. But, these vines will be coming back to the domaine over the next few years and so the wines are going to become more plentiful (and hopefully easier to find). We met with Armand Heitz (just turned 30 and so definitely another young up and coming producer) and his “right-hand man” Louis de Belleroche. These are both young men to watch. They make both red wines (from Chassagne-Montrachet, Pommard and Volnay) and whites from Meursault and Chassagne Montrachet. Some of my favorite wines we tasted were the 2017 CM Maltroie and Meursault Perrieres and 2015 Meursault En Barre and CM Maltroie. Of interest, they are making an interesting wine with Alex Foillard who is supplying some Beaujolais from Juliannas while Heitz is supplying pinot noir (wine is 50-50 from each). Really interesting to try. It was truly exciting to see what is (or at least is close to) the ground floor of what is going to be a exciting and important domaine over the next few years.

Our final visit in Burgundy was with Domaine Dublere. Always nice to catch up with Blair. He is always just a great person to talk to (I don’t speak French, but being originally from Georgia, I speak Southern very well). He is really a smart guy. And, any time I have ever asked him a question about why he does what he does in making wine, I get a well thought out answer. I doubt anything he does in the winery (or in the vineyard) is random. Blair’s 2016s and 2017s were excellent. Pure wines and all different from each other - for example, his 2017 CM Chenevottes, Vergers and Chaumes all tasted different from each other, a mark of excellent wines. Domaine Dublere is an excellent source for less expensive Burgundies - both his Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge are excellent and I have really been enjoying his 2015 Chorey les Beaune. The 2017 Chorey les Beaune will be an excellent successor to this. [Another 2017 I really liked from the Savigny les Beaune Aux Vergelesses Blanc.] And, his wines from greater appellations are also excellent and can be very good values. I particularly liked his MSD Blanchards in 2017 (some may be getting the idea that I like wines from MSD). We tasted two wines from Chablis with some age on them - both a 2015 les Lechets and a 2013 Bougros were really good. If you have not tried Blair’s wines, you should.

After this, sad to say goodbye to Burgundy, but as always, we had a great visit. Love being in Burgundy. Wonderful people, wonderful food, legendary wines. There seems to be a lot of energy there right now. And, the future of Burgundy seems to be in really good hands with a new generation of people like Charles Van Canneyt, Thibaud Clerget, Armand Heitz, Louis de Belleroche, Camille Thiriet and many, many others.

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28th generation???
awesome notes all around, thanks

We spent a day in Champagne - in Reims. TGV from Paris to there in the morning and back in the evening. I must admit that I did not find Reims to be that great of a city to wander around. It certainly is no Beaune. But, we had wonderful visits to Taittinger and Ruinart. Both have absolutely beautiful caves.

I have had Taittinger 2006 Comte de Champagne two or three times over the past couple of years - including the Wednesday night when we were in Beaune. So, it was very exciting at the estate to have the 2007 of this wine. This certainly was a worthy successor and may prove to be the better wine. Very long with a lot to it.

Prior to that, we tasted their NV Brut (excellent value for a Champagne that I think sells for under $40), the NV Rose and the 2012 Vintage Champagnes. A very nice set of wines.

At Ruinart, we had the NV Blanc du Blanc and Rose. Much better and more complex than the NV we had at Taittinger, but also at significantly higher prices. These were really good NV wines and could use a few years in the cellar to hit peak.

We finished our tastings with the 2004 Rose and 2006 Blanc de Blanc Dom Ruinarts. These are just great bottles of Champagne and are significantly younger than the 2006 or 2007 Comte de Champagne. As to which of these four wines I prefer, my answer is I prefer to drink them all - but I would probably keep all of them for a bit. The order I would drink them over time would be the 2006 CdC, the 2007 CdC, and then the two Dom Ruinarts.

Domaine has been around for a while. Some of his father’s wines showed up over the years at Envoyer (I have had a couple of 1993s and 1999s) at very good prices. But, I think the son’s wines will be much better than the father’s wines.

Pretty much my most important Burgundy purchases every year!!

Howard, thank you for this posting. Will be in Burgundy in September. Hope to have as nice a time as you apparently did.

Glad to finally see a note on the 2007 CdC. I’ve been hesitating over it for a while now.

Marvelous report, Howard—so enjoyed reading it. Surprised you hadn’t had any Amiot up to this point, glad you found out about them. The new producers sound exciting indeed. Our next visit is slated for 2020 and some of these wineries will be on the list, I’m sure. Very happy you got to taste with the sisters at M-G----such great wines!

Sante and thanks again.


It is hard not to have a great time there. It is beautiful, food is great and, of course, the wines are unbelievable. It is great just to walk through Beaune and the other villages and to drive through the vineyards and see all the hallowed names.

Mike, have you had Amiot wines with age on them? Interested on any intel on when to drink these wines. They were very well-priced at the winery.

Is it for sale yet?

Released in Europe, but not domestically.


Thanks Howard. Great report. I love Heitz-Lochardet.

Howard, ifyou have notes on the2016 Dublere wines you tried I’d appreciate reading them


I do not take tasting notes when I taste at wineries. I would rather talk with the producer. Also, I find that the quality of very young wines like these jump around a lot and I do not necessarily believe that my favorite wines today would be my favorite wines if I tasted them again in one year, five years or ten years. So, I try to get more of an overall impression of the wines. I do write down the wines we had and note favorites. The wines we had at Dublere (and this is a long list) were:

2017 whites

Bourgogne Blanc
Savigny les Beaune Aux Vergelesses
CM Chenevottes
CM Vergers
CM Chaumes
Corton Charlemagne

2016 whites

Bourgogne Blanc
Savigny les Beaune Aux Vergelesses
CM Chaumes (he did not make Chenevottes or Vergers in 2016 due to loss of crop from frost)

2015 Chablis les Lechets
2013 Chablis Bougros

2017 reds

Chorey les Beaune
Savigny les Beaune Planchots du Nord
Savigny les Beaune Talmettes
Volnay Pitures
Volnay Taillepieds
MSD Blanchards
NSG Bousselets

As I said above, my favorite of the reds was the Blanchards, no surprise. I also thought the Chorey les Beaune was a great QPR wine. As to the whites, I really like Blair’s whites.

Overall, Blair makes very pure wines. I believe that he does not use any new oak, and the wines reflect this. They taste distinctive from one another - it was fun to taste the three 2017 CM premier crus next to each other. And, the fruit really shows through on the wines. These are not big wines. Nobody will mistake them for California pinot or Chardonnay. They shine best not at comparative tastings, but one bottle, one meal, one night, enjoying the wine over time. I am a fan of both Blair and his wines.

Thanks Howard. I too like The Dublere wines very much and have been buying and drinking them regularly since the 2008 vintage. I purchased a mixed case of Blair’s 2016s, hence my interest but the only white is the CC, which I see you did not taste