Sunday, May 31, 2015

BOUCHARD Père & Fils/Domaine BOUCHARD Père & Fils* -- 2012 Côte de Nuits tasted prior to bottling in autumn 2013 (Beaune)


Harvesting on the Côte de Nuits began on 20 September. Overall (i.e., both Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits), quantity is off 40% from normal. There was a little bit (2-6%) of triage for undersized berries and a conscious effort to avoid over-extraction, also because of the small size of the berries. Malolactic fermentations were a little later than usual; most had more or less finished by February or March. There was very little racking of the wines.

I review Bouchard’s 2012 Côte de Beaune reds prior to bottling here and the 2012 Côte de Beaune whites prior to bottling here. I review Bouchard’s 2013’s herehere, and here. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

BOUCHARD Père & Fils/Domaine BOUCHARD Père & Fils* -- 2012 Côte de Beaune Whites tasted prior to bottling in autumn 2013 (Beaune)


Bouchard’s whites are a mixed bag in 2012. At the lower levels, there’s considerable variation in quality, but the grands crus showed extremely well. Quite simply, there was botrytis, and the biggest effort to avoid it naturally went into the grands crus and the top premier crus.

Due to vintage conditions, this is the first year that Bouchard destemmed some of the white grapes before pressing; the press time was also shorter than usual to avoid off flavors/aromas.

Bouchard claims that with the Diam closures it now uses, its tests show no corkiness or premature oxidation.

I review Bouchard’s 2012 Côte de Beaune reds prior to bottling here. I review Bouchard’s 2013’s herehere, and here.  (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Miscellaneous Jura Whites

In both red and white, many of the most interesting wines I’m experiencing these days are from the Jura. They are extremely individual and are almost guaranteed to be of interest to those who like Burgundy. In white, the primary grapes are Chardonnay and Savagnin; if they are labelled “voilé” they are in the oxidative style that has long been associated with the region, but many producers now make or also make wines in a non-oxidative style; if they are labelled “ouillé” they are in the non-oxidative style, and some producers also call their non-oxidative whites “fleurs.”  

Here are some that I have been enjoying over the past several months. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Louis JADOT -- 2012s from bottle (Beaune)

I review Jadot’s 2012 Côte de Beaune reds hereMy review of Jadot's 2012 Côte de Nuits reds tasted from cask is here. My review of Jadot's 2012 whites tasted from whites is  here. My reviews of Jadot’s 2013s from cask are hereherehere, and here. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Louis JADOT -- 2012 Côte de Nuits reds tasted from cask in October 2013. (Beaune)


Frédéric Barnier has now taken over from Jacques Lardière, but there is no discernable change in the wines. He stated that in 2012, Jadot had to do almost no triage due to the healthy and uniform state of the grapes. As you can see below, it was a very successful vintage for Jadot Côte de Nuits reds.

Where wines come from Jadot’s own holdings (Domaine Louis Jadot or Domaine Gagey), I have identified them above. Otherwise, the wines are from purchase of grapes or wine. It is important to note this distinction, as Jadot sometimes offers more than one cuvée of a particular (e.g., there is a Domaine Gagey Nuits-Boudots and also sometimes a négociant bottling – check the labels to be sure which you have).

My review of Jadot's 2012 Côte de Beaune whites tasted from cask is here. My review of 2012 Côte de Beaune reds tasted from cask is here.  My reviews of Jadot’s 2013s from cask are hereherehere, and here. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Louis JADOT -- 2012 Côte de Beaune whites tasted from cask in autumn 2013 (Beaune)

Jadot’s whites are broadly representative of the vintage: mostly good but not as exciting as other recent years, with occasional wines standing out above or below the rest for their quality.


(Wines marked with * will have additional premier cru wine added, and so I did not taste the final blend.) Please pay attention to the source of the wines, which I show in parentheses above; sometimes Jadot has more than one source and bottles them separately. Where no source is listed, the wine is a négociant wine.

I review Jadot’s 2012 Côte de Beaune reds hereMy review of Jadot's 2012 Côte de Nuits reds tasted from cask is hereMy reviews of Jadot’s 2013s from cask are hereherehere, and here. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Louis JADOT -- 2012 Côte de Beaune Reds Tasted from Cask in Autumn 2013. (Beaune)

(Wines marked with * will have additional premier cru wine added, and so my notes here are not for the final blend.)

Please pay attention to the source of the vines, which I show in parentheses in the heading; sometimes Jadot has more than one source and bottles them separately. Where no source is listed, the wine is a négociant wine.

The line up of 2012 reds is very strong at Jadot; other than one or two of the wines I sampled, the effects of the devastating hail did not show. Frédéric Barnier, who has now succeeded Jacques Lardière without missing a beat, said that the wines initially seemed to have dry tannins, but once the malolactic fermentations had finished, the dryness was gone.

My review of Jadot's 2012 Côte de Beaune whites tasted from cask is here. My review of Jadot's 2012 Côte de Nuits reds tasted from cask is here. My reviews of Jadot’s 2013s from cask are hereherehere, and here(Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Domaine/Joseph* FAIVELEY 2012 Côtes de Nuits tasted in November 2013, prior to bottling. (Nuits-Saint-Georges)


Technical director Jérôme Flous characterized 2012 as the most complicated of the years 2010-2013; one never felt that there was good weather all year long, he said. On the Côte de Nuits, Faiveley encountered no problems with hail or disease, but production nevertheless was down about 25% on the Côte de Nuits.

My review of Faiveley 2012s from bottle is here. My review of Faiveley 2012 Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise wines tasted prior to bottling is here. My reviews of Faiveley 2013s arehere and here. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Domaine FAIVELEY/Maison Joseph FAIVELEY* -- 2012 Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise tasted prior to bottling in November 2013 (Nuits-Saint-Georges)

As I mentioned previously, technical director Jérome Flous said that 2012 was the most complicated of the vintages 2010-2013. One sees that especially in the Côte de Beaune vineyards that were hit by hail. They are often good wines, but in some cases show no terroir, and often (but not always) are not quite at the same level of other recent vintages. In contrast, with the Côte Chalonnaise wines that we begin with, there is outstanding quality to be had. Harvesting for both the Côte Chalonnaise and the Côte de Beaune reds began on 17 September.

2012s tasted from bottle are reviewed here. 2012 Côte de Nuits wines tasted prior to bottling are reviewed here.



We start with the reds: (Continue reading here.) 

Monday, May 18, 2015

2012 Domaine FAIVELEY/Maison Joseph FAIVELEY* from bottle (Nuits-Saint-Georges)

When tasting Faiveley’s wines in November 2014 with technical director Jérome Flous, he said that 2013 was the most complicated of the four vintages, 2010-2013, that he had performed at Faiveley. Nevertheless, on both Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Nuits, the vines were spared hail and disease, something that cannot be said for the Côte de Beaune wines.

An asterisk (*) indicates Maison Faiveley, the negociant label. The earlier review of 2012 Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise wines prior to bottling is here. The review of 2012 Côte de Nuits wines prior to bottling is here.





Starting with the reds: (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Simon BIZE -- 2012s from bottle (Savigny-les-Beaune)

These were the last wines Patrick Bize was responsible for, as he had a heart attack and crashed his car on the eve of the 2013 harvest, and a month later died from injuries from the crash. The wines fit into a long string of outstanding vintages at this estate and will be a testament that keeps Patrick in mind for decades to come. (Continue reading here.)


WELTNER -- 2013 Grosse Gewächse (Franken)

From Rödelsee, just up the road from Iphofen, Paul Weltner has mainly gypsum vineyards. The wines are clean and biting, and this is yet another outstanding source in Franconia. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Joseph DROUHIN – 2012 Côte de Nuits tasted in November 2013, prior to bottling (Beaune)

This material originally was printed in Issue 141 of The Fine Wine Review. I reviewed Drouhin 2012 Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Beaune wines prior to bottling here.  I reviewed Drouhin 2012 wines from bottle here.  I consider wines tasted prior to bottling a better view of the ultimate potential than wines tasted within a few years after bottling, although I generally am consistent between the two.




Harvesting in the Côte d’Or started on 19 September, which would have been Côte de Beaune; harvesting for these wines took place between 24 and 28 September, except for the Vosne-Petits Monts (21 September) and Chambolle 1er Cru (21-24 September). Drouhin used a laser-optic sorting machine in addition to two vibrating sorting tables in order to assure that only ripe grapes would be used for the wines. Because of vintage conditions, Drouhin did additional pre-fermentation soaking, a separating and fining of the final press musts, more destemming than usual, and longer macerations than usual, including post-fermentation macerations. For the Côte de Nuits wines, Drouhin stirred the lees and then left the wines on the lees for a long time. In some instances, press wine was added back. 

Wines marked "Domaine" are from properties that Drouhin owns. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Joseph DROUHIN -- 2012 Côte de Beaune reds and whites tasted in November 2013, prior to bottling (Beaune)

The Côte de Beaune reds reviewed here were entirely destemmed, unlike many of the Côte de Nuits Drouhin wines.


Wines marked “Domaine” are from properties that Drouhin owns. Drouhin converted to biodynamic farming of its vineyards in the late 1990s (some experimental vineyards have been biodynamic even longer).

Drouhin’s style is for wines with great elegance, good acidity and freshness, and extreme purity. It is a style of Burgundy that I personally appreciate greatly.

I have tasted some 2012s from bottle and review them here.  (I reviewed 2013s, tasted in November 2014, herehere, and here.)  For what it’s worth, I actually consider wines tasted from barrel a year after the harvest when malos have been completed, as here, a better long-term estimator of the potential of the wine than the wines tasted after a year or two in bottle. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Joseph DROUHIN -- 2012s from bottle (Beaune)

Harvesting in the Côte d’Or started on 19 September, which would have been Côte de Beaune; harvesting for the major wines took place between 24 and 28 September, except for the Vosne-Petits Monts (21 September) and Chambolle 1er Cru (21-24 September). Drouhin used a laser-optic sorting machine in addition to two vibrating sorting tables in order to assure that only ripe grapes would be used for the wines. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Comtes LAFON -- 2012s tasted from barrel in autumn 2013. (Meursault)

Below is my review of Lafon’s 2012s tasted from cask in autumn 2013.

Lafon suffered greatly from the hail in 2012. For example, normally, there are 20 barrels of Monthélie, but in 2012, there are but 7; normally there are 60-70 barrels of Volnay-Santenot-du-Milieu, but in 2012, that figure is but 27. Fortunately, what was made is of outstanding quality. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Comtes LAFON -- 2012s from bottle (Meursault)

Dominique Lafon’s 2012s are nothing short of a sensational success. In a vintage where fatness dominated all but the best whites, he avoided that quality altogether. (Continue reading here.)

J. u. H. A. STRUB - 2013s (Rheinhessen)

Perhaps I just tasted the other wines too early, but I was greatly unimpressed by the other wines I tasted from the “Roter Hang” area of Rheinhessen – Nackenheim, Nierstein, and Oppenheim, which are traditionally the most famous areas from Rheinhessen. The major exception was the wines from Strub, where there are indeed wines of quality.


I'm not sure how well these wines are known outside of the United States, but there is excellent quality here at very keen prices. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

G./Christophe* ROUMIER -- 2012s tasted from cask in October 2013 (Chambolle-Musigny)

Below is the review of Roumier’s 2012s, tasted from cask in October 2013 and originally published in Issue 141 of The Fine Wine Review. Because of the lateness of the malolactic fermentations, Christophe was still working, and so was not able to be present when I tasted the wines. As a result, there is somewhat less information about the vintage than usual. Some of the wines were tasted from bottle in November 2014 and reviewed here; the 2013s from cask are reviewed there.

The wines here were in a state that made them difficult to taste because of extremely late malolactic fermentations, so it is possible that I have underrated them. Nevertheless, Christophe Roumier made phenomenal wines in 2011 and it is possible that in the long run, those wines will be equal to or even superior to the 2012s here. Production is down 30% from 2010, already not a large vintage. Hail, in part, was responsible for the small production. Harvest began on 22 September. In general, about 30% of the stems were used, and grapes were ripe and homogenous with no rot. (Continue reading here.)

2013 KARTHÄUSERHOF -- 2013 Grosses Gewächs (Mosel)

This estate owns the entirety of the Eitelsbach Karthäuserhof, the magnificent hill that sits across the narrow Ruwer Valley from Carl von Schubert’s magnificent hill that contains his Abtsberg, Herrenberg, and Bruderberg vineyards. The dry wines here have been top quality for quite some time, and the 2013 is no exception.

2013 (Eitelsbach) Karthäuserhofberg Riesling grosses gewächs
The wine is mineral, pure, light, and calm – a classic expression of its vineyard. 93/A


Joachim FLICK -- 2013 Grosse Gewächse (Rheingau)

Joachim Flick took a ruined property in Flörsheim-am-Main, an obscure village a couple of kilometers up the Main River from Hochheim, and through hard work turned it into a beautiful property that consistently produces some of the best wines in the Rheingau. But Flick and his wines are not well-known because most of the sales are to the nearby Frankfurt area. Nevertheless, some of these wines do make it into the international marketplace and are worth your effort to locate. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

MEO-CAMUZET -- 2012s tasted from cask in autumn 2013 (Vosne-Romanée)

Below is my article on 2012s at Méo-Camuzet tasted from cask in autumn 2013 and originally published in Issue 141 of The Fine Wine Review. Wines marked by an asterisk (*) are Méo-Camuzet Frère et Soeurs, a négociant operation; the rest are Domaine wines. Some of the 2012s were subsequently tasted from bottle and are reviewed here.

Jean-Nicolas Méo said that production was a little less than in 2011. He began the harvest on 19 September with the Corton-Clos Rognet. He said that some triage was necessary, but less than, for example, in 2005(!); generally, the grapes were very healthy. In a major break with the past, he has begun using whole clusters – about 15% -- in certain wines: Nuits-Boudots, Echézeaux, Clos-de-Vougeot, and Vosne-Cros Parantoux. “Henri [Jayer] is turning over in his grave,” said Jean-Nicolas, a reference to Jayer’s implacable opposition to use of stems and to his role as Jean-Nicolas’s mentor. Jean-Nicolas characterized malolactic fermentations as “heterogeneous”: some finished as early as November 2012, some in the following months, and some as late as August 2013. Similarly, pH ranges were very diverse, ranging from 3.28 to 3.70. (Continue reading here.)

HEYMANN-LÖWENSTEIN -- 2013 Grosse Gewächse (Mosel)

Richard Löwenstein began his estate in 1980 and has worked to build up a great and well-deserved reputation. Downstream from the better-known  Mosel sites, and indeed just a few kilometers before the Mosel flows into the Rhein at Koblenz, the magical steep, terraced slate hillsides are still here to form the wines. Like the great wines of Clemens Busch, they are entirely different from the Mosels, even the dry Mosels, upstream. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MEO-CAMUZET -- 2012s from bottle (Vosne-Romanée)

Considering that these are not the front-line wines of Méo-Camuzet, one can still see that the vintage is a success here and only dream of the delights that await the possessors of the top wines. Tomorrow I will publish the review of the Méo-Camuzet 2012s from cask, including the top wines. (Continue reading here.)


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BÜRGERSPITAL -- 2013 Grosse Gewächse (Franken)

Since Harry Haller came here from Fürst Löwenstein some years ago, the wines have taken on an extra dimension and quality is extremely high. (Continue reading here.)

Jean GRIVOT -- 2012s tasted from cask in fall 2013 (Vosne-Romanée)

Etienne Grivot began harvesting on 20 September and said that he had to do but little triage. Chaptalization was “very little” and malolactic fermentations were very late – as is often the case here. Etienne thinks that this is his greatest vintage, yet. I’m not yet willing to go that far, but that’s in part because I am such an admirer of other vintages that he has produced through the years. As everywhere, production is greatly reduced. Etienne said that in a normal year, he produces about 280 barrels of wine; in 2012, it’s just 152 (in 2013 it’ll only be about 10% more than 2012, or about the same as 2010). Some of these wines are reviewed from bottle here and here. (Continue reading here.)

Hans WIRSCHING -- 2013 Grosse Gewächse (Franken)

Wirsching has been quite strong these past several years, and the Silvaner GG’s are among the top ones in a great Silvaner year. The Riesling GG’s were just a little below that level when I tasted them, but they may well rise to the same level in time. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jean GRIVOT -- 2012s from bottle (Vosne-Romanée)

Quality at Grivot is high across the board – no surprise, as this is a producer of great consistency.

The 2013s from barrel were reviewed here.  Additionally, that posting contained a review of the 2012 Vosne-Beaux Monts from bottle which is quite close to the review below which is based on another bottle sampled four months later. My review of Grivot’s 2012s tasted from barrel in fall 2013, originally published in The Fine Wine Review Issue 141 and which provides more background to the vintage at Grivot, is here.

(Continue reading here for review of Grivot's 2012's from bottle.)

Michael FRÖHLICH -- 2013 Grosse Gewächse (Franken)

I’ve been impressed by recent vintages from this producer. This pair of GG’s is worth looking for. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jean-Marie FOURRIER -- 2012s tasted from barrel in November 2013 (Gevrey-Chambertin)

This is the review of Fourrier’s 2012s tasted from barrel in November 2013 and previously printed in Issue 141 of The Fine Wine Review. My review of several of the 2012s from bottle is posted here. My review of Fourrier’s 2013s tasted from barrel was posted here.



Several wines are missing from the review here. I was tasting with another journalist who arrived very late and was an amazingly slow taster, and I suspect that as the time ticked away, Jean-Marie Fourrier passed on presenting some of the wines; alternatively, production could have been so tiny that he did not wish to show them.  

2012 was a bit lower here in quantity than 2013 and 2010, and roughly equal to 2011, Jean-Marie said. He began harvesting on 21 September, and did no “significant” sorting. Malolactic fermentations were early – beginning in mid-January and finishing in mid-April or May. Jean-Marie observed that the bacteria and yeasts were more dynamic than in the past. The wines were in stainless steel when I tasted in early November, having been racked the previous week, thus adding an additional difficulty factor to their evaluation. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ludwig KNOLL -- Weingut AM STEIN -- 2013 Stetten Grosse Gewächse (Franken)

Ludwig Knoll is one of the most dynamic producers I’ve had the pleasure to meet. As far as I know, he was the first producer in Franconia to adopt biodynamic methods, and every wine I’ve tasted from him has been marvelous.

Showing a weakness in the VDP’s GG program, Knoll possesses two entirely separate Stein vineyards – one, the more famous, being in Würzburg, where his winery and outstanding restaurant are located (literally in the Stein vineyard), and the other being in Stetten. Both have the limestone soils that make Silvaner and Riesling so special in this part of Franconia. Alas, I did not get to taste the GG’s from the Würzburg vineyards for 2013, nor the non-GG offerings, which in my experience are also outstanding. (Continue reading here.)

Horst SAUER -- 2013 Grosse Gewächse (Franken)

Horst Sauer, now aided by his daughter Sandra, turn out some of Germany’s greatest wines. These two GG’s are worth a special effort to find, but don’t overlook the non-GG wines, which can be equally great. 

British readers and those visiting London should pay attention to the house Silvaner at Fortnum & Mason, which the small print on the label reveals is from Sauer. (Continue reading here.)