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Featuring 2015 - an exceptional year for Burgundy.

TINDAL WINE MERCHANTS incoporating TYRRELL & CO. - EN PRIMEUR BURGUNDY OFFER 

FEATURING 2015 - “AN EXCEPTIONAL YEAR FOR BURGUNDY”

(To download this report in full, with price list, please click here. To download an order form, please click here.)

We can all, at times, get carried away with the use of superlatives to describe the success of vintages and individual wines. It is however, fair to say that 2015 has turned out to be a FABULOUS year for Red Burgundy. This is certainly very exciting for the many Burgundy fans who have been waiting in anticipation since murmurings surfaced about the potential of a top vintage as the fruit came in at harvest time. Whites have performed significantly better than was originally expected, with great elegance, open expressions and a neat acid balance, especially for those who picked early.

The vintage is seen by many as one the finest vintages for many years, with comparisons being made with the excellent 2005’s and 2010’s.  The grapes were in such good condition at harvest time that there was, for most properties, no need for sorting tables to “weed out” defective grapes, a rare occurrence these days. From our own tastings of the vintage; in Burgundy in November and then London in January it is certainly evident that 2015 is a vintage to embrace.

The wines are open and expressive with ripe tannins that support and bolster the perfect fruit, which on the reds, lends perfume and intensity. This all suggests that we have a rare vintage that will be appealing at all stages of development with the potential longevity expected of a great vintage. The whites share this ripeness giving more weight and a richer, open style to the fruit. Acid structures are softer than 2014 but with careful use of oak the best have a fantastic generosity. Enjoyable even at this early stage, the whites may not have the staying power of cooler vintages, but certainly will deliver excitement to those who prefer not to wait. 

This year we are delighted to be introducing four new suppliers into our offer and portfolio. This is a result of extensive “field-work” and endless tastings over the past 12 months before we considered them for inclusion in our selection. The new suppliers are; DOMAINE DE SUREMAIN  from Mercurey in the Chalonnais region, DOMAINE MICHEL BOUZEREAU in Meursault, DOMAINE FRANCOIS LEGROS in Nuits St George and DOMAINE GERARD SEGUIN in Gevrey Chambertin. These new suppliers bring many interesting appellations to our range including, Mercurey, Nuits St George, Chambolle Musigny, Morey St Denis, Gevrey Chambertin and Fixin along with some very good Bourgogne Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

There is regrettably one cloud on the horizon, which has cast a shadow over the vintage. This is the diminished 2016 vintage that thanks to combinations of devastating April frosts, oidium and mildew, hail storms and excessive heat spikes has delivered some of the lowest yields in recent years. Chablis has been worst hit with some producers losing up to 80% of their potential crop while our friends in Tollot Beaut lost 70% of the harvest with fruit from Savigny Les Beaune almost completely wiped out. This has subsequently put pressure on the pricing and future availability as growers look ahead to the next year or so. Bearing this in mind our recommendation is to take advantage of the ‘14s and ‘15s that are on offer as allocations will be greatly reduced for the 2016 vintage.


Bouchard Pere et FilsDOMAINE BOUCHARD PÈRE ET FILS, CÔTE D’OR

2015 Vintage  - Intense heat, great balance and exceptional quality

The vintage report from the team at Bouchard Père et Fils, headed up by Cellar Master Frederic Weber:

1 - Climate features 

Temperatures 

•Mild winter with only a few days of frost in February 

•Hot spring and summer with + 3.4° C compared to normal July averages, temperatures rising above 37°C 

Recorded rainfall 

•Relatively little rain in winter 

•Very dry spring and summer with a water shortage of nearly 90% in July 

•August: a little rain, fairly concentrated at the end of the month 

•Over the first 9 months of the year, the rain volume dropped by 20% compared to season-al averages 

Sunlight 

•Overcast and cloudy winter 

•Very sunny spring and summer (+ 25% compared to July averages) 

•August: less than 20% decline compared to July during the rainy period 

•At the end: on average more than 13% of sunlight from January to September 

2 - The growing season on our Domaine 

Bouchard - domaineOnce again this year revealed a fairly mild winter.  The budding, short and consistent, started from end of May to June 10 enjoying summer weather conditions which slowly evolved into a heat wave. Therefore some water stress became apparent despite the redeeming rainfall which came after the flowering and at the end of August.  Despite the scorch marks which could be spotted on leaves, we decided not to carry out any de-leafing. This proved to be a wise and appropriate decision in such a sun-filled year.  The month of August had a little more rain and was less sunny which maintained a perfect level of acidity, allowing for ideal ripeness.  As for the high risk of powdery mildew appearing, it was caught right at the start of the vintage year and was immediately curbed leaving perfectly healthy vines

3 - Harvest, vinification and ageing 

The coulure and drought entailed a severe yield decrease.  The harvests started on September 2 for the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the latter being accelerated to keep the freshness of the grapes.  For the 2 grape varieties, no sorting was needed due to the fruits’ excellent health. 

Red wines 

The Pinot Noir were very concentrated with thick skins and lots of anthocyanins. The seeds and stems were perfectly ripe with silky tannins so we chose to favor extraction by keeping between 15 and 25% of their stems for the Côte de Beaune and between 25 and 40% for the Côte de Nuits.  The excellent quality and ideal ripeness of the harvest was also revealed by the natural alcohol content between 13 and 14°. The vinification started with 4-5 days of cold maceration (between 10 and 12°C). Furthermore, the daily crushing was carried out over the first 8 eight days and then became less frequent.  After the alcoholic fermentation, the wines were transferred into vats where malolactic fermentation started shortly after, in November. 

White wines 

We waited until the beginning of September to obtain not only high-level sugar concentrations but also ripe and golden skins as well as perfectly-ripe seeds.  On the one hand, we cooled-down the juice. On the other hand, we decided to carry out a gentle pressing to limit the extraction of potassium. This was meant to maintain the acidity of the must. The juice extracted was incredible, very clear and golden-like. 

Bouchard - barrelsThe malolactic fermentation started shortly after and went smoothly, ending at the end of April for all the whites.  During the ageing, the barrels were rolled only once not to add excess richness content to already-mature wines

Tasting the 2015’s either from barrel or as barrel samples has been more pleasurable than in many vintages. Having tasted over 100 wines from throughout the region we have been most impressed how these Bouchard Domaine wines have shown against their counterparts from leading grower’s Domaines in the region. Their chief wine-maker Frederic Weber has done a marvellous job with this range. The wines that stood out in particular for me were the Monthelie for good value, while the L’Enfant Jesus was one of the finest we have tasted at this age and the Nuits St George continues to impress.

 

William FevreDOMAINE WILLIAM FEVRE Chablis

The 2015 vintage report from Didier Seguier, and in his words, “A Solar vintage of exceptional quality” 

1 - Weather conditions 

Temperatures 

•A mild winter, particularly in January 

•February and early March prove colder than usual (a 30% drop in temperature) 

• Late March - early April: a spring affected by morning frosts 

•April 12, onwards: the first signs of warmth, but not consistent. Despite summer weather from April 20, temperatures drop slightly below zero over a two-week period from April 27, and briefly on May 21 

•Settled hot weather from June 2 

•A combination of hot, dry weather and wind through the first fortnight in June 

•Mid-June - throughout July: continuing heat and drought 

•September cooler than usual (1.8°C lower on average) 

Recorded rainfall 

•A very wet April (64% up on the monthly average) 

•June and especially July particularly dry (a 75% drop) 

•August abnormally wet (66% up on seasonal norms), largely due to the hail storm of August 31.

Sunshine

•Abnormally high, especially in April, June and July, with sunshine hours up by an average of 13% 

 2 - The growing season on our Domaine 

William Fevre - domaineWinter was late to arrive, with the first frosts not occurring until February, and then only for a short period. Bud break then commenced with the first days of spring warmth, from April 12 onwards. Temperatures started to rise, but spells of summer weather were interspersed with frosts and  rain until the end of May.  The hot weather set in at the start of June, just as flowering began. The optimal weather conditions ensured that this part of the growing season was short and consistent. Hot, dry weather prevailed until the end of August, resulting in virtually non-existent rainfall, particularly in June and July, which in turn caused water stress. A spell of wet weather in the second week of August finally brought some much-needed rain. Meanwhile, the hail storm that occurred on  August 31 affected yields but not the quality of the upcoming harvest, particularly since it heralded a clear drop in temperature. 

3 - Harvests, vinification and ageing 

The grape-pickers started work on Thursday September 3, first harvesting the 3 areas hit by the hail storms: Montmains, Les Clos and Montée de Tonnerre. The remainder of the crop yielded grapes of exceptional quality, and of perfect ripeness, producing excellent alcohol content of between 12° and 13.5°.  The alcoholic fermentation took place in perfect conditions, and was closely followed by the malolactic fermentation, which was completed at the start of spring.  Bottling has already taken place for the Saint-Bris, Petit Chablis and Chablis wines, while the Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines are currently maturing in stainless steel tanks on fine lees.   

William Fevre barrels4 - Our wines right now 

The wines are very fruity and concentrated, offering a superb balance between richness and delicate tension.

Once again we have experienced a very impressive range of wines from William Fevre with Didier continuing to have praise heaped on him from much of the wine press. With a significant shortage of Chablis next year, now is the time to take advantage of what is available.

 

DOMAINE MICHEL BOUZEREAU ET FILS, Meursault 

The Bouzereau family have been at the heart of wine making in Meursault for many generations, with Domaine Michel Bouzereau the pre-eminent producer of the extended family.  Michel’s son Jean Baptiste has been running the estate for the past ten years. Their philosophy is simple with vines cultivated without any chemical fertilizers and all the harvesting done by hand. The estate comprises 12 hectares predominantly in Meursault and Puligny Montrachet. The style focusses on purity, with great elegance. Concentration and finesse show great potential for aging. We include the Bourgogne Chardonnay in recognition of its depth and richness at this level; coming from vines in Meursault and Puligny this wine’s quality equals many village examples from here. 

 

Comtes LafonDOMAINE DES COMTES LAFON Meursault

Dominique Lafon has been in charge of the estate since 1985 and in continuing on from his father has developed an outstanding reputation for the Domaine which is now one of the most respected for white burgundy. Not only are the Lafon’s holding in the best vineyards of Meursault and Volnay but they are mostly very well placed within each plot. Cultivated following biodynamic principles the life and vivacity of the wines produced goes someway to explain the growing International demand for these wines. These are some of the most sought after wines in Burgundy and are in very limited supply.

 

Heritiers du comte lafonLES HÉRITIERS DU COMTE LAFON  Maçonnais

Dominique Lafon was one of the first Cote d’Or superstar winemakers to venture into the Maconnais region. In 1999 he bought vineyards around Milly-Lamartine and created the range of wines under the label Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon. Following the same biodynamic principles as the properties in Meursault, these wines are seen as some of the most expressive and intense in the area. The Clos de la Crochette whilst being historically significant as one of the first sites to be planted by the monks of Cluny over 1,000 years ago, is an area that manages to capture a steely elegance meaning that these wines are less forward than those of Milly-Lamartine. New to us this year are Macon Prisse, Saint Veran and Vire-Clesse. The Vire- Clesse comes from vines of more than 60 years old we were drawn in by the tightness to the mid palate lending weight to the intense lemon zest tones left over from the barrage of minerality flowing through this wine.

 

Marc MoreyDOMAINE MARC MOREY Chassagne-Montrachet

This estate was originally established in the 1930’s by Fernand Morey. It was taken over by his son Marc in the 1950’s whose son-in-law Bernard Mollard now runs the estate with his daughter Sabine who is responsible for most of the winemaking. They have some important holdings in Chassagne and Puligny Montrachet.  

Sabine is quietly going about producing some of Chassagne's finest whites at Domaine Marc Morey, nestling just behind the church in the village. In contrast to the more reserved, tight, mineral quality of 2014, the 2015 vintage is open, fragrant attractive, stylish with huge appeal. Sabine’s decision to pick early has reaped rewards. The wines finish with a subtle, fresh, mineral edge lifting the palate and indicating good ageing potential.

 

tollot beautDOMAINE TOLLOT-BEAUT Chorey-les-Beaune

Tollot-Beaut is a most reliable source for a range of delicious consumer friendly wines that seem to get better as the years go by. The wines are beautifully open in style, with rich generous fruit flavours and judicious use of new oak. They have a certain poise, with great depth and elegance and consistently over deliver for the price.  The property was one of the very first to Domaine bottle their wines in the early 1920’s; today it is run by Nathalie Tollot and her extended family.

We tasted with Nathalie in November and were most impressed with her range of 2015’s, as they showed amazing opulence and juicy fruit expression. She related her impression of the vintage as being relatively dry and very warm that resulted in a smallish crop, except for Chorey where the deeper soils hold on to more water. The grapes were small and thick skinned, her father and 80 year old uncle said they had never seen such healthy grapes. This resulted in one the best years ever for the Aloxe Corton vineyards in particular. Nathalie’s other news was somewhat depressing as they suffered very badly in 2016 with losses of up to 70% of their crop. If you are a follower of Tollot Beaut’s wines don’t miss out on this great vintage.

 

 

hubert lamy

DOMAINE HUBERT LAMY Saint-Aubin

There is no doubt that this is the finest estate in Saint Aubin where Olivier Lamy who took over from his father in 1996 and is making exquisite wines each year. Here is one of the best of examples in Burgundy of the next generation
of a family lifting their estate to new heights of excellence. Olivier was one of the first to pick in the 2015 vintage when he started on August 25th and as a result has achieved excellent levels of acidity lending a freshness that lifts the expressive character of these wines. Due to the ripeness of the vintage no new oak was used. Minerality shines through in these wines with a vibrance to the fruit that makes the wines stand out from their peers. Succulent and exciting are good descriptors for the reds, which have taken advantage of the fine weather and are languishing in their success.

Olivier has decided to delay the bottling of certain wines, which he says enables him to use less sulphides, as a result his wines will not be shipped till after the 2017 vintage.

 

DOMAINE JACQUES CARILLON Puligny-MontrachetJacques Carillon

The Carillon family have been one of the pinnacles of winemaking in Puligny-Montrachet for generations dating back to 1692. In 2012 the Domaine was divided into two, between Jacques and his brother François. They both now have 5.5 ha each. The village Puligny and 1er Cru Les Perrières was split in half; Jacques kept 1er Crus Champs-Canet, the Referts and the entire holding of Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, also now making use of his Chassagne-Montrachet village and Chassagne 1er Cru Les Macherelles. As chief winemaker at Louis Carillon before producing wines under his own name, followers of that Domaine can be assured that his style has not changed. This of all vintages is one where the best winemakers on the finest terroirs will make the greatest wines of the vintage, and none more so than Jacques Carillon. These wines are a brilliant expression of the vintage  which was picked a week earlier than last year, September 3rd to 6th. The yields were lower but they show excellent concentration and retain that much needed acidity. They are must for any white Burgundy follower.

 

 

Francois Legros

DOMAINE FRANCOIS LEGROS, Nuits St Georges

In 1988 Francois took over the estate from his parents which he now runs with his wife Christine. They have recently been joined by their daughter Charlotte who has just completed a degree in Oenology in Beaune, bringing new vision and dimension to
the family estate. An estate of drawing from 7 hectares comprising their own vineyards, tenant holdings and sharecropping. The vineyard holdings are spread from Morey St Denis in the Côtes de Nuits to St.Aubin in Côtes de Beaune. The pinot noir, once picked, is all de-stemmed and fermented in cement before ageing in oak for between 12 and 18 moths depending on the Cru, which will also determine the type and toasting of the barrels. The style is succulent and lively with wonderful fruit expression. Each wine illustrated well the complexities expected from each commune. They have a particularly good Bourgogne Rouge which comes from 4 parcels of vines between Morey St Denis and Chambolle-Musigny, a much prized asset when it is as good as this!  

 

Gerard SeguinDOMAINE GERARD SEGUIN, Gevrey-Chambertin

This estate dates back to the 1800’s, it was Alexis Seguin who was one of the pioneers of grafting American rootstocks following the Phylloxera crisis of the 1880’s. Gerard now manages the estate with his son Jerome, they have gradually been adding new parcels of vines over the years and have built up an estate of 6.25 hectares primarily in Gevrey-Chambertin. Despite being a Domaine steeped in tradition, the cuverie and cellars were renovated and updated as recently as 2014. The vineyards are run sustainably with most of the cellar work, especially the bottling, performed in conjunction with the Biodynamic calendar. Their range includes a Fixin, which is a lesser known but interesting appellation just north of Gevrey offering good value and early appeal. The Gevrey-Chambertin vineyard; “La Justice” is seen as one of the better sites of Gevrey with a lack of stones giving warmer soils and fuller wines from vines that are over 40 years old. We chose these wines for their opulence, as their quality and depth really shone through, assuring enjoyment over the coming years.

 

Domaine de SuremainDOMAINE DE SUREMAIN, Mercurey

This year we are pleased to introduce in our offer for the first time the wines of Domaine de Suremain in Mercurey. In the hands of Yves and Marie-Helene whose son Loic is the 7th generation to work on the estate, we were impressed by the slightly rustic generosity of the wines. The cuverie and cellars are situated at Chateau du Bourgneuf in the centre of the village of Mercurey. The appellation of Mercurey was officially recognised in 1923 and now comprises 600 hectares of which 20% are classified as 1er Cru, with the upward trend of Burgundy prices it is an area where you can still find decent wines at more affordable levels. The soil types and topography are diverse, the Domaine itself has 5 different 1er Crus of which we have selected what we judged as those with the most potential. The 1er Cru “Les Crets” is situated due south on the hillside filled with predominantly chalky soils. More complex in style the wines displayed finesse and elegance worthy of the more superior examples of the area. The 1er Cru “En Sazenay” from the top of the hill based on clay soils has an ethereal smokey tobacco led elegance wholly from the terroir. No new oak is used on this wine with the evolving expressions suggesting this will just get better with age. 

 

To download this report in full, with price list, please click here.

To download an order form, please click here.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please contact Nigel Werner:

nwerner@tindalwine.com