En Primeur Burgundy 2017 offer
This offer closes 30th April 2019
Read about the vintage below:
DELIGHTFUL PURE LIVELY AROMATIC WHITES
CHARMING SENSUAL ELEGANT REDS FOR THE GENUINE BURGUNDY LOVERS
After the many recent difficult years Burgundy growers have had to put up with, at last a vintage of good quantity and quality to save the day for most producers. Worldwide demand for Burgundy has been growing but unfortunately there hasn’t been enough wine to satisfy it. The recently released 2017’s along with the 2018’s on the horizon for next year, should make Burgundy fans happy at last.
The growing season was not as challenging as in 2016 but was not without its issues as ever. A relatively mild winter and early Spring brought about an early bud-break and development which caused much anxiety with vignerons, as memories of the previous year’s devastating frosts were fresh in their minds. There was a very cold snap during April when many growers and farmers along the Cote d’Or lit up bales of hay. The smoke then circulated to create a protective layer to prevent young vine shoots being burnt by the morning sun. Not everywhere escaped however, as 10 days of sustained frost in Chablis on the right bank of the river, where the Grand Crus and some Premier Crus are sited, had the harvest reduced by as much as 50% in certain Crus. In the Cotes D’Or unfortunately St Aubin was badly hit as well, where Hubert Lamy lost about 50% of his crop and ended up producing less than the low yields of 2016. Some of the Puligny and Chassagne vineyards didn’t recover sufficiently from the previous year and they also suffered reduced yields.
Once the threat of frost was over the vines had a successful flowering season which was enhanced with fine warm weather through the summer that brought with it the prospect of a bumper harvest. This is when the vignerons had to step in to avoid over cropping with careful vineyard management and green harvesting to control the yields for fear of ending up with wines too dilute.
It was a very successful outcome for the white wines, which have the richness and ripe fruit of the 2015’s with the vigour and tension of the 2014’s. Overall it is one of the most complete of vintages for the whites for many years as they will drink well in youth while having the structure to age impressively.
The red harvest was certainly more bountiful than the white and much needed with many growers. Nathalie Tollot said it was their first normal sized crop since 2009. It is a vintage that should please the purest of Burgundy drinkers. The style of the vintage is less concentrated than the 2015’s and 2016’s. Many growers see 2017 as a classic vintage which underlines the true charm and elegance of Burgundy, they are ripe and succulent beautifully expressive of their terroir with silky tannins and vibrant acidity which makes them so attractive for early drinking with medium term ageing. This is a vintage to enjoy young while you wait for the 2016’s and 2015’s to mature and avoid the temptation of drinking them too young.
Bouchard Pere et Fils being the largest vineyard holders in Burgundy gives them great diversity in the region. With so many more small growers entering the fray in recent years, Bouchard have had to “up their game” in light of the competition. That is exactly what they have certainly done over the last number of vintages. This is partly due to the new winery in which every parcel of vineyards can be vinified separately and gravity flow lessens the pumping of must and wine through the winery.
Bouchard have produced an excellent range of wines from the 2017 vintage. Frederic Weber the Cellar Master is particularly pleased with this year’s wines, he reported that some of the parcels suffered a little hydric stress due to the dry summer which necessitated a change in some of the picking times. Overall it was relatively straightforward with the white wines showing a very ripe profile close to the style of the 2015 but with more freshness. Moreover they stand out by the remarkable distinction between the terroirs a detail that defines a very great vintage. While the reds are showing bright ruby colours and developing expressive bouquets with delicate floral notes, the palate is finely balanced with silky tannins and a warm spicy finish, a very pleasing and charming vintage.
William Fevre has become the benchmark for classic Chablis under the guidance of their dynamic winemaker, Didier Séguier. No other producer can claim such an array of the finest vineyards in Chablis. The 2017 vintage was one of mixed blessings, as in the second half of April the region suffered 10 consecutive nights of frost which destroyed at least 25% of the crop and particularly in the Grand Crus where some sites lost 60% despite the best efforts of Didier and his team on prevention. Following this the growing season was perfect and Didier was able to bring in his fruit in optimum condition. The resulting wines are real classics with great freshness and rich fruit, which will surely age beautifully.
As ever these will be much sought after wines but needless to say the availability is very limited so don’t miss out if you appreciate fine Chablis.
Domaine Louis Michel, with Guillaume at the helm, didn’t escape the frost damage in Chablis. Guillaume reported on the frost damage, “The right bank (Montée de Tonnerre, Fourchaume, Grand Crus) was particularly impacted, but we also found damage in our Forêts, Vaillons, and Montmain vineyards and the majority of our Chablis parcels. In addition, even though it hadn’t necessarily destroyed the vines within the immediate Chablis area (as was the case for Lignorelles and Maligny), the frost had a significant quantitative impact in that it stopped a lot of inflorescence”.
Guillaume describes the 2017 vintage as “Old School- before Global Warming”. They only use stainless steel at Louis Michel and they produce a range of wines which faithfully express the vineyards distinct terroir. This year we offer his special Butteaux Vieille Vignes cuvee which was planted in 1943 and offers great ripeness and complexity, this is the last of the Premier Crus to be bottled along with the Grand Crus. Their Montee de Tonnerre was one of their smallest crops on record yet the quality was exceptional.
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. Part of the vineyards were effected by Coulure and millerandage, where the berries either didn’t form or were too small and didn’t develop, this resulted in a reduced yield in those sites. Jean-Baptiste looks to get more texture into his wines by more skin contact and extended fermentation rather than battonage resulting in wines with more freshness. His delicious Bourgogne Chardonnay now comes under a new appellation “Bourgogne Cote d’Or”.
Dominique Lafon has been in charge of Domaine Comtes Lafon 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.
Last year we advised that Lafon had a devastating harvest in 2016 and we didn’t expect to get any wine from the vintage, but we did get a very small allocation nonetheless. In a regular vintage Dominique would expect to produce about 50 barrels of both Meursault Villages and Clos de la Barre, in 2016 he produced only 5 and 8 respectively and only 1/3 of his Volnay. Our allocation 2016 vintage in miniscule, in view of the small crops the prices are unfortunately up again!
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 daily running of the estate is overseen by Caroline Gan who looks after the growing 26 hectares. The wines are partially vinified in a combination of stainless steel, large wooden foudres and 600ltr demi-muids which are becoming increasingly popular.
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.
There were some Spring frosts along with hail as well as a dry summer in Maconnais which resulted in smaller grapes and thereby a somewhat reduced harvest than in 2016, but the quality was not compromised. Dominique describes the very as very Maconnais, that is to say really generous with expressive fruit.
Domaine 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 were glad to meet up with a happier Nathalie Tollot during the January Burgundy Primeur tastings. After years of low volume harvests she was delighted to return to “normality”, with their first year to produce a regular crop since 2009. In her own words it’s was a “miracle vintage”, with magnificent quality of fruit and no need for triage (grape sorting) at all. The wines have shown a lot of evolution during the elevage, developing weight with soft fruity character making them very approachable. The style of the vintage really suits Tollot Beaut as the wines show beautiful elegance and grace with ripe aromas with crunchy berry notes. It is also good to see a return of their Monopole Savigny Champ Chevrey 1er Cru which they haven’t been able to produce that regularly. These are a delightful range of wines that will be ideal for early drinking and mid-term cellaring.
The Carillon family have been one of the pinnacles of winemaking in Puligny-Montrachet for generations dating back to 1692. In 2012 Domaine Jacques Carillon 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.
Jacques started harvesting his 2017’s on September 1st and is very pleased with their quality, finding them classically proportioned yet charming in style. They combine the richness of the 2015’s with the crisp minerality of the 2016’s. Unfortunately, due to poor flowering the yields of the Premier Crus were even lower than those of 2016. The Puligny Village displays floral and citrus notes on the nose with a medium to full bodied palate with good tension, while the Premier Crus show more depth and breed with fine concentration. Needless to say allocations of the Premier Cru are very limited. This year we introduce a new addition from Carillon, his Chassagne Montrachet villages, which is produced from younger vines, its first vintage was 2015 but the 2016 was wiped out by frost, the wine has a floral citrus nose, medium bodied and succulent with an open knit profile.
In 1988 Francois took over the estate from his parents which he now runs with his wife Christine, Domaine Francois Legros. 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.
Domaine Gerard Seguin 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.
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