Burghound - Sweet Spot
Burghound's 'Sweet Spot' list is the place to look for excellent value at an intermediate level (£30-£100 a bottle). Many of these wines punch well above their weight and are still eminently affordable - like Domaine François Lumpp's fantastic Givry Premier Crus or Domaine Daniel Barraud's delicious and age-worthy old vine Pouilly-Fuissé. Click on each wine to see all the reviews.
Domaine Laurent Tribut
Laurent Tribut is married to Vincent Dauvissat's sister, Marie Clotilde. When he started he made his wines in the Dauvissat cellar in Chablis, but now this small family-run domaine is based in Poinchy. You could not hope to meet a more charming and mild-mannered man as Laurent. He is a quiet genius, making some of the purest and most classical wines in the appellation.
This year it was great to get to know three (Solange, Adeline and Gabriel) of Laurent's four children who all now work with him. With his guidance the future here looks very bright. With just 6 hectares the quantities are small - but the quality of all his cuvées is extraordinary. Pure, powerfully driven, classically shaped there is more than a passing similarity to the wines of his brother-in-law the head-line grabbing Vincent Dauvissat. Buyers will enjoy these super wines with some time in bottle too - they have a great ability to age and patience will pay off, we recently tasted the 1er Cru Côte de Léchet 2004 with Laurent in his cellar and it was bright, young and full of vigour - nearly 15 years on. This is brilliant, classic Chablis made by a quiet maestro.
2017 CHABLIS 1er Cru Côte de Léchet Domaine Laurent Tribut
After tasting the Beauroy this is a total shift in gear. Immediately brighter, tighter with a pow of clean minerality. The fruit is intense and tight for now but loaded with lovely lemon skin andAfter tasting the Beauroy this is a total shift in gear. Immediately brighter, tighter with a pow of clean minerality. The fruit is intense and tight for now but loaded with lovely lemon skin and some pert grapefruit bite. Much more on the citrus line here in the middle, but then the saltiness and clean dusty textured minerality kicks in. Pure, precise and very sleek. A wow wine this year. Drinking range: 2021 - 2030L&S(Oct 2018)
Domaine Daniel Barraud
Daniel and Martine Barraud, now joined by their son Julien, have vineyards in Vergisson that are mostly high up under the famous rock (Vergisson lies between the two dramatic cliffs of the rocks of Solutré and Vergisson). The vineyards here are significantly higher than those of Fuissé, and are consequently later-ripening, and the wines often have a more solid structure - but all of Daniel's wines have their own character, from the Puligny-like directness of the La Roche to the fat richness of the 'en Buland', via the mineral force of the Crays.
All the wines are made keeping close to the tenets of bio-dynamics - not as Daniel says for the sake of it - but because over the generations experience has taught them these principles really are the best way forward - as such they only ever bottle on a waning moon, All the wines see some barrel ageing apart from the Chaintré, which is aged in foudre (2/3) and tank.
As Allen Meadows wrote in 2014 in Burghound "I have said this before, but I will say it again: no one makes better wine in the Mâconnais than Barraud. There are a few domaines that produce wines that are sometimes just as good, ... but none of them surpasses the quality he consistently produces. If you aren’t familiar with the wines, you owe it to yourself and your pocketbook to check them out." (www.Burghound.com).
2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes Les Crays Domaine Daniel Barraud
Pale after the 'La Verchère', quite a shy nose, then great purity. Volume and a supple delicate fresh liquid touch - lemon and ripe yellow citrus lifts it - energy and mineral purity are thePale after the 'La Verchère', quite a shy nose, then great purity. Volume and a supple delicate fresh liquid touch - lemon and ripe yellow citrus lifts it - energy and mineral purity are the keynotes. Immensely long. Drinking range: 2021 - 2028L&S(Nov 2018)
2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes En Buland Domaine Daniel Barraud
En Buland is like La Roche with a touch of la Verchère, and then more than either of them. Big and bold on the palate after a shy and retiring nose. Savoury, saline and voluminously ripe too. IntenseEn Buland is like La Roche with a touch of la Verchère, and then more than either of them. Big and bold on the palate after a shy and retiring nose. Savoury, saline and voluminously ripe too. Intense all the way through, the most complete of all, and very long. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030L&S(Nov 2018)
Domaine François Lumpp
François Lumpp started as a grower in the family domaine in 1977, but then separated from his brother and set up on his own with four hectares of vines in 1991. He and his wife Isabelle have gradually grown the vineyard to reach nine and a half hectares. They are delighted that they have now been joined by two of their children, Pierre and Anne-Cécile.
François is a passionate viticulturalist and places great emphasis on making the wine in the vineyards, which are farmed with minimum intervention to allow the terroir to express itself fully. In practice this means very careful choice of plant material to give the highest quality results (often at the expense of yield).
2017 has produced a very generous style for both the whites and the reds in Givry making the tasting from barrel extremely enjoyable. The reds are dominated by rich, glossy dark fruit and fresh acidity. It is no surprise that Tim Atkin described Francois Lumpp as the 'the best producer in Givry.' High praise indeed and luckily for us, this has not been reflected in the price - the Lumpp wines still offers great value for money.
2017 GIVRY 1er Cru à Vigne Rouge Domaine François Lumpp
A prominent nose of sweet dark fruit and rich wood (70% new oak). Supple on entry the concentration is impressive. The most massive and the most 'serious' of François' reds, seeming more like aA prominent nose of sweet dark fruit and rich wood (70% new oak). Supple on entry the concentration is impressive. The most massive and the most 'serious' of François' reds, seeming more like a Pommard or Volnay. It is richly smooth, the tannins only appearing towards the end, but the sheer bulk of the wine needs their support. The fruit might not be so crunchy and immediate as the other reds but it is carried home by fresh acidity.L&S(Oct 2018)
2017 GIVRY 1er Cru Clos Jus Domaine François Lumpp
70% new wood. A little more obvious oak on the nose than the Crausot. Good intensity on the palate. The bright, black cherry, sweet, dark fruit is weighty but kept in check by some grippy tannin and70% new wood. A little more obvious oak on the nose than the Crausot. Good intensity on the palate. The bright, black cherry, sweet, dark fruit is weighty but kept in check by some grippy tannin and energetic acidity. The wine has a serious feel to it - slightly leaner. Impressive. Drinking range: 2020 - 2027L&S(Oct 2018)
2017 GIVRY 1er Cru Crausot Domaine François Lumpp
Lovely dark rich fruit - mainly sweet blackberry, with a fresh raspberry topnote. Joyful and hedonistic, smooth and dense. Rolls across the mouth seductively. The tannins take a back seat here. ALovely dark rich fruit - mainly sweet blackberry, with a fresh raspberry topnote. Joyful and hedonistic, smooth and dense. Rolls across the mouth seductively. The tannins take a back seat here. A hint of mineral in the background. Lovely length in which the fruit flavours all roll around each other. Drinking range: 2021 - 2028L&S(Oct 2018)
Domaine J. Confuron Cotetidot
Vignerons since the seventeenth century, the Confuron family has always selected and propagated vines to ensure that their plant material produces the highest quality, and they even have a clone of Pinot named after them - 'Pinot Confuron'.
The domaine has several Grands Cru vineyards as well as two hectares of the great Vosne Romanée Premier Cru 'Les Suchots'. There are around 12 hectares in all. The vines have never seen chemical weedkillers, and are ploughed and managed organically.
The Confurons have always used whole-bunch fermentation, picking very late, which really is a necessity if the stems are to be properly ripe and not give green flavours to the wine. A bit like the Thévenets with their whites in the Maconnais, they pick so much later that they can seem to have different vintages to everyone else. Yves thinks that 2007 was their great vintage of the first decade of this millennium, and he'd probably be the only grower in the Cote de Nuits who would say that. Yves also makes the wines at Domaine de Courcel in Pommard, in the same way.
Yves, opinionated and laconical as ever, dismisses those who make pale wines by 'infusion' and says that failing to get the whole bunches properly ripe - and using all the bunch - is failing to get everything the terroir can offer. The wines he makes are dark, richly concentrated, and often hard to taste in their development, but experience shows that they age brilliantly. At the dinner after our 7th January tasting this year, we had a bottle of the 1996 'village' Chambolle, still hanging on and gloriously scented, While a 2006 and 2007 Grand Clos des Épenots from de Courcel showed two brilliantly realised wines in the style of their respective vintages that are just hitting their stride.
2017 VOSNE ROMANÉE 1er Cru Suchots Domaine J. Confuron Cotetidot
This is heady stuff. The seductive dark fruit builds and builds. There is tremendous concentration and richness on the palate. The tannins are enveloping at this point but it's the perfect frame forThis is heady stuff. The seductive dark fruit builds and builds. There is tremendous concentration and richness on the palate. The tannins are enveloping at this point but it's the perfect frame for all that ripeness. This will doubtless need quite a bit of time in bottle but it shows tremendous promise. A magnificent wine in the making. Drinking range: 2028 - 2040L&S(Jan 2019)
Domaine FaiveleyThe Faiveley family are the largest vineyard owners in Burgundy, owning around 120ha, spread across the Côtes de Nuits, Beaune and Chalonnaise and encompassing everything from generic Bourgogne up to the grandest of Grand Crus. Their holdings supply the grapes for 5 out of every 6 bottles made by Faiveley, the balance being bought in from carefully selected contract growers. At the top end these wines are right up there with the best and in 2017 these are luxurious, showy and give unadulterated pleasure. As with so many producers this year each wine really has a sense of place and knows its spot on the pecking order. Some real delights here for drinkers.
2017 GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1er Cru Cazetiers Domaine Faiveley
Good attack, More drive than the Lavaux St Jacques and this is nicely loaded with plum and cherry fruit. The core has a good ripeness - but there is an edge of more crisp pep, which adds a usefulGood attack, More drive than the Lavaux St Jacques and this is nicely loaded with plum and cherry fruit. The core has a good ripeness - but there is an edge of more crisp pep, which adds a useful lift. It has a nice juicy flow and purity of fruit, but there is an immediate pleasure here. The fruit is already so inviting it seems this is ready to go, a real pleasure to taste. It will be interesting to see how this evolves but it would seem this should be delicious drinking over the next 3-5 years while we wait for the 2015's and 2016s to mature. Drinking range: 2019 - 2024L&S(Nov 2018)
Domaine Christophe Perrot-MinotChristophe is now the fourth generation of his family producing wine on the estate after his great grandfather Amédée Merme devoted himself to the management and production of wine over 130 years ago. The estate has gone from strength to strength – always keeping the highest standards. Integrated viticulture has been practiced for many years now which has been adapted especially for the terroir. No herbicide or chemical fertilizer is used, instead, Christophe prefers to “stand back and listen to this terroir, only intervening when necessary or when the weather requires it, never systematically.” We still await the offer on allocations from Christophe, so please form an orderly queue - i.e. send requests and we will deal with them once we know what we have. This is one of the star domaines of the whole of Burgundy.
2017 NUITS SAINT GEORGES Vignes Centenaires 1er Cru La Richemone Domaine Christophe Perrot-Minot
‘Vignes Centenaires’ this was known as the Cuvée Ultra until 2011. (But to avoid any confusion Christophe keeps the word Ultra on the back label). Wow. Straight out of the blocks this is like a‘Vignes Centenaires’ this was known as the Cuvée Ultra until 2011. (But to avoid any confusion Christophe keeps the word Ultra on the back label). Wow. Straight out of the blocks this is like a masterclass. Perfectly chiselled fruit. Black crisp berries and softer red fruit notes race across the palate. Lovely breadth. Effortlessly broad and sweeping but so light on its toes. The feel is aerial somehow, yet intense. Full of tension, the balance between ripeness and freshness. Between weight and lift. Really pretty juice, but finishes with more intent. More serious bite from the soft tannins and the lovely acidity. Really very wonderful. Drinking range: 2022 - 2029L&S(Nov 2018)