Côte de Nuits PART 2

While it all ended well enough, it was not all plain sailing in the Côte de Nuits. The wet winter followed by a mild damp spring did give problems with mildew, especially to growers working organically – as Yves Confuron said, losses of crop at this stage, and again from the heat at the end, means that yields can be quite low – and the concentration in Yves' own wines is all part of this. Like in the Côte de Beaune, trying to decide when to pick to have optimum phenolic ripeness meant having to accept high potential alcohols, but the inclusion of ripe, properly lignified stems has given back an elegance that might having otherwise been missing on some terroirs.

There are great long-lived wines, and there are wines that will be forward and flattering if drunk quite young, but most do have substantial concentration and tannins which, while very ripe and emollient, will help the wines to age.


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Domaine Henri Boillot

A domaine which dates back to 1885, but which began properly in the early years of the 20th century under the current Henri's grandfather (also Henri). His son, Jean, was the one who really developed it. Henri arrived in 1975 and worked his way up, becoming the winemaker. In 2000 he began the building of the new winery at the bottom of Meursault, and he then bought out his brother and sister to keep the domaine as one, renaming it from 'Domaine Jean Boillot' to 'Domaine Henri Boillot' to avoid confusion with his brother Jean-Marc's domaine.

After six years working alongside his father, Guillaume is the 'chef de culture', i.e. heads up the vineyard team, and has been entirely responsible for the vinification of the reds since 2012. Henri continues to make the whites which he likes to be 'straight, taut, precise, pure and elegant'. Guillaume's input has resulted in red wines that have gained in definition and energy, without losing the luxurious velvety richness and fruit depth that they have always had. From 2018 he expanded his use of vinification intégrale in which the reds are vinified in the barrels they will be aged in - the cellar being equipped with 140 barrels with stainless steel doors in the ends, all made of wood they bought for the purpose, which has been dried for three years. Labour-intensive and time-consuming though it is, Guillaume clearly believes it is the way to more precision in the wines, and the difference is noticeable.

The Domaine has roughly equal surfaces of red and white, and of which just under 4ha is the Monopole vineyard of Clos de la Mouchère, a walled enclave within the premier Cru Puligny Perrières. After the 2018 acquisition of small parcels in Latricières and Échezeaux, the Boillots bought the vineyards of Domaine Henri Darnat early in 2019, and so there are several wines that are new to the list this year, including a new monopole Clos in Meursault, the Clos Richemont, part of 1er Cru les Cras.

2019 CLOS VOUGEOT Grand Cru Henri Boillot

2019 CLOS VOUGEOT Grand Cru Henri Boillot

Deep colour and this really is rather fabulous. A depth to the fruit and some quite feral tannins building. Not ever aggressive, but very present. Red and black fruit in a tug-of-war, fresh and pure,Deep colour and this really is rather fabulous. A depth to the fruit and some quite feral tannins building. Not ever aggressive, but very present. Red and black fruit in a tug-of-war, fresh and pure, and there's even more intensity on the finish. Drinking range: 2028 - 2040L&S(Oct 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2019 ÉCHEZEAUX Grand Cru Domaine Henri Boillot

2019 ÉCHEZEAUX Grand Cru Domaine Henri Boillot

Rich mid purple, more delicacy to the nose. This has a purer deep red cherry fruit, more even across the palate, possible lacking in lacy detail, but very promising nonetheless. Enough tannins toRich mid purple, more delicacy to the nose. This has a purer deep red cherry fruit, more even across the palate, possible lacking in lacy detail, but very promising nonetheless. Enough tannins to balance the rich style of fruit Orveaux. I think it may be the weight of fruit, which is covering up the detail, which will subsequently emerge. Tasted: October 2020 **** Rating: 93-96 Jasper Morris - Inside Burgundy (Oct 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 3

In Bond

2019 BONNES MARES Grand Cru Henri Boillot

2019 BONNES MARES Grand Cru Henri Boillot

'Altogether on another register - all in delicacy' says Guillaume, and indeed that's it. So fresh, so delicate in its light touch on the palate - you'd say soft, but it's still direct, pure. Very'Altogether on another register - all in delicacy' says Guillaume, and indeed that's it. So fresh, so delicate in its light touch on the palate - you'd say soft, but it's still direct, pure. Very hard not to swallow as the gourmandise of the blackcurrant and blackberry unfurl in the mouth and gain in interest and sheer deliciousness, propelled by perfect acid balance. Drinking range: 2028 - 2040L&S(Nov 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 3

In Bond

2019 CHAMBERTIN CLOS DE BÈZE Grand Cru Domaine Henri Boillot

2019 CHAMBERTIN CLOS DE BÈZE Grand Cru Domaine Henri Boillot

Brooding and dramatic, Boillot's 2019 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru unwinds in the glass with aromas of rose petals, Indian spices, rich berry fruit, plums and loamy soil. Full-bodied, layeredBrooding and dramatic, Boillot's 2019 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru unwinds in the glass with aromas of rose petals, Indian spices, rich berry fruit, plums and loamy soil. Full-bodied, layered and enveloping, it's textural and concentrated, with succulent acids, ripe tannins and a long, sapid finish. Drinking range: 2027 - 2057 Rating: 95 William Kelley, The Wine Advocate(Jan 2021)

75cl bottles, wood case of 3

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2019 LE CHAMBERTIN Grand Cru Henri Boillot

2019 LE CHAMBERTIN Grand Cru Henri Boillot

Hugely rich mid purple, very sensual, arguably more harmonious even than the Clos de Bèze. Guillaume thinks that using a slightly lighter chauffe (toasting) of the barrel is in play here. ThisHugely rich mid purple, very sensual, arguably more harmonious even than the Clos de Bèze. Guillaume thinks that using a slightly lighter chauffe (toasting) of the barrel is in play here. This Chambertin is a thing of beauty all the way through, still very youthful and quite oaky, but a Chambertin to be proud of. Tasted: October 2020 **** Rating: 95-98 Jasper Morris - Inside Burgundy (Oct 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 3

In Bond

Domaine Anne Gros

Anne Gros joined her father François at the family domaine in Vosne Romanée in 1988, having given up her arts studies in favour of viticulture and oenology at Beaune and Dijon, she took charge of the domaine in 1995 and has been joined now by 2 of her children Julie since 2015 and Paul since 2017. The Domaine now has 7 hectares of Pinot and Chardonnay. Anne describes herself as being 'wary of certainties and keen to preserve her freedom'.

In the vineyards Anne practises viticulture influenced by organic and biodynamic principles, and the vineyards are ploughed and fertilised with compost, but although she believes that the long-term health of the vineyards are best preserved by such methods, she likes to maintain the freedom to use conventional treatments when necessary.

In the cellar, the wines are classically made, in cement tanks for the reds, and stainless steel for the whites. They are then aged in barrel for up to fifteen months, with 80% new wood for the grand crus, 50% for the village wines and 30% for the regional wines. Anne is quietly meticulous and almost obsessive about cleanliness in her cellar, which perhaps is reflected in the delicacy and restrained tension in her wines, which have aromatic clarity, limpid precision, sheer joie de vivre, lively balance and persistence.

A smaller crop than in 2018 means allocations will be difficult.

Thibault Liger-Belair Successeurs

The lack of the word 'domaine' in the name signals that this is a négociant wine from Thibault Liger-Belair. Thibault buys the grapes he picks having tended the vines with his own team, so that the wines are domaine wines in all but name.

Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair

The steady progression of this domaine has been fascinating to watch as Thibault gradually refines his approach to each parcel of vines with the help of cellar-master Eric. Viticulture is biodynamic (since 2005), yields low but not ludicrously low, everything is pragmatic, so that he should be doing just what is necessary and no more. He uses 40-50% new wood maximum, with wood chosen and aged by him, and barrels made with almost no toasting.

The wines are bright, pure, focused, aromatic and elegant without lacking anything in the way of stuffing. The range of wines produced from rented vines or from bought grapes, sold under the separate 'Thibault Liger-Belair Successeurs' label, seems to grow with each vintage and the new cellar which Thibault moved to in 2016 is already stacked in the aisles. To each parcel the team brings great experience and there is a coherence across the range, so that the whole enterprise can be regarded as one. The result in 2019 is more impressive than ever, with fantastic wines through the whole depth of the range.

Domaine-Thibault-Liger-Belair

Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg

Sisters Marie-Christine and Marie Andrée have been firmly in control of this exceptional domaine since their mother Jacqueline retired in 2009. With one a pharmacist and the other an oenologist, the domaine was always going to be in safe hands as far as the wine-making was concerned. In 2017 Marie-Christine 's daughter Lucie joined the domaine, and in 2019 the sisters celebrated their 30th vintage - and Marion and Fanny, daughters of Marie-Andrée also joined the team.

These are top-flight Burgundies with that elusive balance of enough concentration allied with delicacy of expression and the capability of ageing well.

At our tasting this year Marie-Andrée said that they were beginning to become resigned to yields never getting over 30hl.ha again if the summers are to remain so hot. As it is they are allowing the fermentations to reach 38C rather than a limit around 36C, so that the wines finish their sugars. Since 2016 they have put a small amount of whole bunches in some of the cuvées, more as a way to have sufficient volume in the vats than because they like the effect.

Domaine-Georges-Mugneret-Gibourg

Domaine Christophe Perrot-Minot

Christophe 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.' This is one of the star domaines of the whole of Burgundy.

Christophe described 2019 as 'very sunny, with lots of drought - very small quantities and lots of concentration through evaporation'. This has meant concentrated wines with some high alcohols, but he picked early and the highest he has is in the Clos de Bèze which he picked at 13.7%. He remarked that there were lots of dried berries which had to be removed at the sorting.

Domaine-Christophe-Perrot-Minot

Domaine Dugat-Py

Domaine Dugat-Py's wines are far from shy and retiring, but they do require patience to show their best. Old vines, tiny yields, viticulture with minute and constant attention, all lead to a magnificent concentration and purity in the raw material. Without extracting harsh tannins, Loïc (who despite his youthful good-looks, has overseen the wine-making since 2012) gets an astonishing density into the wines, and they take on the high percentage of new oak quite casually. Nevertheless, Loïc has reduced the amount of new wood (The village wines get 50% max., while the Premiers Crus and Grands Crus get up to 75%.) and the more recent vintages have shown great elegance and sophistication as well as the concentrated depth of their old vines.

Exciting news here, in that the domaine has taken over part of what used to be Domaine Newman. Sadly someone else got the Grands Crus, but Loïc is delighted with what they have - all old vines, giving them a barrel of village Beaune, 6 barrels of Clos des Avaux, 2.5 of Beaune Grèves, 9 of Monthélie and 6 in Pommard Vaumuriens (above Rugiens). They increased the size of their picking team to sixty in 2019, in order to get the harvest in more quickly. In these recent hot vintages sugars go up and acids down so quick they need to be picking 2-3 hectares a day. They started amongst the first on the 9th September, picking Charmes and Mazoyères ('lovely maturity at 13% and ph 3.1 - 3.2' Loïc tells us), and finishing with the Corton Charlemagne on the 17th.