Côte de Beaune

2020 is another extraordinary vintage in the Côte de Beaune in quality terms, but as seems to be the way here the yields are tiny in some places, with the dry summer affecting the reds more than the whites. Pommard, with its deeper clay soils which could in the past be slow to ripen, has done exceptionally well again. The wines are intense and stacked with matter and shape and thankfully also acid. It is the balance that this brings that makes it all work so well.

Nico Rossignol told us last year 'I definitely prefer 2019 to 2018' this year he says 2020 has certainly trumped them both!

Joël Remy also has crafted some beautiful wines from his vineyards across the Côte - some of these are probably his best ever - so be sure not to overlook his compelling collection in 2020.

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Domaine Joël Remy

A family domaine that extends back five generations to 1853, but which Joël has modernised considerably over the past twenty years, installing new fermentation and ageing equipment. Over the years his vinifications have changed, and the wines have a lot more immediacy and precision. The quality of fruit is not in doubt, as lovers of his Bourgogne Rouge from year to year will attest, and a lot of work in the vineyard contributes to this, including leaf-thinning towards the end of the growing season. In the winery he has installed a vibrating sorting table, and the only filtering is by a lens filter at very low pressure to avoid de-naturing the wines. Joël is always in search of freshness in his wines, and now has been working on his bottles too - from 2018 onward he has reduced the internal diameter of the necks of his bottles to get a tighter cork fit, and is only using Diam corks. This development is purely to ensure the maximum freshness is retained. It is not primarily to overcome any problems with cork taint, although that is obviously a bonus.

In 2016 Joël was joined full-time by both his children, Maxime and Manon, which injected a new air of excitement and ambition here, and the 2020s are some of their best wines yet and continue to show the confidence that Joël has brought to the winemaking.

2020 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Pinot Noir Domaine Joël Remy

2020 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Pinot Noir Domaine Joël Remy

Good matter here - lovely density of fruit. Fruit is bright - with a sweet thread of black berry mulch but also a sophisticated more perfumed red and Black Forest fruit note. Really good. Long. OldGood matter here - lovely density of fruit. Fruit is bright - with a sweet thread of black berry mulch but also a sophisticated more perfumed red and Black Forest fruit note. Really good. Long. Old barrels 5-10 years old - all in wood. Really impressive. Gourmand but not simple at all.L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2020 CHOREY LES BEAUNE Les Beaumonts Domaine Joël Remy

2020 CHOREY LES BEAUNE Les Beaumonts Domaine Joël Remy

Bright and perky fruit again. There is real energy here. Fruit is dark and damson like, concentrated - but nicely rich too. Like a black current coulis. Really good - Very delicious Pinot. GourmandeBright and perky fruit again. There is real energy here. Fruit is dark and damson like, concentrated - but nicely rich too. Like a black current coulis. Really good - Very delicious Pinot. Gourmande but still with bounce and push. Very nicely balanced. 20% New wood, but Joel selected barrels so as to not really mark the wine - but to amplify the sweetness of the fruit. Great value for proper Burgundian Pinot.L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2020 SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE Fourneaux Domaine Joël Remy

2020 SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE Fourneaux Domaine Joël Remy

(Fourneaux the name comes from the french word 'Four' - an oven, or hot place - this is a v warm climat) Less sophisticated perhaps than the Chorey but there is still lots to like. So concentrated,(Fourneaux the name comes from the french word 'Four' - an oven, or hot place - this is a v warm climat) Less sophisticated perhaps than the Chorey but there is still lots to like. So concentrated, such tightly packed polished fruit - there is a whiff of eau de vie de cassis - and a thicker crème de mure. Good - but arguably less excitement than the Chorey this year. L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2020 BEAUNE 1er Cru Cent Vignes Domaine Joël Remy

2020 BEAUNE 1er Cru Cent Vignes Domaine Joël Remy

Really attractive. Lovely dark gloss to the fruit. Nicely poised. No nasties at all more concentrated core - but really ripely attractive. Again, gently the tannins build - just keep it well formedReally attractive. Lovely dark gloss to the fruit. Nicely poised. No nasties at all more concentrated core - but really ripely attractive. Again, gently the tannins build - just keep it well formed and mineral undertow pushes it forward.L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2020 BEAUNE 1er Cru Les Avaux Domaine Joël Remy

2020 BEAUNE 1er Cru Les Avaux Domaine Joël Remy

Lots of finesse, nice poise - but dense middle. Stuffed with blue and black fruits, nicely ripe - but with some restraint too - a gentle grip builds. This is no one-trick-pony,Lots of finesse, nice poise - but dense middle. Stuffed with blue and black fruits, nicely ripe - but with some restraint too - a gentle grip builds. This is no one-trick-pony, Drinking range: 2023 - 2028L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2020 ALOXE CORTON Les Combes Domaine Joël Remy

2020 ALOXE CORTON Les Combes Domaine Joël Remy

Nice, Brighter feel after the 'Cent Vignes' - but then builds and tightens - there is more brood and grip. Good and much more serious feel than the two Beaunes from this cellar.Nice, Brighter feel after the 'Cent Vignes' - but then builds and tightens - there is more brood and grip. Good and much more serious feel than the two Beaunes from this cellar.L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2020 POMMARD Vignots Domaine Joël Remy

2020 POMMARD Vignots Domaine Joël Remy

Really Pommard in impact. Broad, bold and gently firm. A great slab of nicely sculpted fruit. Really gourmand - really suave. Excellent. Really crowd-pleasing - but not because it is fat and loose -Really Pommard in impact. Broad, bold and gently firm. A great slab of nicely sculpted fruit. Really gourmand - really suave. Excellent. Really crowd-pleasing - but not because it is fat and loose - but the focus, concentration and charm are at a very high level. Powerfully Pommard, possibly the best Vignots we've tasted from here, and it is always the star!L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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Domaine de la Choupette

The Gutrin brothers' domaine was created when the twins joined forces in 1992 - it's based in the middle of Santenay, with Jean-Christophe in charge of the vines and Philippe in the winery. Perrine Gutrin runs the 'front of house'. They have vineyards in Puligny (three hectares), Chassagne (half a hectare) Maranges (one hectare) and Santenay (seven and a half hectares).

The vineyards are worked traditionally with ploughing rather than chemicals for weed control and to encourage the roots to go deeper. Yields are initially controlled at the pruning and with de-budding, and finally a greeen harvest as necessary. Whites are classically made with élevage in barrel for a year with up to half new wood. The reds are de-stemmed and macerated cold for a week before the three week fermentation at around 28C, then the temperature is allowed to rise to around 33C to stabilise colour and tannins. This gentle vinification is aimed at making fruit-forward wines, which are then aged in barrel for twelve to eighteen months using a mix of new and up to three-year-old barrels.

In 2020 they have made a super selection of bright driven Pulignys and some very satisfying Santenay too. Bold and deeply flavoured Pinot Noir, but with great charm and balance.

Domaine Thomas-Collardot

Jacqueline Collardot and her son Matthieu own and run this exciting 'micro-domaine' in the heart of Puligny-Montrachet. Matthieu completed his studies in 2019 and joined Jacqueline permanently, just in time for the harvest. Now they are working together we look forward to a slightly bigger production - as while she worked alone she was limited to what she could achieve on her own, with excess grapes being sold on.

At only 2.5ha, this is an artisan project, allowing them to give unrivalled time and care to every parcel she has. Jacqueline inherited these vineyards from her father’s Domaine Thomas Pierre in 2010 after he retired and is slowly raising the profile with her incredible care and attention. Although there may not be much quantity - the quality is impeccable. These are classically shaped, bright wines that express their various Puligny terroirs perfectly. She likes a long, slow élevage on the lees, with very little new wood used. Typically the wines spend two winters in the cellar before she then bottles in line with the moon in March.

From 2020 the domaine is now organically certified. This year we learnt about lots of new developments here. They still use their horse to plough the vineyards - but going forward, they are planning on doing this only every two years as they worry the process is a little rough on the soil to be done every season. Huge thought has recently gone into the élevage too. From 2020 onwards they plan to reduce the time in barrel to just 12 months rather than the 18-24 they were doing previously - this coincides with a study they are doing of 5 different coopers to try and ascertain which plots work best with which barrels. The next phase will be to introduce larger barrels of 350l - and to have more new wood in the cellar. It will be fascinating to see how these changes will benefit the wines over the next years.

2020 is a super vintage here, the focus and detail of their work is clear to see and hard to resist - as ever it is simply the small quantities available that is the only downside! Catch these if you can.

Domaine Joseph Colin

Joseph Colin is one of the four children of Marc Colin (the others being Pierre-Yves, Damien and Caroline), who had a large domaine with vines in Saint Aubin, Santenay, Chassagne and Puligny. Pierre-Yves left the family domaine in 2005 and after that Joseph was an important member of the team there. After making a token 1800 or so bottles on his own account in 2016, he started in earnest with 2017, with seven hectares of vines, from which he makes an astonishing nineteen different cuvées.

Most of the vines he has in Saint Aubin are young, but by limiting bunches to six or seven per vine, he manages to control the yields. With plenty of time to learn his craft at Domaine Marc Colin, he has developed into a confident winemaker. He experimented with sulphur levels in the wines at the family domaine, so coming to his current view that the wines should be left the longest time possible without added S02, perhaps adding some at racking, but if he feels there's still enough C02 after racking, he will not even add any at that stage, so as to develop 'wine at its purest', but he is keen to say also that he has no standard recipe - he will adapt to each wine. In 2020 he again used no S02 until just before bottling, but he's clear that if there's some botrytis, for example, he will add it earlier. Generally nothing is either fined or filtered. He is very aware of biodynamics, but says that the tides are more important than just the phase of the moon, and that he places less importance on whether it's a fruit or flower day - for him the important thing is not to manipulate a wine when it's tasting good - you must do it when it's not showing well.

Joseph is a very bright new prospect for lovers of precise, pure white Burgundies with fresh acidity and crystalline definition.

In 2020 Joseph picked from the 15th August and finished by the end of the month. Interestingly he has found two other years when the harvest was this early - in 1552 and 1556! He says that the date of the harvest is critical to the shape of the wine, and that after that the important thing is to do as little a possible.

Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot

The origins of the Pillot family in Chassagne can be traced back to the eighteenth century, when they seem to have been coopers more than vignerons. In the nineteenth century they abandoned barrel-making in favour of enlarging the property in Chassagne. Fernand and Laurent, who is the fourth generation, added to it again in 1992, and then in 2001 Laurent's wife Marie-Anne inherited half of her family's property, the Pommard domaine of Pothier-Rieusset, and Laurent and his father bought the other half. The domaine now stands at 14.5 hectares of vines across almost the whole length of the Côte de Beaune from Santenay to Beaune.

The Domaine is worked according to organic principles and is ploughed – no chemical weedkillers are used. They have also been members of the Dephy-ECO-phyto group, which works to reduce the number of treatments using copper sulphate, since 2012.

Laurent has always managed to pack in a lot alongside his running of the vineyard. He has his own plane which he flies to all corners of France, used keep and hunts hawks, and conducts the Chassagne brass band as well as dabbling in Mayoral duties - on top of being a father of three, Anaïs, Adrien and Eugène. They are all mad about the alps and disappear up the mountains at regular intervals.

Laurent's eldest son Adrien has been travelling the world making wine all over the place for the last few years having completed his training in Beaune. Bringing back lessons learnt in Australia, South Africa and California (and from a stint at Lea & Sandeman). During harvest Adrien is now the one in the winery while Laurent takes charge of the picking team. The wines have long been L&S favourites in both red and white - they represent excellent value, and they age very well too, despite being attractive young. The whites are precise and pure, and not lacking for body and generosity, while the reds are velvety and juicy, beautifully balanced even if drunk young on their expressive Pinot fruit. The domaine was rightfully heralded in Decanter Magazine as 'an address that deserves to be better-known'. Great value and real pleasure across their range.

The Pillots 2019 harvest was not that bad in white, they said, down 15%, but the reds are down 30%. In general they are happy with the balance in the wines because it was very hot, but the acidities are still good. We discussed Adrien's wish to do a longer élevage for the whites, but the problem that if you take the wines out of barrel that means keeping them in vats with floating tops, and they are not mad about the practicality of that. For now most are bottled after a year, but the Vide Bourse and Grandes Ruchottes will stay in barrel until the spring. They use little SO2 to begin with, gradually stabilising the levels once the wines are back in tank, and still finishing with low levels. They like ripe grapes: 'there's a kind of fashion to be the first to pick in Burgundy - they want to keep the freshness but all they get is acidity and tannin'. For the reds, they don't do massive extraction - 3 pigeages only in the middle of the fermentation, but they do a lot of pump-overs.

With Adrien in the winery and Laurent orchestrating the picking - 2020 was a swift and early harvest here - all done by the end of August - for the first time in their history. Quantities are down across the board, but Adrien is not too worried - as their losses are minor, particularly in White. Above all they are pleased that the quality is high this year. These are charming, crowd pleasing wines - that will immediately please, for their joyous open-knit fruit - but there is so much matter here that these wines should live well for a good long stretch too.

Domaine Henri Germain

Jean-François Germain was joined in 2018 by his daughter Lucie - who is now helping to run this small (7ha) domaine.

The Chassagne vineyards came through his mother, a Pillot, and Jean-François is married to François Jobard's daughter, so they are quite intertwined with some of our other producers. The Poruzots comes from the rows next to Remi Jobard's. In terms of winemaking the Germains are always happy to let nature take its course, and in the vineyards they follow as natural a system of viticulture as possible (organic, not certified).

These are concentrated, tightly wound wines from one of Burgundy's coldest cellars. Alcoholic fermentations can take months and the malolactics are often late, so they have always gone for long élevage in old barrels, always for two winters, and the Premiers Crus usually for 22 months. Slow to develop, they show wonderful crystalline purity. New wood is used very sparingly, just to replace barrels sold when they get to ten years old.

Jean-François told us that like in 2019 they were well down on an optimal harvest sadly in 2020 - having harvested the reds first and found very little juice - the Whites did come as a happy surprise, as there was actually quite a good amount of juice in the berries. The reds had suffered far more from the drought, producing another 'demi-recolte'. What they have is wonderful though - so another upside to this stellar producer - a fabulous set of wines here in 2020, in both colours.

Domaine Rémi Jobard

Rémi has been making small qualitative changes ever since he took over here. The entire vineyard is cordon-pruned, so yields are naturally limited. There has been no use of fertiliser since 1994, and the vineyard is grassed-over to encourage the vine roots to go deep. The domaine has been certified organic from 2008. He says that the two most important things are the absence of weedkiller (and thus the necessity to plough, which cuts any surface roots and makes the vine go deeper) and not adding any fertiliser which again makes the roots go deeper to find nutrients.

Rémi has two vast presses, to enable him to press very slowly over six hours, and this has resulted in a big jump in finesse. The élevage now lasts nearly fifteen months, so as to allow the wines to develop slowly and to avoid fining. As a result these are wines which take a moment to show, but which reward the patient with complexity and great depth of flavour.

Rémi made a move from traditional barrels to foudres made of a mix of French, Austrian and Slavonian oak, constructed by Austrian cooper Stockinger, and having added a new one (or two) each year, there's barely a normal barrel left. He likes the way the wines develop in these large volumes, in which the 'oaking' effect is minimised.

In 2020, says Rémi, there was a phenomenon of concentration by the lack of water, so that while there are some aromas of a hot vintage, the acidity stayed well. He started picking on the 27th August with a small team, and then the full team got going on the 1st of September. The wines remain citrussy and bright - and very concentrated in every aspect. Alcohols are in the range 13-14%.

We are again very excited about Rémi's two red wines this year, both of which are excellent.

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

With good-sized harvests from 2017 and 2018, it was good to see Nico's cellar full, but the 2019 and 2020 vintages are rather smaller. Still, for now the smile is still in place. Now in its fourth year, he could not be happier with his new winery. A fantastic bespoke build on the outskirts of Beaune, which he recognises is not ideal for the folklore aspect, but it is a perfect tool for the job, and does have a good view of all 'his' bits of the Côte - from the roof.

Nico immediately said that he much prefers his 2020s to either his 2019s or his 2018s. He is about 50% down in terms of juice - and what he has is rich and intense. This is another vintage that pushes him to a more extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to restraint. Nico is very much a winemaker who likes full phenolic maturity, and determines harvest dates by eating grapes from each plot. This gives him the body and density which he likes - these are not weedy wines - at the same time remarking that 'I think the new cellar (this is the fourth vintage in it) has brought greater elegance'. In 2020 that full phenolic ripeness took a while to get to a point, particularly with the skins, where he was happy to harvest. These are wines with no astringency - but great power and intensity. He says - 'if the 2018s were Syrah-like in stature, the 2019s are more Grenache and the 2020s have the structure more akin to Carignan and Mourvèdre.' They are certainly big wines that reflect the vintage and retain that wonderful balancing acidity and fresh tannins - built for a long and promising future.

Nico is keen to let us know in advance that he regards this very much as primeur pricing, and says that once on the 'deliverable' price list will be 30-40% more expensive, so this really is the moment to get stuck in.

Domaine Comte Armand

A domaine totalling nine hectares, of which the most important part is a magnificent five hectare monopole of the Pommard Premier Cru Clos des Epeneaux, which was put together by Nicolas Marey in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (along with the DRC Romanée Saint Vivant 'Marey-Monge'). These vineyards were all sold, except for the Clos (now been enclosed by a wall), which came to Jean-François Armand as a dowry when he married Nicolas' daughter in 1826. The Volnay vineyards were added in 1994, followed by parcels in Auxey Duresses.

The current Comte Armand is a lawyer living in Paris, but very supportive of the régisseurs who have looked after this domaine for the thirty years or so that L&S have been buying here. The 1980 vintage, made by one of the many Rossignols of Volnay who was in charge at the time, was for us a great introduction to the possibilities of the great Clos des Epeneaux vineyard. Then came the era of Pascal Marchand, a young Quebecois who came to do a harvest with Domaine Bruno Clair and just never left. He began a period of radical restructuring and the introduction of organic and then biodynamic farming, while making very dark, dense and long-lived wines. Benjamin Leroux, hugely respected amongst growers who approach things from an organic or biodynamic point of view, then took over, and refined this approach and changed the way the parcels of vines are divided up for harvesting, paying less attention to just the age of the vines, and more to the underlying soil types. Claude Bourguignon was employed to provide a full geological survey of the Clos as the basis for this. Under Benjamin the wines of the Clos gained in finesse and precision, while still having the depth and richness expected of a great Pommard.

Both Pascal and Benjamin were keen to expand beyond the confines of the Clos, and the Domaine also has vines in Volnay, and, a particular enthusiasm of both Pascal and Benjamin, in Auxey Duresses, where they are convinced of the great potential of some of this village's undervalued and neglected terroirs. Paul Zinetti, who had worked with Ben for four years, took over in 2014.

The vineyard is cultivated organically (ECOCERT certified) and biodynamically. The grapes are entirely de-stemmed, but left intact, for a five to eight-day cold maceration before the fermentation, which lasts five to ten days, and then the wine remains in the fermenters for between three and fifteen days, depending on the vintage. In most years, the total time with skin contact will be around four weeks, which is longer than most. The wines will then be aged in barrel for between eighteen and twenty-four months, with new wood limited to 30% for the wine from the old vines of the Clos, down to none at all for the village wines.

Paul said from the outset that he wanted to make a less tannic wine in the Clos, and one which is more about aromatic length. In this he is continuing the route that Ben was following, but perhaps taking it even further.

Once again, all the wines here are a triumph in 2020, with a cleverly highlighted lift and elegance keeping the ripe density of the vintage lithe and poised.

Domaine de Courcel

One of the great domaines of Pommard, with a 400 year history in the same family. The domaine produces a small amount of Bourgogne Chardonnay, a completely over-performing Bourgogne Rouge, a village Pommard (Vaumuriens, 1.44 ha), but the biggest part of the domaine consists of four great Premier Cru expressions of the terroir of Pommard, Fremiers (0.79 ha), Croix Noires (0.58 ha), Grand Clos des Epenots (4.89 ha) and Rugiens (1.07 ha). These represent a very different style to the Clos des Épeneaux of Comte Armand, for example. Yves Confuron, the régisseur, describes the difference between the two top wines by saying that the Grand Clos is 'terreux' while the Rugiens is 'aérien'.

The aim is to limit yields to around 25hl/ha, to attain optimum ripeness. The vines are ploughed, and pruned carefully to suit each one, then de-budded in spring and green-harvested in August to keep the fruit load balanced. Following Yves' usual practice the harvest is late and the vatting is long - usually around a month, with a cold maceration leading into a cool fermentation, and a long post-fermentation soak under the protection of the carbon dioxide given off by the fermentation. The wines are developed in barrel over 21 to 23 months, with a third of the barrels being replaced each year. After racking they are bottled without fining or filtration.

The domaine produces wines with astonishing depth and density that still retain the freshness, just like Yves' own wines at Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot. They are classic vins de garde and patience is advised - and will be amply rewarded.

There's no question that Yves' 2020s will be controversial, and there will be some critics who just won't be able to get their heads round them. Certainly if you are looking for pale ruby wines which 'pinote', this is not where you will find them - nor at Confuron-Cotetidot either. Yves has stuck to waiting for physiological ripeness, and has made, as he describes them 'des vins Baroque'. The 2020s all have extraordinary levels of richness and density, with a surprising freshness brought by the character of the tannins which were not as ripe as a vintage like 2018 or 2019, and which he says would be awful if associated with a 'classic' vintage, but with the 2020s they provide a freshness which the relatively low acidity does not. It's a different kind of balance, and much closer to wines from the Rhone valley both in aroma and structure, so you need to find a different way to understand them. If you do get to taste these wines at this stage, please bear in mind that unlike some growers (including DRC) whose wines are currently (November 2021) being prepared for bottling, all of Yves wines are only at the half-way stage of their élevage, and the finished wines will be in a different place when they are being prepared for bottling after the 2022 harvest. This was amply illustrated by a taste of the 2018 Grand Clos des Epenots 2018, which as predicted is shaping up to be a grandiose wine with extraordinary density and richness, and now aromatically 'in place'. See also all the notes on Domaine Confuron Cotetidot, as all of this applies to both domaines.

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, bringing in a new monopole Clos in Meursault, the Clos Richemont, part of 1er Cru les Cras.

This year the whites have an incredible freshness that usurps the 2019s in terms of energy and drive. Guillaume’s reds – which improve every time we visit – are a triumph in 2020. Bright and pert with tremendous depth too.

Henri Boillot

Henri Boillot complements his domaine wines with a small range of négociant wines of superb quality in very limited quantities. A few of the wines are offered here - an opportunity to buy some of Burgundy's rarest appellations from a top source.

Domaine Chicotot

A 7 hectare domaine in Nuits Saint Georges currently run by Pascale and Clément Chicotot, who describe themselves as 'vignerons...simplement'. They say that only natural methods have been used for several generations and the domaine is certified organic.

Vinification is traditional, the fermentation beginning after 5 to 6 days of cold maceration and lasting around 15 days, with remontage or pigeage as necessary and aged in barrel with a maximum of 25% new wood. SO2 levels are very low. The wines are well-coloured and well-defined and expressive - lots of personality here, with the village wines (which are all on the Vosne side of Nuits) near 1er Cru quality.

The picture shows Clément and Pascale with the graphic design they've used as the label for the old-vine cuvée 'Papillon de Nuys'.

Domaine Faiveley

The 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 own holdings supply the grapes for 5 out of every 6 bottles made by Faiveley, the balance being bought in from carefully selected contract growers.

Faiveley has been more and more impressive in recent years, and the combination of winemaker Jerome Flous and an entirely new winery are taking them onwards and upwards year after year.

In 2020 they had their earliest ever harvest, starting on the 19th of August. This followed a seven week spell where not a single drop of rain fell and a late frost on the first of April. Because of an unfortunately timed cold damp spell on 23rd of March the flowering of the later Pinot was badly affected. It was therefore their Reds that were really hit this year in terms of volume - tragically they have harvested almost just half the yield they got with the Whites.

Domaine Joseph Drouhin

Joseph Drouhin, founded in 1880 and still family owned, are one of the most well-respected names in Burgundy, especially through their flagship wine, the iconic Clos des Mouches.

A huge part of the Drouhin production comes from their own domaine fruit (78 hectares), and much of the rest comes from contracts such as that with the Marquis de Laguiche, who shook hands with the grandfather of the current generation, agreeing to let him manage his vineyards which included an important part of Le Montrachet; this collaboration endures. Today, the fourth generation is at the helm

Small refinements continue to be made here. The presses have been changed - a reversion to basket pressing for the reds, and for whites the presses are open - along with a number of other growers they are following the trend to think that slight oxidation of the juice before fermentation is not a problem and may add complexity as well as avoiding later problems of premature oxidation in bottle.

For the reds there has been the introduction of selective whole-bunch fermentation in the Côte de Nuits wines. The house style remains one that 'emphasises the natural elegance of great Burgundies' as they describe it. The domaine is all cultivated with an organic and biodynamic approach.

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 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.

This is the second vintage with the new (but very old) vines from what used to be Domaine Newman, bought by a French investor and entrusted to Loïc to manage. So Beaune village from the lieu-dit Fougets, as well as Beaune 1er Crus Clos des Avaux and Grèves, Monthélie and Pommard Vaumuriens (above Rugiens) are all in the range again. We also tasted for the first time his Chorey-les-Beaune, from a small parcel of 80-year-old vines which they bought (the first vintage being 2017). They again had a picking team of sixty 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 very early on the 20th August and were finished on the 28th, the earliest harvest ever. Loïc remarked that their very old vines have such deep roots that none of them showed signes of stress from lack of water. "The wines average 13 to 13.5% maximum, with an ideal balance of acidity and ripeness - making for great freshness and purity" was Loïc's take on the vintage "it's a hot vintage with lots of acidity, not the cold acidity of 2016 - we've never had wines with such perfect balance."