Stephen Tanzer and Burgundy 2012 Reds – the highlights

by Andrew Hooper
2012 Burgundy en Primeur

Stephen Tanzer is the respected author of the well-followed wine review site International Wine Cellar and his thoughts are widely quoted, not least by LEA & SANDEMAN. Quoted as “exceptionally informative” by none other than Robert Parker and “thoroughly reliable” by our own Jancis Robinson MW, his views on the wines of the 2012 Burgundy vintage are required reading.

Unless otherwise stated, prices quoted are the In Bond price for 12 bottles – please refer to the website offer for terms of the offer.

Stephen tasted the wines here with Henri Boillot’s son Guillaume, who has taken over responsibility for making red wines at the domaine, and detected a shift in style away from dense dark wines to a more refined character.

Henri and Guillaume Boillot

2012 VOLNAY 1er Cru Fremiets Domaine Henri Boillot     £621
Good bright, dark red. Dark berries, spices, sexy minerality and a hint of mocha on the reticent nose. Rich and voluminous, but with lovely lift and a light touch to the subtle raspberry, spice and soil flavors. Finishes very strong and long. All of these Volnays represent crop levels between 14 and 18 hectoliters per hectare in 2012, according to Guillaume Boillot. The Boillots eliminated about 10% of their fruit on their sorting table, and Guillaume noted that this “took a lot of work.”
92-94 points

2012 VOLNAY 1er Cru Chevrets Domaine Henri Boillot     £621
Bright, dark red. Ripe but reserved on the nose, offering very pure scents of currant, spices and minerals. Concentrated, sweet and understated, with lovely lift and subtlety. This was made from tiny, millerande grapes yet impresses more for its delicacy and finesse than for sheer density. Finishes juicy and long, with a firm tannic backbone. Should repay five or six years of cellaring.
91-93 points
a wine described, incidentally, as “undeniably beautiful” by Antonio Galloni

2012 VOLNAY 1er Cru Santenots Domaine Henri Boillot     £690
91-93 points

2012 POMMARD 1er Cru Rugiens Henri Boillot     £732
91-93 points

just one quick diversion into the world of white Burgundy 
2012 PULIGNY MONTRACHET 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère Domaine Henri Boillot     £360 (for 6 bottles)
Bright medium yellow.  White peach, flint, clove and musky pepper on the complex nose.  Hugely rich and supple, with saline minerality accentuating the impression of density.  Has the texture of a solid and finishes with outstanding spicy lift and length.  Classy juice for all its size.
93-95 points
“Chardonnay on stilettos” Richard Hemming,

“The 2012s are large wines but elegant, like a better version of 2009”
Claude de Nicolay, quoted by Stephen Tanzer

Claude de Nicolaÿ at Chandon de Briailles

2012 CORTON BRESSANDES Grand Cru Domaine Chandon de Briailles     £318 (for 6 bottles)
Palish cherry-red. Aromas of strawberry, crushed stone and underbrush are accented by exotic spices. Juicy, tight and penetrating; on the lean side today but precise and minerally. More a wine of finish than the Marechaudes, which is more impressive on entry. Crushed stone and salty mineral notes on the long, subtle back end.
92-94 points

2012 CORTON CLOS DU ROI Grand Cru Domaine Chandon de Briailles     £420 (for 6 bottles)
Good bright red. Redcurrant, red cherry, rose petal and clove on the nose and palate. Rounder, creamier and sweeter in the mouth than the Bressandes, showing more obvious oakiness and rather Corton Charlemagne-like notes of white pepper and white truffle. Hasn’t quite the grip or energy of the Bressandes but this is longer and riper.
92-94 points

2012 PERNAND VERGELESSES 1er Cru Île de Vergelesses Domaine Chandon de Briailles     £297
90-92 points

2012 SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE 1er Cru Lavières Domaine Chandon de Briailles     £231
90-92 points

Among the plaudits and reverential praise afforded to 2012 Burgundy, Stephen Tanzer quotes some blunt, contrary words from Yves Confuron, who makes the wines at Domaine de Courcel.
“too many pretty, light 2012s that don’t deserve their high prices.  Too many wines are from fruit that was picked too early:  you’ll drink them tonight and piss them tomorrow.”
Yves’ Pommards are, you may not be surprised to hear, picked late and have wonderful concentration. This really is one of the very leading Pommard domaines.

2012 POMMARD 1er Cru Grand Clos des Épenots Domaine de Courcel     £357 (for 6 bottles)
Good full red. Liqueur-like ripeness to the aromas of redcurrant, leather and musky underbrush. Lovely Pommard depth and soil tones to the complex flavors of red berries, smoked meat, spices and pepper. Finishes with dusty tannins and a lingering note of licorice. Excellent potential.
91-93 points

Talking of leading Pommard domaines, there is the awesome Comte Armand, whose Pommard most certainly wouldn’t live up to Yves Confuron’s critique of the 2012 vintage!

2012 POMMARD 1er Cru Clos des Épeneaux Domaine Comte Armand     £492 (for 3 magnums)
(I tasted two components, the first from compact bedrock and the second from fractured rock, mostly at the top of the holding, then an approximation of the final blend; there is no longer a young-vines cuvee and no more Pommard 1er Cru bottling as the youngest vines here are now 27 years old; 12 hectoliters per hectare, or one-third of a normal crop): Bright, full red. Sexy, complex nose melds raspberry, redcurrant, iron and a soupcon of chocolate. Hugely rich and mouthfilling, with red fruit flavors complicated by wild herbs and salty minerality and nicely framed by harmonious acidity. In a very ripe style but with plenty of serious tannins for support. Finishes with extraordinary palate-coating solidity.
93-95 points
“one of the best releases I’ve ever tasted from the domaine” said Tim Atkin MW
“shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage” Antonio Galloni
NB because of the low quantities produced, the Comte Armand Pommard is only available in larger formats (Magnums, Jeros and Methusalelah)


Nicolas Rossignol

2012 POMMARD 1er Cru Épenots Domaine Nicolas Rossignol     £774
91-93 points

2012 VOLNAY 1er Cru Santenots Domaine Nicolas Rossignol     £453
Good dark red. Very ripe aromas of cherry, mocha, chocolate and menthol. At once plush and delicate, with a subtle, high-pitched floral character and a rocky element lifting the raspberry and chocolate flavors. With its sound acidity and inner-mouth perfume, this should gain in complexity with bottle age.
91-93 points

2012 VOLNAY 1er Cru Chevrets Domaine Nicolas Rossignol     £564
(from vines planted in 1954): Good red-ruby color. Musky aromas of wild brambly berries and rocky minerality; seems clearly less evolved than the Clos des Angles. Very rich and chewy but with excellent rocky energy and sappiness to the wild berry and licorice flavors. Just a touch of torrefaction here. Finishes tactile and very long, with dusty tannins.
91-93 points
“This is quite a serious Volnay, perhaps a little Pommard-like in style”  Neal Martin

2012 VOLNAY Domaine Nicolas Rossignol     £315
88-91 points

2012 BEAUNE 1er Cru Reversées Domaine Nicolas Rossignol     £285
90-92 points

2012 SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE 1er Cru Fourneaux Domaine Nicolas Rossignol     £285
Good full red.  Deep aroma of raspberry.  Firmly structured, rocky wine with noteworthy density and penetrating acidity to the crushed berry and licorice flavors.  Finishes broad and long.  This rather thick wine will need a good five or six years of cellaring.
90-92 points

A new domaine to us this year so it is gratifying to find that, just as his wines make it on the the LEA & SANDEMAN list, Virgile Lignier found 2012 to be “a great year to express what I want to express in my wines.”

Virgile Lignier

2012 MOREY SAINT DENIS 1er Cru Les Chenevery Domaine Lignier-Michelot     £264 (for 6 bottles)
Bright, full red. Cool aromas of black raspberry, violet and licorice, complicated by game and earth notes. Rich cassis and blueberry flavors show a tight mineral core, along with a saline dusty quality. This very backward wine is less fruity and more muscular than the Faconnieres, finishing with sneaky length and good mineral firmness. Virgile Lignier told me he always saves a few magnums of this wine.
90-93 points

2012 MOREY SAINT DENIS La Rue de Vergy Domaine Christophe Perrot-Minot     £219 (for 6 bottles)
Good bright, dark red.  Aromas of raspberry, redcurrant and crushed stone.  Fat and sweet, but with lovely mineral thrust and energy to the flavors of crushed raspberry and cranberry.  Finishes with suave tannins and excellent length and lift.
90-92 points

Visit our website for our whole 2012 Burgundy offer.