When someone around you decides to change for the better, it’s usually a lovely thing to watch. Maybe they start eating more healthily, correct an annoying trait or start doing charity work. Even if you really liked them before, the idea of them becoming even more lovely is always a positive thing.
We had a brilliant, quite intimate conversation with Basile Tesseron of Lafon Rochet as we tasted together his fabulous 2020 release over the airwaves. This is a special year for him and the estate as they celebrate 60 years since his grandfather bought it.
The 2020 vintage is beginning to reach us, with the first major sample arriving yesterday. These blog entries will keep track of my thoughts on the samples that I am able to taste, along with a few comments regarding the market and what pricing might be considered favourable.
The short answer is, from a first hand perspective, not a lot. Written reports compare the weather to that of 2016, 2018 and 2019 – mild and wet in the spring, which followed through to a hot, dry summer and an even more clement picking season.
[caption id="attachment_33074" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Côte Rôtie vineyards are planted on very steep slopes that have to be manually harvested.(Image from Domaine Duclaux)[/caption] There is a lot of excitement around the imminent release of our Rhône 2019 EP campaign, from customers and L&S staff alike, and for good reason.
It does it for me. I’m seduced by the exotic charm of Viognier, thrilled by its seductive appeal and constantly in awe of its many guises.
I look at wine prices constantly. Partly, because it’s my living, but it also goes far, far beyond that – I’m one of those people who can’t stand getting over-charged for anything, whether it’s a holiday, a new coat or in this instance, a case of wine.
I am a particular lover of White Burgundy and like all discerning fanatics, covet the wines of Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, however I find it increasingly difficult to find good village level whites under £50. It is when I start to look further afield that I find the most excitement.
A common mis-conception about the naming of the Côte-d’Or in Burgundy, is that it relates to slopes of gold (some vineyards are definitely worth more than their weight in gold nowadays). In fact it takes its name from the direction in which the slopes face, which is east, towards the Orient.
Domaine François Raquillet It’s a winding back road through the vineyards to get to Domaine Raquillet and I more than once tested the brakes on Charles’ car (he’s promised not to sue for the whiplash, but we’ll see).
Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau Our second day began with a longer journey, from our digs in Beaune (which we had settled into the night before after driving down from Chablis) straight south to Pouilly-Fuissé. In the tiny commune of Pierreclos, we drew up to a maze of buildings and were greeted, then ushered down some steps to the tiny cave of Frantz Chagnoleau.
We've touched down in Burgundy and have an intense, covid-safe programme of visits that will see us covering the length and breadth of Burgundy starting from Chablis in the north – to the south in the Mâconnais and not missing anything out in between! An early start for Day 1, after our 10 hour journey from London - the following day, is something easily met when you know that your day will be packed full of Chablis tasting - helped even more by the first Domaine being just down the road.