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.
There have been a fair number of ‘ifs’ about the 2019 Bordeaux En Primeur. The first and perhaps biggest was the ‘if it would happen’. With most of the world in various states of lockdown, Primeur week cancelled and critics unable to taste, the situation in April looked pretty bleak.
Wednesday was quite a day as we headed to the Rothschild family’s English home, Waddesdon Manor, for an impressive Rothschild double header – the 5 wines from the Lafite Rothschilds and 5 wines from the Mouton Rothschilds. It was a strange feeling – very reminiscent of our usual primeur pilgrimage to the great Châeaux of Bordeaux.
2015 Brunello di Montalcino - A Tuscan Triumph As each week passes, it’s hard to avoid the hype and noise around 2015 Brunello. There have been some really good vintages in the last few years like 2007 and 2010, but there is a strong feeling that 2015 trumps them all – and from our early tastings it is easy to understand the excitement.
The Whites The whites, produced from a welcome large harvest, are good to very good, a vintage which will be welcome in the market as much for the volume as for the quality. The grapes were in perfect condition at the harvest and it was possible to press hard and long.
2018 was a very hot vintage – the growing season only beaten by 2003 for overall heat. However the wines are very different from 2003, for even where they are ripe there is much more freshness than one could have dreamed possible.
On Wednesday we published our immediate thoughts on the wines of the Right Bank (see 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur: Right Bank Roundup). Here are our first impressions from the other side of the river and a list of wines we felt were outstanding within their quality level or commune.