Good afternoon good people, it's been more than 2 months since the initial 2015 Burgundy tastings and I have had enough time to mull it over and come up with few thoughts about the vintage.
There was a lot of noise about it in January and phrases like "best ever", "vintage of the century" were thrown about by all and sundry and, in the same breath as, "it is expensive but worth every penny", "you will never be able to buy it again", etc...
Perhaps I have become a real grumpy old man but, that reminded me very much of the euphoria surrounding the top end 2010 Bordeaux and we all should remember that that affair ended up in tears.
We can blame Brexit for currency rates or we can blame lack of wine; we can blame speculators or the Chinese who are, apparently, buying all Burgundy regardless of cost. I am sure that we can even blame Trump if we try hard but, the reality is that the release prices are very high and I have just spent 2 months contemplating how good a deal they really are. As regular readers of these reports of mine are aware, I don't consider my role to be that of a salesman, but of an adviser, and with all the hustle that was going on in January, I just thought that it would have been irresponsible from me to just jump on to the band wagon and shout: BUY, BUY, BUY.
So, here we are, I am happy to say that the quality of the reds is quite high across the board, especially at the village level (Gevery Chambertin seem to be more consistent than other villages) and there were quite a few very decent drops of vino that will provide some serious drinking in years to come. However, I do get quite concerned when village wines are offered at over £400 per case in bond and considered to be good value. Not to mention that a half reasonable 1er cru would set you back £600 or more and I will not even go into Grand Cru prices; not even the sky seems to be the limit these days. Ok, I will agree that some village wines in 2015 are as good as 1er Crus in ordinary vintages, and I will agree that it might not be that easy to find them in 5-6 years time when they start drinking. But, I just have that feeling that I am being bullied into buying the stock that does not look as a good value.
The whites, on the other hand, are attractive, rich, immediately appealing and will drink well till we wait for the 2014 to mature. Again, the reduced production and the weakness of £ makes them quite pricy, but it looks like we will just have to get used to it.
But, if we disregard my feelings of unease about the prices, here are few Domaines and wines that stood out for me as being the best deal out of what I had tasted and dare I say it, worth buying. Ok, I have to confess, I did actually buy a few....
I will be flying to Bordeaux for the annual En primeur tastings but, I will be able to respond to emails and any questions.
Domaine Christian Moreau
One of the great estates of Chablis which produces fine, classic wines and has managed to keep the freshness and elegance even in the hot year such as 2015. His 2015s are richer and bigger than the usual light, flinty style, but will provide fine summer drinking over the next 2 years. Grand Cru Les Clos, on the other hand, is quite extraordinary and will handsomely repay 3-4- years of maturation. Not shy at this money, but better than most Grand crus from 2015 that I have tasted at more than twice the money. I have only 36 bottles so first come first served.
Chablis 2015 - £144.00 per 12 bott under bond
Chablis 2015n 1er Cru - £225.00 per 12 bott under bond
Chablis 2015, Les Clos, Grand Cru - £450.00 per 12 bott under bond (very limited)
Domaine Justin Girardin, Santenay
Ex Jacques Girardin, now under the management of young Justin Girardin (13th generation vigneron) based in Santenay. I have feeling that there is much more to come from young Justin - one to watch. The whites are pure and elegant, Chassagne in style whilst the reds have almost a new world purity whilst retaining classic French backbone.
Bourgogne Chardonnay - £90.00 per 12 bott under bond
Santenay, Les Terrasses de Bievaux (White) - £144.00 per 12 bott under bond
Santenay 1er cru Clos Rousseau (Rouge) - £184.00 per 12 bott under bond
Santenay 1er cru Beauregard (Rouge) - £184.00 per 12 bott under bond
Pommard (Rouge) - £254.00 per 12 bott under bond
This is a new Domaine for us. Catherine and Pierre-Emmanuel run the Estate from their home in Vergisson producing refined precise wines that feel much more as Cotes d'Or than Maconnais. Quintessence comes from old vines of (over 45 y of age ) which gives it power and structure capable of ageing in younger barrels (up to 3 y old). Will be on its best from Autumn 2018 for some 4 years.
Puilly Fuisse, Quintessence - £180.00 per 12 bott under bond
Domaine Saumaize Michelin
Old favourite and reliable, produces Fuisses of great richness and intensity, 2015 are very opulent, produced to give pleasure in the first 2-4 year. Vignes Blanches is slightly fuller in body, almost a Napa in style, whilst Ronchevets has a slightly stronger backbone and would last longer.
Puilluy Fuisse Vignes Blanches - £205.00 per 12 bott under bond
Puilluy Fuisse Ronchevats - £210.00per 12 bott under bond
Domaine Jean Marc Pillot
Another one of my old favourites, makes one of the most reliable Chassagne's out there and still reasonably priced (whatever that means these days in Burgundy). Pleasant surprise in 2015 is his Montagny, where you can get a decent white Burgundy for early drinking in the style of the real thing, but at the reduced price.
Montagny Les Bassets - £150.00 per 12 bott under bond
Chassagne Monttrachet Village - £315.00 per 12 bott under bond
Domaine Philippe Colin
Phillipe is a vigneron first and foremost, and in order to retain freshness in a vintage like 2015 he started harvest on 28th of August, hence his Chassagne is one of the best in the appellation. My top bid for the white wine of the vintage on the village level. Vergers 1er Cru, shows more depth and intensity, will need 2-3 years to start drinking and will go on for another 5-8.
Chassagne-Montrachet - £325.00 per 12 bott in bond
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers - £220.00 per 6 bott in bond
Domaine Daniel Rion
Quite classic family domaine made fine, aromatic 2015's. Vosne is very gentle and elegant with soft summer fruit whilst Nuits could easily be a grand Cru, not shy at this price but, worth it if red Burgundy is your poison. The best I have tasted form this domaine in the last 10 years.
Vosne Romanee Village - £385.00 per 12 bott in bond
Nuits St Georges, 1er Cru Vignes Rondes - £ 445.00 per 12 bott in bond
Herresztin - Mazzini
This is a new find for me and a very fine it is too. Based in Gevery Chambertin, they make number of appellations but, for me, their Gevery's were the top of the tree. Their wines are very pure and refined, with almost new world purity and elegance but with classic Burgundian backbone. Very fine and polished, it felt like you can drink it straight away but, there is serious backbone in the background here - drink for the next 10 - 15 y. Perreire has much more backbone and structure with black berries dominating the show with some decent wood in the background: great balance and structure.
Gevrey Chambertin Viellse Vibnes - £375.00 per 12 bott in bond
Gevrey Chambertin Cru La Perriere - £575.00 per 12 bott in bond
Domaine Bertrand Ambroise
Another old favourite, sadly not made any Ladoix blanc this year due to hail but, I have picked up couple of his reds that really stood out. Nuits is about as classic as it gets; black cherries and focused tannins run the show, so will need 3-4 years to start drinking. Vougeot 1er cru Les Cras is a vineyard next to the famous Grand cru Vougeot, and can easily be called a Grand cru in a Premier cru skin. Bertrand consistently makes better wine here than most of the Vougeot producers. Serious vino which show all the richness of the 2015. Keep till early 2020's and drink for some 10 - 15 y.
Nuits St Georges - £ 320.00 per 12 bott under bond
Vougeot 1er cru Les Cras - £ 525.00 per 12 bott under bond
Domaine Stéphane Magnien
Young Stéphane is my bid for a future star of Burgundy, making modern wines but with great respect for the terroir and structure. I would call his reds the best value of the vintage. Morey is a steal at 125 for 6 bot, refined and light dominated by soft red summer fruit. Chamboles were more precise and focused with more dark fruit on the palate, with VV actually being more intense and powerful, whilst Sentrers has more complexity and finesse - a grand cru level wine and quite a bargain at 245 per 6. We have very small allocation of their Grand Cru Clos St Denis - first come first served.
Morey-St-Denis - £125.00 per 6 bott
Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes- £155.00 per 6 bott in bond
Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Sentiers - £245.00 per 6 bott in bond (magnum available)
Clos St Denis Grand Cru - £ 415.00 per 6 bott in bond
8th generation on the Domaine Romain Taupenot makes wine that really express their terroir, so you need to know your Gevrey from your Vosne. But even if you don't they are quite special. He keeps new oak at less than 50%, so the wines are fruit driven. Tasted his wines in 3 separate tastings and they were always impressive. My favourite were village Gevrey and Morey 1er Cru Riote, but they were all exemplary wines. Actually Corton Rognet feels more like it is one of the Gevrey Grand Crus, so quite a decent value at £450 per 6 bott. Charmes is a proper Grand Cru, it will need some 6-8 years but, top notch vino. Very Limited...first come...
Gevrey-Chambertin - £180.00 per 6 bott under bond
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Bel Air - £370.00 per 6 bott (magnums available) under bond
Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru Riotte - £350.00 per 6 bott under bond
Corton Rognet Grand Cru - £450.00 per 6 bott under bond
Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru - £595.00 per 6 bott (magnums available) under bond
all the best
City Wine Collection
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