Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Fourrier 'spritz'

I've read lots about the Fourrier CO2 'spritz' but seldom experienced the frustration first hand. He makes great wines but if you didn't know otherwise you'd be forgiven for thinking they were average and poorly made. Fourrier himself suggests putting your thumb over the bottle and turning upside down a couple of times to release the CO2. Where does the CO2 come from? Fourrier doesn't rack his wines (move from one container to another), which would allow the CO2 - a by product of fermentation - to escape into the air. Indeed, the CO2 plays the same role as sulphur, which winemakers add to protect their wines from oxidation. The alternative remedy to shaking the bottle is to let the CO2 disappear with age as the wine matures. Nonetheless, if you can afford and obtain Fourrier's wines, once you've made it past the 'spritz', they sing with a purity of fruit, made possible by the CO2 protection. 

Morey St-Denis, Clos Solon, Domaine Fourrier, 2009

Beautiful deep beetroot and translucent ruby red core. Upon opening the nose was intense and captivating. However, after initial opening the nose disappeared, only to reappear 3 hours later with the rest of the wine. The palette is sheer silk in a glass with sublime balance. Some liquorice and spice initially and then black cherry and oak with a medium finish. Took a lot of time and shaking to lose the CO2 'prickle', which was finally gone (typically) by the last glass. A very good wine, but didn't live up to my admittedly high expectations. 4* 6/ 10

Monday, 17 March 2014

Of bishops and knights: Clos du Vignon

Sticking with the vineyard series, this time Clos du Vignon in the Hautes Côtes de Nuits. The locals of Marey-lès-Fussey have made wine from the vineyard (see photo above) since the twelfth century. The current owner, Domaine Thévenot Le Brun, make both a red and a white wine from the seven hectare Clos du Vignon. The Chardonnay is planted on the south-east slope while the Pinot is on the steepest slope, oriented a little more to the south. The bottle has the following sentimental quotation on its label...

"Et son vin dont les ceps unissaient leurs murmures, aux cloches des Couvents, aux frissons des armures, fut le vin des Prélats et des preux Chevalliers."

Which roughly translates as: "And its wine whose grapes joined their rustling to the bells of the convents, to the thrill of the suits of armour, made the wine of bishops and brave knights."

Whether the wine still evokes convent bells and suits of armour remains to be seen. Having just bought three bottles, I shall report in due course...

Friday, 14 March 2014

Diamond in the rough: Au Clos Bardot

Officially Côtes de Nuits Villages, the villages of Comblanchien and Corgoloin are not well known. Nonetheless, I have found them to be a consistent source of good quality, decent value wine. In his iBook, Inside Burgundy: Côte de NuitsJasper Morris remarks...

“Comblanchien... could be described as the marble village: here the vine has to take second place to the quarrying. The vineyards lie on both sides of the main road running the full length of the commune, finishing up against the premier cru Nuits-St-Georges Clos de la Maréchale at the northern end. To get a feel for the underlying hard limestone, it is worth taking the dusty road out of the southern end of the village up towards Villers-la-Faye for a look at the quarries which appear shortly on the left. Au Clos Bardot (0.67ha) [is] situated just below the D973 as you move from Corgoloin into Comblanchien, with a little sign in the vineyard to identify it.”

And now for a wine from Au Clos Bardot...

Bourgogne Clos Bardot, Domaine de Bellene, 2010

From vines planted in 1936! Beautiful colour with bright translucent crimson core. Wow, big and really complex nose. Lots going on: black cherries, cloves... I just don't have the adjectives to do this justice! Light with sweet tannins and vanilla core. Crunchy red currant fruit with sous-bois (just like fruits of the forest yoghurt) and an imaculate backbone of sweet strawberries balanced with just enough (balsamic?) acidity and oak. Medium but unpronounced finish. This is a really great little wine that punches well above its weight and, £11 per bottle duty paid, is great value too. This is the best wine I have drunk year to date. 2* 9/ 10

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Call of the search!

Sometimes you find a wine you like so much, you think "call off the search" because there is no point searching for anything better. This is one of those wines.

Saint-Veran, Les Chailloux, Domaine des Deux Roches, 2008

Bright and golden, showing some age. Big bouquet of ripe fruit and very Meursault. Lovely balance of tropical fruit, oak and acidity, with a rich but not overly cloying palette. Another layer of apricot stones? Long and vibrant finish. If tasted blind you'd be forgiven for thinking this was something much more expensive from Meursault! 2.5* 8/ 10

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Vintage advice from Burgundy

Berry Bros's boots on the ground in Burgundy,  Jasper Morris MW, recommends which vintages to drink and keep... 

Drink (red): 2001 & 2007

Drink (white): anything pre 2009 (except 2005)

Keep (red): 1999, 2002 and 2003 can be drunk now but will improve; 2006 and 2008 for a year or two; leave 2005 for a while

Keep (white): 2010 and 2011 can be drunk now but will improve; keep 2005 and 2009 for a while

Usual caveats regarding generalisations apply.