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Brian's Burgundy Tastings


Some years ago I promised myself I would never again buy unfinished Burgundy after disappointments over the years having barrel tasted wines, and later after bottling, had found the wines to be not what the cask sample had promised. Nevertheless here I was on my way to, what is for a week in January in London, “Burgundy madness” with an army of growers converging on the capital, some almost magically appearing at least to me, to be in more than one place at once. Many of the wines were just bottled, some cask samples, some suffering bottle shock and some just plain going through an awkward period, but such was the interest in the vintage and more importantly such was the low yield that it appeared the only way not to miss out on procuring some of what I believed to be some of the purest expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the many villages in the Cote D ‘Or I have tasted for some time, was to sign up, drop in and taste out the many offerings on hand.

After numerous years dealing with Burgundy business in the US, there is nothing quite like the London En Primeur tastings Stateside with which to compare, so it was about time for me to delve into what was a truly British experience as some of the tastings were in some of the most iconic buildings in the capital.

So what of overall impressions, well no doubt it was an ideal opportunity to taste so many wines together in such a short period of time at some impressive venues. The sample wines themselves were sometimes a mixed bag and I will certainly withhold final judgment on some and give benefit of the doubt to some others purely based on the unfinished sample at hand, and will taste again possibly at Les Grand’s Jours de Bourgogne in Burgundy this March or sometime further down the road. It was overall though a very impressive account of a classic Burgundy vintage filled with wines that carry “a sense of place” giving the villages themselves identity that can be sometimes lost in the name of bigger and bolder is better, and will be long lived with a certain purity and elegance rarely seen at so many address. What first struck me was the sometimes ugly ducklings Pommard and Beaune, in particular Saving Les Beaune really stood out with an elegance that is not always associated with these villages.  Nuits St Georges could also fall into this category and for me Gevrey Chambertin was also a stand out. Not that there were not great wines from usual suspects in Vosne Romanee, Chambolle Musigny etc. but the masculine side of the Pinot Noir wines were a lot more appealing and more refined than usual and most certainly a different animal than the highly touted previous vintage in 2009, which saw a rich ripe character in many wines. The 2010 whites were also what I would again call more classic in style than their 2009 counterparts with good acid structure and plenty of verve. The 2010 reds have a certain weightless appeal in so much as they were often deceptively light in appearance but big on flavour and long on the finish. The producers that will be making their way into my cellar in no particular order are Fourrier from Gevrey, the villages VV bottling I had to re taste just to confirm to myself this was just, well, a village wine, and I must also add a very affordable Bourgogne Blanc.  From Nuits St Georges Gouges offerings again at the lower end of the scale very impressive for what they were and all the way up  to the Les St Georges, Morey St Denis Clos des Lambrays also hit a home run in 2010, Pommards from de Montille Pezerolles and d’Angerville Combe-Dessus stood out with Savigny Les Beaune wines for  Bize, Chandon des Briailles amongst others from this village that really showed Burgundy can still be affordable and in a vintage such as this, dare I say a bargain. What of other affordable Burgundy, I would suggest you could do a lot worse than go with the Aubert Villaine  Mercurey Les Montots  if you can find it and also from Chablis the wines of Vincent Dampt, someone I had met some years ago when he was just starting out at his father Daniel’s Domaine who I had represented in California for some years, like father like son as his wines had a perfect saline freshness and precision I would always find in Daniels wines.  Puligny Montrachet’s Jean Marc Boillot wines on show at, at least, two venues were a special effort worth taking time to search out and the whites as special as ever from Hubert Lamy in St Aubin. Speaking with Sylvian Cathiard from Vosne Romanee, a Domaine I first visited in the mid nineties when I represented an importer from San Francisco, he confirmed that this would be his last vintage at the helm and his son Sebastien would be taking over and as always his wines were amongst the best from the village. So what’s not to like, well yields were down and in some instances 40% down from 2009, so if you think getting a hold of some of the more sought after wines was difficult in the past it will be near impossible in many instances as volumes are small and prices will be higher to reflect this as growers need to balance costs with a lot less wine than normal. Securing even small amounts of certain wines will be a challenge but well worth your time searching out even at the prices as this really is a year for the purists and if you like your Burgundy as I do to be as such then it will all be well worth the effort.






2009 Barrel tasting in the new cellar at Jadot in Beaune.

First up was Savigny Les Beaune Aux Guettes Premier Cru, a little sauvage with bright Pinot red fruit nuances, medium weight and fresh bright finish, but not the way to start off as Dominique pointed out.

Next up, Savigny Les Beaune La Dominode Premier Cru,

Much more approachable and more indicative of the 09 vintage with a rich full entry leading to medium weight in the middle palate and finishing with a long dark fruit character.

Santenay Clos de Malte

More spices and pepper here with a fine integrated bright tannin content, nice Pinot character, an altogether more classic style of Burgundy.

Pernand Vergellesses Clos de la Croix de Pierre,

Just above Ile des Vergelesses, another classic style young vine Pinot with enough muscle and structure to carry it thru a bright red cherry finish.

Pommard Grand Epenots

Rich full entry and rather unpommard like in style but nevertheless plenty dark fruit nuances with some integrated noticeable oak.

Beaune Boucherottes

Beautifully balanced medium weight Beaune wine, lots of ripe red fruit character with an impeccable finesse and showing really well, could be the pick of the day so far.

Beaune Clos des Couchereaux

Another very well balanced Beaune wine with more structure than above but has bright red berry fruit aromas and medium finish.

Beaune Clos des Ursules Premier Cru

As always the Ursules has that appealing rich full flavor, very well delineated fruit and spices with a long finish right up there with the Boucherottes.

Nuits St Georges Les Boudots Premier Cru

Situated on what is sometimes called the right side of the village as it is very close to Vosne Romanee, good rich dark fruit flavour with some well integrated tannin,  a combination of the 09 vintage concentration and the more feminine side of Nuits, hitting some high points today.

Volnay Clos des Chenes Premier Cru

Back to Cote Beaune, my fault, as Dominique generously asked me if I wanted to taste anything specific.

Very much a forward medium bodied style of Chenes with some deep dark fruit, nuances of spices and very drinkable today.

Volnay Clos de la Barre

A different animal here being a more structured style of Pinot, some excellent fruit character with some unresolved tannin, but plenty to like here.

Chambolle Musigny Les Fuees Premier Cru

Immediately appealing, the finesse of Chambolle shines thru, impeccably balanced with excellent precision of weight and power, definitely has that wow factor.

Chambolle Musigny Les Baudes Premier Cru

More spices than above and with more subtle masculine nuances and very bright cherry like finish.

Gevrey Chambertin Estournelles Premier Cru

Bold Pinot fruit flavours with some nicely balanced tannin content, medium weight with some dark fruit aromas.

Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques Premier Cru

Excellent integrated  fresh fruit flavours and tannin, really has loads of Gevrey character and excels with a well rounded structure and very long finish.

Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses Premier Cru

Excellent, subtle, rich and exotic at the same time, weightless and loaded with multi faceted aromas and flavours, in a word fantastic.

Musigny Grand Cru

Extraordinary complexity and character, loaded with bags of rich red and dark fruit nuances, and as deeply satisfying as a red Burgundy can get with a finish that reverberates around your palate long after you have finished it.







 Daniel Barraud tasting at the Domaine in Vergisson ,October 14 /2010.


A quiet Thursday in Vergisson, with numerous tractors rolling around the village roads and the buzz of a new harvest in the air, I stopped in to Domaine Daniel Barraud to taste with his son Julien as Daniel was busy elsewhere.


2009 Julien Barraud Macon-Chaintre “Les Pierres Folies”

Made by Julien and labeled under his name,

Good round rich peach flavours, nicely balanced in harmony with mineral notes, and a fresh fruit finish.


2009 Julien Barraud St Veran “En Creches”

Made by Julien and labeled under his name.

Julien tells me these grapes are from the neighbouring village of Davaye.

White apple blossom aromas and fresh fruit flavours with limestone and citrus notes that have a surprisingly good freshness for the vintage.

Made in 300 litre barrels with 15% new oak.


2008 Domaine Daniel Barraud Pouilly Fuisse “En France”

Mostly clay with some limestone in vineyards from around the village church.

A step up in flavour intensity and structure lead to a medium bodied wine with mineral, lime aromas and quite a long fruit finish. An excellent example of villages Pouilly Fuisse.


2008 Domaine Daniel Barraud Pouilly-Fuisse “La Verchere Vieilles Vignes”

From 55yr old vines in Vergisson.

Fresh rich citrus aromas and flavours, well balanced with minerality lead to an intense mid palate mouth feel with a long lasting finish.


2008 Domaine Daniel Barraud Pouilly-Fuisse “Les Crays”

30% new oak.

Excellent structure and depth of lemony fruit with citric nuances lead to an intense concentrated wine of power and elegance that makes you feel you are in the presence of true greatness in the Macon appellation.


2008 Domaine Daniel Barraud Pouilly Fuisse “En Bulland Vieilles Vignes”

76 year old vines under Solutre.

Big but balanced with harmonious citrus fruit flavours and mid palate intensity that is seamless  and a finish that goes on forever. A truly exceptional wine of class and elegance.




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