Volnay and its high limestone content sit in rare company with Chambolle-Musigny as one of Burgundy's most ethereal and delicate examples of Pinot Noir. Looking at the duo of D'Angerville and De Montille we're at the apex of what's proven possible here over many decades. While there may be no Grand Crus in the village, savvy collectors know these top Premier Crus transform and go the long haul as well as nearly anything from the Côte de Nuits.
Pronounced structure and tightly-coiled mineral tension make D'Angerville and De Montille perfect domaines to stash in the cellar, yet each has a more open-knit style than has been standard in the past. Today's list covers 2016 through 1985.
D'Angerville's protocol on excluding punchdowns and relying solely on pumpovers for fermentation give these wines a plush and soft-fruited personality that meshes brilliantly with the chalky terroir of Volnay. This combo brings enough slight austerity to make these both delicious and supremely thought-provoking.
De Montille has always been associated with whole cluster ferments, and, in turn, that elevated exotic spice component and stemmy crunch had made these famous for their fortress-like persona of the Hubert de Montille era. As son Etienne has taken over, these past decades have been moving to round their structure out a bit and provide an earlier drinking window. The style here is not a huge shift from one generation to the next as much as it is simply keen on allowing wines to offer more joy and expression in the early-going.
The red Burgundies of Domaine de Montille still stand among the great wines of terroir from both the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. They were once famed for their sturdiness and unwavering authenticity of place that perfectly mirrored its vigneron, Hubert de Montille who revived his family's vineyards in 1947. Hubert passed away in 2014 at the age of 84, fittingly with a glass of 1999 Rugiens in hand. Today, that iconic cuvée now bears his name. Son, Etienne, has long since been responsible for the reds, and while they are as soulful as ever they have found ways to become much more accessible in youth.
Today, I'm very happy to offer the 2016 release from Domaine de Montille, along with a nice collection of back-vintage wines stretching through 1985.
Whereas whole cluster fermentation was often the calling card of this domaine (50-100% always), there has been a slow decrease for some cuvées in this regard. Now 30% whole cluster ferments are common for many wines, with Taillepieds seeing 100%, Malconsorts and Mitans seeing 66%. Maceration time has also been reduced over the last several vintages, from 20 days now to about 17 days. A move to pick earlier to preserve acidity has also been put in place to combat rising temperatures.
New oak is relatively modest here given the top tier vineyards in play - cuvées like Malconsorts and Rugiens see 60% and 40%, respectively.
Personally, over the last few vintages I've seen the wines show a brightness and fresher personality. No doubt my reading on this derives from the common saline tone on the finish that's a lovely counter to the sweet brown spices and ripe red and black primary fruits on the mid palate.
The great news is we have a first look today at Pierre Yves Colin-Morey's long-anticipated 2016 release of his Puligy, Chassagne, and Meursault cuvées - all now in stock. 2016 also marks the first-ever PYCM Pinot Noir releases from Vosne Romanée and Nuits Saint Georges' 1er Cru Boudots, which borders Vosne Romanée's 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts. The not-so-great news is that the small yields I was warned about when I visited with Pierre Yves in June 2016 is just as bad as we feared. This year's allocation is the smallest to date for me, but quality could not be higher.
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* Balanced order requests including the new Pinot Noir releases are very much appreciated.
Visiting with Pierre Yves in July 2016 I got the sense the vintage was finally on course after a strange and difficult start. December through February was reported to be the warmest winter in over a century. March was cooler than normal, and the proceeding months saw damp conditions met with a disastrous frost on the morning of April 27th. As the frost set in, intense morning sunshine rose as a magnifying glass on these fragile, ice-covered buds. The result was literally explosive, as these small buds were wiped out in one morning. This is a large factor to why yields are smaller, and some bottlings (Mugneret-Gibourg Feusselottes) won't be produced at all in 2016.
But, as we've discussed, the summer months dictated the quality of 2016, which is very high and favors expression of minerality over plump ripeness. In the end, we have whites and reds built upon energy and precision - 2010 was mentioned as a comparison by several winemaker friends after barrel-downs of 2016 concluded.
The whites are set more in the citrus camp than in stone fruit territory. They're certainly mineral-driven in style, but as Pierre Yves noted, they're riper than both 2004 and 2007.They show finesse and upfront drinkability seen from the 2011 whites, but are closer in style to 2010 (from the best producers) due to their greater concentration.
The reds match the profile of the 2010 vintage even more so than the whites. There's a brilliant balance between ripeness and acidity. The easy generalization is to see the 2015 and 2016 reds much like we view the 2009 and 2010's. The 2009/2015 duo saw darker fruit, big ripeness, whereas the 2010/2016 pair is all about brightness and more red-fruited intensity with that supported framing acidity, one which I personally prefer!
Additionally, the allocation of Caroline Morey's 2016's are being offered here today only for our mailing list.
I've been waiting a long time for this offer. In 2016 I had the pleasure of visiting with Amélie Berthaut at her family's small domaine in Fixin. To date, it was one of the most memorable visits I've ever had. Or course the wines tasted were an integral part of that, but it also marked a rare moment where I understood the obscurity of this vigneron was going to change at a pace like I've never witnessed before. Indeed, today's very small allocation of her 2016 vintage is proof of that.
A few weeks ago in Los Angeles I tasted through all of Amélie's 2016's in bottle with her importer. Coming off the heels of her fantastic 2015's, truly, I was not prepared for just how thrilling the 2016's would show.
Today, I'm happy to offer a very limited allocation of the 2016 Berthaut-Gerbet wines. Covered are humble appellations like Hautes Côte de Nuits through monumental vineyards such as Grand Cru Clos Vougeot, and her 1900-planted Vosne Romanée Les Suchots.
The elephant in the room today is the small quantities available. That's why I implore you to strongly consider going deep on the one wine with good availability, with possibly more coming this week: the 2016 Fixin Les Crais. The 2015 rendition was hands down the Burgundy highlight from customer responses last year. The 2016 personifies Amélie's unique strength in balancing sweet, forward fruit, with grace and underlying mineral tension.
Fixin is Pinot Noir territory, and much like the wines from Gevrey Chambertin we see a dark and powerful expression from these rocky, marl-dominant soils. Les Crais is a 1.38 hectare lieu-dit with vines planted as far back as 1946 on extremely rocky and well-drained soils.
Carved into stone at the domaine are the words, Ien faire vax miev que dir, “Doing right is better than talk.” Amélie proved again in 2016 her soft spoken nature and serious commitment to viticulture informs everything that's come to realization in bottle. This lineup is not to be missed.
Last June's visit in Burgundy gave the opportunity to taste with some of the most storied domaines, getting intimate with the 2014's in bottle and the 2015's in barrel. What I had not expected was to be introduced to a brand new vigneron. But, one afternoon in Morey Saint Denis after sharing some 1993 Clos de la Roche at Chez Dujac I made my way across the street to the new home (and domaine) of Yann Charlopin-Tissier.
Tissier's background is one surrounded by legendary figures. His father, Philippe, was a student of Henri Jayer as he started his own domaine in 1978. Yann worked closely with his father starting in 2004, and then with another mentor, Jean-Marie Fourrier, before launching his own domaine.
In April we offered the impressive 2014 whites from Yann, and today we turn to his 2015 Vosne Romanée. Of all Yann's reds from this concentrated and full-throttle vintage, the Vosne Romanée was the WOW wine at Sunday's full lineup tasting. Not surprisingly, the velvety tannins and exotic spices that this village is so revered for were in full focus. The source is 50-year-old vines from the lieu-dit vineyard "Les Ormes", situated down slope from Grand Crus, Richebourg and Romanée Saint Vivant.
This is arguably the most expensive neighborhood on earth, with adjacent vineyards producing wines that fetch thousands of dollars per bottle. The pedigree of the terroir demands a skilled and thoughtful vigneron to coax out the most. Yann is the first to tell you that great wine is made in the vineyard, and likely that'll be where you'll find him from dawn to sunset. (His boots and courtyard littered with mud identifies this fact long before he does). His style, like that of Fourrier, is all about suave, satin-like mouthfeel, deeply rich fruit, and a relentless finish thanks to these older vines and the dramatic lower yields.
There's been a lot of clamor on the 2015 reds in Burgundy. Tasting out of barrel, and now bottle, it's clear the concentration behind these wines is unlike anything we've seen in some time. I will not follow the course of some, exclaiming this as far superior to classic vintages like 2013 and 2014 that offer brilliant transparency for terroir.However, I will say that these 2015's have a immediacy and flamboyant deliciousness that is undeniable, with structure to go the long haul.
I returned to this bottle over and over again on Sunday, and with air it became nearly impossible to put down. Vosne Romanée from this terroir and class is not easy to come by, and certainly not at this price point in 2015.
2015 Charlopin-Tissier Vosne Romanée
$79 per bott