The SOMM Journal

August / September 2016

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Page 51 of 148

{ }  51 That "purity of expression" is the rec- ognisable result of biodynamic viticulture was again shown in the wines from the small Chambolle-Musigny Amiot-Servelle estate and more so across five appella - tions—Morey St Denis 1er Cru, Gevrey- Chambertin 1er Cru Les Combottes, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Malconsorts and the two Grands Crus Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche—from the excellent 2014 vintage that Alec Seysses presented at Domaine Dujac in Morey-Saint-Denis, where whole-cluster vinification, rare in Bourgogne, is the norm. Over lunch at the excellent Castel de Très Girard just up the street, their rare white Morey St Denis 1er Cru Les Monts Luisants matched perfectly the fresh salmon cooked at 38° C. While at Dujac little attention is drawn to biodynamic principles, it is more present at Rossignol- Trapet in Gevrey-Chambertin, where fer - mentation takes place with one-third whole bunches, all wild yeasts and only one racking before bottling, the natural vigour and tex - tural smoothness of their 2013s—Beaune 1er Cru Les Teurons, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chamertin 1er Cru Clos Prieur, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru La Petite-Chapelle and the Grands Crus Latricières-Chambertin and Le Chambertin—being quite astounding. I have been following the Rossignol-Trapet wines since 2002 and the quality from their vineyards, especially in a difficult vintage like 2013, shines through more and more. After a delicious and very cheerful din - ner at Ma Cuisine in the centre of Beaune, my favourite restaurant with an outstand- ing and good-value wine list, the following morning found us at Château de Monthélie, the historic estate of AOC Monthélie above Pommard and Meursault. Here, at the back of the courtyard outside the winery, were two dozen people either side of a long table very cheerfully knocking the manure out of hundreds of cow's horns, in which it had solidified after six months over the winter deep in the Burgundian soil. It is this substance that will be "dynamised" via a 500/1 addition of rain water, spun both clockwise and anti-clockwise to cre - ate a perfect vortex, then sprayed on the vineyards—much better for them than the artificial fertilisers of the '70s and '80s. Once again natural vigour and purity shone out, the 2001 still showing superb flavour, texture and grip. Lunch that day was at La Maison d'Olivier Leflaive, a must-stop for anyone visiting Puligny Montrachet, where for 75 euros a fine lunch is served with a tasting of ten wines from villages to grand cru from the excellent Olivier Leflaive Frères selec - tions. Our afternoon visit was down to Mercurey in the Côte Chalonnaise, the Devillard family having opened a mag- nificent tasting room and restaurant next door to their 19t-century Château de Chamirey to show visitors the high quality of their red and white Mercureys, the whites from the recently acquired Domaine de la Garenne in the Mâconnais and the Premier and Grand Cru reds from their Domaine des Perdrix in Nuits St Georges. After another fine dinner at Beaune's original wine bar, Le Bistro Bourguignon, where the lengthy wine list permitted me to choose three superb wines from biodynamic domaines—a white Rully Les St Jacques 2013 Domaine A&P de Villaine, Savigny-lès-Beaune Aux Grands Liards 2012 Simon Bize et Fils and a marvellous mag - num of Volnay 1er Cru Les Santenots 1999 Domaines de Comtes Lafon—the third day began in Meursault at Domaine Jacques Prieur, where Martin Prieur admitted that their vineyards across the best sites in both the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, had been "completely re-thought" over the last 20 years, and the quality shows in freshness and depth. Then on to Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard in Chassagne-Montrachet, where, after the range of her impressive whites and a lovely Clos Saint Jean red, Caroline L'Estime showed us her first Crémant de Bourgogne, a 2009 entirely from Pinot Noir. That Crémant de Bourgogne is a force to be reckoned with was evident later that evening when for aperitifs before a splen - did dinner at Bouchard Aîné we tasted a "Grands Terroirs" 2007 from Petit Chablis grapes, and a "Tête de Famille" 2002, grapes coming from 1er Cru Beaune Montée Rouge, both full of vitality and complexity. Amongst so many fine visits, the high spot was that afternoon at the Domaine d'Angerville, Volnay's renowned and historic estate, where the walled-in Clos des Ducs monopole vineyard at the top of the village has not changed a metre of its 2.15 hect - ares since its original planting in the 16th century. Guillaume d'Angerville explained that conversion to biodynamism began in 2006 and while he currently vinifies 100% de-stemmed bunches with great precision, he may well experiment with whole clusters "if forced to"! The tasting he had prepared was of his six Volnay Premiers Crus from the 2013 vintage, a late harvest beginning only on October 3. The Clos des Angles had wonderful black fruits, the Fremiet a little smoother with a mineral finish, the Caillerets showed seductive blackcurrant spice and natural richness, the Taillepieds from a cooler, higher site, had fine grip, depth, precision and class, while the Champans was less "tight" with more charm and finally the Clos des Ducs, whose vines averaged 45 years, was both silky yet firm, more floral, even spicy, with great natural energy and "unhurried class." Certainly, while one might open a bottle of Clos des Angles from next year, the Clos des Ducs should be cellared for another decade. This was proved by two lovely wines from the underrated 2000 vintage, a Clos des Angles still young and elegantly vigourous and a Clos des Ducs more rich and earthy with lovely length. To sum up: Bourgogne is kaleidoscopic in character and biodynamism allows it to shine brighter than ever. *Since the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne prefers to refer to the region and its wines as Bourgogne instead of Burgundy, we are following suit here. –Ed.

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