The Tasting Panel magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 116

STEVEN SPURRIER’S LETTER FROM LONDON 2009 Maconnais and Beaujolais A REPORT ON THE “VINTAGE OF A LIFETIME” PHOTO: DECANTER du Vin in Villefranche-sur-Saône, Georges Duboeuf’s magnificent creation that can rival any wine museum in the world with the stun- ning collection of artefacts and the dedication to explaining this historic and under-valued region. Wine lovers who miss out on the exceptional 2009s, described by Duboeuf him- self as “the vintage of a lifetime,” will only have themselves to blame. They are brilliant now and the best will last a decade or more. Even the conservative Hugh Johnson described them to me as “wicked.” After a delicious pre- primeur 2010, Franck Duboeuf took us through a tasting of 20 wines, comparing 2009 to the excellent 2005s and the “solar vintage” 2003s, my top wines being Moulin-à-Vent Carquelins 2009, Moulin-à-Vent Clos du Moulin-à-Vent 2005 and Juliénas Prestige 2003. The following day we concentrated on whites, going first to Domaine Barraud at Vergisson, whose immaculately-tended high-elevation vineyards produce wines with a lasting mineral elegance epitomised for me by Mâcon-Vergisson La Roche, Saint-Véran En Crèches and the superb Pouilly-Fuissé Les Crays. Then a tasting and lunch at the well- known Château Fuissé, whose Les Combettes, Les Brulées and Le Clos are likely to be the first vineyards in the appellation to be classified premier cru. Dinner in Mâcon was hosted by Les Artisans du Blanc, an association of 19 domaines (including those of Anne-Claude Leflaive and Dominique Lafon) who wish to stress the importance of terroir and of natural winemaking. With 70% of the Mâconnais wines coming from the Caves-Cooperatives, good though they are, here is true, passionate individuality. Not a dull wine in the range, my choice being Domaines Guillot-Broux, Dominique Cornin, Nicolas Maillet and Château des Rontets. T The next three days were almost entirely red and mostly devoted to seven of the 15 mem- bers of “Expressions d’Origine,” who represent 22 / the tasting panel / december 2010 his October, I headed up a wine tour under the title Master Class in Southern Burgundy. First stop was L’Hameau the depth and breadth of quality across the ten crus. Domaine Paul Janin’s south-facing 10 hectares in Moulin-à-Vent have the oldest vines in the appellation, the Le Clos du Tremblay dating from the 1930s, with the 90-year-old “vieilles vignes” 2009 showing extraordinary depth. On to the Louis Jadot owned Château des Jacques, where Guillaume de Castelnau describes his Clos des Grands Carquelins as “the most feminine of all Moulin-à-Vents,” inspiring a note of “an almost perfect wine” and 19.5/20 from me. At lunch the white Clos de Loyse 2000 and Moulin-à-Vents 1997 and 1976 showed how well these wines can age. A quick stop at Château de Poncié, Fleurie’s largest estate at over 50 hectares—recently purchased by champenois Joseph Henriot to complete his Burgundian trio of William Fèvre in Chablis and Bouchard Père et Fils in Beaune, and re-christened Villa Ponciaga, apparently its name under the Roman occupa- tion—showed encouraging work in progress as both the vineyard and the cellars need much attention. The afternoon ended with a Morgon “tour de force” at Domaine Piron, where Dominique Piron had invited his neighbour Jean-Marc Burgaud to join us. Both their Côte de Py bottlings were superb and are destined for my cellar. The fourth day saw us tasting magnificent Juliénas with Vincent Audras at Clos de Haute Combe, before moving to Château Thivin for the writer Colette’s favourite Côte de Brouilly, and then on to Boisset-owned Château de Pierreaux, the second biggest estate in Brouilly and another that shows positive Burgundian influence. Our final visit was to the appel- lation’s largest estate, the historical Château de la Chaize with its 100-metre-long barrel cellar and wines of supreme elegance. The last morning was in southern Beaujolais, at Domaine des Terres d’Orées, where Jean- Paul Brun continues to impress with his vibrant whites and vigourous local reds, while his Fleurie Grille Midi from 70-year-old vines vies with the very best from the north. A fabulous five days.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - December2010