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Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 1er Cru Les Puillets 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Red Cote de Beaune over £15) at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2016 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Chateau de Santenay Les Puilllets 1er Cru 2014 - August 2016 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The eight hectare 'Les Puillets' vineyard is located on the south-south west facing hillslide slopes in the appellation of Mercurey. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The soils here are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey power and a beautiful structure.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new, before bottling.

100% Pinot Noir.

A medium colour. The nose is focused on woody notes and kirsch. Full and rich, the palate shows red cherry and redcurrant flavours with mouthwatering freshness and pleasant tannins on the finish. Though drinking well now, it will reward some time in the cellar.

ABV = 13.0%.

£25.75

Domaine Catherine & Dominique Derain Mercurey Rouge, La Plante Chassey 2013 (1x75cl)

Catherine & Dominique Derain are biodynamic producers in Burgundy with vines in a number of different Burgundian appellations. Dominique Derain started his career making wine barrels but decided, instead, to study wine making in Beaune where he met Catherine, his wife. In 1988 he and Catherine purchased 5.5 hectares of vineyards in Saint Aubin just south of Beaune and began tending the vines biodynamically and making their wines in a very non-interventionist way.

The Derains always adopt a minimalist approach. They farm biodynamically, hand harvest, do not chaptalize or acidify and use the barest amount of sulphur in their winemaking approach. All the fruit is hand-picked and they destem 90% of their red grapes before fermentation, which occurs in wooden vats. After fermentation the wine is aged in old oak casks for 12-18 months. The couple never use SO2 during the winemaking process, adding only a small amount at bottling for stabilization.

Their thrilling Mercurey from old biodynamically-tended vines (100 years old) reaches an altogether different level. It is a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Beurrot (related to the Pinot Gris).

There is a silky nature to this Mercurey giving it a supple mouthfeel and a detailed range of raspberry and cherry fruit with a touch of pomegranate. It has lovely spice notes and touch of lavender on the nose. Striking elegance, complexity and length.

ABV = 12.0%.

£37.85

Domaine Joblot 'l'Empreinte' Rouge, Givry 1er Cru 2016 (1x75cl)

A complex Burgundy showing expressive aromas of violets with chunky plum fruit on the palate and a long finish, full of finesse. 

One of the greatest producers in Southern Burgundy, the Joblot family has been producing fine wines for over four generations. They own 14 hectares of vineyard in four red and two white Premier Cru areas in Givry and lay great emphasis on vineyard management with small yields. Their total production is 6,000 cases per annum. The wines are vinified with a high proportion of new barriques resulting in powerful but elegant wines of top class quality. These sought-after wines have limited availability.

2016 was a vintage which benefited from a mild spring, providing optimal conditions for flowering. Unlike other areas in France, the vintage was not hampered by any episodes of hail or frost. The summer was characterised by hot days and cool temperatures at night, encouraging a full maturation of the berries and resulting in a classic Burgundy vintage. Harvest took place mid-September.

L’Empreinte means ‘Footprint’ in French and this cuvée is the result of the best parcels of Domaine Joblot’s four 1er Cru vineyards: Clos Maroles, Clos Du Cellier Aux Moines , Bois Chevaux and clos de la Servoisine, in the Burgundian appellation of Givry. The soils are all limestone, except in clos du Cellier Aux Moines where brown clay components can be found. The soils are lightly harrowed rather than ploughed to avoid soil erosion. The vines are pruned to the single cane Guyot method and are planted at a density of 8,000 per hectare; they are low-yielding, producing small, concentrated flavoursome berries. The vineyards are cultivated according to a philosophy of minimum intervention, in order to retain the essence of the terroir.

Juliette Joblot aims for an early harvest in order to retain the freshness and acidity in the grapes; each vintage it takes place before the autumn equinox. The grapes were harvested in three tonne bins, pressed in a horizontal press and racked. Fermentation took place at controlled temperatures with an automatic and gentle pigeage (punching down) twice daily. A very slow, cool extraction lasted for two weeks before the wine was transferred to Allier oak barrels (50% new) for 12 months, where slow malolactic fermentation took place. Following a minimal intervention approach, the wine did not undergo further racking, minimal sulphur was added during vinification and the blend was lightly fined prior to bottling.

Pinot Noir 100%.

A very expressive nose with pure, ripe red and black fruit aromas which lead to a silky, smooth palate with velvety tannins, great length and aromatic persistence.

ABV = 13.5%.

£30.25

Domaine Lucien Boillot Gevrey-Chambertin 2017 (1x75cl)

Pierre Boillot is a rare master of both the Côtes de Beaune and the Côtes de Nuits–not only does he have the vineyards but also the savoir-faire and skill. Pierre inherited this domaine from his father Lucien, whose name it still carries. Pierre worked together with his brother Louis for years, but a few years ago they parted ways and split up the family holdings. Pierre’s talent has become much more evident as he has had full control over this domaine, and in addition to retaining the original cellars in Gevrey-Chambertin, Pierre has instituted a rigorous revitalizing of the soils and vines in all of his vineyards. Pierre inherited very old vines from his father in the Côtes de Nuits and from his great-grandfather Henri Boillot, who was originally from Volnay, in the Côtes de Beaune.

Many of his vineyards are under-appreciated treasures: Volnay Les Angles, which was originally classified as one of the top premier cru sites in Volnay in the 19th century, Pommard Croix Noires right below Rugiens, Gevrey Cherbaudes right next to Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru and Gevrey Corbeaux right next to MazisChambertin Grand Cru. Every wine is a classic representation of its appellation–from Volnay and Pommard to Gevrey and Nuits-Saint-Georges, as Pierre’s work in the cellars is geared towards transparent, terroir-driven wines of purity and finesse. He is not, however, against a rich, plump, lusciousness in his reds.

This wine is medium to full-bodied, exceptionally complex with aromas of bacon, black cherries, liquorice, pencil lead, raspberry jam, a smokiness and dry toast. On the palate one can find a balanced acidity, integrated oak, modest tannins and cocoa powder, coffee, mushroom, peat moss, plum flavours jam, smoky.

ABV = 13.5%.

£40.25

Domaine Maillard Pere Et Fils Aloxe-Corton 2015 (1x75cl)

Domaine Maillard was founded in 1952 by Daniel Maillard, whose family have been viticulturists in Burgundy since 1766. Domaine Maillard now covers 19 hectares. His two sons, Alain and Pascal ensure the future of the estate and continue to respect the culture of the vineyard.

This Aloxe-Corton is drawn from vines averaging 40 years in age. Grapes are picked by hand to ensure that only the best grapes are used. Fermentation lasts some 12 to 15 days with 1-2 punch-downs per day. It is aged for 18 months in 228-litre French oak barrels (Burgundian pièces), of which some 25% are new. It is then bottled after only a light filtration to preserve the full integrity of the wine.

100% Pinot Noir.

An opulent and ripe, red wine with flavours of strawberry fruit. Wonderfully expressive and powerful in the mouth it finishes with soft silky tannins and an animal richness so typical of Pinot Noir.

Only 4,000 bottles made each year!

ABV = 13.0%.

£32.80

Domaine Maillard Pere Et Fils Aloxe-Corton 2016 (1x75cl)

Domaine Maillard was founded in 1952 by Daniel Maillard, whose family have been viticulturists in Burgundy since 1766. Domaine Maillard now covers 19 hectares. His two sons, Alain and Pascal ensure the future of the estate and continue to respect the culture of the vineyard.

This Aloxe-Corton is drawn from vines averaging 40 years in age. Grapes are picked by hand to ensure that only the best grapes are used. Fermentation lasts some 12 to 15 days with 1-2 punch-downs per day. It is aged for 18 months in 228-litre French oak barrels (Burgundian pièces), of which some 25% are new. It is then bottled after only a light filtration to preserve the full integrity of the wine.

100% Pinot Noir.

An opulent and ripe, red wine with flavours of strawberry fruit. Wonderfully expressive and powerful in the mouth it finishes with soft silky tannins and an animal richness so typical of Pinot Noir.

Only 4,000 bottles made each year!

ABV = 13.0%.

£33.90

Domaine Pierre Naigeon, Marsannay 2015 (1x75cl)

Pierre Naigeon is a leading and renowned producer in the Côtes de Nuits. The Naigeon family has been established in Gevrey-Chambertin for over 150 years. They acquired some vines and started to produce wine in 1890. The estate remained reasonably small until 2003 when Pierre purchased more land increasing their holdings to 11.5 hectares. Pierre Naigeon believes passionately in sustainable farming, without the use of herbicides. He believes in non-interventionist winemaking and aims to produce wines full of fragrance, revealing the natural terroir. The average age of his vines is remarkably high, mostly over 50 years, which endows the wines with an extraordinary quality, maturity and concentration.

The 2015 warm summer saw early flowering, with rapid development. Ripening was slowed due to hot July temperatures, but rain at the end of the month eased drought pressures. A cooler August allowed ripening to advance. Fine weather during the harvest resulted in superb quality fruit with excellent phenolic ripeness. Vineyard Marsannay is the northernmost appellation in the Côtes de Nuits, neighbouring Fixin. It is the only appellation to have AOC status for the production of red, white and rosé wine. The vineyard has an eastern orientation and is situated at 255 to 390 metres above sea level. The vielles vignes/or old vines are 45 years old and have developed deep root systems, nourished by complex layers of soil. The soils are diverse, predominantly clay and limestone, with white pockets of limestone and red, iron-rich soils. Pierre believes in respecting the terroir; he ensures the yields are kept low and follows organic and biodynamic principles, taking into consideration the cycles of the moon and the sun.

Vinified in a gravity-fed winery, this cuvée was made with the minimal amount of intervention. The perfectly ripe and healthy grapes were hand-harvested, with every bunch being delicately picked into small bins. The grapes underwent a meticulous manual sorting, before the whole bunches were gently pulled into the fermenters without the use of a pump. Fermentation started naturally with a cold soak, using indigenous yeasts from the vineyard. During fermentation, several pigeages (cap submersions) took place. Skin contact maceration followed, lasting for a couple of days, before the wine was racked by gravity into barrels. Matured for 12 months in French oak barrels in the 17th-Century cellar, the wine was not fined or filtered prior to bottling, to preserve its natural qualities.

Pinot Noir 100%.

A fresh and well flavoured red Burgundy showing plump and fleshy raspberry fruit combined with notes of sloes through to a fine, long finish. Accessible, and showing plump and fleshy red fruits with notes of violets. 

ABV = 13.5%.

£29.45

Jean-Claude Boisset Clos De La Roche Grand Cru 2012 (1x75cl)

Jean-Claude Boisset was radically transformed with the arrival in 2002 of viniculteur Grégory Patriat, one of the best viticulturalists/winemakers of his generation in Burgundy. Grégory had spent the previous three years working in the vineyards at Domaine Leroy and still spends a great deal of his time in the vineyards, paying his growers by the hectare in order to ensure low yields. He also prefers to work with organic growers, as he finds they produce better fruit. Unlike other Burgundian négociants, Grégory specialises in making wines from 'lieu-dits' or tiny plots of vines, something which accounts for the limited production of most of his wines.

Clos de la Roche is a highly regarded Grand Cru of 16 hectares in Morey-Saint-Denis, which sits between Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. 'La Roche' is a Grand Cru which takes its name from a rock used in Celtic times for rituals. This Cru produces Morey's most robust wines. This wine was made from old vines which were managed intensively and organically: low yields were achieved through careful pruning, debudding, cluster thinning and little or no use of fertiliser. The hard brown pebbly limestone soil makes a very firm wine with longevity.

The Côte de Nuits was severely affected by the hail storms and wet weather that characterised the late spring and early summer of 2012. With poor flowering conditions, there was low fruit set which resulted in reduced yields. Nevertheless, great care of the remaining grapes ensured excellent quality at harvest.

The grapes were carefully handpicked into 20 kilogram ventilated crates. They were sorted once at the vineyard and then again at the winery. The grapes were entirely destemmed (but not crushed) and transferred by gravity into tanks. Maceration lasted for three weeks, with occasional punching down of the cap. The wine was aged in oak barrels for sixteen to eighteen months, of which 50% were new.

100% Pinot Noir.

The nose is complex with black fruit, spice, roast coffee and a very elegant and delicate touch of oak from the ageing in barrel. On the palate, the wine is powerful and long with an elegant finish.

ABV = 12.5%.

£156.00
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