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Burgundy

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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

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).

Chateau De Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 - Nov 2018 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 fruit for the Mercurey Rouge comes from Chateau de Santenay's 72 hectares of vines planted across the Mercurey appellation. The soils 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 finesse and 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.

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is dark ruby in colour, it is bright and lifted with excellent concentration. the nose is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit including cherries, and a touch of oak. The palate is full with great structure and an attractive chewy and grainy character. The finish is long and fresh.

ABV = 13.0%.

** See also Chateau de Santenay's excellent Premier Cru Mercurey - the 2014 vintage was rated as a DWWA 2017 Best in Category Wine **

£22.65

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 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

Jaeger-Defaix, Rully Rouge 1er Cru Clos Du Chapitre 2018 (1x75cl)

** TYPICALLY RETAILS AT £29-£30. **

In October 2002, Hélène Jaeger-Defaix took over her first vineyard in Rully 1er cru Mont-Palais white (South Burgundy) from her great-aunt Henriette Niepce. This plot is a part of a wine-farm entirely situated in Rully 1er cru white and red that Hélène was wishing to manage entirely in the future in order to carry on the viticultural tradition of the Niepce family, vinegrowers since the 16th century. Henri Niepce, the great-grandfather of Hélène, is one of the great figures of Rully. He enormously contributed in the 1930s for Rully to obtain the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and then to build its fame.

Located in/on the Côte Chalonnaise, to the south of Côte de Beaune, Rully is an appellation of 330 ha (220 ha white, 110 ha red), of which only 100 ha are classified as Premier/1er crus.

The Clos du Chapitre is a monopole vineyard (ie solely owned by this producer), located on the sub-appellation of Chapitre and entirely closed with a stone wall. This plot of more than 1 hectare is located just behind the family house.

Farming organically, the vines have an average age of at least 35 years. When the hand-picked grapes arrive, the pressing is gentle and slow to extract the best juice. The fermentation lasts between 2 and 3 weeks with daily pumping-over and punching-down of the cap. The wine is aged in oak barrels (50% are new, 50% are 1 to 5 years old) for 15 to 18 months. Moderate batonnage is applied to enhance the elegance of the wine. A very light filtration is made before bottling so a light sediment may deposit. 

Pinot Noir 100%.

Beautiful bright ruby-red colour. Aromas of raspberry, red currant and blackberry. Pretty and refined on the nose. On the palate there is an abundance of red fruit and a touch of spice. The tannin structure is silky creating an elegant Pinot Noir that is supple and fresh.

A lovely match for any beef stews or even with a fleshy fish such as turbot.

ABV = 13.0%. 

£24.00

Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin 2016 (1x75cl)

Founded in 1880 by the then 22-year-old Joseph Drouhin, this famous Burgundy negociant is still family-owned. Of the current (fourth) generation, Veronique Drouhin is the winemaker, Laurent is the brand ambassador in the USA, Philippe is in charge of the vineyards, whilst Frederic “conducts the orchestra”. Maison Joseph Drouhin owns extensive parcels throughout the region and in Chablis extending to 73 hectares, including the world-renowned Clos des Mouches, one of the earliest purchases made by Joseph. From Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche through to Meursault and to Corton Charlemagne in the Côte de Beaune, Echezaux to Clos de Vougeot in the Côte de Nuits, the domaines produce a wide spectrum from Laforêt Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge to Grands Crus in Musigny and Chambertin.

Drouhin’s foremost concern is to express the exact character of each terroir. Since 1993 they have worked their vineyards to organic and biodynamic principles, “bringing natural answers to natural problems”. Vine stocks are grown in their own nursery to preserve their genetic heritage and control quality, and vineyards are ploughed by horse with treatments based on herb infusions and the use of natural predators instead of synthetic products. Planting is dense and yields deliberately kept low.

Vinification is traditional using indigenous yeasts and as little technical interference as possible, varied according to the needs of each terroir. Ageing takes account of the origin of each wine: stainless steel vats to enhance fruit and freshness in Chablis and Mâconnais, oak barrels to develop complexity and finesse in Côte d’Or. New oak barrels are made from oak trees individually selected by Drouhin which are then weathered for three years so that all coarse tannins can be eliminated. Their use, and the time the wine spends in them, are determined by the appellation and the vintage.

The progress of every wine is meticulously monitored and recorded at every stage; Drouhin were one of the first houses in Burgundy to apply bar codes to the barrels to ensure total traceability and every cork is stamped with Joseph Drouhin, the appellation and the vintage, in order to guarantee the authenticity of the wine.

Pinot Noir 100%.

For more detail on this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Drouhin themselves.

Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin 2016 - fiche technique

Gevrey-Chambertin is a wine with a beautiful, bright ruby colour. Intensely fruity on the nose, the aromas are reminiscent of black cherry, wild blackberry and liquorice. The woody character is subtle and marries delicately with the other aromas. As the wine evolves, there are more complex notes, such as mild spice, nutmeg and leather. Later still, mushroom and damp earth nuances make their appearance. Although present on the palate, tannin is never astringent but blends itself harmoniously with the natural freshness and gras (velvety texture) of the wine. The same aromas encountered earlier on the nose are found again in the aftertaste.

ABV = 13.0%.

£43.20
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