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Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 1er Cru Les Puillets 2015 (1x 75cl)

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.

The 2015 vintage experienced a hot, dry midsummer, which was immediately followed by a cool, damp August. These conditions produced small but perfectly concentrated Pinot Noir berries with thick skins, intense colour and flavour, and soft tannins. Hot weather towards the end of the vintage brought fears of losing acidity so most wineries picked early, helping maintain a delicate acidity in the final wines.

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.

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.

£24.30

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 (1x75cl)

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.

What had promised to be a very generous vintage, turned out to be an extremely difficult year for Burgundy, with terrible bouts of hail, frost and mildew. Yields were very low due to the complicated weather patterns throughout the year. The harvest ended on a high note with a warm, dry and sunny July through to October. This spell of consistently good weather salvaged the vintage.

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.

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.

** 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 Antoine Olivier, Pommard 2016 (1x 75cl)

Antoine Olivier was founded at the end of the 1960s, from a few vineyards left by Antoine Chevalier Moreau to his grandson, Hervé Olivier. Hervé began extending the estate by purchasing historic, old vineyards across Santenay, some of which had not been used for a century, paying particular attention to famous white wine vineyards. The quality of these soils is now recognised in a series of brilliant wines, in particular the exceptional white Santenay, something of a rarity in what is predominantly a red wine growing area. Today, Hervé’s grandson Antoine Olivier and his sister Rachel manage the estate. They are dedicated growers and follow organic practices in the vineyard. Their philosophy is to combine modernity with respect for the Burgundian soils and this stunning collection wines really showcases this.

The appellation of Pommard sits between Beaune and Volnay. The grapes for this cuvée come from Noizons terroir, which is situated on the eastern side of the Pommard appellation. The vineyard is managed with respect for the unique attributes of each site’s terroir and is farmed sustainably and organically, although it is not certified. Some biodynamic philosophies are also followed. The grapes are hand-picked and carefully sorted prior to vinification.

Traditional Burgundian vinification took place with minimal intervention. The grapes were vinified as whole clusters. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts and without any ‘pigeage’ or punching down of the cap. The wine was 100% barrel aged for 12 months: 50% was aged in new oak, 50% in one year old oak. The wine then rested for a further six months in tank, prior to being bottled, without fining or filtration.

A full-bodied and textured Pommard, showing a lovely purity of fruit, complemented by a touch of aromatic spice from oak ageing. Serve with game and red meats.

£48.25

Domaine Antoine Olivier, Santenay1er Cru Beaurepaire 2016 (1x 75cl)

Antoine Olivier was founded at the end of the 1960s, from a few vineyards left by Antoine Chevalier Moreau to his grandson, Hervé Olivier. Hervé began extending the estate by purchasing historic, old vineyards across Santenay, some of which had not been used for a century, paying particular attention to famous white wine vineyards. The quality of these soils is now recognised in a series of brilliant wines, in particular the exceptional white Santenay, something of a rarity in what is predominantly a red wine growing area. Today, Hervé’s grandson Antoine Olivier and his sister Rachel manage the estate. They are dedicated growers and follow organic practices in the vineyard. Their philosophy is to combine modernity with respect for the Burgundian soils and this stunning collection wines really showcases this.

The grapes come from the single vineyard plot of ‘Beaurepaire’, which is situated at the highest elevation of all the Premier Crus in Santenay. This east facing site has a unique microclimate and it produces a very elegant style of wine from limestone and clay soils. The vineyard is managed with respect for the unique attributes of each site’s terroir and is farmed sustainably and organically, although it is not certified. Some biodynamic philosophies are also followed. The grapes are hand-picked and carefully sorted prior to vinification.

Traditional Burgundian vinification took place with minimal intervention. 70% of the grapes were vinified as whole clusters. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts and without any ‘pigeage’ or punching down of the cap. The wine was 100% barrel aged for 12 months, in a combination of oak barrels. One third was aged in new oak, one third in one year old oak and one third in two year old oak. The wine then rested for a further six months in tank, prior to being bottled, without fining or filtration.

Classic red Burgundy. This is a beautifully perfumed and delicate Pinot Noir, with fine red fruit tones and a fleshy texture. Long and elegant on the finish. Serve with Sunday roast and all the trimmings.

For the other excellent Burgundies - white and red - produced by Domaine Antoine Olivier, click here.

£31.90

Domaine Catherine & Dominique Derain Mercurey Rouge, La Plante Chassey 2013 (1x 75cl)

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.

£37.85

Domaine Catherine & Dominique Derain Mercurey Rouge, La Plante Chassey 2017 (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.

£44.10

Domaine Chevalier Ladoix Rouge 2016 (1x 75cl)

The 2015 was Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of 2015 Côte de Beaune reds (see blue link below).

Domaine Chevalier Ladoix 2015 - December 2017 Decanter review

Domaine Chevalier is a 15-hectare, family domaine situated in Ladoix, in the north of the Côte de Beaune. Established in 1850, it is now run by Claude Chevalier and his daughters, Julie and Chloé. Claude's whites have the mealy and mineral quality that typifies great Burgundy, at a relatively modest price. The style combines the taut, steely feel of Chablis but with the fruit intensity, finesse and hints of riper stone fruit of the Côte de Beaune. His red wines have incredible purity and elegance.

Ladoix is in the northern Cote de Beaune, adjoining the Côte de Nuits vineyards. The village lies at the foot of the Mont de Corton where the soils are chalky marl.

Low yields and warm weather in 2015 allowed for ample ripeness, small berries and an early harvest. Quality is looking extremely fine, with some people whispering comparisons with the outstanding 2005 vintage. Acid levels in individual wines may be crucial.

Vinification was done in the traditional way, with fermentation taking place in vat. The wine was aged in oak barrels, with no new wood for 12 months. It was rested and bottled in January.

The Domaine Chevalier Ladoix Rouge is a lovely ruby garnet in colour, characteristic of Pinot Noir, with soft red fruit perfumes of rasperries and red cherries and excellent depth of flavour. Fine, ripe tannins and a long, delicately perfumed finish.

£31.25

Domaine de Monterrain, Macon-Serrieres 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 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).

Domaine De Monterrain, Macon-Serrieres 2015 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Domaine de Monterrain is a small domaine owned by the Ferret family. This domaine has been passed down from father to son for over 5 generations. Patrick and Martine Ferret are the current owners and take great pride in tending their 10 hectares of hillside vineyards situated around the village of Serrières in the Saône et Loire. 9 hectares of vines are planted with Gamay and, as a new venture, 1 hectare was planted in 2003 with Chardonnay grapes. Harvesting is carried out manually. The Ferret family takes great pride in its Mâcon Serrières which is produced in an easy drinking style typical of the area.

The vines are grown in granitic soil, which warms up quickly and retains the heat well. The soil's high levels of acidity works to minimise the acid levels in the grapes, which works well with acidic varieties like Gamay.

The grapes were harvested at optimum maturity levels. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled vats, preserving the integrity of the primary aromas and the nuances of the terroir from which it hails. Following the fermentation, the wine was then left to mature in tank for a minimum of six months prior to being bottled.

An easy drinking style of wine made from the Gamay grape. Light bodied and fresh, with notes of spice and minerality leading to a dry finish. A great match with cold meats, garlicky stuffed mushrooms, roasts and mild cheeses such as Brie and Pont l'Evêque.

£12.85

Domaine Du Vissoux Brouilly 2017 (1x75cl)

Wild cherry aroma. Dry with bright acidity, a beautiful naturalness to the fruit and some tannic grip to go with food. A serious and long-lived Beaujolais.

£18.65

Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Rouge 2016 (1x 75cl)

Domaine Faiveley’s “vieilles vignes” (old vines) are over thirty years old and produce an exceptionally aromatic wine that offers a true reflection of its Mercurey terroirs.

The palate reveals a smooth, fruity attack and evolves towards notes of ripe red berries and a touch of vanilla. An intensely aromatic wine with a delicate structure and silky smooth tannins that will win over wine experts and amateurs alike.

£18.85

Domaine Jean Chauvenet Nuits St Georges 2016 (1x 75cl)

This small, family-owned estate has been managed since 1994 by Christine and Christophe Drag, after the retirement of Jean Chauvenet, who founded the business in 1964. They work only with Pinot Noir and their wines are of incomparable texture, delicate and silky. 

The domaine is run by them and they work to a single golden rule; respect for the expression of each terroir to yield a range of different wines. Since 1994 the domaine has turned to low-input cultivation which aims to minimise the use of chemical treatments, and they are working towards organic certification.

Christophe’s wines differ in temperament according to whether they come from the north or south of the Nuits-St-Georges commune. All have black fruit and complexity. Only about 33% new oak is used on each premier cru and the wines are bottled without filtration or fining.

This 100% Pinot Noir wine has a mid crimson colour. It is deliciously fragrant with red fruit and almost a touch floral. Light and juicy on the palate and then with decent persistence. Scented on the palate as much as on the nose. Dry, chalky texture well suited to the fragrance. No need to wait too long to enjoy this.

£34.70

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Classique 2017 - no added sulphur (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Foillard Morgon Classique 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Jean Foillard and is universally recognised as one of the very best Beaujolais producers and is one of the band of 4 of Morgon with Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thevenet and Marcel Lapierre, who are all adepts of the works of Jules Chauvet on non sulphured vinification.  Jean met Jules Chauvet early in his career and became an un-official member of “La Bande a Marcel”.  Chauvet’s mantra was that winemaking should be a natural process.  He felt that great winemaking started in the vineyard with vigorous canopy management, absolutely no use of chemicals on the vines, low or no use of sulphur etc.  To Jean, this all made sense and he’s remained true to these philosophies ever since. 

Foillard now uses minimal interventionist viticulture, but his wines are neither officially organic nor biodynamic even though he actually applies many of the rules. What’s in a name? What is more important for him, he says, is the result in the bottle, and the certifications on the labels are not his first concern.

This Morgon is fabulously pure, an unfiltered, unfined, unsulphured Gamay. Its colour is on the dark side of cloudy ruby red, whilst aromas boom happily out of the glass, notably kirsch, rhubarb and sweet blackberries; there’s a more fugitive bouquet of warm earth, stones and dried spice evolving into dark chocolate and cinnamon.  It is extremely refreshing, bright sweet fruit is complemented by a smooth, silky tannic structure, somehow immediate and pleasing yet subtle and complex.

£20.05

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Vieilles Vignes 2018 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their March 2019 edition article: Older vines, better wines? (see blue link below).

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Vieilles Vignes - March 2019 Decanter review

The 2015 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of "Everyday Wines" (under £25) (see blue link below).

Jean-Claude Lapalu, Brouilly 2015 - June 2017 Decanter review

Jean-Claude Lapalu assumed control of just under 30 acres of Gamay from his father in 1996, and made his first commercial wines in 2000. His eight parcels of east and southeast facing vines are scattered from Mont Brouilly south through the rolling hills of Odenas and his hometown of Saint-Etienne-la-Varenne.

Jean-Claude’s most significant early influence came from the writings of Jules Chauvet, France’s Father of Natural Winemaking. He is committed to a strict organic regimen and employs several tenets of biodynamic viticulture. The domaine received its organic certification from Ecocert with the 2010 vintage but he has no interest in seeking any further bureaucratic validation.

The wine is made using whole cluster fermentation (without crushing). Carbonic maceration is used for the Brouilly Vieilles Vignes. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Bottling happens in early April after a brief six-month élevage. Jean-Claude only uses indigenous yeasts and doesn’t use any sulphur during vinification (some is added at bottling in very small quantities: 2gr/hl)

Very fragrant and expressive, it displays aromas of violet and juicy red berry. Fresh and very much alive on the palate, it has depth and plenty of dark berry and spice character.

£21.50

Domaine Jessiaume Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2014 (1x 75cl)

Impossible to miss, the small jewel of Domaine Jessiaume sits at the entrance to the tiny spa town of Santenay. Built in 1850, it comprises over 37 acres, with large plots in Santenay, important holdings in the Premiers Crus Auxey Duresses Les Ecusseaux and Volnay Les Brouillards and a terrific section of Beaune les Cent Vignes vineyard. Domaine Jessiaume always create wines with elegance and finesse.

After sorting in the vineyard and winery, the grapes are destemmed then directly put in tank. The spontaneous fermentation then starts. The grapes will stay in tank for roughly 3 weeks during alcholic fermentation. The wine is then put in oak barrels, by gravity, for 11 months (no new oak). No filtration or fining is performed.

This wine is garnet red in colour and is moderately intense. The nose exudes aromas of cherries and currants accompanied by slightly musky notes. On the palate, it has delicate fruit with fine tannins leading to a nice supple finish.

The wine has a ruby red, clear colour, with a bouquet of red fruit (cherry and rasberry). The fruit then continues on the palate and leads to a nice supple finish. This Bourgogne Pinot Noir has the capacity to age for around 4 to 6 years.

It goes particularly well with rotisserie chicken, grilled meats and vegetables.

£18.70

Domaine Joblot 'l'Empreinte' Rouge, Givry 1er Cru 2016 (1x 75cl)

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.

£30.25
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