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Wednesday 16 January 2013

Loeb Burgundy En Primeur 2011‏

The Burgundy En Primeur circus rolls into town again; it's a busy time at work for me and I only make it to one tasting - and just for a short while at that.

I fell briefly in love with Burgundy last year - in Nuits St Georges, Beaune and Vergisson, I started to love Burgundy with my heart rather than just understanding it with my head.

The region is complex and endlessly fascinating, the local cuisine rich and sumptuous.

But Pinot is a fickle grape and, despite my best efforts, I haven't fallen for it. Not properly.

I like it. I sometimes admire it - I love it when it's great. But I don't love it unconditionally.

At the Loeb tasting, I started with the whites before moving on to the reds.

The whites I liked: the word zesty comes up a lot in my tasting notes.

The reds I was less convinced by - as so often.

Prices are for 12 IB, unless otherwise stated.

Usual scoring system applies: Good (1 tick), Very Good (2 ticks), Very Good Indeed (3 ticks).


Montagny 1er Cru Maroques, Domaine Stephane Aladame (£120) good fruit, good acidity, toasty, nice savouriness. Good.

Santenay 1er Cru Beauregard, Domaine Roger Belland (£189) citrus, toasty, savoury. Good.

Chassagne-Montrachet, Domaine Michel Niellon (£120) zesty pithiness and lime zest dominates.

Puligny-Montracher, Domaine Bzikot Pere et Fils (£210) zesty, nicely balanced.

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard (£320) intensity on nose, lovely streak of acidity, mouthfilling with great length. Zesty yet soft. Very Good Indeed.

Puligny-Montracher 1er Cru Champgains (£400) pure and precise; harmonious and balanced.

Chablis 1er Cru Vosgros Domaine Gilbert Picq (£120) pleasant citrus acidity.

Chablis 1er Cru Montmains, Domain Louis Michel (£149) zesty, lime and grapefruit, toastiness and good length. Good.

Pouilly-Fuisse Vielles Vignes, Chateau de Fuisse (£239) good zesty acidity, toastiness, mouthfilling and long. Very Good.

Rully 1er Cru les Raclots Veille Vignes, Celine & Vincent Dureuil (£139) pleasant, zesty, sharp.

Meursault "les Tillets", Domaine Patrick Javiller (£295) melon fruit, nice oak, citrus and buttery oatmealiness. A bit overchilled ?

Meursault Cuvee "Tete de Murgers", Domaine Patrick Javiller (£450) pear fruit and lime zest, long, complex palate. Very Good.


Rully 1er Cru Chapitre, Domaine Vincent Dureuil-Janthial (£165 est.) red fruit and mushrooms on nose, sharp acidity and some grip on palate. Doesn't feel harmonious.

Mercurey 1er Cru Clos des Montaigus, Celine & Vincent Dureuil-Janthial (£149) feels more balanced with a fuller mouthfeel on the palate, some grip on finish

Mercurey 1er Cru Clos de Roy Domaine Tupinier-Bautista (£145) farmyardy hints on nose, ripe reds fruits, soft texture and firm finish. Good.

Beaune 1er Cru les Sizies Domaine Pascal Prunier-Bonheur (£199) v. farmyardy nose, soft mouthfilling and silky on the palate, lithe and athletic and precise. Good structure. Very Good.

Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes Maison Pascal Prunier-Bonheur (£265) mouthfilling and long, more muscular, dark red fruit and toastiness. A bigger, more imposing wine.

Beaune 1er Cru Greves, Maison Alex Gambal (£269) red fruits, rasping malic sharpness dominates the palate, some vanilla sweetness and grip.

Vosne Romanee Vielles Vignes Maison Alex Gambal (£349) red fruits, rasping malic sharpness and vanilla sweetness, toasty.

Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets, Domaine Bernard Moreau (£350) red fruit and sweet vanilla, ripe and harmonious on the palate; soft, mouthfilling and long. Very Good.

Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos des Epenots (£585) sweet ripe red cherry fruit, soft mouthfilling texture, grippy. Very Good.

Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru les Suchots, Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot (£295 for 6) complex farmyard, mushrooms and sous-bois; balanced, harmonious and mouthfilling. Soft texture and some grip. Very silky. Very Good Indeed.

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaut St Jacques Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot (£310 for 6) sour cherry, sweet vanilla, grip - doesn't feel harmonious.

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru les Corbeaux Domaine Bruno Clavelier (£595) oaky vanilla dominates, grippy, more emphasis on texture than on fruit, long finish.

Recommended Wines
Top white: Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard for its intensity, structure and length.

Top red: Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru les Suchots, Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot for its textbook Burgundian aromas coupled with superb texture.

I attended the Loeb tasting as a guest of Brough Gurney-Randall who explained to me that it is difficult to know what this fickle variety [PN] is going to do even when you know the grower well and have tasted Pinot since birth - or at least a lifetime in the wine trade - but that is part of its fascination.

How can a 2000 Pommard that was lean and mean in the barrel, emerge ten years later as a fully fledged, balanced, complex wine against all the odds? And no I would not have bought it either ...

Other related articles
On Not Loving Pinot Noir
Rhone En Primeur
Restaurant L'Alembic, Nuits St Georges
Sangouard-Guyot, Vergisson
The CWB Pinot-Off

Loeb - website, twitter

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