Tuesday, 28 January 2014

From the Tasting Room: Burgundy En Primeur 2012 - Part One

This year's vintage was definitely a game of two halves. As we've all heard from various sources ranging from growers, the press, weather men, merchants and everyone in between, it didn't start out as a great vintage weather-wise for Burgundy. Cold, wet conditions, made worse by hailstorms, took its toll on the crops. But this all turned around mid-July to the growers' relief with days on end of baking hot sunshine to ripen up what was left. With the change of weather and the skill of the winemakers there are some serious wines to be found out there - if you're prepared to look. Fortunately, that's exactly what our buyers have done and they've provided us with some early-release barrel samples to test out.

First, a little intro to En Primeur wines. It must be stressed that these wines are by no means the finished article like you'd normally buy off the shelf. These wines have been released early, taken out of the barrel before they're ready, to give an indication of what you can expect when the wines are fully prepared and matured. We can tell you now - for unfinished products, these were really quite exceptional. We just hope that we'll still be writing these reviews in 5-10 years so we get the chance to try them much later on when they're ready!
We tasted through a great selection from across the range but we've decided to break the reviews down into two parts with a couple of whites and reds in each. 

Today's post will cover two whites from Domaine Jean Chartron and one red each from Domaine Hudelot-Baillet and Domaine Louis Boillot.

Both the "Les Benoites" and the "Folatières" are from a 5th generation winemaker whose family have owned this domaine since 1859. This means they really know what they're doing and how to get the most out of their products so they truly show off their fantastic terroir

Wine One: Domaine Jean Chartron Chassagne-Montrachet "Les Benoites"

A really fragrant nose of melon with a slight yeastiness coming through on the finish. The melon continued through while the yeasty-ness definitely developed into a velvety vanilla hit and paired with the fruitiness of the wine to leave an almost lemon meringue pie sensation. None of the flavours were too over-powering and they carried through a pleasant acidity.

Drink by 2021, 13% abv.
12 bottles - £340 (IB)

Wine Two: Domaine Jean Chartron Puligny-Montrachet "Folatières"

In a word - delicious. In two words - really delicious. In three... you get the idea. The flavours leapt out of the glass here: lemon tart, freshly cut pear; like the "Les Benoites" a definite cakey/bready feel too. A wonderfully weighty wine that was intensely rich and luxurious with every mouthful. You could happily sit back and drink a bottle of this (on your own or with friends) and enjoy every last drop. "Easy to call - my absolute favourite from the range we've tried" - Alex 

Drink by 2018, 13% abv.
6 bottles - £265 (IB)

Domaine Hudelot-Baillet is a relative newcomer onto the stage but winemaker Dominique le Guen hasn't wasted any time at all! Calling on the services of winemaking legends Christophe Roumier and Frederic Mugnier (among others) this domaine is rapidly becoming a serious contender.

Wine Three: Domaine Hudelot-Baillet Chambolle-Musigny 

The first flavour that came to mind here was dark cherry. It rushed out of the glass, filled the nostrils and developed into a baked , almost cough-sweet-like, cherry-ness. There were also layers of forest fruits and an underlying spice to really round it out. With all of that on the nose, the taste didn't disappoint: a definite fresh acidity and silky tannins that carried through a wave of fruit like a summer pudding full of berries, currants and brioche. As we say in our Burgundy En Primeur catalogue "this is textbook Chambolle".

Drink by 2035, 13% abv.
12 bottles - £295 (IB)

The "Boillot" name is rightly famed in red burgundy circles but here, Louis Boillot, left his father's domaine and began working with his partner Ghislaine Barthod in 2002. Ghislaine's wines are currently the more sought-after but Louis is rapidly gaining a reputation.

Wine Four: Domaine Louis Boillot Gevrey-Chambertain

Quite simply, think of all your favourite berries and cherries, freshly picked, throw them in a bowl together and sprinkle some spices on top like cinnamon and nutmeg. Now, scoop them all up with a big spoon and savour. Yum. This delivered fruit, spice and everything nice with a mildly herbacious note highlighting throughout. Clean and vibrant thanks to its acidity with a great finish.

Drink by 2020, 13% abv.
12 bottles - £265 (IB)

There you have it, part one of our tasting through Burgundy's 2012 En Primeur offerings. Considering this vintage had such a mixed bag of weather to deal with the wines have turned out brilliantly. Classical styles that truly highlight exactly where they're from and what they're all about or as we say in the trade terroir. We hope you've enjoyed reading, part two will be on its way next week!

Alex, David and Duncan
Averys Wine Bloggers

P.S. The small print... If you're interested in buying any of our En Primeur range you need to be aware of a few things. These wines aren't actually in the country yet and are due for delivery around Autumn. The IB price listed above is the pre-VAT and Duty, in-bond, price of the wines. When the wines arrive and you are ready to have them released, that's when you need to pay the Duty and VAT. We can also keep your wines in our temperature-controlled storage unit for £9.60 per annum until you're ready. 

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