Wine Words & Video Tape

Wine, Words and Videotape

Fine Wine Review site

Burgundy 2011: The Reds

Written by JW. Posted in Burgundy


Lay & Wheeler’s tasting of growers’ Burgundy 2011 last week showed a set of forward, fresh and elegant white wines and a vibrant, sappy bunch of reds. Overall they reflected complex terroir of this fascinating part of the world very nicely. On the basis of the thirty-odd growers represented at the tasting generally it seems a vintage worth considering for early and medium term drinking.

Amongst the reds there’s the comparative advantage that the wines have in being lighter boned than their 2010, 2009 and 2005 counterparts, making them more approachable and attractive now. There is something vivid and enticing about the best 2011 reds. They don’t have the potential quality or longevity of those vintages but let’s be honest, how often is that potential in bottle realised? Top grade, unfiltered Pinot Noir from this part of the world has a shelf-life not much longer than pasteurised milk at today’s household temperatures. It needs absolutely ideal cellar conditions to reach its peak. So a vintage that offers fresh fruit and lively, vibrant flavours early in its lifetime can sometimes seem a safer bet – unless you pay for cellaring or have a Scottish castle with glacial cellars to age the wines in.

Overall the weather in Burgundy in 2011 bears some comparison with that Bordeaux experienced. Spring was very warm, more like summer, kick-starting the vines and heralding an early vintage, which at one stage was looking up to four weeks ahead of usual, though we might be in need of a new ‘usual’ after three August harvests in Burgundy this century already. July was cool and pretty wet, slowing things down a bit, although most whites were being picked in the last week of August and the reds mostly picked in the first week of September. Picking occurred in generally warm and dry conditions. There was a degree of uneveness in ripening, so strict selection was essential. Some estates reportedly chapitalised a half degree or so and overall volumes were down for the reds as a result of uneven flowering.

Michel Gros compares the vintage to 2007 and he has made a particularly attractive set of reds in 2011. His Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits looks a really good buy and the Vosne-Romanée Clos des Reas is wonderful. Jacques Devauges at Domaine de l’Arlot described the vintage as back to front, ‘summer in spring and spring in summer’ resulting in early maturing wines with lots of character. These, too, I thought stood out. Their Nuits-St-Georges Le Petit Arlot was very attractive and half the price of the [excellent] Clos de Forêts St George.

There was a lot of verve and confidence on display at Domaine de Montille. Montille’s American Chef de Cave Brian Sieve saw a comparison with 2008 with similar acids but less malic in 2011 giving a softer, more harmonious mouthfeel. Their Beaune Sizies looks a good value bet. It’s wonderfully bouncy, vibrant Pinot. Their Volnay Talliepieds is terrific. There was lots of depth on display in Comte Armand’s Pommard, Clos des Epéneaux as you would imagine. It managed to be fragrant, dense, structured and caressing all at the same time. There’s also no shortage of grip. In Savigny-lès-Beaune, Domaine Chandon des Brialles produced a sappy and lively Aux Fourneaux.

I found Méo-Camuzet’s Nuits-Saints-Georges Aux Boudots and Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes, dense but hard. Domaine Lamarche is still making wine that’s too old fashioned for me – grippy, high acid styles. A bottle of La Grand Rue 1990 opened recently was also a disappointment. Domaine Jean Grivot makes spicy, sappy traditional wines. I found them quite firm and not showy, so may have underestimated them a little. Their Clos de Vougeot looked promising though.

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod has made very vibrant and attractive Chambolle in 2011. The village Chambolle-Musigny is wondefully delicate and the premier cru Les Cras has great intensity. Domaine Jean-Marc Millot’s Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots had perfume and spice and his Echézeaux had a satin quality to it. Wines of great purity and intensity have been made at Sylvian Cathiard. The village Vosne-Romanee is quite sumptuous, but with grip too, and the Chambolle-Musigny Les Clos de l’Orme had lots of meaty intensity but retained elegance.

Here are the full notes on the red wines, with the odd white or two, tasted at Lay & Wheeler’s growers tasting last Thursday. Notes on the whites up later. It was a bit of a race tasting seventy wines in a few hours but it was long enough to get a good snapshot of the wines and the vintage. As ever notes more important than the scores. Other Burgundy offers are also available elsewhere such as at Berry Brothers & Rudd and Justerini & Brooks.

Domaine Chandon des Brialles

Savigny-lès-Beaune, Premier Cru, Ile de Vergelesses Blanc, 2011

Pale straw; easy, fresh nose; enticing with attractive citrus fruits; soft finish. 88+

Savigny-lès-Beaune, Premier Cru, Aux Fourneaux, 2011

Cherry red; pretty, strawberry nose with undergrowth; sappy fruit, appetizing and fresh. 88+

Corton-Bressandes, Grand Cru, 2011

Mid cherry red; beetroot notes, cream, black cherry fragrance and undergrowth tones; sap and bite on the palate with cherry and beetroot flavours; nice balance and poise; bite on the finish. Elegant. 91+

Comte Armand

Auxey-Duresses, Premier Cru, 2011

Healthy, vibrant red/purple; fresh aromas, cherry, raspberry and spice; quite dense and extracted palate; chewy with a vibrant finish. Needs a bit of time. 88+

Pommard, Premier Cru, Clos des Epéneaux, 2011

Bright cherry red; vibrant colour; very healthy looking; cherry fragrance, obvious depth and concentration here; fragrance again on palate alongside depth; structured and dense yet tannins caressing on the finish. Excellent. 92+

Domaine de Montille

Beaune, Premier Cru, Les Aigrots, 2011

Palest straw; spearmint and flint tones; mineral Chardonnay but pretty round on the palate with lower acid than some of the other Côte de Beaune producers which makes it seem fatter and rounder. 88+

Beaune, Premier Cru, Sizies, 2011

Juicy fresh looking Pinot. Vibrant, bouncy style, spicy, beetrooty Pinot with flesh and lots of joy. Lovely sap and bite on the finish. Fresh and lively with emphasis on the fruit – 100% de-stemmed and only 20% new wood. A joy. 90+

Volnay, Premier Cru, Taillepieds, 2011

Healthy bright colour; some spice, some beetroot and black cherry; fragrance here; violet tones; again violent scented cherry fruit on the palate; some savour and life with a vibrant sappy finish. 93+

Pommard, Premier Cru, Pézerolles, 2011

Vibrant colour; deeper, more base notes than the Beaune and Volnay, beetroot and black fruits; some strawberry too; grippier and more chewy on the palate. Tannin on the finish. Needs five years. Serious stuff. 92

Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru, 2011

Vibrant colour, cherry fragrance, beetroot notes; caressing palate despite the depth and volume of material on the palate; lots of matter and concentration but manages wonderful elegance too. Two thirds de-stemmed and forty percent new oak. 92+

Domaine de l’Arlot

Nuits-Saints-Georges, La Gerbotte Blanc, 2011

Round, candy, forward style; broad and full-flavoured. 88+

Nuits-Saints-Georges, Premier Cru, Clos de l’Arlot Blanc, 2011

Palest straw; mineral, oyster shell; nice breadth and depth; excellent white and guaranteed to flummox anyone at a blind tasting! There are 6 hectares of white vines in Nuits-Saints-Georges – and 2ha are worked by de l’Arlot. 90

Nuits-Saints-Georges, Premier Cru, Le Petit Arlot, 2011

Earthy, vibrant colour; similarly lively nose; vibrant fruit; red fruits, strawberry and fresh cherry; very attractive; spicy, briary fruit tones on the palate; density but open and appealing style. Good value – from young vines planted in 2000. 90+

Nuits-Saints-Georges, Premier Cru, Clos des Forêts St George, 2011

Deep looking; very sexy and attractive nose; red fruits; satiny palate with red fruits; lovely juice. Excellent depth and grip too. Lovely, seductive Burgundy. 93+

Domaine Jean Grivot

Vosne-Romanée, 2011

Pinot aromas; undergrowth notes and fairly open; some sap and spice. A little old fashioned? 87

Nuits-Saints-Georges, Premier Cru, Les Pruliers, 2011

Cherry red; similar style; sappy, spicy Pinot; some chew on the palate and structure but manages elegance too. 88+

Clos de Vougeot, Grand Cru, 2011

Cherry notes; creamier; more fragrance and spice to the wine on the palate; grip and density. Traditional wine, needs time. 91+

Domaine Michel Gros

Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, 2011

Healthy colour; red fruits on the nose, strawberry and nice lift; elegant cherry and strawberry flavours on the palate. Not overdone. Nice flavours. 88+

Nuits-Saints-Georges, ‘Chaliots’, 2011

Attractive, sexy Pinot characters; earth and undergrowth too; savoury notes on the palate; cherry again; real ripeness; clean and lively, fresh wine. 90

Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Aux Brulées, 2011

Vibrant red fruits [strawberry, raspberry] with undergrowth and spicy tones; some sap on the palate but lots of depth. Round, velvety finish almost disguises the obvious depth and fruit here. 92+

Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Clos de Réas, 2011

Lifted strawberry and red fruits; really velvety Pinot aromas; deep palate seemingly quite forward; wonderfully supple fruit but there is sap here too. Wonderfully supple and forward. 93+

Domaine Méo-Camuzet

Marsannay, Méo-Camuzet Frère and Soeurs, 2011

Cherry red; chalky, slightly hard Pinot nose; some density and chew; spice; feels a bit hard on the palate and charmless. 85

Nuits-Saints-Georges, Premier Cru, Aux Boudots, 2011

Deep and vibrant looking; creamy ripe cherry aromas, black fruits and spice; depth but again a little hardness too. 88?

Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Les Charmes, 2011

Vibrant fruit, some spice and undergrowth notes; spice and lots of material but feels a tad over-extracted. 88? Not a great showing from Meo-Camuzet on the night for me.

Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux

Chambolle-Musigny, 2011

Cherry, some spice; little inky; quite chewy palate. Depth. 87

Nuits-Saints-Georges, Premier Cru, Les Poisets, 2011

Violet fragrance with substantial beetroot tones beneath; chewy and dense quality; grippy style, lots of material. 88+

Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Les Chaumes, 2011

More whole berry fruit, cherry notes; spices; tangy and vibrant fruit on the palate with spicy tones. 89+

Domaine Sylvain Cathiard & Fils

Vosne-Romanée, 2011

Pretty nose with red fruits and oak and earthy Pinot characters; some cherry too; nice sap to the fruit and good length. Very bright, attractive Vosne-Romanée – one of the best village examples. 90+

Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Aux Malconsorts, 2011

Intense, deep and earthy Pinot Noir; spice and fruit cake notes; mincemeat; lots of extract and some oak on the palate but seemingly very pure. 92+

Chambolle-Musigny, Les Clos de l’Orme, 2011

Strawberry Pinot, intense; earthy tones too alongside meal and beetroot notes; nice elegance here, real purity of fruit here. 91+

Domaine Lamarche

Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Les Chaumes, 2011

Grippy, vibrant fruit driven nose; bright fruit on the palate; traditional style; grip and sap, emphasis on the acid. 87

Clos de Vougeot, Grand Cru, 2011

Beetrooty Pinot, fresh; some violet lift too; grippy palate and fairly high acid style. Grippy finish. Traditional styled, if not old fashioned. Nothing wrong with this, but a little too sharp boned and grippy for me. Will appeal to some – bit joyless for me. 88

Domaine Jean-Marc Millot

Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Les Suchots, 2011

Spicy, earthy, undergrowth notes; some tomato plant; palate red fruits and some perfume. 88+

Echézeaux, Grand Cru, 2011

Deep nose; red fruits, spices, undergrowth; nice weight on the palate with a real satin quality; lashings of fruit here; nice sap and acid too. Needs a bit of time but lots of fruit, acid and grip here. 92+

Domaine Louis Boillot

Volnay, Premier Cru, Les Brouillards, 2011

Cherry and spice on the nose; quite chewy and dense on the palate; compact; with grip and acid. 88+

Nuits-Saints-Georges, Premier Cru, Les Pruliers, 2011

Inky red fruits and strawberry tones on the nose; grippy and currently feeling a little extracted and chewy on the palate; will settle. Nice length. 90+

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod

Chambolle-Musigny, 2011

Some spice and undergrowth; fragrance; sweet palate, attractive stuff; delicate and impressive village wine. 90

Chambolle-Musigny, Premier Cru, Les Cras, 2011

Spicy Pinot, sappy; grip and intensity on the palate; vibrant cherry fruit notes; vibrant, cherry scented red. 91+

Domaine des Lambrays

Morey-St-Denis, 2011

Glossy red; red fruits, strawberry and raspberry fruits; very ripe and open; some spice and chew; very ripe flavours but not overdone. 88

Morey-St-Denis, Premier Cru, Les Loups, 2011

Bright cherry; intense nose; sappy red fruits; sweet and sour palate with sap and chew; palate not extracted; red fruits on the finish. Good length. 90

Domaine Arlaud Pere & Fils

Charmes-Chambertin, Grand Cru, 2011

Vibrant cherry; very intense nose; earthy tones; satiny palate with attractive Pinot fruit; quite elegant overall. Attractive earthy notes on the finish. Good length. 91

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Follow Us