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Burgundy 2011: The Whites

Written by JW. Posted in Burgundy

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2011 white Burgundy has a lot to recommend it. There’s freshness, life and zest here, and typicity too. Olivier Lamy, at the helm at St Aubin’s consistent over-achiever Hubert Lamy, was happy with the vintage. Despite the early harvest, the whites retained their acidity because of the cool July. Olivier sees lots of freshness and life in the wines and these are great value bets as ever. His St Aubin Les Frionnes has a roundness and delicacy common to Chassagne-Montrachet and the Clos de la Chantenière is a dead ringer for serious Puligny in the appellation next door.

Céline Gagnard of Fontaine-Gagnard was also pleased with their wines in Chassange-Montrachet. She sees 2011 as being drinkable earlier than 2010, a bit like 2009, though without that extra ripeness but added freshness. Their Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie looks excellent, the Criots-Montrachet dense and bold.

Phillippe Colin makes wonderful Chassagne and Puligny. The Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes is delicious in 2011 and his Puligny-Montrachet Demoiselles broad and bold. Jean-Marc Boillot’s Puligny’s are tighter and more pent up. The Referts here is fresh and minerally and the Champ-Canet quite stunning. In Meursault, Domaine Ballot-Millot’s Meursault Genevrières looked terrific. Patrick Javillier’s Meursault’s were exceptional but take a look at his Bourgogne Blanc Cuvée Oligocène. It’s a crafty purchase and could easily pass for something far more serious.

The two Chablis growers shown also produced the goods. Samuel Billaud’s Montée de Tonnerre was well made and correct and Jean-Paul Droin clearly makes top drawer Chablis. The Montmains was zesty and attractive and the Grand Cru, Les Clos, very strong.

Below are the full sets of notes from Lay & Wheeler’s Burgundy Growers tasting last week.

Samuel Billaud

Chablis, Premier Cru, Montée de Tonnerre, 2011

Palest grey; crisp and fresh on the nose, some mineral notes; zesty palate with salty, wet pebble tang.Well made. 88

Jean-Paul Droin

Chablis, Premier Cru, Montmains, 2011

Palest grey; polished, apples and green fruits; round yet zesty palate with good length; attractive. 90

Chablis, Grand Cru, Les Clos 2011

Green/grey; much more masculine, stronger nose; broader on the palate, still with plenty of refreshing acid; firm finish with bite. Pebbles, sea salt – lots of minerality. Great length. 92+

Domaine Hubert Lamy

St Aubin, Premier Cru, Les Frionnes, 2011

Palest straw; fresh and delicious; very round with nice firmness on the finish and nice length. Very good. 90

St Aubin, Premier Cru, Clos de la Chantenière, 2011

Palest straw, steelier than Les Frionnes, more Puligny like, real finesse here; oyster shell, deep and taut on the palate; fresh apple acid here, very long indeed. Firm finish. Excellent. 92+

Domaine Paul Pillot

St Aubin, Premier Cru, Les Pitangerets, 2011

Colourless; full, ripe wine; forward and toast; looser feel than Lamy; lacks some structure on the palate; easy and round. 87

Chassagne-Montrachet, ‘Les Mazures’, 2011

Palest straw; little tighter, more focused; very clean and international, minerality here but also broader on the palate then the St Aubin. Lacks a bit of zip but round and generous. 89

Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard

Chassagne-Montrachet, 2011

Palest straw/grey; tighter, steely and pent up; oyster shell; wet rock; minerality; quite round palate; pretty full actually. 90

Chassagne-Montrachet, Premier Cru, La Maltroie, 2011

Palest straw/grey; nice lift; crunchy, some prettiness; citrus and melon notes; firm, mineral palate with really good length. Very attractive. 92+

Criots-Montrachet, Grand Cru, 2011

Dense and full on the nose; full, broad and very masculine palate; some flint; big nose; bold, broad and dense palate with lots of acid underlying the weight. Needs five years. Excellent length. 93+

Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot

Chassagne-Montrachet, 2011

Colourless; mineral, salty tang; clean mineral style; quite tight with some flinty, mineral notes again on the palate. Very good. 90

Chassagne-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Caillerets, 2011

Very pale straw/grey; mineral notes; roundness on the palate; flint; savour and bite here. Elegant. 91

Domaine Philippe Colin

Chassagne-Montrachet, 2011

Pale green/straw; clean, depth, vanilla, lemon zest and citrus notes; tight palate, pretty full with mineral tones and zest. 90+

Chassagne-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Les Chenevottes, 2011

Washed green/gold; mineral notes and citrus fruits; round, some butter; very attractive and harmonious; full, round palate with mineral notes; very appealing and generous wine. Extremely good balance overall and very good length. 93+

Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Demoiselles, 2011

Pale green/straw; toast and honey; limes, citrus fruits and butterscotch note; full and pretty broad palate; very good length indeed. Classic stuff. 92+

Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot

Puligny-Montrachet, 2011

Clear looking; ripe, very attractive fruit; some minerality; taut palate; nice tension; some austerity here. Moreish Puligny-Montrachet. 90

Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Les Referts, 2011

Pale grey/green; salty minerality on the nose; fresh and steely; tight palate with plenty of depth and length. Lots to give here potentially. Length. 92+

Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Champ-Canet, 2011

Colourless; flint, steel and some mineral; very focussed wine [actually set of wines]; some melon, lime zest; broader palate than Referts, less lean with greater generosity now. Little oak on the finish but great levels of depth and intensity. Very good indeed. 93+

Domaine Alain Chavy

Puligny-Montrachet, 2011

Palest straw; flint and almond notes, quite austere palate, fresh. Needs to settle. 88+

Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Clavoillon, 2011

Palest straw; creamier, oyster shell and flint notes; tight palate, quite austere but with very nice bite and mineral, salty zest. 91+

Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Folatières, 2011

Palest straw; flint and mineral; orchard fruit notes alongside flinty minerality; very fine and elegant style; zesty apple fruits with depth. 90+

Domaine Comtesse Bernard de Cherisey

Puligny-Montrachet; Premier Cru, Hameau de Blagny, 2011

Pale straw; creamy vanilla notes, spearmint; full and zesty nose; nice acids on the palate, firm and pent up. 89

Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Les Chalumeaux, 2011

Pale straw; open, forward nose; some minerality; whiff of honey and butter; lots of fruit on the palate; broad and big. Nice length. 90+

Meursault-Blagny, Premier Cru, La Genelotte, 2011

Slightly eggy nose [bottle/cellar stink]; fat palate, broad with nice acid and zest. Good bite on finish. Nose should clear up. 88?

Domaine Michel Bouzereau

Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2011

Palest straw; fresh and clean, some butter and citrus zest on nose; similarly styled palate. Chablis like. 86+

Meursault, Premier Cru, Blagny, 2011

Palest straw; some cream, lemon zest; feels deep; concentrated palate, nice zest and acid; well balanced. Good. 88+

Meursault, Premier Cru, Les Genevrières, 2011

Palest straw; cream, some honey, vanilla; elegant; palate is fine and taut. Elegantly styled Meursault. 89+

Domaine Ballot-Millot

Meursault, Les Narvaux, 2011

Pale straw; quite full, broad wine; palate similarly broad; some minerality and nutty notes at the edge; finishes broad too. 88+

Meursault, Premier Cru, Genevrières, 2011

Pale straw; bigger, full and extremely attractive Meursault; oak; masculine palate with that almost animal Chardonnay edge; terrific. Tight finish but will develop well. Stand-out Meursault to me. 92+

Meursault, Premier Cru, Charmes, 2011

Pale straw; rounder, some honey, limes and citrus fruits; quite full and ripe with depth. Very good. 90+

Domaine Patrick Javillier

Bourgogne Blanc, Cuvée Oligocène, 2011

Palest straw; attractive; mineral notes and oyster shell; round palate, easy but excellent as lowly Bourgogne Blanc – proof of the addage that growers count as much as the appellation. 88+

Meursault, Les Clousots, 2011

Palest straw/grey; wet pebbles, fresh and deep; flinty elegant style on the palate. 90

Meursault, Cuvée Tête de Murger, 2011

Palest straw; more open, fruit salad notes with vanilla and honey; breadth on the palate alongside depth; some spearmint and candy notes; finishes nicely tight. Very moreish. 91

Corton-Charlemagne, 2011

Pales straw; creamy nose; depth, vanilla; piercing palate; precision and depth; butterscotch notes; yet elegant and fine. Needs time but very deep and positive. 93

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