Friday, 9 November 2012

Burgundy Trip (2011 Vintage) - Day Four, written by Jason Busby

An early start as we managed to slip in a last minute meeting at 9am with Mugneret-Gibourg in Vosne Romanee, with another 3 meetings and a 2 hour drive to Lyon airport ahead of us there was a distinct quieter feel to the team, although all excited about the wines ahead. With nine of the finest reds I have ever had the pleasure to taste in one sitting including three Grand Cru in a charismatic cellar more than 100 years old was the way I’d like to start most days!

Quickly onto Chandon de Briailles which was another first for me and wow what an eye opener! The Comtesse Francois met us with beaming enthusiasm in the courtyard of her ‘modest’ abode, a fantastic Chateau surrounded by arches. We made our way through to the garden room where Claude, her brother, had a hot pot simmering for the second out of three days we were informed, but the smell at mid morning was enough to get the stomach rumbling.

We decided to taste outside due to the overwhelming smells from the chef’s cauldron. A selection of whites and reds from Pernand Vergelesses to Savigny had elegance all over them. Light and approachable with pretty fruit and velvety tannins. After tasting a few we walked several minutes to the other cellar to taste more from barrel. All so delightful with romantic surroundings, I wanted to stay. Then on leaving The Smoker mentioned that the hobby of Francois’ husband is collecting planes. Strange but very true and quite a shock to see over 30 planes in a field including what looked like, at a distance, fighter jets!

Next onto Tollot-Beaut in the Chorey Les Beaune AOC, another first for me at this 24 hectare estate. Five short wines but a masterclass of finesse, elegance and class – some might say Kate Middleton in a glass! I have several customer followers of these wines and I now know why.

Nathalie Tollot
 Our last stop of the day was the first out of the valley in the hills of Beaune where The Pincher managed to get us well and truly lost, even though we phoned twice for more accurate directions. After confining The Pincher to the boot we entered Olivier Manuel’s modest dwelling and introduced ourselves to the four people present, two of which we later found out were tourists just there for a tasting too! Olivier’s sister looked after them, we went red faced into the tasting room. We were running low on time so needed to taste quickly but a 10 minute discussion on which vintage and whether we should taste the 2010’s on site or the 11’s from barrel several miles away in the cellar, were straining the time keepers. Anyway it turned out to be a mini marathon of 11 wines but well worth it as we went through our range but also several new ones including an Aligote, first appearance of the week. All great wines that are well priced and we can do well with as we’ve only had them about a year. 

Overall a fascinating and rewarding trip giving us an incite to the 2011 vintage and what to expect in the En Primeur offer in January that I will certainly be investing in. My advice – buy some 2011 as the quantity is there but also the quality, sometimes better than the 2010’s and as 2012 is short you may need to make the 2011’s last longer.

Written by Jason Busby, Director

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