Today we started the really real part of the trip; Tasting In Gevrey Chambertin. That meant petit dejeuner. Any breaky that has croissants as lovely as those is OK with me. But we also get coffee (passable), baguette and orange juice. It was delicious and nostalgic as it was the same café that I went to every morning 8 years ago; Dix Carnot. It looked the same. It tasted the same. It was a bit magic. The only problem is I struggled to eat it all.
I got the wine family on the bus and we departed for our first trip to taste with a producer. Harmand Geoffroy. Philippe (no relation) was lovely and charming and accommodating. He managed that without much English and we without much French. Lesson one, ask if they “parles vous Englais?” when booking.
However, Philippe’s wines were out of sight.
His 10ha over 10 plots are tended Lutte raisonee (the reasonable struggle), which means he is organic until there is a problem. He said that organics are easier down South. We tasted four wines of his, all 2013. Gevrey Chambertin Village was surprisingly elegant and refined, as it turns out that is his style of wine. There was good balance between blue and black fruits and the schisty mineral. Very linear and perfectly acceptable to drink right now. Especially when you see the prices in Burgundy.
Gevrey Chambertin Vieille Vignes was a step up. 40% new oak vs 25% for the standard village. It was meatier, spicy and more earth and grit. Fuller tannin profile and more weight made it quite impressive. I would drink the village and leave this for a little while.
Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux St Jacques Premier Cru. Well hello, and welcome to Burgundy. This was a bold wine with black fruits, earth, stones, mineral, smoke, toast but the palate was still surprisingly finessed and elegant. This is a keeper.
Mazi Chambertin Grand Cru. A special wine for the family because the day before we picnicked at the corner of this vineyard. This was not as bold as the Lavaux but was the face of seduction. Layered, perfumed. Restrained. There was much harmony in the wine and I did buy a bottle for it is Rory’s birth year and I’ll enjoy drinking it on his behalf before he is 18. Don’t tell him.
After a poke around the winery and the cellar, we walked to see the defacto Grand Cru Clos St Jacques and the Lavaux we tasted and Les Cazetiers we tasted on Saturday night.
Touring down the Routes des Grand Cru
We saw the Chambertins again. Clos Vougeot, Musigny, The Echeazeauxs. Ahhh, it’s great to be back.
Lunch was basically American food with Belgium beers in Beaune then home to prepare French onion soup for after our next visit.
It said 6 or 7 degrees but the wind chill must have taken it from cold to absolute zero. Wine family started to more resemble a Penguin family huddling together. Especially because there was confusion with our appointment and they thought it was to be a week later. Lesson two: confirm directly. Despite the set back Estelle Violot at Thierry Violot Guillemard was the most charming host. We tasted through some of the range. They are only 6 hectares across 6 appellations, none of which have Grand Cru vineyards (see below). They use organic viticulture and in 2012, 13 and 14 they had hail that reduced their crop by 50-80%. To combat this lack of volume they have started buying fruit in from places like Chassagne where the hail didn’t hit.
2014s, 2013s and one Pommard 2012. The style is again more finessed than the stereotypical regional style. The wines have great acid and freshness with a lingering perfume. Most of us were charmed by their vineyard onsite which was labelled monopool because of its proximity to the BnB’s swimming pool. But to be fair, the wines were amazing and pretty and understated but utterly engaging. Much like Estelle herself.
We finished with their Meursault Meix Chavaux 2014 and it was all hazelnuts and meal and stone fruits and with just enough acid to be fresh. The perfect cleanser before departure so Estelle could collect her son from piano lessons.
Next it was home for lovely French onion soup.
And wines not from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Two Bouzeron wines made from Aligote were interesting pairs. A et P De Villaine was peaty and mineral and savoury and backwards. Confronting at first until the soup came but the evolution in the glass was staggering. Compared well with a Faiveley example that was rounder and more subtle and definitely not confronting.
Reds were a Cotes de Bourguignon. Formerly Passetoutgrains which is a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir (it still counts in the theme) and it was lovely for the Rhone-like earth and tart, stemmy kind of flavours. Contrasted by the plush Moulin a Vent from Beaujolais that was everything that is lovely about a gluggable Beaujolais.
To round out the night I was given a beautiful gift of a pronged opener that is amazingly useful for removing old corks in pristine condition. I’m assured it was not a hint to buy some old wine to taste but it would be a shame to leave this gift unused…
Confirmation: People be nice. I do like.
Tomorrow it is to Macon and adventures in the deep south.