We are delighted to announce that Stuart Grostern has joined our team at WanderCurtis.
Stuart has an exceptional palate to match his cellar. His excellent tasting notes and recommendations spanning 15 years can be found on the Wine Spectator Forum under BirDungy. Below is his valuable insight into Burgundy en primeur 2016.
After having to miss the entire 2015 vintage tasting due to unreasonable work responsibilities, I have rebounded to attend the annual Berry Bros and Rudd Burgundy en primeur tasting. I was fortunate to have arrived early enough to taste some but not all of the greatest wines there, notes below on approx 40 wines.
To start, I think everyone has heard that 2016 was a year badly affected by frost which drastically reduced crop size in some vineyards by as much as 90%. The wines are, therefore, harder to get good allocations of and up (again, especially coupled with Brexit GBP devaluation vs. EUR) in price. However, many of the wines I tasted were beautiful and highly expressive of their place, open to taste, and showing very well during the tasting. Against this, given the ever changing complexion of the region, many new makers are on the rise, with many established makers extending their reach beyond their typical villages. This is not always a good thing, as I found a real mix of newer names, some excellent, and some not so, to be evident from this tasting.
Reds were, in general, open for tasting, fruit driven and well-balanced. I found quite a lot of barrel influence in evidence, even at the villages levels, with some clumsy efforts made especially in those makers who either picked later or tried too hard to find an expression for their wines that didn’t always match the appellation. Some of the villages wines were excellent, and definitely represent the best value IMO. A big shout goes for Ghislaine Barthod’s Chambolle Musigny villages, easily one of the top 3 wines of the night. Morey St Denis also did well and was not very affected by frost. Clos Vougeot in the grands crus stood out. The up and coming winemaker from this tasting for me was Jerome Castagnier, whose wines were all beautiful and full of life.
I have bought across the Cote de Nuits apart from NSG (no real reason), and have not focused on whites because I just have too much white Burgundy and do feel now that some of the newer world chards from NZ (esp) and cooler climate Aussie whites are so close in quality at a fraction of the price that I just couldn’t bear adding any more.
I only tasted a handful of whites, so I don’t have a lot to say here. Colleagues of mine did taste more and liked the vintage, which is reputed to have produced good quality whites across the spectrum, more akin to the 2014 vintage.
Here are the notes:
DOMAINE DE COMTE ARMAND
Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux, 1er cru
Concentrated purple fruit nose, emitting strong dark grape essence. In the mouth, medium bodied, more purple concentrated fruit, grapey, with fantastic balance of fruit, acidity and tannins. Very long finish. Excellent wine, seem to have hit the nail on the head with this wine.
MAISON CAMILLE GIROUD
Santenay, Clos Rousseau 1er cru
Red fruit nose of raspberry, dried roses, and a bit of smoke. Very balanced mouthfeel, giving a real sense of elegance matching the nose. This wine is pure and honest, is what it is and represents excellent value at approx. £38/btl all in. One of my favourite wines of the tasting.
Charmes Chambertin grand cru
Beautiful light red fruit nose, powdery, perfumed with sweet flowers with an underlying concentration of fruit belying some power. A wonderful balance of fruit, tannin and acidity, with a hint of animal savoury flavour. This wine has perfect balance, and its name is apt for its charm. Excellent.
Chassagne Montrachet, Embazees 1er cru
Very strong ripe fruit nose, with vanilla essence. Very honeyed in the mouth, showing the pear and pineapple fruita but perhaps too much. I think this is overripe for my taste. Not sure how well this will age.
Meursault Genevrieres 1er cru
Very strong vanilla influence on the nose, overpowering. IN the mouth, overpowered by the vanilla essence, leaving an overly sweet cloying flavour. Again, not to my taste and not clear how well this will age.
Volnay Clos de la Cave des Ducs 1er cru
Darker fruit nose with caramel and vanilla. In the mouth, tart fruit with good concentration and acidity. Very elegant, and nicely balanced. A beautiful wine, very very good.
Pommard Rugiens-Haut 1er cru
A darker Pommard character shines out, slightly animal with purple fruit nose. The palate is lighter initially and then gives way to concentrated fruit, followed by bigger hit of acidity than the Volnay. A drying finish, and then a touch of ox that perhaps gives the sense of over enthusiasm with barrels.
DOMAINE DE LA VOUGERAIE
Vougeot Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot 1er cru (white)
Slightly charred nose, but giving the essence of chardonnay. Sweet tart fruit, wonderful depth and concentration, perfect balance of acidity and fruit, an absolutely stunning wine. Outstanding.
Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles
Slightly ox’d nose, cloves, a little cloying. Good fruit concentration, drying tannins. This wine needs more time.
Clos de Vougeot grand cru
Very smokey nose, slightly animal, dark fruit with some perfume showing but quite closed for the vintage. Silky tannin mouth, wonderful on the palate with a good slug of wood offsetting the clearly ripe tart fruit and the acidity, leaving a very well balanced wine. Finishes with darker fruit. Very Very good.
DOMAINE MICHELE AND PATRICE RION
Chambolle Musigny Les Cras
Very pale in colour compared to most other wines. Gamey with red cranberry juice, strawberry jam and cinnamon – almost not a wine nose but something from my pantry. Strawberry jam flavour, with good acidity against the fruit, but not a lot else. Not very complex. Good
Nuits St Georges Clos des Argillieres 1er cru
A bit of horseradish, vanilla, strawberry jam, with a slightly smokey edge nose. Good tart fruit, nicely balanced strawberry and cherry with some spices and tea. Mid weight on the palate, long finish, and well balanced. Very very good.
Nuits St Georges Clos de la Marechale 1er cru
Strong fruit nose, grape koolaid or juice, and very purple. Tart fruit set against good acidity with very drying tannins. Very well balanced fruit and acidity, leaving this feeling effortless. Long finish. Very very good – this wine is often impossible to taste at this stage, quite sulfuric, and needing more bottle time so quite a good showing for a long sleeper.
DOMAINE SYLVAIN CATHIARD
Typical Vosne nose hits you straight out of the glass, cherry, tea, vanilla, earth, animal. Ripe dark fruit, a bit sherbety with real concentration and power. Chewy tannins balanced by the fruit and acidity. A very lovely wine, very very good.\
Vosne Romanee Aux Malsoncourts 1er cru
More closed than the villages with subtle cherry, roses and tea leaves. A riper fruit palate, sweet cherry with some fat, and strong concentration of sherbet powder on the very long finish. Excellent.
DOMAINE JEAN GRIVOT
Cherry candy nose with a whiff of animal. Concentrated raspberry with a strong taste presence, finishing slightly bitter with mid length – typical Grivot young wine. Very good.
Nuits St Georges, Les Pruliers 1er cru
Darker roaster nose of cassis. Taut palate with very concentrated dark fruit – a driven wine with strong acidity and a long finish. Very very good.
Clos de Vougeot grand cru
Voluptuos nose of fruit and flowers, complex bouquet of flowers and vanilla. Strong cherry fruit with some animal essence, spices, cassis, dark cherry, just bags of fruit here. A strong barrel influence for this young wine, tannins in force but well balanced, with a slightly drying bitter finish. A beautiful sweet long finish screams balance. Wonderful.
Cough medicine and sour cherry nose, smells like it’s slightly oxidised. Same in the mouth. Bleh.
DOMAINE GHISLAINE BARTHOD
Sappy fruit, violets, and raspberry, with purple fruit in the nose. A darker wine than usual. Very concentrated but supple fruit, with an underlying power that finishes super long. Just a beautiful make you want to cry wine. Excellent.
Chambolle Musigny Les Baudes 1er cru
There is an extra dimension of florality on this compared to the villages that is in addition to everything the villages has, including a bit more vanilla. This is such an elegant wine, precise, long – a real wow wine with a slightly hot finish. Wow.
DOMAINE LOUIS BOILLOT & FILS
Grape bubblegum nose, essence of grape Koolaid. Taste is similar, with concentrate grape jelly, but much weight in the mid-palate, which doesn’t live up to what the nose tells me I will get. Sweet and tart fruit, very nice balance but is this really from Gevrey?? Tastes more like Volnay to me
Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles
Similar nose but wutg more concentration. More fruit in the mouth, with good acidity balanced against the tannins with a bit more weight and length than the villages. Good but again, not really GC to me.
Charmes Chambertin grand cru
Very ripe raspberry and cherry nose, with flowers and earth. A beautiful nose with hints of tea. Sweet ripe cherry fruit, with strong acidity balancing it out, and tannins just so. A beautifully balanced wine. Excellent.
Clos de Vougeot grand cru
A subdued nose with a bit of horse hair, purple fruit like cassis. Super concentrated ripe fruit, tart acidity. Medium bodied, very precise and long. The tannins are chewy and balance well against the fruit and acidity. A super wine. Excellent
Morey St Denis Vieilles Vignes
Purple fruit with some animal, really sexy nose. Concentrated tart fruit, with good acidity and beautiful tannins. A really well balanced wine with a linear fruit taste profile. Very very good.
Morey St Denis Les Faconnieres
Just like the VV but with more animal essence in the nose, just a lovely wine to breathe. Dark syrupy fruit of cherry and raspberry, very concentrated with a bit of fat sweetness and a good finish. Wonderful wine. Excellent
DOMAINE DES LAMBRAYS
Morey St Denis
Lifted nose of fruit, flowers and vanilla essence, concentrated grape juice and cinnamon. A beautiful fruit expression of concentrated grape juice like the nose. Strong acidity is well balanced by the tannins. A great wine. Excellent
Clos des Lambrays grand cru
Nose much more closed, with some hints of the MSD. A super charged concentrated wine, perfectly balanced between ripe tart fruit, silky tannins, and acidity, finishing slightly hot. Amazing. Excellent
JEAN LUC & ERIC BURGUET
Gevrey Chambertin Symphonie
Raisined nose characteristic, still a bit sulfury and a bit dirty on the nose. Concentrated drier fruit of prunes and raisins with good acidity and tannins. Was this picked too late?? Ok
Gevrey Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes
Nose of dried fruits, cloves, raisins, with some horse hair and earth. Concentrated sweet and tart fruit, with a better palate than nose, showing cloves and spices. Very good balance and long finish. Very very good.
Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
Overty oaky nose, over dominates the rest. Clumsy oaky wine with drying tannins that really needs a lot more time in bottle. Not knit. Clumsy.
Chapelle Chambertin grand cru
Charred smokey nose, with cherries and flowers, very pretty. Sweet ripe fruit, vanilla and spices but a bit lightweight in body. Nice concentration of fruit but more pretty than substantial. Drying finish. Very good.
Chambertin grand cru
Charred smokey nose, lots of barrel, with horse/manure, animal, earth and cloves hiding the fruit in the nose. Sweet fat fruit, fresh raspberry and cherry with good acidity enclosing the fruit. Strong tannins with a slightly hot finish,. Good balance and very long. Very very good.
Hope you enjoyed these.