At last - a brief moment when I can post an update on our visit to Burgundy. Carrie and I arrived in Beaune at 9:00 on Friday morning and have been fully immersed in tasting and learning ever since. Since Friday, we’ve visited and tasted with six producers, traveled from the Macon in the south to Gevrey-Chambertin in the north, stomped through a dozen or more muddy vineyards, eaten far too much rich food, and tasted more than 250 wines. We have another three domains to visit today and tomorrow before Carrie starts for home and I work my way down to the Rhone valley.
I’ll post notes on each producer visit later (along with at least a few embarrassing pictures of Carrie), but here are some quick highlights from the visit so far:
The 2007 whites are losing their initial astringency and starting to show good complexity and richness. The better 2007 blancs still want another 6 months or so to round out, but many are developing into very tasty wines for mid-term consumption. The best terroirs and producers have given us wines that will gain complexity and depth for another 5-8 years.
The 2007 reds remain plush, rich, and ready for immediate enjoyment. While most lack the structure needed for long-term development, wines from Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne Romanee, and even the south (Chassagne, Blagny) present very attractive, ripe, fruit with adequate minerality and tannic structure for balance and depth.
The 2008s are even more promising for early drinking. The whites have a little more fat and fruit than the 2007s with slightly less acidity, although better producers still captured a fine level of minerality. Maillard’s 2008 Chorey-les-Beaune Blanc is a beauty, and I’m very eager to taste the 2008 Grivault Bourgogne Blanc later today. The reds are juicy, fresh, and friendly in the lesser terroirs and then get progressively complex, deep, and powerful as you move up the line. Jean Michel Guillon’s Mazis-Chambertin 2008 is monumental, one of the best young red Burgundies I’ve ever tasted.
And then there’s 2009. Expect to hear a lot of hype about this vintage, one that gave large yields of ripe, unblemished, fruit in almost every village. There’s no question to me that the reds will be magnificent - possibly in the same league as 2002. The whites are definitely showy and rich, but we’ll need to see them next year to know whether they have the acid and mineral spines they’ll need to be great.
I was very impressed by the 2008 whites at Domaine Larue and the 2007 and 2008 reds at Guillon. Guillon, in particular, has continued making great strides over the past few years, and his wines now exhibit a silkiness and finesse that allow the ripe fruit to come forward and take center state. And, Pascal Maillard’s 2008s are pretty much irresistible, especially the 2008 Chorey-les-Beaune Blanc that returns to the richer, more forward, style of 2005 and 2006.
We’re off today to taste at Mersault producer Albert Grivault and then to taste and have dinner with Sylvan Bzikot before finishing our Burgundy visit at Lamy-Pillot tomorrow morning. Hopefully I’ll have time to actually start writing up notes on the train to Lyon tomorrow!