Monday, 30 June 2014

HV wines: Oenotourism/ France

Yes summer holidays are here and sure many will hit beaches, mountains, forest resorts.... but since quite some time many do take the initiative to go on a wine holiday. Sure do not think that you drink from morning to evenings, no wine tourism or oenotourism has much more to it then just that glass of wine.

In this blog I will give you some nice addresses of places to visit if you want to discover French wines in all its forms. Also in this blog I will give as well some addresses if any of you still are looking for a place to lay your head down.




Revelation

Alsace:

Le Canon d'Or; here you will discover one of the best wine lists around, with a menu starting from €38 to €50.
40, rue de Belfort, 68200 Mulhouse, tel; +33.(0)3 89 43 50 63

La Source des Sens; after all that joy, why not taking a spa therapy, here they will make you feel young, energetic and fresh again. If after all that you feel that you might indulge again well they have as well a very good restaurant. More then 600 different wines on the list will leave you spoiled for choice. Menus here are from €38 to €67.
19, route d'Haguenau, 67360 Morsbronn-les-bains, tel; +33. (0)3 88 09 30 53

A place to stay;

L'Ecurie: small but great, only 5 rooms but elegant and a kind of chic countryside. 57, rue de Selestat, 67210 Obernai, tel: +33. (0)3 88 95 59 36.
www.chambresdhotesobernai.com


Bordeaux:

Le Comptoir de Genes; Between Castillon and Saint Emilion, the Comptoir de Genes is unique in its style, as much a cellar, grocery, wine bar and brasserie. It offers almost every single crus from the Cotes des Castillon. You even go down de cellar to choose your wine. menus from €20.
5, Lieu dit La Croix, 33350 Saint-Genes-de-Castillon. tel; +33. (0)5 57 47 90 03

Le Pont Bernet; Finding a place with wines from all over France and the New world isn't that easy in the Medoc. Over 300 references and even for the big wallet Petrus is on the cart. Menus from €40.
1160, route de Soulac, 33290 Le Pian-Medoc. tel; +33. (0)5 56 70 20 19.

A place to stay;

Chateau le Sepe; set between the Dordogne and Saint Emilion, Dominique and Catherine Guffron have two beautiful spacious rooms for about €100 for 2 included breakfast. Chateau le Sepe, 33350 Sainte-Radegonde. tel; +33. (0)6 86 90 88 18
www.chateaulesepe.com

Chateau de Leognan; In the heart of the appellation Pessac-Leognan, sits the Chateau in a park of 6 hectares, four spacious rooms all with view on the park. From €90 to €130 included breakfast.
88,chemin du Barp, 33850 Leognan (Leognan is very close to Bordeaux center) tel; +33. (0)5 56 64 14 96
www.chateauleognan.fr

Bourgogne:

Le Pot d'Etan; The cellar is absolutely hallucinating with a selection 40,000 bottles. The whole of Burgundy set in front of you. Just a little note of caution, Burgundy does not come cheap, for a very simple reason. Little land, so no quantities and many hands want to hold one. Here it seems only lunch service menus from €27. 24, rue Bouchardat, 89440 L'Isle-Sur-Serein. tel; +33. (0)3 86 33 88 10

La Table de Chaintre; Here in the Macconnais in the heart of the vines de Pouilly Fuisse, this restaurant is very popular and reservations are a must at least 3 weeks in advance. Menus are from €38 and of course a fabulous wine lists of what Burgundy has to offer. Le Bourg, 71750 Chaintre, tel; +33. (0)3 85 32 90 95.

A place to sleep

La Maison de Concoeur; Nathalie Meo (domain Meo-Camuzet) hires out a small traditional house in the heart of Concoeur-et-Corboin, close to Nuits-Saint-Georges and Vsone-Romanee. For 6 to 8 people this is available from €675 to €875 a week. 1 rue Barbe-Blanche, 21700 Concoeur-et-Corboin. tel; +33. (0)6 81 88 88 23 or email: nathalie.meo@gmail.com

La maison d'hotes du Domain Trapet; It is an honnour to taste the wines from domain Trapet a tenor of the viticulture in Burgundy, at the house from the domain. You are able to taste different wines from the region and beyond for €42 to €84. A home for 6 people is available from this summer. 4, rue du Chene, 21220 Gebrey-Chambertin. tel; +33. (0)3 80 34 30 40
www.domaine-trapet.fr

Languedoc:

Le bistro d'Ariane; Here you would not imagine such a beautiful cellar with the modest frame of the place, but here you will find over 7000 bottles from the entire region and Rhone. Prices are very reasonable and menus are from about €22. Port Ariane. 3970 Lattes, tel; +33. (0)4 67 20 01 27.

Octopus; in the heart of Beziers, in a frame totally contemporary and creative in a total new design. 300 references on the wine list and menus are starting from €24. 12, rue Boieldieu, 34500 Beziers. tel; +33. (0)4 67 49 90 00
www.restaurant-octopus.com

A place to sleep

Au repos vigneron; In the heart of the Terrasses du Larzac a couple ex wine makers receive you in a XIX Century house. A house with great character and simplicity, beautiful garden and a bliss of silence with swimming pool. Only €80 per night for 2. 6, route de Clemont, 34800 Ceyras, tel; +33. (0)4 34 34 63 74
www.aureposvigneron.fr

Chateau Cabezac; This Chateau has been transformed by the Dondain familie into a great place to relax, discover wine and the region. 12 rooms from €69 is truly a great price for a great location. 23, rue hameau de Cabezac, 11120 Bize-Minervois, tel; +33. (0)4 68  46 23 05
www.chateaucabezac.com

Loire:

La Laurendiere; This establishment doe snot sit right in the middle of the vines but even so it is very close to the river Loire, but the cellar is worthy of a triple Michelin star over 1400 references, a large portfolio and not shy, Mouton-Rotshcild 23 vintages, 56 Romane Conti's, 8 of latour en of course all the star from loire, Cotat, Dageuneau, Huet......menus start from €25. 68, avenue du Loiret, 45160 Olivet, tel; +33. (0)2 38 51 06 78.

A place to stay

Chateau des Noyers; Elisabeth and Jean Besnard offer prestigious room in this B&B, as well wine makers they will let you taste their wines and guide you through the vines. Rooms from €160. Chateau Noyers 49540, Martigne-Briand tel; +33. (0)2 41 54 09 60
www.chateaudesnoyers.com


So here a little selection for those who are planning to track through France or for those who still are looking for something different. So enjoy and have a great summer.

Until next time please do drink responsibly.


Sunday, 29 June 2014

HV wines: New Zealand or France/ Marlborough or Loire?

I have often come across dinner moments when the question was asked if I preferred French Sauvignon Blanc or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
It is somewhat in all its forms a bit difficult to answer that question, as I have come across New Zealand Sauvignons that were absolute despicable and then some that were truly great and very much the same for Loire wines.

So I start with telling them that we should make it clear that we are talking in general about Marlborough wines (95% of sauvignon production) not New Zealand as a whole. It wouldn't be just for the other wine makers who are producing a sauvignon blanc to be labelled in such ways.

The French and the Loire valley in particular approach the Sauvignon blanc differently than the rest of the country, for a long time they have been seen as the sauvignon region of France, although that the grape started its journey in Bordeaux. All the Bordeaux whites hold Sauvignon in the blend. But Loire has been more successful in a way to exploit this grape. If you ask which region do you associate Sauvignon blanc in France, most would point towards Loire.
Marlborough on the other hand is much younger in its history and wine culture, at first the explosion commercially for the grape globally made marlborough a first class exporter. Many enthusiasts (many with little wine making knowledge) jumped on the wagon and started to produce wine. With amongst a lot of the cheap end line the over extracted fruits and tarty elements, making the wine becoming pretty vulgar in its form, thankfully were there some absolute beauties you wouldn't think for a second that it is from New Zealand helped save the reputation.

Image result for loire wine













Marlborough and Loire
New-Zealand on the modern/commercial wine making aspect is still in a young stage, we are talking here of 50 years commercial culture, even though wine making was introduced into the country in the middle of the nineteenth Century. Soil and culture do take time to adept and as well the geographical position plays an important part. New Zealands soils are one of the most fertile soils on the planet and it is for nothing called by many the world's largest farm, yes more sheep then inhabitants is a fact. New-Zealand lamb is amongst the best in the world if not the best.

For all those who have seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Hobbit, have a pretty a good idea of the diversity and beauty the country offers. The population of New-Zealand is about 4.3 million, many major cities on our planet have more inhabitants than the entire country.

They grow wine from the top of the Northern part to almost the tip of the Southern part. New-Zealand is divided in two island, the Northern Island and the Southern Island, Marlborough where about 95% of the sauvignon is planted in New-Zealand finds itself on the northern tip of the south island.

Loire on the other hand belongs amongst the vineyards the most extended in France, with a large variety of soil structure. Also famous for its Chateaux, it was here in this region that the Royals lived in this vast luscious green environment (also called the garden of France), enjoying their wealth but still close enough to Paris in case of an emergency. Wine played an important part, many vineyards raised from the ground as all wanted to serve the Aristocracy(money) as well getting in the ranks with the most powerful.

The love for wine in the French hearts is a DNA rooted and cemented centuries long almost unimaginable. Here the philosophy regarding wine making is in harmony with the soil its terroir. Generations of wine culture and continuity, organic farming has been going on for many hundreds of years. The wines from Loire are renowned worldwide and many seek the style they make. It is said that the first vines were planted around Tours in 372. We all have had a Sancerre, a Vouvray, Anjou, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine or a Chinon to name a few. Loire wines look more into the subtlety and terroir a defined identity.

New-Zealand sauvignons are totally different (for most of them) from the Loire sauvignon blanc. In New-Zealand  they first of all irrigate a lot, (not allowed in France, it's the law). So the vines are less stressed and more vigorous. The yields are far higher (general terms), in Marlborough their crop is at two to three times the levels of the Loire.Vine density is much lower than in France, so less competition between the vines. In New-Zealand growers analyse for sugar and acidity and then decide when to harvest. In Sancerre they taste the grapes constantly and don't analyse them until they're pressed. Also the estates in Sancerre are much smaller than those in Marlborough.

In Sancerre they can monitor their vines more accurately whilst in Marlborough it is much harder due to the size of the vineyards (for certain tasks they use helicopters). Harvest in Sancerre takes two weeks while in Marlborough it can take up to four weeks. Alcohol levels in Marlborough reaching easily 14%, despite the high yields,(also for me higher yields less quality). In Loire they produce rather a Sancerre then a Sauvignon, in Marlborough they strongly emphasising on varietal character. New-Zealand wine maker favour yeast that will give very aromatic wines, New-Zealand makes fashion wines to meet the client demands,like many new world countries the business motto is different, which does absolutely not mean its worse, far from it.

In Loire the aromas are important but not as important as the wine's palate and structure. In New-Zealand there is more emphasis on fruitiness and aromas, of which I know people love it, but through my experience they are far from the refined and profoundly interested wine lover. There is for example the Cloudy Bay lover (ironically in the hands of a French giant LVMH), drinks it but has no real clue what it all means it's just fashionable and as it belongs to a big luxury giant it must be good? Loire focuses on different terroirs, like flint, chalk, clay- as they do give recognisably different wines. In Marlborough soil counts for less, as it's a new region and its soil is not well understood so far. In recent years more and more smaller growers looking at cultivating their sauvignons differently more a Loire way one could say.

I am not entirely convinced if there is really a consumer's demand for these styles of  cheap over fruity/veggy and aromatic wines! You see many senior judges in New-Zealand are Marlborough wine makers, who reward the vegetal style wines they make. Those wines that win gold medals and trophies are then sought out by supermarkets (most supermarkets are out for a kill so globalizing wine for the palate where identity doesn't really count, profit is more important, shareholders will not touch these wines) and other large buyers. A vicious circle that Stephen Brook tried to break when he was chairman of the Air New-Zealand competition by reducing Marlborough judges. Marlborough stands by its overpowering vegetal and herbaceous aromas and flavours, as they believe that is what the soil and climate of Marlborough gives and gives best. Also many of the fields in Marlborough are machine harvest which in all discussion does reduce your quality of the wine. From the moment the skin of the grape burst,the process of fermentation has started. Only way to reduce it down a tiny bit is to chemically protect it, till you arrive in the winery, and that can take up some time.

Marlborough

Dog Point Section 94 2010, Score 18.5/20 (95/100) £18.25-£25, $27.75-$37.5,€21.30-€28.75
Discreet ripe Citrus nose, flavours very ripe grapefruit, intense and crystalline, its racy fruit a very pure expression of sauvignon, very long.  




Cloudy Bay, Te Koko 2011, Score 18/20 (93/100) £28-£33,$42-$49.50,€32.20-€37.95
Ripe green apple nose, with discreet oak. Rich en suave full-bodied and dense but has fine citric acidity. Elegant and long.






Clos Henri 2011, Score 17.5/20 (91/100) £17.99,$27,€20.70
Delicate nose of green peas and passion fruit. Full bodied and weighty but balanced by fine acidity, long lifted finish.

St Clair, Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block 2013, Score 17.5/20 (91/100) £16.99,$25.50,€21.85
Firm gooseberry nose, concentrated and full, this is a more powerful, compact style. Solid and long.


Mahi Boundary Farm 2011, Score 17/20 (90/100) £17.95,$26.85,€20.65
Muted grassy nose, concentrated and solid- a ripe rather then herbaceous style, with good acidity on the finish.





Pouilly Fume


Didier Dagueneau, Silex 2011, Score 18.5/20 (95/100) £61.60-£68,$91.50-$102,€70.85-€78.20
Spice style nose, rich and full-bodied, taut and firm, with great concentration, minerality, and length.




Chateau de Tracy 2012, Score 18/20 (93/100) £18-£21,$27-$31.50,€20.70-24.15
Ripe apricot nose, rich and suave, spicy and lively, concentrated, some lees influence yet vigorous, bright and fresh.

Chatelain, Chailloux Silex 2010, Score 17/20 (90/100) £14.50, $21.75, €17.
Delicate green pea nose, creamy and full-bodied, with good weight of fruit and concentration. Some slight mineral austerity on the long finish.


Masson-Blondelet, Angelot 2012, Score 17/20 (90/100) £15.25,$22.90, €17.55
Floral, smoky, citrus nose full-bodied 28.20and compact, citrus  and minerals, spicy and quite long.



Sancerre

Alphonse Mellot, Generation XIX 2012, Score 18/20 (93/100) £33. $49.50, €37.95
Good attack, with old vine concentration, a creamy texture, and long, very mineral finish








Gerard Boulay, Clos de Beaujeu 2010, Score 18/20 (93/100) £28.50, $42.75, €32.75
Firm grassy nose, plump and full-bodied, concentrated and firm, showing restraint and good depth of fruit, long, nutty finish.

Vincent Pinard, Harmonie 2010, Score 18/20(93/100) £24.50, £36.75, €28.20
Very okay nose, Dense, concentrated and still rather austere, this has grip and extract but needs time, long finish.






Vacheron, Romains, 2011, Score 18/20 (93/100) £33.50, $50.25, €38.25
Very ripe apricot nose, some citrus too. Full-bodied, creamy, and concentrated, this also has fine acidity and flinty precision, spicy and powerful, textured and long.

Menentou-Salon

Pelle, Morogues 2012, Score 16.50/20 (88/100) £14.95, $22.45, €17.20
Ripe grassy nose and gooseberry, lively and concentrated, with good acidity that tails off a bit on the finish, fine precision and typicity.









So to whom who likes to compare, the selection above is a fair spread example of the two style sauvignons and judge for yourself if you are a southern or northern sauvignon drinker!!

Until next time please do drink responsibly

(source of information,decanter, Guide Hachette, Larousse du vin, wines from the southern hemisphere)



Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Wine Legends: Vega Sicilia, Unico 1964 Ribera del Duero, Spain

Our next contender classified as a legend is without a doubt Vega Sicilia, from Spain. I had the opportunity to taste/drink this wine and it immediately shifts you to a different planet. The craft, beauty, strength, depth, balance, character, seduction.....and I can go on and on, this wine posses must be something many envy. Yes, this wine does not come cheap in any vintage (we talk of the Unico here, there are other Vega Sicilia's although at a tenner you will not get one either). We often do not look at Spain to produce magic in a bottle like this one here but for those who are not familiar with this house, let me introduce it to you......

Vega Sicilia, Unico 1964


A legend because..........
Vega Sicilia is Spain's most prestigious estate, and until the 1950's, probably the only one with an international reputation. Most of its production goes into a wine called Valbuena- it is made from younger vines and contains more Merlot then Cabernet Sauvignon, and is aged for five years before release. But the finest parcels are reserved for Unico. This wine produced only in top vintages, and 1964  was such a vintage truly outstanding in Ribera del Duero. It also happened to be the centenary of the founding of Vega Sicilia.

Looking back.........
The estate was founded in 1864 and planted mostly with French varieties brought back as cuttings from Bordeaux by a gentleman named Eloy Lecanda, whose father owned the property. These flourish alongside the local Tinto del Pais, today known as Tempranillo. By the early 20th Century, Vega Sicilia was already recognised for its supreme quality. But distribution was restricted primarily to friends and family. In 1964 the company was under stewardship of Jesus Anadon, who used his prestige to help found the Ribera del Douero DO in 1982.

The vintage.........
The winter was cold and rainy, but the summer was exemplary for vines, with cool nights alternating with hot days. The harvest took place in early October, also in fine conditions.

The Terroir.........
The vines of which a high proportion are old, occupy more then 200 hectares at an elevation of around 700 meters. The soils are dominated by limestone and schist, and the fact that many vineyards are planted on north-facing slopes means good acidity levels are retained in the grapes and wines. Although French varieties still play a part in the Vega Sicilia blends, the lion's share is Tempranillo, which is trained as bush vines; by contrast the Cabernet-Sauvignon and Merlot are trained along the Guyot system, as in Bordeaux. Green harvesting, as well as the naturally low production of the old vines, keep yields in check. Harvesting is highly selective, with the picking dates varying according to the variety, parcel and age of the vines.

The wine..........
The winemaking at Vega Sicilia has always been extremely complicated, and the winemakers have often been reluctant to spell out their techniques in any detail. What characterises Unico, a Gran Reserva, is that it is aged for many years both in small American and French oak barrels (coopered on the premises), both new and older, as well as in larger casks and sometimes in cement tanks, often going back and forth between these options. The winemakers were aware of the risks of oxidation and volatile acidity, to which Unico is prone, so the barrels were always kept topped up. The process is prolonged as well as complex, and in some vintages the wines was aged for 16 years before being bottled and released (though recent vintages have only spent about 6 years in wood). Inevitably, the blend varies slightly from year to year. Bottling dates could also vary, depending on the demand for the wine. The 1964 vintage, made by Jesus Anadon, began its life in large casks for two years, then a further two years in 575-litre barrels, and completed its ageing in mostly older barrels for a further seven years. it first appeared on the market in 1976.

The Reaction..........
Chris Kissack; reporting on his "the winedoctor.com" website, tasted the wine in 2003, and noted a tawny colour, some volatile acidity on the nose, and evident maturity. More positively, he wrote " still has firm acidity with a rounded, almost velvety mouthfeel, by no means has it dried out. Leathery notes. Wonderful persistence on the finish."

Michael Brodabent; tasting the wine over a span of 10 years, remarked: "Initially tannic but eventually beautifully evolved". He observed that Unico is a wine that requires decanting and proper aeration for the bouquet  to display itself fully.

Serena Sutcliffe MW of Sotheby's; in 2001 she detected earthy mushrooms on the nose, with violets and aniseed. Lovely, opulent, Burgundian taste. Sweet, melting violetty fruit.

The Facts..........
Bottles produced: 96,000
Composition blend: 65% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, Malbec & Albillo
Yields: N/A
Alcohol: 13.5%
Release price: 2,700 pesetas (equivalent to €16 £13 $19.5
Price Today: £473, €576.60 $709.50

So for those who can and desire to grab one of Spain greatest, it is a wine as said in the comments, needs to air and most likely to be decanted. Be patience, and when you sip it, it will drive you though the charms and beauty of Spain's wickedly beautiful history.

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

(source of information Decanter magazine)

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Wine Legends: Mastroberardino, Taurasi Riserva 1968 Campania, Italy

In the series of wine legends I came across this Italian wine, for which if I had not frequently travelled to Italy in the last two years, I might not have discovered, as over here it is something of a rarity. Even so this wine house has stood the tides of times, there is since recent a rise in admiration for the wines of Southern Italy, Campania, Puglia and Sicily the three star players. Today I will focus on Taurasi de Mastroberardino from Campania.

Mastroberardino, Taurasi Riserva 1968, Campania, Italy



A legend because......
Even so that Mastroberardino enjoyed since long a reputation of excellency for its Taurasi this 1968 stood out of the lot recognised as a true legend. The vintage was of such quality that the company produced three special cuvees of Taurasi as well as this Riserva, which was a blend from all three cuvees. Mastroberardino's Taurasi owes its reputation as an extremely long-lived wine to vintages such as this, which are still in their prime.

Looking back........
The Mastroberardino firm dates back to 1878 but had to be relaunched after all its markets were lost during world war II. It was the late Antonio Mastroberardino who transformed Campanian viticulture by reviving the almost extinct Fiano and Greco di Tufo grape varieties. This was at a time that Italian wine authorities were urging growers in Campania to plant Sangiovese and Montepulciano rather then reviving the indigenous varieties. White Taurasi existed as a wine long before, it was thanks to Mastroberardino that it gained an international reputation. The oldest Taurasi in the Mastroberardino cellars dates from 1928, and vintages from the 1920's  are still alive if fully mature.

The vintage.......
The growing season in 1968 was very warm, with only a few millimeters of rainfall in the summer. These, dry warm conditions created a generous crop with great concentration of colour and tannins; this concentration ensured the excellent quality of the Aglianico grapes and explain the remarkable longevity of wines from this vintage was immediately apparent and current president Piero Mastroberardino (he was age two at the time) remembers 1968 being spoken of with reverence ever since.

The Terroir...........
The Aglianico grapes came primarily from the company's 12-hectare vineyard at Montemrrano in the southern part of the present DOCG region. Other grapes would have come from sites in Pain d'Angelo and Castelfranci. At Montemarano the vines are planted at elevation of 500m to 650m and face southeast. The soils are clay and crushed limestone, and planted density is 4,000 vines per hectare. The climate is essentially continental, with hot days and cool nights, which delay maturation and consolidate the acidity and tannins. Grapes are usually harvested in early November, at yields generally between 45hl and 50hl/ha.

The wine.......
Although DOCG regulations allow the inclusion of 15% of other grapoe varieries, Taurasi at Mastroberardino has always been made entirely from Aglianico. The grapes were picked by hand and destemmed at the winery. The wine remains ten days on the skins during fermentation. It was given long ageing, up to 36 months, in large casks of Slovenian chestnut wood. In the 1960's the wines were aged for about eight years in the company's cellars in Antripalda before being released.

The Reaction.........
Burt Anderson; in 2001 remarked in "Best Italian Wines" 'Admirers of Taurasi will never forget Mastroberardino's riserva from the 1968 vintage.

Antonio Galloni; recently reported (2010), for the "The Wine Advocate"; Marvellously dense and ethereal, this classy, breathtaking Taurasi offers up a melange of plums, prunes, liquorice, herbs, spices and minerals, showing incredible detail and tons of inner perfume. Amazingly, the 1969 comes across as incredibly youthful and vigorous.

Stephen Brooks, Sweet, intense nose, still floral and lifted, with charm and freshness. Medium-bodied, completely fresh, concentrated and balanced, still tannic and bright and vigorous, elegant and persistent, with little sign of age.

The Facts....... 
Bottles produced: 20,000
Composition: 100% Aglianico
Yields: 40hl/ha
Alcohol: 12.25%
Release price: N/A
Price today: £450 €517.50 $675

I have never been able to taste a Taurasi and in particular a Mastroberardino, so another bucket list item I sure need to try and ideally well aged. This wine seems to lush and brush the desire of intense pleasure just that tickle more and have my throat dry and craves to sin just that once more with the divine pleasure that is wine.

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

(source of information Decanter magazine)


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Wine Legends: Domaine Rousseau, Chambertin 1993, Burgundy, France


There are times when something truly special out of the ordinary arrives. A wine so sublime, so unique that even a King has to be reminded that patience is a virtue. Burgundy out of all has often sprung to the spotlight with something no one can challenge, no one can produce. Here is the story of such a rare Burgundian.   

Domaine Rousseau, Chambertin 1993
Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru, Burguny, France


A legend because.....
Although there are some other domains with important holdings in Chambertin, Rousseau is widely regarded as the supreme exponent of this exceptional terroir. Chambertin is always powerful, demanding and ageworthy, the Rousseau wines give you magic, combined with power, concentration and dashing elegance. 1993 is not regarded as an outstanding vintage overall in Burgundy, but Rousseau made that year exceptional wines, and this Chambertin is seen as superior to the much-acclaimed 1990.

Looking back.....
Charles Rousseau, reached the pinnacle of his powers in 1993, and was already started to hand over the reins to his son Eric. With the hand-over there was no revolutionary change to the structure as Charles kept a close eye and expertise at the domain. Eventually over the years Eric would make his own contributions, especially to work in the vineyard, consolidating his father's achievement.

The people.....
Armand Rousseau was one of the first growers in Burgundy to start bottling his own wines, in the 1930's,- a period of cash-strapped merchants were unwilling to purchase more wine from growers. After his death in 1959, his place was taken by his son Charles, a revered wine maker who has acted as mentor to many of the region's great names. Charles doubled the size of the domain to 14 hectares to a series of shrewd acquisitions, primarily grand crus. Eric Rousseau reflects the interest of his generation in improving farming methods and controlling yields; in the cellar he works much the same way as his father Charles, with some fine tuning.

The vintage.....
A wet, overcast July led to mildew and Oidium, but August was warm and sunny. There was intermittent rain from mid-September to early October, but the pinot skins where thick (even so pinot skin is one of the skinniest in the grape world), days were cool, and there was neither rot nor dilution. Harvesting took place in the last week of September. The small berries resulted in concentrated reds that also had good colour and acidity. Rousseau's characteristic low yields paid off in terms of ripening and flavour, though the wines were notably tannic.

The terroir.....
Rousseau is the largest owner in Chambertin with 2.55 hectares of the 12.9 hectares the appellation holds. The vines are in four parcels that lie on a gently sloping mid-slope at an elevation of 275 metres to 300 metres, protected from the colder upper slopes and avoiding richer soils lower down. The subsoil is Bajocian limestone, and the topsoil varies, with pebbles and clay distributed to varying degrees. The holdings are results of purchases from 1921 onwards, the most recent in 2009.
Average vine age is around 60 years, and the density are exceptionally high, 12,000 vines per hectare.

The wine.....
Yields rarely exceed 30hl here, kept low by hard pruning and debudding rather then green harvesting-and a ruthless selection is made in the vineyards. At the winery, grapes are mostly destemmed, chilled to 15 degrees, and left to macerate without temperature control for up to three weeks. Extraction is achieved initially by frequent pumpovers and subsequently by punching down the cap. After pressing, the juice is run off into 100% new barrels. The 1993 would have spend between 20 and 24 months in barrel, though current practise at the domain is to leave the wine in wood for only 18 months.

The reaction.......
In 2007 Jancis Robinson MV enthused: Sweet and scented nose. Very rich and sweet on the palate. Round and winning. Reverberates and dances. Lively, Racy.

Benjamin Lewin MV in 2011 gave a detailed appraisal: Mineral nose with perfumed notes of violets. Beautiful, developed palate, just short of savoury, slightly tea-like and herbal finish, complex layers of flavour. Subtle palate, developed fruits integrating perfectly with acidity and tannins, a very long perfumed finish.

In 2013 Neal Martin wrote: Scents of wild strawberry, raspberry, hints of wild mushroom and truffle. The palate is medium bodied but delivers a crescendo of flavours: raspberry preserve, ceps, hints of tobacco and dried herbs. It fans out gloriously, like a huge wave breaking upon a shoreline... Sublime.

The facts.......
Bottles produced: 8,800
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Yields:  35hl/ha
Alcohol content: 13%
Release price: £43.35 €50 $65
Current price: £1,054 €1,296 $1,760

So as you can see Burgundy is super hot property and as will all good Burgundian's "goods things comes to those who wait".


Until next time please do drink responsibly.