Burgundy 2009 and 2008 (and 2010 in barrel) + videos

You have to love maps in Burgundy!

Based on visits in late May and early June 2011… CHECK OUT MY VIDEOS: HERE

It is a big debate these days. Climate change in the vineyard vs. typicity. Many believe that 2008 Burgundy will prove to be the more “pure” expression of Pinot Noir, made from a cold climate, as it should be. While a vintage like 2009, far more flattering in its youth, will not never be as complex. But opinions vary like so many economists discussing the best way to solve the euro crisis or debt in the developing world. While enjoying a lovely meal at Caves Madeleine, that is what owner Laurent Prelin said. An amiable and accommodating sommelier/owner, who has a true passion for wine. And runs a great friendly restaurant. But the irony here is that Pinot Noir in Burgundy is still brilliantly authentic, when compared to some of the wines we had at the bistro – wines I brought thanks to the public relations manager from Monteverro Toscana, a new winery in Toscana under the consultancy of world famous winemaker Michel Rolland. These wines – see my notes HERE – were about 15% alcohol, made from Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. Although well made, they were far more international in style, and certain to please Robert Parker. Rich, big, bold. And about as far away from 2008 Burgundy as one could get. Come to think of it, also as far away from 2009 Burgundy.

The thing is, Burgundy 2009 was not a really hot vintage. The evenings were cool and therein lies the difference. Although not as balanced as the more structured and likely longer lasting 2005 vintage, the 2009 vintage is no 2003. Few of the wines tasted conveyed any prune like or baked aromas one can find in many 2003s. Indeed, their richness was backed by fine structure. The tannins were suave. The taste was delicious. And even Frederic Mugnier said that 2009 is a “great vintage” that “will last a long time”. So where is the problem? In 2008, the weather was problematic and the challenges were difficult. It was a vintner’s vintage, and some did better than others. Some 2008s I have tried – see also this report – were indeed great, too. But I found far more regularity in 2009, and that can explain their higher pricing. But basic villages wines are not expensive, and well worth your while.

With Jürgen Steinke and Mike Grammer just after lunch in Puligny Montrachet

The whites however are a different story. When you read the notes on Paul Pernot for example, you will see that while the 2009 whites were good, the 2008s have more substance and will last longer. At Bouchard for example, the 2008 whites are superb!

Finally, the 2010s tasted from barrel show much promise. They seem to have the brightness of the 2008s but more fruit, perhaps better ripeness. At least that is what Frederic Mugnier said, comparing the 2010 vintage to the 2008 in that manner. Which may be more user friendly for the reds.

The notes. Readers of my website have gotten to know my notation. I sometimes avoid scoring and opt more for the following method: wines in bold I like, wines in red and bold, I really liked, and when underlined, the wines are great, even sublime. So here goes…

Quick links to the domains visited

Paul Pernot (with video) / Bouchard Pere & Fils / Mugneret Gibourg (with video) / Jacques Frederic Mugnier / Taupenot Merme (with video) / Maison Ilan / Remoissenet / Domaine Newman

Monday  30 May – Sunny but very hot weather, pretty good conditions to taste wine, especially in a cold cellar…

With Paul Pernot

Paul Pernot in Puligny Montrachet is an authentic vigneron. And his wines are almost always very well made. Not much new oak in his whites, which we tasted – did not get to his reds. This was my second visit at his estates in Puligny Montrachet. We tasted many 09s, which were good enough for the vintage, some even very delicious, but the 08s are probably more interesting for the long run. If you do not have premox. Two very different vintages. In 2008, harvest ended at the beginning of October. In 2009, the harvest was from 7-15 September. And although alcohol levels were similar, 2008 had one full gram of acidity more: 4.8 grams per liter as opposed to 3.8 in 2009. Now, I found some 09s flabby, but others well worth the price of admission. Take the simple villages wine at just €22 per bottle. Same price for the 2008, but the 2009 is more flattering today. A sure sign of the demand however for the 08s is their paucity. Most are sold out, while you can still get some 07s and of course 09s. Pernot thinks that 07 is a bit more longer term than 09… and I recall loving the 07s when I tried them from barrel almost two years ago.

Puligny Montrachet 2008. Good richness on the attack, a tad thin on the mid palate – lot of acidity – but the finish is reassuringly full. The Puligny Montrachet 2009 is almost tropical by comparison, certainly less structured, even a tad flabby, but lots of juicy fruit. When tasted again at the end of the tasting I almost wanted to mix the two!

The 2008s will outlast the 2009s, Paul Pernot says in this video, see below:


Meursault Blagny La Pierre sous le Bois 2009. Spearmint like nose, freshness, pears on the palate, although somewhat diffuse and a tad warm on the finish. OK

Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres 2009. Here we have about 30% new oak (earlier wines had none), showing licorice, pear, very rich and broad, a bit too thick for my taste, even somewhat warm?

Puligny Montrachet Clos de la Garenne 2009. Firmer, more mineral, perhaps not immediately exciting, but the palate has more structure and is more interesting to me.

Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 2009. A mix of the two previous wines? Orange blossom nose, a hint of wet stone, richness but not over the top. Nice job! And so popular that both Jürgen Steinke and Mike Grammer who tasted with me bought some of that.

Bienvenue Batard Montrachet 2009. Here we have 40% new oak. Bottled in August. Very rich. Somewhat tropical. There is a veritable volume to this wine but also quite elegant. Is there just a hint of heat?

Batard Montrachet 2009. 45% new oak. Herbal notes, basil. Subtle richness, wintergreen, a cooler aspect, but also opulent. Very successful.

Batard Montrachet 2008. My goodness what difference acidity makes. Here we have a wine that had been opened the day before, carafed and from a half bottle to boot, yet was very fresh while also showing off yellow peach and floral scents and flavors. I see why this is sold out.

Chez Domaine Mugneret Gibourg in Vosne Romanee: a great discovery, thanks to Mike Grammer who organized the visit.

Marie Christine Mugneret

What a great visit! The wines here were all at least very good. I was lucky to have been able to buy some 2009s, many of which were already sold out, but I got two magnificent Echezeaux…  and three excellent Vosne Romanees. Does this domain deserve a golden star, like the one we get in elementary school? YES!

Marie Christine was a fine hostess. She makes the wine with her sister Marie Andree Mugneret. She said that there might have been a bit of acidification in 2009 but certainly a “spoonful” of sugar was added to lengthen the fermentations. Natural yeasts used. In 2003, certainly acidification. In 2008, more chaptalisation. Interesting fact: the village wines were not yet in bottle, but the premiers and grands crus were! The malolactics took longer for the former in 2009! We tasted some 2010s, which showed much promise, perhaps just less brightness than some of the other 2010s tasted at other estates, but just as much purity. It was not the easiest time to taste, because the malos were not all done, and there was reduction, too. Check out the video below – in French- in which Marie Christine explains how the 2011 vintage as of late May resembles the 2007 vintage, which was very hot and dry, until the rains came… She also explains why there was sulfur in the air: lots of preventive treatment as a rain burst was expected (and it came) the next day.


Bourgogne. 10% new oak. 12.5% alcohol. 3.4 pH. Pure cherry aspect. More black than red. Good sap, even somewhat creamy. A bit warm on the finish, but a very fine basic Burg. Just €14.80 at the property. 60-year-old vines!

Vosne Romanee Villages 2009. We saw part of their 3-hectare vineyard, which has varied vine ages, averaging 40 years old. Hint of cinnamon and mocha. Very pretty wine, excellent freshness, with floral notes, violet, and graphite. A rounded and complete wine which I preferred to the next, premier cru level. About 13% alcohol, 25% new oak. Only €27.50 at the property. With giddy glee, I snapped up the three bottles maximum that were authorised to buy per person…

Nuits St Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots.  Slightly higher alcohol, this comes from a vineyard that is northward, closer to Vosne Romanee. There is a Lindt chocolate like finesse on the nose, flattering, but lacking in my opinion the needed lift to make it more special. Could this be what some 2008 fans talk about, about cool climate Pinot being better? Perhaps this wine could illustrate their point. 45% new oak. €40 per bottle.

Chambolle Musigny Les Feusselottes. Here we have a clear step up. Again 45% new oak, 13.5% alcohol. More perfumed aroma of ripe red and black cherries, white flowers, too. The palate displays a fine mineral focus, with refined tannins. I got a hint – just vague – of heat… but overall, a very elegant wine! €44 per bottle, a great price. I know that Mike and Jürgen got some of this!

Echezeaux Grand Cru. Now this was my wine of the tasting and only two bottles were left for what I thought was per person. We were three interested parties and Marie Christine seemed worried that we all wanted this. I ended up with two bottles at €70 per bottle. Money very well spent because this wine exuded superb balance, while juggling poetically floral, cherry pit and cassis aromas and flavors. It was aged in 60% new oak that was perfectly integrated. Not a hint of staves here. Coming from two complementary terroirs: the northern Les Rouges du Bas where the vines average 70 years in age and the more southern Quartiers des Nuits, where vines are 40 years old. Just nine barrels…

Ruchottes Chambertin. Just two other owners of this 3.3 hectare terroir, Armand Rousseau and Christophe Roumier. They have .5 hectares. Stricter nose, graphite. Licorice and mineral. A hint of pepper on the palate, very long and precise. 65% new oak. Impressive, deeper perhaps than the above, but far less charming.

Clos Vougeot. Just five barrels of this, about .333 hectares. Located where the tour busses stop, at the higher end of the 52-hectare appellation, at Monliottes hautes. Even more closed here, with subtle violet aromas. Rich on the palate but subdued. Graphite. “Complex” fruit. Again, 65% new oak, where the toast can be higher. Again, I return to Echezeaux for more pleasure.

At Domaine Remoissenet in Beaune: Manager Bernard Repolt guided us through the tasting of 2010 reds. He was an excellent host and explained very well the wines. Towards the end of the visit, we also met the talented and young Claudie Jobard who vinifies the wines. The day was torrid outside, so it was truly comfortable to taste in the air conditioned cellar.

Tasting in the comfortably cool cellars of Remoissenet

I had already visited this Beaune based property with Pierre Antoine Rovani about 18 months ago. Just after the 2009 harvest in fact. He wanted to offer all his stems. A firm believer in fermentation without stems and later harvesting, Rovani – formerly a critic with Robert Parker – prefers ripe fruit without the “risk” of stems in the fermentation vats. He had told me that while some wines develop well with the stems, too often the stems can be detrimental to the wine. Frederic Mugnier also avoids stems in his vats, although he thinks that in the long run, any stem derived notes are well integrated. He just prefers to avoid any hint of possible bitterness early on.

Here my experience with the 2010 reds was more mixed. While the Corton Renards is magnificent, other appellations were a bit less impressive.


Beaune Greves: This was positive. Bright red fruit. Vivacity. A fine Beaune.

Beaune Toussaints 1er Cru. The nose is a tad closed but the palate is marked, again, by a bright red fruit aspect that indicates a crackly acidity of 2010. Is the fruit riper here than at Mugneret-Gibourg? That was a question posed by Jürgen, and he is perhaps correct. A good balance between the ripe fruit and the acidity.

Beaune Marconnets 1er Cru. Here a spicier nose, strawberry ripeness, is the palate just a tad sharp?

Nuits St Georges (villages). The vineyard is located very close to Vosne Romanee. A touch of spice on the nose, I get ripe red cherry on the nose and on the palate, which is tight and marked by more noticeable acidity.

Vosne Romanee (villages). A darker register. A touch more suave than the above. Fine.

Gevrey Chambertin (villages). Not sure about the sample here. A hint of shoe polish and overly reduced. No comment.

Volnay Robardelles 1er Cru. I get a furry animal aspect on the nose… The palate is warmer, with very ripe fruit, a tad hot to me.

Pommard Arvelets 1er Cru. Another odd sample, as I get nail polish and sour cream. The second sample is far better, with more brightness here, red cherry fruit. Fine.

Pommard Chermots 1er Cru. Medium intensity red fruit, ripe and bright too. Even somewhat smoky making this intriguing. Fine.

Nuits St Georges Bousselots 1er Cru. Ashes, even burnt? The palate is better but there is too much reduction perhaps to appreciate.

Nuits St Georges Damodes 1er Cru. Fine mineral notes, with medium+ fruit intensity, even elegant fruit. A wine to seek out.

Chambolle Musigny Echanges 1er Cru. We joked that this is the swinger club wine…  I get a brief whiff of shoe polish, but then a velvety nose, with spice. The palate is very ripe.

Gevrey Trio 1er Cru. This I just did not like: very coffee, caramel and burnt toast. Far too much new oak?

Gevrey Chambertin Poissenots 1er Cru. Here some shoe polish notes? Coming from a new oak barrel, again… Very ripe on the palate, which is better. But not sure.

Gevrey Chambertin Cazetiers 1er Cru. Far better nose, the best of the Gevreys here. Cherry focused. Although the palate feels just a tad extracted. Still, a big improvement over the Poissenots.

Corton Renardes Grand Cru. Fresh nose, minty aspect, quite beautiful in fact. The palate is juicy, not thick. So there is some tightness, but it acts more as healthy tension to match the ripe fruit which is, again, very juicy and even sumptuous. Lovely wine! Vineyards located high on the slope with northeastern exposure.

Clos Vougeot. Here the nose is more reduced, and has a “thicker” aspect, but the palate shows off serious plum and ripe blackberry fruits, with healthy tightening on the finish. Serious Clos Vougeot.

Chapelle Chambertin. Mentholated nose. There is a certain sweetness to the layered palate, which displays a “grand cru” breed… even if I get the sense that there is a bit of oak derivation, but time will put things all to the good.

Charmes Chambertin. Not sure about this one, it is far more closed, with reduction than the previous wine. The palate is somewhat dumb at this stage, and does not seem quite as “layered” as the previous wine, but it could be just a phase.

Chambertin Clos de Beze. Just 1.5 barrels in 2010 (normally they produce 2), and the cellar master Claudie Jobard showed up… great to have the winemaker there. The nose was rather rich, but not heavy. Very well integrated oak. The flavor intensity on the palate was high, displaying strength but not monolithic. A very impressive wine, with structure, fruit and tannin all well balanced and ready for the long haul. Not as immediately charming as the Corton Renardes, which has to be my overall favorite of all the reds here, but will likely outlast it and perhaps prove to be even better in the longer run.

Dinner at Caves Madeleine.

A go-to, highly rated restaurant in Beaune. Unpretentious, inexpensive and good sums up the overall ambiance and food quality. The cavernous setting is amenable to wine and food, and guests can choose from very fairly priced wines from all over France, including outside France. A top quality German Riesling? You can get it there. As well as some exceptional French wines, from Jacques Frederic Mugnier’s Musigny 2006, which costs under €300. For a restaurant price, a great deal. But also other lovely wines, including affordable Chablis and less prestigious red Burgundy appellations. Laurent Prelin, owner and sommelier, is a great host. He authorized me to bring four samples of wine from the next super Tuscan wine, at least that is what Monteverro would like to be. Many thanks to Olympia Romba, sales and marketing manager, who sent me the samples.

Here the notes:

Although the wines are very well made, and they would please many a palate, they do not really constitute my style of wine. There is a bigness to them that I think quite international in approach. And I am certain that Robert Parker will give at least two of them very high scores. Michel Rolland is the consultant.

Let’s look at the best of the bunch, the Monteverro Toscana 2008. Very well made, with a fruit filled and big palate. Rich and intense. Its 15% alcohol is not really showing as such, but the wine is large scaled and intense. Fellow taster Jürgen Steinke, who tastes regularly with the Grand Jury Europeen, believes that it would be confused with certain Right Bank Bordeaux wines from 2009 or 2010, if tasted blind. Although the blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, it also has 10% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot.

The second wine, Terra de Monteverro, has a slightly fresher nose, and the palate does show a “Rollandesque” plum richness. Jürgen said that it “flirts” with over-ripeness, and that “no doubt a lot of people will like this” and I would agree. The alcohol, again 15%, is also well integrated that the more expensive first wine, but it again resembles a rich St Emilion from the 09 or 10 vintages. Certainly will make many people happy!

I was perhaps alone in enjoying most the Tinata, which mixes Syrah and Grenache. This has the most alcohol, at 15.5%, but it had a Rhone like succulence that would make any Rhone Ranger happy. Still, I could see why a Burgundy fan like Mike Grammer and a person sensitive to jammy fruit, like Jürgen, would like this less. Still, I can turn off my Burgundy love, and focus on the Rhone jam and appreciate this for what it is.

One of the wines however was not good for anyone… The Chardonnay was far too dark for its age. It displayed butterscotch aromas and flavors. Excess sweetness. Very New World Chardonnay and the oak derivation also was too much for my taste.

Note on Caves Madeleines: here one can get excellent service, superb wine knowledge and a very friendly attitude. Did I mention that the prices are very reasonable? Well, one of the few quality bistros where – if you buy a bottle or two from the list – you can also bring your own wines, also if you call in advance, and share with the owner. The escargot was delicious.

Tuesday 31 May – a rainy and colder day. At least the vines needed the rain… We got a good whiff of sulfur the day before as preventive treatment for the expected rain. Although hardly diluvian, it was enough to refresh the vines, many said. Conditions to taste not as good, as the atmosphere was rather heavy and cloudy, but we enjoyed the next set of wines at yet another wonderful property which Mike Grammer introduced me to! Thanks Mike!

At Domaine Taupenot Merme in Morey Saint Denis.

What a fine welcome from Virginie Taupenot Daniel. Perfect guidance through the barrels of 2010, careful choices made, as some samples were far too reduced for their own good, and then she guided us through a series of lovely 2009s. The domain comprises 13 hectares, 20 appellations. Organically grown since 2001. Not certified. Again, 2011 resembles 2007 so far, she said. Although in 2007, the rains fell in the summer… still they had harvested on 1 September in 2007. They practice cold fermentation for 4-5 days and fermentation of about 2-3 weeks. Some pumping over and punching down of the cap, when appropriate.

Virginie Taupenot Daniel


Chambolle Musigny (Villages). Located higher in the appellation. A reduced nose but good purity. Brightness on the palate. Nice job!

Morey St Denis (villages). Darker register, dark cherry. Nice full fruit, elegance too. I prefer this to the Chambolle.

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru La Combe d’Orveau. Wow this shows lovely red cherry and brightness, coming from 60-year old vines. Lovely!

Morey St Denis La Riotte 1er Cru. A spicier nose, with black cherry, seems to show more body than the above, very impressive. Perhaps a tad better?

Nuits St Georges Les Pruliers. Coffee bean, dark fruit, and expansive on the palate, rich. A hearty wine which really pleases the palate. Fine job.

Chambertin Mazoyers Grand Cru. Here I get a bit more heft, bigness, with dark cherry. It should gain in finesse over time.


Most were bottled in February 2011.

St Romain (red). Coming from rocky soils. Hint of floral. Strawberry. Some jam. Red licorice. Is the palate just a tad austere? It does not seem to deliver the nose’s promise. There is good sap however, although a hint of iron. Good.

Gevrey Chambertin (villages). Nose is more chocolate cake, black fruit. Again a promising nose, but the palate – marked by some beef blood – is not as giving as the nose suggests. Seems to show more the structure, rather tannic. Harvest was between 14-15 September. Lots going on, this is promising.

Chambolle Musigny La Combe d’Orveau 1er Cru. At 13.5% alcohol. I get violets and black cherry on the nose. It is rather deep on the palate, no need for punching down of the cap on this, Virginie explained. Quite rich, lots of tannins. And I found this well balanced. Rich yet fresh, if just a touch of warmth on the finish? Jürgen found this a tad short on the finish but I really liked the wine. And was able to purchase… one bottle!

Morey St Denis La Riotte. More earthiness here, some sour cherry, and the palate reveals something like polished rock underneath the earth, with a hint of musk… Very sap filled. I would have bought some of this, too! Very nice!

Nuits St Georges Pruliers 1er Cru. Black licorice, mineral aromas. There is a steeliness to the palate, slightly austere. Give it time.

Charmes Chambertin GC. More subtle nose, even closed. But displays deep dark cherry, graphite, bordering on gunflint! And white flowers. The palate exhibits power and structure but there is elegance matched with an intriguing spice (oak derivation?) including nutmeg. With time in glass, one gets the sap, too, but this is a long distance runner. Bravo!

Mazoyers Chambertin GC. Very floral, nectar like, with a hint of iron? Good sap. Although more fluid, and perhaps more charming, not quite as serious as the preceding wine. But one is totally seduced by the fine tannic grain, and focused linear aspect. More “feminine” perhaps.

Saint Romain (white). Yellow peach, Kiwi fruit, a bit too much pineapple for me to really like this, but a good drink – a touch of heat. Still, it would go well with a linguini and scallops in a cream sauce. And the price is certainly attractive!

Tasting with Ray Walker at Maison Ilan in Nuits Saint George. Ray Walker is a serious young man, born in 1981, who chose to do what many wine lovers would only dream of doing: make his own wine, and in Burgundy no less. No new oak. Careful, thoughtful decisions made on his own with regard to grape selections and vinifications, he has made some amazing wine.

Many of the 2010s tasted with Ray were very impressive, although it was sometimes difficult to understand the wines not finished with malo, and reduced by sulfur.  Even better perhaps than his 2009, was his Gevrey –Chambertin Les Corbeaux 1er Cru, which displayed fine freshness. Over lunch we enjoyed a superlative Morey St Denis Les Chaffots 2009 which exhibited a very pure mineral expression, notions of coffee bean but certainly not coming from any new oak (he only ages his wines in older oak!) and a very lovely richness. Lunching at Ray’s we were spoiled by Ray, who insisted on giving each of us (to Jürgen and to Mike) one bottle of this wine. Many thanks Ray!

Bouchard Pere & Fils in Beaune

I have known this Maison for several years now, having lunched in early 2009 with Stephane Follin Arbelet, then managing Director, and with Isabelle Philippe , for an article in France Today. I have also gotten to know Philippe Prost, the winemaking director, first over a tasting of 2008s and then over a dinner which included 1959 Le Corton from magnum. Finally, I tasted with him late last year the 2009s, which proved mostly very delicious: SEE HERE. This time we were greeted by Cecile Blanchardon, who gave Mike, Jürgen and me a tour of the impressive castle and domain and a view of the very old cellars.

2008s, unless otherwise noted. On balance the whites performed far better here. Which seems to argue for the difficulty of the 2008 vintage, regardless of what some “purists” may say about 2008 being more pure than 2009. In my opinion, at least at Bouchard, and for the wines tasted below, 2009 is FAR better for the reds…


Monthelie. A bit of wet dog, iron on the initial nose. A tad thin on the palate, overall, but adequate corpulence. Slightly disjointed feel, among alcohol and acidity. Somewhat furry and musk like.

Beaune du Chateau 1er Cru. Made from 17 parcels of vines, all premier cru, this wine has always been a favorite of mine since discovering the 2006 vintage. And here it does what is expected: nice red fruit character, lovely red cherry, decent sap. I liked this one more than Mike or Jürgen.

Volnay Caillerets Cuvee Carnot. Here I get another iron aroma, slight beef blood, although a deeper nose of darker fruit, too, at the same time “soft”. What could I say, “better” musk aromas, too. The palate reflects a certain earthiness, damson spice, but it is marked by rather high acidity which is not as pleasing. How will this age?

Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus. Coming from choice parcels in Greves, this is a star red for Bouchard, with an even deeper nose than the above, rather black fruit in profile, with licorice and spice – made with up to 80% new oak! There is more volume on the palate, but it is still almost hard to stand up to the acidity and tightness. Made from grapes that are at least partially not de-stemmed, this seems challenging. Cross your fingers?

Le Corton 2007. This was the one red that was not 2008, and it showed the charm of the 2007 vintage. Much softer than the above, more inviting if not exactly very focused, but a relief to taste after the last two, even if the tannins are a tad edgy…


Meursault Les Clous. Jürgen bought three of these at the gift shop and I do not blame him. I would have, too, but opted for a single bottle of the far more expensive Corton Charlemagne… Anyway, this was showing a bit of mineral, vaguely pierre a fusil, but the soft middle so typical of this cru, which I had bought while working as a sommelier on Nantucket island, is so nicely balanced by the vif acidity of the vintage. A success, and you should buy some: competitive pricing! 10% new oak.

Beaune du Chateau Blanc 1er Cru. A bit more floral on the nose, lilacs. Smooth and with a riper feel, juiciness on the palate, white apricot, if perhaps just  a tad flabby in the middle, which is what surprised me here. 15% new oak, which I felt more of here…

Meursault Les Genevrieres. Mike Grammer’s favorite. More herbal aspect on the nose, excellent finesse on the palate, acidity lends “cut” and the lingering finish is marked by orange blossom and lime. Lovely indeed, integrating its 18% new oak very well. And a good price, to boot.

Corton Charlemagne. I spent €82 on this one bottle. Extravagant, perhaps, but it blew me away enough to do so. What subtle aromas of almond and wet stone! It perfectly incorporates the 25% new oak, with a soft density, leaving the impression of a spherical palate, all very polished yet with much substance. Vif yet corpulent, fresh yet opulent. Wow. This is a long term beauty.

For full notes on Bouchard Pere & Fils 2009, CLICK HERE.

1 June. The rains had subsided today, leaving a freshness in the air and partly cloudy skies. I was looking forward to this visit to Chambolle Musigny at Jacques Frederic Mugnier. This was my second visit to the domain and owner Frederic was just like the last time: very informative and interesting. His wines are splendid, too… He sees that the 2011 harvest will very likely be precocious, as the vineyard cycle is already… 26 days ahead of schedule. He is not too happy with that, as he prefers a slower ripening process for the grapes. Like others, he said that the weather so far resembles 2007, but in 2007 the rains fell in the summer.

Frederic Mugnier and Jürgen Steinke

Before tasting the 2010s, he compared them more to the 2008s but with a bit more richness, even if the acidities are even higher, he said. My overall impression was of brightness and elegance. Something like some of the wines tasted at Remoissenet but with further elegance and purity, for the most part. Basically, in 2010, summer was mild if rainy, up to around mid September. Pickings towards end of September.   

2010s from barrel

Chambolle Musigny. Some reduced notes, which are worse towards the end of malolactic, Frederic explained. When he tastes wines at this stage (and in general, in fact), he pays less attention to flavors and more to the structure of the wines. Looking at the “architecture” of the palate, whether smooth or rough, whether rounded or edgy, and – in the end – the thinner wines tend to get thicker with time (and vice versa). At least he talked about such convergence. Anyway, this wine was very fine, if one talks about architecture, it was more rounded than edgy, and exhibiting a refined tannic grain.

Chambolle Musigny Les Fuees. Pepper like spice, deep red fruit, freshness, good linear precision, showing vivacity on the palate, longer and more subtle than the above, as expected. A cranberry fruit freshness I liked particularly.

Bonnes Mares. This was Jürgen’s preference of all the 2010s tasted (Jürgen is writing a report for the website of the Grand Jury Europeen).  A sample taken from a four year old barrel. I got some fine chocolate on the nose, with much depth and layered texture on the palate, rich and broad, showing ripe black fruits, but never heavy or thick, subtle actually. Very impressive indeed. This was Jürgen Steinke’s favorite, but I liked the next two a bit more.

Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru. I was seduced here by a more sumptuous and sexy nose: pure and floral, showing much depth again on the palate, layered intensity, which basically illustrated Frederic’s researched style: wines that are both intense and delicate at the same time. Well, this was it.

At this stage we spoke about freshness in wine, about this notion of lightness. And Frederic said something quite profound: “I do not understand why lightness is often considered a quality for food but not as much for wine” and that pretty much sums up my feelings about wine today. Too much emphasis on what is big and bold, not enough on what is subtle and elegant.


Speaking of subtle and elegant, how about the Musigny Grand Cru? Yes, difficult to taste, but it seemed to combine the aromatic focus of Les Amoureuses with the sheer depth of the Bonnes Mares. Very lovely cherry, richness married to seriousness, and something that will be delicious, if expensive.

Clos de la Marechale. Here we have some fine perfume on the nose, displaying a distinct earthiness and musk. There is fine sap and crackling acidity, red fruit. Time in barrel will make it more rounded.


Clos de la Marechale. We were spoiled because Frederic grabbed this from the bottling machines… Sweeter nose, darker cherry. Frederic explained why 2009 was for him not really as optimally ripe as people might think. He said that the ripening was too quick. That the juice was sometimes riper than the skins, for example. The seeds were not brown. He explained that ripe Pinot Noir is difficult to pick without crushing it, that the pulp sticks to the stems, but that was not the case in 2009. “I like Pinot Noir that ripens under colder conditions,” he explained. Whatever the case may be, I loved the 2009 Clos de la Marechale. It was perhaps more “obvious” but delicious!

Chambolle Musigny. Same story here. And in the end, Frederic said that the 2009s are “great wines” that “will keep a long time”… So there you go. Perhaps this wine could be a tad fresher to be ideal, at least that was the only negative that crossed my mind, but overall, delicious, and it displayed no 2003 like overripe notes.


Clos de la Marechale. Here I loved the nose initially, noting cooler aromas of blueberry and flowers. I felt that the acidity was very well integrated. Perhaps more muscle and less fat? Jürgen was not as impressed, noting a bit too much under-ripe notes. But this was fine for my palate… Here Jürgen and I parted palate paths!

Bonnes Mares. Once again, many thanks to Frederic for spoiling us with this bottle, which proved exceptional. Very deep violet with some spearmint freshness, preceding a palate of ripe black plum, licorice and freshness. A slightly tonic finish, hint of bitters, but that is what made it so special. Frederic compares the 2008 to the 2001, although the 2001 has a bit more flesh, a bit more body, he explained.

For 2009 notes on Jacques Frederic Mugneret, CLICK HERE.

With Chris Newman at Domaine Newman in Beaune, who is a gregarious and fun person indeed! We were very late for our scheduled meeting but he and his assistant Jane Eyre, who does not write novels, but does make her own wine, too (and it is good) welcomed us very nicely.

Newman comes from New Orleans. He does not want to sell wine, he said, and although in Beaune for many years already, he has not focused on the US or UK markets that much. He wants to make wine for the French, he said. “I never wanted to come here and be the American in Burgundy and find US buyers,” he said. In Burgundy since the 1970s, he made his first wine in 1984, and bought his fine estate in Beaune in 1997, located just next to one of the best fish shops in France (Jürgen and I went into the shop just before and were mightily impressed). Newman prefers later pickings and de-stemming 100%. Overall, a judicious use of oak, with one or two notable exceptions… 

All 2009s

Cote de Beaune. Smooth and crisp, is there a hint of warmth here? Very low yields of 25 hectoliters per hectare, but a nice drink!

Beaune. Richer aspect with a thicker feel on the palate, pleasing certainly, even tonic on the mid palate, but I get just a slightly drying feel on the finish. Still, another fine drink.

Monthelie. Nicely perfumed, more nuanced than the previous wines. The wine is rich, with very ripe black cherry notes, although – again – slightly dry on the finish. It also tightens up. Which is probably a good sign for the long term. Just 30% new oak, which is showing itself at this early stage, but should get better integrated. Quite nice overall!

Reserve Monthelie. A special in house bottling, Jane said. Here the 100% new oak is a detriment because the aromas are all oak derived: vanilla city. A sleek aspect, that tells me: I could be an international wine. Where is Burgundy? I much prefer the previous version, which is thankfully what is for sale!

Beaune Clos des Avaux 1er Cru. Light cherry notes, fine sap, a bit of mentholated cherry, slightly baked aspect, some alcohol. Not sure about this one.

Pommard (villages). Well now the vines were in part planted in 1921, and perhaps they result in such a fine wine. Very deep cherry notes, red licorice, a rich and sap filled palate, perhaps just slightly drying (40% new oak), but the chutzpah is there and so is the overall pleasure. My favorite wine so far, and just for the price deserves a star.

Beaune Greves. On the higher part of the Greves slope, this displays some nice violet notes, perhaps a hint of acetone, but lots of depth on the palate, and a tad drying. Is it the oak? Overall, a fine wine. Give it time in bottle, I like the violet aromas.

Mazis Chambertin GC. OK, this was the best wine of all. Aged in 30% new oak, very well integrated. Beautiful purity, very precise, fresh and opulent if in a subtle manner. A great success.

Bonnes Mares GC. The nose is promising, almost Medocain graphite. Here we have 50% new oak. The palate is less impressive, not quite following through, as the puissance is a tad monolithic. Compare this to a Mugnier Bonnes Mares 2008, for example, and you yearn for more freshness and more texture. Of course it is not as expensive, but why is the Mazis so much better? Because it has more nuance and freshness, at least for me. Give this time in bottle. Perhaps just far too young to understand?

With Mike and Jürgen and Ray, we also tasted other wines over lunch and dinner. One wine I really liked, to take a break from Burgundy… was the Chateau Haut Bailly 1995, which displayed excellent body, subtle notes of tobacco and milk chocolate and refined tannins that still need time. Lots of lift and yet just a tad tight. Another 10 years and it will be perfect. The owner of our hotel, Hotel de France, just opposite the Beaune train station, who used to sell Burgundy wine, was really impressed with this Bordeaux!

With Mike Grammer and his father Jeremy, winemaker Ray Walker and Jürgen Steinke, we were indeed one happy crew!


11 Responses to “Burgundy 2009 and 2008 (and 2010 in barrel) + videos” (Leave a Comment)

  1. […] At Paul Pernot, in Puligny Montrachet, where owner Paul Pernot explains why the 2008 whites will outlast the charming and easy to appreciate 2009s. Full tasting notes here: http://connectionstowine.cavendoclient.com/burgundy/2008-2009-2010/ […]

  2. Jürgen Steinke says:

    Dear Panos,

    it was such a pleasure to be with you. Let´s do this more often. I liked your tasting notes by the way. Burgundy is fun and the people are lovely.

    See you soon!


  3. pkakaviatos says:

    Thanks Jürgen for your kind remark. It was a great time, and before we know it, we shall be back there!

    Yours, Panos

  4. Mike Grammer says:

    I, too, had a great time with you both, and it’s terrific to compare your notes to mine, Panos. Thanks for taking me back so soon to such a memorable few days. Glad you had such good tastings at Mugnier and Newman.

  5. […] was in Burgundy earlier in June 2011 – see copious notes HERE – and then again on 29 August, just when harvesters started their work. Thierry Brouhin at […]

  6. […] several bottles of both 2008 and 2009 – and compare in the years to come. As in Burgundy – see HERE the notes from my last visit to Burgundy, including from Mugnier – I wonder if the winemaker has […]

  7. […] It often exudes greater vivacity than the 2009. The wines also seem to be better versions of the more polarizing 2008s. While the 2008s sometimes seemed a touch austere and even green in some places, the 2010s show […]

  8. […] recent previous visits to Burgundy, I focused on the 2009 and 2008 vintages, and generally found the 2009 for reds to be more successful. But there are exceptions, because the […]

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