JC in France May - June 2018 | Day 15

Date: 19-06-2018

For the last few days now the weather has been consistent: The day starts well, then the heat and humidity kick in and by late afternoon thunderstorms and very heavy rain hit most of the country. The clear weather comes back late at night. It is at this stage not a huge issue for the vines beside that all the work has to be done by hand and tractors can't go into the vineyards due to the stickiness of the soils.
Our first meeting this morning is very close to our hotel in Beaune at Domaine des Croix. The co-owner/winemaker, David Croix, is not here to see us but it is his wonderful assistant David Verot who took us through the full range of 2017s from the village Beaune Appellation to the Grand Cru 'Corton'. They are a big hit with the three of us! Both Davids are considered today the young turks of the region producing wines with clean, delicate and soft texture. This is what my tasting notes read for the Beaune 1er cru 'les Greves' 2017 - 'Intense rich nose. Lovely, deep red berries. Big mouthfeel, fine tannic structure. The mid-palate and finish is large yet refined. Will become a very good bottle." You must try some of these top Domaine wines.
Talking about top Domaines, our next visit was to another of those – Domaine ARLAUD in Morey St Denis. Morey St Denis is the village sandwiched between Gevrey Chambertin to the North and Chambolle Musigny to the South. Not surprisingly its wines have the power & earthiness of Gevrey and the finesse & minerality of Chambolle. Cyprien Arlaud is young and very talented - his wines are hugely sought-after by fine wine drinkers around the world and for very good reason. We were lucky again to try the full range of his 2017 vintage. Cyprien has done very well and his wines have some lovely fruits, round and soft texture and just enough structure, freshness and dry extract to hold the wine together. The best wine of the tasting was his Grand Cru 'Clos de la Roche' - Absolutely superb!
We had lunch at Clos Lenoir 1623 in Gevrey Chambertin - This is a little bistro on the main road towards Dijon. Owner Sandrine and daughter Charlotte run a very popular little place where the food is always honest and freshly prepared but you really go there for their personality and wit. When they are in good form you can be entertained to a little show based on their everyday life!
After lunch, I dropped Angela and Richard to the Dijon train station (they were going to Paris first before catching their train to London) and picked up a mini van for my next few days with another small group of Kiwis to experience more of Burgundy, especially a 'Chapitre' at Chateau Clos de Vougeot.
On my way down to Beaune, I was expected at Domaine David Duband. This is not a new Domaine for me… I met David and his wines some 15 years ago. We did not follow up at the time as his wines were too extracted, woody and modern for us. David is the first one to admit it and today the wines are very, very different. His new approach offers wines with purity, balance and depth of fruit. His Nuits St Georges is the best in the business! We are very pleased to announce that we will be getting some and they should be in NZ before the end of the year. 
For dinner I was very kindly invited by to celebrate Stuart's big Birthday at a very good restaurant in Beaune – 'Boulevard 21'. They are serving classic and well-made Burgundian cuisine but it is the beautiful dining room in underground cellars that makes the place. Stuart is part of the small group (three couples) that will stay with me until Sunday morning. The idea is to discover and taste our way through the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits and to finish with an exclusive and 'grand' dinner at Clos de Vougeot with the Chevaliers du Tastevin for the 'Chapitre d'été'. The dinner was full of happiness. - JC