JC in France May - June 2018 | Day 16

Date: 20-Jun-2018

The forecast is the same as the last few days – heat, humidity and thunderstorms. I went to pick up my little group at 9.30am this morning to go to our first tasting in Volnay at Domaine Michel Lafarge. On our way to this pretty village we drove through the wine villages/Appellations/Climats of the Cote de Beaune (Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny Montrachet, Chassagne Montrachet). As usual we were tremendously welcomed at Domaine Lafarge – A family Estate (12 ha) regarded as one of the top 10 of Burgundy. Frederic showed us first their little jewel – the walled single vineyard, Monopole, classified 1er Cru and situated just behind their home, the exceptional: Clos du Chateau des Ducs. Then we tasted their 2017 wines out of the barrels – Outstanding! It looks like this vintage has greatly benefited the Cote de Beaune reds. The best way to describe Lafarge wines: Modest in the best sense of the word, not showy but respectful and expressive of their terroir, graceful, dignified and altogether captivating – Simply what Burgundy is all about! They are not cheap but worth every single cent. My little troops were very impressed.
We had lunch at 'Auberge du Vieux Vigneron' in the village of Corpeau. A great place where most local winemakers and people involved in the wine industry meet for a well-priced lunch. We ordered a few dozen of snails to share as a starter then everyone chose different mains. I couldn’t help myself but to order the veal kidneys (If you are follower of my blogs you will know that every time I have lunch at this place (which is at least twice a year! I choose the kidneys – they are the best! See the photo). 
After lunch we drove to Meursault to meet Patrick Essa, the owner of Domaine Buisson-Charles. We had plenty of wines to taste here, they kept coming! They were primarily white wines from the Appellation of Meursault. Patrick's 100% Chardonnay are very floral and generously aromatic. Their rich and juicy palate is off-set by a lovely tension and minerality on the finish. They are big Chardonnays, very much matched by Patrick and his wife Catherine's personality. Awesome people, awesome place, awesome wines!
The group, by then, was in good spirits (I don't think a lot of spitting was done at Domaine Buisson-Charles!) as we drove to the village of Puligny-Montrachet where Domaine Etienne Sauzet was expecting us for a sit-down, tutored tasting of their exceptional whites from the same village. Son-in-law Benoit took us from the village Appellation to the Grands Crus via at least four 1er Crus to see the difference of each wines (the vintage was the recently released 2016). The group was completely blown away by how only a few metres from one to another, the huge difference of style/texture/mouthfeel/complexity. This is what the French call 'terroir' and this is also what Burgundy is all about! 
Time to go home! It has been a big day for most of us. We had dinner at 'Maison du Colombier' - an amazing little place in the centre of Beaune and run by the couple Françoise & Roland. The tiny kitchen is right in the front of you as Roland and his small team prepared tapas like meals. This stunning restaurant has certainly the best wine list of Beaune. - JC