Inside Burgundy

  • Remembering René Lafon May 27th, 2019

    Several of those who had been there to share the happy lunch with Becky Wasserman on Saturday 18th alas found themselves again together for the funeral of René Lafon in Meursault a few days later. One of my very first visits was to the Domaine des Comtes Lafon back in 1981, shortly before René Lafon…

    • Honouring Becky Wasserman May 27th, 2019

      I attended a lunch at the excellent Caves de la Madeleine restaurant in Beaune to honour my neighbour, Becky Wasserman, who has been elected to Decanter Magazine’s Hall of Fame – what was previously known as Man or Woman of the Year – for 2019. Two former honourands, Jancis Robinson and Aubert de Villaine were…

      • Frost patrol: Sunday April 14th April 15th, 2019

        On Friday 5th April Burgundy suffered a frost episode which has certainly caused some damage in spots all the way up from Beaujolais to Chablis. The cool north wind returned over the weekend of 13th/14th April but this time the vignerons were prepared. I set out in the early hours to find out… I rose…

        • Bien boire en Beaujolais April 11th, 2019

          Every year there is a wonderful tasting of Beaujolais wines mostly from the smaller producers – I think there were about 200 in all (plus 21 guests from other regions) showing across three venues, the Châteaux de Corcelles, Pizay and Ravatys. No way that anybody can get to every stand over a day and a…

          • Frost latest April 11th, 2019

            Mixed reports are coming in about the damage from the frost last Friday, 5th April. Caroline Gagnard reports that the lower part of Chassagne-Montrachet, especially Morgeot, was definitely affected. Several growers in Moulin-à-Vent reported damage too. And now the wind has swung round to the north, with temperatures expected to drop to zero over the next…

            • Frost alarm in Burgundy April 7th, 2019

              The cold night and early morning of April 5th was at least fairly well forecast, enabling producers to light their chaufferettes and groups of vignerons to set fire to their piles of straw at daybreak. The former warm the air around the foot of the vines, by 1.5 to 2 degrees, while the latter block the rays of…

              • Management changes in Morey-St-Denis March 24th, 2019

                I have mixed feelings about the news from Morey-St-Denis. Happy for Jacques Devauges who recently left Clos de Tart and has now been appointed to manage Clos des Lambrays next door. Sad for Boris Champy who has left after just one year in charge. I have not yet had a chance to assess his 2018,…

                • Wine industry honour for Becky Wasserman March 24th, 2019

                  One piece of wholly good news is this year’s selection by Decanter for their Hall of Fame (previously known as Man or Woman of the Year). My neighbour, Becky Wasserman is the honoured person and I am thrilled for her: she has done so much to benefit the region as a whole as well as…

                  • Henri-Frédéric Roch’s replacement revealed at DRC March 24th, 2019

                    News from Burgundy: DRC has announced a new co-gérant alongside Aubert de Villaine to replace the late Henri-Frédéric Roch. It is to be Perrine Fenay, née Leroy. And from just down the road, we hear that Jacques Devauges has left Clos de Tart to be replaced by Alessandro Noli, who has been running the operation…

                    • Hospices de Nuits auction results 2019 March 20th, 2019

                      The Hospices de Nuits auction on Sunday 10th March, a more local affair than the internationally supported Hospices de Beaune, showed a distinct drop in prices for the much heralded 2018 vintage: down 15.7% in total takings and 20.7% in the average price per barrel. This may very well be a sign that pricing in…

                      • Generous Burgundy 2017 vintage with consistent and delicious whites January 18th, 2019

                        2017 is set to be a consistent and delicious vintage for white Burgundy. There are many lovely reds in 2017 offering a lighter, fresher style It is a very uniform vintage, with wines of middling intensity, accessible fruit, enough acidity and lightish tannins, reflecting their individual terroirs well. Sweet spots for the whites: “There is…

                        • Burgundy 2017 vintage: full report now live January 8th, 2019

                          The first key fact about 2017 is the return to normal, even quite generous volumes. This matters in general in terms of the market-place, but it really matters in particular for those vignerons in the Côte de Beaune especially, whose crops were so badly damaged by hail for three years in a row (2012-2014) and…

                          • Hospices de Beaune 2018 November 23rd, 2018

                            Records tumbled at last Sunday’s Hospices de Beaune 2018 wine auction, with just over €14m of 2018 Burgundy passing under the hammer – money which will be used to fund the Hospital and its associated good works in the months and years to come. ‘Great Wines for a Great Cause’ is the motto. Prices reached…

                            • GOING, GOING, GONE November 1st, 2018

                              I am slightly sceptical of the idea that Burgundy is disappearing into foreign hands. It is true there have been some very high–profile cases of late, notably Clos de Tart and Domaine Bonneau du Martray, where in each case some family members would have preferred not to sell. The fame of the domaines has put these…

                              • TASTING 2017 November 1st, 2018

                                First we are all caught up in the current harvest, then everybody’s attention turns to tasting the previous vintage in barrel, ready for the flurry of Opening Offers in January. It is a tough call to cram in tastings at all the key domaines while sniffing out some new names, in the two short (or…

                                • THE 2018 HARVEST November 1st, 2018

                                  Certain vintages get a reputation for greatness almost before they are picked and 2018 looks like joining that elite group. The frost risk was minimal after two tricky years, though a deluge of rain in the spring caused worries in the first part of the season. However apart from a few storms in the first…

                                  • HOSPICES DE BEAUNE 2018 November 1st, 2018

                                    The Hospices de Beaune Auction is coming up on the 3rd Sunday of November as ever, which falls on the 18th this year. I have just spent a fascinating long week in Asia – every day a new city – and it is clear there is going to be a great deal of interest. I…

                                    • NOT MAKING LAND ANYMORE? November 1st, 2018

                                      It has been a truism for a while that there’s no more vineyard land to be had in Burgundy. However several new initiatives suggest that a few more hectares may become available for certain appellations. There is a plan to promote 80ha of Bourgogne vines in Couchey, Marsannay and Chenove to AOC Marsannay and a…

                                      • Bien Boire en Beaujolais May 30th, 2018

                                        Bien Boire en Beaujolais This wine tasting event happens every year in April, uniting five groups of Beaujolais producers, individual domaines with a certain bias towards the wild side – I tend to be one of the few clean-shaven males in the room. It is a great opportunity to catch up with the new vintage…

                                        • Mâconnais thoughts May 30th, 2018

                                          For many years it has frustrated me that Burgundy enthusiasts don’t show a little more love to the wines of the Mâconnais. Smart restaurants may have a page of different wines from Chablis and then a token Mâcon Villages. There is so much more going on here at the moment, not just because a few…

                                          • Chablis 2017 May 30th, 2018

                                            Whereas the Côte d’Or more or less escaped the frost in 2017, more northerly Chablis suffered colder temperatures in April and noticeably more damage. The worst hit sectors were the northern part of Chablis, around Lignorelles and Maligny, and then the top vineyards, premier and grand cru, on the Right Bank. These latter may well…

                                            • Grands Jours de Bourgogne 2018 Highlights March 23rd, 2018

                                              Burgundy welcomed many thousand visitors during the week beginning 12th March for the 14thedition of the Grands Jours de Bourgogne. I have attended pretty much every day of all those events since the first edition in 1992, This year’s version was probably the most stimulating to date, and allowing for inevitable minor inconveniences, the best…

                                              • January Wines February 1st, 2018

                                                Friday 5th January Dinner at la Tour d’Argent featuring a range of Dujac wines between 1972 and 1990. Best wines at each level? Village Morey 1978, 1er cru Gevrey-Chambertin Combottes 1990 and Grand Cru Bonnes Mares 1972. There were also some sublime white wines of which Pierre Morey’s 1979 Meursault Charmes won pride of place….

                                                • Mature Volnay October 30th, 2017

                                                  I have just returned from a 10 day visit promoting the Hospices de Beaune wines in various markets in Asia. Before the main work got underway I caught up with some old friends to enjoy a Volnay dinner. I have been singing the praises of Volnay for many years, and this event, based mainly around…

                                                  • Burgundy 2016: Overview January 2nd, 2017

                                                    Review of the 2016 Vintage in the Côte d’Or What to Expect from this Report My aim is to give a relatively comprehensive guide to the 2016 vintage in Burgundy. I have visited around 100 producers and completed notes on around 1350 wines. In future years I hope to add in further producers, a mix…

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