Burgundy – Picture Diary
Here is a short picture diary of my tour through Burgundy in May 2012. A wonderful time to visit as spring means sunny, warm days and not too many tourists (Beaune is one of the most visited places in all France!). At this stage the 2010s have likely been bottled for a month, giving you a good perspective of their quality and style. The 2011s have mostly gone through malolactic fermentation which also shows you their personality and quality potential.
The 2010 vintage
The vintage certainly matches its hype! A massively reduced crop of up to 40% less produced a classic, concentrated vintage. And a very cold July lead to a wonderful freshness in the wines, superb for both whites and reds. One needs to look back to 2002, 1999 or 1990 for a similar vintage. Less tannic and ‘four-square’ than 2005 and much more elegant and fresh than 2009. Best to drink 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009s before approaching the 2010s. The top producers and vineyards will require a decade of maturation. Generally there is a slight price increase from 2009 but it is definately warranted!
The 2011 vintage
A very early vintage after a warm spring lead to a harvest around late August putting it close to the record early-vintage of 2003. Also down in quantity by 10-20%, the vintage is characteristed by a supreme acidity and good ripeness. The whites are exceptional, classically styled and taught. The reds are very pretty, perfumed and elegant with fine tannins. 2011 is perhaps somewhere between the aromatic 2007 and classic 2008 vintages.
Wine of the Day – Domaine Romanet, Chassagne Montrachet 1er Ruchots 2010 18/20 – Slight reductive flinty note. Savoury and deep. The palate is salty, powerful and gritty with oyster shell and white pear notes. So classy, long and brooding. Drink 2016-2025
Every single barrel is fired my Mr Chassin himself but lately the son has been taking over the duty. Interestingly there is no toast degree (i.e. Medium plus) given to each barrel. Mr Chassin toasts each barrel according to the wines for which they are being used! Generally it takes about 50 minutes to toast a barrel, flipping it every so often to toast each side. The smells coming from the oak are amazing; warm buttered toast, vanilla, honey, cassis, spice!
Once the head is placed on it, the barrel is finished!
Ramonet’s neighbour and friend is Thierry Amiot. Not only extremely humble and generous, but a producer of top-end Chassagne. This was one of the magnums over a long dinner where the main course arrived at around 1am on a beautiful Spring evening. Not a bad day 1!
Roland Peens May/June 2012