On the Vinebar 9th December:
This week, all the wines on tasting and on the bar are drawn from the Devillard Estates. Owning estates right left and centre all across Burgundy, they are a clear example of how far can be gone to turn a lesser known estate into a byword for quality.
And lucky us - Thursday saw Jeremy and Cedric over with us in East Molesey, along with the wines of Ch. de Chamirey, Domaine de la Ferté, Domaine de la Garenne, and Domaine de Perdrix.
You can probably guess from how I’ve written how much I loved these wines – these have real soul, a sense of a stunning world being bought to life in a glass – I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
First up was a trio of their glorious whites.
2014 Macon-Azé, Domaine de la Garenne £25.99, £7/glass
Special Sixpack offer - £115.50
I love a good Macon. Who doesn’t love a good Macon? When well made, they have the long, creamy beauty of non but the best Chablis, yet a lightness and delicacy that can sometimes bypass those weighty and serious wines. At the same time a certain delicacy does apply to the price tag – a top Macon doesn’t have the same pocket-killing capacity as other top French chardonnay.
And this is one of them. Taken from a single 4.5 hectare plot of south-facing soils, Domaine de la Garenne’s Macon-Azé is as top-end as Macon can get: a sublime, cool slightly saline glass with notes of smoke, almonds and hard stone fruit, finishing on a fresh note of cut apple. This is delicious, fresh, unoaked and utterly vibrant, a stunning glass of good Chardonnay.
It’s often said that the best way to find good value is to go to a new region and look at the top wines – this is an example of an oft-overlooked place really punching above it’s weight. Domaine de la Garenne deserves a place on any table.
And starting out on this wine? What could come next?!
Chateau de Chamirey (Whites)
Chamirey is the archetypical French wine Chateau, identifiable as a concern since the 12th century. A grey, two-story, high-gabled, lead-roofed chocolate-box of a building covered with rambling roses and oozing ancien regime, it sits surrounded by an 18th century two foot box hedge formal garden. Beyond that, falling down the slopes of the limestone plateau which raises the Chateau above the surrounding ground?... the vines of the estate. Their straight estate Blanc is drawn from seven fields immediately surrounding the vineyard – growing up to the walls of the ancient chateau, the en Pierrelet and the Rouge a stone’s throw beyond that.
2013 Blanc £34.99, £9/glass
Special Sixpack offer - £153.00
Soft, with gorgeous peach and stone fruit. The endnote lingers with a slight salinity, foreshadowing a beautiful haunting fade with the merest touch of smoke and cream, richness of the summer fruit lingering. This struck as atypical for a Mercurey, something I noted more with the second glass than the first – this wine has a silky polish, the way the flavours wrap their way round the tongue and linger persistently on the palette. This doesn’t have the fierce mineral structure of a Montagny or other Mercurey’s, instead following another. Aging? 5, 10 years. Probably not more than that – but who would wait that long?
2014 Blanc ‘En Pierrelet’ £42.99
En Pierrelet is one very special vineyard which is vinified separately from the rest of the Chamirey Blanc, despite being (as is quite usual in Burgundy!) literally next door. Covered in masses of very small, dense white pebbles, the vineyard is noticeably different in makeup and style. The wine is as well. Much more powerful in the glass than the Blanc, with a preponderance of harder, denser stoned fruit, nectarine, a touch of more apple and pear notes on the ending. The ending itself was massive, present in my mouth for a good 45 seconds after I tasted. I was very impressed with this wine and considering the not-high price-point for top white burgundy, this delivers on every level.
And then onto the reds:
Domaine de la Ferté
Domaine de la Ferté is….well, tiny. Even for Givry, not the biggest of appellations, the Domaine itself is a bit on the wee side; comprising just 2.3 hectares of land, producing just the standard village Givry and the Servoisine 1er cru. The news on the block is good though – the Domaine is growing, with a new plot in the village cru Mortiere’s vineyard having been just purchased. This will be vinified separately as a third wine to their present two, the present Village being relabelled “Chanevarie” – as, after all, it is all a single vineyard wine as well…
2014 Givry £36.99
The straight Givry was light and uncomplicated, with a lovely nose of pretty cherry, carrying on with some slightly savoury notes onto the body, the cherries lasting all the way through. What I loved about it was the focus, the sheer sense of giving exactly what was needed to the drinker and nothing more; no unnecessary oaking, no pushy winemaking. The Ferté has been made with love and expertise, and needed nothing more or less.
2012 Givry 1er Cru ‘Servoisine’ £43.99, £11/glass
Special Sixpack offer - £198.00
Slightly further up the slope than the village Givry, the Servoisine vineyard is a bigger, richer wine in every regard. Replete with lots of fresh black, sour cherries, redcurrants and spicy, powerful notes, you can really detect a change of tempo when compared to it’s stablemate. The Servoisine is drinking beautifully right now, with it’s blocky tannins working well with the fruit and the fresh acidity – but I think I would have struggled with it a year or so ago. Now, that power is harnessed well; a thrilling, powerful glass of Pinot Noir which will cope with pretty much whatever one will throw at it. Especially Goose. Definitely throw a goose at this wine – the acidity will cut through their fat, the stunning weight and gorgeous fruit keeping the table spellbound.
Definitely a winner, and one which will evolve for another eight years or so.
Chateau de Chamirey (Reds)
2013 Mercurey Rouge £36.99, £9.00/glass
A much more polished glass of wine than one would expect from village burgundy. A rich, spicy nose replete with redcurrants and subtle traces of soft fruit on the nose, all of which continues onto the palette. The spiciness keeps this wine fresh, a dancing presence on the tongue, livening the oodles of raspberry/redcurrant fruit and delicious warm ending. A very winter style of burgundy, with weight and elegance in balance.
2006 Mercurey Rouge £40.99
The same wine, but from one of the celebrated vintages of the 2000’s. I wanted to get a real sense of how well these wines would mature, and we were not let down. After ten years, the Chamirey had softed intensely, the spice which so defined it’s younger brother had softened into notes of saddle-leather and barnyard on the nose, with the redcurrants lingering like the last fruit of summer. The tannins were soft, silky, beautifully integrated into the fruit core which still sang out on the palette. This is a delicious wine, and shows clearly the ageing potential of the southern Burgundian estates.
2011 Domaine de Perdrix, Nuits-Saint-Georges £52.99
And the last estate we were tasting. Domaine de Perdrix is the Devillard Estate’s northern outpost, with holdings primarily in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Gevrey-Chambertin and a nice little parcel of Echezeaux. Tasting through the NSG Village did not disappoint. A fine-grained nose of red fruits and spice is the forerunner of a majestic avalanche of flavour; dense, thick. Not as overpowering as other NSG’s out there at present, this is a superbly balanced glass of wine.