Allen Meadows’ 3rd Quarter, 2013 Issue 51
B U R G H O U N D . C O M® The Ultimate Burgundy Reference
This 5.5 ha domaine, of which 25% of its production is in red, is directed by 4th generation Michel Buisson, his daughter Catherine and son-in-law Patrick Essa. Essa told me that it was “already clear by the month of May that the harvest was going to be an exceptionally early one. What was perhaps just as remarkable however was that we also knew quite early on that we would have a high degree of phenolic ripeness accompanied by relatively low potential alcohols. This is unusual, not only because we could predict it early on rather than only a few days before the harvest but also that we had this conjunction of high phenolic ripeness levels with low alcohols. This just doesn’t happen all that often. The chardonnay started to turn golden around the 15th of August and the best parcels had potential alcohols in the 10.5 to 11% range. Then we had a lot of rainfall between the 18th and 20th which caused the fruit to swell and diluted the potential alcohols. It took the vines a week to 10 days to concentrate the sugars and we began picking on the 31st of August bringing in relatively clean fruit that required a bit of sorting but nothing really serious. Potential alcohols averaged between 12 and 12.5%. From the standpoint of the handling of the fruit and the fermentations, the whites required great care and precision. You had to press softly and slowly as well as do a thorough lees settling. In the case of the former, you didn’t want to extract anything that wasn’t ripe and/or pure. And in the case of the latter, you wanted to again be absolutely certain that you didn’t have anything in your musts that shouldn’t be there. Then it was necessary to add sulfur only at the precise times and in the minimum amounts necessary. The good news is that if you did these things it was possible to make excellent wines that are going to surprise many people. I don’t mean to say that 2011 produced truly great wines but they are much better than simply good.” Essa also noted that the domaine has moved to stamping its corks with all of the relevant information. I have noted this before but the quality coming out of this domaine in recent years is nothing short of spectacular and if you enjoy classically styled age-worthy whites then these will definitely appeal to you. The whites were bottled without fining or filtration in December, 2012 and January 2013. Note that the two Chassagne 1ers are négociant wines. I would agree with Essa’s general take on the vintage and the domaine in my view clearly outperformed the general quality of the vintage. (Vintner Select, www.vintnerselect.com, Cincinnati, OH, Milton Road Trading Corp, LLC, www.miltonroadtrading.com, Napa CA, Scott Paul Wines, www.scottpaul.com, Portland, OR; Richards Walford, www.r-w.co.uk, HS Liquid Assets, www.hsliquid.com and Roberson Wine, www.roberson.co.uk, all UK).
2011 Bourgogne-Aligoté: An exuberantly spicy nose of very fresh citrus and orchard fruit scents leads to energetic and noticeably saline-infused flavors that culminate in a clean, very dry and crisp finish. This is a fine example of the genre and one that should drink well almost immediately. 86/2014+
2011 Bourgogne: There is a very mild hint of the exotic to the otherwise fresh and cool floral and citrus aromas. There is good concentration and fine volume to the delicious, round and vibrant middle weight flavors that possess notably better depth and length than the average example. Lovely and recommended plus this will age if desired. 87/2015+
2011 Meursault Vieilles Vignes: A ripe but cool nose features notes of pear, white peach, citrus and hazelnut. There is good cut and vibrancy to the delicious and solidly well-concentrated middle weight flavors that terminate in a very crisp, dry, detailed and lingering finish. The old vines are very much in evidence and this is one to definitely consider. 89/2017+
2011 Chassagne-Montrachet “En Remilly”: A completely different aromatic profile is present here with hints of resin, citrus peel, exotic tea and floral scents. There is a fine sense of underlying tension to the delicious, intense and well-detailed flavors that really fan out on the mouth coating, balanced and attractively mineral-inflected finish. 90/2016+
2011 Chassagne-Montrachet “La Romanée”: There is a discreet but still visible touch of wood influence to the ripe, spicy and exotic nose that displays fine complexity on the dried yellow fruit scents. There is fine mid-palate concentration to the round, supple and opulent medium-bodied flavors that deliver equally fine depth on the balanced and persistent finish. This is really quite stylish. 92/2017+
2011 Meursault “Tessons”: (from vines planted in 1964 and aged in 20% new wood). A hint of mineral reduction adds breadth to the fresh, ripe and cool aromas of just sliced orchard fruit and hazelnut. There is really lovely purity to the saline- infused medium weight flavors that exude a fine minerality on the precise, harmonious and impeccably well-balanced finish. This is a terrific villages and recommended. 90/2017+
2011 Meursault “Les Cras”: This is slightly riper than the Tessons yet the nose remains cool and fresh with well-layered aromas of apple, pear and white flowers. There is excellent volume to the solidly concentrated and mineral-inflected medium weight flavors that possess fine energy on the ever-so-mildly austere and persistent finish. There is a firm acid spine and this should reward 6 to 8 years of cellar time. 91/2017+
2011 Meursault “Charmes”: This is one of the more interesting wines in the range with its nose of mandarin orange, pickled ginger and exotic yellow fruit aromas. Here too there is fine volume and mid-palate density to the middle weight flavors that coat the mouth before culminating in a delicious, clean, dry and saline-infused finish. The dry and crisp finish is in marked contrast to the naturally sweet mid-palate. While not exactly classic in style, this is lovely all the same. 92/2018+
2011 Meursault “Bouches-Chères”: (note that the domaine uses the old spelling for Bouchères). A strikingly elegant, pure and restrained nose displays essence of citrus, stone and green apple aromas. There is superb detail to the intense and broad-shouldered flavors that coat the palate with dry extract, all wrapped in a delicious yet serious lemon-infused finish. This highly understated and impeccably well-balanced effort is both stylish and classy. 93/2018+
2011 Meursault “Goutte d’Or”: There is enough reduction present to knock down the nose but it clearly appears to be ripe. There is more volume and power to the medium weight plus flavors that enjoy impressive mid-palate concentration as well as plenty of palate coating extract. The lingering and balanced finish is quite firm as the supporting acidity and subtle minerality shape the backend yet the mouth feel is distinctly different from that of the Bouches-Chères. A qualitative choice but both are terrific in their own ways. 93/2018+
2011 Corton-Charlemagne: (from Aloxe). A deft application of wood sets off cool, admirably pure and restrained aromas of green apple, white peach and mineral reduction. There is excellent richness to the overtly powerful and muscular flavors that are concentrated to the point of being unctuous yet the firm supporting acidity maintains a fine sense of balance on the palate staining finish. I very much like the depth and this could surprise to the upside. 93/2019+
I have noted this before but the quality coming out of this domaine in recent years is nothing short of spectacular and if you enjoy classically styled age-worthy whites then these will definitely appeal to you. I would agree with Essa’s general take on the vintage and the domaine in my view clearly outperformed the general quality of the vintage.