Also see : Red Burgundies at La Paulee in NYC 2022
I have written previously about the red wines I tasted at the La Paulee event in New York on March 12th. In this report I concentrate on the white wines I tasted. I start with Chablis then Macon, and the Côte de Beaune regions of St. Aubin, Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. Mostly 2018s were presented, with a few 2019s: both were very ripe vintages, and in fact the 2018 was more difficult for the whites than the reds. The whites are fleshy and are shy of the edge that acidity imparts to Burgundian Chardonnays. There is a lot of skill in vineyard management in Burgundy these days, and the wines typically do well even in lesser vintages. However, the last great vintage for white Burgundies was 2014. We will have to wait for the 2020s to re-encounter wines with precise acid definition.
Domaine Louis Michel 2019 Les Grenouilles Grand Cru 96
Classical wines. No oak ever. Each vineyard tastes as it should. There was one stand out: The 2019 Les Grenouilles Grand Cru. This quite special site is in fact the smallest of the Grand Crus. Most of the vineyard is controlled by the important cooperative, La Chablisienne. In keeping with the site, the Louis Michel version was quite rich and voluminous on the palate yet permeated with citrus acidity and a finishing note of white pepper. A brilliant wine!
Domaine Christian Moreau 2019 Chablis Valmur Grand Cru 95
Established in 2002 as a separate domain, Christian and his son Fabien make first-rate Chablis. Even the Vaillon—for me one of the least interesting Premier Crus—has excellent definition and character. The stand out wine at the tasting was the 2019 Valmur Grand Cru, a wine of beautiful freshness, precision and expansiveness on the palate yet with not a trace of heaviness. It is far more approachable than the Les Clos which is sullen at such an early stage.
Domaine Moreau-Naudet 2018 Chablis La Forest 94
After Stephane Moreau’s untimely death in 2016, his wife Virginie continued his masterful work in the domaine’s vineyards. One of her most fascinating Chablis is a wine called Pargues which is a very old-vines lieu dit between Montmains and Vaillons. One feels the soil in every sip. Even better is the Premier Cru La Forets. The estate’s two hectares abut the Dauvissat holding in the vineyard; these are the oldest vines at the domain. A profound Chablis with a memorable texture which seems to duplicate in liquid form the soil from which it comes. The two other Premier Crus at the tasting, nice as they were, could not compare.
Domaine Olivier Merlin 2018 La Roche-Vineuse Les Cras 93
One of the finest if not the finest estate in the Maconnais where the quality of winemaking has risen to new heights since the mid-2000s. This domaine owns prime real estate in the best sub region of the Macon called La Roche-Vineuse. Of the three La Roche-Vineuse wines made by Olivier Merlin, the best is Les Cras, a single vineyard which was planted in 1962. The wine is made with whole clusters and aged for 18 months in barrels, 30% new. Does this sound perhaps like a Meursault? The 2018 is of great richness and depth with tons of minerality. This is about as serious a Macon as one is likely to encounter. A fabulous Chardonnay from southern Burgundy.
Côte de Beaune Whites
Domaine Hubert Lamy 2018 St. Aubins En Remilly Premier Cru 94
The most important estate in St. Aubin which is located between Puligny and Chassagne Montrachet. These are some of the steepest vineyards in the Côte de Beaune which imparts a steely note in many of its wines. Olivier Lamy, the current owner and manager of this roughly twenty hectares estate makes eight different St. Aubins, mostly Premier Crus. The fermented juice sees very little new oak. Aging is 18 months. Each vineyard’s wine is clearly different from its cousins. At the top of the heap is the magnificent En Remilly which is in effect a continuation of the southern piece of Le Montrachet. The 2018 stood out from the pack. Rich yet refined with penetrating acidity and a wonderful earthy minerality the En Remilly is as good or better than most Chassagne Montrachets. Always a must buy.
Domaine Comtes Lafon 2018 Meursault Perrières Premier Cru 95+
of the two most famous estates in Meursault, this 35-acre estate is run with almost scientific precision by Dominque Lafon who took over the reins in 1983 in his mid -20s. Biodynamically farmed, the estate produces five Premier Cru and four lieu-dit Meursaults. There is little controversy about the pre-eminence of the Meursault Perrières among the nine wines. The 2018 exhibited the luminous elegance, tight grained minerality and fluid finish for which Dominque Lafon’s Perrieres is justly famous.
Domaine Rougeot Meursault Charmes Premier Cru 93+
Run by Marc Rougeot’s son Pierre-Henri since 2010, the estate owns 25 acres of vineyards in Meursault. Minimal sulfur just before bottling is the norm. Some barrels need no added sulfur and are bottled with a different label. These are rugged, chewy, delightfully old-fashioned white Burgundies. The best wine by far is the super Meursault Charmes. In contrast to typical Charmes, which tend to fruity lightness, the Rougeot Charmes is a meaty, dense wine which is more about the terroir than fruit expression. Very impressive in 2018.
Domaine Matrot 2018 the Puligny Les Chalumeaux Premier Cru 93
An excellent source of Meursault and Puligny-Montrachets. Since the two daughters, Adele and Elsa joined their parents, the wines have benefitted from a lighter touch with more acidity and less ripe fruit. In 2018 the Puligny 1er Cru Les Chalumeaux is particularly excellent. The Matrots have owned its vines in this vineyard since 1900! Recently replanted, the vines are now 25-30 years old. Bright, intense almond/citrus aroma, brilliant Puligny freshness and attack on the palate. A lovely wine.
Domaine Pierre Morey 2019 Meursault Clos Le Meix Tavaux 94
A justly famous estate of 10 hectares roughly making mostly Meursault but also Puligny, Monthelie and Aloxe-Corton. From 1988-2008 Pierre Morey was the wine maker at Domaine Leflaive. He helped convert the estate to biodynamics, a move which was completed in 1997. His most famous wine is the Meursault Perrières which is one of the longest-lived and most profound white wines made in Burgundy. At the La Paulée tasting, the domaine presented a rare lieu-dit: 2019 Clos Le Meix Tavaux located in north east Meursault. Vibrantly active with a piecing aroma of nuts, fresh grass and lemons, this is an exciting example of Morey’s style of wines which seem to be living entities in the glass.
Domaine Bachelet-Monnot 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 92
Domaine Bachelet-Monnot 2018 Puligny-Montrachet 92
Founded in 2005 by brothers Marc and Alexandre Bachelet, this small estate is located at the southern end of Burgundy in Maranges—where they making stunningly rich juicy red wines. Fortunately for them and us they have three Premier Cru Pulignys, a village Puligny and a village Chassagne Montrachet blanc. The quality of the two 2018 Village wines was remarkable. The real test of an estate lies in the quality of its village wines which are made from less glamourous terroirs. The brothers captured the essence of each village in these two wines: The Chassagne is earthy, full-bodied with a rustic mouth feel and a hint of iron and sea salt. The Puligny by contrast was all bright sunny fruit, citrus notes and subtly piercing acidity. Wine making in the service of the villages from which the fruit came. Bravo!