Michel Maret has now been joined by his two daughters, Véronique, helping with the wine making, and Caroline, running the office with Madame Maret.
Domaine de la Charbonnière has 12 hectares of prime vineyard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 4.5 in Vacqueyras – this is a serious, established, top quality Domaine.
The Cuvée Hautes Brusquières is made up of 40% Syrah and 60% Grenache, all from the Brusquière plateau, from vines aged between 30 – 50 years old.
The two varieties are vinified separately with the fermentation lasting up to 5 weeks in temperature controlled vats. The cap is punched down every other day and the wine is pumped over every day to maximise extraction and elegance in the finished wine.
Ageing is in large oak vats for up to 18 months.
The wine has a good deep red colour, with a nose full of ripe black and blue fruits and notes of spice, pepper and leather. The palate is full and powerful with gentle tannins, and ripe, zippy, pepper and fruit flavours.
This small property (3.8ha) produces textbook Pomerol.
100% Merlot from 40 year old vines planted in iron rich, sandy soils.
The grapes are picked by hand making several passes through the vineyards only picking the bunches at peak ripeness. A further sorting of the fruit takes place at the winery followed by fermentation in small, temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats. The wine is then transferred to oak barrels for the malo-lactic fermentation followed by 14 months ageing.
Deep purple/red in appearance, the nose is full and rich with red and black fruit aromas. The palate is lush and rounded with layered black fuit flavours, a full, textured mouthfeel and gentle supporting tannins.
This fine property comprises a beautiful 19th century house, parkland and some 15 hectares of vineyard. Under British ownership from 2000 until recently, a huge amount of investment has gone into restoring not only the house but also the vineyards and cellars. The results of this are plain to see.
Produced from 20 year old vines, the grapes are hand picked and carefully sorted in the vineyard. Fermentation is in temperature-controlled cement vats for a period of 3-4 weeks followed by 12 months ageing in oak, 60% of which is new.
The 2009 is very dark in appearance with a nose full of ripe fruit and elegant cedar notes. The palate is dry and broad with restrained cassis flavours, a touch of liquorice and warm spicy notes. The tannins are soft but support the wine well into the long finish.
Jean-Marc is the fourth generation of this branch of the Pillot family to be in charge of this excellent, 10 hectare domaine. He took over the reins from his father Jean in 1991 and is assisted by his wife Nadine and sister Beatrice.
The white wines of the domaine mature quickly and are at their peak 3-4 years after the vintage.
Ripe fruit is set off by a wonderfully elegant mineral core. The use of wood is restrained.
Jean-Pierre Latour has 10 hectares under vine in Meursault. Wonderfully sited vineyards, low yields, brilliant winemaking and no fining or filtration, make this one of the most exciting domaines in the village at present.
The Meursault Cuvée Charles Maxime (a blend of Les Vireuils, Les Corbins and Les Pelles) is plump, rich and generous, fermented and matured in barrel (around 1/3 new) for 15-16 months.
Bernard Bouvier has 17 hectares under vine in and around Gevrey and Marsannay.
He has recently moved to new state of the art cellars just north of Gevrey and the quality of his wines has improved even further.
Yields are extremely low and never exceed 30 hl/ha and no chemical sprays are used in the vineyards and everything is hand picked. Fermentation of the reds involves a long, cold maceration and a gentle extraction – what Bernard calls an infusion. About one third new barrels are used. They are bottled without fining or filtration and are fine, pure, concentrated and subtle.
He is currently undergoing organic conversion.
The site of the vineyard “La Justice” is, in theory, on the wrong (east) side of the RN74. However, the soil of small stoney scree, gives a wine of pure, elegant, fine minerality from 45-50 year old vines.
Deep ruby red in appearance with hints of purple – clear, bright and strong. The elegant nose is of ripe black fruit with floral hints of violet, and a delicate touch of spice. The palate is ripe, supple and full with lively fruit and gentle tannins. The finish is long and persistent with excellent balancing acidity – very elegant.
Domain Ballot-Millot is a 12 ha., family estate located in the heart of Meursault and now run by the young and talented Charles Ballot.
All the wines are barrel fermented, with around 25% new oak.
His Meursaults are chiselled, fine, pure and minerally – top class wines from a talented young vigneron.
Their village Meursault is from a total of just under 2ha of Chardonnay vines with an average age of 33 years. Dry and creamy, the nose has aromas of almond, hazelnut and butter. The palte is rich and generous with ripe fruit, taut minerality and butter and vanilla flavours from the oak.
Sylvain Bzikot’s grandfather arrived in the village of Puligny from Poland just before the start of WWII with pretty much nothing to his name. Over the years, however, the family has acquired four hectares of vineyards within the Puligny-Montrachet appellation and a further nine hectares of Bourgogne.
Pale straw yellow in appearance, the nose is rich and buttery with plenty of ripe melon notes and a touch of oak. The palate is full and rounded with layered fruit supported by integrated oak, fresh acidity and a good mineral backbone.
This fine Morey-St-Denis domaine was created by Joseph Arlaud just after WWII and today extends to some 15 ha. Whilst his son Hervé is still involved he leaves most of the work these days to his children Cyprien and Bertille. The Arlaud family have farmed organically for several years and today they also follow a biodynamic regime in the vineyards and winery.
They always harvest manually and since 2004, under the guidance of Bertille, have used horses to plough the vineyards. Soil compaction can be a real problem and heavy machinery only adds to the problem whereas the horses have a lighter touch. Currently there are two horses working the Domaine, “Nougat” and “Okapi”.
Once harvested, the grapes are carefully sorted and de-stemmed but not crushed. Fermention is carried out using indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled cement tanks. The wines are aged in French oak barrels (15% of which is new wood) for 14 to 16 months before being bottled, unfined and unfiltered, according to the lunar cycle.
Arlaud’s Gevrey-Chambertin is from a 1 hectare vineyard and has a deep ruby / purple colour with a nose full of plum and black fruit aromas with hints of earth and leather. The palate is full and rounded with notes of strawberries and raspberries supported by fine tannins, lovely freshness and elegant acidity.
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants