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.
The Sabon estate has 16 hectares of vineyards in some of the best sites of Châteauneuf – Les Cabrières, La Crau, Courthezon and Nalys, all with the “galets roulés” stones so typical of the area. The vines have a minimum age of 50 years, with 90-year-old vines being used for the Cuvée Prestige.
The wine making is today handled by Didier Negron, the son-in- law of the late Jean Jacques Sabon. The vineyards are managed by Jean Jacque’s brother Denis and his son Julien.
The fermentation takes place in small cement vats and small stainless steel cuves, with pumping over and a cuvaison which lasts for 20 days at a temperature of between 30° and 34°.
The wine is matured for between 16 and 18 months in foudres (4,000 litre) and used barriques, and receives neither fining nor filtration.
Grenache is the predominant grape blended with a range of other red grapes typical of the appelation – Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Terret, Counoise, Vaccarese and Muscardin.
Deep and brooding, this very complex wine has aromas and flavours of ripe red and black fruit, spices (cloves and pepper), mushrooms, and with age, truffles and old leather.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yves Cuilleron took over the reins as the 4th generation vigneron of this top domaine in 1987. He is based in Chavanay, just south of Condrieu, and has built up a formidable reputation in recent years. He now owns and leases over 75 hectares, 8 of which are in Côte-Rôtie.
The steeply terraced nature of the vineyards is such that all work must be done manually. This is very labour intensive but reflects the Domaine’s policy of ensuring that the vines produce the finest fruit possible.
Careful control of the vines vegetative cycle is exercised to maintain quality; a “green” harvest takes place in August to provide the vines with maximum aeration and reduce the risk of disease. Great respect is paid to the soil balance – no insecticides are used and only organic fertilizer, applied sparingly, is used.
For decades, the estate has focused on traditional and simple winemaking. A manual harvest, a careful sorting of the grapes, an alcoholic fermentation made solely from natural yeasts and ageing in wood are the main ingredients of the Cuilleron method.
Yves Cuilleron‘s approach to winemaking is “Make it as simple as possible”. For his reds he ferments in open vats for 3 weeks with pigeage (punching down the “cap”) and regular pumping over followed by ageing in a mix of new and old wood for 18 months.
This wine is from 4 ha of vineyards facing South / South-East, located in the north of the appellation. “Madinière” comes from the name of the stream located at the bottom of the hill.
100% Syrah. Dark in the glass, the nose is full of spice and pepper with soft wood tannins in the background. The palate is round and fleshy with soft tannins and fresh acidity giving the wines length and elegance.
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