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.
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.
The origins of this estate date back to the 17th century, but more recently, Bouscaut was acquired in 1979 by Lucien Lurton, a well known Bordeaux winemaker who already owned at least ten other prestigious châteaux throughout Bordeaux. Today the estate is run by Sophie Lurton, Lucien’s daughter and her husband Laurent Cogombles. Laurent is also the present president of the appellation Pessac-Léognan.
There are 47 hectares under vine. The barrel fermented white is a mix of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Sémillon, from 150 year old rootstock grown on clay and gravel soils.
The grapes were picked by hand and carefully sorted in the vineyard before arriving at the winery. Vinification was in oak barrels, 40% of which were new, with regular batonnage (stirring of the lees) to add depth and integration of the wood into the wine. The finished wine was then aged for 12 months in wood – 30% of which was new.
Light golden in colour with a fresh and intense nose with flinty mineral notes, fine oak, roasted nuts, grapefruit, peaches and citrus notes. The palate is fresh and vibrant with juicy fruit and fine balancing minerality in the long finish.
Moreau’s “Vaudésir” is from vines aged between 40 and 65 years old.
Fermentation is is stainless steel and 65% of the wine stays in steel whilst the remaining 35% is aged in oak – 90% is 1-3 year old wood and only 10% is new. This gives a very restrained expression of oak – it seasons rather than flavours.
This small, 4 hectare, domaine has, since 2003, been run by the ambitious and young Alexandrine Roy, the fourth generation to assume the reins at the family domaine “Marc Roy”.
Her attentive approach to the vineyard work includes aeration of the vines through a careful thinning of leaf cover as the growing season progresses, and reduction of yields through green harvesting. Consequently, she produces fruit which is uniformly ripe from vineyards which are clean and vines which are incredibly healthy. Only the best grapes make it to the winery, any suspect fruit gets left on the vineyard floor.
All the fruit here is 100% destemmed, with daily pigeage (punching down the cap) during the relatively brief fermentation in stainless steel, and a delicate application of new oak during the also brief elevage of only 12 months. The results speak for themselves – soft, silky, supple and always very pure with the emphasis on elegance and balance rather than power.
Very approachable in their youth these wines also age well.
The vineyard “La Justice” is located to the east of the N74 road that runs the length of the Côte d’Or. Quite forward and expressive the nose is full of black and red berry fruits that follow on to the palate that has a lovely supporting earthy minerality.
Approximately 20% new barrels are used in the ageing process, the balance being 2nd and 3rd fill barrels.
A very reliable Cru Bourgeois property, Château Caronne Ste. Gemme is located in the Haut-Médoc adjacent to St.Julien. Owned by Jean and Francois Nony, the property consists of 45 hectares of vineyards and produces over 20,000 cases a year.
Caronne Ste. Gemme 2014 is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel before being transferred for maturation in oak barriques (20% of which are new, the rest being 2nd or 3rd fill) for 12 months.
A rich nose of red fruit, cedar and spices leads on to a powerful palate that is full of red fruit flavours, herbs and oak balanced by firm tannins and subtle oak.
**A Double Magnum – 3 litres, or the equivalent to 4 bottles – in an individual, branded wooden box.**
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