Ah, the wonders of Burgundy

I had a wonderful visit to Burgundy in June 2011, visiting existing suppliers of Glengarry and some new prospects I’d eyed up. As I work through writing up all my notes I’ll post them on my blog. First up – Domaine Anne Gros.

It’s always a pleasure tasting visiting Anne Gros, she is such an amazing winemaker and an inspirational women. In fact on this particular day of tasting I meet with three amazing female winemakers, starting in the morning with Anne Parent (Domaine Parent – we’ll have their wines from the 2010 vintage that will arrive towards the end of 2012) she was a hoot, a Pommard specialist, I loved her explanation of the differences between the North and South parts of Pommard – she explained the North was like a man who liked to play golf and drove an Aston Martin, the South a man who plays rugby and drives a Porsche- just perfect – Pommard makes complete sense now. I then went on to meet Chantelle Tortotchot in Gevrey, Chantelle is understated and excellent at what she does, she has taken over the family property and is now bottling again under the Domaine Tortochot label, her 2009 wines have just arrived. Anyway, back to Anne Gros.

Anne is always fun and enthusiastic, but this year, even more so, she is very happy with the quality of her 2010 that are in barrel, pleased with her 2009 and thrilled with the quality of the wines from her new project with husband and fellow Burgundy wine maker Jean Paul Tollot. First we tasted the 2010 wines from barrel.

Bourgogne 2010 Hauts Cote de Nuits
The malolactic fermentation had just finished, there were creamy notes on the nose and nice fruit coming through. It was very clean, with great acidity, rich, round with fine tannins.

Bourgogne 2010
The malolactic fermentation had not quite finished for this wine, you could feel the acidity, tannins, it was balanced and well structured. Characteristic of this vintage, the fruit had excellent concentration. Anne commented that the 2010 produced some of the best berries she had seen, but with very little juice in them, her production is very small for 2010.

Chambolle 2010
The malo had finished, it had great structure, good acidity and wonderful fruit in the centre, clean and precise with some chewy notes on the finish. A vibrant, fresh, elegant Chambolle.

Vosne Romanee 2010
Amazing palate, rich, berry characters, nice sweetness, everything was quite forward with this wine, lovely fine tannins, smooth and elegant.

Echezeaux 2010
The vineyard is now 23 years old. The Malo was finished but it was showing a little reductive, in fact, Anne commented she was not at that stage happy with it – but it was time to wait! The wine had a strong palate, taught, nice berry notes a strong wine.

Clos Vougeot 2010
Very structured, nice chewy notes. Anne explained that she feels her 2010 Clos Vougeot is her best yet. Great fine tannins, wonderful fruit and a lovely length.

Richebourg 2010
What a wine! The malo had finished, it has massive power initially but then a fine, elegant and silky palate. Amazing length, it’s impressive to have some much elegance with so much power and length and all in balance.

We then tasted a few of the 2009 wines from bottle to get an idea of the comparison between the vintages. First up the Bourgogne.

Bourgogne 2009
A lovely palate, very good fruit. This has acidity that I did find lacking in some of the 2009 wines that I tried whilst in Burgundy – a sign of a great producer who has read the conditions right. Still very ripe, wonderful fruit and balance.

Clos Vougeot 2009
Beautifully fragrant nose, berry notes, rich and very forward. Palate has cooked strawberry notes, cooked fruit, not jammy though – violets, black cherry and spice. A lovely opulent palate, wonderful – definitely my kind of wine.

Richebourg 2009
The palate is lovely and sweet, some gripy tannins give the palate lovely texture. It’s rich, chewy and with some earthy notes. A great wine.

Next it was onto Anne’s latest project – a joint venture with her husband Jean-Paul Tollot, himself a great Burgundy Winemaker. Anne is clearly excited about this project, not only due to the quality of the wines, but in building separate Estates for their three children to take over. Coming from a large family, all involved in winemaking in Burgundy, Anne has quite a bit to say about family working together and for her – the best idea is for them all to have something different to work on, so between her and Jean-Paul, they have their own two estates and with three children between them, they needed a third.

So why the South of France? Many reasons were given, most noticeably – a challenge, something it’s clear that Anne thrives on. She has spent her whole life working with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and wanted the opportunity to work with other varieties, the south of France gives her and Jean-Paul the most scope to do this. Whilst working on this project she’s also travelled alot to learn about the new varieties; including to Priorat to learn more about Carignan, we both shared fond memories of this wine region. The Gros – Tollot wines are very smart, I’d actually already tried them earlier in the year at Juvenilles Wine Bar in Paris, but was keen to try them again with Anne, first up was 50/50 – representing the 50/50 share they have in the property;

50/50 VDT 2009
A blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Grenache, a sweet, primary fruit driven wine, lovely and gentle, very easy drinking.

La Fontanilles 2009
Named after a place, it’s a blend of four varieties from four different sites – Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. The palate has great texture and excellent balance.

La Ciaude 2009
A blend of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache, it’s chewy, good strong texture, nice sweet notes. Excellent weight, a very smart wine.

Les Carretals 2009
100% Carignan – I was intrigued to try this, I love the Carignan of Priorat (particularly Alvaro’s Camins). This is distinctly Carignan, masculine and firm, yet fragrant and floral. I do find this variety a real contradiction. I’m excited about trying this alongside some Priorat wines when it arrives.

That concluded my visit with Anne, it was once again a lovely tasting and experience. I’m looking forward to her wines arriving and re-tasting them.