9 November 2023
Burgundy Diaries – Day 2
By Jason Haynes, Burgundy Buyer
Day 2 began and ended in Meursault. My first port of call was at the 6-hectare domaine of Albert Grivault, half of which is made up of the wonderful 1er Cru of Les Perrières, again half of which is contained within the monopole of Clos des Perrières, which was astutely acquired by the domaine back in 1879. I met with Albert’s great granddaughter, Clare, who was clearly delighted with the generous vintages of ’22 and ’23 that have followed the decimated ‘21s, although she was quick to point out how good she thinks their ‘21s are. Having said that, the 2022 vintage was a delight, sparkling with minerality and energy, yet remaining wonderfully discreet and understated. How lucky we were to get the agency when we bought Domaine Direct during Covid lockdown. Thank you, Hilary.
I then drove around the corner to see Antoine Jobard. Once we’d finished discussing France’s surprising defeat at the hands of South Africa on Sunday, we moved onto discussing just how good his ‘22s are. I pointed out that if the 2022 vintage had arrived in Burgundy 20 years ago, the wines would not have been as successful as they are today. He agreed and alluded to the impact on vinification that the rich vintage of 2015 had on his own winemaking, how his use of lees has changed and brought greater lift and punctuation to his wines. In fact, he wasn’t the only winemaker to bring up lees during the day. Charles Ballot was struck by how good and fine his lees were and how they had helped create some magical wines in ‘22. I also tasted Antoine’s new reds (he now has 6 hectares of reds alongside his 7 hectares of whites) including a couple of Beaunes and an outstanding Pommard 1er Cru Epenots, yet another testament to the positive impact of climate change on this once tough and unforgiving appellation. But, for now, I am happy to take a moment to savour his whites, which were great, especially the mouth-puckering Poruzots.
After bumping into Neal Martin in a restaurant in the village and joining him for a quiet bite, I headed off to see François Buisson at Domaine Buisson Battault, where his Genevrières really showed its class. And those looking for some great value need look no further than his definitive Meursault Vieilles Vignes, which delivers everything one wants from a village wine. Back in the car, I drove the few hundred yards on to Domaine Henri Germain, where Lucie took me through a really lovely set of wines, before her father, Jean-François, joined us for the final few cuvées. We opened the batting with yet another delicious Aligoté, before enjoying a couple of impressive village wines. Firstly, the monopole Clos Moulin Judas (half Bourgogne, half Meursault) and thereafter the Limozin, which just had the edge over Les Chevalières, which was showing more reserved on the day. Both the Charmes and Les Perrières showed very well here. On the red front the Beaune Clos des Mouches deserves a mention for just being so delicious. The perfect Pinot to be served by the glass.
The day finished with Charles Ballot, who has once again made a superlative set of wines. His permanent broad smile gave away his enthusiasm for the 2022 vintage, and the Narvaux, the Tête du Clos (Chassagne Morgeot) and the Perrières all impressed highly. We finished the day with a glass of the latest release of the Danbury Ridge Chardonnay (2021) that I had cheekily brought with me from Essex for Charles to taste. Charles and his 4 American importers, who tasted with us, were all suitably impressed as the wine really delivered and confirmed its reputation as the best white wine from the UK.