17 November 2023

Burgundy Diaries – Day 4

By Jason Haynes, Burgundy Buyer

Côte de Nuits

Having spent the three previous days in the Côte de Beaune, it was time for a quick flirtation with the Côte de Nuits. I had an early start with Arnaud Mortet up in Gevrey, who took me through his exceptional range of 2022s. Quality at this domaine continues to climb inexorably, and it’s fascinating to see the stylistic evolution of Arnaud’s wines. An advocate of whole bunch (for many wines he used around 50%) and an ever more conservative user of new oak, Arnaud’s wines showed a lovely freshness and energy that invigorated their obvious richness and concentration. The Gevrey 1er Cru Champeaux and the Clos Vougeot were particular highlights, the latter confirming the joyous renaissance of the appellation that we are undoubtedly witnessing in these warmer vintages. And more good news, we should be getting a bigger chunk of his production this year! His sister, who is currently expecting, came down to the cave to say hello as we were finishing, and we wished her and Thierry (Pillot) very well for the December due date. 

I then faced the long drive to the Côte Chalonnaise to see Jean-Baptiste Ponsot in Rully. We have been working with the effervescent JB since the early days and know his wines inside out. They have always been good and have always offered great value too, but over the last 3 or 4 years he has added an extra level of finesse, and now has few peers in the village. Whether his 1er Cru rich Molesme or his mineral 1er Cru Montpalais is the pick of his 1ers is probably down to personal taste, but he now has a third, Raclots, so choosing a favourite is just a little bit harder! He now also makes a barrel of Chassagne Blanchots Dessous, one of the appellation’s finest plots of village wine. It’s worth mentioning that 2022 really suits the reds from this part of Burgundy, giving them a touch more noblesse than usual.  

A spot of lunch with JB at the recommended Grenier à Sel in Chalon where the grill is kept very busy, allowed for a rare chance to talk golf and politics with a Frenchman! 

Then I headed back north to Chassagne, with the rain once again doing its worst, where I was hosted by sales and admin manager Emmanuel Lanier-Garde, as Philippe Colin was away in his beloved South Africa. Having recently passed 9 hectares down to his son Simon, Phil Colin has a much smaller range to play with than he once had, but there were still some lovely highlights. The Chassagne 1er Cru Chaumées showed wonderful minerality and vivacity, it’s just a shame there are only 4 barrels (1 new) in total! There is even less of the small but excellent vineyard of Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru En Remilly (just 2 barrels this time!) And we finished with the Puligny 1er Cru Demoiselles and the Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru, with the former just shading it on the day.