24 November 2023

Burgundy Diaries – Day 6

By Jason Haynes, Burgundy Buyer

Puligny, Pommard, AuxeyDuresses, Maranges

Freshened up by a quiet weekend, I was really looking forward to my first port of call on Monday morning in downtown Puligny-Montrachet. Philippe Pernot is part of the grand Pernot Dynasty of the village, grandson of the famous Paul and brother of Alvina, who also has her own domaine. Both siblings still work much of the vineyard holdings at the family domaine, and from 2022 Philippe will be producing some new wines from the family estate’s fruit under his own label, which I was excited to taste.  

Now firmly settled in his new tasting room, Philippe has gradually evolved his winemaking style to create wines with more tension and energy. In 2022, he began harvesting on the 25th of August. I tasted several new wines starting with a second village Puligny, produced from a single vineyard called ‘Petits Nosroyes’ that lies just below the 1er Cru of Les Perrières, which Philippe decided to take out of the blended cuvée (eight other parcels) and bottle separately. Then there were two new 1ers Crus from Puligny (Folatières and Pucelles), which technically will be bottled under a négociant label as they are from fruit from his father’s estate, and two new Grands Crus (Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet), also from his father’s estate. This was undoubtedly his best vintage to date and it’s exciting to begin to anticipate what further gems may appear in the near future. We will be offering the wines early this vintage, in December, so watch out for the offer. 

The extended tasting meant more apologies were due for my tardiness when I arrived in Pommard to taste at J-M Boillot. But, as the rain continued to fall, what was being poured into my glass brought much joy and sunshine to my mood. This was a very good tasting from start to finish, with the Montagny 1er Cru putting up an especially strong show before the 1ers Crus Pulignys of Champ Canet and Combettes stole the spotlight! 

A quick and rustic solo lunch in Auxey-Duresses gave me a brief moment to check my emails before arriving at Domaine Lafouge, where I met Gilles Lafouge and son, Maxime, for a tasting that I thought might hint at Auxey being the new Meursault – and I left feeling that might indeed be the case. Though a close geographical neighbour of Meursault, Auxey is a much colder site and its whites have generally been known for lacking a little substance, whilst its reds have a tendency towards rusticity – or that certainly was the case a decade ago. But now, with temperatures on the rise, wines from the right producer can really look very smart. The amusing and articulate Maxime, who led the tasting, has crafted some really terrific wines of intensity, richness and purpose. But the really big news here is the 2021 purchase of a full hectare of the small vineyard that is Clos Rougeot. The previous owner has no children of his own and approached Gilles and Maxime about the possibility of them buying it, despite numerous others sniffing around it for several years. Father and son didn’t need to be asked twice and can’t stop smiling when discussing the vineyard and the 14 barrels it has produced in 2022! Of the other wines, the Auxey Boutonnières was gorgeously racy and salty, while the red Climat du Val showed the élégance one normally associated with much grander appellations. Cometh the hour, cometh the village! 

I finished the day in one of the most southern parts of the Côte d’Or, in Maranges, where I tasted the latest range from young Bertrand Bachelet, excitedly housed in his new cuverie on the edge of the village. Maranges is another one of those appellations that climate change has really helped to put on the map, adding greater richness of fruit to the previous overly tannic and earthy reds. Bertrand is working well, and he has some new plots of Saint-Aubin that have come into production over the last couple of years and give a nice complete look to the burgeoning range.