We headed out on Monday morning, popping the traditional bottle of cremant as the Eurostar left St Pancras, and arrived in Beaune in the early evening. We were staying in a new place in Meursault, a lovely gîte decorated in a rather less frilly manner than some places I've stayed in, with a fantastic view of the vineyards, four bedrooms, a giant sofa and TV, and a "minibar" stashed with bottles of fine burgundy at ex-cellar prices from the domaine that owns the gite - what a brilliant idea!
On Tuesday afternoon it was off to Santenay for our first tasting, at Domaine de la Choupette. Santenay is in the south of the Côte de Beaune and slightly off the beaten track. You get the impression that not that many wine tourists visit the village, which has a big square with a cheery fountain, although this was not working at this time of year.
Choupette is a domaine I have wanted to visit for some time, as I'm a big fan of red Chassagne-Montrachet, and also I've enjoyed their Santenay. Madame appeared just as our taxi drove off and took us into a tasting room where we went through the range of 2009s: a white Santenay, a red Maranges, two red Santenays and two red Chassagnes. These had all been bottled on 17th Sept so had had time to settle down.
I was mainly excited by the Santenays and the Chassagnes. The first Santenay was a Vieilles Vignes and had a beautiful colour, cherries on the nose, and was delicate and pure, relatively light, a good picnic or lunchtime wine. The other Santenay was from Comme Dessus which is just above the 1er cru vineyard La Comme (top right on the map). This was rich and succulent, and altogether more serious than the vieilles vignes. Madame said it could be kept up to 12 years! I think I'd struggle to wait that long.
The village Chassagne had a very strong nose of redcurrants and was weightier than the Santenays. It was consistent on the palate and had good acidity. Again it wasn't too heavy, but was very elegant and had a lovely finish. Madame said this wouldn't be drinking until 2014, which I can believe.
And finally, we had the Chassagne 1er cru Les Morgeots which I was eager to try as I'd already bought a case en primeur based on G's recommendation after he tasted it in London in December. They don't make a lot of it and I couldn't risk the possibility of not getting some! Fortunately, this turned out to be the highlight of the tasting. It was a distinct notch up from the village Chassagne, more powerful and complex with good blackcurrant fruit. It was so good that I think I may accidentally have swallowed a little bit of it, but we were told this would need 5 years to develop and come together.
All in all, this is a domaine making delicate and charming wines, and I'm very pleased I have finally been there! It's now firmly on my "buy every year" list.