We were collected in style by Julien le taxi who has a snazzy black Audi with blacked-out windows so you feel like a VIP (edit: G tells me it was actually a Mercedes. Shows how much I know). He took us from Chambolle-Musigny to Vosne-Romanee, another village which I'd never visited before and was very excited about. Here we lurked for a few moments before popping into La Toute Petite Auberge for lunch. This offers a menu of 3 courses plus a glass of wine and coffee for a whopping.... 21.50 euros. What a steal! The food was lovely and I believe a gougere or two may have appeared with our pre-prandial kirs. Fantastic.
Then it was time for a wander through Vosne-Romanee and our first proper look at the vineyards. Everything seemed incredibly green for the time of year - they're perhaps a month behind the normal schedule, which is problematic, and we saw lots of adverts for help with the harvest. It's so tempting to go back in a couple of weeks.
In the centre of Vosne there was a kind of bus stop which had a giant map of the village and buttons you could press to make the different domaines light up.
We popped into the wine shop where I found a couple of unusual premier crus for the Premier Cru Project. We also spotted a house for sale just across the square from Domaine de la Romanee Conti HQ. Now that's a tempting proposition...
Then it was time for our next appointment, at Domaine Audiffred. Once again I'm a huge supporter of this domaine and have bought quite a lot of their wines over the past year or so, which are all tucked away to mature, so I was really looking forward to this.
This domaine makes relatively small quantities of quite a few different appellations in both the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune. When we visited, they were in the middle of pumping some of the wines into tanks, and there were lots of hoses lying around the place which we had to be careful to step over, and an assistant occasionally popped down to do things, which made the tasting feel enjoyably informal.
We tasted 20 wines altogether and once again I'll just give edited highlights. In some cases the wines had just been sulphured and had something going on which I decided to call "foxy nose" in my notes, but this will disappear in time.
As usual, I loved the Beaunes. After tasting the white Beaune, I was licking my chops like a cat that's just been fed some smoked mackerel, while the red Beaune had a lovely nose and was very jolie. The Morey St Denis was sensational and intense, with a great finish, while the Pommard en Mareau was amazing. At this point, as G and I were both going "Aaaaaah", there was a funny gurgling noise and it turned out that one of the hoses had become dislodged and Beaune blanc was pouring all over the cellar floor. "Excusez-moi" said Henri politely as he dashed over to fix it.
The Gevrey-Chambertin had redcurrants and blackcurrants and I was dribbling quite badly at this point. Then we tasted a series of Vosnes. The village Vosne was elegant and fruity, while the Chalandins had more richness, but for me the Champs Perdrix was where it was at. It was very complex and had it all going on. I see I have some of the 2010 and the 2011, so I guess I'll just have to get some of the 2012 too... Then we tried the 1er cru Reignots, the jewel in the crown. Henri made just one barrel of this and told us it was quite a responsibility. It was wonderful, and the finish went on for minutes. I have three bottles of the 2010, so that will be something to look forward to in a few years' time.
This was a remarkable tasting. There's something about the house style here that really appeals to both G and me, and the wines express the terroir of the different villages very clearly. Merci beaucoup to Henri for showing us so many lovely wines.