Friday, November 14, 2014

Domaine Maurice Protheau and Domaine de la Choupette, Wed 29th Oct

On Wednesday morning, Julien le taxi picked us up at 8.20. Our destination was the Cote Chalonnais, and Mercurey in particular. It was cold and very foggy!

We arrived at Domaine Maurice Protheau which turned out to be based at a big chateau in Mercurey. I'd never been here before, as Mercurey is somewhat off the beaten track, and it seemed to be quite a big operation. Various people were bustling about as we arrived. Madame - I didn't catch her name! - gave us a great tasting of assorted wines from Rully and Mercurey, both red and white.

First the whites. The village Rully and Mercurey were both very pleasant but I homed in on the premier cru (bien sûr) - the Mercurey Les Champs Martin, which was big, and rich with good weight, a serious wine. The bourgogne rouge was juicy and relatively light - the word "croquant" was used, which was a new one for me and means "crunchy". The red Rully was mouth-tinglingly delicious and when Madame suggested it would be good with charcuterie I immediately envisaged a pork pie. My other favourite was the red Mercurey Clos des Noiterons which apparently is a monopole. This had a heady nose of red fruits and tasted like summer pudding. It was very elegant and charming. I suppose now I shall just have to wait and see what selection the Burgundy Portfolio comes up with!

Julien had been waiting for us and our next stop was Santenay to visit Domaine de la Choupette. I visited this domaine a few years ago and am a long-time follower of their red Santenays and Chassagnes in particular. We were greeted by Perrine and this time there were a couple of whites to start with: an exciting new Puligny-Montrachet which was elegant and approachable, and a Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Morgeots which seemed quite fruity after the Puligny, and was certainly high quality, a wine to keep.

NB basket of lovely cheesy gougeres!
The reds were the usual tour through Santenay and Chassagne and there was a clear ascending scale in terms of seriousness. I tend to buy different ones in different years to keep things mixed up, and tasting the 2013s, I particularly enjoyed the Santenay Comme Dessus which had juicy red fruits. The village Chassagne seemed very Chassagne and Perrine said it had lots of cassis, while the premier cru Chassagne Morgeots had a very fine, supple texture and was concentrated and complex, with a great finish. Not a wine to drink any time soon! Thanks to Perrine for a very enjoyable tasting.

We had some time to kill before lunch so we popped into the village wine shop where I picked up a couple of obscure premier crus for the Premier Cru Project. Then I took about 100 photos of the fountain on the main square. It's a charming spot and the trees were resplendent with autumnal foliage. We were sitting on a bench when a little tractor thing came whizzing past and the chap on it saw ACC and came to a halt to say hello - it turned out to be Jean Christophe Gutrin, one of the brothers who run Domaine de la Choupette.

At last it was time for lunch at Le Terroir. When I was here before, it was summer and we were able to sit outside, Inside, it felt more formal, but we had a warm welcome from the proprietor and the 21 euro set lunch menu was a bargain. To drink, we had a bottle of Bouzeron from Domaine de Villaine, which was excellent (I was amazed to discover half way through that it was an aligoté!) and great value considering that Monsieur de Villaine is co-owner of the Domaine de la Romanee Conti.

To be continued...

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