Once again, we were in the downstairs room and the buzz of a party happening upstairs was audible as we commenced with a glass of Cremant de Bourgogne blanc de noirs from Domaine Gueguen. This is made from pinot noir and gamay and was refreshing and enjoyable. The Gueguens have only been making wine for a couple of years but already they are already very accomplished.
Next up was a Saint-Bris from the same domaine, which is made from sauvignon blanc grapes. This was quite soft, not as bracing as some sauvignons from the New World, which some of us may regard as a good thing!
Then it was on to Chablis proper - a comparison of the 2014 Petit Chablis and Chablis from Domaine Nathalie et Gilles Fevre. I've been a fan of this domaine for several years and one of the highlights of my visits to Burgundy was our day trip to this domaine in September 2013 which I wrote about here.
ACC explained that the appellation "Petit Chablis" refers to the classification of the vineyards and is not a qualitative assessment as such. This wine is completely unoaked and was very drinkable with good acidity. The Chablis itself was a step up, as you'd expect, with a heavier mouthfeel and was smart and polished. It went down very well at my office Christmas party last year and hopefully we'll be doing the same this year, when it will have an extra year on it. It was clear that the 2014 vintage was excellent.
Then we moved higher up to the scale, to a pair of wines from the premier cru Mont de Milieu vineyard - the 2014 and the 2013. I tried the 2014 first. This had a delicious, mouth-watering citrus core down the middle and an extraordinary finish which went on for minutes. I had to wait some time before I could move on to the 2013, which was easier drinking at this stage, softer and more knitted together. I did think there was a discernible similarity between them though, a certain honeyed quality. ACC waxed philosophical, telling us that we can never step into the same river twice, and when you're judging wines from different vintages you have to consider the fact that one wine is older than the other in addition to the characteristics of the vintages themselves. I think in a few years the 2014 will be spectacular and I can't resist adding some to my cellar even though G tells me I already have too much wine. I don't think family and friends will object to helping me out with it in five years' time...
Finally, we tasted the premier cru Vaucoupin 2013 from Gueguen next to the premier cru Vaulorent 2012 from Fevre. The Vaucoupin was excellent, I got a hint of mushrooms on the nose, and ACC made us hungry by talking about veal, chicken and guinea fowl at this point (fortunately the food came out shortly afterwards). It was very accomplished with great finesse.
But Vaulorent occupies a special place in my heart - more on that in the next blog post - and for me the 2012 was the highlight of the evening. ACC described it as more brooding and referred to preserved lemons. It's complex and based on recent experience could perhaps do with even longer to develop. There has been awful weather in Burgundy lately casting a big shadow over the 2015 vintage and prices are sure to rise in future, so I'm very tempted to grab a couple of bottles while I still can.
There was a competition at the end to identify this mystery bottle. I identified it as a Fevre but not as the Mont de Milieu 2010. I'd given up making notes by this stage but in retrospect I could see that it had that distinctive honeyed quality. It's not for sale, but was another opportunity to step into the Mont de Milieu river. Thanks ACC for another very educational and enjoyable tasting!