On Thursday evening, just as the first (and hopefully last) snow of the year was beginning to fall, I made my way over to the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green for the annual tasting of en primeur Burgundy, hosted by ACC of the Burgundy Portfolio.
We were in a different room this year, which required navigation down a very long corridor and up some stairs, but once inside there was the welcome sight of tables of booze and a gentle hubbub of Burgundy enthusiasts getting stuck in, including some old friends.
This will mainly be a photographic post, and edited highlights for me as there was too much to report on bottle by bottle. I did find some divergence of opinion this year but also some areas of agreement.
Nathalie Fevre was unable to be present but her wines spoke for themselves. I'd heard slightly worrying things about some of the 2015 whites, and there seems to be a view that they are for drinking in the mid-term rather than the long term. I would have no hesitation about buying the Fevre wines, and the village Chablis always seems to go down very well at the office Christmas party.
A mixed bag of other whites here - some more Chablis from the Gueguens (possibly a bit sharper than the Fevre Chablis, which isn't a criticism) and some whites from Maison en Belles Lies of which the Santenay was particularly interesting, with a kind of mushroomy thing going on.
In typical AduV style, my photos of my favourite whites of the evening, from Domaine Albert Joly, turned out blurry and unpublishable. I usually love these wines and there was no flabbiness in evidence here! I'll certainly be adding 2015 to my Puligny Tremblots ladder and once again I thought the Bourgogne Blanc was the equivalent of a village level wine.
On the next table, Vincent Perrin and his son Guillaume were presenting their wines, mostly from Volnay. This was the first vintage vinified by Guillaume and it's good to know that the future of this domaine is in safe hands. The premier cru Gigottes is an old favourite but this year it had competition from the premier cru Mitans which impressed everyone. I also have a soft spot for the Pommard.
I enjoyed trying this Irancy from Domaine Gueguen, which had an amazing nose of blackcurrants, and might see if someone wants to share a case with me.
Romain Chapuis's reds come in at a nice level price-wise. I liked the Chorey (no change there) and I found the Maranges very enticing too, with some earthy characteristics.
Action shot of the Baron going in for some Maison en Belle Lies reds! Actually, he was just rearranging them so that I could get a better photo.
There we are. It was good to see old favourite L'Etrange making an appearance this year and the Hautes-Cotes de Beaune was a bit heavier than usual. I liked the Maranges premier cru very much and the Corton was amazing, but out of my price range. I'm hoping someone else will buy it and share it with me...
On the next table, Julien Petitjean of Domaine de la Roseraie was presenting his wines, on his first visit to the en primeur tasting. This domaine was previously based in Puligny but has now moved to Beaune. We started with the Beaune Blanc, which is a style of wine I usually enjoy and this was no exception. It's made using traditional techniques and was elegant with a good finish.
The Bourgogne Rouge and red Beaune were also very good but the jewel in the crown of this domaine is the "Eponyme" which Julien makes using the best grapes from all his vineyards, and treads by foot! The mix also includes 10% white grapes. It's only available in magnum as that size is considered the best for maturing the wine, and I'm going to have to give this some serious thought, as opportunities to drink magnums don't come up that often when you live in a studio flat. On the other hand, 2023 isn't that far away...
We moved on to the other reds and found that Henri Audiffred had delivered the goods, as usual. The red Beaune had its distinctive nose of tropical fruits and I'd like to think I would spot it at 100 paces.
The other reds were all great too. A particular highlight was the Cote de Nuits Village "le Clos de Magny" which ACC had added to the offering this year. "So delicious I drank it" read my notes, which tell you all you need to know, as this year I did actually remember to spit most of the wines out.
I have six-packs of the Vosne-Romanee Aux Champs Perdrix going back to 2010 so am a committed enthusiast for this wine. Will I be going for the 2015 too? Hell yes.
I didn't take photos of the two wines from Domaine Trichard, the Brouilly and the Cote de Brouilly, but both G and I liked these and as ever, Beaujolais seems very good value these days. Having said which, the prices in the offer are very fair in my opinion, and in most cases only slightly higher than last year, which considering how the 2016 vintage has seen a drastic reduction in volume is very decent of all concerned.
After the tasting, G and I were privileged to be invited to join the growers and ACC for dinner in a private room next door, and a lively time was had explaining customs such as "Do you know the Bishop of Norwich". There was also some talk of attending the Elegance de Volnay festival in June. I missed out on it last year due to work commitments, but I'm hoping I can plan a bit better this year as it sounds amazing - not least because the proceedings commence with gougeres at 11.00 a.m!
Thanks very much to ACC, Vincent and Guillaume Perrin, and Julien Petitjean, for a great evening.