Back from Bourgogne Part 1

January 13, 2015

Back from Bourgogne Part 1

4 days

7 growers

78 Wines

1200 miles

Our first appointment was with Nicolas Potel at 5.00 p.m. on the Tuesday evening and so, casting aside any considerations of personal wellbeing, alarms were set for 3.30 a.m., tea was guzzled, breakfast taken and by 4.45 we were on the road. Arriving in France at 10.15 French time we did battle with the frost, fog, rain and sleet that greeted us before laying waste to the quite sublime cold gammon sandwiches that I had slaved over the previous evening as the miles (kilometres) ticked down.Pulling into our hotel at 4.10 we met up with my old friend, the enigmatic James Handford MW before heading off down the road and, on the dot of 5.00, we strolled into Nicolas' office on the route de Dijon in central Beaune.

 

He was late.

 

Which, in the event was not a major problem as his colleague, the wild and wonderfully engaging Syvain Debord gave us a whistle-stop tour of the winery before we set about the samples that had been prepared for us.

If there is one element of the 2013 vintage on which everyone is agreed it is that it was perilously small, particularly in the Cote de Beaune. Mother Nature, having had so much fun in 2012 letting rip with the hail machine whenever she felt a bit bored, chose to repeat the exercise in 2013 (and also in 2014) on almost the same areas of vineyard. Growers who awoke with a spring in their step on the morning of the 23rd July went to bed distraught after a 20 minute hailstorm ripped through their vines and wrote off much of the vintage. Fortunately for us, the 70% loss that they have suffered has not been reflected in prices and quality overall is impressive.

 

Nicolas' business is, essentially, split into 2 parts, the Maison Roche de Bellene wines are produced by Nicolas and Sylvain from grapes that are bought in from growers they have worked with over a number of years whilst the Domaine de Bellene wines come from their own vineyards. These latter wines are slightly more expensive but nonetheless epitomise what Nicolas is striving to achieve. We shall be showing wines from both the negociant and the Domaine sides of the business at our tasting on February 18th so I shall leave you to judge for yourselves their relative merits. Suffice to say that I felt that many of the wines were punching above their weight and I was particularly impressed by some of the "minor" appellations.





Also in Blog

In Search of Rioja
In Search of Rioja

September 19, 2020

In northern Spain, some 95km south of Bilbao and bisected almost laterally by the River Ebro lies Spain’s most popular and famous wine region, a region of some 66,000 hectares of vineyards worked by 14,800 growers and dominated by some of the most celebrated names in the wine world.

Continue Reading

Coteaux du Giennois, Terre de Silex - OFFER
Coteaux du Giennois, Terre de Silex - OFFER

August 03, 2020

It started early on a Saturday in June. I’m minded to say that it disturbed my lie-in but it was way earlier than that that my phone first pinged to announce the arrival of a new website order. (I wonder if Jeff Bezos has the same app on his phone?). Ignored it, rolled over and 5 minutes later it went again. And again. And etc, etc. Finally, before switching the thing off, curiosity got the better of me and I opened up the online shop to find a stream of orders for a wine that I fell in love with 2 years ago but that we had failed to make much headway with – Coteaux du Giennois, Terre de Silex from Clement & Florian Berthier,

Continue Reading

Bat S*** Crazy Elemental Bob – pre-shipment offer 
Bat S*** Crazy Elemental Bob – pre-shipment offer 

July 03, 2020

Continue Reading

Mouthwatering 6 packs

May 20, 2020

Although the world has been turned upside down of late, Covid-19 hasn’t interrupted our Captain Kirk approach to wine-buying – seeking out new wines, new spirits and beers, boldly drinking what no man has drunk before. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration

Continue Reading