Burgundy, France

Ploughing the vinyards of La Romanee


We like the wines from this town and always seem to start our tastings here.  We started with our old favourite Harmand-Geoffroy whose wines we stock and then found that two of the people we normally visit were closed but we found two new ones.

Le Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy

Place des Lois, 21220 Gevrey-Chambertin; T 03 80 34 10 65 www.harmand-geoffroy.com
Harmand-Geoffroy tasting cellar

Harmand-Geoffroy tasting cellar

We tried 5 wines from his ’09 range.  The Bourgogne Rouge (€12) was powerful and chewy with great tannins. The village Gevrey-Chambertin (€20) was finer with black fruits and a full mouth feel.  The 1'er cru La Bossière (€32) had a delicate nose and a lighter feel whilst the 1'er cru Lavaux St-Jacques (€35) was black fruits and green leaves with lots of flavours.  The grand cru Mazis Chambertin (€60) had a great nose and was very powerful and complex.  Interestingly the wine maker preferred his ’09 to his ’05 as he thought the latter was more a show wine, a wine for wine writers whereas the ’09 had better balance and was for drinking.  We bought the village wine and the two premier crus.  We offer this domaine’s village Gevrey-Chambertin (see here).

Domaine de Varoilles

11, rue de l’Ancien Hôpital, 21220 Gevrey-Chambertin; T 03 80 34 30 30 www.domaine-varoilles.com
de Varoilles Clos du Couvent

de Varoilles Clos du Couvent

This domaine is right next door to Harmand-Geoffroy.  They have their very own on-site vineyard as shown in the picture above and most of their wines come from monopoles (that is they are the only people who have vines in that vineyard).  The day we visited Madame said the tasting room was too cold so we had the tasting in her dining room.  We tasted the ‘10s of their monopoles Clos du Meix des Ouches, 1’er cru La Romanée and 1’er cru Clos des Varoilles.  The Clos du Meix des Ouches had only just been bottled and so was all over the place and had fruits that were not appealing.  The La Romanée was remarkable for its sweet and sour cherries.  The Clos des Varoilles had great tannins and balance and red cherry fruits.  The ’10 grand cru Charmes Chambertin had a fuller nose and black fruits.  We also tasted the ’09 Clos des Varoilles which had red cherry notes and soft tannins.  We bought the Clos du Meix des Ouches (monopole) 2009 (€29) (half bottle available for €17) and the 1’er cru Clos des Varoilles (monopole) 2009 (€37) (half bottle available for €22).

Domaine Quivy

7, Rue Gaston-Roupnel, 21220 Gevrey-Chambertin; T 03 80 34 31 02 www.gerardquivy.0rg.fr
Dm Quivy courtyard

Dm Quivy courtyard

Dm Quivy tasting room

Dm Quivy tasting room

A great looking place with the house, winery and cellars built in 1704.  We tasted the village ‘les Journaux’ ’08 (€24) (light, tart red cherries), the ’09 ‘En Champs’ (€25) (more red fruits) and the ’10 1’er cru les Corbeaux (€40) (the vineyard next to grand cru Mazis Chambertin, lighter with great fruit) and the ’09 grand cru Charmes Chambertin (€90) (lovely fruit, soft tannins).  We bought the Gevrey-Chambertin En Champs 2009 (€25).

View across many grand cru vinards towards Vougeot

Great place for a picnic lunch with a view across many grand cru vinards towards Vougeot

Nuits St Georges

Domaine Remoriquet

22/27 rue de Charmois, 21700 Nuits St Georges; T 03 80 61 08 17
Dm Remoriquet tasting room

Dm Remoriquet tasting room - not quite what one would expect

This domaine is difficult enough to find through the one way system in the back streets of Nuits St Georges at the best of times but when roads are closed for maintenance it is almost impossible. If we hadn’t been there before we wouldn’t have found it even with the help of SatNav. But, the pain is worth it! The Bourgogne Pinot Noir ‘09 (€8) had a restrained nose, good tannins and tart red cherry palate. Great value! The ’10 Nuits St George (€18) had a good nose, fruit and tannins. The ’09 Nuits St George Les Allots (€23) had a deep colour and a good nose, red cherry fruit and tannins. The 1’er cru les Damodes ‘09 (€29.50) was darker still, had a great nose, red to black cherry palate and good tannins. The 1’er cru Les Bousselots ‘09 (€29.50) was more ripe black cherries on the nose and palate. We bought both premier crus and the Bourgogne Rouge.

Aloxe Corton

There are 3 places where one can taste wine in the centre of this small town. We tasted at Voarick but didn’t buy. We have not tried the other cellar door since our first visit many years back. We went to the Caveau this time because we were looking for Bruno Colin’s wine and when we rang his bell he sent us there.

Caveau des Proprietaires

Place du chapitre, 21420 Aloxe Corton; T 03 80 26 49 85
Caveau des Proprietaires tasting room

Caveau des Proprietaires tasting room

The Caveau represents eight winemakers including Bruno Colin. We tried his Bourgogne Rouge ‘10 (€8), ’10 Savigny-les-Baune Les Peuillets (€17) and ’09 Beaune. To our taste they all had a boiled sweets palate to a greater or lesser extent which we don’t really like. We also tried an Aloxe Corton 1’er cru ’09 from Chapuis (€29) which we found disappointing as it was thin and had little fruit. We bought the minimum 2 bottles (the Bourgogne Rouge) to pay for the tasting.


Our visit to this village was another example of the hit and miss that one gets without appointments – a favourite winemaker was closed but one we had visited some time back was open.

Domaine Denis Père et Fils

4, Chemin des Vignes Blanches, 21420 Pernand-Vergelesses; T 03 80 21 50 91 www.domaine-denis.com
Dm Denis tasting cellar

Dm Denis tasting cellar

This small family run wine maker is not certified organic etc but uses organic fertiliser and tries to minimise the use of herbicides and pesticides. It is certainly worth a visit. We tasted their ’10 whites. The Pernand-Vergelesses (€13.50) which was lemony with a hint of oak and also white peach on the nose. We bought this. The 1’er cru Sous Frétille (€19) was still closed but had hints of what we smelled and tasted in the village wine. The Corton Charlamagne grand cru (€44) was intense and typical of what one would expect. The whites all showed the class of barrel fermentation rather than barrel maturation which we prefer. The ’09 reds we tasted were the village, two 1’er cru and the Corton grand cru.  They were all typical red cherries and good tannins just changing in complexity and intensity. On balance we preferred and bought the 1'er Ille des Vergelesses (€19). They also have a well rated Bourgogne Rouge which we did not try.

Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine

18, rue Rameau-Lamarosse, 21420 Pernand-Vergelesses; T 03 80 21 55 43 www.dubreuil-fontaine.co
Dm Dubreuil-Fontaine tasting room

Dm Dubreuil-Fontaine tasting room

This fifth generation family wine maker is one of our favourites. It follows similar vineyard practices to Dm Denis. When we arrived on a Saturday morning the place was humming and all family members were on hand to help with the tasting. We were not impressed with the ’09 Bourgogne Blanc (€8) but have bought past vintages; this one was not much of anything and died quickly after swallowing, or rather, spitting. The village Pernand-Vergelesses ’09 (€14) was a big step up with good fruit, lemons and honey. The monopole ’10 Clos Berthet 1’er cru (€21) was full of lemons and white peaches. The ’10 Corton grand cru (€50) had light oak and flowers but still very closed. The reds we tasted were all ‘09s. The 1’er crus Les Fichots (€17) had a great nose, fruity cherries,, and soft tannins. The 1’er cru Ille des Vergelesses (€24) was at the black fruits end of the spectrum, succulent with great complexity. The grand cru Corton Bressandes was closed on the nose but had a full mouth feel, complex and fruity; a privilege to taste. We bought the 2 1’er cru reds.


Jean-Jacques Girard

16 rue de Citeaux, 21420 Savigny-les-Beaune; T 03 80 21 56 15 www.domaine-girard.com
Dm Jean-Jacques Girard tasting room

Dm Jean-Jacques Girard tasting room

When in Savigny-les-Beaune we always visit Girard. All the wines we tasted were from the ’10 vintage. The Pernand-Vergelesses ‘Les Belles Filles’ (€14) and the Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc (€14) both had light oak, had a full mouth feel and were fruity. We bought the Savigny-les-Beaune. In the reds, the Bourgogne Rouge (€8.50) was light with fruity red cherries – the best we had tasted so far on this visit. The village Savigny-les-Beaune (€13) was fruity but we found the acid too high. Then we tried a range of 1’er crus. Les Peuillets (€17) had a great bouquet, a balanced feel to the mouth with red cherries and blackberries. We bought this. The Les Lavières (€20) had a blackberry nose, was very fruity with soft tannins and a long after-taste; if you want fruit buy this. The Les Fichots (€16) had a full mouth feel, well balanced with a sweet and sour taste. We finished with a Pommard but once more proved that this style of wine was not to our taste.


Domaine de Bellene

41 Rue Faubourg Saint Nicolas, 21200 Beaune; Tel : 33 (0) 3 80 20 67 64 www.domainedebellene.com
Dm Bellene cellars

Dm Bellene cellars with 3 different size barrels on the right

Dm de Bellene is the grower/winemaker side of Nicolas Potel’s wine businesses. You may wonder why he doesn’t use his own name as he used to. That is because Dm Nicolas Potel is owned by someone else and he lost an interesting court case that demonstrates that your name can become a brand. We don’t ordinarily make appointments but we so wanted to visit and taste these wines that we very sensibly ditched our principles this time.

We were shown around by a very enthusiastic Sylvain Debord, the Technical manager – Winemaker. Their premises are just outside the walls of Beaune in what used to be a winemaker’s premises but had been derelict since the early 60s. The restoration is a work in progress, long-term labour of love and consistent with their overall organic approach. As they say “All our vines are grown with the biodynamic methods. We add no outside products to our wines, no acid, no cultured yeast, nutrients, enzymes, sugar...” All their grapes come from village appellations and are often with feet of grand cru vineyards. So much so that the very informative back labels on their bottles give the GPS co-ordinates of the parcels off vines that contribute to the wine.

All the ’09 vintage had been sold so we tasted from the not yet released ’10 vintage. The white Savigny-les-Beaune is barrel fermented with malolactic fermentation in large 600l barrels rather than the traditional 225l barrels to better match the oak to the strength of the wine. It had great citrus and oak in balance and that clean oak nose that we so love. Côte de Nuits-Villages was similar but the mouth feel was fuller. We preferred the Savigny. In the reds, the Bourgogne Rouge was aged in old oak barrels and had the classical red cherries nose and taste. The Côte de Nuits-Villages was full of fruit, red cherries, on the front but had more structure and better tannins than the Rouge. The Savigny-les-Beaune 1’er cru Les Peuillets was everything plus – would be best put down for 3 to 4 years. The Beaune Clos du Roi had mixed fruit, cherries and blackberries and a full mouth feel. The Nuits Saint George Vieilles Vignes had blackberries, a full mouth, was softer, less aggressive, fatter and made from very old vines. We had bought the ’09 en primeur and so felt very pleased with ourselves as this was our favourite red.

In line with many top producers one cannot buy direct so we were told that there wines were stocked by Magnum; 15, rue Monge, 21200 Beaune; T 03 80 22 69 44 www.magnum-vins.com . We picked up the Bourgogne Rouge ‘09 (€12) and the Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc ‘09 (€18) from their range.


Jean-Louis Chavy

27, rue de Bois, 21190 Puligny-Montrachet; T 03 80 21 38 85
Jean-Louis Chavy tasting room

Jean-Louis Chavy tasting room

We used to buy from his father but in 2003 Domaine Gérard Chavy was taken over by his brother whilst Jean-Louis took his half share to form his own domaine. We tasted his ’10 Bourgogne Blanc (€6) which was lemony with restrained fruit. The Puligny-Montrachet ‘10 (€17.90) was a big step up in price and quality – lemony and minerally. The 1'er Les Perrieres ‘10 (€27.90) was another big step with new oak on the nose, lemony and buttery. We bought the village and 1’er cru.

The other winemaker that we visit in Puligny, Jean Charton; 8 Bis Grande Rue 21190 Puligny-Montrache; T 03 80 21 99 19 www.jeanchartron.com was sold out of the ’09 and the ‘10s had only recently been bottles and their wines were suffering from bottle shock

Macon area

Macon competes price-wise with the Bourgogne Blanc and village whites from around Beaune, in other words, it is in the everyday drinking bracket. It produces some very acceptable wines along these lines; wines you can drink in the vintage year but will keep and improve for two to three years.


Domaine Roger Luquet

rue du Bourg 71960 Fuisse; T 03 85 35 60 91 www.domaine-luquet.com
Dm Roger Luquet tasting room

Dm Roger Luquet tasting room

Luquet is a small family run winemaker that has vineyards in the Pouilly-Fuissé, St Veran and Macon appellations; it has vieilles vignes versions of the first two that are barrel fermented and remain in the oak for about 6 months. The ’10 Macon Villages (€6.50 or €3.75 for a half bottle) was lightweight; The Saint Veran ‘Tradition’ ‘10 (€8 or €4.50 for a half bottle) was full of fruit, everything one would expect from a well-made unoaked chardonnay; the ’09 Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Terroir’ (€13 or €7 for a half bottle) we found thin. The oak dominated the ’09 St Veran (€9) but was soft in the ’09 Pouilly-Fuissé (€13.90).  All in all a classic example of vintage variation.  The '09 white Burgundies are rated 6 out of 10 whilst the '10s are rated 9 out of 10.  We bought the '10 Saint Veran ‘Tradition’ and will certainly consider their half bottles for the halfwine.com unoaked, old world chardonnay.


Domaine de la Chapelle

Pouilly, 71960 Solutré-Pouilly; T 03 85 35 81 51 www.pouillyfuisse-domainedelachapelle.com
Dm de la Chapelle tasting room

Dm de la Chapelle tasting room

Although the average age of the vines is almost 60 years this is a newly established domain. They use organic fertilizer, no pesticides and a manually intensive approach. The ’11 St Veran had a full mouth with fresh lemons and a hint of oak from 15% of the wine being in the barrel for 3 months. The ’11 Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Les Grands Climats’ (€11.20) had even more pronounced citrus but more complex with minerality and floral notes. We bought this. The Pouilly-Fuissé ‘los de Chapelle’ (€19.20) was fully oaked with fresh clean oak. The ’09 Pouilly-Fuissé vieilles vignes (€13.10) was also fully oaked showing great complexity.


Our approach to this village is to start at Dm William Fevre as they are a reliable benchmark for good Chablis and they have a wide range of Chablis vineyards.

Great place for a picnic lunch - the view from the top of grand cru Les Clos towards Chablis

Dm William Fevre

10 rue Jules Rathier; T 03 86 42 12 06. www.williamfevre.fr
Dm Williamm Fevre tasting room

Dm Williamm Fevre tasting room

Here we tasted a range of village, premier and grand crus. We bought the Chablis (domaine not negotiant) ‘10 (€11.90), Montee de Tonneaire ‘10 (€28) and les Preuses ‘10 (€46) and the Le Clos ’09 (€52). Halfwine.com stock their basic domaine Chablis see here.

Pascal Bouchard

Parc des Lys, 89800 Chablis; T 03 86 42 18 64 www.pascalbouchard.com
Dm Pascal Bouchard tasting room

Dm Pascal Bouchard tasting room

The younger generation are making their presence felt at this quite large family business with the release of their own new brands that heavily feature the organic approach although the domaine as a whole recently made the move to organic farming. The ’10 Chablis (€9) was clean and subtle. The Chablis vieilles vignes ’09 (€11) was fuller, minerally and lemony. The 1’er cru Montmains was even more pronounced along these dimension. The DRB brand 1’er cru Montée de Tonnerre ’10 (€18) was lemony but had a sweet edge, it had a full mouth feel but there was evidence of old oak. We bought the vieilles vignes wine.

Château Long-Depaquit

45 rue Auxerroise, 89800 Chablis; T 03 86 42 11 13 www.albert-bichot.com
Château Long-Depaquit tasting room

Château Long-Depaquit tasting room

Every time we visit this beautiful walled chateau we feel how sad it is that no one lives there anymore; I guess it’s the consequence of being part of a big brand. Still, they make good wine. Our visit this time was a bit of a disaster. The ’10 Chablis (€10.75) was corked; the bottle was three quarters empty so it’s anyone’s guess what the previous 20 odd tasters thought. The new bottle was lemony, minerally with a hint of sweetness which should disappear in a couple of months. The ’10 1’er cru Montée de Tonnerre (€18.60) was flowery, lemony and minerally. The grand cru Les Vaudésirs (€28.70) was too tired so the tasting person tried another bottle which was not much better. We were also given a taste of the ’06 grand cru Blanchot (to make up for two duff bottles we think) but this was also shot – open for too long. Despite the very lacklustre tasting we bought the basic Chablis as it was good and we had enjoyed previous vintages many times in the past.