New 2013 Releases from the Cote d’Or

Posted on Posted in Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Domaine Edmond Cornu et Fils, Domaine Jean Chauvenet, Producer Spotlight

It has been our custom in recent years to let many noteworthy releases arrive at our NY warehouse without any fanfare. Within any given year, there are a throng of important and extremely limited wines that we are compelled to offer and allocate to our clients. We often call your attention to wines that are in very short supply while letting others sneak in because the demand for them is not as high. This is unfortunate; some of the most exciting releases of the year are not from the usually-allocated suspects and therefore go unnoticed.

This month we expect an impressive arrival of 2013 reds from the Cote d’Or. We have been drawn to the character of these wines since we first tried the 2013 in barrel.  It is a classically styled Cote d’Or vintage, producing wines that are direct and pure, with razor-sharp acidity. The 2013 growing season was cool and long (a type of year that is made rarer by global warming), with most growers not harvesting until the beginning of October. As we spoke with each vigneron, we heard the same story:   2013 was one of the most challenging and stressful of their lifetime. The results reflect this struggle in some respects.  The wines are not easy to drink. They are not full-bodied and open. Their fruit is hidden behind a cloak of strong acidity, especially in the wines’ youth, yet they have remained compelling wines to taste. Most show a precision and a rare expressiveness in this time of warmer vintages. Though one would not call them fruity, they do have a healthy ripeness in the fruit (most growers were able to wait and pick with good maturity) and a deep mineral structure that gives them great length and energy on the palate. The power and complexity of these wines are not derived from ripe and explosive fruit; rather, they show an introverted yet individualistic expression derived from their acute terroirs.

Even though the 2013 reds were not the most accessible in their youth, these offerings have benefited from a few years of time in the bottle.  While much of the marketplace is starting to release 2015’s, we are very proud to bring you wines that have had a chance to develop and show more of their potential. This is a vintage, in our opinion, which requires a bit of time and patience to find itself, and we are certain these wines will continue to develop beautifully in years to come.

Domaine Edmond Cornu :

We are bringing in the full range of 2013 reds from Domaine Edmond Cornu (along with the 2015 Bourgogne Aligote, 2015 Bourgogne Rouge, 2014 Chorey-les-Beaune Blanc and the 2014 Ladoix Blanc). The 2013 vintage from Cornu is balanced and clean, a strong successor to their excellent 2012s.  The 2013s are open and generous, with sappy cherry fruit, fresh acidity and gentle tannins.

Chorey-les-Beaune “Les Bons Ores” 2013:
Made from a 2-hectare parcel in the southern part of the appellation, the 2013 shows the coolness of the vintage.  Clean, tart cherry fruit is supported by firm but gentle tannins and bright, lively acidity.

Savigny-les-Beaune 2013:
Low yields from a ¾-hectare parcel limited production to three barrels in 2013. Cornu’s Savigny is always open and generous early on. The 2013 shows cool, crushed-cherry fruit and a steely mineral backbone.

Ladoix “Vielles Vignes” 2013:
The true value of the Cornu cellar is made from vines planted in 1926 and 1960 at the foot of the hill of Corton. The sometimes wild and tannic character of this cuvee is tamed by the freshness and drive of the 2013 vintage. The fruit is clean, with only a hint of earth and smoke underneath.  The typical Ladoix tannins are quite tame here, and the high acidity provides a firm but lively structure.

Ladoix “Les Carrieres” 2013:
Why this wine is not Premier Cru is the great mystery of “Les Carrieres.”  This wine always shows an elegance and aromatic intensity that belies its more modest village appellation.  The 2013 is pure and airy, and has notable berry fruit and subtle tannins.  Only 30 cases imported.

Ladoix 1er Cru “Le Bois Roussot” 2013:
The 2013 “Le Bois Roussot” is broader and juicier than the “Les Carrieres” and has a darker tonality. The fruit is dense, leaning toward black cherry. Not especially tannic, this is the easiest and most youthfully satisfying of the Ladoix bottlings.  50 cases imported.

Ladoix 1er Cru “La Corvee” 2013:
This could be the most important wine from Cornu. We have enjoyed many incredible bottles of “La Corvee” from Neal’s cellar over the years. It’s a different animal, made from  50-year-old vines on a 1/3-hectare parcel. The nose is powerful, showing dark berry fruit and notes of iron and rust. The 2013 could easily be mistaken for a Nuits-Saint-George. The fruit on the palate has a surprising warmth and ripeness for this cool vintage.  Always a beast in its youth, this wine rewards those willing to give it time to age. Only 27 cases imported.

Aloxe-Corton “Vieilles Vignes” 2013:
This wine is made from vines planted in 1942, ’58, and ’71. The 2013 vintage’s relatively gentle tannins and high acidity give this often tannic and structured wine an atypical refinement. The core of this wine is cool and mineral with dark, sappy, blackberry fruit. The finish is firm and tannic (but not overbearingly so).

Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru “Les Moutottes” 2013:
This is a layered and complex wine, made from a ½-hectare parcel that is actually in the village of Ladoix. The nose is a bit closed but leans toward dark, “sauvage” fruit. The palate contains layers of fresh red and black cherry, firm dusty tannins and a sweet finish. Warm and satisfying, this wine will benefit from a few more years to flesh out. Only 25 cases imported.

Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru “Les Valozieres” 2013:
“Les Valozieres” is made from a 1/3-hectare parcel and is characteristically the most tightly-wound of the 2013s from Cornu. The wine is concentrated but strict; its warm and sweet berry fruit is cloaked by big, bittersweet tannins, a classic wine of Aloxe.

Corton Grand Cru “Les Bressandes” 2013:
Even in an elegant and cool vintage like 2013, this wine is big. It is dense with savory, sweet, dark fruit, and has a mineral core and big tannins that make this wine a fortress. Those looking for something more ready to drink should turn to the 2008 that we still have available. Only 27 cases imported.

Domaine Jean Chauvenet:

The upcoming shipment contains the remainder of 2013s from Jean Chauvenet. (We have already brought in their 2013 “Les Damodes” and “Les Perrieres” earlier this year.) Cristophe Drag, true to the Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation, makes wines that are never timid. They are among the most powerful and structured wines from our growers in Burgundy. The harvest here was very late, starting on October 5th. The 2013s are not quite as ripe as recent vintages; instead, they are more pure and more linear, with an attractive underlying freshness. These wines do not lack fruit, however, and are not at all under-ripe. There is also a good deal of concentration, power and tannin behind these wines.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Bousselots”:
The “Bousselots” comes from Chrisophe’s largest Premier Cru holding, a ½-hectare parcel located just north of the village.  Premier Crus in the sector adjacent to Vosne Romanee yield wines with less power than those from locations south of the village. This wine always fits that trend. The 2013 appears healthy and ripe on the nose, and has copious, sweet black fruit.  Underneath, the structure is elegant. There is a cool minerality, and the forgiving tannins lean toward the sweet side. Only 25 cases imported.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Rue de Chaux” 2013:
Located roughly in the center of the appellation, this Premier Cru yields wines that are always the most well-rounded of the Chauvenet cellar. The 2013 is a good candidate for early drinking. Its blackberry fruit is dense and strict, with a firm acid spine and deep, bittersweet tannins. This is a textbook example of what Nuits-Saint-Georges has to offer. Only 20 cases imported.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Aux Argillas” 2013:
The roughly 25-year-old vines for this bottling are some of the younger vines of the domaine, and are located in a tiny .17-hectare parcel.  “Aux Argillas” is typically the most forward and accessible of Christophe’s Premier Crus, perhaps because of the age of the vines or the heavier presence of clay in the soil. The 2013 bottling seems more ripe on the palate, with dark sweet fruit showing a wide, silky texture. The tannins are present but on the sweeter side. Only 20 cases imported.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Poulettes” 2013:
Christophe works another .17-hectare parcel in this excellent vineyard that sits just above the renowned “Les Perrieres”.  This wine typically shows the power and breed of its better-known neighbor, but tends to have a fresher fruit edge and more relaxed constitution, possibly due to the higher elevation. The 2013 “Les Poulettes” is one of the strongest of the vintage. It shows rich, dark fruit and an elegant backbone of minerality and surprisingly sweet tannins, considering the cooler vintage. Noticeably lower in price than the “Perrieres,” it is arguably the best value in the cellar. Only 20 cases imported.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Vaucrains” 2013:
“Les Vaucrains” is always the pinnacle of the Chauvenet cellar, resting just above the fabled “Les Saint Georges”. This vineyard is steeper than its downstairs neighbor is, and the soils are a bit poorer, lending “Vaucrains” a deep and introverted mineral character. The 2013 is the most brooding wine from this fresh vintage. The black fruit is dense, with distinct mineral undertones of iron. Only 25 cases imported.

Domaine Bitouzet Prieur:

Francois Bitouzet has been making some of the most exciting red and white Burgundies in our portfolio. His 2013s keep this trend going, and were among the best group of wines we saw in Cote d’Or.  These excellent wines are pure, generous and textured, with energetic acidity and terrific balance. We are certain that you will be happy with them. Sadly, yields for the 2013 vintage were quite low, so there is not a lot  to go around. Many of these are sure to go quickly, so do not hesitate to put in your requests!

Volnay 2014:
Stowed away with the 2013s is our usual 75-case allocation of 2014 Volnay Village.  This wine is made from 2.2 hectares of vineyards planted in “Ez Echards” and “Les Aussy,” which are both directly beneath the Premier Cru “Ronceret,” and which is habitually one of the most stunning village wines we receive from any grower in the Cote d’Or.  It is usually released a year before their Premier Cru offerings. The 2014 bottling does not disappoint: its fresh-cherry fruit is married to a  slightly herbal spice and is supported by a firm mineral spine. The tannins are present (but gentle), which is typical in this appellation, but they lend a nice licorice spice rather than dominating the fruit.

Volnay 1er Cru “Les Aussy” 2013:
Bitouzet works this ½-hectare parcel, mostly planted in 1956, that rests just beneath the Premier Cru “Champans.” The mineral brightness of the 2013 vintage lends an elegance to this often wild and spicy wine.  The palate is generous, with licorice-spiced fruit that ranges from light to dark cherry.  40 cases imported + 25 cases of ½-bottles.

Volnay 1er Cru “Les Mitans” 2013:
Bitouzet has bottled wines from this tiny .13-hectare parcel since 2005.  We are fortunate that the Bitouzet family allocates the entire three barrel production to us for the US market. This typically structured cuvee, “Les Mitans,” is a warm but rustic standout from Bitouzet’s offerings. The combination of pure cherry fruit and spicy tannins in the 2013 is reminiscent of classic Nebbiolo from the Piedmont. 54 cases imported.

Volnay 1er Cru “Taillepieds” 2013:
This is always Francois’s favorite. The “Taillepieds,” made from a .72-hectare parcel, is routinely the most character-filled wine from his cellar. If any wine deserves time and patience, this is the one. The fruit here shows more power and a darker medicinal character than all of the 2013s, with undertones of dried herbs and black tea. This wine is concentrated and rich; its mineral core is surrounded by more savage fruit and big tannins. Only 35 cases and 36 magnums imported.

Volnay 1er Cru “Pitures” 2013:
This ½-hectare parcel just next to “Clos des Ducs” is always the most Pommard-like. It is warm and juicy and has the darkest fruit of his 2013s. The fruit is concentrated and sweet, and the tannins are soft and savory, making this one a great candidate to consume right out of the gate. It is approachable but also has layers and complexity to keep your taste buds interested. Drink now or much later – “Pitures” has enough stuffing and structure to keep you happy for years to come. 50 cases imported.

Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Chenes” 2013:
The ½-hectare parcel from this famed Premier Cru consistently delivers the purest, most elegant wine from Bitzouet. The fruit for the 2013 is fresh and clean, with the texture of glycerol.  The tannins are soft; the wine’s structure and length are driven more by its deep mineral structure.  45 cases and 30 magnums imported.

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