Red Burgundy 2016 and 2015, Part 1: Two Terrific but Very Different Vintage

Posted on Posted in Articles, Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Domaine Fourrier, Domaine Georges Lignier, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod, Wine Press

BY STEPHEN TANZER | JANUARY 25, 2018

Despite extreme weather conditions in both 2016 and 2015, Burgundy’s Côte d’Or has produced an outstanding pair of back-to-back vintages studded with hauntingly beautiful reds.

Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur || Domaine Georges Lignier || Domaine Ghislaine Barthod || Domaine Fourrier/Jean-Marie Fourrier

Ten years from now, when their painful memories of the arduous 2016 growing season have receded, Burgundy’s producers may be able to enjoy their wines without nightmare flashbacks of the frost blanket and recurring mildew that plagued the vintage. Happily, Burgundy-loving civilians, who are naturally more concerned with the price and availability of their favorite wines than with the challenges of producing them, will derive great pleasure from the precise, perfumed, suavely tannic 2016s from the outset. One caveat: following a small crop of very ripe, large-scaled wines in 2015 that are quickly disappearing from retail shelves around the world, if they made it that far in the first place, the more classic ‘16s won’t be easy to find either. (Relief is on the horizon, though, as the Côte d’Or miraculously dodged frost in April of 2017 and has finally produced a full crop of wines.)

Domaine Bitouzet-PrieurDomaine Georges LignierDomaine Ghislaine BarthodDomaine Fourrier/Jean-Marie Fourrier
Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur

2016 Volnay (Bitouzet pulled this sample the day before my visit, just before the wine received a dose of SO2): Palish medium red. Slightly herbal aromas of cherry and licorice. Supple on entry, then a bit lean in the middle palate, showing a medicinal quality and a saline element but in need of a bit more flesh. A bit dusty on the finish. An unexciting showing, but I suspect this wine gained in precision with the sulfuring. (87-88)

2016 Volnay Les Aussy 1er Cru Palish, moderately saturated red. Riper on the nose than the village Volnay, offering scents of black cherry and spices. Also juicier and more penetrating in the mouth, conveying good subtle intensity and salinity to its flavors of cherry, minerals and soil. Bitouzet notes that this wine has same pH as its 2015 sibling: 3.46. I find it less exuberant than that wine but every bit as precise. Dusty tannins reach the front teeth on the long back end. (90-92)

2016 Volnay Taillepieds 1er Cru Bright medium red; more saturated than the Les Aussy. Musky, slightly reduced aromas of redcurrant, boysenberry and violet. Fine-grained and classically dry but not at all austere, conveying considerable early complexity to its flavors of purple fruits and subtle saline minerality. Finishes quite refined, with a serious dusting of smooth tannins and lingering notes of black raspberry and menthol. Lovely potential here. This shows a relaxed quality in the way of so many 2016s that escaped the frost. (91-93)

2016 Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru Barely medium red. Precise soil-driven aromas of purple fruits and dried flowers hint at a sexy carnal quality. Pliant and fruit-driven, conveying a restrained sweetness to its dark berry, spice and herb flavors. In a distinctly lighter style than the 2015 version but wonderfully spicy, pure and long. This classy Caillerets has the firm structural underpinning to age gracefully. (I will wait to taste Bitouzet’s 2016 Volnay Clos des Chênes from bottle, as it finished its malolactic fermentation in cuve and was sulfured shortly before my visit and was tough going in November.) (92-93)

2016 Volnay Pitures 1er Cru Barely medium red. Ripe but high-pitched aromas of raspberry, strawberry and licorice complicated by a captivating floral quality. The plushest and sweetest of these young ’16s but also with terrific inner-mouth lift and an element of delicacy to its precise red berry, salty mineral and soil flavors. This sexy, classy wine finishes with rather massive dusty tannins that avoid dryness. (Bitouzet describes this wine as “the German cousin: another branch of the family.”) It strikes me as suaver than its even more tannic 2015 sibling. (92-93)

2015 Volnay Medium red. Ripe aromas of cherry, raspberry and menthol. Offers good stuffing for village wine, but with a touch of menthol coolness to its red berry and spice flavors. Seriously rich wine with good palate presence. 89

2015 Beaune Cent-Vignes 1er Cru (from vines planted in 1986 and 1987): Medium red. Aromas of plum and smoke show a touch of reduction. Round and slightly sweet on entry, with its redcurrant and plum flavors showing a slightly leathery quality in a Beaune way. Tightens up on the back half, finishes with serious, slightly drying tannins that will require some patience. Incidentally, some of these vines were replanted in 2012 due to snow and frost in 2009, and will begin to go into the final blend with the 2017 Cent-Vignes. 89+

2015 Volnay Les Aussy 1er Cru (13.6% alcohol): Medium red. Deep, ripe scents of raspberry and minerals. Plush and fine-grained but a bit darker and fresher than the Beaune Cent-Vignes, conveying a more delicate quality to its flavors of redcurrant, red cherry, menthol and fresh herbs. Ultimately a bit darker and fresher than the Cent-Vignes, and distinctly juicier and sappier on the finish. The tannins are fine-grained. 91

2015 Volnay Les Mitans 1er Cru (13.5% alcohol; from vines planted in 1986): Deep medium red, the most saturated among Spicy aromas of redcurrant, licorice and mocha are riper and deeper than those of the Les Aussy. Plush, silky and fairly large-scaled, showing a distinctly spicy character to its darker fruit flavors. Finishes broad and classically dry, with a mouthful of dusty, slightly aggressive tannins and some alcoholic warmth. Seems a bit more energetically extracted than the Les Aussy and will probably need more time in the cellar. 91

2015 Volnay Taillepieds 1er Cru (14.2% alcohol): Medium red. A hint of musky, resiny reduction to the aromas of cherry, wild strawberry and licorice. Fine-grained, dry wine with terrific concentration and depth to its dark berry and spice flavors. Actually begins a bit austere but serious, late-arriving tannins carry the fruit through a very long finish. This big, rich Volnay is slightly high-toned in a positive way. The yield here was a healthy 37 hectoliters per hectare in 2015, according to François Bitouzet. 92

2015 Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru (13.9% alcohol): Moderately saturated medium red. Sexy, lightly medicinal aromas of cherry, redcurrant and milk chocolate, with a touch of peppery, spicy lift. (Unlike the foregoing wines, which are from totally destemmed fruit, this cuvée was vinified with a small percentage of whole clusters for the first time.) At once denser and more delicate than the Taillepieds, more reticent in the middle palate but with lovely mineral precision to its flavors of raspberry, black cherry, licorice and spices. Shows less of the vintage’s obvious warmth than the Taillepieds, no doubt due at least in part to the lightly peppery stem influence. This wine should evolve slowly and gracefully. 92+

2015 Volnay Clos des Chènes 1er Cru (vinified with about 20% whole clusters): Moderately saturated medium red. Sexy, musky aromas of fresh, ripe strawberry, raspberry, menthol and licorice. Quite penetrating for the vintage, with its touch of sweetness effortlessly carried by firm acidity cooling menthol and underlying minerality. This very sexy wine finishes firm and long, with a solid tannic spine and an element of saline complexity. Really spreads out on the end to dust the entire palate and vibrate. 92

2015 Volnay Pitures 1er Cru (25% vendange entier): Moderately saturated red. Strong musky reduction currently mutes aromas of plum, raspberry and spices. At once fat and dry, showing pepper and spice notes that may be from the stems. This strikes me as very unevolved, but does it have the inherent sweetness to reward cellaring? In any event, it’s dominated in the early going by its rather severe tannic structure. 90

 

Domaine Georges Lignier

2016 Bourgogne Rouge Champs de la Vigne Palish red. Slightly medicinal cast to the aromas of cherry, redcurrant and menthol. Very supple, spicy wine with a faint iron taste and a pliant mouthfeel for its appellation. Much of this wine is from replanted six-year-year old vines, which Stehly believes have contributed added energy to the end. (86-87)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Moderately saturated palish red. Rather reduced aromas of redcurrant and leather. Juicy acidity (which Stehly says is provided by his vines in La Fourneau) and calcaire minerality frame and enliven the flavors of redcurrant, cherry and spices. Finishes with dusty tannins and coffee and spice notes that reminded me of Morey-Saint-Denis. (Stehly’s Chambolle-Musigny was too reduced to assess with confidence.) (87-89)

2016 Morey-Saint-Denis (no new oak used here or in the foregoing wines): Palish medium red. Spicy redcurrant and raspberry aromas are complemented by a suggestion of smoke. Subtly sweet and a touch reduced, showing good intensity and verve to its flavors of red fruits, brown spices and underbrush. Finishes with rather fine-grained tannins and a slightly rustic peppery nuance. (87-90)

2016 Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Ormes 1er Cru (25% new oak): Palish bright medium red. Nose dominated by musky, rocky, smoky calcaire. A step up in silkiness, sweetness and depth from the village Morey but a bit reduced, displaying very good intensity to its flavors of redcurrant, tobacco, spices and saline minerality. Finishes with very good spine and length, with a lingering note of dried flowers. This wine comes from vines on very poor subsoil below Clos de la Roche; Stehly notes that it is “always strict when young and poor in color.” (89-91)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes 1er Cru (Lignier is aging this wine–and his grand crus–in 40% new oak): Moderately saturated bright red. Deep, alluring aromas of cherry and crushed stone. A step up in intensity and penetration from the Clos des Ormes, offering juicy, savory flavors of strawberry, cherry, spices and stone. Nicely delineated, juicy premier cru with a firm spine and terrific floral length. Really captures the salty minerality of this well-placed premier cru. (90-93)

2016 Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru (half of these vines are 70 years old, the other half 60): Moderately saturated medium red. Musky, soil-driven scents of fresh red fruits, crushed rock, flint and rose petal. Penetrating and sharply delineated, offering terrific intensity to its flavors of red berries, sappy cherry, minerals and blood orange. At once salty and juicy, this very long wine leaves the palate perfumed. Stehly compares this wine to a Musigny in its youthful strictness, and it strikes me as a classic young Clos Saint-Denis that will need time in bottle to expand. Stehly used to work mostly with spicy Cadus barrels for this wine but now uses one-third each Berthomieu and Tonnelerie du Val du Loire for his Clos Saint-Denis, as he feels these barrels are at once sweeter and more delicate. (91-94)

2016 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (the estate owns five plots on a range of different soil, with the vines averaging about 60 years of age): Moderately saturated medium red. Aromas of cherry, strawberry and raspberry accented by brown spices; the nose suggests a bigger wine than the Clos Saint-Denis. The large-scaled and deeper in the mouth but tightly wound, with its red fruit flavors complicated by soil-driven notes of menthol, stone, dried flowers, spices and underbrush. A bit more powerful and tannic than the Clos Saint-Denis, this wine will also require a minimum of five or six years of aging upon release. (91-94)

2016 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru (these vines on red soil in Chambolle-Musigny date back to 1926, with an average age of at least 70 years, according to Stehly; three barrels made, vs. a normal five): Bright medium red. Rather backward aromas of raspberry, menthol and spices convey a cool, lightly medicinal aspect. Densely packed and fresh, with a captivating sweetness perfectly countered by a salty element. The raspberry fruit is perfumed by dried rose petal and spicy soil tones. Finishes with terrific subtle floral length and lift. Stehly had previously harvested these vines late because he thought the fruit needed to be very mature, but he picked early in 2016 owing to the frost and liked the results so much that he may pick earlier in the future. Due to the small crop, Stehly vinified this wine in a small plastic tank and was unable to increase the fermentation temperature above 26 degrees C. (he prefers 30); this no doubt partly accounts for the wine’s cooler perfume. (92-94)

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin Medium red with a slightly pale rim. Expressive aromas of strawberry, menthol, spices and underbrush. Offers good richness in the mouth, with an almost exotic flavor of cherry liqueur enlivened by a minty nuance. Finishes with a slightly peppery quality and sneaky length. 88

2015 Morey-Saint-Denis Palish medium red with a hint of amber. Inviting scents of strawberry, tobacco, dried rose, menthol and white pepper. Juicy, youthful, harmonious village wine with red fruit flavors complicated by red rose and saline soil tones. Lovely precision and delicacy here. Finishes with fine-grained tannins and sneaky length.  90

2015 Chambolle-Musigny Palish red with a healthy rim. Deeper-pitched and less forthcoming on the nose than the preceding village wines, showing an element of medicinal reserve to its aromas of cherry, herbs and spices. Bright and lively on entry, then quite closed in the mid-palate, with its savory red fruit and herb flavors conveying classic dryness. This substantial, tactile wine perks up the taste buds on the back end, finishing with fine-grained tannins. 89+

2015 Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Ormes 1er Cru (picked at 12.9% potential alcohol and chaptalized to 13.1%, which Benoit Stehly described as typical for the vintage): Good medium red; darker than the village wines. Inviting ripe perfume of cherry, raspberry, dried flowers and crushed rock. A step up in silky ripeness from the estate’s village wines, but also offering lovely inner-mouth energy and precision to its sweet, smooth flavors of red berries, mocha, minerals and flowers. There’s more wine here! The rising spicy/floral finish displays substantial but fine-grained tannins and a leathery nuance. Perhaps a touch rustic but I like this. Clos des Ormes is the estate’s largest holding, at two hectares, and includes a range of soil types and vine age. 91

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes 1er Cru (just 30 hectoliters per hectare produced in 2016): Bright, moderately saturated medium red. Deeply pitched scents of black cherry and menthol; showing less early perfume than the Clos des Ormes. Dark fruit flavors are sweet and concentrated, with ripe acidity giving energy and definition to the middle palate. A rather powerful, structured wine but with tannins that show the finesse of the year’s better examples. The rising finish features aromatic dark fruits and lingering sweetness. This may well shut down in bottle but it’s sexy right now. 92

2015 Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru Medium red, with a trace of development. Medicinal dark raspberry, menthol and earth aromas are complicated by dried flowers and cinnamon. Plush and rich in the middle palate in the style of the 2015 but still with lovely floral, menthol lift to its red berry and underbrush flavors. Very concentrated and fresh, conveying a restrained sweetness to its strong kernel of fruit. Really saturates the mouth and builds slowly on the finish, leaving behind a scent of dried flowers.  93

2015 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru The darkest color to this point among these 2015s: bright medium red. Alluring, vibrant perfume of raspberry, dark cherry and rose petal. Sappy and extract-rich, with its deep, slightly medicinal flavors of blueberry, dark raspberry and tart red cherry enlivened by elements of saline minerality and crushed rock. This very concentrated but youthfully backward wine finishes with outstanding length; compared to the Clos Saint-Denis, it’s a bit less refined but more powerful This may age longer owing to the richness of its tannins but it’s also quite showy today. 93+

2015 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru Palish red with a hint of amber. A bit cooler and more peppery than the Clos Saint-Denis and Clos de la Roche, with its reticent red fruit aromas complicated by herbs and menthol. Then densely packed, savory and intense, more about soil tones than primary fruit. Not a sweet style but youthfully penetrating. Finishes sweet, slightly medicinal and classically dry, with lingering salty and spicy qualities. A rather rigorous wine in the context of the vintage, but then this is Bonnes-Mares, which has traditionally been one of Burgundy’s longest-aging grand crus. 92+

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod

2016 Bourgogne Les Bons Bâtons (just 30 hectoliters per hectare made): Healthy dark red. Slightly inky but fresh scents of blueberry, violet and licorice. In a firm, dark-fruit style, offering noteworthy punch and definition and a complicating element of salinity. The tannins are serious but not green or dry. Finishes with lingering dark berries and violet and an impression of brisk acidity. An outperformer for its appellation. (87-88)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Healthy dark red. Precise aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, licorice, flowers and spices. Juicy, spicy wine combining subtle sweetness and soil-driven salinity, with complicating notes of licorice and herbs. Fairly tight but not short on flesh. This serious, well-chiseled village wine will need at least a couple years in bottle to expand. (88-91)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Aux Beaux-Bruns 1er Cru Bright red with ruby tones. Crushed black fruits and cherry on the nose, lifted by notes of mint, rock and orange zest. Pliant but firm wine with thickness, clarity and lift. Sappy flavors of medicinal dark cherry, spices and red licorice display excellent balance and depth. A strong performance for this cuvée, from a crop that was off by 50% due to the frost. This reminded me of the superb 1993 bottling. (90-92)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Baudes 1er Cru Bright, dark red; a bit less saturated than the Beaux-Bruns. Tight nose offers aromas of black fruits, menthol, licorice and black pepper, plus a piquant suggestion of blood orange. A bit more herbal and much more dominated by its structure than the Beaux-Bruns, showing a very primary quality as well as good saline minerality. Distinctly clenched today and showing little sweetness but there’s very good energy and intensity here. Finishes with a firm spine of tannins and a slight dry edge. This is tough to judge today and clearly in an awkward phase of its evolution in barrel. (89-91)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Gruenchers 1er Cru (just a single barrel made from these 68-year-old vines, vs. a normal three and a half or four): Bright, dark red. Aromas of redcurrant, raspberry and red licorice along with some spicy oak (this wine began in a new barrel but was racked into a two-year-old piècein August). Sappy, dense wine with modest early sweetness but excellent clarity and lift to its slightly medicinal flavors of acidulated berries, spices, herbs and licorice. A bit youthfully ungiving but still silkier in the middle than the Baudes. Finishes with firm tannins and lingering saline minerality. (90-92)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru Bright dark red. Sappy aromas of black cherry, minerals and menthol lifted by a floral topnote. Concentrated and fine-grained, offering a captivating combination of savory minerality and high-pitched rose petal and violet notes. The tannins here are firm-edged but this wine has the balance to evolve slowly and gracefully. “The balance of a tiny crop is always a question mark,” Barthod agreed, but here the tannins appear to be adequately enrobed by the wine’s sappy fruit. (90-92)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées 1er Cru (these old vines lost 50% of their fruit to the frost): Healthy dark red. Black cherry and medicinal herbs on the nose, energized by mint and mineral nuances. Densely packed but youthfully imploded, displaying lovely subtle, penetrating sweetness and excellent clarity to its dark fruit flavors. Spreads out nicely to saturate the palate on the long, stimulating back end. This wine boasts a terrific tight kernel of fruit; I would not be surprised if it shut down fairly soon after the bottling. (91-93)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Veroilles 1er Cru Bright, dark red. Sweet, ripe aromas of black raspberry, menthol and mint are given punch by a pungent mineral quality. A step up in sweetness from the foregoing wines, offering excellent density and sappiness without any hardness. Really spreads out on the back end to saturate the palate with raspberry, spice and savory mineral flavors. The substantial dusty tannins will require patience. These vines are situated in a cuvette, which could have been expected to trap the frigid air on the morning of April 27, but the crop here was only off by about 35%. (91-94)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru Bright, dark red with ruby tones. Very dark, youthfully medicinal aromas of black cherry and licorice. Highly concentrated and densely packed, showing a chewy core of medicinal dark fruits, menthol and salty minerals. As tactile as a solid but also boasts terrific opulence and sweetness. Spreads out to saturate the palate on the long finish, with features substantial dusty but supported tannins. Barthod noted that some of her wines from hillside vines were much tighter the day before my visit and are showing more texture today–this despite the fact that the temperature in her cellar had fallen at the beginning of November with the arrival of much colder weather. (92-94)

2015 Chambolle-Musigny Good dark red. Aromas of roasted black cherry and licorice show a distinct element of surmaturitéfollowing the 2016s at this address, but quickly gained in energy and lift. Wonderfully sweet, spicy and concentrated for the vintage, with no shortage of acidity. A dark berry fruit bomb in the mouth, showing the creaminess of the vintage, but becomes more airy as it opens in the glass. Very long for village wine, finishing with ripe tannins saline mineral grip. 90

2015 Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru (Barthod bottled her 2015s in May of this year): Bright, dark red. Alluring aromas of black cherry, menthol, licorice and crushed rock. Densely packed, ripe and penetrating, conveying strong medicinal reserve and a rather powerful spine for 2015. The wine’s very strong material is obvious on the explosive, very long, palate-cleansing finish, which features substantial ripe tannins and lingering notes of dark fruits and licorice. Barthod offered that this wine “may not taste like a 2015 in a few years.” 92+

2015 Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées 1er Cru Medium-dark red. Pure but reticent aromas and flavors of black fruits and licorice, plus higher-pitched hints of herbs and citrus zest. Dense, suave and sweet in the mouth, offering noteworthy finesse of texture. Slightly high-toned in the way of this very ripe vintage but this utterly seamless, plush wine also boasts excellent energy and the mineral-driven extract to buffer its smooth tannins. Mounts slowly on the back end and goes on and on. This wine offers lovely early balance but has the backbone for a slow and graceful evolution in bottle. Here’s a perfect example of a wine that has really benefited from the style of the year: it’s sumptuous now but will gain in refinement as it absorbs some of its baby fat over the coming years and its inherent minerality emerges. 94

2015 Chambolle-Musigny Les Veroilles 1er Cru Bright red with ruby tones. High-toned nose began a bit roasted but aeration brought very good lift to the aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, licorice and minerals. Rather full in the middle but difficult to taste today as it’s considerably more saline than the Fuées, with its fruit sweetness currently in the deep background. (From barrel this wine was a bomb of dark fruits and showed terrific savory energy.) Finishes very long, with serious tannic thrust and surprising verve. This wine is earthbound and salty while the Fuées is airy, and it will clearly require patience. 92+

Domaine Fourrier/Jean-Marie Fourrier

2016 Morey-Saint-Denis Clos Solon Vieille Vigne Healthy dark red. High-pitched perfume of cherry, red licorice and minerals. Energetic wine in a rather cool, leanish style, offering good intensity and medicinal reserve. Finishes with harmonious, toothdusting tannins and good length but with its firm acidity, this comes across as slightly tart.  (87-89)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Vieille Vigne (just two barrels made due to frost): Good medium red. Very ripe aromas of flowers and spices. Juicy, tangy red berry flavors convey a strong impression of acidity and excellent cut. This youthfully imploded wine, too, struck me as slightly tart but its tannins are fine-grained and ripe. (Incidentally, Fourrier made just a single barrel of Morey-Saint-Denis Clos Sorbés in ’16.) (88-90)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieille Vigne (this wine and the Aux Echézeaux represent roughly one-third of the estate’s production): Good dark red. Cool, minty aromas and flavors of black cherry, medicinal herbs and minerals. High-pitched, suave and firmly built; a bit lean initially but became plusher with aeration, finishing with good breadth and length and rich tannins. (88-90)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echézeaux Vieille Vigne (these vines, originally planted in the 1930s, yielded 35 hectoliters per hectare in 2016): Moderately saturated medium red. Reticent aromas of black cherry and licorice, with a hint of rose petal. A step up in sweetness and plushness from the other Gevrey village wine, offering a distinctly silkier, creamier texture and a slightly roasted hint of strawberry preserves. This very harmonious wine finishes with suave, fully buffered tannins but decent acidity. Showing the ripe side of 2016. (89-91)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Gruenchers Vieille Vigne 1er Cru (just three barrels produced): Healthy bright red. Lively scents of raspberry, wild strawberry and minerals. The palate offers excellent density of red fruits with lovely inner-mouth floral lift. This firmly tannic, solidly structured wine boasts mouth-saturating concentration. (89-92)

2016 Vougeot Les Petits Vougeots Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Bright, moderately saturated medium red. Rather wild scents of crushed cherry stomp, flowers, medicinal herbs and minerals. Offers a lovely fine-grained texture and sweetness of fruit but still in a juicy style for all its ripeness. Very good for this cuvée but there are just three barrels of this juice from 0.34 hectare–or not much above 20 hectoliters per hectare. Savory and long on the aftertaste, with plenty of tannic support. (89-92)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Cherbaudes Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Good bright red. Distinctly dark aromas of black cherry, licorice and menthol convey a medicinal cast. Then fine-grained, suave and sweet, with flavors of black cherry, blackberry and licorice pastille. Considering the wine’s medicinal coolness, this midweight is also quite ripe. Finishes with harmonious tannins that saturate the tongue and build. Lovely subtle length; spreads out subtly to saturate the palate. (90-92)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Champeaux Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Healthy dark red. Lovely aromatic lift to the aromas of raspberry, black cherry, licorice, mint and menthol. A step up in intensity and depth of flavor from the foregoing samples, showing a stony, savory pungency to its brisk dark fruit and mineral flavors. The sweetest and richest of these 2016s to this point but also boasts terrific energy and lift. The savory, subtly rising, palate-staining finish piques the taste buds. Close to normal yield here, from a cooler site high on the slope.  (91-93)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Goulots Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Good bright-medium red. Tight, dark aromas of black fruits and licorice pastille lifted by a whiff of cranberry. Ripe and broad, but with terrific inner-mouth floral lift and a rocky pungency. Tannins are fully ripe and fine-grained. Offers a rather exhilarating–and uncommon–combination of cooler flavors and full phenolic ripeness. This wine comes from a very cool, east-facing site planted on rock, which had difficulty ripening its fruit prior to global warming. A tighter, more intellectual style than the Champeaux: Fourrier loves the Goulots with sushi, while he’d pair the Champeaux with a rib-eye steak. (91-93)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Combe Aux Moines Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Good moderately saturated red. Deep, brooding aromas of black cherry, licorice and smoky minerality. As mineral-driven as the Goulots but with more size and breadth to its dark fruit and spice flavors. Sweet and seamless in the middle, spreading out horizontally to saturate the palate; lovely floral element. Finishes suave and very long, with fine-grained tannins; at once fully ripe and vibrant. This beauty will need at least a few years in bottle to reveal its full personality.  (91-94)

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Bright dark red. Knockout ethereal nose combines raspberry, licorice, rose petal, lavender, wild mint and spices. Densely packed but juicy, suave and a bit youthfully imploded, conveying an almost magical impression of weightlessness. Cool and reserved but not at all hard, this fully ripe but reticent wine spreads out to saturate the palate, showing a lighter touch than the Combe Aux Moines. Displays a captivating restrained sweetness from start to long finish. As the lower part of his Clos Saint-Jacques parcel was frosted (production for this premier cru was cut by 30% in ’16), Fourrier chose not to make a separate Cuvée Centennaire. (93-95)

2016 Griottes-Chambertin Vieille Vigne Grand Cru Bright medium red. Light, lively scents of raspberry, rose petal, minerals, menthol and black pepper, with some riper earth and truffle notes lurking. Plush, sweet and fine-grained, showing a light touch but remaining quite closed in the mouth. Shows lovely floral and mineral nuances but this very suave wine will need time in bottle to come alive and express itself. Finishes with serious dusty tannins and less sweetness than Fourrier’s négociantChambertin. (92-95)

2016 Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru (M) Bright, dark red with ruby highlights. Soil-driven aromas of dark raspberry, licorice and black and white pepper. Boasts lovely saline minerality and spicy depth to its sappy core of raspberry and black cherry fruit. Conveys a strong impression of density and energy and finishes with terrific dusty, tactile length. The yield here was about 32 hectoliters per hectare. Has the tannic spine for a long life in bottle. (92-95)

2016 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru (M) Bright, dark red. More like the domain wines on the nose than the Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses, conveying a medicinal character to its black cherry and licorice aromas. Then supple, fleshy and sweet in the mouth, displaying lovely energy and spicy lift. Finishes with ripe, fine-grained tannins and palate-staining flavors of black cherry and flowers. Ultimately a charming Charmes from a fairly generous crop. (91-94)

2016 Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru (M) (from the top section of the appellation, just below Latricières): Healthy dark red. Very tight, reticent aromas of black fruits and licorice pastille. Larger-scaled than the Charmes-Chambertin, showing a captivating sweetness over a firm stony underpinning. A more masculine, tannic style than the Charmes, this wine saturates the palate and front teeth and fills the retronasal passages. Finishes classic and dry, more savory and less floral. Tannic. (92-94)

2016 Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru (M) Bright medium red. Less black on the nose than most of Fourrier’s other 2016s, offering complex aromas of raspberry, wild strawberry, crushed rock and smoky minerals. Plush and fine-grained but light on its feet, boasting terrific juicy lift; like a mouthful of crushed rocks and flowers. Youthfully tight but not hard, this wine finishes with terrific sappy energy, savory minerality and building sweetness. I would have guessed that this beauty was harvested earlier than many of Fourrier’s domain wines but in fact it was picked on September 30. (93-95)

2016 Chambertin Grand Cru (M) (Fourrier gets fruit from the lower part of this grand cru): Dark, bright red. Wild, complex nose melds black raspberry, smoky minerality, licorice and a hint of game. Silky, fine-grained flavors of dark berries, spices and crushed rock convey a strong impression of energy if not quite the early personality of the Latricières. Utterly seamless wine, finishing with terrific palate-saturating length if still an element of youthful reserve. Seriously gripping, savory tannins give added lift. These 80-year-old vines produced 28 hectoliters per hectare in 2016. This firmly structured, powerful wine should be very long-lived. (93-96)

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echézeaux Vieille Vigne Good medium red. Very ripe aromas of candied raspberry and spices. Densely packed, sweet and fleshy but juicy too, with its raspberry and saline mineral flavors complicated by leather and game nuances. Finishes with a serious dusting of tannins and very good length. A touch warm but I like this. 89

2015 Vougeot Les Petits Vougeots Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Moderately saturated medium red. Aromas and flavors of red berries, flowers and minerals are quite ethereal in the context of the vintage but there are earth and spice notes here as well. Juicy and dry on the palate, with surprising mineral energy giving this wine a light touch. Finishes with good lift and a lingering note of flinty minerality. 91

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin Champeaux Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Full medium red. Captivating aromas of dark cherry, dried rose, lavender and crushed rock. Juicy and intensely flavored, offering excellent definition to its penetrating flavors of raspberry, cherry and saline minerality. Shows limited early sweetness but the wine’s long, slowly mounting finish features dusty, well-buffered tannins and terrific saline energy. Part of this vineyard is on pure rock with very little topsoil and the strong mineral element thoroughly buffers the alcohol of the vintage. 93

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin Combe Aux Moines Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Medium red. Lively perfume of raspberry, spices and dried flowers complicated by leather and soil tones. Supple on entry, then quite backward–in fact almost austere–in the middle palate, less open to inspection today than the Champeaux. Conveys a touch of rusticity to its flavors of leather, spices, earth and minerals. This classically dry wine will need at least five or six years in the cellar to uncoil.  92+

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos-Saint-Jacques Vieille Vigne 1er Cru Good medium-deep red. Slightly withdrawn but very pure aromas of raspberry and red cherry lifted by rose petal and white pepper high notes. Dense, savory and very ripe, combining captivating subtle sweetness with a strong element of saline minerality. Not quite as floral in the mouth as on the nose, but this silky wine boasts terrific concentration and salty energy. The superb slowly building finishing flavors fill the olfactories and vibrates. A bit deeper-pitched–and more backward–from bottle than it was from tank in late 2016 but today the wine’s strong soil tones only add to its potential complexity. This will need time. 93+

2015 Griottes-Chambertin Vieille Vigne Grand Cru Good dark red. Very dark aromas of black cherry, boysenberry and licorice. Impressively large-scaled, plush wine with the slightly aggressive character of the vintage. A major mouthful of wine, with slightly medicinal black fruit flavors showing a chocolatey ripeness. Finishes fat but uncompromisingly dry and a bit youthfully clenched, with slowly mounting length and a faint bitter edge. Not quite heavy but today this wine’s typical floral and rocky energy is a bit overwhelmed by the hot, dry vintage character. Undeniably impressive for its sheer scale, but not my favorite style of Griottes-Chambertin. 93

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