The fourth day on my trip to Burgundy included three tastings .. Benjamin Leroux, Chantereves and Domaine Poisot. Here are some initial impressions .. tasting notes will follow.
Benjamin Leroux – a fine selection of 2013s
Benjamin Leroux is one of the most talented winemakers in Burgundy, and while this was my first visit at Maison Benjamin Leroux – his negociant business in Beaune – I have actually followed Benjamin for 15 years.
I first meet Benjamin in 1999 at Comte Armand. At the time Benjamin was just started as a new winemaker at Armand, and whilst very young, he seemed very confident and knowledgeable. We discussed the influence of the moon and the organic/biodynamic principles and I recall that Benjamin said that due to the lunar calender he would celebrate the millennium without wine … that made quite an impression on me at the time … without wine!!!
Now 15 years later Benjamin has turned a new page, and has his own estate in Beaune, and has just resigned from Comte Armand last year. Maison Benjamin Leroux began to produce wines in 2007, and has expanded quite rapidly over the years and acquired vineyards … including a plot in Batard-Montrachet and Meursault Genevrieres.
I have followed the Comte Armand wines over the years, and have never been swept away by these slightly austere wines. They are indeed fine wines, and given the proper time in the cellar, the will unfold and gain complexity. But to be honest … they never really talked to my heart.
The Benjamin Leroux wines are in that sense different and both the reds and the whites are desirable wines offering a fine drinkability even in their youth. They are however not overtly expressive with layers of vinification makeup, instead they seem natural, with a lovely focus and expression of terroir. They do offer fine drinkability with a lovely airy fruit in the reds, and a lovely balance between ripeness and energy in the whites.
The 2013s from Benjamin are very pure and crisp, the whites show very well and the reds are very fine for the vintage, showing very little or no sign of the somewhat rustic character of the vintage.
I was especially impressed by the Chassagne-Montrachet Tete du Clos, the Meursault Genevrieres and the Batard Montrachet – the two last are made from own vineyards. I also found some favorites among the reds … the Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Thorey is gorgeous and the Chambolle Amoureuses really deserves a special mention.
A lovely range of wines … the whites are magnificent, and the reds are very well made for the vintage … would love to have some of the Les Amoureuses in the cellar.
Chantereves .. Burgundies with a German/Japanese touch
Burgundy is bursting with new talents and new producers … one of these is Chantereves in Savigny Les Beaune.
Maison Chantereves is run by Tomoko Kuriyama and her husband Guillaume Bott , who is the winemaker at Simon Bize in Savigny Les Beaune.
Tomoko originates from Japan but she has a wine education from the famous University of Geisenheim, and was a acclaimed estate manager in Rheingau at Weingut Altenkirch, before she moved to France and began producing wines in Burgundy.
It’s a very small negociant business located in the basement of a modern house in Savigny Les Beaune. Tomoko and Guillaume Bott produce both red and whites, mainly from vineyards in Cote de Beaune. A small note – The estate is called Chantereves but the wines are labeled Chanterives … explanation will follow. First vintage was 2010.
The purity of the Chantereves wines really impressed me, they have a crystal clear purity and focus that somehow reminds me of the gorgeaous wines from the Mosel valley. The attention to detail and strict selection of the grapes is most likely the key to this extraordinary purity.
The wines are both juicy and energetic, offering a very fine transparency and display of terroir … love the cool focused fruit of these wines. The red 2013s all seemed very harmonic and without the unripe tannins found in so many wines in this vintage – careful selection really was the key to succes in 2013.
My favorite 2013s here was the Meursault village made from the climate Les Crotots – a gorgeous crisp Meursault in the making.
Domaine Poisot … the Louis Latour legacy
The vineyards of Domaine Poisot originates from the Louis Latour family, and the wines are currently made in cool and deep cellars of Chateau Corton-Grancy.
Remy Poisot seem to be on a steady course, despite multiple hail strikes in recent vintages … so very little wine in both 2013 and 2014.
While the production of Corton-Bressandes and Corton-Charlemagne have been affacted quantity wise by the hailstorms, the Romanee Saint-Vivant fortunately escaped barely touched by the violent weather.
The 2014 was still in the latter stages of the malo in the very cool cellar. The 2013s were prepared for bottling … and not all were easy to evaluate. The Corton-Charlemagne and the Corton-Bressandes showed well, while the Romanee Saint-Vivant was somewhat closed.
The Corton-Charlemagne is a delightful effort, and the vintage will suit the rich and rather lush style of the Poisot Corton Charlemagne perfectly. The RSV will be in line with the fine efforts made in the previous years .. not matching the 2012 though.