December and January have provided a new experience for The Winehog, as a number of Burgundian producers have generously sent me samples in this meagre time of Covid.
This is greatly appreciated, and it’s given me the opportunity to discover new, exciting producers. I owe a debt of gratitude to the BIVB for helping me get the attention of vignerons – merci!
Here’s to weeks with many new impressions and names!
Château d’Etroyes – more Mercurey
Château d’Etroyes is a large estate in Mercurey with 50 hectares of vines in total, a large number of mainly Mercurey cuvees, but also some wines from Rully.
Due to my ignorance – which is considerable – I had never tasted the chateau’s wines before. In hindsight, this was a considerable error.
But this turned out to be a challenging beginning.
Tasting wines in Denmark
Tasting wines in Denmark immediately after their transport from France can pose some difficulties. I normally don’t have many issues with transport-affected wines, meaning wines with their style and expressiveness tarnished by the recent movement.
If I know the wines, then any problems will be discovered immediately. But with unknown producers and wines, these issues can be more unpredictable.
If I have a wine not performing well after transport, I leave it for approximately a month – or even longer – to give it time to return to its normal equilibrium.
The first real problem came with the wines from Château d’Etroyes, which were seriously closed down after transport. The whites had lost their fruit, and furthermore had a quince note that was bitter and unyielding.
The travelling Rullys
The two white Rullys – Les Fromanges and Les Petits Verdiers (a plot selection from inside Les Fromanges) – were not showing at all, and several days of airing did not change the initial issue.
My first Les Petits Verdiers note said: A more clear and pure-fruited expression than Les Fromanges; still, a hint of this quince-influenced note – oxidation? Or serious reduction? Good freshness on the mid-palate, but the bitter quince note could be problematic for some. Notes of pear, but that sturdy quince finish is not really helping the wine.
What was going on? reduction?
I, therefore, decided to save the rest of the wines for almost a month to see if this would give a better result. And the wines prevailed!
This is always the risk of tasting unknown wines – one never knows what to expect and even less how to try to remedy the experience with different decanters and/or stems.
I did not have the chance to re-taste the two Rullys, but the Mercurey Les Palissières blanc 2019 (note below) confirmed that the Rullys would have performed just beautifully given a month or two’s rest in the cellar.
As we live, we learn!
Tasting the rest one month later – let’s go!
Château d’Etroyes Mercurey Les Palissières blanc 2019
Mercurey Les Palissières is a plot selection from the climat Les Ormeaux; it is given another name to highlight it and preclude comparison with the “classic” range. This is fresh and vivid, with beautiful acidity – who said that 2019 is a hot year? No hint of quince, very transparent and delicate. Fine, light, stony nose with lovely fresh fruit -elegant.
(Drink from 2021) – Good++ – Tasted 19/01/2021
Château d’Etroyes Mercurey La Treille au Clocher 2019
Mercurey La Treille au Clocher is a plot selection from the climat Le Clos des Corvées, and it’s fresh and lively with delicate, light red fruit. The Zalto Universal gives it more fruit on the palate – more so than the big Zalto Burgundy stems. There is sous-bois garnished with a bouquet of red fruits – cherries and cherry stones. On a summer evening with friends this will be quite a treat.
(Drink from 2021) – Good – Tasted 19/01/2021 – 😁😁
Château d’Etroyes Mercurey 1er Cru Le Clos l`Eveque 2019
This is one of the classic cuvees – made from whole vineyards as opposed to plots within a vineyard. Its bouquet is crammed with cherries and cherry stones, and it’s vividly fruity, airy, and open – not at all dense. This has a lively, fresh stance with a lovely expansive nose in the Zalto Burgundies; Zalto Universal produces a fresh yet tighter profile – one for the Burgundy stems! There is lovely, lively fruit with delicate 2019 freshness and an intriguing cinnamon hint.
(Drink from 2024) – Very Good (88p) – Tasted 19/01/2021 – 😁
Château d’Etroyes Mercury 1er Cru La Sente Aux Grives 2019
Mercurey 1er Cru La Sente aux Grives is a plot selection from the climat Le Clos l’Evêque. Hints of elderberries are more expansive: rich, deep, and lively with a very energetic mid-palate. It’s long and deep, with cherries and hints of raspberries. A lovely, lively wine with quite a bit of substance. More intense – or should I say powerful – than the Signature.
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good (88-89p) – Tasted 19/01/2021 – 😁😁
Château d’Etroyes Mercury Signature
Signature is a blend of the estate’s best casks and plots. Lighter than La Sente Aux Grives, Signature is however more complex. It is also more refined, with fine red fruit, a hint of cinnamon, and great delicacy, with numerous spices and vivid energy. This does show very well indeed. Remarkable complexity for the appellation – chapeau!
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good++ (89-90p) – Tasted 19/01/2021 –
Delightful drinkability here, making the best of 2019! And note to self: Always give wine time and have patience.
There are several very good wines here, with the Signature cuvee expanding the boundaries of complexity normally found in the appellation. Try them!