I find it gratifying to promote new, talented people and estates; this is one of the primary functions of the Winehog.
Young, small, negociants and estates do not have the same exposure or access to noble terroirs, although their efforts are at least as admirable and enjoyable.
The Winehog “Flavour of the Year” award is for these young and/or new talents in Burgundy.
Domaine Les Horées – flavour of 2022
The 2022 “Flavour of the Year” award goes to Domaine Les Horées – Catharina Sadde and her husband Guilhem – for wines from the 2019, 2020, and 2021 vintages.
The journey that led to my delight in these wines is a bit complex, but perhaps also underlines one of the qualities at Les Horées: The wines have edge, and there is the courage and will there to challenge conventions.
The first wine I tasted was the 2019 Aligote En Coulezain, made with one third skin contact. Quite reduced on the day, it puzzled my senses more than usual, and showed underneath some strong qualities.
Domaine Les Horées Bourgogne Aligoté En Coulezain: From 0.37ha in Volnay, with vine age around 30 years on deep, grey-marl soil with rows facing south-east, the vinification consists of 1/3 skin contact for five days in stainless-steel tank, with the other 2/3 destemmed and pressed immediately in a basket press after foulage (crushing) by foot. Indigenous yeasts are used, and no sulphur added until the end of malolactic fermentation. The elevage is six months in used oak barrels, followed by five months in tank once the wines are blended (skin contact and direct press).
This wine piqued my curiosity, and gave me the urge to explore further. I might add that I later re-tasted the 2019 Aligoté; it had regained its balance after the initial reductive shock.
Domaine Les Horées is making wines in a unique style, with an edge, and with ambition. And given the fairly lowly terroirs it has (in relative terms), this requires talent, creativity, and the urge to improve and challenge convention.
These are not hippie vins natures, but given the estate’s biodynamic ambitions, they are very interesting. This is why I give the Flavour of 2022 award to Les Horées.
The term Les Horées
“The origin of the term Les Horées lies in Greek mythology. There are plenty of different explanations, and I am still looking for a good book to better understand its history and evolution. I describe Les Horées as the feast to celebrate the changing of the seasons. The goddesses of the seasons are called Horae (hours), and one can find the etymology of the word Horées there.” – Les Horées web site
I rarely see the word “etymology” used in the world of Burgundy wine.
About Les Horées
Catharina Sadde originates from Germany and has a background as chef, along with a German wine education. She studied oenology and viticulture in Montpellier and at the University of Geisenheim. She met her husband in 2010 when she started her first internship at Domaine Chevrot in Cheilly-les-Maranges. From 2010-18, Catharina did several internships (Domaine des Epeneaux/Comte Armand, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti), and worked seasonal jobs at Maison Drouhin and Domaine Comte de Vogüe. Then she followed with vineyard and cellar-hand work at Domaine Cécile Tremblay, and viticulture management at Domaine Marquis d’Angerville.
Aside from all this, she and her husband Guilhem have three children, as well as building a reaching-for-the-stars domaine over the last few years (the first vintage was 2018). This is, to be honest, beyond my comprehension, and calls for much admiration.
A few notes on the wines from the 2021 portfolio:
Domaine Les Horées Bourgogne Aligoté En Coulezain 2021
While Catharina Sadde likes to serve the two parts separately, I prefer to have the final blend, to judge the balance. The skin-contact portion of the cuvee is a balancing element where one should be careful, and with the 2021, Catharina has hit the delicate balance spot on. The slightly edgy notes from the skin-contact portion, and the light fennel/anise tone, work very well. The fruit is pure and intense; a delightful wine.
(Drink From 2027) – Very Good – (89-90p) – Tasted 04/07/2022 –
Domaine Le Horées Savigny-les-Beaune Les Vermots 2021
Purchased grapes from a 0.18-ha plot of 70-year-old vines with southern exposure on a steep slope, with light-red topsoil speckled with limestone pebbles. Vinified with 80% whole bunches and no sulphur addition until the end of malolactic fermentation; elevage 15 months in used barrels.
The Winehog note:
Delicate and very fine Savigny, this is more organic feeling, with saline fruit – beautiful red and dark berries – and white/pink floral aromas; elegant and airy. Quite a refined wine for the estate, the 80% whole clusters definitely helps bring that refinement to its highest point.
(Drink From 2027) – Very Good (90p) – Tasted 04/07/2022 –
Maison de Joncs with Jae Chu would also have been a strong candidate, but she is now focusing her talent in the Rhone valley at Chateau Grillet.