I do love Burgundy. I continually find new talents and exciting new wines from estates and negociants. This time a new talent in Comblanchien – actually the Chateau de Comblanchien, the large mansion located above the village.
It is the base of Camille Thiriet, who has started a small boutique negociant business in the buildings surrounding the chateau, which is owned by her parents.
Camille has a background in sales and marketing at Domaine de Bellene and Nicolas Potel. But she wanted to make her own wines based in Comblanchien. With her is her boyfriend Matt Chittick, who was working as a winemaker on the negociant side of Maison de Bellene.
The first vintage for Maison Thiriet was 2016 and in cask now are the 2018s – including some new wines.
A new estate; exploring the wines
As always, I try to study the wines of new estates like this, but that study is frequently limited, given the fact that they normally don’t have loads of wines to serve to journalists and other guests. Camille was very kind to open a few bottles from earlier vintages, giving me the opportunity to taste some finished wines.
We tasted the 2016 and 2017 Bourgogne blanc Cuvée Confidentielle: one bottle at the Nuits-Saint-Georges restaurant La Cabotte, the other at a wine bar in Pommard. They both showed very well – fine expression, lovely style with character and intensity even in those first vintages.
So expectations were elevated when I arrived at Chateau de Comblanchien to see the charming and ambitious Camille Thiriet.
The wines of Maison Thiriet
This is a small estate, and production was quite modest in the first vintages – reminding me a bit of my first visit to Domaine Nicolas Faure. This is, however, quite different style-wise from Faure, although the spirit of this small estate is catchy, and the passion, initiative and drive are impressive. They made their first vintage (2016) without electricity in their 20-square-metre garage.
No doubt making the 2016s was not an easy ride. Yet even though the wines were made under rudimentary conditions, many producers with fully equipped modern cellars would love to make wines as spirited as this.
The name Thiriet
For thoroughness, I have decided to list all the wines made at the estate, as this will illustrate its complete background. The business started out as Maison MC Thiriet, and has now been renamed Maison Thiriet to simplify things a bit.
The MC Thiriet wines in 2016
In 2016 Camille Thiriet made two wines: Bourgogne blanc Cuvée Confidentielle and a Cote de Nuits Villages. The Bourgogne blanc’s name references the size of the plot from which the grapes came: It is so small it’s practically a secret. The vineyard is located in Meursault on clay and limestone soil. The vines are now 30 years old and cultivated using lutte raisonée.
The Cote de Nuits Villages is made from the leiu-dit Aux Montagnes in Comblanchien, but this was not printed on the label. It was called “Vielles Vignes” in 2016. From 2017, Aux Montagnes is on the label.
The total production was 2000 bottles … in a cellar without electricity.
The Maison Thiriet wines in 2017
The same core of wines is in the lineup: Bourgogne blanc Cuvée Confidentielle and Cote de Nuits Villages Aux Montagnes.
The new wine in 2017 was Bourgogne rouge Les Blanches from a new source: the first vineyard owned by Camille Thiriet in Pommard. This plot includes organic vines on the slope that Camille works with a horse. This plot is currently producing 15 to 20hl per hectare.
The total production in 2017 was 3500 bottles.
The Maison Thiriet wines in 2018
The 2018 vintage offers the same wines as the three previous vintages:
- Bourgogne blanc Cuvée Confidentielle 2018
- Cote de Nuits Villages « Aux Montagnes » 2018
- Bourgogne rouge Les Blanches 2018
In addition, there are four new wines:
- Vézelay Village Chardonnay 2018
- Volnay village Les Grands Champs 2018
- Savagnin Arbois 2018
- Rosey – a small cuveé of rosé 2018
Tasting the 2018s of Maison Thiriet
The tasting at Maison Thiriet was very enjoyable – and I did really value my advance tasting of a few of the estate’s wines. Tasting 2018s as a first vintage is not easy at all, as there is quite some unpredictability with this vintage. This is perhaps the case every vintage, but I approached the tasting with that in mind.
Furthermore, “savignan from Arbois” are not words normally in the Winehog vocabulary – or dictionary for that matter! This is not Burgundy, but the Jura! Just call me ignorant…
To the notes!
Bourgogne blanc Cuvée Confidentielle 2018
This is a Bourgogne blanc from Meursault – the exact location of the plot is hidden. The wine was still not though malo yet, so a bit difficult to evaluate, but it gave a certain impression of lees is giving the wine aromatic density and complexity. I like the style of this wine – from the 2017 tasted in the Pommard wine bar – and I really like the style of vinification. A fine Bourgogne blanc in the making.
Vézelay Village Chardonnay 2018
Vélzelay is new teritory for me. I have visited Vezelay – or rather the famous basilica in Vézelay, one of the UNESCO monuments in Burgundy (not only vineyards get a UNESCO imprimatur). The Vézelay is an energetic wine with a nice mineral note and a generous, exotic touch. It is a warm year, yet this wine is beautifully balanced. Perhaps the Vézelay location (an hour or so northwest of the Cote d’Or) helps to keep the cool expression.
(Drink from 2020) – Good+ – (86 – 87p) – Tasted 19/04/2019
This is new turf for the Winehog … Jura and savagnin. It’s a generous wine with sweet and spicy notes and a delicate balance far from traditional Burgundies. It has a certain finesse or elegance that fascinates me, and it gives me the urge to taste more of these. A fine wine by any standard – but I think it is beyond my ability to rate a wine like this.
Bourgogne rouge Les Blanches 2018
The Bourgogne rouge les Blanches is from Pommard, and is a fresh and energetic wine with fine intensity and delightful balance. It’s quite cool and vivid for the vintage – offering delightful drinkability. Lovely, lively character.
(Drink from 2019) – Good+ – (86 – 87p) – Tasted 19/04/2019
Cote de Nuits Villages Aux Montagnes 2018
The Côte de Nuits Villages Aux Montagnes is from the vineyard below the Chateau de Comblanchien. This is a delightfully mineral plot located above Jean-Marc Millot’s Aux Fauques. It is somewhat on the rich side currently, but still has nice balance. Juicy and vivid fruit with a nice mineral lift.
(Drink from 2023) – Good+ – (86 – 87p) – Tasted 19/04/2019
Volnay village Les Grands Champs
This is from a new vineyard for 2018. Les Grands Champs is located below En l’Ormeau below the village of Volnay and is in fact a split lieu-dit, a small part of Les Grands Champs being 1er cru. This is a vivacious wine with plenty of energy and stuffing. A bit on the dark side fruit-wise, yet it has a lovely complexity and depth. This is a fine, lively effort.
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good – (88 – 89p) – Tasted 19/04/2019
Maison Thiriet has done very well during its first years, and the portfolio of wines is developing somewhat unconventionally: Vezelay and Arbois are not seen very often in Comblanchien cellars.
Yet these choices are exciting, and will make visits to this estate very interesting in the future.