Pascal Marchand has been a step ahead for many years, and although he is a long-time Burgundy fixture, I had never tasted wine with him – until a couple of weeks ago. It was unavoidable, sort of: Marchand-Tawse is my neighbour in Rue Julie Godemet in Nuits-Saint-Georges.
The visit was a treat, as I am a big fan of the work Pascal Marchand does, producing wines of pleasure and, sometimes, of both joy and great complexity.
This is always the standing question: pleasure and/or complexity? And these days, when top Burgundies are very costly, answering “both” could prove expensive!
Complexity or pleasure?
Burgundy is complex and often unpredictable. Sometimes even a very fine terroir has mediocre vines tended by an average grower who doesn’t see a way – or more frequently doesn’t care – to improve the quality. In reality, sometimes only a full replant will increase quality to the expected level – once the replanted vines reach 20 or 30 years of age.
Burgundy is about optimization, and is a project of decades and lifetimes, for good and for bad.
This is the struggle – and sometimes blessing – of big houses like Marchand-Tawse. Some wines are “merely” good and, luckily, enjoyable, whereas others have the ability to express great complexity.
Always remember: Not all great vineyards with perfect vines produce brilliant wines. That also requires talent, skill – and hard work.
Tasting the Marchand-Tawse negociant wines
In the end, the grapes and terroir decide the outcome. There is, however, a legal or formal distinction between negociant wines and those from estate-owned or -controlled vineyards.
Personally, I try to get a rough overview of each. And in the end, the truth is in the glass – even here in Rue Julie Godemet.
The wines below were tasted from cask on two occasions – March 8 (a fruit day) and March 29 (root day). The wines tasted from bottle are not in this article, so as to not have too many variables floating around at the same time.
Maison Marchand-Tawse Nuits-Saint-Georges 2019
First is the Nuits-Saint-Georges village, a relatively large negociant cuvee of 3,700 bottles or so. This gives me the opportunity to talk a bit about the house style of Marchand-Tawse.
These are wines of energy and drinkability, with a feeling of airiness and lightness. Rarely does one have the feeling of extraction or over-ripeness – they are made with a light hand. The oak is usually moderately toasted, with a minimal share of new wood. The wines are characterized by the sometimes ample use of whole clusters when possible. This formula works very well for most of the wines here. They bring pleasure and sometimes even great joy!
The Nuits-Saint-Georges is rather classic, with the ferrous/iron note giving a nice background to the vivid fruit in quite a floral way. The new oak usage is modest, just offering some support. Enjoyable for me as a Nuiton and neighbour.
(Drink From 2028) – Very Good (88-89p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Gevrey-Chambertin 2019
This is clearly more lively and vivid, with more marked acidity. Lovely, cool, and fresh for the warm vintage, it was picked in good time, creating a nice informal Gevrey with basic complexity – well done.
(Drink From 2028) – Very Good (88-89p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Chambolle-Musigny 2019
The Chambolle has fine potential; 2019 and Chambolle is the perfect marriage of freshness and decadence. Slightly reduced, but still very Chambolle: lively, refined, and delicate with a beautiful linear attack. Only 15% new oak leaves room for the stems to shine through. Oh, joy!
(Drink From 2030) – Very Good (89-90p) – tasted 08/03/2021 –
Maison Marchand-Tawse Vosne-Romanée 2019
This is a bigger village, slightly warmer, yet pure, vivid, and still quite cool. It comes from prominent plots in Haut and Bas Maizieres and Les Jacquines. Vosne spices mix with violets and a hint of lilac (my father grew lilacs when I was a kid) that has a perfumed note that gets this Vosne flying. Bigger than the Chambolle, but the score remains 1-0 to Chambolle. Bigger is not always better.
(Drink From 2032) – Very Good (88-89p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Gevrey-Chambertin En Champs 2019
Minerality from Brochon, though with lively Gevrey underneath the generous and vivacious fruit. This has lovely structure, and is quite cool, with magnificent fruit. This is very vivid – viva Brochon!
(Drink From 2028) – Very Good (89-90p) – tasted 08/03/2021 –
Maison Marchand-Tawse Nuits-Saint-Georges Perrieres 2019
The NSG Perrieres is showing a friendly, airy face in this rather generous vintage. Refined, cool, and airy with a stony NSG character, this is well-crafted, and the time of harvest seems especially well-judged.
(Drink From 2032) – Very Good (89-91p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Clos Saint-Denis 2019
The first grand cru is the ever-so-sensual Clos St.-Denis. Coming from the core of the vineyard, it is slightly reduced, but with a deeply saline fruit note and delicate minerality. This is vividly lively and finely perfumed, with hints of peony and lilac. It does have beautiful acidity – very zappy indeed.
(Drink From 2040) – Very Fine+ (93-95p) – tasted 08/03/2021 –
Maison Marchand-Tawse Clos de la Roche 2019
After tasting the Clos St.-Denis, this is a textbook Clos de la Roche. More intense, but still quite vivid and perfumed, it’s an airy and relatively light-footed wine, partly from the small lieu-dit Froichots. It has the classic deep voice – bass notes of weighty colour and vibrancy. A fine balance between hot and cool impressions, yet I prefer the Clos St.-Denis.
(Drink From 2040) – Very Fine (93-94p) – tasted 08/03/2021
And now to something completely different!
Maison Marchand-Tawse Marsannay 2019
Back to the entry-level: The Marsannay is singing beautifully! It is quite refined and vivacious, having maintained its lightly extracted freshness. This is a wine for drinking, and I do enjoy it. Complex? Perhaps not; but it provokes a big smile.
(Drink From 2022) – Very Good (88-89p) – tasted 08/03/2021 –
Maison Marchand-Tawse Savigny-les-Beaune Les Blanchots 2019
The Savigny Blanchots is quite refined, in line with the estate style. There is delicate fruit – slightly polished perhaps – with what appears to be yet another level of acidity. It does not, however, seduce me.
(Drink From 2025) – Good (87p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Pommard Le Bas de Saucilles 2019
This is a truly exciting wine, containing 10-15% of other grapes – including white – in the blend, showing how vines after many years offer different possibilities. It has a very lively core palate – I can almost taste and feel the white grapes – which leaves traces of complexity and vivid freshness. Wow, I like this.
(Drink From 2028) – Very Good+ (89-91p) – tasted 08/03/2021 –
Maison Marchand-Tawse Nuits-Saint-Georges Longecourt 2019
Quite a rich wine, with the sweetness a bit forward. The fruit is rather delicate and refined, but perhaps somewhat on the vinous side with 14% alcohol. A hot year and a rather hot vineyard, yet still nice balance.
(Drink From 2030) – Good (87p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Morey-Saint-Denis Rue de Vergy 2019
Above the Clos de Tart, this village from high on the slope is relatively floral, with a perfumed note. Somewhat on the dense side, but still quite some acidity. Not really showing its best currently.
(Drink From 2030) – Very Good (89-90p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Morey-Saint-Denis Les Millandes 1er Cru
The Morey Millandes, just below the Clos de la Roche, is relatively dark and dense. Global warming and Morey are not always the best pair, to be frank. Not a bad wine, just a bit on the dark side.
(Drink From 2030) – Very Good+ (89-91p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Morey-Saint-Denis Genavrieres 1er Cru
This 1er cru is slightly on the generous side, but as always, the 2019 vintage saves it with its vivid freshness. It has a tremendous mineral note. From a rare terroir, which is certainly not without its mineral qualities.
(Drink From 2032) – Fine (91-92p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de Corvees Pagets 2019
One of my favourites in the negociant line-up is the Premeaux-based Clos de Corvees Pagets. The use of 50-60% whole clusters gives it a very organic feel – silky or even velvety – under its magnificent bouquet of cinnamon, peony, and hints of cloudberries. This is definitely rocking my boat – a sexy thing! I do like the great Premeaux wines.
(Drink From 2032) – Very Fine (93-94p) – tasted 08/03/2021 –
Maison Marchand-Tawse Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Murgers 2019
To the more classical Murgers, from the heart of the Vosne side of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Deep and quite intense, this is rather on the darker side fruit-wise. It is certainly a fine bottle, but Murgers does get frightfully hot in the warm vintages.
(Drink From 2034) – Fine+ (92-93p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Corton
The Corton is mainly from Rognets, and this expresses itself in quite a masculine 2019. Dark, quite dense, very intense, this is classic Corton. It’s floral, but is not giving much away bouquet-wise. This has a good balance and really good floral acidity for the vintage. Seduced? Not quite. This will need time.
(Drink From 2040) – Fine (91-92p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Pommard Rugiens
The Rugiens 2019 is a beauty, with a vivid freshness of fruit and the mineral core of the Rugiens terroir. Grand cru quality or not, this is a tremendous wine with tremendous complexity and depth. Stony and very vivacious, this is a lovely glass – even for wine snobs. And yes: Many label drinkers don’t value Rugiens as it should be. To each his own.
(Drink From 2036) – Very Fine (93-94p) – tasted 08/03/2021 –
Maison Marchand-Tawse Charmes-Chambertin
Charmes-Chambertin is a flirtatious girl with many moods, and the number of negociant bottlings is seemingly infinite. This is a beautiful wine – vivid, sensual, and with floral, ripe, cool, creamy fruit. A “charming” Charmes, with delicate, pure fruit and truly delightful creaminess. Sexy even!
(Drink From 2033) – Very Fine (92-94p) – tasted 08/03/2021
Maison Marchand-Tawse Echezeaux
Exchezeux is almost as ubiquitous as Charmes-Chambertin, coming as it does again from a large terroir with quite a range of expressions. This is airy and delicate, made with a light hand, hence quite floral and refined, as are many ’19s. This is fine or even very fine, but the tannins – or if you like phenolics – do not quite tickle the snout of the ‘Hog.
(Drink From 2035) – Very Fine (93-94p) – tasted 08/03/2021
And now to a few notes from March 29 – a somewhat more reticent root day.
Maison Marchand-Tawse Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 2019
A beautifully perfumed and delicate wine, offering the qualities I seek in a Fuees. It appears the Fuees vineyard has produced some very delicate wines in 2019; this and the Mugnier version each produce so much hedonistic joy and pleasure. A true delight, and a sensual treat.
(Drink From 2035) – Very Fine (93-94p) – tasted 29/03/2021 –
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