Some growers’ philosophy is difficult to convey or even understand, not because it is incomprehensible, but rather due to my limited intellectual capacity.
I have to fully understand and comprehend the wines and the grower to write about them cogently. Sometimes, even though I like, and occasionally adore and respect, the finished wine, I nonetheless don’t understand it – yet.
One such place is Domaine Hoffmann-Jayer, previously Domaine Jayer-Gilles.
It’s an estate with a dual nature, producing in a more experimental style lower-level wines including Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Hautes Côtes de Nuits and Côtes de Nuits Villlages. But for good measure, it also produces NSG 1er Cru Damodes and Echezeaux in a more traditional manner.
Certain of the domaine’s wines have undergone – or should I say are undergoing – a rather radical stylistic change: vinification without sulphur and elevage partly in the big clay jars known as amphorae, mixed with new and older barrels.
This change is very promising, as the amphora samples I’ve tasted show tremendous energy and vivacity which I didn’t see in examples from the old Jayer-Gilles estate.
It is, however, very early in the process. When I visited in July, the wines were quite promising, yet it would not be fair to evaluate them at this stage. It would be guesswork more or less, so let’s wait for more formal reviews of the entry-level cuvees.
Reviews for the
- Hautes Côtes de Beaune blanc and rouge 2019
- Hautes Côtes de Nuits blanc and rouge 2019
- Côtes de Nuits Villlages 2019
will follow later, if possible.
I will, however, say with a big smile that these wines are definitely rock-‘n’-roll, and I can hardly wait to taste the bottled versions.
I am prepared to comment on the top-end wines, where the changes are less radical and more comprehensible for a simple Winehog.
Tasting the 2019s from cask
The wines were tasted from cask in July in the estate’s cellar in Magny-lès-Villers.
Domaine Hoffmann-Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Hauts Poirets 2019
At the southern end of Nuits-Saint-Georges, Les Hauts Poirets is on a steep, sloping plot on the hilltop surmounting the old quarry above Poirets. Here there has been a significant change in vinification and elevage, with only 35% new oak being used, as opposed to 60%-70% in the 2018 vintage. This gives a more pure fruit expression, and combined with the vivid freshness of the 2019 vintage, the wine is really singing.
(Drink from 2030) – Fine – (91-92p) – Tasted 09/07/2020
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