The 2018 vintage is mysterious, and more complex than any recent vintage. It is not a vintage that will conform to foregone conclusions: The truth is, as always, in the glass, and not all 2018s are pretty.
As always, the ratings here are personal – i.e. there is only Steen Öhman, aka the Winehog, to blame, and in a few instances to cheer.
A bit about Maison Harbour, to recap
Maison Harbour is one of the new, small negociants in Savigny-les-Beaune, a small village located near (thus the -les; see also Chorey) of Beaune.
It was established by Colleen and Nicholas Harbour – a couple who worked in the finance sector in Luxembourg prior to founding their estate. Colleen originates from Canada and Nicholas from the US, and they met in Luxembourg, where they lived before moving to Burgundy in 2012.
So why Burgundy – aside from the love of wine and the area? The link to Burgundy – and to Savigny – is that Nicholas in younger days spent many holidays in a family house in … you guessed it: Savigny-les-Beaune.
So it is more than a summer fling. It’s true love of the area and the wines that brought Colleen and Nicholas to Savigny to launch their endeavour.
Now, back to the 2018s …
The Maison Harbour 2018s – in Copenhagen
At a tasting in Denmark we sampled nine wines – four whites and five reds.
Let’s just say that the event demonstrated the complexity and challenges of the vintage, made even more complicated by the fact that the Harbour operation makes all its wines from grapes sourced from vignerons throughout the region.
In a year like 2018, where timing, viticulture, and harvest-date choice are paramount, the task of making wines is daunting and sometimes near-impossible – relying in some instances on pure luck.
We never talk about luck in winemaking. But let’s face it: not all factors are under the winemaker’s control, especially not in 2018, and especially for small negociants like Harbour. They are often one step removed from the process even though they – as do Harbour – have very good grape suppliers.
So to cut through the journalistic waffling: Harbour had its challenges in the 2018 vintage that, aside from the grapes themselves, included quite a dance in the cellar. These are big wines in many ways, and for me, some of them come out on the quite dense side, noticeably lacking in vividness and energy. This is widespread In 2018: Many wines have these tendencies, and given my personal preferences, it is an somewhat of an issue with 2018 as a whole.
These wines are by no means disasters, but let’s just say that some are better than others, and somehow the logic of the terroirs is missing – to my thinking.
Maison Harbour – the tasting notes
The wines were tasted on June 18, 2020, and all showed correctly.
Maison Harbour Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018
The Bourgogne Blanc is, according to the Danish importer, from below Vougeot on the other side of the RD 974. It is a rich and rather expansive wine. The acidity seems good for the vintage, although the fruit is a tad riper than I prefer, and is mostly yellow. With the ripe fruit it would work well with a spicy salad. As an aperitif, it’s a bit too dense for my palate.
(Drink From 2020) – Above Average (83-84p) – tasted 18/06/2020
Maison Harbour Santenay 1er cru Les Gravieres 2018
Santenay Les Gravieres is an interesting 1er cru terroir located on the Chassagne side of Santenay. This wine’s nose is expressively forward and mineral, with both white and some yellow fruit, and infused with citrus and tremendous saline minerality. On the palate, lovely, saline and mineral, offering fine tension and energy. Definitely wine of the vintage at Harbour.
(Drink From 2027) – Very Good+ – (89-91p) tasted 18/06/2020 –
Maison Harbour Meursault Les Petits Charrons 2018
The Meursault Les Petits Charrons is from the core of the appellation: a fine terroir with great potential. This has quite a rich, almost velvety feel, but is lacking somewhat on the energy and tension sides. It is quite typical for the vintage, and not really for Winehogs!
(Drink From 2022) – Good – (86-87p) – tasted 18/06/2020
Maison Harbour Meursault 1er Cru ‘Blagny’ 2018
The Meursault “Blagny” 1er cru is a blend of grapes from the lieux-dits Sous le Dos d’Ane and La Piéce Sous le Bois in the Blagny part of Meursault. This is a better match for the hot vintage – as is almost always so with Blagny wines. It will take time to unfold and is, as with all the Harbour wines, well made with discreet and beautifully clear fruit. It is more serious, and needs a few years to better express itself.
(Drink From 2025) – Very Good – (88-89p) – tasted 18/06/2020
To the reds …
Maison Harbour Savigny-les-Beaune 1er cru Dominode 2018
This is from a terroir on the southern side of the Savigny valley just above Les Narbantons. It is a lively, enjoyable wine with fine balance and freshness for the vintage. There are juicy raspberry notes, and it’s perfect for the terrasse and enjoyment with good friends – no regrets and no regards – enjoyable.
(Drink From 2025) – Very Good – (87-88p) – tasted 18/06/2020
Maison Harbour Pommard Les Chanlins 2018
Pommard 1er Cru Les Chanlins is from a vineyard at the southern end of the village just south of Les Rugiens. It’s somewhat on the warmer side; mineral, yet not terribly precise. I do prefer both the Gevrey Justice and the lesser-known Dominode, as this does not quite find in the 2018 version the energy I need. It is certainly not bad; just a “typical” 2018 – if such a thing exists.
(Drink From 2028) – Good – (87-88p) – tasted 18/06/2020
Maison Harbour Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice 2018
Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice is located below the RD974 towards the Gevrey train station. This vineyard is in the alluvial fan of the Combe Lavaux, and it has a strong Gevrey signature, as does this wine. It’s rich, with a fine mineral backbone and nice balance: a classic Gevrey village with an enjoyable character. I do like the strong and honest signature.
(Drink From 2026) – Very Good – (88p) – tasted 18/06/2020
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In Denmark, the wines of Maison Harbour are imported by Vinomani.
Tasting Notes for this producer
- Maison Harbour – tasting the 2018sThe 2018 vintage is mysterious, and more complex than any recent vintage. It is not a vintage that will conform to foregone conclusions: The truth is, as always, in the glass, and not all 2018s are pretty. As always, the ratings here are personal – i.e. there is only Steen Öhman, aka the Winehog, to blame, ...
- Visit Maison Harbour, Tasting of the 2017s from caskMaison Harbour is one of the new and small negociants in Savigny-Les-Beaune – for those not familiar – a small village located outside of Beaune. I have followed Maison Harbour more or less since the beginning so have quite a detailed knowledge of the estate and the wines they are making. This is a really nice ...
- Burgundy .. 2017 and a look at 2018The 2017s are now getting bottled in many estates, and its time to give a status, before the 2018s are ready to taste and evaluate. I have tasted quite a few 2017s over the past year – and some more in the last week – 11th to 15th of February. This has really confirmed the quality ...
- Maison Harbour – tasting of the whitesMaison Harbour is a micro estate from Savigny les Beaune – but was visiting Copenhagen for the first time here in July. Visitor in July was Nicholas Harbour who was showing great form during his short stay here in Denmark. I have visited Maison Harbour two times within the last two years, and I yet felt ...
- Visit Maison Harbour, Tasting of the 2016s from caskMy second visit at Maison Harbour after the tasting the 2015s in January 2017 – and now it’s already time to taste the 2016s at this minuscule estate in Savigny-Les-Beaune. Good to be back to see how these fine people are doing with their somewhat crazy endeavour …. and somehow relieved that they have been able ...