On Thursday 9th January, Armit held its annual Burgundy En Primeur tasting at the historic Middle Temple Hall in London. As ever, it was attended by hundreds of Burgundy enthusiasts keen to sample the widely-talked about 2012 vintage. Much has been made of how little wine there is available from the unusual and complicated growing season across the Côte de Nuits in 2012. Devastating hail storms in the summer months destroyed over half the crop in some places, particularly in the Côte de Beaune. However, whilst this could be seen as a tragedy for many growers, thankfully, the grapes that survived were able to bask in the warm late-summer and ripened with incredible concentration, depth and energy.
Having not visited Burgundy to taste in-situ this year, I was looking forward to seeing how the wines had developed and to taste first-hand this tricky vintage for myself. Needless to say, I was not disappointed – though inevitably owing to the much-reduced crop, samples were thin on the ground as many of our growers were simply not able to provide us with samples – so precious is their stock this year!
As a new member of the team here at Armit, I enjoyed tasting a few new discoveries among the portfolio as well as some dependable old-favourites.
For a few years now, I’ve admired the wines of Jean-Marc Millot – a delightfully unassuming winemaker who owns around 7 hectares in and around the three Grand Crus of Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux and Clos de Vougeot. I think his Côte de Nuits-Villages ‘Les Faulques’ is one of the greatest value wines of the Côte de Nuits. And his Echezeaux was, for me, the best red wine available to taste on the night; beautifully poised and focussed; it showed serious and attractive red berry compote and a powerful, intense structure which indicates a long and promising future ahead.
New to me was Domaine Marc Morey from Chassagne Montrachet. These wines really displayed the vitality of 2012, each one amply reflecting the unique qualities of their individual terroir. Beautifully defined and linear, the Chenevottes showed its pedigree in the fine balance of floral, almond and citrus notes alongside a clear mineral freshness that seemed to dance on the palate. So immediately appealing, it was hard to resist going back for a cheeky top-up!
Another new discovery was M&M, made by the charming husband and wife duo Michael and Fiona Ragg, whose wines I thought showed impressive but elegant texture and poise and that undeniable nutty Meursault richness. For those who like to follow events in the Côte d’Or on Twitter, they can be found @burgundycalling!
Finally, it wouldn’t be a blog-post on Burgundy without mentioning the superlative wines of Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard. I’ve long been a follower of this wonderful family domaine. Richard Fontaine is at the helm, ably assisted by his delightful daughter Céline. There are few addresses in Chassagne that have such an extraordinary range of Crus across the commune, including the exceptional trio of Criots-Batard-Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet and Le Montrachet. So highly sought-after, there are some things money really cannot buy!
Whilst prices may have crept up in recent years and that age-old problem of supply and demand continues to rear its ugly head (particularly in light of the even-smaller 2013 vintage), one thing remains constant: the unparalleled quality of the estates with whom we work. With the right guidance, there are plenty of wines across all levels that deserve to be included in any Burgundy-lover’s wine cellar. For the best advice and to help you make that selection, please do contact our sales team on 0207 9080660.