I Started Out On Burgundy (Dec. 2019)

I indulged myself in some lovely Burgundies
including this lovely Fleurie

Marc Delienne, Fleurie, Greta Carbo, 2016

The name makes a playful fuss over the fact that the wine is made by carbonic maceration, which is common in Beaujolais Noveau, but less so in the more serious Beaujolais Crus. It shows fresh, vivid fruit with a touch of clean earthy funk and the exotic spices that are the ghost of electricity driving the most special of Burgundian reds. Almost no tannins to speak of, but lord, what delicious acidity! (Dec. 26, 2019)

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Meursault Vieilles Vignes, 2014

Everyone should have a go-to Meursault. Of course, they're not cheap, anymore - never were, actually. But this is decently priced, as far as Meursaults go, both when Bourgogne Crown was carrying them as well as under their new importer, Wine Route. This is always (in my experience) a handsome Meursault, all the more so in a vibrant vintage like 2014, where the plump body typical of the appellation is balanced by tangy acidity that makes for a full and delicious impact on the taste buds. The nose is green apples and pears with smoky notes of minerals dry grass, almost Chassagne-like, decent complexity without a lot of fanfare. (Dec. 10, 2019)

Domaine Pierre Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, Lavaut St. Jacques, 2013

This, like Clos St. Jacques, is one of the most touted of the Gevrey Premier Crus. In Duroche's 2013 rendition, it's deep and floral, very vibrant, fresh and pure, strains of flowers, smoke, wet leaves and black fruit making for complex aromas and subtle, yet gripping, texture. The acidity is uplifting and adds peach flavors to the mix. The mark of quality is in its complete and perfect poise and grace, more than anything else. (Dec. 12, 2019)

Domaine Matrot, Blagny Premier Cru, La Pièce-sous-le-Bois, 2014

Blagny is a hamlet neighboring Meursault. The appellation laws are a nightmare. The white premier crus are labelled Meursault-Blagny Premier, the red premier simply Blagny Premier. For some reason, they're always a little more expensive than I expect, at least the ones I run into. But I can forgive it here, because I've loved Matrot ever since Lifshitz started importing it and I used to buy this red even before he started importing it. My thoughts about its quality and typicality are as follows.

When you move up from village level to premier cru level (and later grand cru level), you factor qualities like weight, intensity, complexity, depth. I won't go through them all, but this is definitely in premier cru territory, in the lower-middle ranks, for its complexity, breadth and silky composure. I think I'd peg it as a Cote de Beaune in a blind tasting, but only as a result of elimination: it doesn't fit the profile of any Cote de Nuits village and it's too filigree for the Chalonnaise. It has smoky red fruit with strong notes of iron and damp topsoil, it is acidity driven, with enough tannins for an elegant grip without the feminine rasp of Volnay or the iron-driven savoriness of Pommard. (Dec. 13, 2019)

Domaine Jean Chauvenet, Nuits St. Georges Premier Cru, Les Perrières, 2008

This was very intense and spicy when I drank it over four years ago, definitely more intense than I'd expected from a 2008. Four years ago, it was so intense and spicy - with a lot of notes of iron, still present in fact - that I kidded it about it being a Bourgogne for Barolo lovers. Despite that, it was very Nuits in character, and it's moreso today after a few additional years in the fridge, with lovely acidity-driven fruit, nose and palate leavened with suggestions of truffles, and much more tannins that I think would be typical for 2008. The finish is rusty, needing a few more years to soften, and reminds me of the late Rene Engel's Grand Echezeaux. (Dec. 17, 2019)

Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet, Fixin, 2016

Formerly Denis Berthaut, the name having changed following a merger of sorts with Domaine François Gerbet (more or less coinciding with daughter Amelie taking over winemaking duties). One day I'll go back and fix the blog labels. This is excellent value, red/black fruit with a touch of floral greenness that reminds me of the forest in spring, not the sweet autumnal rot. It has enough structure for aging, but for all that, the fruit feels svelte and silky. Complexity will come with age, though - relish the freshness and vitality for now. (Dec. 21, 2019)