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Apologies for the delay in this second installment but Christmas is a very busy period. Anyway we had an appointment at Louis Latour at 2pm. We headed for rue des tonneliers to meet with Anne and head for Corton. Corton is probably a 15 minute drive from Beaune and one of the more distinctive landmarks in this area  is the Chateau de Corton.

We were visiting Chateau Corton Grancey which is owned by Louis Latour. The vintage had finished 2 weeks previously so the cellars were a hive of activity. The winery is built into the hill of Corton so uses gravity to its benefit. We climbed up the stair to see a track where all the bins full of grapes can travel between vats. One thing about a winery during fermentation is the number of fruit flies everywhere – makes sense really. The free run juice had already been pumped into some of the blending vats so we saw workmen forking the grapes into bins to go to the presses. There is a fan in each vat to circulate air to disperse the CO2. We then walked the floor and went to the presses in time to see grapes being loaded into a vertical press. Great to actually see the theory in practice. Off to the tasting room.

 

 

 

Started with the whites and I was pleasently surprised to note that the majority of the white wines wines do not see any oak ageing. We has a considerable line up in front of us.Louis Latour Whites 11 white wines and 5 red. Considering my hangover was making me tetchy I was initially reluctant to taste them all but then when will I get this chance again?  The list of whites were as follows. Louis Latour Chablis 2010, Chablis 1er Cru 2009, Macon-Lugny Les Genievres 2010, Pouilly-Fuisse 2010, Meursault 2009, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2009.

Reds Marsannay 2009, Cote de Beaune-Villages 2009, Aloxe-Corton 2009, Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2009.  We got a good appreciation of the Louis Latour portfolio and the wine highlight was the Corton Grancey.

We headed back into Beaune and then out for the night. For dinner we went to Le Gourmandin. I have been here before and enjoyed it previously. In future I would steer clear. The food was average and the waiter complied to the stereotype of rude, French waiter, in short he was a w**ker. I should have gone with my instinct and headed for Ma Cuisine. After dinner we headed for Bistro Bourgignon and tasted through a number of wines. One of the the staff  gave us a free glass of a  white from the Challonais which they thought we would like. It was quite heavy on the oak however but just goes to show some people’s perception of what they think tourists like to drink. We also got chatting to an American couple; the wife worked in NASA and the husband had changed career to become a scuba instructor. They had been travelling for a month through Europe. Not jealous.

Next day was Saturday and Ireland v Australia in the Rugby World Cup. It was 10 am so we had coffee while we watched. There were some Aussies watching the game beside us and as I was a bit groggy I could not understand why they were cheering for Ireland. Turns out they were kiwis, Watson. What a morning. We had to have some Cremant to celebrate. This was to be our last day in Beaune and we had an early start the following day. It was lunch time and we strolled around looking for somewhere nice to eat and we came upon a delightful restaurant which I can’t remember the name of but if I do remember I will post it because the food was inexpensive and really good.

After a relaxing lunch we headed to Marches Aux Vins. Now some people might think this is just a bit gimmicky and for tourists but I always go when I am in Beaune because it is good fun and the wines were actually good with maybe one or two exceptions.

Sorry for the delay in putting this together but hopefully I will be posting with some regularity soon.

 

 

 

 

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I am just back from a short trip to Burgundy, well specifically Beaune where I got to visit the cellars of Joseph Drouhin and the Chateau Corton Grancey owned by Louis Latour. Beaune is not easy to get to and other than hiring a car you will have a number of transfers to make. I flew to Paris, got the RER to Gare de Lyon, the TGV to Dijon and the TER to Beaune. There is a slightly less complicated journey if you fly direct to Lyon and get the train to Beaune but I was meeting my friend in Paris.

We arrived in Beaune at around 2.30 and headed straight for Drouhin’s Offices and cellars on Rue Enfer. We were greeted by Frederic Drouhin, the Great Grandson of Joseph and taken down to the cellars by Jean-Pierre Cropsal.

In theses cellars they age some of their most prestigious wines and walking past the barrels you will see the names of famous climats and appellations such as Clos des Mouches and Gevrey-Chambertin. The tour was short and we proceeded to the tasting room to taste and compare a number of different wines. The whites were first and the line up was impressive.

We started with St Veran 2010 which was fresh but with ripe fruit and decent length, then straight into the Domaine Drouhin Vaudon (Drouhin’s property in Chablis) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2008 which is way too young but showing it’s pedigree in it’s concentration, finesse and length.  Then Puligny Montrachet 2009 was lighter in body but concentrated and expressive with some of the oak showing through and finally the Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru 2009 was the pick of the bunch, the finesse of these better wines is so apparent when tasted against a village appellation.

The red wines were equally impressive with the line up as follows. The Chorey les Beaune 2008 was fairly simple and possibly didn’t show as well coming after the whites. The Gevrey-Chambertin 2008 was still young showing good concentration of fruit, balanced acidity, medium plus body and medium finish, no thin wine here. The Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2008 was much more seductive with violet perfumed notes and almost sweet dark cherry flavours mixed with clove and vanilla spice. Finally we tasted the Clos des Mouches 1er Cru Rouge 2009. Mouches does not refer to flies but to bees. ‘Mouches a miel’ means honey flies.

We thanked our hosts and headed for Place Carnot and on to Rue Monge. Rue Monge has 2 of my favourite places in Beaune. First is Magnum where you can sit outside and catch some Sun while drinking a glass of Cremant and the second is Bourgogne Bistro where you can do exactly the same but have a meal also. 

Although in the dead centre of Beaune I have never felt I was being treated as a tourist in these places, this cannot be said of a number of other establishments. Part des Anges comes to mind where I have never received the genuine welcome you get in the former.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru

My love affair with Jadot continues. I find their red wines to be consistently good albeit at premier cru level and beyond.  2003 was not the best vintage in Burgundy. It was scorchingly hot and the winemakers had the dilemma of picking early to contain the falling acidity or to wait and risk the massive alcohol levels. In general I would see this as a vintage to avoid though would be worth taking a punt on a bargain from a really good producer.

This wine was good but I think the level of new oak made the wine quite silky and detracted from some of the more obvious failings.  The wine had a harder edge than I would have expected from Beaune. There was a certain astringency probably due to the tannins and pips being green if the grapes were not physiologically ripe.

Description of Beaune wines from www.burgundy-wines.fr/

Beaune Climats © Burgundy Website

This appellation includes 42 Premiers Crus « climats ».

The appellations BEAUNE and BEAUNE PREMIER CRU may be followed by the

name of the « climat » of origin.

 Small differences appear, depending on the exact location. Wines from the northern end of the commune are more often intense and powerful, and those from the southern end are smoother and fuller. 

Red : This wine has a striking and vivid colour – a luminous scarlet, introducing aromas of black fruits (blackcurrant, blackberry) and red (cherry, gooseberry), as well as humus and underbrush. When older, it is redolent of truffle, leather, and spices. In youth, it charms the palate with the taste of crunchy fresh grape. Firm, upright and full of juice, it evolves with time, revealing a solid and absolutely convincing structure. 

White : This wine boasts a silky gold colour, flecked with green. It has a bouquet of almond, dried fruits, bracken, and white flowers. It may be enjoyed either young « on the fruit » or later for its mouth-filling mellowness.

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