Having stayed very near to Givry last night, I was able to slip in a quick visit to Clos Saloman before my 10.30 appointment with Jean-Marc Joblot. Here I tasted the 2009s from Montagny (white - very aromatic) and Givry (red, a Premier Cru with excellent fruit and good structure, almost as good as the 2005).
When I arranged the Domaine Joblot appointment, this really was the last day Jean-Marc was prepared to see me as the harvest will be started on Thursday! Incredibly early and still lots to do. Still, he was generous with his time and proved a good communicator. Of course, he knew nothing about me so we discussed my interests in wine and knowledge of the wines of Givry in particular (I have been following the wines of Domaine Joblot for over a decade so knew something of what today's tasting would have in store. Fortunately, Jean-Marc agreed that the other two Givry estates I know well, Clos Saloman and Michel Sarrazin are both excellent producers; the man who is the undisputed leader in his appellation can afford this generosity, of course).
We spent a good while getting to know each other before heading for the cave. I warmed to him immediately: his enthusiasm is infectious and he has a slightly mischievious glint in his eyes which betrayed a wicked sense of humour.
In the cave, we tasted only 2010s, the 2009s having all sold out. The 2010s were all in new barrels although there is another cave with wines maturing in older barrels too. The taste of the new oak has to be compensated for, of course, but before we tasted anything at all, Jean-Marc instructed me to put my nose deep into a barrel already in place for the fermentation and ageing of the 2011 white. There was little in the way of toast; rather, a sweet smell with notes of confection. When we later tasted the 2010 white, I was brought back to this point; the fruit is in no way overwhelmed by the oak. In fact, it took me back to my earlier tasting at Clos Saloman where the nose of the Montagny was more expressive than Jean-Marc's but the palate less complex. The barrel may well have had something to do with this.
Jean-Marc discussed the importance of barrels to him (coopers being part of the winemaking family along with the nursery and, of course, the vigneron). He has a longstanding relationship with the great Burgundian tonellerie at St Romain, Francois Freres, so they know exactly what he likes. With the nursery, again, they know the clones he likes to use; for Jean-Marc, it is not the age of the vine that matters but the quality of the wine it produces.
There were five reds, all remarkably different given the raw materials were virtually identical. From the (comparitively) soft Clos des Bois Chevaux to the powerful and structured Cellier aux Moines then the rounded Pied de Chaume and the complete Clos de la Servoisine and, finally, a blended cuvee (that is, a blend of wines matured in new and old oak; Jean-Marc doesn't like to blend the different lieux-dits) from Maroles, this was a superb lesson on terroir. Jean-Marc pointed out that the vines were the same, the vinification was the same, the barrels were the same... only the soil was different and yet the wines themselves are so very different already and, in time, they can only grow further apart. Truly fascinating. I have never properly understood Burgundian terroir before this.
And what of the oak? Yes, there was more in the samples I tasted than I would want to drink but these had not been blended with the old barrel-aged wines, much less aged in bottle for up to 15 years (Jean-Marc reckons their potential to be at least this long). From experience, two or three years in the bottle, then two or three hours in carafe should bring these wines close to perfection.
Jean-Marc was adamant that his job was easy; all he did was let the wine ferment and put it into the barrels where he left it untouched until it was time for bottling: C'est simple! Of course, his eyes were twinkling as he spoke.