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The roaring twenties - Joblot's reds from the bottle

Tasting young wines can be tricky but, perhaps, the hardest to assess are red Burgundies. One grape (Pinot Noir, of course) and subtly but importantly different terroirs  yielding surprisingly different wines, even when from the same clones of more or less the same age. Enter Domaine Joblot's 2020s. Givry is at the southernmost point of the Côte Chalonnaise, about half an hour south of Beaune. It is not one of the prettiest villages in the region but it is widely regarded as producing the finest reds in this (relatively) good value sector of Burgundy. Domaine Joblot is 'a leader in Givry' (Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy) or, simply, 'Givry's best estate' (Clive Coates MW, The Wines of Burgundy). It lies on the D981 with most if the vineyards (and all the premier cru wines) on the west side of the road. In Domaine Joblot's portfolio, only the village (ie. non-premier cru)  'Pied de Chaume ' is on the east side of the road, north of the village itse

Usseglio ten years apart

 In advance of a Decanter tasting of 2009 and 2019 Châteauneuf, I thought it was time for me to try a mini-vertical tasting of the wine from Raymond Usseglio et Fils . The 2019 is 80% Grenache, 20% Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Counoise and weighs in at 14.5%. It was a hot year in the region, especially the summer. It has a very youthful but very pure nose and the Grenache is certainly the dominant feature here as it is on the palate . The other grapes are there in the background but definitely in support (try the 'Part des Anges' cuvée, on the other hand, for a completely different story). It is medium-to-full bodied, a nice weight to complement the palate, and has slightly chalky tannins at present but these give a little more flesh to the wine. Presumably they emanate from the barrels which are subtly present (more so texturally than in flavour). A good finish - it persists for quite a while and in a very pleasing way. Stef recommends decanting this in its youth. I didn

Reviews: Gambero Rosso 2022 and Decanter (January 2022)

 A quick perusal shows that Fabrizio Battaglino has some well-deserved awards in the 2022 edition including for his 2019 Nebbiolo d'Alba 'Paradi', a wine which is coming into its own well now ( Due Bicchieri ) and the 2020 Roero Arneis 'Bastia', a lovely Arneis with a little more richness than the younger vine 'San Michele' (both also Due Bicchieri,  the latter in the 2019 edition).  Lots of entries too for I Campi, our Veneto superstar estate. This year it has yet another  Tre Bicchieri  but, for the first time (I think) for the regular Valpolicella Superiore in a vintage I have yet to try. If Covid restrictions are eased in time, it will be on my list of addresses to visit while stocks last! Only (a maximum of) one Tre Bicchieri is awarded per estate each year so the red Due Bicchieri  for the Soave Classico "Vulcano' should be regarded as every bit as worthy of the top prize.  Elsewhere, in Decanter last month, Matt Walls' focus on "othe

Christmas with Burgundy

In the country in July but, thanks to a processing error, Justin Girardin's wines - the first we have imported since he went solo (earlier vintages were bottled under his father Jacques' name) - have only just become available to us. Obviously we tasted them months ago but, equally obviously, we wanted to taste them again. They're good. Earlier in the year, the 2019 'Terrasses de Bievaux' Santenay Blanc was slightly masked by oak but this has dissipated now to reveal a gorgeously fresh with citrus and tropical fruits abounding. The 2018 Premier Cru reds have fleshed out nicely and can be enjoyed already; the 2017 is more focussed. Why wait? However, the big event took place over the last 48 hours: tasting four red Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru wines from the excellent 2019 vintage. Most people understandably think of white wines when Chassagne is mentioned but, in fact, the terroir  is best suited to red wines which can be very good indeed. The 2019 Clos St Jean

Beaucastel 2020 en primeur tasting at the château

 It's been a while since my last post. Red tape has consumed me over the last few months but now I see light at the end of a very long tunnel and, all being well, wines which have been held up (even though they have been sitting in the warehouse for many months) should be available soon. In the meantime... Beaucastel 2020 Yesterday, I visited the château to taste the new vintage. Before I got out of the car, I was struck by the immense noise coming from workmen who, since September, have been busy with some fairly major renovations to the buildings. Beaucastel has plans to become completely carbon neutral when the work is complete. There will be an underground water source for cooling, gravity will play a major role in the winemaking process and, in the meantime, everyone who works at the château is constantly moving offices to find a bit of quiet. It hasn't affected the wines though.  2020 was a classic vintage without a heatwave as such but with a long, drawn out summer and r

A great value alternative to Côte Rôtie

From Matt Wall's forthcoming article on great value alternatives to Côte Rôtie, Pierre Gaillard's 2016 St Joseph 'Clos du Cuminaile' is a lovely wine to drink now ( there  2015 is still building). Matt scored it 92 points and reviewed it as follows: 'From a 40-year-old vineyard in Chavanay, grapes were fully destemmed. It’s showing blackberry, bonfire ashes and blackcurrant leaf aromas. 2016 was not the most concentrated vintage, so it’s medium-bodied but very smooth in the mouth. The finish is lifted and fresh, with bright berry acidity. Quite lean and transparent, this is mostly based around fresh acidity, with fine, slight tannins and a granitic spine.' (Not the most contemporary looking label but the wine is extremely drinkable!) We have, of course, tasted it ourselves a couple of times recently and found it to be on the lighter side of Syrah - St Joseph can range from red to black fruit character and be light and pretty or dense and demanding (for the latte

Girardin's return

When Justin Girardin, nephew of the famous Vincent, sent me through his 2021 list, I was struck by the fact that, even with some modest price rises, his wines offer remarkably good value for Burgundies of this quality. Where can you find a grower's Santenay at Premier Cru level under £30 these days? Answer: chez Girardin. Yes, we have been working with Justin and his family for several years and even have a (very) few bottles left of some of his 2012 Premier Cru wines - bottled under Justin's father Jacques' name - which are drinking fabulously now: smooth and unctuous with velvety tannins and soft Pinot fruit (Clos Rousseau) and a little more typical Santenay black fruit character from the Maladières  lieu dit . Both tried recently and a few bottles of each reserved for us (hence the reduced quantities available). The 2013 vintage was very successful here, perhaps more so than the 2013, defying the region generally. A simple explanation can be offered for this: Justin has