SUMMER 2021 PRE ARRIVAL FULL OFFER, READ HERE
PRE ARRIVAL OFFER SUMMER 2021
Being upside down isn’t always a bad thing. 2020 certainly flipped everything. At the start of 2020 fine wine was very much up in the air, would it crash and burn? With such incredible growth and demand the last few years, it would become apparent whether the growth was a bubble or legitimate demand. During my six week tour of France at the end of 2020, I talked at length with producers about the industry in its current state. For them, they felt incredibly bad for their long term customers who are predominately restaurants and wine bars, whilst their excess was being more than soaked up by cavists (specialised wine stores). In turn, they were also holding more wine back with the ambition of using it to open up new markets such as Australia.
*In walks Jono*
All doors were open, bar just a few who were at direct [covid] risk. Not only was I able to visit domaines with doors usually firmly shut, they were happy to see me! Their growing season was that of their grandparents; no traffic, no visitors, just quiet work in the vines while the rest of France was in complete lockdown. Many commented to me that without interruption from the outside world, they felt a reinvigorated connection to their parcels.
I visited three to four producers every day during my six weeks there, and we picked up nine new ones. Nine new producers of extremely good quality. We will release the wines throughout the 2021 calendar year. In this current offer we’ll introduce you to Domaine Pierre Morey of Meursault who is regarded as one of the true top producers of the Cotes de Beaune, Domaine Michel Gros of Vosne-Romanée, and Vin Noé (Jon Purcell) from Auxey-Duresses.
Also in this offer are new releases from Champagne Guiborat, the utterly delicious wines of Santini, Château des Bormettes’ premium rosé, and a top up of the ever popular Domaine Millet Petit Chablis.
With new producers joining us this year, we are going to be busier than ever and this is all possible due to your support, thank you. Please feel free to pass this on to family and friends that are partial to a fine glass of wine or two!
As always I am at your disposal,
Producers Included in this Offer
- Guiborat - Côte des Blancs, Champagne
- Domaine Pierre Morey – Meursault, Burgundy
- Domaine Michel Gros – Vosne Romanée, Burgundy
- Santini – Auxey Duresses and Greater Burgundy
- Vin Noé – Auxey Duresses and Greater Burgundy
- Château des Bormettes – Provence
- Domaine Millet - Chablis
Champagne Guiborat - Cramant, Côte des Blanc
Unfortunately Richard and Karine were not available for a tasting this trip however they did leave a bottle of Tethys and Prisme in a local wine store for me to collect. I met an Irish Master of Wine and his partner out one evening dining in Beaune, and we got along well so on my final Sunday we decided to visit Volnaysien for lunch which carried on into a hike, high up in Monthelie. At that point I had decided the two Guiborat wines would better be consumed in the company of new friends instead of with pen to paper. Alas there are no specific notes for these wines but I can, along with my new Irish friends, vouch for their undisputed quality.
They show nearly no winemaking artefact and therefore show the vineyard and predominate vintage so clearly. Warmer years are fuller with more fruit but still hold salinity and no matter what, energy.
The wines are made with minimal intervention utilising gravity after pressing and settling, to either concrete or stainless steel to maximise purity. A tiny, 35mg/l of sulphur is used.
NV Champagne Guiborat Tethys.17 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru $75
Tethys is named after the Greek goddess of water and nursing, and the ancient sea in the Mesozic era that covered what is now known as Champagne. 100% Chardonnay. From four parcels. The young vines from ‘Les Caures’ predominantly make up the cuvée with the first three presses from the 2005 planting. The remainder is made from the ‘Taille’ of older vines from the vineyards below.
- Cramant – Les Bergieres – 1984
- Chouilly – Le Mont Aigu – 1970/1979
- Chouilly – Les Caures – 1946/2005 (Most of the cuvée is made from this planting)
- Oiry – Les Briquettes – 1969
Soils are predominantly homogenous chalk. The difference between the plots is the thickness of the chalk and the depth of the topsoil. Winemaking: Gravity, minimal sulphur, low yields and gentle pressing. Seven months on lees in stainless steel and concrete, followed by 32 months on lees in bottle. 81% is from the 2017 vintage with the remainder reserve wine from 2015 and 2016. Dosage: 2.5g/l
NV Champagne Guiborat Prisme.15 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru $92
Prism [noun] “A transparent glass or plastic object that separates white light that passes through it into different colours.” Cambridge Dictionary. Never has a name of a wine been truer. 100% Chardonnay. Again from four parcels throughout the Côte des Blancs, as follows:
- 34% - Cramant – Les Bergieres – 1984 – Moyen – 2001
- 42% - Chouilly – Les Caures – 1946/1988
- 24% - Oiry – Les Briquettes – 1969
From plots within the vineyards with particularly pure limestone and chalk, and thin topsoil. Winemaking: 84% from the 2015 vintage and the remaining 14% from 2014. Only the cuvée (first 3 presses) is used. Malolactic fermentation is blocked. Seven months on lees in 96% stainless steel (4% is large oak barrels) followed by 44 months on lees in bottle plus 12 months cork ageing in the Guiborat cellar. Dosage: 1.5g/l
2013 Champagne Guiborat ‘Le Mont Aigu’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru $153
100% Chardonnay. Terroir: Richard and Karine’s prized vineyard. A very special single vineyard wine only produced in exceptional years. Located in Chouilly. Planted in 1970. A thick layer or white chalk from the Upper Campanian period.
A build up of marine algae with an exterior skeleton high in calcium carbonate which begins to create a chalky mud has, over time, turned into hard white chalk. Particular vineyards and their chalk content, produce wine of differing energies and character. Le Mont Aigu produces particularly structured and energetic wines.
Winemaking: Only the cuvée (first 3 presses) is used. 91% spends six months in stainless steel on lees, 9% in used 400L barrels. 65 months on lees in bottle followed by 12 months cork ageing in the Guiborat cellar. Malolactic fermentation blocked. Dosage: 0g/l
NV Champagne Guiborat ‘Prohibition’ Pinot Meunier $83
100% Pinot Meunier. A new cuvée produced by Guiborat. The fruit used to be sold to Laurent Perrier however Richard was particularly interested in getting to know this plot on a more personal level. From two plots side by side from Mardeuil, in the Vallée de la Marne:
- Les Carrés du Midi – 1960
- Les Chataîgners -1958/1954
Seven months on lees, 80% in stainless steel and 20% in 400 litre barrels. 30 months on lees in bottle and six months cork ageing before release. 100% 2016. Dosage: 0.0 g/l.Domaine Pierre Morey - Meursault, Burgundy
With great pleasure and pride I welcome one of the great domaines of Burgundy to The French Wine Centre portfolio, Domaine Pierre Morey. A brief history on the Domaine has been included for those who are not familiar with the wines of Domaine Pierre Morey.
Pierre’s father, Auguste, was one of 31 grandchildren of Alexis Morey. Alexis branched from Chassagne-Montrachet to Meursault after falling in love with a girl from Meursault. He built a reasonable collection of vineyards but as having 31 grandchildren will do, holdings were divided into minute holdings for each. As a result Auguste was left to look at other options. He began a share farming agreement with Domaine des Comtes Lafon. Pierre took over this agreement but in 1984 as Dominique Lafon was planning to work at the domaine full time, the Lafon’s began taking back their vineyards. They did so in a very gentlemanly manner over five years in order to give Pierre Morey time to source new agreements or vineyards. While the vineyard area from the Lafon family was only 50%, it was almost 90% in value due to the prestige of the vineyards.
Pierre did acquire fantastic new vineyards due to being such a respected person throughout Meursault and the surrounding villages. In 1988, he was hired by Domaine Leflaive as their régisseur (general manager and head vigneron). Domaine Leflaive is regarded as the greatest white winemaker in the world and under Pierre’s management the prestige elevated even more so. He turned Domaine Leflaive into a biodynamic producer a couple of years after beginning the practices in his own vineyards. His tenure at Domaine Leflaive was from 1988 to 2008.
All the while he ran his own domaine in Meursault with his daughter, Anne, beginning to work there too. When she was studying, Pierre sat Anne down and explained: “I can teach you a thing or two about making white wine, but I cannot with red so please pay extra attention in school to Pinot Noir!”. The proof is in the pudding, their red wines are now equally as first rate as their white wines.
The wines of Domaine Pierre Morey are of the highest and most celebrated echelon in Burgundy. They have been farmed organically since 1993 and biodynamically since 1998. They are fine and structured yet ever so flavoursome. As the wines age they require air in the glass and tighten before your eyes.
Very, very special wines.
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Bourgogne Aligoté $29
From within the limits of Meursault but on the flatter, richer sites below the D974. A vineyard area of 1.86 hectares and an average vine age of 50 plus years. Raised and matured in mostly stainless steel as well as a few barrels. Can be enjoyed young however this Aligoté will age beautifully and if you are an enjoyer of fine old white Burgundy, then indefinitely.
Tasting Note: A closed yet detailed nose of lemon oil, waxiness, mandarin pith and a nuance of smoky flint. The palate shows an incredible woven, waxy and driven concentration that will need time in the glass to unravel. In a word, delish. - Jono Hersey, FWC
William Kelley, The Wine Advocate: “Bottled three weeks before my visit, the 2018 Bourgogne Aligoté reveals notes of waxy citrus ring and green apple, followed by a medium to full-bodied, taut and chalky palate. I suspect that as it unwinds in bottle it will make my score seem conservative.” 88 Points
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Bourgogne Blanc $55
From three plots within Meursault, that are mostly on the border of the village status vineyards totalling 1.76 hectares with an average vine age of 35 years.
Tasting Note: An array of spring orchard fruits, florals and fresh air carrying fine mountain herbs. The palate is so beautifully savoury, structured, mineral and driven. So, so, so good. Jono Hersey, FWC
Allen Meadows, Burghound: “In contrast to the Aligoté, this is quite fresh with a ripe mixture of petrol, white orchard fruit and citrus scents. The attractively vibrant, intense and nicely detailed middle weight flavors also culminate in a clean and dry but notably more persistent finish. This is a quality effort for its level and worth a look.” 86-89 Points Outstanding, Top Value
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault $150
From three plots covering 0.86 hectares; the first above 1er Cru Perrieres (Les Chaumes de Narvaux), the second below 1er Cru Les Charmes (Les Pellans) and the third further north, on the limits just before Monthelie.
Neal Martin, Vinous.com: “The 2018 Meursault Village is the usual blend of three parcels from Pellands, Chaumes de Narvaux and Forge. It has a very intense bouquet for a Village, the honeysuckle and orange pith aromas storming from the glass. The palate is likewise intense and brimming with energy, and quite spicy in the mouth, with hints of stem ginger and pineapple. Long on the finish, this Village Cru punches above its weight.” 90-92 Points
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault ‘Les Tessons’ $183
For lovers of fine mineral wine there are no vineyards more iconic than Meursault 1er Cru ‘Les Perrières’ (Perrieres will be released in the 2nd shipment later this year) and Meursault ‘Les Tessons’. Pierre Morey and Domaine Roulot have side-by-side vineyards in undoubtedly the finest section, both within the ‘Clos de Mon Plaisir’. The Morey family leave this title for Roulot as they are peacekeepers and happy for Roulot to champion the name.
The vineyard itself is mid-slope with an easterly aspect on perfectly drained stony soil of clay and limestone substrate. Quite steep. The vineyard has historically been noted as having the same pedigree as the other premier cru vineyards however, due to being slightly more north, with more of an easterly aspect and next to no southerly exposure, it was downgraded when the AOC was put into place. For many growers including Pierre Morey, this so called less-desirable aspect actually produces wines of particular excitement and intrigue. They are wines of incredible energy and tension.
Allen Meadows, Burghound: “A more complex and much more expressive nose freely offers up its combination of lemon grass, acacia blossom, mineral reduction and various white orchard fruit. The succulent, round and solidly concentrated flavors exude more evident minerality on the clean, dry and compact finale. This is potentially outstanding for a village level Meursault and well-worth checking out.” 90-92 Points
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru $695
I still vividly remember my first Pierre Morey Bâtard Montrachet. It was a 2008 consumed at The Prince Albert Hotel in which I was the publican at the time. One of my best friends, Damon Koerner and I had decided to share a couple more bottles after a pretty hefty wine lunch. Our deep conversation about who knows what was quickly interrupted with the first whiff. With a double take on the nose, followed by a sip we high fived and shared some expletives.
From a 0.49 hectare plot, a reasonable size in Batard-Montrachet however it is incredibly low yielding, resulting in an even more dense wine than normal Bâtard Montrachet and with tension to match. Bâtard is the longest lived of the Montrachet Grand Crus through pure density and bolstering power. What they can lack is tension and drive. Each example of Pierre Morey Bâtard seems to have what others can lack, exactly tension and drive. For what this wine is and will be, the price tag is a lot more approachable than first glance.
Neal Martin, Vinous.com: “The 2018 Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru comprises three-and-a-half barrels this year. It has an absolutely killer bouquet of intense, mineral-rich citrus fruit that gains vigor with aeration. Wonderful delineation and precision here, with oyster shell and estuarine scents emerging with time. The palate is very well balanced, delivering a precise, intense entry and enormous depth and volume in the mouth, but with counterbalancing tension on a long, spicy finish that fans out wonderfully. Superb.” 96-98 points
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Bourgogne Rouge $49
From three plots in the northern half of Meursault, towards Volnay. The total vineyard area is 0.92 hectares with an average vine age of 52 years. The three lieu-dits are Au Village, Les belles-Cotes and en Vaux. This wine was a particular surprise for me, I just wasn’t expecting the quality in the reds to be this high.
Tasting Note: Violets, musk, kirsch cherry and an underlying overtly ripe wild black berry with a complexifying decay. The palate is ripe and resolved with fine structure, brooding dark fruits yet with a crunchy red currant burst. Wonderful length, complex fruit and structure. Wow….. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Aloxe Corton 1er Cru ‘Clos du Chapître’ $155
From within the village of Aloxe Corton just beneath the church, surrounded by houses that encapsulate a lot of heat and store it overnight, reducing diurnal difference. As a result this is an earlier ripening vineyard.
Neal Martin, Vinous.com: “The 2018 Aloxe Corton Clos du Chapitre 1er cru is a cru that Anne Morey said was difficult to place within her portfolio, but it is certainly worth seeking out. It has a light, slightly tertiary bouquet that just needs a little more intensity to accentuate the licorice-tinged cassis fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with a sweet core of black cherry and boysenberry fruit and, again, hints of licorice. The well-defined finish lingers in the mouth. Excellent.” 90-92 Points
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Volnay 1er Cru ‘Pitures’ $167
Pitures (Dessus) sits to the northern end of Volnay just below ‘sur Roche’. The name meaning mud, was a reference to the natural spring sitting above the vineyard that today just helps moderate the health of the vines through hot dry years. An incredibly steep vineyard with hard limestone and a perfect southeast exposure. The wines are fairly voluminous for Volnay.
Bill Nanson, The Burgundy Report: Hmm – a lovely nose again – a little more floral – the wines are singing here this morning. Finer structured – open, a nice line of flavour – I love the open nature of this wine. Very broad finishing – ooh this is sappy/vibrant and delicious – excellent wine!”
2018 Domaine Pierre Morey Pommard 1er Cru ‘Grands Epenots’ $196
Epenots in both petit and grand, produces wines that mature with a much finer mouthfeel and tannin structure than other vineyards throughout Pommard. This is due to varying soils from the Avant Dhuene and the perfect gradient and aspect. The soils are very red and high in limestone. The Pierre Morey plot is over 55 years old and covers 0.43 hectares.
Tasting Note: Dark brooding plum and black currant cassis. Very suave, enticing nose.The same brooding suave fruit profile but light, refined and really very, very good. Wonderful! - Jono Hersey, FWC
Allen Meadows, Burghound: A discreet application of wood sets off the elegant and pure essence of red berries, earth and a pretty floral hint. There is fine mid-palate density to the bigger-bodied and equally muscular flavors that exhibit excellent length on the complex, youthfully austere and even firmer finale. This is potentially outstanding though like the Santenots, it's clearly built-to-age and a wine that's going to require at least some patience.” 93 Points. Sweet Spot, Outstanding
Domaine Michel Gros - Vosne Romanée, Burgundy
The Gros family were one of, if not the first to ‘domaine bottle’ in Burgundy. The history and entwined structure of the extended family is a great way to spend an evening and I encourage those interested to do so with a bottle of their monopole ‘Clos des Reas’!
The wines are 100% destemmed and have a long maceration. They are elegant and very pretty with fantastic ageing capacity. It is well known that wine writers review the wines too early as they are usually still in barrel with a while to go before bottling when they taste. Michel is one of the premier resources for those trying to understand the weather and characteristics of a vintage.
A silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic is that uber-rare producers such as Michel Gros, suddenly had a few cases of wine because local restaurants could not accept their allocations. As such, I walked into my appointment, tasted the wines, had my socks blown off and asked if we could have an allocation. Not selling to Australia previously due to stock limitations, Pierre - Michel’s son - was able to say ‘sure, why not!’. Bar the Hautes Côtes wines, we received 8, 12 and 24 bottle lots of each cuvée. The Nuits Saint Georges wines, we received 60 and 36 bottle lots, far from large volumes but in this case it seems like it!
The Hautes-Côtes de Nuits
The high hills that nestle within picturesque villages above the Côte d’Or, are scattered with beautiful vineyards that boast a cooler climate to those on the Côte d’Or. They produce refreshing high acid wines. With vintages becoming warmer and dryer, the vineyards are producing wines with riper and resolved tannins, which is something they did not always have.
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rouge $52
Tasting Note: Beautiful high-toned violets and pretty red fruits. A nuance of white florals. A lovely balance between red and wild cherry. The palate is succulent, juicy yet focused. Wonderful fine structure. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rouge 'Au Vallon' $55
Tasting Note: A little more fruit forward and filled with wild berries. A nuance of kirsch cherry. On the palate there is incredible energy and vibrancy. Finer, possibly riper tannins. Still very mineral. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rouge 'Fontaine St Martin’ $59
Tasting Note: Even more lifted with an incredible perfume. Red wild berries woven with violets and a suave silkiness. The palate is so fine, so electric, so pure and high toned. Very alive. Red fruits, lime pith and a delicately woven structure and minerality. Bravo! - Jono Hersey, FWC
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Nuits Saint Georges 'Les Chaliots' $113
Just north of ‘Les Saint Georges’ and east of ‘Les Poirets’. According to Michel, the vineyard produces wines with an incredible finely detailed mineral character while maintaining an abundance of fruit.
Tasting Note: A little more brooding black fruit and cherry but with such lightness and transparency. The palate is as the nose suggests with fine fruit, firm structure but not blisteringly masculine. A fine wine for the village. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Morey Saint Denis 'en la Rue de Vergy’ $118
A vineyard that sits directly above Clos de tart Grand Cru. With a thick topsoil, the resultant wines are mineral and light on their feet as well as having oodles of complexity.
Neal Martin, Vinous.com: “The 2018 Morey-Saint-Denis en la Rue Vergy has a fragrant, well-defined bouquet of dark cherries and iodine scents that gather momentum with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly angular tannins and fairly saline toward the second half. The sweet, ripe-blueberry-tinged finish reminds me of some of the Moreys from Domaine Arlaud. Fine.”
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Chambolle Musigny $146
Two thirds of the total is from Les Argillières, a lieu-dit that directly abuts Musigny on its northern border, with the rest being from Les Maladières, Les Mombies and Les Nazoires.
Allen Meadows, Burghound: “This is quite deeply colored with a firmly reduced nose that is enough to mask the fruit today. Otherwise there is impressive richness, size and weight to the succulent medium weight flavors that are blessed with copious amounts of dry extract and riper tannins on the powerful finish. This is a big Chambolle village that isn't elegant but it is impressive in its fashion.”
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanée $146
From three different parcels: in Aux Réas, La Colombière and Au-Dessus de la Rivière.
Allen Meadows, Burghound: “An appealingly spicy nose offers up a mélange of black pinot fruit, exotic Asian tea, violet and an interesting hint of dried tangerine peel. There is both fine volume and intensity to the nicely complex medium-bodied flavors that are shaped by firm and ever-so-mildly edgy tannins though in this case my sense is that they could very well round out in time.”
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru $183
A blend of Aux Murgers and Vignerondes that connect, Vignerondes is to the south. Both have lighter soils with Murgers having more sand and gravel and Vignerondes with more Comblanchien limestone. The result is a wine with brooding fruit of Nuits Saint Georges but a little more finesse like Vosne Romanée.
Tasting Note: Not quite the depth of concentration of the VV (not on offer sorry!) but more defined and complex. Higher toned with a floral aspect which is charming. Subdued yet present tannins wrapped in bright complex fruit. Very, very long. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanée 1er Cru 'Les Brulees' $233
Situated in the Combe de Conceour and as any Combe throughout the Côte, is on varied soil. This combined with varying aspects makes it particularly hard to pinpoint the style of the wine produced by Les Brulees. The name would suggest a very warm site however this is not necessarily the case and there are north facing aspects as well as the cool breeze that comes down from the Hautes Côte, through the Combe de Conceour. It is often said, including by Allen Meadows, that if Les Brulees was in any other village than Vosne Romanée, it would almost definitely be a grand cru.
Tasting Note: Fine, restrained with much less forward fruit. A nuance of delicate violet and spice. The palate is subdued, long and unravels in the mouth. Such a core of structure, florals and woven fruit. - Jono Hersey, FWC
Monopole ‘Clos des Reas’
Clos des Reas is the only premier cru monopole in Vosne Romanée. The current walls that encompass the vineyard were built between 1800 and 1810, the Gros family purchasing the 2.12 hectare vineyard in 1860. The high walls and buildings to the east protect the vineyard from the harsh cool winds from the north and east. In regard to soil, it is a little different, and in turn results in a supremely elegant wine - the top 50 centimetres is a red soil with limestone, the subsoil is oligence marlwith salmon veins and large limestone blocks. The result is a wine with finesse and suppleness.
We asked for a vertical of Clos des Reas as it is of particular interest to myself and other enthusiasts to understand this vineyard a little more.
2018 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanée 1er Cru 'Clos des Reas' $249
Tasting Note: More classic Vosne fruit and spice that is quite hard to pinpoint in words. There is an underlying strawberry, raspberry musk that leads into what seems to be a very large amount of dry extract. The palate is so so so powerful in the finest form. Mouth filling fine structure that seems to be ever present. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2017 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanée 1er Cru 'Clos des Réas' $243
Tasting Note: Higher toned with wild berries that seem to be both red and crunchy as well as overtly ripe and juicy. There is a fresh cooling breeze of mountain herbs, which seem to be laced throughout the layered fruit. The palate is finer, lighter and brighter. There is a very enjoyable crunch to the airy, red currant and raspberry fruit that has a lovely cooling effect throughout the wine. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2016 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanée 1er Cru 'Clos des Réas' $243
Neal Martin, Vinous.com: The 2016 Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Clos des Reas has one of the most ebullient and vivacious bouquets from Michel Gros this year with red cherries, wild strawberries and a touch of blood orange in the mix. The palate is very well balanced with fine tannin, crisp acidity, plentiful tart red fruit with a fine structure that does not dominate toward the finish. Excellent.
2014 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanée 1er Cru 'Clos des Réas' $243
Neal Martin, Vinous.com: “The 2014 Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Clos des Réas comes from Michel’s triangular, walled monopole towards the south of the village. It has a slight stemminess on the nose that is nicely defined, very natural, the fruit black rather than red, evolving a light marine accent with time. The palate is energetic and tensile on the entry with blackcurrant, raspberry and a touch of bitter lemon towards the chalky textured finish. This is quite a complex Clos des Réas this year from Michel and one I look forward to revisiting once in bottle.”
Santini - Auxey Duresses and Greater Burgundy
Chris Santini has quickly become a great friend. I adore his approach to life, he is one of the most welcoming, relaxed and generous people I have met. His cave is based in Auxey-Duresses and is home to many young vignerons from Burgundy and throughout the world. A definite minimal intervention approach, the cave has never seen commercial yeast in its 100 plus year timespan. The vintage house above, fills with all nationalities during harvest, with an open door policy. If you stay you are expected to help in the winery but no minimum required hours are enforced, however if you are handy in the kitchen then you are absolutely expected to cook!
The Santini wines are made from within Burgundy as well as the surrounds, from organic sites. Chris knows the organic growers of France extremely well, his second job is at the Beaune Kermit Lynch office. From the northern limits of Burgundy in Sens and Champlitte, to just north of Provence where he sources Grenache from the vineyard of a friend. The wines are all bright and fresh with intricate acids and bright fruits. Sulphur is used but very sparingly.
You can quote me and keep me accountable for the following statement: ‘Chris Santini makes what I believe to be the most delicious wines in France’.
2019 Santini Bourgogne Aligoté $45
From a single parcel on the flats below the road in Volnay. Currently in biodynamic conversion. Three week maceration and fermented/raised in concrete tanks with light foot extraction.
Tasting Note: For a white maceration (orange to some) the flavour profile is really quite harmonious, neither overtly bruised apple nor tea like. Just a lovely harmony between brioche, mandarin, marmalade and spring florals. The palate has resolved tannins which do not overtly mark the wine and add length and body. Dried lemon, dried orange and dried grapefruit dominate the palate resulting in a surprisingly harmonious pleasing bitter finish. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Santini Pinot Beurot $52
The wine is recognised by officials as a Bourgogne Blanc however as the wine has spent time on the slightly coloured Pinot Gris skins, it is actually now a red wine. Whole cluster fermentation in a 500 litre stainless steel tank. From THE most northern aspect of Burgundy (Sens), just a few metres from the boundary.
Tasting Note: The nose has an austere amaro cherry character, delicate rose florals and nuances of white button mushroom. The palate is austere yet moreish with lime pith, rose water and quite present grapefruit pith structure. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Santini Macon Villages $45
From the village of Chardonnay which is quite a high town in the Macon, and supposedly the birthplace of Chardonnay!
Tasting Note: Cucumber, jasmine, dried yoghurt and a nuance of mountain herbs all with an underlying savoury, dried extract character. The palate has the same cucumber character but with a little more volume than previous years. A touch of pithy bitterness in the form of grapefruit and cucumber skin. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Santini Vin de France Rouge Grenache Noir $36
From near Carignon, just above the northern tip of Provence, made using a technique called ‘flottaison’.
Tasting Note: A silly descriptor but if I had to sum this wine up in one, it would be ‘lavender liqueur’. A wild, ripe, yet fresh array of berries. A blue and purple fruit lift. Overtly ripe, almost stewy strawberries and of course a lot of lavender! The palate is sumptuous, moreish, very open and pleasing. Ripe red plum, blackberry bramble. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Santini Champlitte $43
No Pinot Noir in the blend this year due to frost. It’s a quarter Chardonnay and three quarters Gamay. Fermented utilising the flottaison method, a variation of carbonic maceration. Whole Gamay berries are placed in a vat and instead of air surrounding the wine, Chardonnay is pressed into the same vat. It is then sealed off as one would when carrying out carbonic maceration.
Tasting Note: The nose has an incredibly and beautifully defined reduction that looks like lavender. Slightly unripe red cherry, red currant, lavender, fresh mountain air and a lick of pleasing purple fruit. The palate is succulent with a lime juice line of acidity that holds the beautifully sweet, perfumed fruit. There is a dried raspberry character that lifts from the palate through the olfactory which is encapsulating. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Santini Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Rouge 'Les Champs Pernin' $52
Whole cluster, tank and gentle pressing are the takeaway components here.
Tasting Note: Lifted, confected cherry, red currant, mountain herbs, blue and purple fruit characters but non descript. Certainly a very pleasing and flamboyant nose. The palate is again pleasing, moreish and open. Redcurrant, raspberry liqueur and a squeeze of lime juice. A little bitter amaro cherry flavour on the finish which brings it all together. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Santini Beaujolais Supérieur $39
From Pacalet vines. Tasting Note: A really stewed amaro cherry, stewed strawberry character. Very defined, almost jammy. Full of violets which unravel in the glass. The palate starts tightly wound with jammy fruit and develops into a myriad of defined, ripe, stewy fruits which linger on the palate. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2018 Santini Beaujolais Supérieur 1L $45
A clean vintage, no hail nor frost thankfully. A back-to-basics easy drinking Beaujolais, from the slopes of Lantignié and Beaujeau. Vinified and raised in fiberglass tanks with minimal extraction.
Vin Noé - Auxey Duresses and Greater Burgundy
I met Jon Purcell through Chris Santini in Auxey Duresses. He is an American who works at Domaine Matrot in Meursault. Again like Chris, Jon has an incredibly gentle demeanour and enviable work ethic. Jon started Domaine Vin Noé last year. He has managed to lease vineyards in St Aubin and Puligny Montrachet. These agreements are incredibly hard to come by these days however due to his nature, he’s formed a relationship with a now retired vigneron. He is making these domaine wines, in a clean but no sulphur style. The reds are voluminous yet fresh and the whites very textural. A minute volume of these wines are available.
2019 Vin Noé Julienas $52
Tasting Note: Full of wild berries with an underlying combination of olive tapenade and amaro cherry. With a little coaxing, a violet and red fruit freshness builds in the glass. The palate has blue bramble, overtly ripe but fine blueberry. Lovely firm structure. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Vin Noé Bourgogne Rouge ‘Gueule d’Amour’ $68
Fruit from Mercurey, from two locations: the first site higher with more altitude and an unusual combination of limestone and granite, the second site is lower in the valley and more classic Mercurey.
Tasting Note: Classic Chalonnaise with a darker fruit spectrum. Defined plum, blackberry all the while perfumed and high toned. Brighter fruits lift from the glass with some coaxing. The palate is ripe and full yet refined with a blue and red fruit profile. Ripe, resolved tannins that entwine as the length continues. - Jono Hersey, FWC
2019 Vin Noé ‘Face to Face’ Viognier $56
Orange wine made from Viognier grown in the south of Beaujolais, not far from Lyon. While we did consume two bottles of ‘Face to Face’ it was while Macron was announcing the lock down. Alas a note was not written. We continued to drink and feast like it was our last! Full bodied and structured with apricots and tea, lots of power! I cooked Schezuan chicken for the vintage, it went perfectly with this wine. It loves intense, spicy flavoured Asian dishes.
Domaine Millet - Chablis, Burgundy
We sold the pallet of 2019 Petit Chablis before the container landed so we needed a little top up! I will simply copy and past my words from the previous offer, apologies for the repetition.
Domaine Millet is a very popular producer of ours. The wines are absolutely classic and scream of Kimmeridgian clay and marginal climate. No winemaking tricks or artefact, just a pure expression of Chablis. 2018 was the first vintage of recent times that did not create heartache for vignerons. The growing season was warm and clean with decent yields. The wines are fruity yet still Chablis-esque. The 2019 vintage is incredibly exciting, wines that are ripe but with beautiful balance and incredible tension. If 2017 and 2018 had a love child it would be 2019!
2019 Domaine Millet Petit Chablis $28
Tasting Note: White florals, lemon juice, preserved lemon, fresh air and a lovely pithiness that lifts from the glass. Quite aromatic and tense. The palate is beautifully focused, mineral and driven. Lovely slightly bitter finish with mouth coating phenolics. - Jono Hersey, FWC
Château des Bormettes - La Londe-les-Maures, Provence
2019 Château des Bormettes ‘Instinct Parcellaire’ Rosé $39
We decided to give the ‘Côte & Mer’ a miss this year and purchased twenty dozen ‘Instinct Parcellaire’ instead, Château des Bormettes’ premium rosé. Raised in a combination of ceramic eggs, large tanks and stainless steel, and from the best sites. It has a more premium price tag however it screams tight, salt Provencal rosé which was the most important thing for us. I unfortunately lost my notes on this particular wine however I recall vividly that it is discreet, yet powerful in the longest and restrained form. Salty, Provencal herbs, savoury fruits and very long. It has a particularly fine structure.
You might as well call it 19 dozen as a dozen will be going straight into my fridge…