Part I - vintage overview and white wines
For part II - red wines - click here
Most of London's wine trade turned itself over in early January 2002 to showing the wines of the 2000 vintage from Burgundy. These wines are on sale now, or will go on sale with a huge promotional campaign to back them, over the next few weeks and months. By and large the white 2000 Burgundies have already been bottled, whilst most of the red wines are about to be bottled in Burgundy before being shipped. These notes on the red wines in particular therefore, carry the caveat that all "barrel sample" tasting notes should: these are not necessarily finished wines, and the assessment should be taken on that basis.
The notes below are compiled by myself, Tom Cannavan, and my colleague, wine-pages columnist, Rosemary George MW. Rosemary paid special attention to Chablis, about which she wrote one of the definitive text books. We are joined by two friends of wine-pages who are highly experienced tasters and all-round Burgundy nuts. Bill Nanson is a real "burg-hound". Currently living in Switzerland, Bill flew in for the round of tastings. Those who follow the wine-pages' UK Wine Forum will have seen hundreds of Burgundy notes from Bill over the years, archived in the UK Forum TN archive. Neal Martin is fine-wine buyer for one of the biggest importers in Japan. He holds the WSET Diploma and is an occasional taster for Wine magazine.
Tom Cannavan: as a very general rule of thumb I thought that 2000 was a slightly better year for white Burgundy than for red. The whites on the whole seem plump, ripe and fruit-forward, yet with good acidity and plenty of concentration. The reds are possibly a little lighter, but the fruit is of good quality, there is good concentration, but these are perhaps a little more ungenerous and don't quite have the structure of the whites. Having said that, this is not a bad red vintage by any means, and the wines have plenty going for them.
Rosemary George: in a nutshell it seems that Chablis has performed better in 2000 than in 1999, while in the Côte d'Or whites are better than reds in 2000. The reds tend to be lighter than the 1999s, though with Burgundy so much depends on the grower. I firmly believe that Chablis benefits from ageing; the premiers crus and grands crus are simply not meant to be drunk young and they become so much more interesting in five or ten years.
Bill Nanson: I found the reds to have terrific structure i.e. great acidity and strong tannin, though at this stage, very few of them could be described as charmers, though no obvious duds either. Of the 34 reds that I tasted, there are no opaque, saturated monsters, and only 5 or 6 showed the intensity of fruit you will find in the 1999's – but then, what difference does a year make? I'm guessing that there are parallels to 1998 here, which is turning out to be a cracker of a vintage that I'm still buying. A generic TN would read: pale to medium cherry colour, red fruits plus wood on the nose, good acid and tannin, mainly medium intensity red fruit, good finish. Overall, good+/very good. I'd rate the vintage historically a very good one, but in the context of the vintages you can still buy from the 1990's, no more than average.
Neal Martin: A similar vintage quality wise to the 1999's though more uneven. The Côtes de Nuits is superior to Côtes de Beaune and the
quality-conscious vignerons with low yields made some fine, early-drinking wines. Little will merit long-term cellaring, with too many disappointing wines.
The movement of growers making their own wines instead of selling to negociants remains unabated. It will be interesting to see how the
negociants react in the future. Speaking to the young grower of Vicomte Liger Belair, he told me that this was his first vintage and that he had
previously sold his crop to Bouchard. I was interested to know that he will produce his own La Romanée Grand Cru from next year, so I assume that
Bouchard will lose this monopole from now on. The grower is increasingly paramount to quality - the same growers remain
top of my list year in year out: Bruno Clair, Robert Chevillon, Etienne Sauzet being most consistent.
There follows a series of tasting notes on the whites (over 60 in all) presented by stockist where possible. Part II, with notes on 100 red wines is here. Prices are estimated in some cases, and are per dozen-bottle case.
Bourgogne Aligoté, Michel Bouzereau £49.56
Fresh, crisp, pear and apple nose. Quite appealing this, with a clean palate showing equally zippy fruit, but quite rounded and acidity not at all harsh. Good.
Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Jean-Marc Bouley £62.76
Fairly light, rather neutral nose. Touches of straw and pear fruit, a little hint of toast. The palate has a silky texture and good weight of fruit, with a touch of creamy oak showing through and again this is rounded and easy, though with adequate acidity. Good.
Rully Les Cloux 1er Cru, Jean-Marc Boillot £100.08
More new oak evident on the nose here, actually a little raw at present with vanilla and toast. The palate has nice weight and a punchy quality of juicy orchard fruits, lemon, fine acidity and finishes with some style. Good/very good.
Monthélie, Denis Boussey £89.76
Lighter style again, more mineral and crisp. Just a touch of sweet oak in the background. The palate is powerful, with tight, punchy citrus fruit. This is balanced and savoury with a lovely acid balance and good length. Very good.
Santenay, Roger Belland £82.68
Classy nose here, with fine fruit quality of limpid pear and ripe apple and a sheen of custardy oak, with little floral nuances. Quite complex, and the palate is long and cleanly-fruited, very smooth and has good definition. Poised and long. Very good indeed.
St. Aubin Le Charmois 1er Cru, Michel Colin-Deléger £139.56
Big, powerful, toasty new-oak nose. Lots of nuttiness and toasted sesame seeds. The palate is very cool and classy. There is lovely clear orchard fruit and a definite mineral acidity. Juicy fruit, and really quite long and fine. Very good indeed.
Meursault, Jean-Michel Gaunoux £133.32
Sweet, lightly-honeyed fruit on the nose. Ripe, with weighty pear and touches of hazelnut. Fine, elegant fruit is quite rich and oily with a lovely cut from orange acidity. Powerful and long. Very good/very good indeed.
Meursault, Matrot-Wittersheim £170.52
Integrated, smooth, creamy oak on the nose. Nutty, with light herbal nuances. The palate is rich, with that creamy vanillin influence adding a sweet edge to buttery orchard fruits. Quite rich, powerful style. Very good.
Meursault Pré du Manche, Denis Boussey £123.96
Some buttery vanillin oak dominating. Ripe, quite powerful fruit that is sweet, round and tightly-focused onto the palate. Lots of very ripe and juicy pear and light peach. Weighty, with good acidity and lovely structure. This should age well. Very good/very good indeed.
Meursault Le Clos, Hubert Bouzereau-Gruère £147.60
More vinous nose, with slightly vegetal notes and a powerful undertow of almost liquoricy concentration and oak. The palate is structured and robust, but also quite lush, with good weight and lots of juicy, broad, savoury acidity. Fine and very good.
Meursault Grands Charrons, Michel Bouzereau £165.00
Tight, nutty nose. Lovely classy subtlety here, with a slight honeyed edge to gentle peach and pear fruit. Nutty, meally undertones and a buttery note with again an impression of power on the palate, with bursting fruit, good acidity and a broad, creamy oak-buttressed appeal. Very good indeed.
Chassagne-Montrachet, Michel Colin-Deléger £180.00
Herbal notes here with lightly-toasted oak and nuances of hazelnut, brioche and pear. The palate is quite tight and mineral at present, with shimmering mineral acidity and crisp acids evident on the finish. The fruit quality is fine though, and this should be very good indeed given a few years.
Chassagne-Montrachet, Morey-Coffinet £162.36
Punchy fruit quality here, with subtle toast and vanilla, but mostly melon, pear and a mineral nuance. Comes alive on the palate, with sweet fruit flooding over the tongue, though the finish could perhaps do with more definition and it lacks a little length perhaps. Good/very good.
Puligny-Montrachet, Gérard Chavy £146.76
Nice clean, elegant, orchard fruit on the nose. The oak is subordinate on this one. The palate seems a touch coarse perhaps, with rather harsh acidity overpowering the moderate white fruit. Doesn't seem to have the elegance promised by the nose. Good/very good.
Puligny-Montrachet, Jean-Marc Boillot £236.04
Controlled, assured, classy nose. Minerals and cool, elegant, lemony fruit with a very subtle note of almond and vanilla. Lovely palate here too, with a fine quality of fruit that pushes through with balanced acidity into a long, pure crystalline finish. Complex and very good indeed.
Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru, Hubert Bouzereau-Gruère £224.28
Subtle again, with a caraway seed oaky note and lots of citrus fruit, hints of plump apricot. The palate is cool and elegant, with good sweetness of ripe fruit and good length. Very good.
Meursault Les Genevrières 1er Cru, Hubert Bouzereau-Gruère £224.28
Similar nose of cool, crisp lemony fruit with nutty undertones and a little more minerality. The palate is cool and quite elegant, perhaps not the quality of fruit evident in the Charmes, but very stylish and finish is good. Very good/very good indeed.
Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru, Yves Boyer-Martenot £187.32
Rather closed nose with light mineral and lemon scents, a little peppery quality, but not giving much aromatically. Palate has a very mineral quality with a sherbetty, clean, citrus profile. Nice texture, and there's a definite orange note into the finish that suggests there is really nice fruit buried beneath minerals and acids at the moment. Very good, but I suspect this might end up as very good indeed or better.
Meursault Les Perrières 1er Cru, Jean-Michel Gaunoux £225.00
Big, nutty, ripe, much more flamboyant buttery nose. Lots of oak and lots of deep, herb-tinged ripe fruit. Good quality on the medium- to full-bodied palate, with sweet peachy fruit and a powerful style. Good acidity and length. This is very good indeed.
Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru Matrot-Wittersheim £213.12
Nuts, herbs, and some spicy toast, though also an elegant floral personality and some sweet, ripe pear fruit, though very vividly perfumed. Lots of concentration and power on the palate, this is a tightly-focused wine and very well made, with suggestions of real staying power. Very good/very good indeed.
Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot-Clos Pitois 1er Cru, Roger Belland £204.48
There is a little vegetal quality to ripe white fruits, with plenty of smoky oak; a light charry quality. Round, rich palate with lots of classy, ripe, pear, apple and nutty almond notes. There's a little superripe toffeed note and a long finish with decent acidity. Well balanced and very good/very good indeed.
Chassagne-Montrachet En Remilly 1er Cru, Morey-Coffinet £245.40
Tight mineral nose. A little lean perhaps, with lemony fruit and fine purity. Little obvious oak. A honeyed nuance emerges and carries through onto the palate which is really quite ripe. It has a similar initial austerity, but the class and quality of the fruit is there, as well as balanced mineral acidity and finally a hint of oak. Very good/very good indeed.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées 1er Cru, Hubert Bouzereau-Gruère £193.56
Lots of honey and ripe fruit on the nose here, with notes of peach, pear and light tropical nuances. Good fruit on the palate, with again that honeyed note over quite lush mango and ripe, sweet melon. Flashy style, with a little residual sugar perhaps, but very good and delicious.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru, Gérard Chavy £229.80
Decent fruit quality here, and it has lots of honeyed, pure, clean fruit tinged with floral sweetness. On the palate this has balance with lots of ripe pear and then firm apple acidity. Good/very good.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru, Yves Boyer-Martenot £390.60
End of the bottle, and lots of gunge tipped into my glass, so I only nosed this wine. Citrus fruit is bright and focused, with a nice secondary note of vanillin oak. Seems tight and powerful.
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru, Jacques Prieur £288.12
Lovely nose here, with a creamy vanilla suffused through nuts, pear, light tropicality and a little hint of mineral salts. Clean, slightly oatmeally palate is broad and weighty, with lots of good quality fruit and depth. Finishes with concentration and style with fine, crisp acidity. Very good indeed.
I talked to Claude Drouhin from Chandon de Briailles. August was hot in 2000 which has made for softer tannins and lower acidity, compared to 1999, with a cooler August and therefore more structured wines. They didn't need to chaptalise in 2000, but they did occasionally add acidity. 2000 is a lighter vintage, more forward than 1999, with wines that will be enjoyable from early youth. Certainly there were some appealing wines amongst the basic Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc.
Domaine Roulot, Monthélie blanc, ler cru Champs Fulliot. £124.80
Note that all the HHC prices are ex-cellars.This is a tank sample. Delicate nose; good firm structure fruit with good acidity. should develop well; long.
Maison Champy, Puligny Montrachet les Enseignères. £187.60
Frm closed nose - oak providing some structure and tannins, with acidity and underlying fruit. Layers of flavour
Domaine Chandon de Briailles, Corton blanc grand cru. £335.20
Delicate nose - delicate, subtle, understated concentration of flavour; good fruit; some firm nutty flavours.
Domaine Etienne Sauzet, Bourgogne blanc. £89
Grassy, leafy fruit - with good acidity and attractive leafy flavours, nice structured and beginning to drink well.
Domaine Marc Morey - Chassagne- Montrachet blanc ler cru les Vergers 2000. £194.40
Firm nutty nose; ditto on palate, elegant with layers of flavour and good potential.
Howard Ripley only showed Durup Chablis, which is not one of my favourites, so straight on to the Côte d'Or, with random highlights in tasting order:
Meursault ler cru les Perrières, Domaine Jean-Michel Gaunoux £270.00
Attractive herbal notes, ditto on palate - quite rounded, lightly buttery fruit. ex VAT prices given for all Howard's wines
Nuits St.Georges ler cru Clos de l'Arlot blanc. £324
Quite rounded nutty fruit; elegant concentration of fruit on palate.
Chassagne-Montrachet ler cru les Grandes Ruchottes, Château de Maltroye. £378.00
Lightly nutty nose; quite firm tight palate with good acidity, structure and fruit to develop
Bâtard-Montrachet Grand cru, Domaine Jouard. £600
Delicate nose; hints of walnuts; ditto on plate, rounded but understated
Very brief J & B highlights. The consensus seems that 2000 was better for whites than reds, but that said, there also enthusiasm for the reds; above all they have fruit; less structure
than the 99s but the lesser appellations are very immediately drinkable.
Laurent Tribut, Chablis 1er cru Beauroy £129
Closed nose; firm mineral fruit, to develop
Dauvissat-Camus, Petit Chablis. £101
As good as some people's Chablis - good acidity, firm fruit and good weight -
Dauvissat-Camus, Chablis 1er cru Vaillons. £157
Firm stony nose; good tight fruit - a hint of oak - to develop
Dauvissat-Camus, Chablis 1er cru Forêt. £193
Oak on palate, but nicely understated; with firm mineral fruit.
I talked to Michel Bardet of Albert Grivault, with a range of Meursault - for whites 2000 will age better than 1999, he thinks. Better acidity than 99, but also a touch of rot, but not serious. Cooler.
Albert Grivault Meursault. £193
Good - walnuty nose; delicate grassy fruit, but nice length.
A new estate whose first commercial vintage was only in 1996, makes 12 different wines from just five hectares of land! Seems good and serious:
Chassagne-Montrachet Tete du Clos ler cru. £297
Firm smokey nutty nose - elegant stylish - he says more elegant than 99
Chassagne Montrachet la Romanée, ler cru. £239
Firm nutty nose, again elegant - he says more fruit less extract than 99
Chassagne Montrachet la Grande Borne ler cru. £193
Firm, sturdy, with underlying fruit on palate
Talked to Philippe Brun from Bruno Clair - - admits to being nicely surprised; a very Pinot vintage - good acidity good fruit, big yields, finesse.
Marsannay Blanc. £97
Nicely grassy fruit and firm acidity
The wines of William Fèvre, now part of Henriot, undoubtedly demonstrate the quality of Chablis in 2000. The vintage began on 23rd September which is relatively early for Chablis and the wines generally have a good backbone of acidity, balanced with good fruit and body, with an attractive concentration of flavour, making wines which will undoubtedly benefit from some bottle age.
tight closed nose, with a firm concentration of flavour and fruit.
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons
Closed nose, with solid firm stony fruit. Firm mineral youthful palate, with good concentration and tight flavours.
Chablis 1er Cru Vaudésir
Very tight closed nose. Ditto on the palate, with a hint of oak and nicely integrated, with great concentration. Definitely a wine to age.
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
Again a rather tight ungiving nose. A very closed palate; the oak is barely perceptible and there is good concentration with a firm backbone of acidity, with hints of the mineral flint characteristics which will develop with bottle age.
Jean-Marc is very enthusiastic about his 2000s; for him they are the best wines that he has made since 1990; he described it as a "very Chablis year"; Chablis à l'ancienne, ie good acidity, as well as fruit; but also more elegant than 1999. All his wines have the refreshing flinty mineral notes which are the benchmark of good Chablis, as well as indeed elegance.
Chablis, Cuvée Pargues
Attractive smoky nose, ditto on the palate, with fresh acidity; elegant.
Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre
Closed nose; firm mineral fruit on the palate with good acidity and body.
Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu
Stony nose; firm fruit with good acidity and depth of flavour
Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
Elegant smoky nose; very stylish with depth of flavour.
Domaine des Malandes
Lyne Marchive is also very pleased with her 2000s - they picked in good conditions and the grapes were ripe and healthy, with good natural acidity and good balance. The acidity is not aggressive, and is masked by the body of the wines.
Chablis Tour du Roy
From 50 year old vines. Very mineral nose; firm fruit and a fine structured palate; mineral flavours with good concentration
Chablis 1er Cru Montmains
Again from old vines; stony mineral fruit on nose and palate. A wine to develop.
Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis de Biéville
Quite leafy nose; quite firm mineral fruit on the palate with stony flavours.
Domaine Alain Geoffroy Chablis Cuvée Vieilles Vignes
Vines between 45 - 70 years old. Firm mineral palate, with a hint of oak adding weight.
Billaud-Simon's Grand Cru Vaudesir shares the honours with a peachy Chassagne-Montachet 1er Cru Chaumées from Jean-Noel Gagnard. Many of the whites were quite forward, lacked definition and were bland. Excessive oak seemed to disguise the shortfall in fruit. It was interesting to compare the steely, minerally Pulignys from Sauzet to the exotic, peachy Chassagne-Montrachets from Gagnard - completely different in style.
Chartron et Trebuchet St. Aubin 1er Cru Les Murgers des Dents de Chien
Closed nose. Seems less oak. Stony nose. Lacks some depth. Apples and citrous lemon. Vibrant with good definition. Really comes through on the finish. Good value. V fine.
Simon-Billaud Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir
Powerful honeyed fruits with racy acidity and a long satisfying finish. £282.00 Charles Taylor
Vincent Girardin Savigny-les-Beaune Les Vermots Dessus
Wonderful definition on the nose. Slight metally note. V fine nuance on the palate. Lime an apple. Slight welcome austerity absent in other wines. Classy and refined. More like a P-M. Superb value.
Jean-Noel Gagnard - Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées
Similar nose to Chenevottes. More intense. Again exotic. More refined with superb acidity and complexity. Lime, apple and lemon. Very persistent finish. Superb.
Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes
Intense citrous nose. Apples & mineral. Great complexity on the palate. Classic P-M. Elegance and power combined. Limestone finish. Real vin de garde. Superb wine.
I don't drink whites so often, and when I do it's usually German & Alsacienne Riesling. I'm not really a fan of chardonnay, wherever it comes from.
Château de Maltroye Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
Pale yellow/straw. Nose smells like chardonnay, but has fantastic intensity. I was surprised how thick in the mouth this was. Good acidity and very, very long. An excellent chardonnay, in fact the best I've ever tasted. I'd happily pay over £10 for this, now how much is it ? Oops, £70 in bond, maybe I'm not converted then . . .
click here for part II - the red winesclick here for wine-pages report on the 2001 vintage