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Colour, Mist, Mazzers and Minerals




Meursault in the mist





What a way to start the afternoon! A visit to the cellars of the Domaine Lafarge in Volnay is always a treat. My appointment was at two and I rang the bell as the church clock chimed the hour.

I descended with Frederic Lafarge into the cellar and tasted an utterly faultless range of wines. Any doubt with which I arrived in France that the vintage was a lame duck was now utterly put aside. Okay, it was not a vintage without difficulties. But whatever fruit was left at harvesting well-managed vineyards (and after a thorough selection) was pure and crammed with fresh acids, rich tannins and a big fat blob of terroir. Achingly beautiful wines at Lafarge. This really is one of the finest addresses anywhere where carbon-based life forms breathe air.

From Volnay I headed back to Pommard and the address of Jean-Marc Boillot. Jean-Marc's evidently doing well as there's a Masarati - albeit a second hand one - parked in the drive. Taste the wines and one can see from where the Mazzer came: the hands of one talented wine maker.

The reds here have an extraordinary blue-ish cast, something I have noticed at some other addresses (the vintage is, in general, a very well coloured one). And they are wonderfully pure, intense and highly expressive. A string of gorgeous whites followed and, again, their colours were very pretty: a pronounced lemon with a distinctive lime cast. Intense stuff here.

From a slick operator to a home of highly talented Burgundy farmers! Next stop Meursault and the Domaine Buisson-Charles. This is a place where absolutely classic Meursault is delivered into the world. Honey and nuts paraded themselves across my palate. Some of these are quite disarming. In the mouth they're instantly huge and rich and one wonders for a split second if they're a bit facile. Then the scales fall, the richness takes time off and from within comes the power and the glory. These'll make fine candidates for the cellar.

Last up, a trip to the confusingly named hamlet of Gamay which neighbours - and houses a number of excellent producers of - St Aubin. I am convinced that the wines of St Aubin will have their day sometime soon. The terroir is fascinating and capable of producing extremely age worthy white wines of great intensity and mineral expression (the reds can be superb as well). Marc Colin is one of the finest exponents.

Marc's son Damien took me through the range and when I left I was reeling - my head swirling - with the brilliance of what I had just tasted.

Phew! What a day. Thank goodness I had a good sleep last night. More of the same tomorrow.

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