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Dense Shoulders and a Personality Knob

A tap, a stone basin, a brush: 
things outside Domaine Jobard in Meursault

In fact, a visit to see Antoine Jobard was our first appointment of the day and not an onerous one, if I am honest. I know precious little about wine making so I perhaps experience more amazement than one versed in its arcane arts that these liquids can be so utterly diverse in character.

Antoine Jobard is tall and wiry and gives an impression of sinewy strength. An encounter with him on the rugby pitch would, I suspect, be altogether undesirable. Do the wines reflect something of the person? It may be fanciful, but one wonders whether it is coincidence that the white wines emanating from this cellar are solid, concentrated and brim full of easy confidence. I have no idea how one attains this texture, this sheer density. These are not things of elegance. They stride into the world with a singularity of purpose, broad-shouldered, assertive and with their personality knob turned to maximum. Buy them to keep, then drink with wonder.

Volnay. A part of my heart is here. But there is perhaps a snobbery - maybe a simple lack of familiarity - that relegates the red wines of the Côtes de Beaune to the bottom of consumers' shopping lists.

That Jean-Pierre Charlot of Domaine Joseph Voillot is sixty is (I sincerely hope) testament to the preservative effects of Pinot Noir in general and Burgundy more specifically. Here he is during the course of our remarkable tasting of his completely delicious '13s:

Belying Jean-Pierre's physical presence, his wines are precise, pure, transparent, elegant and very beautiful indeed. They also age with extraordinary grace: someone in Burgundy told me that they recently drank a bottle of 1947 from this domaine and that it was still wonderful.

J-P's '13s are drop-dead gorgeous, but volumes are well down due to the savagery of hail storms that seems to have become an annual feature of the meteorology in these parts of the Côte.

One has to have Coq au Vin at some stage during one's visit to Burgundy and I had mine in the Volnaysien, the restaurant local to Jean-Pierre's place. Very good it was too, if largely surplus to requirements.

Back to Meursault. Another expression of the Chardonnay grape. The Buisson-Charles estate is now run by Michel Buisson's daughter Catherine and her husband, the wine maker Patrick Essa. Patrick wears two hats, as he not only crafts very beautiful Meursaults within these cellars, but he is also a sports coach, majoring on gymnastics and rugby. Happily, Patrick was wearing his wine hat when we arrived. I didn't fancy the parallel bars after Coq au Vin.

I am hung up on this domaine and its wine. These are some of the longest-living white burgundies of all. They are rich and expressive and very, very beautiful indeed. Start at the bottom and the Aligoté is proper white burgundy. The range then rises into stratospheric levels of loveliness. Heaven indeed!

North, then, to the northern end of the Côtes de Nuits. Late as we were, we managed Beaune télépéage to Domaine Rossignol-Trapet in Gevrey-Chambertin in eleven minutes.

A visit here is a joy. Nicolas Rossignol and his brother David are extremely pleasant people and their care in their wine growing amply demonstrated by their conversion to biodynamic culture.

Their wines this day were succulent, forward, pure and delicious. I would have been very happy to have sat down with a plate of food and consumed them on the spot. Yet the week before, by all accounts, they had been obdurate and very hard to taste. The fickleness of these liquids is just part of the legend!

And from there to Drouhin-Laroze. Boy, does the vintage suit the style at this domaine. We tasted pretty much everything, finishing with the Musigny that I am never offered. However, I will take up my allocation of these in toto this vintage as they are really very special indeed.

I departed and drove to Vosne in the hope of retrieving my hat, left at the Lamarche domaine on the Monday. Alas, all was in darkness. I joined the autoroute at Nuits and, hatless, sped north to Reims and my hotel bed for the night.

Now home and haunting Pinot and Chardonnay aromas and flavours dog me still. The '13s are a lovely bunch and I hope to sell a broad tranche to clients who will, one day, be extremely pleased with their decision to invest.

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