Today started with something of a bang...and I am not referring to the explosion of my malfunctioning peage dongle (see yesterday's blog). The blast to which I am referring relates to the interaction of the finest Côte de Nuits Pinot Noir with my morning-fresh taste buds: a volatile thing indeed.
I'd arrived in Vosne Romanee in plenty of time and took some photographs (including that above) before pulling into the yard at Domaine Francois Lamarche.
Daughter of Francois, Nicole, has been in charge of the wine making here since 2010 and their wines show an increased level of succulence and elegance. This is, in 2015, an utterly beguiling range, showing a great deal of terroir definition. Please Lord, let me find these in my glass in the years to come. Sensational.
I was late. My tasting partner had made the classic error by taking the wrong turning beyond the Beaune péage station, a road that takes one up into the hills and away, with no opportunity to turn around for 40 minutes or so. Thus the message was to meet her at our next appointment...
...for which I was now late. Having the luxury of tasting on my own with the Domaine Lamarche scion and wine maker, I had taken the opportunity to ask pretty much every question I could think of, an activity that had made me run over time.
I left lickety-split and thundered down the péage, successful dongle activation happily book-ending my short race down the motorway. I sidestepped Beaune and tore bites out of the road to arrive in Pernand Vergelesses but 15 minutes late.
As ever, Monsieur Remi Rollin was his charming self and boy, did his samples give maximum pleasure. This is not only one of the nicest men in all Burgundy, he is also an extremely canny wine maker. Whites full and ripe and soooo more-ish: will be delicious soon, but will keep for 5 or 6 years, too. Reds are massively impressive. These are complex burgundies of extraordinary value....
...as are those of Guillaume Camus, of Domaine Camus-Bruchon: our next stop. Guillaume is another one of the good guys; I can understand his French pretty perfectly, for one thing. His wines, once again, were bluish hued and just wonderful. These are mostly the product of very old vines and the levels of concentration and complexity are unbelievable for the meagre price. Top, top wines.
Lunch was taken in La Volnaysienne. I'll leave it to you to work out this esteemed restaurant's whereabouts. Starter was one of those salads that make one realise that a bed of lettuce smothered by eggs, ham and assorted other delicacies will not aid weight loss as part of a calorie controlled diet. Neither, for that matter, will the coq au vin that ensued.
We walked to our next appointment, which was a relief. The Domaine Michel Lafarge is a site of pilgrimage for anyone remotely interested in fine burgundy. Within, descending in a cranky slow lift takes one down into the sort of cellar one likes to imagine is the standard in Burgundy. Impossibly low ceilings; ancient barrels (not a new one in sight); levels of cobwebbery that would make Charlotte squirm.
Yet here, resting in wood, are among the most luminous, scintillating wines made anywhere. Beautiful to look at in the glass and with aromas of celestial orchards and rose gardens, textures like the finest velvet and flavours that confound. That a fruit can do this stuff is flabbergasting.
Lastly, we dropped into the small hamlet of Gamay, there to meet Damien Colin of Domaine Marc Colin. Here we were treated to a leash of most tasty St Aubin white wines. I can still taste them: like immersing oneself in the ripest pears through which comes the spice and earthiness of that fascinating local terroir. It was a fine and fitting end to a highly rewarding day.
Things are becoming clearer. These '15s are very fine. They hide their intellect behind the make-up of succulent, sumptuous, pure and beautiful fruit, yet there is expression there. I am emitting regular sighs, in any event!