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2016 Burgundy: The Reds

The Hill of Corton with the village of Aloxe on the right
and Pernand just visible on the left

Much has been said of the 2016 red wine vintage in Burgundy. Wax has been thoroughly lyricked, thus:

"2016 is a seriously delicious vintage." Jancis Robinson

" is at times extraordinarily great, with a clutch of legendary wines." Neal Martin

"...when the 2016s are good, they are excellent and entirely classic in style."

And words to that effect.

As discussed here in my video report, this is a very small vintage, the shortfall caused by a combination of frost and, later on, mildew. The problem with the former is not the frost itself, but morning sun on the icy buds acting like a magnifying glass and burning the new shoots. Devastation ensued. What remains, however, is fabulous indeed.

The red wines are pure, elegant, fresh and transparent i.e. through the stained-glass window that is the stunning 2016 Pinot Noir fruit one can clearly "see" the stamp of vineyard, sense the presence of "place". In other words, I like!

The coloured roof tiles of the Château de Corton-André rise above Morey-St-Denis. The Château and its vineyards are now owned by the Frey family of Château La Lagune and Jaboulet Aïné

I am extremely proud to be representing Sébastien Odoul's wines again this vintage. He is a young man rising rapidly into the Côtes de Nuits quality stratosphere. His wines are very, very lovely and express their origins minutely. Others are noticing: has nothing but good things to say about Sébastien's '16s, including this on the Bourgogne Rouge: "You couldn't ask for much more from Bourgogne".

Nicole Lamarche continues her march(e) to the top. Her '16s are stunning. This is one of two domaines that told me they used no new wood whatsoever in this vintage.

I sometimes sit drinking the wines of this estate wondering why Savigny is so undervalued and being very glad that it is! Guillaume Camus crafts completely delicious wines from what are largely extremely old vineyards. Amazing results in '16. Another estate that used no new wood ink this vintage.

These are now being vinified down in Beaujolais, so there was no chance to taste them, alas. However, one doesn't turn down an allocation of Lafarge wine, wherever it is made!

Once again, the quantity of wine produced at this renowned estate is minuscule (65-70% less than normal). Yet Frédéric Lafarge has produced a range that stuns the taster. As Neal Martin states, "Irrespective of yield, there is no question that Lafarge followed their exemplary 2015s with a range of superlative wines that must rank among the best in the Côte de Beaune."

The Bachelet brothers are rightly famous for their white wines, but my, in '16 have they produced the goods red-wise too. Whilst money is piling into the celebrated communes of Burgundy, the lesser-known now represent some of the finest, fine-wine deals to be found anywhere.

101 uses for a gougère, that baked burgundian savory cheesy choux pastry: bung décor


Sébastien Odoul and his medicine bottle samples in his 
welcomingly warm tasting room

2016 Bourgogne Rouge, Odoul-Coquard
£75 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-21
N.B. Vines here are 50-60+ years old
Just lovely, pure and very berry-ish aromas, red and black, of domestic fruits. There's a hint of liquorice here and a wisp of smoke. I find the whole thing very chambolle-ic to smell, I must say. There's good snap here in the mouth. It's integrated and knit, with a wisp of fine tannins, nutty and cached. There's some quite firm, medium acidity at the core. A pure and berry-ish wine of very fresh, nutty, upright grip. This is pretty much good to go, but would keep 4 years or so, I think. Fabulous BR.

2016 Nuits Saint Georges Les Argillats, Odoul-Coquard
£180 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-28

N.B. Vines here are 70 years old.
A complex nose greeted me, of dark and ripe plum fruit, plus nuts and mint. The palate is dense, a touch creamy and pure, with that plum fruit. Quite saline, beneath it all. Tannins are rich and like cool limestone across the tongue. There's real intensity to be found here. Great thrust at the back. Super-cool limestone structure. Integrated and ripely, freshly grippy wine. A fascination. Delicious.

2016 Chambolle-Musigny, Odoul-Coquard
£180 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-33

N.B. Five separate parcels, between 15 and 70 years of age.
Lovely rich nose of pure dark plum fruit, with touches of spice plinking about. Somehow it smells velvet-y. And there are welcome floral notes, fresh and dark. Palate is dense; cool-but-rich and quickly fresh at the core. Picks up nippy, fresh tannins and rises to a high point at the death, where one also locates a sprinkle of mineral interest and some pepper spice. There's a clay-like texture. This is very proper wine indeed, especially for its village label…

2016 2016 Morey St Denis Les Crais Gillon, Odoul-Coquard
£174 in bond per 6  2020-30

N.B. Vines here are 60 years old. The soil in this lieu-dit is very stony and the vines produce a great many millerandes i.e. miniscule, mal-formed berries that bring a concentration of colour and structure.
A dark nose that comes with a whiff of dark chocolate to the very beautiful dark and lightly smoky fruit. I spotted cherries and plums. The palate is instantly rich and brings instant tang. Then the spice arrives of marry with the utterly ravishing black fruit. Very spicy at the core. And the tannins are super-fine, spiced and architectural. Just medium acidity. Ooh, this is lovely.

2016 Gevrey Chambertin, Odoul-Coquard
£174 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-29

Darker nose yet than the above; spicy-dense and properly sauvages aromas that include walnut. Fruit aromas are fresh, red and black and are allied to a scent like cold stone. This is much more mouthfilling than the above: full and fleshy, with upright, fresh tannins within that become minerally textured. This is assertive stuff: big and rich. But also ripe and nutty and a touch saline and the end. Mmm.

2016 Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Clos la Riotte, Odoul-Coquard
£291 in bond per 6  Drink 2022-35

N.B. It's this vineyard that is owned by the village. The producer in the commune with the least premier cru vineyard area is allowed to vinify it and much is retained for village parties. The remainder can be commercialised. Very meagre soil and a south-facing aspect.
This is a touch floral and the fruit is distinctly red, very, very pure and domestic. Returning to it, I can find darker notes of blueberry and beyond, into something rather cassis. In the mouth this starts off fluid, supple and cool. Structure is saline and kicks in half way through and leads to a very rocky ending. Very long wine of tacky structure. This is really super stuff. As I have found before, it allies ripeness to the natural tension imparted by the soils.

2016 Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Aux Combottes, Odoul-Coquard
£291 in bond per 6  Drink 2022-35

N.B. Three parcels here, ranging 20-80 years of age.
This is a touch shy, but fruit broods with a touch of mint of the lovely, black and pure berry fruit. Aromas are firmer: it smells quite compact. Palate is rich, but compact and controlled. The tannic structure really is exceptionally fine in this very long and densely mineral wine. It is full and rich and dense at the very long and grippy ending. Wow. Finishes with a piquant minerality.

2016 Hautes Côtes de Nuits, Lamarche
£90 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-23

Lovely rich and nutty-red, ripe fruit to the nose. The palate is very quickly fresh with rhubarb and wild red fruit flavours. Then there's a floral blast in the mid-palate. Rocky structure through to a fabulous finsh. This punches well above its weight.

2016 Echézeaux Grand Cru, Lamarche
£660 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-32

As ever, there's a redness to the fruit aromas here: a sort of crunchy haw liqueur, plus the spice. In the mouth, this goes in cool and supple with flavours of those red fruits. It's a linear wine, loaded with cool, limestone structure. There's great purity to the fruit in this very direct wine. This is more backward than many. Authoritative stuff.   

2016 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, Lamarche
£660 in bond per 6  Drink 2023-34

Aromas here are complex, showing dark scents of pot pourri, as well as a nutty earthiness. The palate is a really dense thing, quickly nuanced by peppery spice. Structure is upright with limestone freshness and spice. Super-long wine that is really direct at the back. Very Vougeot.

2016 La Grande Rue Grand Cru, Lamarche
£POA  Drink 2023-40

Nose is a wild, dark, spicy thing, quite aristo with its hints of violet and orange. And it's a super-plush things to taste, with lovely dense-but-supple fruit and that orange thing again. Complete, with rich, very fine limestone structure. Very direct and linear. Very lovely wine and very true to the terroir.

Guillaume Camus has complete mastery of his Savigny vineyards,

crafting beautiful and very delicious wines from their fruit

2016 Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Pimentiers, Camus-Bruchon
£117 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-26N.B. The soil in this vineyard is fine and alluvial.This is red and really quite pale in the glass i.e. good Pinot colour! Really very pretty domestic red fruit aromas offer themselves up. Guillaume Camus mentions that he can smell greengage (reine claude in French) in this and I can see what he means: there's a delicious ripeness. The palate keeps the delicious red fruit theme and there's a core of rocky structure. This is linear and elegant and the tannic structure clads the finish, fresh and upright. Seriously classy Savigny.

2016 Savigny-lès-Beaune Aux Grands Liards, Camus-Bruchon£125 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-29N.B. Soil here is much more rocky. Very old vines here.Really floral thing to smell, this. And the fruits are darker: plums, especially. It goes in the mouth plush and supple and dark; plummy up front and I can find a hint of mint. Good density. A dark wine with a great juicy freshness at the back. A cool and altogether more sauvages thing. An utter delight. 

I appear to take virtually the same photograph of Frédéric Lafarge every year, standing by the same barrel in his hobbit-hole cellar surrounded by some of the world's finest Pinot Noirs.

2016 Fleurie Joie du Palais, Lafarge-Vial
£141 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-24

"The 2016 Fleurie Joie de Palais was lucky to escape the hail that stopped 50 meters from Lafarge's parcel. It has a more earthy, stony bouquet with fine tension, the palate quite saline in the mouth and maybe not quite as detailed on the finish as the Chiroubles. It is an enjoyable Fleurie, although I discerned much more complexity within their Clos Vernay this year." Neal Martin

2016 Fleurie Clos Vernay, Lafarge-Vial
£144 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-26

"The 2016 Fleurie Clos Vernay, which lies on granite and quartz soils, has more focus and fruit intensity than the Joie du Palais at the moment. This is likewise very well defined with hints of vanilla pod complementing the red cherry fruit. The palate is brimming over with fleshy red cherry and strawberry fruit. Beautifully balanced with great poise on the finish, this is one of the best Beaujolais that I have tasted from Lafarge." Neal Martin

2016 Bourgogne Passetoutgrains L'Exception, Lafarge
£156 in bond a dozen  Drink 2019-24

N.B. This is 80 year old complanted Gamay and Pinot Noir
A dense nose and a very expressive one of red and black fruits. Smells delicious. Tastes delicious, too, with black plum and cherry fruit, all very pure. There's good snap and a very fine clay-like mineral swathe through the palate. Very long and utterly lovely.

2016 Volnay, Lafarge
£195 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-28

N.B. No Vendange Sélectionée cuvée this year as there was insufficient fruit.
Dark and blue fruit aromas with pure black plum aromas. The palate is very quickly juicy and firm with limestone freshness and fine density. Long, direct wine of great expression.

2016 Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs, Lafarge
2016 Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets, Lafarge

Please ask about allocations of these wines, which I must sell with reasonable quantities of other wines.

Rolling back the mist

2016 Maranges 1er Cru La Fussière Rouge, Bachelet-Monnot
£102 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-28
N.B. Something like 10 parcels in this vineyard from 40 to 80 years of age.
This offers properly aristo scents of very pure cassis and dark cherry fruit. This is a touch nutty and there's an alluring hint of rose petals. Palate is very cool, with a very cool limestone minerality. Beautiful red and black very pure fruit. There's a great line here and it's a touchy spicy at the back. Rich and integrated ripe tannins add their support. Very long and lovely thing.

2016 Maranges 1er Cru Clos de la Boutière Rouge, Bachelet-Monnot
£102 in bond per 6  Drink 2022-30
N.B. one parcel, 80-90 years old.
This is, as ever, much more backward; a touch closed, indeed. But that dark cherry fruit is so cool and reserved. There's a touch of pastille about the fruit concentration in the mouth and clay/rock grip supporting. This is super-long and a touch peppery at the death. Needs time, but this is such a stunner. 

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