Friday, 22 April 2011

Burgundy Part 3 - Clos de Lambrays

Right - starting today, I have 11 days off work (yippee!) so it is high time I caught up on publishing on all the notes I have accumulated in recent weeks - especially those from our recent trip to Burgundy. I also have notes on some rather interesting tasting events in Nottingham, which I shall attend to in due course, but for now I'll concentrate on Burgundy.

Following a 6.30 a.m start on Wednesday 6 April, we just managed to get to the Eurotunnel in time for our 11.20 crossing. Half an hour later we were on the Autoroute, bound for the medieval village of Saint-Gengoux-le-National, a few kilometres west of Chalon-sur-Saone. This is where our friend and Nottingham Wine Circle stalwart David Bennett has a second home - I move in high circles, you know! We arrived at around 7.45 p.m French time, to a light supper of Crémant de Bourgogne, a selection of breads and cheeses...... and plenty more lovely Burgundy wines.

Our schedule for the next few days was fairly leisurely, especially for the first couple of days, where we had just 2 tastings a day, although the third day became rather (too) hectic, with two further visits tagged onto the two already planned. I've already written about Mugneret-Gibourg and Maison Ilan (scroll down a bit, if you missed them) but I plan to write-up the others in the coming days. Briefly, though, this was our full schedule;

  • a.m - Clos de Lambrays
  • p.m - Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg
  • a.m - Domaine Lamarche
  • p.m - Domaine Michel Gros
  • a.m - Domaine Dubreil-Fontaine
  • Lunchtime - Maison Ilan
  • p.m - Mischief & Mayhem
  • Late p.m - Domaine David Clarke
We had an early start on Thursday - leaving Saint Gengoux at 8.30, in time to make a 10 o'clock appointment at the historic Clos de Lambrays, in the Cotes de Nuits village of Morey-Saint-Denis. Clos de Lambrays has an excellent website, so I won't bore you with the historical details.

We were met by the Managing Director and Oenologist, Thierry Brouin, who gave us a brief tour of the magnificent garden of the chateau - which, he explained, would actually qualify as Grand Cru vineyard, were it not planted to trees, shrubs and flowers(!)

Grand Cru garden and courtyard!

Then it was to the cellars, to taste four vintages of Clos de Lambrays Grand Cru. It is worth pointing out that these were the only wines available for tasting - and even then, only from library stocks. Virtually all of the wines made at this estate are actually sold on allocation or en primeur, so we were very privileged to actually get to taste anything, never mind the flagship wine(s). Then again, Andy, Peter and David did buy a half-dozen bottles between them, though I'm fairly sure they didn't get much change out of 600 Euros! I should also point out that I seem to have lost my own tasting notes from this visit (though I have my notes from all the other visits) so those that follow are courtesy of Andy Leslie;

Yes, it really was that dark in the cellars

Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2010 (barrel sample)
Lovely fresh strawberry and bramble fruit, but difficult to assess at this early stage.

From bottles:

Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2009
Fabulous wine. Intense and complex nose. Beautiful perfume. Palate also delicious now - structured, complex, beautiful balance.

Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2008
Very pale. More animal and complex, with a savoury nose - an absolute delight. Spicy notes that are peppery, where the 2009 was more asian spice. Some Christmas cake hints on the nose too. Palate intense and structured and fantastic! Heaps of fresh redcurrant fruit. Soft velvet tannins.

Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2006
Nose of asian spices and big dark brooding fruit; something animal too. The biggest by far - a darkly structured wine. Perfume delicious. Palate tannic and big and structured. Peppery and delicious. Needs lots of time.

We then bade farewell to Monsieur Brouin and his staff and took a walk around the Clos de Lambrays vineyard, followed by a simple picnic lunch in the shade of the trees on the hill above the village.

The eponymous walled vineyard of the Clos de Lambrays

Then it was off to Domaine Mugneret Gibourg. If you missed my report on this grower, again, scroll down a bit and you'll find it.

In the evening, we dined back at David's house in Saint-Gengoux - again, with plenty of Crémant and fine Burgundy wines. Later, we were joined by Bill and Jane Nanson and their dog, Elsa. Bill and Jane live and work in Basle, just over the border in Switzerland, but they are regular visitors to the Cote d'Or, and had driven over to stay with us for the remainder of the trip. They were delightful company, as indeed was Elsa - just about the most brilliant dog I have ever encountered.

Those of you who are well-versed in Burgundy wines will more than likely know of Bill Nanson, whose Burgundy Report website and blog is well worth a read - and you might even find some of Bill's photos and tasting notes from the trip. I shall certainly be following his blog from hereon in.

Elsa - Bill and Jane Nanson's delightful Rhodesian Ridgeback 

Tomorrow, I'll report on our visits to Domaines Michel Gros and Lamarche.

1 comment:

David Strange said...

Isn't Clos des Lambrays just lovely? It is all Morey should be, beautiful with a positively lubricious depth of character. Not that I'd suggest it is tarty - well, not in a bad way.

It is great that they can now sell all their wine. When I first visited they had stacks of unsold wines all over the place. They deserve to be sold and command respect.

If you can ever find a bottle it is really worth getting a 2003 Lambrays. This is a really quaquaversal vintage in Burgundy, but Lambrays produced a wine of total delight. Wine of the vintage, I'd say. Needs serious cellar time, though.

I should add that the boss man, Thiery Brouin, is a lovely fellow who I count myself extremely fortunate to have not only met but also shared fine wines and great food with. It is such a treat to meet and have a few larks with these people that any serious wine lover could be forgiven for viewing as some form of demigod. I had larks. I think he did too.