La Paulee San Francisco 2016 - Featuring 2013 Burgundies

Another La Paulee is in the books. The 2016 edition roared through San Francisco to the delight of Burgundy lovers. The 3-hour (all-too-short) Grand Tasting focused on the 2013 vintage, and it did not disappoint. The reds and whites across the board showed clear and consistent vintage characteristics. For the reds, this meant tart acidity and sufficient ripeness and depth without overt over-ripeness, suppleness or fat of such recent years as 2009 and 2012. The whites were consistently excellent, with high acidities, citrus, minerality, crystalline purity, and loads of grip. The best reds I think came from higher cru's, which had a bit more flesh on the bones to balance out the high acidity of the year. Same with whites - the higher cru's with a bit more sweetness were well balanced by a level of freshness and purity rarely seen. I have generally recommended caution with 2013 whites, as this is a rather leaner, high-acidity vintage. The tasting did not change my mind, but it also confirmed that good producers made classic white burgundies from great terroirs. From my limited experience tasting the 2014 whites, that appears to be a much surer vintage across the board, with more flesh and slightly better balance. Yet, the 13's tasted here were beauties that will deliver pleasure over many years.

w/ Jean-Marie Fourrier
Overall, in terms of the entire lineups presented at the tasting, the most consistently delicious producers were Fourrier, Hudelot-Noellat, Drouhin, Chateau de la Tour, Bernard Moreau and Antoine Jobbard. Obviously it's hard to omit Roulot, Lafon , Dujac, Mortet, Lamy, Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey from this list, and they certainly poured excellent wines, some of which were among the very best, and I would be happy with any of their wines in my cellar, but they just didn't impress me across the board quite as much.

The top 3 reds of the tasting for me were Fourrier Clos St Jacques, Mortet Lavaux St Jacques, and Hudelot-Noellat RSV. Arnaud Mortet noted the lowering of new oak in his Lavaux in the last few vintages. I think the sleeker, slightly more angular style of 2013 also worked well in the wine, giving it a level of definition and elegance I hadn't seen since Arnaud took over. Among the whites, Bernard Moreau Grandes Ruchottes, Drouhin Batard, and Comtes Lafon Charmes were the most memorable.

Other notable reds were Domaine Jean Grivot Les Beaux Monts, Dujac Aux Combottes and Clos de la Roche, Chateau de la Tour (all wines), Lafon (Santenots), Hudelot-Noellat (Vosne villages, NSG Murgers), Jadot (Ursules), Drouhin (Chambolle 1er & Clos Vougeot), Camille-Giroud (Santenots), and Chandon des Briailles (Corton-Bressandes).

Other notable whites were Domaine Lamy (En Remilly), Paul Pillot (Grand Ruchottes & La Romanee), Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (Chassagne Caillerets & Meursault Genevrieres), Roulot (the whole lineup), Antoine Jobbard (the whole lineup), Pierre Labet (of Chateau de la Tour -- Meursault Tillets), Mikulski (Poruzots, Goutte d'Or).

I must mention the wines of Nicolas Rossignol. They were very distinctive and obviously good quality, but they surprised me with high level of extraction and power, unparalleled at the tasting. The acidity of the year helped balance the wines. Still, I was taken aback by how potently concentrated and ripe they seemed, making me wonder about the alcohol level. Another interesting showing was from Benjamin Leroux, whose Volnay Clos de la Cave des Ducs was very pretty and distinctive and Clos St Denis tasted like a beautiful fruity Barbaresco, delicious but perhaps not exactly what I expect from a burgundy. A few people remarked how much they liked the wines of Grivot. Unfortunately, to me they were too reduced (full of meaty stink and coffee grinds) to appreciate, other than Vosne Beauxmonts which showed enough fruit underneath the mild stink to give a glimpse of future potential. Chandon de Briailles' lineup of two Pernand-Vergelesses and Corton Bressandes was very solid. Camille-Giraud's David Croix is getting much recognition these days in the wine community, but unfortunately only his Volnay Santenots showed well, while NSG Boudots and Clos Vougeot were just so-so for me.

And now, for reference, here are my rushed tasting notes. Apologies in advance for missing some of the wines and providing rather insufficient notes for many others. Although every two years I try to refine my tasting strategy and tactics, three hours is clearly not enough for this caliber of tasting. Oh well...

Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin vv - plush, fruity, delicious
Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Gruenchers - spice, crunchy red fruits, silky
Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Cherbaudes - long, perfumed, silky, tart and suave
Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques - silky, plush, gorgeous hints of blueberry, cream, pepper, dark pine forest, great wine

Domaine Dujac Morey-St-Denis - savory, stem, nice and smooth, a hint of earth and leather
Domaine Dujac Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru - savory, tannic, quite tart with green peppercorns
Domaine Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes - nice spice, more volume and precision, red fruits
Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche - darker fruits, stems are evident but in a classy way, quite silky

w/ Jeremy Seysses of Domaine Dujac

Denis Mortet Fixin vv - creamy nose, creamy tart red fruit
Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroirs - tart, silky, creamy
Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru - plusher, fuller, suave, very nice
Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St-Jacques - great, darker tone, perfect silkiness, great balance, new oak in 60-70% since 2011 or 2012.

Arnaud Mortet

Camille-Giroud Volnay Santenots - rich, very well balanced, dark fruits, spice, very nice
Camille-Giroud Nuits-St-Georges Aux Boudots - oak nose, toasty oak palate
Camille-Giroud Clos de Vougeot - very primary, good balance, but not special, just ok for me

w/ David Croix of Camille-Giroud

Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru - silky smooth, very pretty, creamy, nice
Drouhin Clos de Vougeot - intense, pure, penetrating, balanced, some vanilla, very nice
Drouhin Batard-Montrachet - intense, zesty, oyster, grippy, long.

Veronique Drouhin-Boss

Grivot Vosne-Romanee - stinky, reduced, meaty nose, similar palate, like out of a can
Grivot Nuits-St-Georges Aux Boudots - tannic, stem, spice
Grivot Vosne-Romanee Les Beaux Monts - again reduced nose, but the palate is silk fruit, good intensity, very nice, other than reduction, long creamy aftertaste with lingering tannins and sweatness that comes on later.
Grivot Clos de Vougeot - oak, tart, tannic

Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanee - whiff of vanilla nose. The palate - oooh very nice, clean, focused, balanced, nothing sticks out
Hudelot-Noellat Nuits-St-Georges Les Murgers - very smooth, nice spices, tannins, quite good
Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots - smooth, less focused than previous wines
Hudelot-Noellat Romanee-St-Vivant - excellent, feminine, delicate, silk and lace, sweet and perfumed, vanilla and flowers

Charles Van Canneyt of Domaine Hudelot-Noellat

Benjamin Leroux Volnay Clos de la Cave des Ducs - ooh, pretty mint spice, nice.
Benjamin Leroux Clos St Denis - beautiful fruit jam nose, reminds me of Barbaresco, similar on the palate - very Barbaresco-like, vanilla, tart creamy raspberries

Benjamin Leroux

Jadot Beaune Clos des Ursules - very good, deep, tannic, dark fruit, mint, I like it.
Jadot Corton Pougets - tart, meaty, sleek dark fruit, quite nice

Thibault Gagey of Louis Jadot and Resonance (Jadot venture in Oregon)

Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses Les Vergelesses - quite nice, tart, sleek, but enough sweetness
Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses Ile des Vergelesses - stem, riper and more suave
Chandon de Briailles Corton Bressandes - stem nose, dark, quite serious, long finish, I like it.
Chandon de Briailles Corton (blanc) - just ok, not memorable

Claude de Nicolay of Domaine Chandon de Briailles

Chateau de la Tour Clos Vougeot classique - perfume, great tannic palate, delicious fruit, structure.
Chateau de la Tour Clos Vougeot vv - focused, pure, intense, long, tighter than the classique
Pierre Labet Beaune Coucherias - sweet stems, perfume, vanilla, soft tannins, very nice
Pierre Labet Meursault Les Tillets - wow, great spice.

Francois Labet of Chateau de la Tour and Domaine Pierre Labet

Hospices de Beaune Pommard Epenots "Cuvee Dom Goblet" - meaty, reduced nose. Palate: plush fruit, quite silky
Hospices de Beaune Corton "Cuvee Charlotte Dumay" - soft, vanilla, hint of meat, very nice and tasty

Nicolas Rossignol Volnay Clos des Angles - sweet, intense, wow big wine!
Nicolas Rossignol Volnay Chevret - very stemmy, intense, wow tannic big wine!
Nicolas Rossignol Volnay Cailleret - meaty, more elegant, spicy, wow that's a long finish
Nicolas Rossignol Volnay Santenots - very intense, rich and ripe, meaty

Nicolas Rossignol

Lamy St Aubin Derriere Chez Edouard - orange and cream
Lamy St Aubin Les Frionnes - lemon/lime and slate
Lamy St Aubin Clos de la Chateniere - nose of spice, flower pollen and white pepper, long creamy finish
Lamy St Aubin En Remilly - more volume, slightly sweeter

Olivier Lamy

Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet -- ooh nice and sweet, really delicious
Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes - full, ripe, great acid, intense and flavorful
Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie - a bit fresher with floral spice, tons of perfume in my mouth, grippy
Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet Les Grandes Ruchottes - sweet, spicy, floral, intense, hint of honey, but fresh with lime acidity. Great.

Alexandre Moreau

Paul Pillot Chassange-Montrachet Clos St Jean - spice, stone, cream, very nice
Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets - stony, lime, tannic grip
Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Grand Ruchottes - mineral, grippy, high acid, consistent with vintage
Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanee - intense mineral, fresh, really good

(2014) Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey St Aubin Chateniere - viscous, flowers, lime, stone, intense
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Ancegnieres - riper, cream, minerals
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets - more viscous, spicy, lime, cream, long finish
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault Les Genevrieres - honey, flowers, cream. I like the sweet and acidic combo. The honey really makes this stand out. Lovely.

w/ Pierre-Yves Colin

Roulot Bourgogne Blanc - intense, sweet, concentrated for the level
Roulot Meursault Meix Chavaux - straw, long mineral finish
Roulot Meursault Tesson Clos de mon Plaisir - sweet and mineral, grippy
Roulot Meursault Clos des Boucheres - spice, grippy, sweet.

w/ Jean-Marc Roulot

Comtes Lafon Meursault - nice, rich and full
Comtes Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre - flowers, lime, perfume in my mouth
Comtes Lafon Meursault Charmes - nose of straw. Wow, intense, pure, expands in my mouth. Cream, perfect balance, big step up from Clos de la Barre.
Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu - spice, nice grip, intense and focused. Good.

Dominique Lafon

Antoine Jobbard Meursault En la Barre - intense, iodine
Antoine Jobbard Meursault Blagny - same style as above
Antoine Jobbard Meursault Poruzots - similar, intense chalk, creamy aftertaste
Antoine Jobbard Meursault Genevrieres - sweet

Thierry & Pascale Matrot Meursault Charmes - a lot of spice, rather ripe and spicy
Pierre Matrot Puligny-Montrachet Les Chalumeaux - really ripe and spicy, almost painfully

Francois Mikulski Meursault Poruzots - delicious
Francois Mikulski Meursault Charmes - high acid
Francois Mikuslki Meursault Goutte d'Or - grip, intense lime and mineral

Truly an embarrassment of riches, so to speak, the 2013 vintage gave us many delicious wines which don't seem to need a very extended cellaring. Already showing well, perhaps a few more years will better meld the fruit and acid.

(The 2014 coverage of the 2011 vintage two years ago was documented here.)


Anonymous said…
Simply excellent post, Iron. My first La Paulee, so I felt a bit overwhelmed. Thanks for helping make sense of it all. Cheers~

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