Burgundy 2011 Day One: Côte de Beaune Whites

At the end of the first day in Burgundy, we have collapsed in our gite and are enjoying a cold (ish) beer before lighting the barbecue. It has been a glorious day on the Côte de Beaune, amazingly warm and sunny, the vines changing into their autumn hues. One could not ask for Burgundy to be prettier right now.

Lay & Wheeler's Tasting Team in Burgundy
It was a day of whites for us, today, mostly, starting with Comtes Lafon, where we were met by the charming Dominique Lafon, who dashed round his cellar, pipette in hand, talking us through his 2011s. Having said that this was a day of whites, he started with his reds – his elegant and pretty Monthelie not being a bad way to begin a day! His great Meursaults were unsurprisingly excellent and included – for the first time this year – wine from his new parcel of vines from 1er Cru Les Bouchères, light on its feet and beautifully expressive. It goes without saying that Le Montrachet was great, although still obviously a baby.

From Lafon, we headed over to Chassagne, to taste at Domaine Paul Pillot, a domaine that produces a range of St. Aubin and Chassagne, made – under the guidance of young winemaker Thierry Pillot – to a reined-in and subtle style. Lay & Wheeler does not currently offer these wines, but tasting the 2011s, it seems likely that this may well change in the future.

The last tasting pre-lunch was at Martelet de Cherisey, high up in the Blagny area of Meursault, where we enjoyed a quick tour of the domaine, before tasting through their 2011s. Late ripening, due to their elevation, the wines also ferment more slowly, giving them an interesting complexity. We were very kindly given a bottle of 2006 Meursault Blagny to enjoy with our lunch, so had that with cold cuts, bread and cheese on the terrace at our gite. While wine tasting is a lot of fun, it was hard to leave!

But leave we did and joined Philippe Colin, where we tasted his Chassagnes, Puligny and Chevalier-Montrachet. We have loved his Demoiselles for a long time and we have not changed our opinion for the 2011s, it shone in the line-up.

The final visit of what has been a gentle start to the week, was with Charles Ballot at Ballot-Millot. Tasting in his “games room” (most of the team slightly distracted by darts, pool and a shiny bike), we were thoroughly impressed by his Meursaults – especially Genevrières and Perrières, which were tautly structured and delicious. We finished, as we started, with a few reds, including another pretty red Meursault – all bright and fragrant fruit.

Kat Wiggins

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