BURGUNDY - Intense cold and a sprinkling of snow from Dijon to south of Beaune at the end of January proved to be the backdrop to a fabulous 'blossoming' of 2010s, some still in cask and others just bottled.
It was warmer to descend into the underground, arched cellars ('attention à la tête' greets me everywhere) than to dally admiring the view. Once 'parked' below, a whole realm of stunning scents and tastes unfolded, the 2010s in all their vivacious freshness, purity and definition of 'climat', or vineyard site.
No one pretended that it had been an easy vintage to manage, but the best domains (and Sotheby's Wine only deals with the best!) have excelled, albeit in smaller quantities than in 2009.
Thereby hangs a tale, as the 2009s are universally loved for their come-hither appeal and velvety richness. While allowing myself to be charmed, the 2010s at top level are more my style, with their precision and keen brightness, like a stunningly cut diamond – oh yes, Sotheby’s does them too. The whites are icy cool, especially from glorious growers such as Lafon, Roulot and Jean-Noël Gagnard, while Chanson’s Chassagne Montrachet Les Chenevottes was fabulous.
The reds were a roll-call of totemic stuff, hardly surprising when one is chez Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Roumier, Fourrier, Dujac, de Vogüé, Rousseau, Dugat, Michel Gros, Mugneret-Gibourg, Bachelet et al. The names may be tongue-twisters but, oh, the phenomenal sensual pleasure of these wines. Their beauty was consolation as I stood on the freezing platform at Dijon station waiting for the TGV to whisk me back to Paris.
Tasting with the wonderful Jean-Marie Fourrier of Domaine Fourrier
The cellars at Domaine Comte de Vogüé
The cellars at Domaine Comte de Vogüé, with winemaker François Millet