2016 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Bourgogne

Back in 2000, a simple call from a Paris station public phone in bad, halting Français was all it took to arrange an appointment with this wonderful Chambolle address. In the days when a Burgundy obsession was at least extravagantly affordable rather than a ludicrous billionaire’s foible. Lucky for me it was a rainy afternoon on the Côte d’Or and Madame Barthod was happy to stay in the cellar and pour tastes rather than be amongst les vignes. An unforgettable tour of Chambolle’s Premier Cru from barrel showed that Pinot can be even more tasty before it’s bottled. Anyway, the sight of a Bourgogne for 30 euros in that tempting basement of Lavinia was a chance to revisit good times. As meticulously clean and made as ever, gentle scents of wild strawberries, cherry and the smoothest limestone and clay swirl into a precise mouthful of just ripe fruit, a tingle of bright acidity and a trail of silky tannin. No huge weight or bombastic extract despite a bit of cold soak perhaps, just a well pitched melody. As good as many producers’ village level efforts. Some trophy bottles of late 90s and early 2000’s Burgundies have gone off to auction for jaw dropping prices to help fund other indulgences but there’s one, and only one sadly, 99 Barthod Charmes that’s going nowhere but my glass.

13% alcohol. Cork. What price great Burg these days?

91 very stylish points.

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis Le Finage

Australia’s two dominant supermarket leviathans both dabble in direct imports with Coles’ attempts even less well organised than their competitor’s hit and miss attempts. Coles’ fine wine arm, Vintage Cellars, somehow still manage to import La Chablisienne’s lovely wines without much obvious promotion which leads to some occasional irresistible discounts. The last was a “cellar frenzy” sale with this Chablis reduced to $21.50 a bottle in a six pack purchase. Don’t think credit card details have ever been so quickly entered. There’s always an anxious wait to see which vintage turns up as something as simple as stock rotation and customer service seem just too difficult. Worry turned to glee as four 2014s under Diam and two 2017s under screwcap turned up, as unlikely and as fist pumping as a Southampton home win. The Diam’s done a proper job as there’s a touch of lanolin reduction and a pale colour as things open up in the glass. Gentle Chardonnay smells and a soft palate that seems a bit dilute, oh well, it’s a cooperative wine. How wrong first impressions can be. Second day the airing had swept away the reduction and the colour deepened. Real Chablis perfume and flavour bite. Ripe citrus, quince, stony sweet green herbals, salinity and that sour lactic yoghurt twang. Delicious basic Chablis! Next one’s going to get double decanted and patience will be a virtue waiting a day for a sip. Six bottles doesn’t seem nearly enough now.

12.50% alcohol. Diam. $21.50, Coles’ shareholders may not be happy.

92 points but a lot of value Chablis pleasure.

2002 Domaine Christophe Perrot Minot Vosne Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1er Cru

Carefully carried all the way back from Paris to Melbourne surviving inept packing, baggage handling and a few years in cool storage. Research at the time suggested Perrot Minot had backed away from the mid nineties fashion of too much extraction and new oak in favour of more perfume and transparency. The helpful staff in the basement of delights at Lavinia in Paris encouraged the opinion in much better English than my French. Compared to current premier cru prices this looked a reasonable buy too. Fast forward fifteen years to Xmas eve 2019, all looks good, good fill level still, cork barely stained and removed in one piece. First sniff and a joyfully rich wild strawberry and spice fragrance, then….a musty, old hessian sack waft of, oh no, TCA. Foul language but a resigned shrug too. Life has a way of dealing with great expectations but, really, why are we still wedded to mid nineteenth century technology for our most precious drinks? Down the sink and head in the sand along with much larger issues like a warming planet perhaps?

No points just a grumpy old man who’s a bit worried at the moment.

2017 Moreau Naudet Chablis 1er cru Fôrets

From the Qantas Wine on line shop, 15,000 frequent flier points a bottle seemed like a good use for one who flies less frequently these days. That’s a lot of short flights to Adelaide and back. You can only wonder how such a small production, sought after bottle ended up amongst the usual commercial stuff on Qantas’ site? Probably should have waited a few years to open this as it’s a surly adolescent at the moment. Smells a little of oak spice and cedar with a fleeting waft of green citrus, sour lactics and chalk. Same sort of thing in terms of taste. The second day there’s some rich dry extract but still little fruit sweetness. A powerful event horizon of recent bottling and shipping half way around the world that seems to have swallowed any light of flavour. Happy there’s another bottle that’s gone to rest in a dark cool place for as long as both palate and patience may last. Think it’ll be worth the wait. Tree bark willing, of course.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. Good use of points.

93++ points. Experience with older good vintages from Moreau Naudet suggest a treat awaits.

2017 L’Anserige Chablis

Looks like this is a bottling for the ubiquitous French chain of Nicolas by the large and great quality cooperative, La Cave des Vignerons de Chablis. Certified organic too which is becoming a common thing in not just the more fashionable cavistes. This is just mouth-wateringly delicious text book Chablis. From first sniff to last wistful sip, a perfect demonstration of Chardonnay like no other. Rich in ripe green and yellow fruit and that chalky, yoghurt sour cut. Good volume for a basic, just not quite the intensity for the great, but so amazingly delicious. Impossible to put the glass down for anything but a moment to wonder how Chardonnay can taste like this and perhaps a nibble of another gougere.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. 17.50 euros.

93 points but more if terroir counts.

2005 Domaine Henri Richard Gevrey Chambertin Aux Corvées

Another raid on the stuff I’ve somehow managed to keep stashed. Make use of time, let not advantage slip. Thanks, Will, for the advice. Sweet autumnal maturity creeps up indeed. Wild strawberries, sweet earth and that savoury fresh charcuterie waft. Beautifully ripe and good intensity. Good extract of fine tannin and a snap of settled acidity. Lovely shape and purity. The well mannered perfume and richness of very good Côte de Nuits. Sigh, one less bottle left.

13% alcohol. Cork. About $50 pre arrival.

93 points plus for sheer poise.

2014 Pierre Matrot Meursault Perrières 1er cru

The second premier cru White Burgundy post and maybe the last unless cellardoor.co wrongly price a mixed six pack again. Very lucky to have spotted a half dozen from France for $165 which included this, a CNdP, a Champagne and three other OK bottles. Didn’t last long on the site before the sold out sign went up. Worth it too, as this opened beautifully with aromas of chestnut honey, hazelnut and…er..muesli, with a touch of lanolin sulphide. Meursault auto suggestion perhaps, honey and nuts? The same flavours across the palate with a profound cut of cool clean limestone acidity. Barely any sweet fruit flavour other than a hint of fig and quince. Enough to make you want an ancestral castle cellar full of such fleeting pleasure. Wonder if the Waughs, Evelyn and Auberon that is not the cricketers, would have wine blogged? Better prose than this.

13% alcohol. Cork. $27.50 on a very streaky average.

95 points.