Bonjour encore une fois de l’équipe qui continue à monter l’escalier au ciel,
Now that both Allan Meadows and Steve Tanzer have chimed in to echo the sentiments that I have espoused and expressed in no uncertain terms since my annual Fall visit, that the best of the 2016 Burgundy crop is downright classic and beyond compelling. Perhaps now both lifelong collectors and curious neophytes will heed my call with a greater sense of validation and urgency. Yields are way down in most appellations, with prices seemingly only going up……
With that intro as a backdrop, it is my great pleasure to once again usher in an embarrassment of riches from team Marchand-Tawse, whose collective efforts continue to woo and wow tasters and critics alike. Thomas Dinel (in the red shirt above) continues his success in all things Marchand-Tawse négociant and Domaine Tawse Côte de Beaune estate wines, whilst Mark Fincham has turned out another incredibly good collection from the former Maume Gevrey Chambertin estate holdings, now dubbed simply Domaine Tawse. I have featured the Marchand-Tawse and Domaine Tawse wines in tastings on several occasions, and without fail, virtually every wine that I show hits the pleasure mark, the infusion driven vinification style and the undeniable clarity/purity afforded by their work ethic resonates universally as “this is Burgundian beauty”. When one factors in the wonderfully fair pricing, particularly in light of a Côte d’Or landscape of ever rising prices, their substance and value stand out as one of the greatest quality/price plays of any producer in my portfolio, a commentary that I have repeated annually. In diversity and success across the range, this is as good a stop as you will find to score knockout examples of their ilk; I do not think it heavy handed to come away with 3-5 mixed cases. Such a move will be one you are glad you made as you dip into this deep treasure trove over the years…..
In November ’17, I tasted with Mark Fincham and thirty year veteran American critic Claude Kolm, whose soft spoken geekery I appreciated very much. I love Mark’s style, a straight shooter and then some, whose personal life/spirit is now intimately entwined with the Gevrey production in a way that continues to reveal such a connection/authorship; the ’16s are pure finessed class in a glass to my taste, a tremendous tremendous success across the range. On the négociant side of things, the highlights are many, including the perennial house strengths in Morey Saint Denis, single parcel villages level wines, a knockout Bourgogne rouge, several unique 1er crus, and a complete and kickass range of Grand crus. Unique to 2016, the négoce side of things includes several Vosne Romanée entrants, one of the strongest performing villages of the vintage, with single barrels of three particularly rare and stirring upper slope crus that are not to be missed…..I have also managed to secure a handful of their Vosne Romanée les Suchots from 2013 and 2014, as well as some Clos Saint Denis (every year a knockout example) and Clos de la Roche from 2013/2014; I wouldn’t snooze on those if I were you….On the estate side of things, the Côte de Beaune wines were drastically affected quantitatively by the early season frosts, but what little did make it to the winery is plain kickass good, the concentration of such low yields offering exemplary qualitative results, albeit in tiny volume. Indeed, small is beautiful……
And so, what follows is yet another head-spinning offering of their 2016 cellar, a few back vintage cherries, as well as the in stock treasure trove of goodies from the past few years. I have also included some of Allan Meadows’ and Steve Tanzer’s notes on both the vintage in general and the Marchand-Tawse wines specifically. Broken record-like, one would be hard pressed to find better quality/price performance than what this motley crew is regularly producing here, with a house style that is totally seductive, successfully conveying both the signature of their origins and the all-important pleasure principal. This is what wine is for……..And so…..
“But the key takeaway for readers is that when the 2016s are good, they are excellent and entirely classic in style. And there are certainly some wines where I preferred the 2016 version to its 2015 counterpart.” – Allan Meadows
“The 2016 Côte de Nuits Reds- Freshness, Energy, and Grace:
“So, as with every vintage, the two questions for you as consumers that take precedence over everything else always are: should I buy the wines and if so, how much of them? The best wines are wonderfully refreshing, transparent and graceful with moderately firm tannic spines where the all-important element of balance is supplemented by good but not high acidities. They are balanced wines built for medium to sometimes longer-term aging yet they should also be reasonably approachable young if youthful fruit is your preference. Before I offer more detail, the short answer is yes on both accounts that the 2016s deserve a place in your cellars and there is no reason not to go heavy – I for one will be buying all that I can afford and find.
More specifically, there are two aspects that I absolutely love about the 2016s which are those of the crystalline transparency to the underlying terroirs coupled with their refreshing drinkability. One just feels like drinking the 2016s, in fact it’s hard not to like them. Part of this appeal is due to the generally softer approach to extraction that many growers elected to use. As such most 2016s have relatively fine-grained tannins which should also help them to be reasonably accessible young. This is partially because the tannins are generally fully mature and partially because there is an excellent level of tannin-buffering dry extract that tends to render them less prominent at this early stage. Another reason is because the generally thicker skins of the grapes together with the generally smaller berry sizes made many growers opt for using fewer punch downs to avoid producing overly extracted wines. On the less positive side, one of the factors that negatively affected wine quality at some domaines was simply vinifying such small quantities. To be sure this is not unusual in Burgundy and some growers are used to this fact of life but most aren’t and thus there are a few wines that reflect either too much, or too little, extraction.
As to longevity, the average upper level 2016 is built for mid-to occasionally longer-term (and in some cases, very long-term) cellaring. With that said, and as I also noted, many wines will very likely drink well on the younger side. To provide some basis of comparison, I would (again, as a broad-brush generalization) describe the average 2015 as aging on a base of sheer concentration and tannic density whereas the typical 2016 will age on a base of balance and measured extraction. But it’s important to bear in mind that the average 2016 is a bit suppler because the phenolically mature tannins are finer and more pliant.
I would also observe that as good as some of the 2016s are, in my view it’s more of a surprisingly good vintage rather than a great one. But as is the case with every vintage, even the greats like 1999, 2005, 2010 and 2015, there are unsuccessful wines. These would include under or over extracted wines, slightly raw and/or edgy tannins or even in a few cases, dilute examples. I spoke of the generally excellent balance but I should also point out that the first-rate transparency reveals varying degrees of finishing warmth. To be fair, this warmth is not at the same levels exhibited by the average 2003, 2009 or 2015 but neither is it invisible.”
“In fact, as a general proposition, being in the geographical vicinity of Vosne was highly desirable in 2016. I’ve already noted the positive effects for the northern part of Nuits but this held as well for the vineyards of Echézeaux, Grands Echézeaux and Clos de Vougeot. The closer the vines were to the Combe d’Orveau which divides Chambolle and Flagey, the higher the losses. Thus some growers with vines in the northern part of Echézeaux got crushed, whereas others near Suchots were almost completely spared.”
“Vintage comparisons are always fraught and in the end, each of them is unique and that’s as it should be. Moreover, it’s frankly difficult to find a really good counterpart to the style of the 2016 vintage. However, it’s clearly important to provide at least some idea as to what readers can expect when cracking a bottle and to this end growers suggested comparisons with 2001, a riper 2008, a less concentrated 2010, a cleaner 2012 or a denser 2014. You can see a common thread running through all of those vintages and there is at least some validity in all of them. If I was limited to only one choice, I would agree with the less concentrated (and less structured) version of 2010 or a more concentrated 2014. A better description would be a combination of the transparency and vibrancy of 2010 with the suppleness and roundness of 2009 in a proportion of two-thirds of the former with one-third of the latter.”
“I would put it this way: you almost certainly want to have some 2016s in your cellars but don’t chase them at any price. With that risk duly noted, if you can find and afford the wines, buy them as I for one really love the style.”
– Allan Meadows on the 2016 vintage in general.
“Below, in the final section of this introduction, I’ll briefly summarize my impressions about the 2015s in bottle; but I have to get a bit ahead of myself here and invoke the ‘15s by comparison in order to characterize the ’16s. If there’s one generalization I would make about the very complicated 2016 vintage, it’s that the majority of wines from Burgundy’s most capable grape-growers and winemakers are more transparent to terroir than the 2015s are, often stunningly so. They are generally more classic and less weighty, and their intense fruit and fresh, high-pitched aromatic qualities should give them more early appeal than the ‘15s, even in cases where they have the stuffing and balance to age well. (And my further tastings in Burgundy in January suggest that many of the ‘16s are gaining in weight and structure during their final months of élevage without losing their verve.)” – Steve Tanzer
“Pascal Marchand, formerly of Domaine Comte Armand and Domaine de la Vougeraie, has founded his own domaine and négociant operation with financial partner Moray Tawse. With respect to the 2016 vintage, Marchand succinctly noted that “it was a much tougher growing season than the calm one we enjoyed in 2015 because of frost and mildew. But the second half of the season was much easier though we were so worried about what little yield remained that it was impossible to relax. I have been doing this in Burgundy a long time now and I can tell you that I don’t ever remember being so relieved to finally get to the beginning of a harvest without having suffered any additional problems! The fruit was clean and ripe and there was almost no chaptalization plus the wines were easy to vinify. I used a varying about of whole clusters, which basically means from none at all to pretty much 100% for a few wines to everything in between. I really like the style of the 2016s as they both fresh and refreshing plus the wines are super-transparent.” – Allan Meadows
“Just as the Marchand-Tawse 2016s are very good to excellent, not surprisingly so are the Domaine Tawse wines and particularly so from the Côte de Beaune.” -Allan Meadows
LE MENU: all wines listed in the regular Menu portion are from the 2016 vintage, unless specified otherwise….
Bourgogne rouge 47N – The annual “reserve” Bourgogne wine, 47N, is this year culled from Marsannay, Premeaux, Vosne, and some of the Beaune Clos du Roi, among other morsels. This was the first wine tasted, and was plainly delicious in its purity, spice, moderation, pallor, and lightly mouth watering salty finish. It was so good that it inspired a conversation about the finances of making such a wine, that serves moreso to introduce people to the estate than to really make any money. I posited that such an overachiever is a great investment, as this stuff is plain outstanding, and will have people coming back and climbing the ladder to get into what other goodies are in the kitchen…..Bravo team Tawse, especially winemaker Thomas Dinel on this one.
“A beautifully layered nose offers up notes of violet, red and dark currant and earth. There is notably better volume and complexity to the delicious and moderately robust flavors that also display a touch of rusticity on the lingering and balanced finish. This is a first-rate example of the genre and highly recommended. (87-89)/2021+” Allan Meadows
Pommard villages Vignots – I didn’t get to taste this, but based on what I did taste from team Tawse’s Côte de Beaune goodness as well as their success in sniffing out very good single parcel villages level wines, this sounds like another humdinger.
“A perfumed and spicy nose speaks of plum, dark cherry and a whiff of earth. The perfumed character can also be found on the delicious medium-bodied flavors that are also succulent and fleshy before concluding in a complex, mineral-driven and beautifully long finish. This is an excellent Pommard villages that should age well over the course of the next decade and is worth your attention. (89-92)/2024+” Allan Meadows
“(from 80-year-old vines at the top of the hill; 100% destemmed and aging in 25% new oak): Good dark red. Pure but restrained aromas of redcurrant and licorice. Juicy and surprisingly pliant, offering intense flavors of red fruits, iron and olive. With its creamy old-vines concentration and sappy ripeness, this is an alluring, sweet expression of Pommard. Finishes very long, with suave, ripe, mouthdusting tannins and lovely lingering perfume. Terrific fruit intensity for Pommard villages.” 90-92 Steve Tanzer
Morey Saint Denis villages Rue de Vergy 3 barrels, aka 75cs made- I have been a big fan of this upper slope, single parcel villages level bottling from the tippy top of the appellation for its treble mineral core, with Morey fruit/savory food groups to accompany. This year’s was once again something to seek out expressly, with gorgeous pale and pretty red fruited quality and undeniable salty mineral driving core. This is wonderfully delicate and Chambolle like with a kiss of Morey savory and spices…..folks, load up on this…..60% whole cluster this year.
“Reduction. The noticeably more refined middle weight flavors brim with minerality though not nearly the same size, weight and power before terminating in a lilting, lacy and saline-infused finish. This is textbook and really pretty. (88-91)/2022+” Allan Meadows
“(from a full crop; vinified with 40% whole clusters): Good bright red. Laid-back, slightly medicinal nose hints at cranberry and herbs. A wine of modest flesh, and quite tight and dry in the early going owing to its sound acidity and limestone lift. The lightly herbal character, which may be partly a function of the whole clusters, carries through to the somewhat clenched but not overly tannic finish. I would have picked this blind as a Chambolle.” 88-91 Steve Tanzer
Gevrey Chambertin villages En Champs – I didn’t get to taste this one this year, but it sounds terrific.
“This is compositionally similar to the straight Gevrey but with even better complexity. There is a slightly finer mouthfeel to the concentrated medium-bodied flavors that exude a subtle minerality on the firm, austere and impressively lingering finish. The supporting tannins are dense but fine and this excellent effort should easily be able to reward a decade plus of cellaring. Recommended. (90-92)/2026+” Allan Meadows
“(100% destemmed; two of the three barrels were new): Saturated bright, dark red. Pungent aromas of raspberry, dried herbs, menthol and minerals. Savory, dry and tightly wound, with its red berry and menthol flavors showing cooler notes of menthol and licorice. This tight, backward, firmly tannic wine will need time in bottle to open.” 89-92 Steve Tanzer
Vosne Romanée villages Champs Perdrix – 3 barrels, aka 75cs made – This was the first wine that we tasted out of barrel after tasting the Bourgogne out of tank. Mark chose to show this wine first as it is a wine that they made without any sulfur, with roughly 30% whole clusters, from the upper slope villages level parcel Champs Perdrix that sits above/next to the 1er cru Reignots/Petits Monts, and above the Grand cru la Grande Rue; this is a rarity and quite a treat! There was a smidge of reduction, but I was still all giddy from its self-evident airy delicacy and spice both aromatically and in the mouth, telltale airy mineral finesse on the finish….I was quite excited to be offered what I can…..my fascination on this trip with sulfurless vinifications/elevage continued with this one……this is likely a one-shot deal, not to be made again, so get it while you can, I suppose.
“Reduction dwarfs the underlying fruit. There is a finer mouthfeel, along with notably more minerality, to the medium weight flavors that are also more precise but at the expense of richness on the slightly hard, indeed even strict finish. To be fair there is a lot of gas present and this is frankly hard to read today. (87-89?)/2022+” Allan Meadows
“(vinified with 30% whole clusters and aging in 30% new oak; the first vintage for this wine at Marchand-Tawse, from vines at the top of the slope): Moderately deep medium red. Lightly perfumed aromas of red raspberry and enticing oak spices show little trace of the stem component. Juicy, penetrating and light on its feet, conveying subtle soil tones to its flavors of red berries and dried flowers. Lighter and less pliant today than the “regular” Vosne-Romanée but longer and more perfumed, offering good intensity without any impression of weight. This fairly acidic village wine started out a bit lean, noted winemaker Dinel, but is gaining in Vosne-typical floral character” 89-91 Steve Tanzer
Nuits Saint Georges 1er cru Perrières – This is a wine that I have been buying for years from team Marchand-Tawse, as it is a perennial star that transcends the stereotype of “rustic, sturdy” Nuits Saint Georges. This is all about upper slope, minerality driven finesse….I didn’t get to try this year’s example out of barrel, but it sounds like it is spot on based on Allan and Steve’s impressions.
“(from a crop level of 35 hectoliters per hectare; completely destemmed): Bright red with ruby tones. Inviting aromas of raspberry, licorice and crushed rock, plus a sexy suggestion of stone fruits. Intensely flavored, fine-grained limestone wine with terrific chalky urgency to its red berry fruit. The very long, rising finish features noble building tannins and a light touch.” 91-93 Steve Tanzer
“Here there is no reductive funk detracting from the agreeably fresh and ripe red berry fruit aromas that are liberally laced with earth and floral nuances. The rich and impressively voluminous full-bodied flavors retain a lovely sense of delineation and energy while delivering lovely persistence on the saline-inflected finish. (90-92)/2026+” Allan Meadows
Morey Saint Denis 1er cru Clos des Ormes – This one is another perennial pet favorite from Morey (where they have been very strong house specialty for many years, a trend that I am told may not last much longer….), that in year’s past was made in an even more delicate, pale and pretty style that is swoon worthy. This year, they decided to work the wine a bit more, including 25% whole cluster, and the same pale and pretty face is in ’16 given greater stuffing and structure. Mark mentioned that he things that the infusion style that team Tawse has historically used for many of the wines, whilst flatteringly accessible, may leave some things out. This was a great example of that point of view, as I can’t deny that there is more depth in this year’s Clos des Ormes, which was already a great wine in the lineup. My note : “WOW. The same kernel of stunning fruit purity that I perennially find here is now given even more finessed tension by working the wine a bit more. This is fantastic.” I gave this one a little *.
“This was so firmly reduced that the reductive funk extended to the palate as well, which is never a good sign. While this could well clean up, it’s pointless to guess. Not Rated.” Allan Meadows
Morey Saint Denis 1er cru Millandes – Another perennial Morey star, the Millandes featured zero whole cluster, with a deeper, more meaty personality, its structure coming across even finer than the Clos des Ormes. A broad and deep wine. This is very very good, once again.
“Like the Clos des Ormes, this was so firmly reduced that the reductive funk extended to the palate as well, which is always worrisome. While this could well clean up, it’s again pointless to guess. Not Rated.” Allan Meadows
“(20% vendange entier; 25% new oak): Good full red. Reduced nose suggests musky strawberry and miso soup. A step up in flesh and power over the Clos des Ormes and Faconnières but showing much more savory soil character than primary fruit in the early going. Boasts a thicker, denser texture but hard to taste now owing to the reduction. This fairly large-scaled, deep wine finishes saline and long, with an element of medicinal reserve as well more sweetness than the other two premier crus from Morey. The yield here was just 25 hectoliters per hectare in 2016, but winemaker Dinel noted that this very old parcel is missing a lot of vines. One of this producer’s richest premier crus in 2016.” 91-93 Steve Tanzer
Morey Saint Denis 1er cru Faconnières – This year’s Faconnières continues the Morey hit parade, with this year’s iteration including 60% whole clusters. In its driving precise balance between sappy and savory light black fruits with a driving mineral core, all in harmony and precision, this is very very good, and kinda text book Faconnières. Another little * here.
“(made with 30% whole bunches; from soil that features a lot of clay): Medium red. Riper and more serious on the nose than the Clos des Ormes, offering pure but discreet aromas of red raspberry and rose petal. Then quite dry and saline on the palate if not particularly fleshy, with flavors similar to the aromas. Not hugely concentrated or fleshy but offers lovely inner-mouth perfume and finishes with serious toothdusting tannins.” 89-92 Steve Tanzer
Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Champeaux – I didn’t get to taste this, but it should prove to be an awesome contrast with the Domaine Tawse (former Maume) version!!!
“A ripe, fresh and cool nose is composed by notes of red currant, plum, earth and humus wisps. There is at once excellent richness but also fine delineation to the mineral-driven middle weight flavors that possess a relatively refined if muscular mouthfeel, all wrapped in an austere, serious and once again very serious finale that also argues for extended keeping. (91-93)/2028+” Allan Meadows
“Good red-ruby color. Very ripe nose melds blackberry, violet, licorice pastille, fruitcake and bitter chocolate; there’s something a bit exotic here. Dense, rich and thick, but with its volume leavened by harmonious acidity and noteworthy mineral thrust. At once powerful and penetrating, this wine finishes firm and very long, with medicinal dark berry and dark chocolate notes and ripe, well-buffered tannins. Has the strong material to support a slow and graceful evolution in bottle.” 91-94 Steve Tanzer
Pommard 1er cru Rugiens – I didn’t get to taste this, but it sounds awesome from Allan’s review…..
“(30% whole cluster). A discreet application of wood easily allows the cool and pure essence of red currant, lavender and violet aromas to be appreciated. The rich, powerful and admirably concentrated flavors flash plenty of minerality on the muscular and markedly firm, youthfully austere and very serious finale. This is a big take-no-prisoners Rugiens and one that should effortlessly age for years to come. In a word, terrific. (91-94)/2031+”Allan Meadows
“(the first vintage for Rugiens from Marchand-Tawse, from 60- and 25-year-old vines on the middle of the hillside; vinified with 30% whole clusters): Good dark red. Highly aromatic scents of redcurrant, pomegranate and orange zest are complicated by a suggestion of white fruits. Boasts terrific intensity and clarity to its complex flavors of red berries, flowers and salty minerals. Not a fleshy style but animated, precise and very long, with fine-grained tannins that dust the front teeth. Stands out for its energy and light touch.” 91-93 Steve Tanzer
Vosne Romanée 1er cru la Combe Brûlée 1 barrel made – From the minute 1er cru portion of the already small upper slope Combe Brûlée parcel (Bruno Clavelier makes a wine from the village level portion, and it is one of his best parlor tricks/teaching techniques to strike the rocks together, its telltale smoky aromas undeniable to any schoolkid), I was psyched when I saw the single barrel of this in the cellar. Once in the glass, this was a plain knockout, with the upper register, treble aromatics including florals, spice, and the tell tale smokiness of Brûlées (literally “burnt” in French). In the mouth, it had a terrific sense of precision and intensity between its fruit sappiness, weightless poise, and intense signature smoky minerality. This is a quintessential example that is not to be missed!! A little * awarded here.
Vosne Romanée 1er cru Petits Monts 1 barrel made – The airy upper slope delicacy of Vosne Petits Monts is all about weightless charm and red fruited perfume, florals, light minerality, and spice. This is the first time team Tawse has been able to offer this wine since 2011 when it was from Maxime Cheurlin, and I was psyched to notice it sitting alongside its Vosne brethren. It is certainly très Petits Monts in its pale delicacy and perfume, with weightless echoing perfume and light minerality on the finish. For those who adore the weightless delicacy of such a wine, this is up your alley. If you want density and power, this is not the right tool…….
2016 Vosne Romanée 1er cru Suchots – Again, the Vosnes this year are fantastic here…..this was a knockout. Period. A little * awarded here. 1 barrel made.
“(100% whole cluster). An ultra-floral and strikingly spicy nose flashes a variety of red berry aromas that are laced with hints of Asian-style tea and a whiff of sandalwood. The lavishly rich, dense and wonderfully seductive medium weight plus flavors also possess plenty of sappy dry extract that coats the palate on the gorgeously persistent and well-balanced finish. This is very Suchots in style and it too will require patience. (92-94)/2028+” Allan Meadows
“(vinified entirely with whole clusters): Bright medium red. Slightly exotic, perfumed scents of black raspberry, coffee and aromatic herbs. Wonderfully silky, dense and concentrated, conveying excellent lift to its very intense crushed raspberry and floral flavors. Offers an uncanny combination of thickness and penetration for the vintage. Finishes firmly tannic and very long, with compelling perfume.” 92-94 Steve Tanzer
2014 Vosne Romanée 1er cru Suchots – Team Tawse is letting me dip into the restaurant reserves cookie jar, with a few other vintages of the single barrel of Suchots made in both ’14 and ’13….. :0 Not too shabby!
“(fashioned with 100% whole clusters). Here the expressive nose is exuberantly floral and spicy with an airy and cool array of plum, cassis and sandalwood scents. There is impressive richness to the very generously proportioned and concentrated medium weight plus flavors that are velvety yet distinctly powerful, all wrapped in a super-intense finale that just goes on and on. This beauty is also built-to-age and is going to need plenty of it. (91-94)/2029+” Allan Meadows
“(the only one of these 2014s that was vinified with 100% whole clusters): Dark red-ruby. Complex, inviting perfume of black raspberry, lavender, pepper and garrigue. Fine-grained, velvety and thick, showing a superripe dark chocolate note to the berry, spice and pepper flavors. Finishes with strong, ripe tannins and excellent mineral support. This fruit was picked at 12. 7% potential alcohol, among the highest of these 2014s, and chaptalized very little. Marchand told me that the tiny berries here always attain full phenolic ripeness and that the stems are very delicate. I may be underrating the potential of this very rich wine.” 91-93 Steve Tanzer
2013 Vosne Romanée 1er cru Suchots
“(just a single new 280-liter barrel of this juice, which was vinified with 100% whole clusters): Captivating aromas of black raspberry, dark chocolate and sexy smoky oak; reminded me a bit of a top Côte-Rôtie. Sappy, dense and sweet, showing terrific concentration to the penetrating flavors of black raspberry, chocolate, flowers and spices. The crop level from these vines in the upper part of the cru was 25 hectoliters per hectare, according to Pascal Marchand. Superb potential.” 91-93 Steve Tanzer
Corton Grand cru 3 barrels, aka 75cs made – This is a perennial superstar bottling that continues its trend of overachieving status. I was told this year’s is from Renardes (not Rognets as in Allan’s note), entirely destemmed. In power meets broad shouldered finesse, this is class in a glass, obviously. Get what you can. A little * awarded here.
“(from Rognets). Reduction. By contrast there is fine freshness and excellent underlying tension present on the powerful and precise broad-shouldered flavors that culminate in a hugely long and well-balanced finish. This is quite backward though not particularly austere and could even be approached after 7 to 8 years. (91-94)/2028+” Allan Meadows
Echezeaux Grand cru – This Echezeaux is f’in fantastic, with an exceptional degree of explosiveness and concentration that was plain dazzling. I found the same in the Mugneret Gibourg sisters’ example, as the minuscule yields, I believe, has rendered an exceptionally intense crop of Echezeaux wines. Don’t miss this. A little * awarded here.
“(from Les Treux and Rouge du Bas). This is also reduced but not nearly to the same degree as the Clos St. Denis. Otherwise the rich, juicy and solidly concentrated flavors that possess a caressing mouthfeel that carries over to the sappy, firm and beautifully complex and persistent finish where the only nit is a hint of warmth. This too is really quite good and like the Corton, should be approachable after only 7 to 8 years of bottle age. (92-94)/2028+” Allan Meadows
“(Marchand-Tawse made this wine from Les Grands Poulaillères for three years but the fruit here was wiped out by frost in 2016, and thus this wine comes from 75-year-old vines in Les Rouges du Bas; 100% destemmed): Healthy dark red. Highly perfumed aromas and flavors of raspberry, brown spices, menthol and licorice. Juicy, penetrating Echézeaux with lovely inner-mouth lift and refinement. The wine’s weight is perfectly leavened by ripe, integrated acidity. Finishes firmly tannic and long, with considerable class.” 92-94 Steve Tanzer
2016 Clos de la Roche Grand cru 2 barrels, aka 50cs made – Alongside the Clos Saint Denis, this is a perennial wowie zowie gotta-have-it player, part of the historical house strength in Morey Saint Denis purchases. This year’s is no exception, as it had the small crowd of tasters in audible moans and groans as the yum yum factor pressed all the right buttons. In depth and complexity between its fruit/mineral/savory food groups, a gorgeous success. A little * awarded here.
2014 Clos de la Roche Grand cru
“Reduction completely obscures the other aromas. As is usually the case the big-bodied flavors possess more size, weight and power and I particularly like the intensity flashed by the austere and backward yet remarkably deep and long finish. This is an imposing yet well-balanced effort that should age effortlessly for years to come. (92-95)/2029+” Allan Meadows
“Bright, dark red. Compelling floral lift to the aromas of strawberry, raspberry, mocha and smoky oak; like the last few grand crus, this is aging in 50% new oak. Musky and powerful on the palate, displaying lovely saline complexity to the raspberry and brown spice flavors. Penetrating and very long on the back end, with the salty character following through. From the same 50-year-old planting and the same grower as the Clos Saint-Denis; both vineyards were also harvested on the same day.” 92-95 Steve Tanzer
2016 Clos Saint Denis Grand cru 3 barrels, aka 75cs made – In each and every year, I consider the Marchand-Tawse Clos Saint Denis and Clos de la Roche as blind, no-brainer, outstanding examples, a trend that reliably continues here. 25% whole clusters this year. This is the stunningly pure, spherically expansive yet weightless face of Clos Saint Denis at its best, the reason that the village itself takes its name. Get what you can justify, and thank me later. A little * awarded here.
“(13.4% alcohol; from what Thomas Dinel described as well-placed 65-year-old vines; vinified with 25% whole clusters and aging in two-thirds new oak): Bright medium red. Pungent aromas and flavors of red berries, crushed stone and rose petal. Silky, tactile and thick, combining a deep sweetness with penetrating acidity and saline minerality. Boasts superb volume for young Clos Saint-Denis but also outstanding energy. Really saturates the palate and vibrates on the very long aftertaste. A splendid Clos Saint-Denis in the making.” 93-95 Steve Tanzer
2013 Clos Saint Denis Grand cru
“(all destemmed; 50% new oak): Bright red. Musky aromas of strawberry, raspberry and redcurrant. Densely packed and juicy, conveying excellent sappy lift to the wild red berry flavors. Not yet especially intense–in fact this is a fruit bomb today–but the wine’s energy and whiplash of a finish suggest that it will blossom beautifully with time in the cellar.” 91-94 Steve Tanzer
Domaine Tawse: The estate program at Domaine Tawse continues to evolve with ever more impressive results, a constantly rising high bar for what is possible under their well executed biodynamic regime. Both the former Maume wines (now simply labelled Domaine Tawse) made by Mark Fincham, as well as the Côte de Beaune wines, continue to clearly illustrate best-in-class results, with knockouts across the board in 2016. I literally gave all but one of these wines a little *, and if you know me and the occasions when the alarm bells have gone off across the board, you know that I have always been spot on……You can shoot blind at any of these wines below and come up aces. Unfortunately, the insanely tiny yields of the Côte de Beaune wines are a big time limiting factor, but I will spread it around as best I can…….plain BRAVO to everybody at team Tawse!!!
Beaune 1er cru Tuvilains 3 barrels, aka 75 cases made – From the very first vineyard to enter into the estate red wine production, this has been a solid and completely loveable pet favorite of mine since I bought a ton of the 2012 version. This year, there were only 3 barrels made, so I am only getting two cases…..this year’s was outstandingly charming, just plain gorgeous and pure. A little * awarded here.
“Here there is no reductive funk on the floral-infused red berry fruit aromas that introduce succulent and surprisingly refined middle weight flavors that flash only a trace of rusticity on the balanced and lingering finish. Tuvilains is rarely anything other than overtly rustic yet that is not the case with this pretty example. (89-92)/2023+” Allan Meadows
Beaune 1er cru Clos du Roi – I didn’t get to try this, but it doesn’t surprise me that it was a knockout…..
“(this made 1 ½ barrels instead of 13 normally; 40% whole cluster). An ultra-fresh and markedly floral nose combines notes of earth with those of a variety of red berries. There is excellent volume and seriously good density to the relatively powerful full-bodied flavors that brim with sappy dry extract that enrobes the moderately firm tannins on the impressively long finish. Clos du Roi rarely gets better than this though it’s a shame that there is so little of it. (90-93)/2024+” Allan Meadows
Savigny les Beaune 1er cru les Lavières . 2 barrels made, aka 50 cases – This is a holy moly concentrated example that illustrates in the best way what is possible from strict natural yields….this is omfg good. A little star * awarded here.
“(this parcel produced only 2 barrels instead of 17 normally; 100% whole cluster). A wonderfully complex, fresh and again ultra-floral nose flashes plenty of spice and earth nuances on the dark berry fruit aromas. There is terrific intensity to the vibrant and utterly delicious, dense and minerally medium-bodied flavors that deliver first-rate persistence on the beautifully balanced finish. In the same fashion as the Clos du Roi, Les Lavières rarely gets better than this. If you can find it, buy it. (91-94)/2026+” Allan Meadows
Volnay 1er cru Fremiets – From the upper portion of Fremiets, next to Henri Boillot, this is telltale upper slope, finesse and mineral driven Fremiets, all about grace as opposed to power. Next to the thunderclap of concentration in the Lavières, this is one cool cucumber, très zen. A little star * awarded here.
“(50% whole cluster). Cassis flower style reduction. There is a really lovely mouthfeel to the sleek, intense and beautifully well-detailed middle weight flavors that brim with minerality on the gorgeously refined finish that delivers sneaky good length. Textbook Frémiets. (91-93)/2026+” Allan Meadows
Bourgogne Vigne Blanche – The single parcel Bourgogne Vigne blanche is particularly delicate and light this year, definitely showing its white soiled minerally origins, but with a leaner sense of flesh than in the past two vintages. This is still an everyday value extraordinaire, but not quite as fleshy/gourmand as in the past two vintages. I very much appreciated its delicacy.
Gevrey Chambertin villages – This is the year that any mention of Maume will no longer feature on the labels featuring the former estate’s vines. This year’s blend hails from the villages portion of the Clos Prieur, lots of vines in the stonier les Crais, as well as the vines mentioned by Allan in his review below. Vine ages are between 20-55 years, with 20-25 new oak used. As an knee jerk, intuitive reaction: “Gorgeous. Classic Gevrey meaty notes, intense florals, medium plus body, with a fine well enrobed mineral core giving this drive. This is gorgeously precise and measured. Gorgeous!”. I think you can tell that I like it…..As an intro to the kinds of results that Mark has diligently built upon here, as well as the virtues of 2016’s sense of poise and freshness, I couldn’t ask for more. Bravo Mark! A little * awarded here.
“(from a combination of Murots, Etelois, Combes, Grandes Rayes and La Justice). Heavy reduction dwarfs the fruit today. Otherwise there is both good freshness and verve to the delicious and well-delineated flavors that possess fine depth and good minerality on the lingering but not really rustic finish. Worth checking out. (89-91)/2022+” Allan Meadows
“(14 barrels produced, vs. a normal 21; 15% vendange entier): Healthy dark red. Expressive aromas and flavors of smoky raspberry, plum and spices complicated by musky minerality. Silky, sweet and easygoing, but with nothing overripe about it. Ripe tannins will not get in the way of this plush wine’s early appeal.” 88-91 Steve Tanzer
Gevrey Chambertin En Pallud – Mark was able to continue to make two single parcel villages wines, with the En Pallud being the deeper soiled, clay rich parcel of 55 year old vines that performed accordingly: “Deep, rich, savory, an expression of the sturdy Bass low end of things, to impressive results. Terrific and a classic image of En Pallud.” A little * awarded here.
“Reduction. Once again there is good freshness and punch to be found on the solidly concentrated flavors that are supported by slightly firmer tannins on the mildly rustic and youthfully austere finish. This too is worth considering. (89-91)/2023+” Allan Meadows
“(14% natural alcohol; these vines, ranging in age from 55 to 80 years, produced just half of a normal crop in 2016, according to winemaker Mark Fincham): Bright, dark red. Somewhat wild scents of black raspberry, smoke, black olive and minerals. Dense, juicy and youthfully imploded, with its tight dark fruit and rose petal flavors conveying a strong impression of energy. Not currently displaying the give of the Etelois, this wine finishes with a hint of game and slightly dusty tannins. Fincham likes this better than I do today, but it should benefit from a racking.” 89-92 Steve Tanzer
Gevrey Chambetin Ételois – The airier and delicate Ételois (from far stonier, well drained soils) followed suite, its slightly darker color leading to a sappy griotte cherry fruit tone, with a sense of brightness and more mineral driven composition. This was downright stunning to my taste, as I dropped a “fuckin’ gorgeous” in my tasting note, a very technical term. ;0 Get what you can justify, and thank me later…..a little * awarded here. 20% whole cluster this year.
“(vinified with 10% whole clusters): Healthy dark red. Black raspberry, smoky minerality and a suggestion of roasted coffee on the nose. Plush, sweet and intense but showing more mineral grip and savory complexity than the basic village offering. Less easygoing but equally sexy wine, offering noteworthy tight-grained density of texture and more length than the preceding sample.” 89-92 Steve Tanzer
Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Champeaux 5 barrels made, aka 125 cases – Both of the 1er crus here are, to my taste, pure class in a glass, both classic renditions of their sites, as well as harnessing the strengths of the vintage. My note on the Champeaux : “With the cool treble precision of the Combe de Lavaut between its layered fruit/floral/mineral interplay, and its kiss of the wild both in savory/meaty/light herb tones, this is stunningly good stuff, with plain fantastic precision and length. BRAVO Mark! ” A little * awarded here….
“Reduction. The driving middle weight flavors are blessed with a plentitude of sappy dry extract as well as plenty of minerality on the much more finely textured finish that is both longer and more complex. Good stuff that should drink well after only a few years yet reward a decade plus of aging. (90-93)/2026+” Allan Meadows
“(40% vendange entier; this vineyard at 400 meters was harvested on October 4, with a normal crop level): Dark red with ruby tones. Sexy, wild Gevrey perfume combines black raspberry, game and earth. Silky on entry, then firm and masculine in the middle palate, with its concentrated flavors of dark berries, licorice and gibier displaying a welcome touch of sweetness. Finishes with ripe tannins and excellent palate-saturating length.” 91-93 Steve Tanzer
Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Lavaux Saint Jacques 4 barrels made, aka 100 cases – Again, this is as good as it gets to my taste…from vines that stretch the full hillside, on both the upper and lower slope, the contrast in hot/cold between the two parts of the parcel and the influence of the cool air currents of the Combe de Lavaut proves to be a fascinating case-in-microclimate-point (as Mark says) of the endlessly fascinating subtlety of Burgundy (I say). The sense of tiny fruited, power-without-weight, upper register mineral driven fashion, this is plain gorgeous and classic, one that will be a delight to see evovle in the longer haul. A little * awarded here.
“Reduction. As would be expected there is more size, weight and power to the middle weight plus flavors that also brim with dry extract and minerality before culminating in a youthfully austere and beautifully complex finish that delivers seriously good length. In contrast to the Champeaux that should drink reasonably well in its youth, this will require extended patience. (91-93)/2028+” Allan Meadows
“(13.5% alcohol; just 25 hectoliters produced, from vines picked on October 3; completely destemmed): Very ripe aromas and flavors of black raspberry and smoked meat are complicated by a Mazis-like rocky quality as well as some roasted torrefaction. Wonderfully sweet, concentrated, thick wine with the integrated acidity to give it excellent definition and cut. Finishes quite dry and classic, with subtle persistence. I love the balance here between warm and cooler elements. Bernard Maume retained ownership of this vineyard, and Marchand-Tawse has a métayage arrangement under which they do all of the vineyard work and vinification and return one-third of the bottles.” 92-94 Steve Tanzer
Mazoyeres Chambertin Grand cru 2 barrels made, aka 50 cases – From the very last vineyard picked both by team Tawse and in all of Burgundy (Mark says), this presented drop dead, black-hole bottomless aromatics of deep purple florals and blue/light black fruits; I could smell this all day long….Mark mentioned that they manually destemmed every berry to get even the little pieces of stem jacks out using tweezers. Its texture is positively of velour, with the intensity and purity being absolutely gorgeous, pure harmony, ever rising expansiveness, and zen power without weight. Class in a glass!!! BRAVO!!! A little * awarded here.
“Reduction though this appears to be quite ripe. Otherwise there is excellent mid-palate concentrated and richness to the full-bodied and robust flavors that possess a supple mid-palate that contrasts with the muscular, sappy and markedly firm finish that flirts with rusticity but not really austerity. (91-94)/2028+” Allan Meadows
“(14.3% alcohol; from a normal crop, harvested on October 8 after some rain; one of the two barrels was new; 100% destemmed): Bright, dark red with ruby tones. Vibrant aromas of black cherry and licorice are accented by a stony nuance. Then tight and backward, even a bit youthfully medicinal, but without any hard edges to its dark berry, mineral and licorice flavors. Finishes with building tannins. Winemaker Fincham noted that this was the closest to “an infusion wine” here in 2016 as he carried out a very light extraction. But I still wanted more fruit.” 92-94 Steve Tanzer
Mazis Chambertin Grand cru – From three separate parcels totalling ,7 hectares in Mazis-Bas, this has been a reference point bottling for decades under the Maume watch. I feel that under team Tawse and Mark’s care, the bar is being raised ever higher. This year’s includes 30% whole cluster. This is much quieter/less demonstrative than the sexy time Mazoyères, but you can even smell the calcaire chalky implosiveness to come.
“(from Mazis-Bas). Firm reduction. There is outstanding richness and drive to the powerful and seriously intense broad-shouldered flavors that possess superb mid-palate density as there is an impressive abundance of dry extract, all wrapped in a linear and terrifically persistent finish. This robust and moderately rustic effort is going to require extended cellaring to resolve what are presently very firm supporting tannins. (92-94)/2031+” Allan Meadows
“(the yield of 30 hectoliters per hectare was down slightly from normal; harvested on October 4 and vinified with 50% whole clusters; almost half of these vines were planted in 1929): Bright, dark red. Wild, multidimensional aromas of dark raspberry, truffle, black olive, game and espresso; a real essence of Gevrey. Wonderfully sweet but firm on the palate, conveying outstanding definition to its intense flavors of black cherry, spices, minerals and game. Combines compelling depth of flavor with a powerful tannic backbone and great length. I was especially struck by how much cleaner (i.e., brett-free) this wine was than many older vintages of the bottling–and with no loss of aromatic range or personality.” 93-96 Steve Tanzer
Le Musigny Grand cru
“(from a .10 ha parcel that produced 300 liters). A mildly toasty nose offers up a wonderful array of spice elements on the notably floral red berry fruit aromas. The sleek and satin-textured big-bodied flavors possess a highly sophisticated mouthfeel while exhibiting abundant minerality on the youthfully austere and once again terrifically persistent finish. This classy effort is also clearly built-to-age and like the Mazis is going to need extended keeping. (92-95)/2031+” Allan Meadows
“(no frost here, but there’s just a single new 300-liter barrel of this juice): Moderately saturated medium red. Slightly reduced aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, strawberry, plum and earth. Then wonderfully silky and sweet in the mouth, boasting terrific volume and complicating saline mineral tones to its flavors of red berries and dried flowers. Finishes with very suave tannins and superb persistence. This wine appears already to have absorbed its new oak.” 93-95 Steve Tanzer
Clos Saint Denis Grand cru ’14
Clos de la Roche Grand cru ’14
Clos de la Roche Grand cru ’15
Echezeaux Grand cru ’15
Echezeaux Grand cru ’14
Corton Grand cru ’14
Corton Grand cru ’13
Clos de Vougeot Grand cru ’14
Bonnes Mares Grand cru ’13
Clos de Beze Grand cru ’11
Le Musigny Grand cru ’13
Beaune 1er cru Tuvilains ’12
Beaune 1er cru Tuvilains ’13
Beaune 1er cru Tuvilains ’14
Beaune 1er cru Tuvilains ’15
Beaune 1er cru Teurons ’15
Savigny les Beaune 1er cru Lavieres ’15
Volnay 1er cru Fremiets ’15
Nuits Saint Georges 1er cru Perrieres ’11
Nuits Saint Georges 1er cru Perrieres ’12
Morey Saint Denis 1er Clos des Ormes ’12
Morey Saint Denis 1er Clos des Ormes ’13
Morey Saint Denis 1er Clos des Ormes ’14
Morey Saint Denis 1er Clos des Ormes ’15
Morey Saint Denis villages En Pierre Virant ’12
Morey Saint Denis villages En Pierre Virant ’13
Morey Saint Denis villages Rue de Vergy ’14
Morey Saint Denis 1er Faconnieres ’14
Morey Saint Denis 1er Faconnieres ’15
Morey Saint Denis 1er Millandes ’14
Morey Saint Denis 1er Millandes ’15
Gevrey Chambertin villages ’13
Gevrey Chambertin villages Sans Soufre ’15
Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Cazetiers ’13
Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Cazetiers ’15
Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Bel Air ’15
Vosne Romanée 1er Suchots ’11
Chambolle Musigny villages ’12
Fixin villages ’12
Chassagne Montrachet villages rouge ’11
Bourgogne Vigne blanche ’15
Bourgogne rouge ’12
Bourgogne blanc ’12
In stock whites, all estate owned/farmed:
Savigny les Beaune 1er Vergelesses blanc ’14
Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Abbaye de Morgeot ’12
Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Abbaye de Morgeot ’14
Puligny Montrachet 1er cru Champs Gains ’12
Puligny Montrachet 1er cru Champs Gains ’14
I have for years now been pounding the drum that this motley crew is a force to be reckoned with, as the results in the glass continue to offer both some of the greatest overachieving values as well as the highest of high bars for excellence that you will find at any address on the Côte. Get it while the gettin’ is good, y’all!!!
CHEERS TO TEAM MARCHAND-TAWSE, CONTINUING TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN BURGUNDIAN BEAUTY!!! TO THEIR KNOCKOUT 2016S!!!