Coche Barrels.jpg
8.30 Monday morning in Burgundy can only mean one thing; a quick trip south of Beaune to taste some whites. We started with a producer new to me in the form of Jean Marc Boillot; a no nonsense Rugby fan who wasn’t short of a few opinions on the state of the game. These wines, especially his whites, were exceptional. A long fermentation and some lees stirring meant generous wines in a rather creamy style but with a mineral backbone and taut acidity that combine to offer real precision as well. The gorgeous 2011 Puligny Montrachet had a flinty element, reminiscent of the Leflaive style. That the concentrated style of his whites lends well to ageing was superbly demonstrated by a flawless bottle of 1992 Puligny Montrachet Combettes. This was a great reminder that fear of premox is robbing us of the immense pleasure of elegantly mature white Burgundy. His 2012s were showing surprisingly well at this stage and this looks like being a really great vintage, though sadly with small production (again). His 2011 Beaune 1er cru Epenots was yet another reminder that we should all be drinking the reds of Beaune for their charming fruit (and relatively meagre pricetag).

The wines of Coche-Bizouard were revelatory in both their quality and their value for money. Any estate with ‘Coche’ in its title is destined to draw unfair comparisons, but these are likely to become my go-to Meursaults. We were guided through the range by the ebullient Alain Coche, and it soon became clear that these wines manage to balance Meursault typicity with acidity and tension to provide wines of great precision. His cellar was filled with particularly interesting barrels (see photo)which were an indicator of the character of the wines inside. From the 2011s, highlights included the balanced Meursault Chevalieres and the textbook Meursault Villages, as well as a very serious Auxey Duresses. Whilst not a headline grabber in terms of scores, this is exceptional affordable Meursault for lovers of that village (including me).

Since 2007 or 2008, something has happened at Domaine Jean Grivot. Always a ‘name’ these are now among wines are now among Burgundy’s finest. To me, the wines offered exceptional density but retained a laid back style embued with a sense of place – basically what I want in my Burgundy. We only tasted 2011s here and highlights included an extremely expressive Vosne Romanee villages and a wonderfully pretty Chambolle Musigny Combe de Orveaux. At the top of the scale, a muscular Richebourg was very powerful for the vintage and was quite something. A 2002 Richebourg was a great treat to finish the day, with exceptional density that begs out for further cellaring.