Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Domaine Philippe Chavy 2009

After collecting the car and buying our baguette provisions for the day, the four of us squeezed into the Nissan something-or-other and headed off to Philippe’s place in Puligny - a good place to start three days of tasting. The ever youthful looking Philippe was in characteristically good form.

He seemed quite happy with the recently completed 2010 harvest – overall volume was down, but the general quality was good and there was no need to chaptalise (adding sugar prior to alcoholic fermentation to increase the finished alcohol - more common that you'd think in Burgundy!). He was slightly less enthusiastic about the recently bottled 2009’s we were about to taste. Philippe can always be relied upon to give an honest assessment of his own wines. He feels the ‘09’s are lacking a bit in acidity and prefers the fresher style of the 2008’s. He tends to bottle early (normally around 12 months after harvest) to maximise freshness and his wines exhibit a nice, open fruit-forward style.

I was beginning to understand (no pun intended) the complexities of conversing with a producer in French and then translating to English with the odd word in Slovenian thrown in! One of the first topics that came up was acidity – and it was to be a recurring theme. To Miro and Samo, the acidities seemed very high and a discussion ensued as to what the wines might taste like if they didn’t have the influence of oak – and was oak necessary to tame the acidity somewhat? It was ironic therefore that Philippe feels his 2009’s lack that extra zip of acidity! I regret not asking Philippe if he normally acidifies – next time.

As for the wines themselves, they were certainly stamped with the flavour of new oak, but the fruit structure was good in most cases and the wines were very pleasurable – if not overly complex. The Meursault “Narvaux” 2009 and the Puligny Villages 2009 were both textbook examples of the two communes. He does two very good lieu dits from Puligny as well – the “Corvees des Vignes” was a bit riper and more concentrated with a bit of heat on the finish whilst the “rue Rousseau” seemed to be a tiny bit reductive but has a nice linear and precise style.

As for pricing – it was the first stop of many where it would seem prices will rise by about 10% for the 2009’s.

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