Domaine de la Romanee-Conti
By George Stewart

After the first three days we can happily report that the 2015 vintage has shown indications of living up to its hype! Following on from the well-received 2014 vintage was always going to be a difficult ask, and the expectations inevitably brought on by the year of 5s superstition along with the strong vintages of Bordeaux and Rhône didn’t serve to lower the bar.

The general consensus is that 2015 is a very strong vintage, in particular for the reds after a long, warm and dry summer drew comparisons with 2009 and 2010. Fortunately the drought conditions that persisted through to late July. Finally, with the vines on the brink of hydraulic stress, the rains arrived on the 22nd. In truth, the timing could not have been more perfect for the rain. It allowed the reds and white to develop some of the ripeness of the 2009s but saved the acidity levels, averting the risk of flabby structure. As a result, perhaps a comparison to 2010 is a bit more apt.

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"The general consensus is that 2015 is a very strong vintage, in particular for the reds..."

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Monday and Tuesday we visited three Noëllats, Hudelot, Michel and Georges. Hudelot-Noëllat, under the control of ever-ascending star winemaker Charles Van Canneyt showed that after a beautiful 2014 vintage, what the domaine is capable of in a warmer year. The results were thrilling. Georges Noëllat is another star in Vosne-Romanée being made by a young, energetic winemaker, Maxime Cheurlin. The Wines are as they were last year, completely compelling for the long term. Michel Noëllat was a new one for us this year and completed the hayrick of Noëllat Success in the Cotes de Nuits. The hallmarks in all three were immense purity of fruit that is difficult to overstate.

As good as the reds are, don't you dare write off the whites! In these few days we've already seen incredible whites from Puligny, Chassagne and appellations like Saint-Aubin and Meusault. Standouts included Morey-Coffinet, Marc Colin and Jean-Michel Chartron. These three showed that while 2015 may go down as a red-heavy vintage, the whites also have the potential for greatness. The same held true when we met Wednesday morning with our favourite Micro-Negociant, Benjamin Leroux.

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"As good as the reds are, don't you dare write off the whites!"

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One of the great surprises this vintage are the quantity of rising stars among growers we visited for the first time. In addition to the aforementioned Michel Noëllat, we paid a visit to Amelie Berthaud in Fixin; a village she is championing to great effect. Her wines have moved away from the classic rusticity the village is known for and towards a more purity-driven, focussed style that puts her family’s domaine up in the top 1% of producers for sure.

This has also been a strong year for the Cote de Beaune as we saw with our very first visit to a new producer in Pommard; Launay Horiot. Made by former fighter pilot Xavier Horiot, these are beautiful Pommards and worth taking note. For those who pass on Pommards for fear of rusticity and hardness, these are a challenge to that stereotype.

We shall continue releasing our notes about this week’s visit over the coming days and weeks because there’s simply too much to list! Be sure to stay tuned and follow us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CruBurg2015