Domaine de Courcel

According to Gilles de Courcel, “Temperatures were generally above normal all year. After a mild winter and hot spring, the thermometer reached 35 C. in June, the summer remained hot and there was a magnificent Indian summer. There was about 25% less rain than a normal year, but the regularity of the showers prevented any hydric stress. There was no frost, hail, storms nor diseases and the grapes were extremely healthy when the harvest began on 17th September. The resulting wines have great aromatic freshness and are rich and suave with great finesse.”

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Domaine du Clos Frantin

The Clos Frantin quality drive continues apace. Owned by the Bichot family, this small but perfectly formed domaine is chock-full of great vineyards and all the critics are now agreed that under the careful attention of Albéric Bichot their potential is being realised to great effect. The domaine is based in Nuits-St-Georges, although much of the élevage is carried out in the spacious cellars in Beaune. The wines have a great mix of voluptuousness and elegance with elegance winning the argument more often than not. Yields have been dropped in recent years and new oak management has been well handled. This is another successful vintage for the operation.

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Domaine Felettig

This fabulously run domaine has experienced a meteoric rise in its reputation over the last few vintages and is now one of the most highly reputed in the village. According to Gilbert, “In 2017, there was no frost and the vintage is about the same size as, but much better than, 2014. It was an easy, ideal, classic vintage – with maturity, freshness, sufficient acidity, no solaire aromas and very healthy fruit, which hardly needed to be sorted. The wines have taken on even more precision during elevage”. Chambolle was heavily frosted in 2016 and the vines compensated in 2017 – which he controlled by both de-budding and green harvest. Gilbert began harvesting on 8th September and concluded a week later. He destemmed entirely in 2017.

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Domaine FEUILLAT-JUILLOT, Montagny les Buxy

Françoise Feuillat-Juillot continues to make exemplary wines from her 16 hectares of prime vineyards in Montagny. Francoise told us "Summer 2017 was very dry, particularly in August and the expected rains only arrived in mid-September. The grapes matured very quickly and we had to harvest in haste at the beginning of September. There was little juice in the grapes and we were therefore down about 30% in volume. Despite the conditions, the wines have remained fresh, yet ample and rich."

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Domaine Hubert (Olivier) Lamy

Olivier was, again, badly hit by frost in 2017. What he did make was absolutely superb. “The end of winter was quite hot and then, on the 25th April, a large part of Saint-Aubin was frosted – especially the parcels of village and 1er cru vineyards on the lower slopes at the centre of the village. May and June were hot and dry – the flowering was completed rapidly and an early vintage was predicted. July saw a little rain and August was hot and dry – which allowed the grapes to reach perfect maturity. We began harvesting the whites on 25th August with a beautiful balance between sugar (13.2 – 13.5 natural) and acidity (pH 3.20). It is a warm, sunny vintage, which has retained freshness. The yields are very low – often less than 2016. The wines were vinified in hardly any new oak (0-5%). There was little settling of the juice and the malos finished rapidly. After a year of élevage, the wines are beautifully balanced, and each terroir is clearly distinct.”

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Domaine Philippe Livera (Dom. des Tilleuls)

Damien began picking on 8th September and finished five days later. The following day, it rained. “Very healthy grapes, no rot – but we always sort every grape. No problems with blocked maturities.” Everything was 100% destemmed in 2017. An excellent range from a domaine very much in the ascendency.

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As always, tasting at this sensational, super-star domaine was one of the great pleasures and highlights of our vinous year. According to Loïc “It was une belle année. A hot summer, 36-37 °C and a canicule at the end of August. Yields had to be controlled, by green harvest, to result in 25-30 hl/ha. We began picking on 2nd September and finished on the 12th. The fruit was very healthy and hardly any sorting was necessary. Natural alcohols ranged from 12.9-13.5 degrees. The wines are concentrated, aériens, floral and round with no surmaturité.” Words are inadequate to describe our admiration for the work being done here by Loïc Dugat and his parents Bernard and Jocelyne.

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Eric Forest

A majority of Eric’s vines are on the limestone hill of Vergisson side, rather than the granitic, opposite hill. In 2017, yields were lower, due to frost, but his domaine now comprises 6 hectares. He picked between 31st August and 7th September. According to Eric “2017 is an extremely good vintage with beautiful, rich textures and good acidity, lots of fruit and freshness – very warm, but not as hot as 2003 or 2009 – which are drinking wonderfully now”. He believes that levels of acidity matter for the first three years after harvest but are not important thereafter, provided one practices long elevages. “There was 25mm of rain on 26th August, but the soil was so dry that the vines hardly took up any water. Most growers rushed to pick, fearing rot, but the grapes were not ripe. By mid-November, any grapes left on the vines still did not have any trace of rot!”- vindicating Eric’s decision to wait.

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Fernand & Laurent Pillot

This superb 15 hectare domaine goes from strength to strength. Laurent has now been joined by his son, Adrien, who made the 2017s, with Laurent managing the vineyards. The whites have always been very special, but the reds have improved beyond all recognition over the last few vintages. They are now gorgeous, ripe, generous, supple and multifaceted. Laurent, in his understated way, described the 2017 growing season as “normal”, with a perfect, rapid flowering. He said that vines most heavily frosted in 2016 produced higher yields in 2017 – which he prefers to control by de-budding, rather than green harvest. “It was a beautiful harvest, without any climatic hazards and no spring frosts – even if temperatures got worryingly low. There was nice weather in May and regular sun and rain allowed for homogenous growth of the vines. Some heat in early June allowed for a quick, easy flowering. There was some rain in July and August was hot. Picking, of exceptionally healthy fruit, began on 2nd September and continued for a week in excellent conditions.”

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Francois Buffet

Whilst this domaine continues to fly under the radar, it is telling that Marc-Olivier’s wines came out particularly well in a recent blind tasting of 2015 wines, several of his Premiers Crus coming top of their respective flights. After experimenting with varying levels of whole bunches and different vinification techniques and struggling to work with small volumes as a result of hail and frost, it feels as though Marc Olivier is now at ease and in the groove, and this was one of the most impressive red cellars of the vintage.
Harvest here began on the 5th September, finishing on the 15th with Marc Olivier taking his time to pick his 8 hectares as each parcel achieved perfect ripeness. After 5 catastrophic years in volumes terms, he is delighted with the yield in 2017, as well as the quality of the wines, which he feels have ripeness of both tannins and fruit, along with great acidity which, he argues, gives freshness and ageing potential. Whole bunches do not exceed a third on any wine, and the proportion of oak rarely passes a quarter. This is a confident and elegant range of wines which all have a touch of Volnay finesse, alongside their individual characters.

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Winelist last updated: 10/18/2019 4:44:38 PM

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