Walking into the Flint Wines tasting, I heard a commotion as a crowd clamoured round one of the tables. Clearly something untoward had happened within moments of my arrival. Listening to the hubbub, it sounded like someone had received a blow to the head – a murderer in our midst! I forced my way to the front, and to my great relief there was no body, just a bottle of Meursault, Domaine TESSIER, Casse-Têtes, 2016.
Watson explained that this prestigious lieu-dit was high above the Premier Crus – where the head of the mother rock broke through thin layer of topsoil. This might explain the name – or that having to work this steep, stony site – much harder work than for many other Village vineyards – would ‘do the heads in’ of local growers. Either way, he told me that this bright, energetic and mineral expression of Meursault was something special. The only crime here was that Watson had finished the last sip.
“Lower than average yields but excellent quality – the 2016 Bourgognes are going to sell out fast,” said Watson, nervously biting his nails. “They still produced over one million hectolitres of wine, my dear man, how much do you want exactly?” I replied. “Anyway, if you can only get a few cases of your old favourites it might encourage you to go off-piste and make some new discoveries.”
I handed him a bottle of Auxey-Duresses, 2016, Domaine TAUPENOT-MERME. Medium-bodied and juicy, not too weighty, well balanced with firm acidity with the characteristic refreshing mineral streak of the appellation. It neighbours Meursault and Volnay, but the prices are usually much lower. That put the smile back on Watson’s face.
I received a text from Moriarty this morning. He may be languishing in Pentonville Prison, but he still knows how to get at me. “When is a Chardonnay not a Chardonnay?” it read. It’s been bugging me all day. I decided to get some air so I strolled down to the Berry Bros. & Rudd tasting.
I poured myself a taste of the Saint-Véran, Le Grand Bussière, 2016, Olivier MERLIN. Soft honeysuckle and subtle spice, broad, silky and generous on the palate. “Beguiling perfume,” I commented. “That could be down the small proportion of Chardonnay Muscaté in the blend,” Monsieur MERLIN replied. Of course! A natural mutation of Chardonnay often found in the Mâconnais giving aromas reminiscent of the Muscat grape. I texted Moriarty right back: ‘Chardonnay Muscaté OBVS’. Ha. That’ll teach him.
After a long day’s tasting, Watson and I were relaxing at home with a crossword. The final clue had us stumped. ‘The most southerly Village appellation in the Côte de Beaune: 8 letters, begins with M’ it read. Monthélie? Meursault? No; they both have 9 letters. We gave up, went to bed and slept fitfully.
Then, at the Berry Bros. & Rudd tasting the next day, we saw it. Of course – Maranges! An under-the-radar appellation well worth exploring in a year like 2016 when there’s pressure on the more famous names. Domaine David Moreau’s example was perfumed, peppery, with fine but determined tannins. What’s more, it’s only £144 for 12 bottles in bond – that’s £16.99 per bottle including taxes. “Seven letters beginning with B,” said Watson. “Bargain,” I replied.
To discover day 1, Click HERE
To discover day 3, click HERE
To discover day 4, click HERE
To discover day 5, click HERE