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Average critic rating : 92.0 points
The 2013 Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru comes from purchased grapes sourced from a parcel on the upper slopes planted in 1964 (the domaine’s own pickers undertaking the harvest themselves). It had been racked into a small stainless steel vat just the previous week and will be fined and bottled next year. It certainly displays very fine intensity on the nose, although the delineation will only surface once the wine has been completed. The palate is tense on the entry with piercing citric acidity to the point where you could almost describe it as “shrill." But it is not unbalanced and is simply rather penetrating in the mouth. It delivers an enchanting marine note - suggestions of shucked oyster shell toward the finish. This is a wonderful Grand Cru even if pound-for-pound, I find the Chassagnes more thrilling. ||Though I have been following the wines for a number of years, this was actually (perhaps unforgivably?) the first time that I have visited the domaine, located not far from the Château de Chassagne. I met Alec Moreau at the winery to taste through his 2013s: a vigneron with good English having apprenticed in New Zealand, subsequently starting work with his father Bernard in 1995 and undertaking his first full vintage in 1999. Their portfolio consists of their own vines supplemented by purchased fruit, although they undertake the harvesting of those parcels themselves in order to maintain quality, including the two grand crus. | |“The 2013 was a vintage that was hard from the beginning,” he explained, echoing the sentiments of practically everyone in Burgundy. “The spring was difficult and it was trouble getting into the vineyard to spray. Half of our 14 hectares of vine had to be sprayed by hand because we could not do it by tractor. The flowering was a bit late so we knew the picking was going to be likewise. When you have a hard vintage you have to make crucial decisions that would affect the final quality [of the wine]. We were supposed to pick the 3 October, but we picked the 28 September as we were afraid to lose some acidity and we could see a bit of botrytis beginning to develop. We only work with natural yeasts so alcoholic fermentation can sometimes take up to five months. This year it took 6 or 7 months to see which direction the wines would go. I feel that it is a vintage where the style of the domaine comes through, so it is hard to speak of a general style of the vintage. But I feel that it is a vintage to drink younger.”||Readers will already know that I have a lot of admiration for the wines of this domaine that ought to be better known. Certainly in 2013 I feel that the vintage plays to their strengths within a consistent portfolio of white wines, the reds seemingly more affected by the vintage, in particular the Volnays that were missing a little substance. Still, there are many splendid white 2013s here that are clean and crisp, extremely focused and brimming over with minerality right down to the Bourgogne Blanc. Those on a budget should check out Moreau’s over-achieving Chassagne-Montrachet Village, those with more spare pennies, the wonderful, exuberant Chassagne-Montrachet Maltroie. The two Grand Crus are impressive although it is the Chassagne premier crus where the real excitement lies. | eRobertParker.com.December, 2014
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