2013 Nuits St Georges Murgers Sylvain Cathiard

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Average critic rating : 93.0 points



The 2013 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru les Murgers, raised in 80% new oak like the Aux Thorey, has a more exotic bouquet than the Murgers, spicier, and there is a greater proportion of black fruit in evidence. The palate is medium-bodied, masculine and structured, reserved on the entry, with blackberry, raspberry and just a touch of licorice coming through on the finish that is more in sync with the new oak than the Aux Thorey. Give this gem three or four years in bottle. ||Following the epic retrospective of Domaine Sylvain Cathiard last summer, which included some quite astonishing wines from previous generations, I was looking forward to returning to this address in Vosne. I was more intrigued to see how Sylvain’s son Sebastien is moving the estate forward after intimating a change in tact, a reassessment of their approach to new oak that has tended to typecast the wines. And I was pleased to find Sebastien acting upon his words in assiduous fashion, though the dearth of fruit in 2013 precluded him from reducing the level of new oak to the figure he has achieved in 2014. “There was a lot of rain,” he told me. “I had to treat the vineyard thirteen times, the same number of times as in 2012. But there is 25% less crop in 2013 than last year.” Sebastien told me that he commenced the picking in Chambolle-Musigny and Nuits Saint Georges on October 5 and harvested over the following four days. Of course, he needed to apply a strict sorting of grapes, which was done both in the vineyard and then using a vibrating sorting table in the winery. The total cuvaison was around 30 days (at least for the Vosne Malconsorts) during which he practiced 8 to 10 pigeages, gentle in order to avoid astringency. During élevage, oak levels were tweaked downward, mainly 50% for the premier crus, 60% for the Chambolle, but the Romanée-Saint-Vivant continuing to be matured entirely in new wood.||It was another strong showing of wines from Sebastien. With such a gilded portfolio of premier crus there is always going to be considerable potential to craft outstanding wines. Although his solitary grand cru is an outstanding, dare I say "dashing," Romanée-Saint-Vivant, it was actually the Vosne-Romanée les Suchots ’13 that left me breathless with anticipation. Les Suchots is not actually my favorite Vosne premier cru - I'm a more Malconsorts kind of man. But here was one of a number of sublime examples from Cathiard that encapsulated everything great in Pinot Noir: the purity, finesse, sophistication and charm that reach their apotheosis around Vosne. The veneer of polished new oak remains extant, but my impression is that Sebastien is less hidebound to cooperages than his father and will take a judicious approach in the future, assessing each cuvee on its own merits and using more when he feels it will enhance the wine, less when it will do likewise. | eRobertParker.com.January, 2015

There aren’t many winemakers who can claim to have transformed the reputation of a vineyard, but Sylvain Cathiard is arguably the man who put Malconsorts on the map. He is now regarded as one of Vosne Romanee’s finest winemakers and his wines, an insiders’ tip just a decade or so ago, are amongst the most sought-after in the whole of Burgundy.

Sylvain is a quiet and unassuming man whose grandfather founded the domaine in the 1930s. Sylvain then worked for his father from the mid-1980s, before taking full control in the mid-1990s. His son, Sebastien, is now making the wines with Sylvain’s direction and assistance.

There is nothing fancy here: low yields, old vines and hard work in the vineyard then destemming, fermentation and 100% new barrels for the premier crus and above. The results are so spectacular in their purity than one can wonder just how it is achieved.

The Malconsorts is the flagship of this domaine and is their largest vineyard holding after village Vosne Romanee. Sadly this still amounts to just 0.74 hectares: enough for 300 or so cases, if that. Other Vosne premier crus are Suchots and Orveaux, and two Nuits St Georges cuvees are made: Murgers and Thorey. These are both on the Vosne side of the village and, with the Cathiard style, are about as seductive as Nuits St Georges can be.

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