Burgundy En Primeur 2011 Tasting Reviews: Armit Wines

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To help you keep on top of the large number of Burgundy tastings this month for the 2011 en primeur campaign Harpers is publishing reviews direct from key tastings and related Burgundy events from members of the trade. Here Jenny Mackenzie of Early Bird Wine News reports from Armit Wines Burgundy 2011 en primeur tasting, held yesterday (January 9, 2013) at Middle Temple Hall, London.


Armit Wines holds its Burgundy en primeur tasting each January in the heart of one of London's four Inns of Court, the atmospheric Middle Temple. A short, late afternoon window for the trade and press gives way to a packed client evening with a centre table of possibly the most French cheeses of all the London en primeur tastings.


Armit Wines' Burgundy producers "include the major names, with a good spread across all regions", according to managing director Mike Laing. The Burgundy en primeur offer is mainly taken up by "private clients, a loyal following year on year", he says, while new private client business mostly comes from "referrals". December and January make up "two thirds of all Armit Wines' Burgundy sales", he adds.


Having the producers and winemakers in attendance to talk about their wines makes a big difference at tastings, especially with the sometimes harder to assess red Burgundies, straight out of barrel or tank for the en primeurs.


A noticeable trend at the Burgundy en primeur tastings this year is an influx of less well known wine writers - some prolific on social media. Perhaps the traditional, remote, big name critic being the dominant influence on consumer and private client wine purchasing is shifting towards ‘knowledgeable peer to peer recommendation'?


Standout producers and wines from Armit Wines' Burgundy 2011 tasting include:


Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot - very ‘classic' Burgundian style Meursault and Puligny-Montrachets with well judged fruitiness. The Pommard, 1er Cru Jarollieres is generous, juicy and delicious.


Domaine Fontaine Gagnard - seamless, confident, elegant Chassagne and Batard Montrachets. The Chassagne-Montrachet, 1er Cru La Romanée is a beautifully made wine.


Domaine de Montille - a Californian winemaker is at the helm of this progressive producer of terroir driven wines. Old vines, indigenous yeasts and considered use of oak adds up to a successful, refined intensity. The Meursault, Les Narvaux du Dessous is light yet pithy.


Domaine Marc Morey - understatement is underrated, in life as well as wine. It could be easy to miss the lacy structure and low lying minerality of these Chassagne-Montrachets. The basic Bourgogne Blanc is a bargain.

Domaine Taupenot Merme - almost feminine elegance for wines of comparative Burgundian heft. The standouts Nuits St. Georges, Les Pruliers and Corton Rognet, Grand Cru both show an intuitive, enticingly light touch in the winemaking.


Domaine Sébastien Dampt - Chablis lovers will be in raptures over these gorgeous, bargain priced wines. Vinification on fine less without battonage gives weight and texture. Precisely defined 1er Crus across a range of terroirs.


Other notable producers included Domaine Faiveley, Domaine Anne-Francois Gros, Domaine Thierry et Pascale Matrot, Maison Deux Montille, Maison Roche de Bellene, Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin (Chablis).

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