[Note: Bruce Sanderson continues to report from Burgundy, where he is visiting domaines and tasting barrel samples from the 2006 harvest.]
With the addition of Bernard Hervet to the Maison Faiveley team, Erwan Faiveley is expanding the range and the fine-tuning the winemaking.
New wines have been added, courtesy of a contract for vineyards with Matrot-Wittersheim of Meursault. In 2006, there are Meursault, Meursault-Blagny and Meursault Charmes whites, Volnay Santenots and Blagny La Pièce Sous Le Bois reds.
Faiveley also purchased Domaine Annick Parent in Monthelie, effectively adding parcels in Pommard Les Rugiens, Volnay Fremiets, Monthelie Les Champs Fulliots and Les Duresses to the lineup. These will appear with the 2007 vintage.
With the 2006 harvest, the Faiveley team began restructuring the organization of the harvest to be more precise in the picking times. They have also changed the cooperage and pay more attention to matching different terroirs to different types of oak.
“The reds, especially on the Côte de Nuits, are very soft, round, fruity and easy to understand,” stated Hervet.
“There was a fantastic evolution during the aging period in barrel between June and September,” he added. “The wines have changed dramatically in a good way—better color, more concentration and better balance.”
Faiveley and Hervet presented me with mostly estate wines, some of which had already been bottled. It’s a fine range in both red and white, with purity and precision to the fruit. The following reds are barrel samples approximating the final blend. The whites are all in bottle since December 2007.
Two Nuits-St.-Georges provide a contrast in terroirs, a good indication of the transparency of the 2006 reds. The Les Damodes, from the Vosne side, was rich, opulent and velvety, with blackberry and a touch of licorice (88-91), while the Les Porêts-St.-Georges, from old vines, showed more complexity and structure, along with mineral, blackcurrant and black cherry notes (89-92).
The Nuits-St.-Georges Les St.-Georges combines the best features of the above two, offering cassis and mineral aromas and flavors matched to a silky texture and fine length (90-93).
The Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées, adjacent to the grand cru Bonnes Mares, smells like violets and fruitcake. It's big, rich, muscular and long (90-93). More sensual is the Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers, exhibiting plum, cherry and spice flavors and a velvety texture (91-94).
One of the most exciting reds is the Clos de Vougeot, a ripe, complex mouthful of red and black fruits, very well-balanced, with firm tannic support that will require some time to integrate (91-94). As good as the Clos Vougeot is, the Chambertin-Clos de Bèze reaches another level. It delivers terrific aromas of roasted chestnuts and cherry liqueur against a fresh, balanced profile, oozing sweet fruit, with a long finish (92-95).
Among the whites, the Chablis Les Clos reveals yellow plum, pastry and honey notes, with concentration, harmony and length (91-94). The Meursault Charmes is rich and mouthfilling on the attack, then the acidity and mineral ushers in the long finish (91-94). We finished with Faiveley’s Corton-Charlemagne, a red wine in white wine clothing. It’s concentrated, fresh and smoky, with lemon/lime, apple and mineral notes backed by great structure and intensity (94-97). They have backed off on the oak here, from 100 percent to 60 percent and with the 2006 raw material, I think the Corton-Charlemagne is better for it.