I'm back in Burgundy, where winter weather has firmly set in, to taste the 2010 white and reds. Some have been recently bottled, others are assembled in tank, or still in barrel, waiting to be blended for the bottling. I will cover mostly the Côte d'Or, with a side trip to Chablis and, for the first time, the Côte Chalonnaise. Today I tasted a lineup of 2010s from Tollot-Beaut.
Domaine Tollot-Beaut farms 59 acres of vineyards, spreading out from its base in Chorey-lès-Beaune to Beaune and the hill of Corton. Cousins Nathalie, Jean-Paul and Olivier—descendants of the domaine's founder, François Tollot—are in charge of the sales and administration, winemaking and vineyards, respectfully.
Much of the high quality of the wines at Tollot-Beaut can be attributed to the high proportions of old vines from the Pinot Fin strain, a very old and delicate Pinot Noir variety considered the most desirable for quality. More recently, the domaine has employed a nursery to develop clones from its plant material.
This selection of the best plant material is essential for the wines from Chorey-lès-Beaune, whose soils tend to be heavy. Debudding, pruning, green harvesting and removing dormant branches are all vineyard techniques used to make the best possible wines from Chorey, whose vineyards account for one-third of the total production.
The 2010 yield was down about 20 to 25 percent at this address. All the wines had been bottled over the past three weeks and were tasted non-blind.
I liked the Chorey-lès-Beaune 2010 for its expression of rich, dark cherry and blackberry, with charm and freshness (87-90 points, non-blind). The Beaune Grèves 2010, from vines planted in 1963 and 1987, shows a discreet nose of pure black cherry on a firm yet supple frame (90-93, non-blind).
The Aloxe-Corton Les Vercots 2010, with vines dating as far back as 1928, offers fine depth and purity to its cherry, black currant and toast notes. It combined freshness and density with finesse and excellent length (90-93, non-blind).
Of the two Cortons, the Les Bressandes 2010 is singing, its pure cherry, wild berry and herb aromas matched to an elegant, linear frame (91-94, non-blind).
Tollot-Beaut also makes a fine Corton-Charlemagne; its 2010 version exudes floral, citrus and pear aromas, picking up grapefruit, cream and mineral on the palate, all ending fresh and long (90-93, non-blind).