Marchand-Tawse Nuits St Georges 'Les Longecourts' 2015
You have to love Pascal Marchand. Always experimenting, always innovating. Here’s the Nuits St Georges village appellation ‘Les Longecourt’, which sits just below the vineyard that the town was named after, the premier cru ‘Les Saint Georges’. Les Longecourts is a beautiful vineyard, with thin brown soil up near its premier cru neighbor, and deeper soil down further down the slope. With this raw potential, Pascal makes a wine that begins life with a short, cold, whole-bunch, no sulfur maceration; more like an infusion than a maceration. And the results will change your mind forever about what Nuits St George is all about.
The collaboration of Pascal Marchand with another Canadian, Moray Tawse of the Tawse Winery in Niagara, one of Canada's most recognized wineries, gave birth to the new Maison Marchand-Tawse in 2011. And at last Pascal Marchand has all the pieces of the puzzle lined up. This promises to be an extraordinary adventure!
BURGUNDY 2015 VINTAGE
We have resisted writing the Elden Selections Burgundy 2015 harvest report until now (April 2017), mainly to let the hub-bub and hyperbole settle down, but more importantly to be sure that the claims we are about to make are justified. We’ve seen too many vintages vaunted as ‘the year of the century’, when really the wines simply showed well young. Burgundy 2015 is a truly extraordinary vintage. The reds are rich, ripe, balanced and powerful. And from all over the region they express chiseled, focused terroir. Despite their youthful seductive charm, these are wines to keep, with serious ripe tannins already melted into explosive fruit.
Comparisons have been drawn with the 2005 vintage, though there is more concentration in the 2015s than in the 2005s. Like a caterpillar changing to a butterfly, great vintages often go to sleep in the bottle. And 2005 is just reawakening from several ‘dumb’ years. It’s been worth the wait. The wines have metamorphosed. 2015 might be similar. And if the comparison is apt, investors in 2015 should appreciate the youthful beauty of this great vintage now, but be prepared to be patient.
That said, 2005 was no ‘year of the century’. But 2015 is also being compared to 1990, which arguably was. And I hear that Michel Lafarge, one of Burgundy’s respected elders, says he remembers drinking 1929s, and he draws parallels. The whites are a bit more uneven, and early reports claimed that the vintage lacks acidity. Certainly, these are wines which are riper and more luxuriant than the exquisite purity of 2014 white Burgundy. But there is no risk that well-made wines will be overly ample or flabby. The best wines will have benefited from the barrel. Comparisons are drawn to 1985, one of the great vintages in white.
The heterogeneity in 2015 white Burgundy is due to the tricky growing season, which was mostly hot and dry, but which cooled significantly in September. Was it better to pick early or late? And did the wine deserve more or less barrel aging? These are questions which will be answered producer-by-producer, bottle-by-bottle over the coming years. But what is clear is that they 2015s are concentrated, fresh and structured.
We believe that to understand a vintage, it is important to look at the weather. Because Burgundy is a single-grape wine, the only thing that changes from year to year in a producer’s vineyard is the weather. So we look for patterns and try to analyze what makes a good year, a bad year…and in this case, an excellent year.
The winter of 2014-2015 was uneventful. It was never really cold, but when it was, it was dry. Mostly it was mild, so we had more rain than snow. We would need the replenished water reserves in the long hot summer ahead.
April was warm and dry, and bud-burst took place early. Mornings in May were sunny, afternoons cloudy, and overall cool and dry. The vines began to flower in the last week of the month, so we knew we were looking at a harvest in early to mid-September.
In early July, the mood started to mount towards hopeful. The weather had been steady, dry and cool. But slowly during the month, temperatures began to rise, and in the last week of July hit 30C. The flowering had been successful, so there was a good crop on the vines.
Day after day of warm dry conditions brought drought considerations into play. But no hail for once! August continued in this way. Hot and dry. A little welcome rain later in the month, but just enough to keep the stress levels down. But no storms or hail. And extremely healthy fruit on the vine. No rot, no mildew, no odium. The mood was optimistic, even euphoric.
Harvest ostensibly started the first Monday of September. And days later the weather broke, and a cool period set in for ideal harvest conditions, stabilizing acidity levels. It stayed this way until September 12th when the first serious rain in two months fell in the southern part of the region. Harvest was disrupted for a few days, but the 19th, it was pretty much all over.
COTE DE NUITS
Nuits-Saint-Georges gives its name to the Cotes de Nuits, the northernmost part of the Cote d'Or and a rival to Beaune as a center of the business of wine in Burgundy. It is a lively wine sitting on either side of the base of the beautiful Vallerots combe and the Meuzin river. Its patron saint, Georges, gives his name to the most famous vineyard of the appellation, which in turn became part of the hyphenated town name in the 19th century. The Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Burgundy's most famous wine-brotherhood, was founded here in 1934.
Produced in the communes of Nuits-Saint-Georges and Premeaux-Prissey, appellation Nuits-Saint Georges includes 41 premiers crus.
The appellation Nuits-Saint Georges is really two distinct zones, divided by the town itself on either side of the Meuzin valley. The northern part extends as far as the border of Vosne-Romanée, and the southern section lies partly in Nuits-Saint-Georges and partly in the commune of Premeaux. The wines from the vineyards of Premeaux are considered to be lighter than the rest in the southern section. The richest and most highly prized of the vineyards to the south of town are the premiers crus that come up to the village (including 'Les Saint Georges' itself) To the north, the premiers crus lie in a band that stretches to the borders with Vosne-Romanee, and show a lot of the finesse associated with the wines of Vosne. Color should be brilliant crimson with a bouquet of roses and liquorice. You get that Cotes de Nuits black cherry in youth with strawberry and blackcurrant in the mix, and the usual Pinot Noir secondary aromas with age. The southern wines are more muscular and full-bodied, while the wines on the Vosne side show more restraint and elegance. There are some rare whites which reputedly are dense, floral, biscuity and honeyed.
The soils in the northern sector derive from pebbly alluvium washed down from the slopes above, or, in the low-lying parts, silty deposits from the river Meuzin. In the southern sector the alluvia at the base of the slope originate in the combe of Vallerots where there are deep marly-limestone soils, while at the top of the slope, the rock is almost at the surface. Exposures are mostly to the east or south-east.
Almost all red wines - Pinot Noir
White wines - Chardonnay
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Reds : 299.03 ha (including 141.62 ha Premier Cru)
Whites : 7.30 ha (including 4.30 ha Premier Cru)
Powerful and structures, this is the wine that gives the Côte de Nuits its reputation as full-bodied and sturdy. It goes with any full flavored meat. Game, especially, is often mentioned with mature wines from Nuits. Locals will serve it with river fish in red wine sauces. Soft-centered cheeses in the style of Époisses, Langres or Soumaintrain are the classic combo.
On the label, the appellations 'Nuits-Saint Georges' and 'Nuits-Saint Georges 1er Cru' may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat.
The following climats are classified as premier cru:
Aux Champs Perdrix
Clos de la Maréchale
Clos des Argillières
Clos des Corvées
Clos des Corvées Pagets
Clos des Forêts Saint-Georges
Clos des Grandes Vignes
Clos des Porrets-Saint-Georges
En la Perrière Noblot
Les Hauts Pruliers
Les Terres Blanches
Rue de Chaux
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, known as a lieu-dit.
Au Bas de Combe
Aux Croix Rouges
Aux Pertuis Maréchaux
En la Perrière Noblot
La Petite Charmotte
Le Coteau des Bois
Les Hauts Poirets
Les Hauts Pruliers
Plantes au Baron