2005 – the French describe it as sans pareil (without equal) such is its greatness. As a region,
Burgundy is better known for understatement rather than hyperbole, yet on the subject of the 2005
vintage the Burgundians are significantly more expansive.
The Growing Season
After a very wet spring which replenished ground water levels, flowering began in a mini heat wave
at the end of May. It continued slowly over some two to three weeks as a cold spell set in, resulting in
some millerandage (unfertilised and therefore tiny berries) for the whites in some areas, thus
reducing the potential yield. July and August were hot, but not excessively so, and extremely dry, so
the vines needed every bit of the earlier spring rains to carry on their maturation. There was only
one significant hail storm in 2005, in July at the southern end of the Côte d‟Or affecting Santenay
and, to a lesser degree, Chassagne-Montrachet. A hot start to September was followed by refreshing
rains in the middle of the month, after which harvesting began in dry conditions and continued
under blue skies, allowing the growers to pick unhurriedly, as each plot and varietal reached its
optimum ripeness. The tables de triage (sorting tables) which have been so vital in recent vintages to
ensure that damaged and under-ripe fruit is discarded, were hardly used at all, such was the perfect
health and quality of the bunches arriving at the winery door.
In general, most producers found the fruit to be very dense, with a high ratio of solids, as a result of
which fermentation was slow and steady, continuing longer into the autumn than usual. The
hallmark of the Pinot Noir in 2005 is purity and freshness, uncompromising quality. The colours are
very good owing to the small, thick-skinned berries, full of pigments, the tannins are ripe and well
balanced by fruit but definitely providing a solid backbone which will ensure a long life and the
acidities are good as well which gives them freshness and energy.
Domaine Robert Arnoux
Florence (née Arnoux) and Pascal Lachaux are the fifth generation of
the family to run this estate. It was something of an accident of fate
which brought Pascal to Vosne as he trained as a pharmacist and, on
the way to start a new job, he agreed to help his father-in-law with
the harvest. He never left. Florence and Pascal have invested
consistently over the years in the Domaine, building a new cuverie,
renovating the cellar and most recently building a stylish tasting
room next to the office. They have also invested in vineyards building the Domaine to today‟s 14
hectares with a purchase of Latricières Chambertin being their most recent addition to the
vineyard holdings. From the 2008 vintage, the Domaine name changes to Domaine Arnoux-
They work in an organic way but as with many of our growers, they do not label their wine as such.
Their respect for the environment, their desire for the future health of their vineyards and their
vines is part of their philosophy and their goal is to make the best wine that they can in a
Domaine Frédéric Magnien
Possibly the most dynamic négociant we work with in Burgundy,
Frédéric Magnien is not only a gifted winemaker but also has a
watchful eye on the market and its trends, producing an ever wider
list of appellations. Based in Morey-St.-Denis, next door to the family
Domaine, Frédéric is passionate about the quality of the fruit he buys,
following the vineyards throughout the seasons to ensure that he gets
exactly what he needs in order to produce top quality wines. As a
result his wines are priced similarly to Domaine wines, and their
quality is also on a par.
Having moved over to bio-dynamic production some time ago, the
wines of Rossignol-Trapet seem to improve year on year, regardless of
the quality of the vintage. No gimmicks here, no slavish following of
fashion, just pure, classic winemaking with the aim always to
emphasise the terroir of their individual vineyards. Handling is kept
to a minimum, with the wines racked after malolactic fermentation
and then not again until they are prepared for bottling and Nicolas
Rossignol describes their pre-bottling racking as being like the buffing
up of a polished table, with the air adding lustre to the wine.
Domaines Joseph and Philippe Roty
The Roty family have been in Gevrey Chambertin since 1710 and their
wines are amongst the finest of that appellation, as well as
Marsannay, where they have vineyard holdings. They are also
amongst the best-kept secrets – this is not a family who court
publicity and they play little part in promotional activity for the
village or region – they simply work hard amongst their vines, make
the most extraordinary wines and deal only with people they want to deal with.
Today the Domaine is run by the late Joseph‟s sons with Madame Roty playing a major role in
matters administrative. Philippe Roty has bought some additional vines, which are made
alongside the Domaine Joseph wines and follow exactly the same vineyard practice and vinification
philosophy, handed down from Father to Son for the pass 11 generations. The Roty vines are, on
average, more than 60 years of age and, in the case of their Charmes-Chambertin „Très Vieilles
Vignes‟, the “très” is certainly justified by the fact that over 60% of their vineyard plot was planted
Based in Meursault but with vineyards in Puligny, Volnay, Auxey
Duresses and Monthélie, Thierry Matrot is always understated, both
in his attitude and his wines. Thierry believes that fine wine is made
in the vineyard and good fruit therefore only requires translating in
the cellar. Matrot‟s red wines show astonishing purity of fruit and are
not blockbusters but extraordinarily elegant expressions of Pinot Noir:
the Auxey Duresses rouge requires around 5-8 years to show its best.
Domaine de l‟Arlot
Domaine de l‟Arlot inspite of their AXA ownership, has the feel and
quality of a family-owned Domaine. The Domaine dates from 1987
when, under the stewardship of Jean-Pierre de Smet, a re-planting
and renovation programme was started in the vineyards, the cellars
and the Château.
The l‟Arlot philosophy, now continued by Olivier Leriche, is that the
work in the vineyards dictates the quality of the final wine, with
intervention only when absolutely necessary in either the vineyard or cellar and that perfect
balance is achieved with the best quality fruit, as opposed to seeking concentration or extraction at
any cost. This means that they aim to extract only the best bits from the skins rather than
everything. L‟Arlot are one of the very few Domaines whose wines are surprisingly pale right from
the outset, tricking those not in the know into thinking that they are „light‟ wines – which could not
be further from the reality. After a few years in bottle their wines remain consistent whilst the
darker wines from other Domaines lighten considerably.
Domaine Hubert de Montille
The de Montille family has been associated with Burgundy as
important land and vineyard owners for several centuries but in 1947
when Hubert de Montille took over the family Domaine, he inherited
just 2.5 hectares. His pursuit of a very successful legal career in Dijon
enabled him to re-build the estate with purchases of vineyards in the
1960s in Volnay and Pommard. In the 1990s the Domaine increased their vineyard holdings in
Puligny-Montrachet, Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne and Corton. In 2004, they ventured further
north, purchasing parcels in Nuits-St.-Georges and Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts including a
little jewel of a vineyard which abuts La Tâche and which they named after Hubert‟s late wife,
Christianne. The Domaine now comprises just over 17 hectares.
Etienne de Montille took over from his father in the late 1990s, returning to Volnay full-time in
2001. Etienne has introduced organic and bio-dynamic practices at the Domaine and worked on
developing a more open and silky style in the wine, whilst retaining purity and ability to age.
Domaine Lucien Boillot
The Domaine Lucien Boillot was split in two by his sons Louis and
Pierre prior to the 2003 vintage and Pierre continues to use the
Lucien Boillot name, while his brother Louis makes wine in his own
name. The estate comprises wines in the Côtes de Nuits and the Côtes
de Beaune and the vine age ranges from 45 to 100 years, so you are
getting genuine vieilles vignes concentration in the wines. Pierre‟s wine making style is best
described as natural – with a great deal of work in the vineyards, minimal handling of the fruit
during the fermentations and little new oak. The wines are very clearly representative of their
individual terroirs and have the capacity for long ageing.
Domaine Marquis d‟Angerville
The late Jacques d‟Angerville took over the reins of this estate in
1945. The d‟Angerville name had already become well known amongst
drinkers of great Burgundy as his father, with Armand Rousseau and
Henri Gouges, had been a pioneer of “Domaine -bottling” – one of the
first moves made to ensure provenance, which has become so
important today but which in those days was an unusual practice
(and led to all sorts of “foreign” wines being labelled as Burgundy). In addition to the 2.4 hectare
Clos des Ducs, the jewel of a Clos running up the slope behind the d‟Angerville home and cellar, the
Domaine has holdings in 1ers Crus Champans, Taillepieds, Caillerets and Frémiet as well as
Villages and a small parcel of Chardonnay in Meursault 1er Cru Santenots. Jacques d‟Angerville
died in 2003 and his legacy is now carried forward by his son Guillaume and his son-in-law,
Rénaud de Villette. The philosophy is very much of the terroir school and little new oak is used.
The wines have a lovely red fruit accent and fragrance in youth and great charm but are capable of
long ageing, particularly the Clos des Ducs with it‟s old vines and exceptional terroir.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogü é
The Domaine is just over 12 hectares in size and has a very high
reputation, built up over 500 years (twenty generations) of continual
family stewardship. Chambolle-Musigny has a larger proportion of
limestone in the soil than any other Côte d‟Or village and this comes
through in the wines which are markedly fragrant and elegant with
great finesse but underlying power and structure. The jewel in the
de Vogü é crown is their 7.2 hectare holding of Grand Cru Musigny.
They have a tiny planting of Chardonnay vines in the vineyard from which they make a rare and
extraordinary Bourgogne (and historically Musigny) Blanc and 2.8 hectares of younger Pinot Noir
vines, which they vinify separately and sell as a 1er Cru Chambolle Musigny and the old vine holding
is 3.8 hectares from which the Musigny Vieilles Vignes is made. The vineyard work is overseen by
Eric Bourgogne and the winemaking by François Millet and here the emphasis is on allowing Nature
to dictate the pace of work in the vineyard and the eventual handling of the fruit. Use of new oak is
minimal, even for the Musigny. A flagship for the best that Burgundy has to offer.
Climate – Situated in central Eastern France – sandwiched between Champagne and the Rhône.
The climate is semi-continental with no maritime influence. The biggest danger is late hail which
can strip the vines of their leaves and split the grape skins, which leads to rot if the weather remains
humid and warm.
Soil – a base of Jurassic limestone (as you can see from the upper slopes scarred by quarry activity
above the vineyards up and down the Côte) which is cut by small rivers and streams which over the
eras have deposited alluvial soils on the slopes, giving a wide variety of soil profiles and indeed the
inclinations of the vineyards on either side. It is this patchwork which gives Burgundy its complexity
and which accounts for different styles of wines coming from within the same vineyard, depending on
whether the grapes come from the upper, middle or lower slopes.
Grape varieties – Chardonnay for white and Pinot Noir for red. One of the few regions of the wine
growing world where mono-cepage is the order of the day.
Château vs. Village – in Bordeaux each Château has one owner and usually one winemaker. The
Château might make a grand vin and several other, “lesser” labels for which the fruit of the younger
vines might be used. Several different varieties will be planted and a blend will be assembled at the
point when the wine is first offered on to the market (en primeur). In Burgundy an individual
vineyard might have tens of different owners, unless it is a “monopole”. Each owner, who is usually
also the winemaker, will have a different philosophy for his viticultural practice (biodynamic, organic
or lutte raisonnée at best and pesticide and agrochemicals at worst) so the name of the grower on the
label on the bottle is the indication of quality – not the name of the vineyard or village. A
Burgundian grower will have smaller vineyards than his Bordeaux counterpart and rather than
having one area and thus, usually, one weather pattern to contend with he or she might have
different vineyard parcels from the north to the south of the Côte d‟Or which means understanding
many different terroirs and travelling between the different vineyards as required by what can be
extremely localised weather conditions.
Classifications – Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village, Côtes de Beaune or Côtes de Nuits, Regional –
the highest quality is Grand Cru (i.e. Chambertin and Musigny) and then 1er Cru (i.e. 1er Cru Les
Procès and 1er Cru Clos des Ducs) and then Villages (i.e. Volnay, Chambolle-Musigny) and then
Côtes (i.e. Côtes de Nuits Villages) and finally straight Bourgogne Blanc or Bourgogne Rouge (which,
in the hands of good growers can offer superb value for money).
Côte de Nuits
The northern part of the Côte d‟Or running from Nuits St Georges and north from there. Generally
the wines are more full-bodied and predominantly red, with higher levels of tannin and thus
longevity and with scents which are typically of black fruits and where most of the Grands Crus are
to be found.
Gevrey-Chambertin is the most northerly of the major villages in the Côte de Nuits. It is also the
largest of the communes in the Côte de Nuits with nine Grands Crus (87 ha.) and 26 Premiers Crus
(84 ha.) vineyards. There are a further 315 ha. of village wines. Until the 19 th century the village
was known as Gevrey. In 1847 it appended the name of its most famous vineyard, “Chambertin” a
practice which subsequently became common along the Côte d‟Or.
Gevrey-Chambertin produces red wines which can be typified as masculine, firm and deeply-coloured.
With plenty of extraction and tannins the finest wines require time in bottle to develop and soften.
Chambertin and Clos de Bèze are celebrated as the finest of the Grands Crus. The Grands Crus
vineyards are all located south of Gevrey-Chambertin in a strip that stretches 1,200 m. from north-
south and 250m. east-west. They lie at a height of 260 – 300 m. on the slope of the Côte.
Chambolle-Musigny lies between Morey-St-Denis to the north and Vougeot to the south. The
commune has two Grands Crus vineyards: Le Musigny (10.85 ha.) and Bonnes Mares (15ha.). In
addition there are twenty-four Premiers Crus vineyards (61 ha.) and 94ha. of villages wines.
Musigny is unusual in being the only Grand Cru vineyard in the Côte de Nuits to produce both red
and white wines. It is, however, the reds which have earned it a reputation of the highest order.
Indeed for many this is the most highly esteemed of wines. In contrast to Gevrey these wines are
described as having wonderful delicacy and finesse yet still retaining the intensity and complexity
that is expected of a Grand Cru.
Vosne-Romanée lies south of Vougeot. It contains six Grands Crus, including the exhalted Romanée-
Conti, and twelve Premiers Crus. In all there are 100ha of village wines, 57ha. of Premiers Crus and
75 ha of Grands Crus vines. Traditionally the wines of neighbouring Flagey-Echézeaux are sold as
In writing about Vosne-Romanée authors seem to compete in their praise of the wines from this
commune. Frequently quoted is the Abbé Claude Courtépé who in the 18 th century declared “There
are no common wines in Vosne”. Descriptions of the wines include words such as „masculine‟,
„complete‟, „aristocratic‟. In short they show finesse with underlying power. Les Chaumes lies to the
south of Grand Cru La Tâche and fellow Premier Cru Aux Malconsorts.
Nuits-St-Georges is the last of the principle towns of the Côte de Nuits as one travels south. It has no
Grand Cru sites but twenty-seven Premier Cru vineyards. It is a large commune with Premiers Crus
vineyards occupying 174 ha. and village wines 147 ha. Nuits-St-Georges incorporates the vineyards
of Prémeaux, the neighbouring commune to the south which adds a further 10 Premiers Crus
The wines of Nuits-St-George can be divided into three broad styles based on location. Those to the
north of the town have greater finesse; those in the middle section to the south of the town, where
the finest wines are produced are richer and more intense. Here can be found the acclaimed Les
Saint-Georges and Les Procès. Further south the wines become lighter.
Côte de Nuits Villages, an appellation found at the very north and south of the Côte de Nuits.
Côte de Beaune
Produces lighter bodied red wines which tend to have lower levels of tannin and an accent on red, as
opposed to black fruit flavours and often a floral note is detected and also the finest white wines of
the Côte d‟Or, including the Grands Crus of Corton Charlemagne, Le Montrachet, Chevalier
Montrachet, Bâtard Montrachet and Criots and Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet.
Beaune has more than forty Premiers Crus sites covering approximately 330 ha. In addition there
are roughly 130 ha. of village wines. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are planted.
With such a large commune generalizations are more complicated but the reds of Beaune are
typically medium-bodied, meant for early to mid-term drinking and emphasise soft, plump, fruity
characteristics. They also offer good value for money. The Grèves vineyard, while large at 31 ha., is
routinely listed as one of the finest vineyards in Beaune and often exhibits more structure than other
Volnay lies between Pommard to the north and Monthélie and Meursault to the south. The commune
incorporates thirty-five Premiers Crus sites covering 115 ha. and 98 ha. of village vineyards, planted
with Pinot Noir.
The reds of Volnay elicit descriptives such as „elegance‟, „finesse‟, „feminine‟, „subtle‟; they have
intense aromas and the best will have good length on the finish.
Auxey-Duresses lies in a valley to the west of Meursault. It has nine Premiers Crus covering some 28
ha. and more than 100 ha. of village wines. Auxey-Duresses (pronounced Aussey) has a reputation
for rusticity in its red wines (as do the wines of Pommard) but in the hands of the great winemakers,
they are silky and fine and offer excellent value for money. Auxey-Duresses is planted with Pinot
Noir and Chardonnay.