The 2018 Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru contains 65% whole-bunch fruit. The well-defined nose features brambly black fruit, crushed stone/powdered gravel and light tobacco scents. The medium-bodied palate is linear, precise and elegant, delivering fine-grained tannins with moderate grip and a slightly conservative finish. I suspect this will ultimately turn out to be a well-crafted yet early-drinking Corton.
The 2018 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru comes from two parcels that are picked three or four days apart and only blended together just prior to bottling. Containing 65% whole-bunch fruit, it has a stemmy, almost Dujac-like bouquet that feels well defined albeit not to everyone’s taste. The well-balanced, medium-bodied palate offers fine-grained tannin, a fine line of acidity and dark cherries mixed with truffle and cedar toward the precise if not overly concentrated finish. Fine.
The 2018 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru comes from three parcels, two up on the terraces on terre blanche soils and one on terre rouge_, from mainly 65-year-old vines and using 90% whole bunch. It has a crisp bouquet with touches of dark chocolate and tobacco infusing the black fruit, becoming earthier with continued aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, supple tannins matched by a keen thread of acidity. This feels gentle and approachable for a Grand Cru, and quite focused, with a lilting finish. Fine.
The 2018 Charlemagne Grand Cru comes from two parcels in Le Charlemagne, in Aloxe-Corton and En Charlemagne on the Pernand side, picked one week apart since the latter takes longer to ripen. It has an excellent bouquet of intense pressed flowers and chalk-infused citrus fruit. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, poised and pretty, revealing orange peel and touches of ginger toward the finish. Drink over the next 12–15 years.
The 2018 Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru has a reserved, backward bouquet that feels a little sultry after the more expressive Charlemagne. The palate is better, though, offering white peach and mango notes. A more tropical-tinged Bâtard-Montrachet but counterbalanced by the acidity. A touch of spice emerges toward the finish.
The 2018 Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru has a little more intensity than the Bâtard-Montrachet and is more promising as a result. Desiccated orange peel, mango and light peach aromas develop in the glass, showing fine delineation. The palate is well balanced with a touch of mint on the entry and a keen thread of acidity. Nicely poised and delivering good depth on the finish, if not quite the tension of some of the finest exponents of this vineyard. Still, it should drink well for 15–20 years.
The 2018 Charmes-Chambertin les Mazoyères Grand Cru comes from Vougeraie’s oldest vines (104 years of age, and the source for their sélection massale). It has an attractive bouquet, one that might dupe you into thinking there is some whole-bunch addition – but there is none! It’s just naturally earthy with potent autumn woodland scents. The medium-bodied palate offers fine-grained tannins, great tension and focus, and real precision and poise on the sustained finish. This is an absolute delight!
The 2016 Zinfandel Riebli Vineyard is opaque ruby-purple in the glass, and the nose offers scents of warm blueberries, cinnamon stick and brown sugar, with notes of cherry preserves, soil and stone fruit aromas emerging with time in the glass. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with lush fruits and plush tannins, finishing long and lifted.
Pale to medium ruby colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir Van der Kamp Vineyard is softly scented of cola, Earl Grey tea leaves, underbrush, moss-covered bark and eucalyptus with a bright core of cherries and berries and amaro hints. Light-bodied and elegant, it's knit by grainy tannins and refreshing acidity, finishing long and nuanced.
The 2016 Zinfandel Forgotten Vines has a medium to deep ruby-purple color. The nose gives up warm yellow peach, blueberry compote, sweet baking spices, earth and crushed red cherries aromas. Medium-bodied, it offers gregarious stone fruit and berry layers with grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long.