The closest link between the people that make wine and the people that drink it
The middle of May is a time normally dominated by the unrelenting force of a Bordeaux En Primeur campaign, however for one afternoon my Fine Wine colleague Martyn Rolph and I were to be wowed by the excellent wines of Domaine Faiveley alongside the food of Philip Howard at his two-star ‘The Square’ in Mayfair.
The wines were presented by Erwan Faiveley, a man who is very much the new generation at this legendary Domaine and if this is lunch is anything to go by will further elevate the already lofty status of this excellent House.
A petit aperitif of their 2011 Rully Blanc ‘Les Villeranges’ paved the way for the 2010 Meursault which showed that the village wines of this vintage can be drunk now, but equally have the capacity to age over the next two to three years at least. The largesse of the mid-palate made a perfect match for Philip’s Mousseron Risotto.
Erwan was keen to show us that the Domaine’s expertise in the Côtes de Nuits and Beaune also translates into Chablis. There could have been few better ways to do this than with his 2011 Chablis ‘Les Clos’. Essentially, the most coveted vineyard in Chablis in a vintage where the region really shone – what could be better? The potential of this wine is clearly huge, with the structure and acidity to underpin many years of development, it is hard to resist top Chablis when it is youthful at the best of times, but with the right food they can really charm. Grilled Red Mullet with Leek Hearts Monk’s Beard and Botarga made this extremely charming indeed.
Moving on to the red wines and two fantastic meat dominated courses to match. Youthful Corton wines can be quite tricky to say the least, often with a distinctly austere edge – this is not the case with Erwan’s 2008 Corton ‘Clos des Corton Faiveley’. After recounting us with the intricate story behind why the name of the Domaine is included the name of the vineyard this wine flourished with its vibrant, rich, crunchy fruit. But also with a structure and freshness which met the Glazed Iberico Pork Cheeks very kindly. The smaller element of development and underplayed oak dovetailed with the Morels and hand rolled Macaroni.
Traditional Burgundy thinking would tell you that now is much too early to broach a 2009 Gevrey Chambertin Premier Cru, particularly one so serious as ‘Combe aux Moines’. However the fruit is so dense and the tannins so fine that with a good decant this was on top form. Its bounding fruit-forward, energetic approach was a contrast to the measured, finely boned and elegant 2007 Echezeaux. A challenging red Burgundy vintage to say the least but one which Faiveley are famed for the numerous successes they chalked up.
Both formed an interesting point of comparison and discussion to a wine made by Erwan’s Father – 1998 Latricières-Chambertin. This displayed distinct developed characteristics on the nose, as you would expect from 14-year-old Grand Cru Burgundy. The palate was a very different story, operating at a different pace of development, just in the middle of its secondary phase and alongside a ‘significant’ portion of Epoisse made for a great finale.
All the wines were fantastic but if forced to proffer a ‘wine-of-the-afternoon’, for Martyn and me, it would have to be the 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Combe aux Moines. So much so, we pressed our Burgundy Buyer Jasper Morris MW to secure further stocks – we’re just waiting on the slow boat from Burgundy. More details available from your Cellar Plan Account Manager.