Jefford: A taste of Bichot

Jefford: A taste of BichotRun by the pragmatic, laid-back and pretension-averse Albéric Bichot from his house amid the vines of Pommard, the wines of this mid-sized négociant have been speedily improving over the last decade. Here are four to look out for.
Harvested grapes at Bichot.La Moutonne, Chablis Grand Cru, Long-Depaquit 2013
93 pts
From just 2.24 ha in Vaudésir plus a 0.11 ha nibble of Les Preuses, this lieux-dit monopole amongst the Grand Crus has only had three owners in five centuries.  The 2013 is a soft, graceful Chablis with scents of linden blossom and vine flower and a deep, structured, mellow yet plain flavour: ample and mouthfilling, yet poised too.  I like Grand Crus to have a small breadth to them, to take them further than Premier Cru pungency and stony asperity; this does.
Secrét de Famille Pinot Noir, Bourgogne Rouge, Bichot 2013
88 pts
A parcel selection with lower yields and more fastidious handling than for most regional red Burgundy.  Apparent and set alight in colour, with a pungent blast of raspberry and cherry dominating the aromas; pure, fresh, long and tapered flavours, ideal for serving lightly chill in order to point up the subdued but purposeful tannins.  Tasty and refreshing.
Pommard Premier Cru Rugiens, Domaine du Pavillon 2013
Deep red, with intriguing scents of wax, incense and metal shavings.  A cascade of plums on the palate: chewy and lively.  Pure Pommard.
Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Malconsorts, Domaine du Clos Frantin 2013
Some evident oak but a gale of orchard blossom beneath.  Plain, pure and resonant flavours with plenty of ligament and sap: a classical mid-term mouthful from the village we all dream of.
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Monty Waldin’s taste of bush-vine Primitivo

Monty Waldin’s taste of bush-vine PrimitivoPrimitivo is practically synonymous with Puglia and the south of Italy. Yet it is taking a plucky band of pioneers to re-establish it in its truest form, as a bush vine. Monty Waldin reportsThe small town of Manduria lies a 40-minute drive southeast of the southern Italian port of Taranto, along a gently rising, arrow-straight road. This is the Salento peninsula, the baking heel of Italy’s boot.
My father came here in 1944, having landed at Taranto with Linked troops. With his radio receiver he’d crawl in Salento’s dusty, iron-rich red soil, using the local olive groves and vineyards as cover. Back then, Manduria’s vineyards were overflowing with Primitivo, Puglia’s signature red wine grape. Since the vines grew as low free-standing bush or alberello, Primitivo provided the perfect cover. To this day, Primitivo bush vines dating from the 1930s and 1940s wait in this arid part of Italy’s heel. But over the last 20 years most have been ripped out.
Monty Waldin picks five wines demonstrating what bush-vine Primitivo has to offer… Read more

Roederer opens private vineyard nursery

Roederer opens private vineyard nurseryChampagne house Louis Roederer is to open its own vineyard nursery to have better hegemony over rootstock and enabling it to experiment with pre-phylloxera vines. Louis Roederer vines in ChampagneMaison Louis Roederer has been granted the status of ‘pepiniériste privé’ in France, meaning it is able to run a private vineyard nursery to grow its own rootstocks and hegemony the administer of massale selection from beginning to end.
‘This has been a gradual administer,’ chef de cave and executive vice-president Jean Baptiste Lecaillon told
‘We have been carrying out massale selection in our plots in Aÿ since 1980. From 1996 all our vintage champagnes have been made from 100% of our own grapes, with none bought from outside growers.
‘Around 80 hectares of our 240 hectares of grapes – nearly entirely for Cristal Louis Roederer – are grown biodynamically and organic farming is used for the rest. This is a most likely part of that administer’.
In 2013, Roederer selected a site in Bouleuse, near Reims, to plant American rootstocks on which massale selections from their own vineyards will be grafted. This means within the next year or two they will be able to plant young vines that have wholly been grown in their own sites, without using an external vineyard nursery.
‘It’s a major advantage to have our own young vines which should be of exceptional quality, and as far as we know Roederer is the only Champagne house to be doing this,’ Lecaillon said.
The Champagne house is also growing young vines without American rootstocks, using grapevines from previous to the Phylloxera crisis ‘to see if there is a difference in taste’.
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