“Romain Taupenot has overseen this domaine ratchet up through the gears in recent vintages,” wrote Neal Martin of Vinous Media on tasting the Taupenot-Merme 2018s. “He is a very conscientious winemaker, constantly questioning his wines, always a virtue in my book.”
One thing that Romain isn’t questioning is the quality of ‘18. He describes it as a pretty much perfect vintage. The early rains set it up neatly for a sunny spring and summer, with gloriously warm weather continuing through to an early harvest. “With the water reserves in winter and beautiful weather, most of the vineyards finished their maturity in great condition. We arrived at the harvest without undue difficulty, which we started on 4th September with the Corton and finished with the regional parcels.”
The fruit was lovely and clean, and yields were more generous than in 2017, coming in at 48 to 50hl/ha for the villages and between 45 and 47hl/ha for the 1ers crus. “Despite the hot weather, we obtained incredible freshness in this vintage,” he concludes. “Very juicy, with a lot of fruit, good power and concentration and very attractive.”
As well as this modest parcel of 2018 wines, we still have some excellent options from the previous vintage. “These 2017s consolidate Taupenot-Merme’s position as one of the most reliable and exciting estates,” Martin had written about those.
Reliable excitement… What more could you ask for from Burgundy?
Virginie and Romain own 1.3Ha of vines with an average age of 54 years across four parcels, two in Auxey-Duresses and two in Morey-Saint-Denis.
The family has 0.86Ha of village-designated vines spread over three parcels in the Les Bussières and La Taupe climats, with an average age of 45 years.
The 2018 Chambolle-Musigny Village has a fragrant bouquet that is showing a little tinniness at the moment from (possibly) a little reduction. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent red fruit, fleshy and silky-smooth in texture, revealing touches of blood orange toward the sweet finish. Enjoy this over the next decade. 89-91 points.Neal Martin, Vinous Media
A cool and very pretty nose offers up notes of red and dark cherry with hints of pomegranate, violet and discreet spice wisps. There is the classic undercurrent of minerality on the caressing and relatively dense medium-bodied flavours that exude a refreshing salinity on the serious, firm and mildly raspy finish. This too will need a few years to round off the tannins.89-91 points. Allen Meadows, Burghound
Taupenot-Merme owns just over 1.6Ha of village-designated vineyard in Gevrey-Chambertin, spread over seven parcels. Their oldest plantings here date back to 1968, and the average age of the vines is 45 years old.
The 2018 Gevrey-Chambertin Village has a pure raspberry and cranberry scented bouquet that is very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with a spicy opening, quite fleshy at first with tart red fruit laced with black pepper on the finish. Drink over the next 7-10 years.88 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
A brooding and definitely ripe nose presents forest floor and sauvage-infused aromas of red currant and poached plum. The rich, caressing and suave medium weight plus flavours are shaped by ripe tannins on the balanced finale. This is quite good though note that it is a big-bodied, firmly structured and ageworthy Gevrey villages.89 points. Allen Meadows, Burghound
What a delightfully pure nose, slight hint of perfume but with bags of freshness and fruit. A nice lick of oak but it frames the wine very well, it finishes very clean and fresh and with a hint of sweet oak.16.5+/20 Alistair Cooper MW, jancisrobinson.com
Taupenot-Merme owns 0.45Ha of vines over two parcels of this top premier cru, with plantings dating back to 1942 and an average vine age of 70 years.
The 2018 Chambolle-Musigny La Combe d’Orveau 1er Cru has a lovely minerally bouquet, a mixture of red and black fruit that leaps from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with edgy, slightly chalky tannins and a vibrant, energetic finish that lingers long in the mouth. Excellent.92 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
A very spicy and attractively floral-suffused nose flashes notes of both red and dark currant along with a hint of Asian-style tea. The more sophisticated and elegant flavours possess fine richness along with a bracing salinity on the serious, very firm and mildly warm finish. This built-to-age effort should reward extended cellaring yet drink well after 5 or so years.90 points. Allen Meadows, Burghound
The family owns 0.85Ha spread of the grand cru, across two plots planted in 1958 and 1959.
The 2018 Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru has a much more cohesive bouquet compared to the Charmes-Chambertin with more intense fruit – black cherries and raspberry, touches of bergamot coming through with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, supple and lithe with impressive depth and persistence towards the spicy finish. Excellent.95 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
Here too there is a discreet mentholated top note to the very ripe and more sauvage-inflected aromas of cassis, spice, warm earth and a whiff of port character. The slightly more refined and quite suave yet even more powerful big-bodied flavors culminate in robust, exceptionally firm and compact finish that is also slightly grippy though with better length. This will also need plenty of bottle age as it’s present very compact and tightly wound. 92 points. Allen Meadows, Burghound January 2021
Tank sample. Mid cherry red. Rich, ripe dark-red fruit. Not quite as deep and velvety as the Corton-Rognet, tighter and more upright. Extremely moreish and surprisingly open even though it is structured for the very long term. 18/20 Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com January 2020
A rustic nose features notes of dark currant, forest floor and a whiff of the sauvage. The supple and again nicely vibrant flavors possess caressing mouthfeel and while there is a bit more evident rusticity, there is notably better complexity and length on the gently firm finish.86-88 points. Allen Meadows, Burghound
Firm reduction presently renders the nose largely unreadable though the underlying fruit seems ripe. Otherwise there is a much, much finer mouthfeel to the delicious and attractively vibrant middle weight flavors that possess good mid-palate density as well as a subtle minerality that adds a bit of lift to the focused, complex and balanced finish. This is a lovely Chambolle villages and worth checking out. 89-91 points.Allen Meadows, Burghound
The 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Village has the prettiest bouquet among Romain Taupenot’s Village Crus, offering precocious red cherry, crushed strawberry and orange pith aromas. The detailed palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity and a poised finish. Just superb.90-92 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
The 2017 Morey-Saint-Denis La Riotte 1er Cru has a slightly more confit-like bouquet than Taupenot-Merme’s other 2017s, a little showier, but still very pure, revealing hints of kirsch and blood orange. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit, a fine bead of acidity and just a little chewiness toward the finish, which delivers firm grip. Excellent.91-93 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
Mid crimson. Peppery dark-red fruit. Really peppery and much more open-hearted than the Morey La Riotte. Cherry-fruited purity. Succulent, moreish and beautifully fresh. Has both generous fruit and refinement in the texture. Tender tannins. Mouth-watering with black fruits on the finish.17/20 Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com
The 2017 Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru clearly has more richness and fruit concentration compared to the Charmes-Chambertin, presenting copious kirsch-infused wild strawberry that turns quite confit-like in style. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin and quite minerally. The potent, saline finish lingers long in the mouth. Very impressive, with long-term potential.93-95 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
ALSO AVAILABLE IN LIMITED QUANTITIES…
The 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Village has been a consistent performer at the domaine. It has a clean and precise bouquet although it does not quite convey the same energy and fruit concentration as the Morey-Saint-Denis. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, elegant and bright with tart red fruit with a tang of spice towards the finish. This seems to meliorate as it goes on.88-90 points. Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
Good medium red. Pure, high-pitched scents of raspberry, pomegranate and blood orange. Juicy flavors of tart red berries and spices are a bit youthfully ungiving for village wine but convey excellent definition and lift. Tannins are firm but nicely supported by the wine’s material. Plenty of energy here, along with attractive floral lift.89-91 points. Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Media
Broad and purple perfumed. Very fresh and pure. Fluid and expressive. Very Gevrey. Precise. 17/20Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com
The 2016 Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru La Riotte has an expressive and engaging bouquet, a mixture of red and black fruit, pressed flowers and bergamot tea, complex and gaining intensity with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well-judged acidity, maybe a little conservative but very precise with a sense of energy and tension conveyed on the finish. Fortunately there is a good volume of this wine this vintage — try to buy some.91-93 points. Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
Good dark red. Expressive aromas and flavors of cherry, brown spices and smoky underbrush. Fat, silky and moderately sweet; broader and more powerful in the early going than the Combe d’Orveau but without that wine’s finesse. Delivers impressive volume and saline minerality, finishing with big, dusty tannins and classic dryness.91 points. Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Media
Good bright red. Pretty, floral nose combines raspberry, rose petal and saline minerality. A silky, savoury midweight given definition and lift by tart red berry, violet and spice flavors. The wine’s sweetness is nicely countered by its penetrating character. A classically dry 2014 with terrific energy, this has turned out very well. Romain Taupenot considers La Riotte to be an underrated premier cru.92 points. Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Media
The 2016 Mazoyeres Chambertin Grand Cru has more sophisticated and mineral-driven bouquet than the Charmes-Chambertin, with a mixture of red and black fruit, damp earth, minerals and pressed flowers. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a gentle grip in the mouth, quite effervescent in the mouth that tingles with its coiled-up energy on the finish. This is a deeply impressive follow-up to the 2015 and it may improve once in bottle. It has great potential, the standout from Taupenot-Merme this year.93-95 points. Neal Martin, Wine Advocate