On the Trail

A Guide to K&L's 2015 Burgundy Arrivals - Part I

David Driscoll

When you buy wine by the shipping container rather than by the case, it's easy to go from a slim selection to a glutenous amount of inventory very quickly. In the case of our Burgundy department, we went from digging for deals just to fill the shelves, to scrambling just to find the space to display all the new bottles that have just arrived on our latest shipment. There's a reason we went deep on our purchasing, however. We've mentioned it here on this blog before, but the 2015 vintage in Burgundy is an absolute stunner, one worth investing in and making room for in your cellar. It's also being followed by a pair of disastrous harvests that were hammered by hail, meaning supplies moving forward will be short. Like any good scavenger, we decided to load up on supplies for the cold winter ahead, but that's creating quite the dilemma for our customers who see dozens and dozens of new wines on the shelf and can barely make up their minds as to what to buy. Hence, I'm here to help guide you through our newest arrivals and help you break down what's what from this latest container. Today, we're starting with the wines of Giboulot.

Whereas in the past I've found some of the cooler Giboulot vintages a bit course or thin for my personal tastes, the 2015 vintage is like a complete 180 from that more rustic style. Not only is Giboulot destemming 100% of its expressions now (allowing the fruit to take center stage), the team is using more new oak during maturation to add richness and texture. The improvement in the wine is night and day, with 2015 being the best vintage I've ever tasted from the portfolio. We spent an entire morning tasting with Jean-Michel from barrel this past Spring and I've found the wines taste even better now that they're here in the bottle. Jean-Michel is the third Giboulot to head the family estate in Savigny-les-Beaune, having resided over the twelve hectares in Beaune, Pommard, and Savigny since 1982. It was his idea to switch over to organic farming, which has also added freshness to the wines. 

The characteristic that separates the Giboulot wines from some of our other imports like Bart and Charriere is the distinct dark-fruited nature of their flavor. Whereas you might expect bright cherry or raspberry notes in your French pinot noir, these are full of cassis and blackberry with a core of tangy acidity. The 2015 Bourgogne rouge is a great entry-level example of that exact character, as it almost explodes on the palate with freshness to boot. The 2015 Hautes Cote de Beaune, for just a few dollars more, expands on that foundation and adds accents of crushed violet with a more concentrated core of ripeness. It's quite the deal. Moving over the the 2015 Savigny-les-Beaune, you get the same cassis character, but with more structure. There's more complexity at play, flavors of earth, licorice, and a mild meatiness come through on the finish. If you only have the funds to buy one wine from the Giboulot line-up, the clear winner is the 2015 Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru "Aux Gravains" vineyard expression, a wine that absolutely lights up your taste buds from front to back. It's easily in my top five from this year's trip and is simply one of the most exciting mid-range red Burgundies to hit our store in years. The nose is a flurry of baking spices and ripe black cherry, while the palate carries those flavors further with a lushness and silkiness that you only get in riper years like 2015. If you're a fan of Burgundy, buy this. If you're trying to get into Burgundy, buy this. If you're typically a California fan and you like power and extra body, check out the 2015 Pommard "En Brescul," a wine that adds weight to a heavy blackberry saturation. This is the darkest and the most brooding of the 2015 red Giboulot portfolio, by far.

Stay tuned for part two!

-David Driscoll