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29 March 2013

Burgundy: Les Champs de l'Abbaye, Côte Chalonnaise

Photo from www.rawfair.com
Alain and Isabelle Hasard (which means chance or coincidence in French, appropriately perhaps as I did indeed just happen to stop by at their table at Millésime Bio organic wine show a few weeks ago in Montpellier, France) own a few little vineyards in different sites in the Côte de Beaune and (mainly) Côte Chalonnaise (the latter being that chunk roughly in the middle of Burgundy's wine-lands, between the Beaune and Macon vineyard areas). They're based in the hilltop village of Aluze - and have two vineyards here called Clos de Roches and Les Gardes - which lies to the southwest of Rully where they have one plot called Les Cailloux, and slightly northwest of Mercurey where they own two more sites called La Brigadière and Les Marcoeurs. Les Sous Roches in Monthélie (between Volnay and Meursault) completes the Hasard family's patchwork picture; and they also make sparkling wine in addition to the whites and reds sourced from the aforementioned appellations. They've been certified organic - or rather their vineyards have! - since 1999 and are "inspired by biodynamics." I like their nice and simple explanation of organic farming and why they do it: "It teaches us to search for the origins of problems that may arise rather than simply treat the consequences, and to establish harmony rather than fight against it." Otherwise, it looks like their winemaking is pretty traditional and towards 'minimal intervention' (to use a rather overused cliché) for both reds and whites, which in general are aged in 25% to 50% of new oak barrels, "because our wines are so concentrated," as it says modestly in their profile blurb! These are bottled "without fining and filtration... our wines are living products." Here's what I thought of them then:

2010 Rully blanc Les Cailloux (Chardonnay) - enticing creamy vs citrus fruit with a touch of toasted oak, quite subtle and elegant with fresh acidity vs some weight too; still a bit closed up, quite fine and needs more time.
2011 Rully blanc Les Cailloux (Chardonnay) - more aromatic with nutty and peachy fruit, more forward than the 2010 and a touch richer and more buttery already, showing subtle toasty notes vs freshness too. Attractive now actually.
2011 Mercurey blanc La Brigadière (Chardonnay) - a tad richer and fuller with peachy vs toasty flavours, again it's quite delicate and tight on the palate, promising though.
2011 Mercurey rouge La Brigadière (Pinot Noir) - subtle red fruits with lightly funky edges, juicy and soft with a little grip and elegant fresh acidity. Nice wine, drinking well now.

Raeburn Fine Wines (Edinburgh and London) imports their range into the UK, priced at £21.50-£22.50 for some of the wines tasted above or earlier vintages; Leon Stolarski also expressed an interest in them on his blog following a trip there. They cost about €15-€20 cellar door; and you can get some of them in Dublin too according to www.sourgrapes.ie (from about €15). They export to "the US and Far East..." as well, Alain told me at the fair: contact him on alainhasard@wanadoo.fr for more details.

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