Richard Fontaine's take on the 2010 vintage was a bit different than the opinions expressed by his peers in Chassagne-Montrachet. "The wines are round and flattering, more like 2009 than 2008," he told me. "The 2008s were a lot more taut in the early going." Crop levels in 2010 were down an average of 20% for chardonnay, but Fontaine said that pinot yields were "even worse." He was in the middle of racking his 2010s when I visited at the beginning of June and he planned to bottle the new vintage, as usual, before the 2011 harvest. "People who put their wines in tank for six months just want to be able to take their summer vacation," he told me.
Pear, white flowers and honey on the nose and palate. Brisk acidity contributes energy to this very pure, low-fat village wine. Fontaine combines five village parcels to make this wine.
Powdered stone on the nose. Fruit-driven flavors of pear and peach are firmed by flinty minerality. Good intensity and cut here, and a slightly edgy finish.
Pale color. Stone fruits and pear on the nose. Supple, sweet and round but with enticing cut to the flavors of white peach, spices and crushed rock. Very nicely balanced and delineated.
Nectarine and flowers on the nose, plus a hint of reduction. Less round than the Boudriotte, showing a firm acid spine today. This pure but subdued wine should be sweetened by its imminent racking. Normally Morgeot would be more pliant at this stage than Boudriotte, but Fontaine's Morgeot is mostly from the lieu-dit Les Brussones, which he describes as "shallow Santenay soil."
Good pale yellow. Expressive aromas of apple and pear. A bit sweet/sour today, with orchard fruit flavors currently dominated by firm-edged acidity. More oaky than some of the foregoing samples. Best right now on the saline, chewy, lemony finish, which communicates an impression of strong extract.
Very ripe aromas of yellow peach and honey. Ripe, peachy and easygoing, but with a solid mineral underpinning. Finishes with tangy, ripe yellow fruits and very good length. In a distinctly charming style and likely to give considerable early pleasure.
Very ripe aromas of mirabelle, stone and flowers; shows an element of surmaturite. Fat, sweet and honeyed, but with its volume leavened by a juicy quality. Not the last word in definition or intensity but this relatively open-knit wine should offer early appeal.
Reticent, high-pitched aromas of lime, lemon, spices and powdered stone. Intensely flavored and fine-grained, with lovely inner-mouth lift to the citrus and floral flavors. The most bracing of these 2010 premier crus to this point, finishing long and perfumed, with saline minerality. Excellent potential here.
Bright greenish-yellow. Knockout nose combines lime, smoke and stone, plus leesy and saline nuances. Wonderfully chewy and concentrated, with the note of smoky reduction adding complexity to the intense citrus and stone flavors. The sappy, tactile finish boasts outstanding persistence. A great premier cru in the making.
Pale yellow. Peach syrup, honey and clove oil on the superripe nose. Fat, sweet and large-scaled, with bracing acidity to buffer its almost oily texture. With its chewy impression of solidity, this sappy wine is going to require at least several years of bottle aging to approach peak drinkability. Wonderfully invigorating on the finish: I love the balance of sweetness and acidity on display here. As these vines age (most were planted in the 1960s but some date back to the '30s), this wine has been gaining in acidity, notes Fontaine.
Bright, light yellow. Subdued if somewhat exotic aromas of pineapple, banana and licorice; there's something almost viognier-like here. More powerful than the Bienvenue, coming across as sweeter than its 1.4 g/l r.s. would suggest, perhaps owing to its impression of lower acidity and the sheer volume of its baby fat. Thick and solid but without quite the distinction of the Bienvenue.
Pale yellow with a green tinge. Deep, brooding nose offers iodine, clove oil and brown spices. Thick on entry, then minerally, saline and uncompromising in the middle, with nothing heavy about it. This very uncompromising young Montrachet shows little in the way of easy sweetness. In a rather inscrutable stage today.
($82) Medium yellow. Aromas of white peach, lemon, menthol and mint. Juicy on entry, then on the lean side, with saline minerality and wet stone dominating lemony fruit. I wanted a bit more concentration to stand up to the slightly tart acidity. A laid-back wine with a dry lemon-and-stone finish. Seems a tad pinched.
($94) Pale bright yellow. Very reticent on the nose and palate, hinting at ripe peach, wet stone, minerals and honey. In a rather sweet, soft style but a bit aggressive, with a hint of resiny oak appearing on the slightly warm aftertaste. I wanted a bit more verve.
($99) Lively aromas of flowers and nutmeg. Sweet, fat and deep; gives a rather soft impression but nicely integrated acidity lends shape to the peach and honey flavors. Nicely ripe but not overripe.
($215) Bright lemon-yellow. Aromas of lemon, menthol and honey lifted by a lively floral note. Silky and plush but surprisingly fresh, with enticing flavors of crystallized citrus peel, fresh apricot and honey. Finishes ripe, lively and firm. Invigorating for such a voluminous wine.
($215) Bright yellow. Ripe aromas of clove, nut oil, wet stone and menthol. Opens with sweet, ripe fruit salad flavor but closes down a bit in the middle, showing more power than personality today. With time in the glass, this grand cru grew more suave, and distinctly softer than the Bienvenue.
($525) Pale yellow. Yellow plum, menthol, flowers and stone on the nose. Thick and fine-grained but refined; with crystallized lemon peel, stone fruit and marzipan flavors that dance on the palate. Saline, chewy and very smooth on the echoing finish, which boasts terrific lift. This is larger-scaled than the Criots-Batard and more harmonious today. Offers a rare combination of volume and cut for the year.