In 2010, Faiveley started harvesting chardonnay on the Cote de Beaune on September 16 with their Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet. CEO/adviser Bernard Hervet describes 2010 as a moderately ripe year, "cool, fresh and high in acidity, without the depth of 2008 but better than 2007 and completely different from 2009. The 2009s show the primary aromas of ripe chardonnay in great terroir," he went on, "while the 2010s have a more northerly aspect. A lot of the wines are of the riesling type." Very few of the 2010s had finished their malos by the time of my visit; my notes are limited to those cuvees that were at least 90% done.
(malo finished): White peach and smoky minerality on the nose. Rich, ripe and salty with dry extract. Tactile, stony but smooth Mercurey with noteworthy substance and length. Very promising.
(malo almost finished): Cool, perfumed aromas of orange oil and pineapple. Smooth, pure and fresh, with slowly building saline minerality complicating the yellow fruit flavors. Finishes quite long, with a smoky nuance.
(almost finished with its malo): Ripe peach, menthol, rose oil and spices on the perfumed, high-pitched nose, complicated by a hint of red berries. Then tactile and brisk on the palate, with strong acidity and floral cut drawing out the finish.
Aroma of cold steel. Great energy to the flavors of crushed rock and citrus fruits. A wine of outstanding richness and chewy texture, this Corton-Charlemagne washes over the palate like a wave. An infant today but destined for a long life in bottle. Conveys an impression of great solidity. (I also loved the Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet for its exhilarating acid/sugar balance and spicy, citric intensity, but neither it nor Faiveley's more austere Batard was near the end of its secondary fermentation. The Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres showed a piquant floral quality and terrific sappy length.)
($66) Bright medium yellow. Reticent aromas of minerals, lichee and green tropical fruits. Almost Chablis-like in its saline character and stony minerality. Tight through the middle palate, even austere for village wine. Intriguing exotic fruit hints in the deep background. This serious, sharply focused village wine needs some patience.
($62) Bright yellow. Aromas of crushed stone, dusty brown spices and wild herbs, accompanied by a salty, sweaty quality; peach and vanilla notes emerge with air. Juicy and penetrating, with subtle stone fruit and spice flavors that come across as a bit less tight than those of the village Chassagne. A ripe peach flavor gives sweetness to the finish.
($70) Pale yellow. White pepper, licorice and a floral note on the nose. Dense and spicy, with good energy framing the sappy licorice and iodine flavors. Not a fruity style but tactile and long, with finishing notes of flowers and iodiney minerality. Serious village wine
($79) Bright yellow. Aromas of white plum, pear skin, anise, earth and iodiney minerality. Ripe, spicy and tactile, with chewy saline and stony elements and an impression of strong extract. Lovely energy and balance here. Finishes chewy, dense and young.
($106) Perfumed aromas of pear, peach nectar, lemon, mint and anise, lifted by a floral element. Broad, supple and sweet on entry, with a hint of honey, then dense and fresh in the middle, showing good floral lift. Very pure wine but I found myself wanting a bit more intensity and flesh. Finishes pure but a bit dry. An awkward showing today.
($115) Medium yellow. White peach, crushed stone and a whiff of iodine on the nose. Pure, intense and brisk, with a penetrating quality to the subtly sweet flavors of peach and flowers. Not quite austere but boasts lovely cut and precision thanks to sound, harmonious acidity. Finishes broad and generous, with lingering notes of poached pear and apple.
($106) Tangerine, metallic minerality and lavender on the high-pitched, aromatic nose. Rich, spicy and sweet, with pungent stoniness lifting the flavors of lemon, lime and fresh herbs. For its richness and intensity, this is quite backward and dry today, but light on its feet. The youthfully aggressive finish calls for at least a few years of cellaring.
($324) Full yellow. Peach nectar, honey, vanilla and musky lees on the nose. Concentrated, sweet and deep; wonderfully chewy grand cru and surprisingly open-knit today. A saline character adds an element of interest to the lingering finish. This seems approachable now but should have the stuffing to age.
($362) Good bright yellow. Sexy apricot and orange oil on the pungent nose. Rich, powerful and dry; uncompromising today and beefier than the Bienvenue. Finishes savory, dry and a bit youthfully warm. Today this comes across as heavier than the Bienvenue, but there's also more wine here.
($268) Full yellow. Captivating aromas of ginger, lime, fresh apricot and ginger. Tightly coiled and spicy, with strong acidity and a dry, savory character giving the mid-palate an urgent intensity. Bracing flavors of lime, crushed stone and almost metallic minerality showcase the vintage's density of texture, but with a degree of energy rare for the year. Finishes with terrific persistence. I would not be surprised to see this wine merit an even higher score with several years of bottle aging.