Back in 2015 we hosted a tasting and then dinner that I wrote up in the post called Clos de Tart Day. This was to celebrate the vintages that Sylvain Pitiot oversaw and to welcome Jacques Devauges.
Back in April this year we were delighted to welcome Jacques back for a dinner at Home house and then a tasting in the office the next morning. I am not going to go over masses of the background to Clos de Tart as that can all be read about HERE. The nitty gritty is that is is a 7.53ha Grand Cru Monopole – one of only 5 in Burgundy (others being Romanee-Conti, La Tache, La Romanee & La Grand Rue). The site can be picked in about 5 days and the vine age is an average of 60yrs. In terms of parcels the site is split 27 ways.
The menu for the dinner at Home House is below:
Roast quail, sweet corn , smoky popcorn & red wine essence
Rack of lamb, garlic shallot purée, crushed peas and broccoli and thyme jus
Montgomery Chedder, Millers Damsels Charcoal wafers, black grapes and celery
We started the evening with, surprise surprise, magnums of Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV which always does the job. The first red of the evening was the La Forge de Tart 2001. The first “Forge” was made in 1987. What I hadn’t realised until recently was how they choose whether to make it or not. The way is simple – there are always younger vine parcels that might make the “Forge”. What happens is that there is a blend made from all the parcels in the Clos and then a blend made from all except the vines that sometimes make the “Forge”. If the wine that does not have these parcels in it is better in a blind tasting then “Forge” is made separately, otherwise it is not and just “Clos de Tart” is made. Simple really. The Forge de Tart 2001 is a tender and nicely balanced wine, like most 2001s it exudes easy charm. Perfect now to my way of thinking. Next up was a trio of Clos de Tarts with the 2010, 2008 & 2002.
The Clos de Tart 2010 was a very small production, only 21hl/ha due to collure, this has certainly added intensity. The wine has real power, but it is a pure Pinot power, there is substance as well as drive and the fruit is relatively dark. Serious wine.
The Clos de Tart 2008 was harvested pretty late, 3rd October, and was for me, and many others, the surprise package of the bunch. Brooding but with a distinct saline moreishness, lovely acidity and a really inviting nose, the palate had a little nice grip, just a cracking glass.
The Clos de Tart 2002 is deeper and darker with the nose easing into third gear maturity wise. There is a little iodine some brooding inkiness and even a little bacon fat. As with most 2002s this is a more masculine expression.
The final wine of the night was Clos de Tart 2001, a wine which Jacques said the records referred to as having been “very hard work in the vineyard”. The 2001 had a little of the smokiness of the 2002 but a softer easier charm and is just right now.
The evening had flown by and the atmosphere was excellent.
The next morning it was great that Jacques could make it to the office to go over a few wines with the team. The line up was as below.
La Forge de Tart 2014 – A tiny bit of orange rind, elegantly lifted, very primary as you’d expect, tannins are very well integrated so no dryness. Promising.
La Forge de Tart 2001 – Consistent with the night before – a little dash of cheesecloth from maturity, a little leather too then lovely fresh red fruits. Charming
Clos de Tart 2014 – The 2014 sees 40% whole bunches (this varies by vintage) and 100% new oak. Only a tiny bit of the oak still shows. The structure has a certain boldness and good acidity, quite a rich wine with good balance and good concentration.
Clos de Tart 2008 – Showed well again as the previous night, there is a small nod to the northern Rhone here, not in power but in fruit type. An over-performer.
Clos de Tart 2007 – A very slight herbaceous edge, “good green” if that makes any sense. There is a little spice too then good depth to the palate, a wine just approaching its peak I think. This should drink nicely for the next ten years.
After what was a very good dinner and tasting it was also good news to hear that in 2016 the Clos managed a yield of 36hl/ha…a relief indeed, if only everyone had been that lucky or maybe that well placed…thanks Jacques…