The Source Spring Tour 2018: Champagne & Beaujolais

March 18, 2018

Greetings from Europe! J.D. Plotnick (my travel partner for the next three weeks) and I arrived in France and had a good first day back on the wine trail. First, we had two enlightening visits in Champagne, one with Sébastien Mouzon (Mouzon-Leroux) and another who shall remain nameless until we can get him to sell us some wine—fingers crossed! We tasted some intriguing unfinished and experimental wines out of tank and barrel that we’ve not experienced before.

Sébastien Mouzon
Sébastien Mouzon


The next day we had two great visits in Champagne with Guillaume Sergent and Vincent Charlot. As usual, the wines from these producers never cease to impress.

Vincent Charlot
Vincent Charlot

Sunrise in Champagne
Last morning in Champagne

After our visits in Champagne, we made our way down to the Côte d’Or. David Duband, Nicolas Rossignol and Rodolphe Demougeot put on a stellar showing of their 2016s before we finished up our week in Beaujolais with Jean Louis Dutraive, Justin Dutraive, Anthony Thevenet and the Chardigny boys, Pierre-Maxime Chardigny and Victor Chardigny.

The Chardigny Boys
With Jean Bat, Victor Chardigny, Pierre-Maxime Chardigny and Domaine Chardigny.

Justin Dutraive
Justin Dutraive in his granite dense Beaujolais Village lieu-dit “Les Tour.”

In Beaujolais they are struggling to stay afloat after two vintages of hailstorms that knocked out the majority of their production each year; Jean-Louis was hit the worst with a loss of 90% in 2016 and 95% in 2017. They have high hopes for a successful 2018 vintage but they believe the threat of regular hailstorm strikes will be a new normal occurrence for them.

Anthony Thevenet's vineyards
This is one of Anthony Thevenet’s 80-year-old vineyards in Morgon that makes up a portion of his Vieilles Vignes bottling.

J.D thanked me for taking the time to go back into the vineyards again to give him a more complete view of the domaines we work with. I told him that no matter how many times you go to the same place, each visit provides new perspective and contemplation about this infinitely vast subject. It’s my pleasure!

Anthony Thevenet vineyards
The famous blue rock of the Côte de Py. Hard as hell, this seemingly unbreakable rock (we’ve tried with a mallet hammer before and they are tough!) helps to make wines from this hill that have tremendous focus and power. Hard rocks made firm wines.

After six days of cold weather and a maximum of four hours of sleep each night, I finally kicked my jet lag. It was 28 degrees this morning with a light snowfall, but I’m happily resting in bed at our apartment in Puligny-Montrachet. There is nothing on the schedule today but paying a visit 200 meters from our front door at Le Montrachet, one of Burgundy’s most civilized lunch spots. Next week it’s more Côte d’Or and then off into Chablis, Irancy and Epineuil.