Now trapped at home, my cellar (aka crawl space) lights up the end of this dark tunnel. Each bottle holds a glimpse into the world before this plodding, boring present. I would rather open wines too early than too late for the sake of some palate time travel. So, yes, let us crack open another Burgundy.
Since the 1880s the Tollot family have made serious wine from their plantings in Burgundy in a 250 year old cellar. They jumped early to label when the Chorey-lès-Beaune appellation was created in 1921 and exported quickly to the states.
Chorey-lès-Beaune’s 336 acres are mostly Pinot Noir on plains beneath the shadow of the massive Grand Cru hill of Corton (red) and above the city of Beaune.
Almost half of Chorey’s producers are satisfied selling their Chorey off under the broader Côte de Beaune-Villages appellation. But not the Tollots. Generations of strategic small acquisitions in Savigny, Aloxe, and Beaune bumped their total to 60 acres, with two monopolies (vineyards they own outright), sustainably farmed (“lutte raisonée”) ofmostly old vines of the fancy Pinot Fin strain. Today, cousins Nathalie, Jean-Paul, and Olivier Tollot steer the ship.
On trend, they de-stem most of the Pinot Noir and now limit new oak to 20% for village and 60% for Grand Crus.
I won a bottle of 2011 five years ago as an incentive when it was leaving Diageo. 2011 was stormy and tricky leaving aromatic and fresh reds that lack weight and power. Review agglomerators like CellarTracker.com say its window was 2014-2017, with 2020 reviews saying drink now. I am too bored to be patient.
Domaine Tollot-Beaut Chorey-Les-Beaune Rouge 2011
The bottle feels substantial, like a show off Champagne bottle.
The appearance looks a clear, medium intense garnet-rimed, ruby-cored color.
Intense aromas jab and creak with cola nut, balsamic, licorice, kirsch and plum, vanilla powder, and orange marmalade.
The palate feels chalk dry, with wood-splitting high acidity, medium woody tannins, medium alcohol, a medium body.
Medium plus intense flavors start delicate then arch more toward wood, earth, and spice braced by high acidity, rather than the fruity, complex, brooding nose. On point with other 2011s, there just is not much core fruit here. Flavors carry a medium plus length.
Tollot-Beaut’s ’11 shows charm, drive, and complexity, but now, in 2020, is passing its peak. The core fruit is fading to its structures of acid and tannin, and fruit switching to earth and spice. It is very good but likely never outstanding. If you have one, drink it now, with a duck or mushroom pate or aged cheese.