When I received the three bottles reviewed here from importer Cellarhand and saw the prices, I reared back in surprise. Its owner Patrick Walsh and his right-hand man Ed Merrison set high standards, and my sporadic tastings of the Prieur wines had been distinctly underwhelming, even though the Domaine’s 15.5ha of vineyards are of high quality, headed up by Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards.
Walsh recalls he had occasionally visited the Domaine on his frequent visits to Burgundy, and his tastings had elicited the same response as mine. But things have changed in the wake of the Labruyère family moving to 100 per cent ownership. The family sold its ownership of supermarket chain Carrefour, and has invested in Champagne, Beaujolais, Bordeaux and Burgundy.
When Walsh visited Prieur again, he found an immaculate cellar with winemaker Nadine Gublin in charge. One mark of change was the use of Diam in the Puligny-Montrachet, an effective barrier against the premature oxidation that had ravaged White Burgundy between 1994 and 2004. Screwcaps, alas, are still all too rarely used.
Of greater moment for Burgundians has been the devastation wrought by frost and hail since 2010. In that respect, 2017 came as a relief: White Chablis was smashed, and pockets of pinot noir in the Côte de Nuits were destroyed, but overall yields were good, the quality very good.
The white wines are the best since the great 2014 vintage, and all pundits seize on the freshness and elegance of the red wines. With prices continuing to escalate, Beaujolais will – and deserves to – receive more attention. While Champagne and Bordeaux shift their borders, Burgundy’s maps are as they have been for hundreds of years. There’s only one way for its prices to go, as volume can’t increase.
2017 Domaine Jacques Prieur Monopole Beaune Clos de la Féguine Premier Cru
Good colour with no hint of age. The bouquet is fragrant with black cherry and plum, the medium-bodied palate continuing the message with a gentle infusion of some whole bunch enriching both flavour and texture. Drink to the end of the decade. 13.5% alc; cork 94 points; drink to 2030; $207
2017 Domaine Jacques Prieur Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes Premier Cru
No lees stirring and no fining or filtration. The Diam closure has done its job well, the bouquet offering balanced fruit and oak. The palate springs to life with abundant white peach and fig fruit flavours, kept in trim by calibrated acidity. Ready now. 13% alc; Diam 95 points; drink to 2027; $330
2017 Domaine Jacques Prieur Chambertin Grand Cru
A very distinguished wine, the bouquet perfumed and distinctly spicy, whole bunch/berry playing their part. The palate is vibrantly fresh, with precision and focus driving the bright red fruits and savoury, yet fine, tannins through to the long finish and lingering aftertaste. 13% alc; cork 97 points; drink to 2032; $1485