Maison Harbour is one of the greatest discoveries I have made in Burgundy. When I first heard of Maison Harbour, I intrinsically didn’t take it serious enough to track down one of their bottles sooner (Let’s be honest, the term ‘Maison’ is not as favoured as ‘Domaine’ for many of us Burgundy drinkers)… I was wrong on this… The truth is, not a lot of people are lucky enough to have Grand Cru vineyard inheritance from their grandparents or have extra multi-million euros to spare for buying sought-after vineyards in Burgundy.
Established in 2013 by Nicolas and Colleen Harbour, a married couple originally from the US and Canada. Their story began when Nicolas Harbour’s parents bought a family house in 1999, Nicolas travelled to Burgundy every year since then and gradually fell in love with this beautiful region. In 2012, Nicolas and Colleen decided to quit their jobs in finance and do what they both are passionate about, which is drinking and making wines in Burgundy. Nicolas and Colleen went to the wine school in Beaune, Nicolas studied the technical winemaking aspects and Colleen studied the commercial side of wine. Luckily for Nicolas and Colleen, they met a few classmates who were able to sell some of their grapes to them.
Maison Harbour is an artisan winery, or ‘Garagistes’ as they like to call it in Bordeaux. The wooden fermentation tanks, labelling equipments, etc are all packed inside their ‘garage’. Their semi-underground wine cellar for wine ageing is perhaps one of the smallest in the region. The annual production range from 5,000 bottles to 10,000 bottles.
In 2013, they bought their first batch of grapes from 7 different vineyards and made their first wines of Maison Harbour. Both red and whites are normally aged for 12 months. The Pinot Noir are generally destemmed and partially crushed. Very light tannin extraction and punch down by foot. There is no racking or battonage for the Chardonnay. Pinot Noir are not filtered or fined. DIAM 30 cork closures are used in Maison Harbour, which according to DIAM the diam 30 has a 30 year guarantee.
For those readers who enjoys Burgundy that is elegant, light-footed and true to its terroir, look no further. I highly recommend trying both Maison Harbour Chardonnays and Pinot Noir.
Bourgogne Blanc 2015
The Bourgogne Blanc from Maison Harbour comes from different vineyards in different vintages depending on the year and most importantly the supply. The 2015 Bourgogne Blanc comes from a Chardonnay plot just across the road from Clos Vougeot, 853 bottles produced. This Bourgogne Blanc shows good depth and not too much heat as they managed to harvest fairly early. Good depth for a Bourgogne Blanc with sleek tree fruits, ripe citrus and subtle bright cream. (84/100)
Bourgogne Blanc 2017 (Barrel Sample)
The Chardonnay grapes for the 2017 Bourgogne Blanc comes from Macon. Only 3 barrels produced. This has just gone through malolactic fermentation. Good brightness but the concentration is not quite at the same level as the 2015 Bourgogne Blanc. Simple and pretty fruits, very easy to like and to drink. This is what Bourgogne is about. Good
Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières 2016
The 2016 Santenay offers a perfumed nose of yellow fruits, spring flowers, and bright citrus fruits. 5 barrels produced. Lovely purity and touch of oak toast. Good length and energetic minerality. Fruit forward with a nice brightness. (86/100)
Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières 2017 (Barrel Sample)
2016 is the first vintage of their Santenay Les Gravières. Les Gravières is located not far from Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru vineyards. The vines are about 20 years old. Good concentration of bright citrus and tree fruits, vibrant with a tad of sweetness in mid-palate (there is still 1g/L of sugar left waiting to be fermented). 1 out of the 5 barrels is 1 year old. Good ripeness and concentration. Good/Very Good
Meursault 1er Cru Blagny 2015
The 2015 Meursault Blagny shows some of the vintage characteristics, warmer fruits and good ripeness. There is plenty of acidity and grape ripeness are managed very well here. Charming yellow fruits and elegant diary tone. Great leesy flavour and expression of this terroir. 798 bottled produced. (89-90/100)
Meursault 1er Cru Blagny 2017 (Barrel Sample)
The Meursault Blagny displays a good richness and backbone. 2 barrels produced. The vineyard is around 350 high in altitude, it is one of the highest Premier Cru in Burgundy. It is too early to judge the quality of 2017 Chardonnay at this stage, but so far the quality of these 2017 Chardonnay reminds me of a mixture of 2012 and 2013 chardonnay, forward with a nice richness. Medium bodied with bright citrus fruits. Good energy and creaminess. Very Good
Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru En Remilly 2013
The En Remilly of Chassagne Montrachet is a special vineyard and I highly recommend this wine. Unfortunately they didn’t make any En Remilly in 2016 and 2017. This tiny vineyard is sandwiched between Saint Aubin 1er cru En Remilly and Chevalier Montrachet (as seen in the map below). The vines are 58 years old and grapes are organically farmed. 2013 is the first vintage of Maison Harbour. The nose offers a great depth, bright and deep yellow fruits, very refined. It shows more depth and elegance than the Meursault Blagny. Very fine intensity and good length. Beautiful. (91-92/100)
Savigny Les Beaune Les Bas Liards 2017 (Barrel Sample)
Les Bas Liards is a village lieu-dit in Savigny Les Beaune. Malolactic fermentation hasn’t started yet, and the wine is very reductive at this stage. A lovely concentration village wine, juicy and expressive. A very promising Savigny Les Beaune.
Savigny Les Beaune 1er Cru La Dominode 2017 (Barrel Sample)
4 barrels produced in 2017. Any grapes from Les Nabartones and Les Jarrons can be labelled as La Dominode, though I suspect most people with Les Nabartones stick with it as it is a more well-known vineyard (Thanks to Domaine Leroy). A lovely weight and tight aromas, lovely fruits concentration and fine acidity.
Gevrey Chambertin La Justice 2013
2013 is the first vintage of Maison Harbour, unfortunately it wasn’t the strongest year for the Pinot Noir. This 2013 La Justice offers a forward juicy red currant and cherry, leaning towards nouveau, light and to be consumed sooner than later. The later vintages of La Justice are much more pampered. (83-84/100)
Gevrey Chambertin La Justice 2015
Only 1,128 bottles of La Justice produced in 2015. I have a soft spot for this particular vineyard, it is a feminine Gevrey Chambertin with pretty red fruits and flowers. Fine expression of red fruits and delicate minerals. Bubbly character of ripe fruits, light-footed with a nice intensity. (86/100)
Gevrey Chambertin La Justice 2017 (Barrel Sample)
4 barrels produced in 2017. La Justice is a village lieu-dit across the D974 bordering Brochon. The Gevrey Chambertin La Justice is one of the most light and elegant wine of Maison Harbour. Hard to judge the 2017 La Justice as malolactic fermentation is still in progress, but I suspect it will be a light-footed, gentle wine.
Gevrey Chambertin Pressonnier 2017 (Barrel Sample)
3 barrels produced in 2017. Pressonnier is located across D974 road. A step up in concentration and power. Charming and direct dark fruits and earthy soil, pretty and showing some gentle floral tones already.
Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe aux Moines 2014
Only 851 bottles produced in 2014. The 2014 Combe aux Moines offers a light fragrant of red cherry, strawberry, rose petals and Gevrey Earth. Detailed subtlety and sleek fruits. Vibrant and charming, very easy to like. (87-88/100)
Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe aux Moines 2017 (Barrel Sample)
3 barrels produced. This is slightly lighter than the 2014 Combe aux Moines, light with a delicate red fruit tone. It is too backwards to comment about this wine. To retry after bottling.
Corton Grand Cru 2014
The 2014 Corton shows a great depth and detail from the very old vines. Dark cherry and wild strawberry fragrant, floral and delicate with a Corton Grand Cru sturdiness. A very bright and approachable Grand Cru, I can imagine drinking this sometime soon. (89-91/100)
Corton Grand Cru 2017 (Barrel Sample)
2 barrels produced in 2017. This Corton is from very old vines, planted around 1913. Very rich and dark with concentrated dark fruits, black cherry, linear minerals and bright currants. Gentle extraction with a nice depth and sturdy intensity. Good transparency.
Pommard 1er Cru Les Chanlins 2017 (Barrel Sample)
2 barrels produced in 2017. This Pommard is not your usual tannic and grippy Pinot Noir. This Les Chanlins is gentle and fresh, lovely elegant fruit and floral tones. It is definitely not the usual rustic and extracted Pommard. Very charming.
Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2017 (Barrel Sample)
3 barrels produced in 2017. This Charmes Chambertin is an exciting new addition to the Maison Harbour portfolio in 2017. The grapes are sourced from the Aux Charmes section of Charmes Chambertin, specifically a vineyard very close to Le Chambertin. Juicy red cherry, rich and elegant. A lovely expression of the Gevrey Chambertin terroir. A fine example of Charmes Chambertin when done right! Very promising.
At the moment, 50% of the wines are exported to the USA, around 15% to the UK (The Sampler and The Vino Beano), 5% to Scandinavia, 5% to Russia.
For more information please visit www.maisonharbour.com or visit this lovely couple next time you are in Burgundy.