A small but select group of WING members made the journey to Perkins on Thursday June 11th to hear from and taste the wines of Mark Haisma.

Mark is an Australian Negociant/Winemaker based in Gevrey Chambertin. A protege of the late great Bailey Corrudus of Yarra Yering, has decamped from the Yarra Valley to start making wines in the mecca for Pinot Noir enthusiasts.

Jancis Robinson said: “His wines have an excellent balance between fruit, expression and refreshment without being in any way wimpish. The wines are also, appetisingly, bone dry. There is none of the sometimes slightly gratuitous sweetness to be found in some Pinots, especially New World ones.”

First let me say this evening clashed with a Bordeaux Wine and Food event at Hart’s, and not being able to attend both resulted in something of a dilemna. In this specific instance Perkin’s won for two reasons: the subject matter here was Burgundy, and I am myself co-leading a Bordeaux Tasting on Monday 15th; but more decisively – I wanted the opportunity to listen to an actual winemaker.
If representatives of the two restaurants are reading – I would have much preferred to attend both events, so if it’s possible to avoid such a clash in future I imagine I would not be alone in being grateful… Also, if any colleagues attended Hart’s last week please send me a note and I’ll post it….


Anyway – Mark Haisma talked for an hour or so and showed his own wines: a white and five reds, followed by another two reds with dinner. You can check his wines through links on his own website http://www.markhaisma.com. You’ll find that the “Croix de Champs” can be had from Philglas & Swiggot for £42!

Here are my thoughts:

Mark seems to be a winemaker dedicated to an approachable but still quite firm, dense (to use a word that seemed to express feelings on the night) and serious style. He buys in grapes and makes the wines himself, purity of the fruit and expression of the terroir seems to drive him. He recounted severe fruit selection during – for example – the difficult 2012 vintage. He made the point that the mark (no pun intended) of a winemaker is the quality of their wine in a poor vintage, a very reliable nostrum I reckon – any idiot can make (at least apparently) good wine in a good year.

Santenay Blanc “Saint-Jean” 2013
The wine has 12 months in old oak with fruit from a named parcel just above (north) of Le Haut Village in Santenay. Quite an aromatic nose – melon and herbs with a citrus twist. The palate has a warm minerality and citrus backbone but a substantial longer line of slightly sappy apricot/mango fruit. Rich but rather poised and very enjoyable.

Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2013
This is from grapes sourced from old vines in both the Gevrey and Chambolle village areas. Quite a light nose with a raspbery fruit and herby nose. Sour cherry acidity carries quite a soft, pretty palate of simplicity and pleasure.

There followed four vintages of Gevrey-Chambertin “Croix de Champs”. A vineyard lying East of the Village itself just over and bordering the main road. The fruit for this wine is about four times the price, to Mark, of fruit for the basic Bourgogne!

The has a bigger nose than the basic Bourgogne, richer with darker fruit. The palate is much more complete too, with red and black berry fruit and rounded tannins and a lip-smacking fruit acidity. Still clearly young but coming together.

This has hints of farmyard on the nose at first then a dark fruit developing. This is much sweeter / less acid balance than the previous wines with slightly herby tannins giving shape.

Very Burgundian nose – red fruit with hints of compost and herbs. Palate is very balanced with acidity and fruit sharing the same line and tannins supporting but not protruding. A good, and typical, Gevrey – one of my two favourites of the night.

Very pungent, with farmyard and a pickled onion note! Later a tea-leaf and wood tinged red berry fruit element. Palate just now is just holding balance with quite a lot of tannin and acidity framing the fruit.

We were then served with Charolais beef with Dauphinoise potatoes. The beef was delightful and made a beautiful foil for the wine. The Dauphinoise was excellent but the creaminess provided another line of richness that – to my palate – distracted from the dazzling pairing of the wine with the meat. This is a nerdy oenophile criticism, if it be criticism at all, not a gourmet criticism.

The dinner wines were a good glasses of the Santenay and…

Nuits-Saint-Georges “La Charmotte” 2013
This had a slightly creamy nose with red fruit and a slightly peppery hint. The palate has velvety richness, a warm note and a softer line than the Gevreys – excellent with the food.

Finally another tasting portion of
Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Chaffots 2013
The Grands Crus of this village lie in a North-South line, West of the Route des Grands Crus running through the village, and famously most of the 1er Cru vineyards line the other (East) side. However, Les Chaffots is one (of only 3?) 1er Cru that lies above (West) of the Grand Crus. This had a very pretty floral tinged nose with red fruit. The palate noticeably lighter than the Gevreys, with a sweet first flavour, but a subtle under-pinning of fruit acid and a warm soft tannin working exceptionally with the food. Another favourite.

A lovely evening – pleasurable, illuminating and in-the-end quite intoxicating.

Dates for the diary: Perkins Wine Series #9: October 1st: “Call My Wine Bluff”!

Until next time.