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               Why Big Red Diary?

Round-up of wines tasted

wine testing
No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that were drunk with food, friends and family, between August 2009 and mid-December 2009.

REGIONAL WINES

2007 Albert Bichot, Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes
Medium, medium-pale colour. Forward, friendly strawberry, no bubblegum, and with a slight grassy/herbal backdrop. Decently smooth texture, a sweet-sour fruit impression with acidity that whisks you along just fast enough to avoid you contemplating the sour! Actually the sour is not so bad – let’s call it a talking point. No impression of ‘thin’, also no impression of tannin. Some length, this is actually quite drinkable. It’s not as good as the 2005 or 2006, less beaujolais-esque than the 2005, it’s somehow, almost redolent of proper burgundy…

2006 Confuron-Coteditot, Bourgogne
Medium cherry-red. Sweet, only slightly smokey stems, rather candied red/blue fruit. The palate is as sweet as the nose, with understated acidity. Occasional sips give a padded, slightly plush texture, but most show a mid-palate/tannins with a slightly astringent, sharp effect. Quite long finishing, but this far from a ‘together’ wine. Day two, less aromatically interesting, but more ‘together’ on the palate. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say wait another year or two – it’s not really for today though…

1998 Gros Frère et Soeur, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits
Medium-plus ruby-red. The nose starts a complete jumble of dark wood, similarly dark fruit and some spice – fortunately it knits together rather well in only about 20 minutes; creamy spiced deep red plums and macerating cherry – not quite how I expect a bourgogne to smell, but it’s very, very nice, and frankly it gets better and better. Fresh and still quite astringent in its ‘attack’, yet the dark fruit mirrors the nose with some creamy packaging. Quite intense and, all-in-all, quite impressive in a burly Nuits sort of way. I was ready to dismiss it early-on, but clearly that would have been at my own loss! Definitely needs another 3 or-so years to mellow the astringent tannin – though it’s far from in the ascendant when taken with food – but it’s velvet tannin so ought to be worth waiting for.

2005 Domaine Lejeune, Bourgogne
Medium-plus colour. Open, dark-red fruit aromas, faint iron. A palate that seems somehow a little attenuated (filtered?) and lacking a little gloss/brightness, yet there is good density, balance and flavour and there are no hard edges or angles – it is far from a chore to take the next sip. Reasonably open and still primary. A wine that is close to villages Pommard quality from many other vintages.

1995 Maison Leroy, Bourgogne
Medium ruby-red with and edge of salmon pink. Sweet raisin, slightly resinous aromas, eventually a beacon of pure, red berry fruit. In the mouth there’s a warm red fruit base and very good acidity – the texture is plusher than you’d expect for the label. There’s still some grain to the tannin and even a hint of astringency. The finish is medium at best, but overall this is a compelling wine that I’m convinced if served to you blind, you’d be guessing higher appellations. This wine starts with both aromas and flavours of maturity bvut they fade to more primary elements so I’ll try and leave my remaining bottle at least another 5 years.

2006 de Montille, Bourgogne Rouge
Pale bright cherry red, with a broad paler rim showing pinkish still. Bright but slight, spicy cherry, nose. Fresh youthful and rustic, it makes me think of rolling in hay. Mouth entry is pure and sweet, but very small. Nice flavours – very fresh red fruit and spicy, bubblegummy, earth. The mid-palate shows good acidity and grip but no real size, and then it ends. Not quite clipped, but certainly short, though in a way that leaves you wanting more, rather than dissatisfied. Not a serious wine, but just the ticket for a picnic or a roll in the hay.

1999 Maison Nicolas Potel, Bourgogne Maison Dieu Vieilles Vignes
Medium, medium-plus colour. When first opened there’s a dark waft of oak supported by some bright cherry. Time in the glass makes the oak fade and the fruit come more to the fore, soft, sometimes powdery but very pretty red-cherry fruit. More than decent concentration for a regional, good acidity and balance. The tannin is mainly resolved though there’s still a little velvet-style texture. The finish is mouth-watering, sweet and red-coloured. The longer it was open, the better it tasted. Very nice indeed.

Bourgogne Blancs

2008 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Chardonnay
This starts with that faintly sherbet note you often find on wines with less punch from the more marginal villages – think St.Romain. There’s a little faint oak note note that helps fill-out the aromas at the bottom and eventually a much more favourable core of yellow fruit. Above average intensity for the label, very fine acidity – then a surprise – a deep and clear extra dimension of flavour in the mid-palate; a little wood-derived vanilla cream; it’s a warm, Côte de Beaune type of flavour that would still – even at this regional level – distinguish the bottle from, for instance Chablis. The finish is a little more mineral and also holds-on reasonably well. This is very successful indeed.

VILLAGE WINES

1998 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée
The last bottle of this was very good, and only drunk around two years ago, this bottle is not to the same standard. This one has a little volatility – slight cola – and some meaty aromas. The acidity is slightly lifted and there’s still just a hint of astringency showing from the tannins if you look hard enough. Decent length, but not so much love today. It was anyway my last bottle.

2007 Bouchard Père et Fils, Mercurey
High-toned, very pretty cherry aromas with a relatively understated oak-spice component. Jammy, it’s a fruit preserve impression. Good acidity and a slightly more grown-up stance in the mid-palate. The tannin has a slight grain. This medium length wine is actually quite tasty – a second glass? – why not!

2003 Chateau de Chorey, Chorey-lès-Beaune
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a ripe, macerating acid-red cherry centre. The fruit flavour is a mix of darker cherry – shaded much more to black. Good acidity and with a rasp to the tannin. A very nice dimension of good fruit in the mid-palate and quite okay length. Many of the most successful 03s come from the less vaunted appellations – here’s a perfect example that shows better than Chorey from most other vintages.

2002 Pascal Chevigny, Vosne-Romanée
This has medium, medium-plus colour. Tight, but a deep, brooding core of fruit topped by spiced red fruit, perhaps a trace of coffee too. The palate is also a little tight, but the texture is not bad, the tannin is relatively fine-grained with just a hint of astringency. Good balance of acidity but the fruit is now clenched around the core structure. Slowly mouth-watering. Relatively closed, but seemingly with everything in place – two bottles remain in the cellar – next one at 10 years of age I’d say.

2006 Christian Clerget, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium, medium-plus colour, yet relatively deep for a villages Chambolle. Soft, but well-defined red fruit over a denser base – there’s a faint caramel edge that disappears as the wine warms in glass, some focus is also lost. Interesting; there’s a dense, concentrated, rather extracted core to the wine which has the merest trace of bitterness that makes the acidity seem a little bright – yet is mineral too. There is good texture from very faintly astringent but finely grained tannin. Relatively long finishing with an extra depth an dimension that normally indicates 1er cru juice. It’s not yet perfectly balanced, but it has plenty of character – keep it cool and it’s a winner!

1995 Dujac, Morey St.Denis
Medium ruby-red colour with a faint browning at the rim. The nose is sweet and rather stemmy, there’s a faint beefy note that has me flirting with the notion of brett, and some mixed herbs. In the mouth the wine starts narrow, slowly opening over tongue. The acidity is a little sharp and metallic in flavour, it makes you forget to look for tannin, which whilst understated, is still a little blocky. Reasonable length and some sweetness, but today, no love.

2000 Fougeray de Beauclair, Fixin Clos Marion
Medium ruby-red, just a hint of amber at the rim. For the first hour or so there was very interesting, truffley red fruit with an undercurrent of mushrooms, after an hour, no mushrooms and rather a minty red fruit with a little herb crust – from 4 bottles opened over 10 days, this was the only one with the mushrooms. Over the tongue it has a comforting texture and just enough acidity to balance the warm fruit. The tannin can still be found if you chew. Quite smooth in a non-traditional Fixin way. A good, sweet finish – as mature as is possible whilst still retaining real fruit flavours. I think I could drink a few of these heartwarming bottles during the closing summer weeks.

2001 Fourrier, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles-Vignes
Medium colour. High-toned, slight pickle aroma over a meatier base. The acidity is to the fore and like the nose, it’s not the finest type, it has a balsamic aspect. Whilst the acidity dominates, there are hints of what this wine was, and what it could have been – a long, long old-vine creaminess. It retains some drinkability, but that drinking window is almost closed. Day two it’s certainly better. the volatile element mainly gone – but that’s the nature of volatility

1999 François Gay, Ladoix
a dark but young colour. The nose starts with plenty of dark oak that’s matched to equally dark cherry aromas – the more the glass drains, the aromaos get redder and redder and prettier. Good volume in the mouth and an open red-black confiture flavour that’s also edged with subtle dark oak, still a hint of tannin and super acidity. Long and flavourful with subtle licorice root flavour. Still young and still a wine that was a brillant buy – lots of time ahead, but was cleary at its best about 1 hour after opening.

1998 Louis Jadot, Beaune
This has medium, medium-plus colour – relatively dark and young looking for a 10 year-old. The nose is showing some maturity with blood, iron, graphite – rare Chateaubriand. With time, there are faint oxidised notes which rather disconcertingly gives me the the overall impression that it smells more like Chianti than Beaune, but that’s short-lived, additional time builds a slightly musky base – seems more like burgundy now! Good acidity and a decent base of grainy, almost velvety tannin that appears in the mid-palate – hardly any astringency now. The fruit has a dark-red sweet-sour presence, but is well (sweet-sour) balanced. Medium length. I would say that this is approaching its plateau of maturity – another couple of years should do it – and given its relative power, it should hold there for at at lease a decade…

2007 Lignier-Michelot, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes
Medium cherry-red. Rather more depth of toasty oak than I think necessary for a Chambolle – particularly a villages wine – it may have been okay for 2005/2006, but the precocious, friendly 07s just don’t need that much. There’s even a trace of reduction so I decanted; about an hour is needed to lift most of the dark oak/reduction. Width develops and the fruit remains quite dark, it’s not quite what I’m looking for from a Chambolle though – that said, the last drops in the glass smell very pretty indeed. Good texture and actually a very nice intensity, good acidity and an impressive extra dimension of flavour – it’s very nice and shows good length. Just a shame about the oak, it spoils for me the early drinking potential of the wine.

2006 Gaston et Pierre Ravaut, Ladoix Les Carrières
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose soars with beautiful raspberry and blackberry notes – it’s a peach – or maybe that’s confusing! There is some sweetness of fruit, nice texture and a significant length, but to be honest after a number of successful vintages in my cellar, this one is rather ‘acid rich’ – and that’s before it loses its puppy fat! The tannin has the faintest astringency, but nothing amiss there. I easily managed to find something to enjoy here, but other bottles might be a challenge in middle years…

2005 Remoissenet, Mercurey Clos Fortoul
Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose starts with a little mineral, some herbs and slightly cola-esque top-notes, but slowly a very, very pretty and slightly creamy red fruit note comes through. In the mouth there’s decent concentration, good acidity and some ripe, grainy tannin. Not fat but it’s a lithe impression. Faintly lingering. The structure hints to Nuits, but the fruit not. An interesting wine that has the balance for a long, profitable life.

2007 Remoissenet, Gevrey-Chambertin
Nice, dark cherry with slightly earthy tones. A lush width of fruit that has good balancing structure. Slowly lingering, less ripe fruit than the Marconnets. Very good.

1978 Remoissenet, Pommard
The aromas are earthy, leafy and warm, hints of coffee too. This fills your mouth with good acidity and still a lick of tannin. There is still power here. I can’t call it pretty, but there are hints of style and lots of enjoyment!

Villages Whites

1998 Jean-Marc Boillot, Puligny-Montrachet
This has medium colour, but the colour is hovering somewhere between golden and orange. The first aromas are tight, slightly honied but as it opens the oxidative character comes to the fore. In the mouth there’s good acidity, sweetness and above-average density – it’s quite silky too. Particularly impressive length with intensity and many dimensions that include creamy, caramelised fruits. It starts as borderline drinkable for someone who dislikes oxidation, but fills out with ever-more complexity and interest – indeed very drinkable.

2007 Chalet Pouilly, Pouilly-Fuissé
The aromas clearly evoke the best villages of Côte de Beaune; creamy, vanilla patisserie aromas that perfectly dovetail with a lemony essence. This fills the mouth very nicely with high-toned fruit flavours, and lovely acidity that promotes very good length. The mid-palate is a little narrower than the aromas and flavours suggest, i.e that suggestion of Puligny, but the rest of this wine does a very good impression indeed. A wannabee wine, rather than a correct Pouilly? Who-cares, it was delicious…

2008 Chalet Pouilly, St.Veran
Medium-pale yellow. A forward and wide nose of ripe fruit covered by a twist of yellow-lemon – it’s very pretty. Starts with a little petillance, then there’s a nice burst of energy in the mid-palate – no doubt invigorated a little by the gas. The texture smooths as the gas departs, a good core of tight fruit is the reward. Clean, correct, balanced and pretty – not forgetting, also very tasty.

2008 Domaine Vaudin, Chablis Reserve de Vaudin
Medium-pale lemon-yellow. The nose starts in a forward way, the aromas are somewhere on the border between oak toast and earthy minerality – it’s a great balancing act – slowly it is more towards the toasty bread part of the spectrum. In the mouth, the concentration gives a decent slightly oily, padded texture, but it’s a transient impression as the zinging grapefruit-style acidity takes hold. There is a sweetness that is the perfect foil to that grapefruit. Refreshing, not bad length, this is superb for the price and already a candidate for house wine 2010! A small amount left for day 2 had no trace of toast whatsoever, but was also missing that perfect sweet/acid balance of day 1 – so don’t save any!

1er CRU WINES

2006 Albert Bichot, Beaune 1er Champimonts
Medium cherry-red. High-toned perfume of crunchy cherry-fruit eventually a little creamy oak. There is good width and an edge of fat to the texture too. A creamy vanilla-oak barrel note runs through the core of this and into the mid-palate. Medium, slightly peppery tannin and a good length. For my taste this needs a little cellar time to both round out and to reduce the barrel flavour, but it’s ripe, sweet and tasty already today, and was a very good price.

2006 Bouchard Père et Fils, Volnay 1er Caillerets Cuvée Carnot
The nose shows a width of creamy red fruit and perhaps has a rose-petal dimension too – really very pretty. Plenty of concentration, the tannin is slightly forward but of velvet texture. A good additional fruit dimension in the mid-palate with understated but balancing acidity. The flavour of the finish remains very barrel-influenced today, but is very long. Will be super.

2006 Bouchard Père et Fils, Monthélie 1er Clos les Champs Fulliot
This is a ‘domaine’ wine. Medium-plus cherry-red colour. There’s width and interest on this perfumed, high-toned nose – very pretty indeed, almost in a Volnay style. The texture has a slightly gravelly tannin as its base, but the balance is very, very good. There’s some faint licorice flavours in the finish from what is otherwise a red-fruit dominated performance. Oh and it’s quite a good finish too.

2006 Jean-Marc Bouley, Beaune 1er Les Reversées
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts with a waft of dark and slightly toasty oak – it’s there in the depth too – I suspect that this may not lift. I was wrong, already within 15 minutes virtually all traces of dark oak are consigned to history, what replaces it is beautiful, slightly creamy red fruit – from heights to depths it’s lovely. The palate is, relative to the nose, ‘merely’ good. There is slightly forward acidity coupled to red cherry-fruit that leaves me with the impression that it could have done with half a degree more ripeness – that said it makes for an interesting and ‘edgy’ personality. This reminds me a little of some 2001s in their youth – no bad thing that. I enjoyed it, but can’t decide whether it would be better to drink now or wait 7-10 years. On reflection I would wait – there are other wines that offer a rounder performance today.

1997 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts
This was altogether a different kettle of fish next to the 97 Pavelot Doiminode. I’ve had some lovely open and friendly bottles from this case, but this wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t unfriendly, rather it was uncommunicative. Clearly cut from the same vintage cloth as the Pavelot, but tighter in all aspects – no plateau of maturity here. A little more intense in the mid-palate, but as a pure object of pleasure, bettered by the Pavelot today.

2006 Louis Chenu et Filles, Savigny-lés-Beaune 1er Les Clous
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. Lovely, soft red fruit with a depth that keeps pulling your nose to the glass. Slightly plump texture, wide and clean, pretty red fruit with a even a little more dimension in the mid-palate. ‘Just right’ acidity, some velvet tannin, if you search, and a good finish. Class in a glass, a very lovely bottle.

2001 Fourrier, Vougeot 1er Les Petits Vougeots
Medium ruby-red colour, still a hint of cherry-red. There’s a little herb and an undercurrent of red fruit – everything is quite tidy. In the mouth this is barely medium-bodied, very slightly acid-forward (but that’s its age) but smooth overall. A little tight, but not unrewarding. Actually far better than my first bottle of this some years ago…

2003 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Combe aux Moines
I double decanted the bottle then left it in the refrigerator for 1 hour as my room temp was about 28°. Medium, medium-plus colour though still cherry-red. The nose still manages to open up with a dark, reductive, slightly toasty oak impression – but it stays in the glass for less than 5 minutes. Slowly it builds a width of creamy, macerating morello cherry aromas, ever-so slowly adding depth with time – very faint herbs overlay the fruit and eventually a little toffee. In the mouth the first word that comes to my mind is unctuous as the sweet fruit wraps around your tongue, though the fruit’s smiling face turns to a frown as the tannin begins to assert itself – it’s like fine sand in texture but far from astringent. The acidity is on a relatively low level so it both dulls the mid-palate (no extra dimension) and adds little to the slightly earthy, salty finish. Unctuous, but I can’t say succulent – there’s just not the freshness for that – I honestly found the second glass a chore. For all that, it’s rather a concentrated and serene wine and about the best 03 I’ve tried recently from the 1er/grand cru levels, I’m also convinced that the pretty fruit will further improve, but I’m not convinced it will ever (for my taste) overcome the shortcoming of the acidity…

2000 Hudelot-Noellat, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Beaumonts
Medium ruby-red. The nose starts with musky, dark oak, a good thirty minutes is needed for most traces to fade leaving a nice, faintly spicy effect over red fruit – very pretty. Plenty of sweetness from red fruit that has a very nice depth. There’s still a lick of slightly astringent tannin and acidity that is balancing if ultimately slightly sharp. A nice wine that needs more time than many 2000s, but some way behind the Clavelier 00 Brulées of some weeks ago.

2004 Jadot, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
Medium, medium-pale colour. The nose was largely absent for the first few minutes, only a slightly dense impression. Slowly it opens, eventually delivering wide, high-toned perfume that is clearly edged with the 2004 character – but here it’s character, rather than the oppression it delivers in many other wines. In the mouth this is very Jadot in its fine but narrow impression, born on super acidity – like so many ‘neither young nor mature’ wines from this producer. Fine, without power or intensity, yet there is subtlety and lovely delivery. For my own taste, this wine is as close as I can get to recommending, despite its obvious vintage character.

2006 François Legros, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Perrières
Medium-plus colour. Deep, velvety aromas over a hint of volatility that wasn’t there on day one. Smooth, yet with plenty of finely grained, underlying tannin. Long, concentrated and balanced, the fruit is dark before a higher-toned burst of fruit in the mid-palate, there is a nice depth of flavour before the wine slowly fades into the finish. Plenty of structure but it’s not a burly Nuits expression, rather (perhaps) a softer Perrières expression. Very nice wine.

2004 Mischief & Mayhem, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, Crazy Love
Medium colour. The nose starts very tight, just a little warmth, slowly it develops a heavy floral scent – in-part it’s derived from a little of the vintage character, but on a low and ‘nice’ level. There is some fat, silky texture, high-toned fruit, balance and a very impressive length that shows some licorice. Initially I noticed the ‘character’ more in the flavours than the aromas, but the flavours seemed to clear completely. A lovely wine, and indeed a very serious wine…

2000 Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Dominode
Medium-plus colour, still a hint of cherry-red colour. The nose is rather ‘anti-2000′ with a beacon of pure, fresh, faintly blue-skinned fruit at the core and a top note that is slightly more diffuse and herby (that’s a little more 2000!). The palate is not as plush as it was in its youth, but the late attack of the tannins I noticed in previous bottles is now gone – they are are certainly still there if you look for them, but are no problem now. Decently balanced, it’s as ripe as most 2000s but with a fresher aspect to the aromas. Decently concentrated and showing a wiry muscle, I regret only buying 6, I regret even more that only 3 remain…

1997 Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Dominode
Warm, inviting, now starting to develop some chocolate flavours and aromas, no awkward edges. This wine has really entered its early plateau of maturity – it will clearly hold for another 10+ years. Super.

2007 Remoissenet, Beaune 1er Marconnets
High tones of warm, ripe red fruit, hints of coffee. Sweet, fills your mouth with red fruit, raisined inflections and a hint of petillance. Long, and in contrast to the upfront fruit, the flavours are more mineral. A (heart) warming wine.

1999 Remoriquet, Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux dessus du Malconsorts
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose slowly opens over about 25 minutes, hints of spice, warm dark fruit and a slightly strange mineral/coal note. Over the tongue, it’s balanced and quite intense, some grain still from the tannin, but that strange aroma is also their as a flavour too. Previous bottles were fine so perhaps this strange flavour is a one-off – it was anyway more of a background note on day two.

1999 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Vosne-Romanée 1er cru Duvault-Blochet
This was an aromatic superstar, the colour of a two or three year old, and quite unready on the palate – complex with acidity that still needs to ‘mend’ in the finish. A wine to contemplate.

2007 Daniel Rion, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Beaux Monts
Medium cherry-red. The nose starts with ultra-young barrel-type fruit aromas, Slowly it beds down to good red fruit with a very understated spice background and eventually lovely red berries. Fresh, slightly plump red fruit that finds an additional if understated mid-palate dimension, relatively fine tannin and a lingering finish. Not much power here, but fine and elegant. Very pretty.

2007 Michele et Patrice Rion, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium cherry-red. The first sniff is of herbs – bouquet garni – slowly a depth builds that’s edged with vanilla, the fruit is never really dominant. Sweet, nicely concentrated, a leading edge of acidity that’s close to being balanced. A little oak flavour and quite a lot of vanilla (oak) flavour. Actually too much for me, despite how long that flavour lingers. Slightly better on day two, but it still smells and tastes too much like ice-cream right now. No concern here about the mid-term, but that’s two 07 Chambolles in a row that have their early drinking promise compromised by their oak treatment.

2006 Seigneurs de Bligny, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos du Chapitre
Medium cherry-red colour. The nose starts very unimpressively – burnt-rubber oak is the dominant aroma. 20 minutes in the glass and things are beginning to improve; a little smokiness a little nutmeg spice and high-toned fruit that becomes redder and redder and overlays the toasty oak. The first taste was as disappointing as the nose – muddy, oaky, dirty dishwater flavours. In tandem with the mist lifting from the nose, 20-30 minutes wait delivers a wine of transparency, elegant acidity, definite length, if far from stunning concentration or intensity – the tannin is on a low level with velvet-style texture and no astringency. Time in the glass adds lots of interest and dilutes the dirty dishwater flavour that comes from the oak – eventually I couldn’t taste it at all. For my taste this is far from a great 1er cru, and really doesn’t seem to offer much Gevrey character – I don’t know if it shows Clos du Chapitre character! – but it’s balanced and eventually very tasty with a nice sweetness to the fruit. Given the price, it shows reasonable value, but do decant!

Premier Cru Whites

2005 Françoise et Denis Clair, St.Aubin 1er Murgers Dents du Chien
A young, relatively pale lemon-yellow. Slow to open, but eventually quite round aromas that are perhaps a little alcoholic at the top-end, with ripe fruit and a hint of almond. The impression in the mouth is of a wine that’s become rather four-square, dense, and not all that giving. It’s clearly fresh enough and has a good core of concentration. The length is still decent in a savoury way. I don’t normally hold with whites closing down, but this is certainly quite dumbed-down versus its release.

2004 Françoise et Denis Clair, St.Aubin 1er Murgers Dents du Chien
Last tasted April 2007 it was quite okay, today there starts a hint of mirepoix (2004 character) but it’s wrapped in a little cream so it’s far from offensive, it’s there in the finish too. Right now it’s been open for 30 minutes and aromatically it’s much more pronounced yet somehow mollified by the lemon/cream that partly moves it towards a mushroom note. The finish is much stronger tasting, but the sweet/acid of this wine carries the flavour much better than a dry red would. I left half this bottle for day 2 – the aromas are now more about white burgundy than the ‘2004 character’, the flavour in the mid-palate is, however, a consistent theme.

2003 Marc Colin, St.Aubin 1er Remilly
Medium-plus golden colour. The nose is slightly tropical, and certainly ripe. In the mouth there is a roundness of shape and okay acidity – the mid-palate flavour has a good extra dimension that goes long in the finish. Just missing a little energy, but smuch better than I expected!

2005 Joseph Drouhin, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches Blanc
Medium, medium-pale yellow colour. The nose is quite forward and displays both width and aromatic depth. Faint butter edges yellow fruit, and there’s a hint of torrefaction at the borders that adds a butterscotch note to the ripe lemon fruit. Very good texture, balance, and with an intensity that keeps growing in the mouth. There’s none of that warm fat that is typical of a Beaune blanc, and there’s a good burst of interest in the mid-palate. The flavours of the finish have a more mineral aspect and is very, very good. Overall, it’s a great package – every sip was savoured.

2004 Antonin Guyon, Meursault 1er Charmes Dessus
Already a medium golden colour – but that seems to come from the oak. Plenty of sweet toast on opening, slowly becomes more brioche, width and depth aplenty – very accomplished indeed. Tongue-coating, smooth, concentrated and perfectly balanced (invisible) acidity. No real fireworks, but new flavours seep out from your teeth and cheeks; creamy accents and excellent length. This was a relatively expensive bottle, but it is a classic, high-class Meursault in that comfortable, plush, unhurried style that only this village truly delivers. My indecision on whether to make this purchase was clearly unnecessary…

2007 Long-Depaquit, Chablis 1er Vaillons
Pale greeny-yellow. The nose is a faint biscuit with a wider white blossom impression above, and is edged with a just enough citrus bite – just over the hour mark, the traditional salty impression of the sea-shore begins to poke through. Smooth, mineral acidity, slightly savoury impressions and this is really very long for a 1er cru. Genuine (not fruit-driven), great value Chablis, of the wiry and intense variety.

2001 Long-Depaquit, Chablis 1er Les Vaillons
Medium golden colour. The nose has some high tones of green-skinned fruit that balances a honied base enough to retain a fresh impression. Width and a little sweet fat – the acidity is fresh though from time to time nearly spiky. The flavours are mineral, a little baked bread and a final salty tang. The finish is quite long and totally savoury.

2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets
Medium, medium-pale golden. After the Beaune, the nose is certainly of finer fruit and of similar depth, though less wide. Hints of lanolin and a faint, creamy brioche too. Softer, silkier, just a little narrower on entry, but on super acidity it expands across the palate much more impressively. It’s also very long with a more savoury element than the last bottles. Interestingly, all the constituent parts favour the Puligny tonight, but the ‘team’ performance is not quite as together as the Beaune’s. The Beaune has nothing like the density of the Puligny, and surprisingly seems the more mineral. Day two this is very ‘together’ and the clear leader.

GRAND CRU WINES

1994 Robert Arnoux, Echézeaux
Bought at the domaine back in about 2003. A cork that falls into pieces, but is rescued by the ‘ah-so’. Quite deeply, dark ruby coloured. The nose straight away shows a murky toasty oak that slowly fades to a sweetened dark, licorice-wrapped fruit. The texture is of velvet, melded to decent concentration and good acidity. There’s a faint metallic edge to the flavours that are still largely toasty barrel derived. Medium-plus length. For my personal taste I may be deterred from a re-purchase because of the oak-driven presentation (at 15 years this is presumably a permanent mark), yet this remains relatively young for a ‘94 and I expect this wine would certainly improve for a few years more. With nothing (apart from (maybe) the oak) out of balance, this is a well above average 1994…

2005 Bouchard Pere er Fils, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
A precociously forward nose – it hits you before your nose even reaches into the glass. Ignoring the complex, spicy oak character – and there is a lot of it – the core of the nose is a trip through red, down to black fruit, lower down it is a mineral, coal-like effect. Very high quality indeed. Eventually it takes on coffee, chocolate and a subtle creamyness. This is just a little tighter and with less fireworks than last time, it’s lost a little of the buttery texture (a good thing!), but the frame and proportions of the wine are awesome. Perfect balance, mineral, multi-dimensional and long. It’s drinking fine now, but this will be more and more stunning as it develops – what price one of these when it nears its 40th birthday!

1999 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la roche
Medium-plus colour, still with some cherry-red in the mix. Deep, sweet beetroot, brown sugar and a dark red/black confiture fruit encasing a core of some minerality – the last drops in the glass show beautiful raised red fruits. Perfectly balanced acidity that keeps your mouth watering, yet the supporting sweetness ensures no sharpness. The finely-grained tannins are very-much fading into the background. Medium plus finish. A balanced and very pretty wine that is slowly adding some complexity and is very 99, but it’s not obviously grand cru – at least today – maybe more like a good 1er. That said, it was cheaper than many 1ers at the time of buying!

1972 Clos Frantin, Grands-Echézeaux
A slightly porty fruit quickly, but not entirely gives way to beef, almonds, width and warmth – impressive and very complex. The acidity just has a hint of balsamic character, so probably best not to leave this for another 30+ years, but there is width and dimension on the perfectly textured mid-palate and it’s very long. This was savoured over about 3+ hours and it never faded. Super.

2006 Drouhin-Laroze, Latricières-Chambertin
Decanted 1 hour before pouring. Only a little more than medium cherry-red colour. The nose starts as a relatively forward blend of red cherries and darker oak-toast and herbal aromas. Time releases a more floral note, suggesting violets. Fresh flavours that also show a dark-oak edge and medium-grained tannin with a little astringency, the mid-palate has a little saline impression. The finish is quite narrow – linear – but very long, giving only a dark mineral/saline oaky impression. Interesting, though missing a certain ’spark’ to make me consider bolstering stocks…

2002 Rene Engel, Grands-Echézeaux
Medium ruby-red. The nose has hints of dark, spicy oak and turned earth – as the glass drains there are beautiful flashes of red berries. Perfect freshness and still grainy, though generally background tannins. The flavours make a broad panorama on the tongue and are a mix of red berries and more raisined, lingering notes. Very long. I had the 99 a few months ago, but this seems much better focused and ‘together’ if perhaps not quite as concentrated. A lovely bottle and far from a shame to enjoy now.

2001 Frédéric Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin
Medium-plus colour. The nose starts like coal with a thin red-fruit coating – in the glass the fruit becomes ever stronger and the coal, fainter – really, really pretty. There’s not the punch and concentration of the ’99, but the flavour and density are really super. Good balance and a velvet texture, the acidity sucks you into a good, mouth-watering finish. Intense, slightly earthy, red-fruited velvet – super.

2001 Frédéric Esmonin, Ruchottes-Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus relatively young colour. The nose starts wide but diffuse, slowly focusing to give a really impressive red cherry note. To start with the major impression in the mouth was the tart fruit/acid balance, this was moderated by food and seemed okay later – perhaps that was just me – the acidity remains ‘intense’ though is buffered by quality red fruit. Very little tannin and a finish that lingers as long as the mouth-watering acidity supports it – which is quite a while. Intense without obvious density, primary in both aroma and flavour – but engaging enough. Very young, it’s rather good, though it’s not ‘great’. Reminds me of many a ’96, with more primary fruit.

1996 Hospices de Beaune, Corton Charlotte Dumay
Still medium-plus colour, but it’s all a garnet-red now. The nose has a little marmite, brown sugar and just a little dried brown leaves. There wine is clearly based on it’s acidity, but a sweetness runs through its core, and boy, does that sweetness last – impressive length. The flavour is a little ‘beefier’ than I’d prefer, perhaps with a faint oxidation too, but the faintly grained tannin is 100% ripe and fading. Enjoyed, but I’m not sure about that oxidative flavour, without would have been an easy ‘rebuy’…

2003 Pascal Lachaux, Latricières-Chambertin
Medium-plus colour. Brooding aromas of dark cherry and cassis that are framed with warm, sweet coffee. Mouth-filling, slightly acid-shy but good texture and fantastic length. There’s a slight bitterness that mingles with the creamy fruit in the mid-palate, tannin is fine with the merest leading-edge of astringency. Really, this a bottle to wallow in rather than intellectualise over, yet the IQ is there if you want to challenge it. Very impressive indeed.

1998 Nicolas Potel, Romanée St.Vivant
Double-decanted, poured after an hour. Plenty of lumpy sediment but no fine stuff to cloud things. The nose needs another 30 minutes to open, but it becomes wide and very Vosne; spicy, leafy, somehow ‘warm’ and textured smelling – overall it’s very good though not necessarily better than a (very) good 1er cru. The acidity is slightly forward – though not excessive – no harsh or astringent tannin, just a latent velvet edge. The flavours are a little tart but there’s a slowly deepening intensity in the mid-palate and a width that’s faintly cream-edged. Very good, if not great length. There is no primary fruit here, but it’s a wine that I would leave for at least another 5 or 6 in the cellar. It’s a reasonable grand cru, but today it’s far from a great RSV. This experience was not spoiled by the cork, only by opening the bottle at least 5 years too early…

1996 Thomas-Moillard, Corton Clos du Roi
Medium-plus colour. With any volume of wine in the glass, the aromas tend towards leafy, clean notes over a tighter, darker depth. As the glass drains the aromas first add a little raisined fruit before a very, very pretty red fruit comes centre-stage – really impressive. Slightly forward acidity – the 1996 vernacular – and slightly metallic flavours – the young Corton vernacular. The tannin builds as you roll the wine around your mouth – this is very much a 12-year-old youngster. There’s plenty of mid-palate depth that hints toward earthy flavours, but it remains reasonably primary. There’s almost ‘enjoyment’ here, but wait another 2-3 years before returning!

1999 Thomas-Moillard, Romanée St.Vivant
A smelly, rubbery odour from the cork, so it was decanted and I waited for an hour. Fortunately there was only a short-lived hint of rubber on the nose. The aroma-profile kept improving all night – though at a glacial pace – so I left a little for day two, but it was exactly like the end of day 1! What was it like? A meaty depth with subtle leafy notes – some parallels to the 98 Potel RSV, but this is significantly less far down the road to aromatic maturity. Across the tongue there is more padding and width than the Potel and no tartness. The rough tannin of the last outing (3 years ago) is replaced with a more velvet impression – good mid-palate width of dark cherry fruit too. Slowly lingering – it’s still not a ‘today’ wine, but at this rate of progress, another 5 years should see it in a great place.

Grand Cru Whites

1998 Willam Fevre, Chablis Les Clos
Medium-plus yellow – not quite a golden colour. The nose has a little matchstick and oak, it’s quite dense, the fruit is ripe though not tropical. Decently soft, slightly waxy texture with an impression of flavour from the matchstick aromas. I would say that the only obvious mineral aspect is the finish, but it’s very long and creamy. Dense with good enough acidity. This is actually rather good – though bought for peanuts 8-or-so years ago – yet I have the impression it would have been even better in a few more years.

2000 Antonin Guyon, Corton-Charlemagne
Medium-plus golden colour. Despite the colour, there is no trace of oxidation here, rather it is forward but well integrated sweet brioche oak, behind is a good, freshly mineral base. Concentrated, silkily, waxily smooth texture. The acidity is understated and the flavours are a mix of the mineral and savoury. Very mineral finish that is also very long. This should be at it’s best in another 4 or 5 years, but it did rather on day1 – day two was even better!

1998 Louis Jadot, Corton-Charlemagne
The first pour – ooh quite light colour – but the more you pour, it seems to get darker much faster than expected. The end colour is similar to the 98 Boillot. The nose starts with an unusual ‘warm wool’ aroma, perhaps a little oaky too – but not a hint of oxidation. The wool fades to leave width wafts of ripe fruit – not that much maturity, but the last drops almost have that volatile edge of a redcurranty red-wine. In the mouth, it has intensity, but keep it on your tongue and it bursts with interest and complexity. Very good length. Excellent!

2005 Lamblin et Fils, Chablis Vaudesir
Medium yellow colour. The nose has hints of roast hazelnut, a little volatility, perhaps marzipan too, later I think it’s more high-toned, citrus fruit than volatility. A little oily texture, but a certain minerality too. Good balance then this wine’s peak selling point – a super burst of dimension in the mid-palate with a length to match. This wine is far from a cheaply priced grand cru, but has a lot going for it; it’s a decent price and it’s very, very tasty – nothing else needed here!

2 responses to “Round-up of wines tasted”

  1. Jean Pierre Lortie

    Hi ,

    Did you taste the nicolas potel maison dieu vieille vigne 2007 ,will you kept it the same time then the 1999

    thanks

    Jean Pierre Lortie
    québec canada

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