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               Why Big Red Diary?

Roundup of all wines tasted…

wine testing

No slurping or spitting! Only the wines tasted in bottle appear here, for barrel samples you need to refer to the original articles:Corkwatch: 1 from 63 = 1.6%

REGIONAL WINES

1993 Maison Leroy, Bourgogne Rouge
Despite the abuse – as I pressed down my Screwpull, there was a plop, then a splash and then there was no cork, the mouldy-topped thing disappeared into the bottle – this showed quite well. The colour is medium-plus ruby red with a rim of amber. The nose is like a subdued raspberry pie, though with a less nice dusty, flour-type note behind. The palate is soft – though still furry tannin can be found – if you search. Ample fruit for the appelation, and good acidity. Not quite as exciting as last years bottle but well balanced and drinking well.
2000 Méo-Camuzet, Bourgogne Rouge
A negociant wine. Medium, medium-pale cherry red. Rather subdued nose of, well, not that much actually. Some fat, good acidity and a nice creamy tinge to the finish. The tannin is there, but not obtrusive. It’s a reasonable enough wine, but today it’s giving up very little, and given it’s the price of a village wine I can’t really give it the thumbs up.
2000 Domaine Charles Thomas, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits
Medium-pale cherry red. On the nose there are deep woody notes against raspberry fruits. Fresh, good acidity. Tannins are just a little bitter. Okay, but no more.
1998 Guy Roulot, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale yellow, perhaps a hint of green at the rim. The nose is a little tight, but gives up a nice persistent and high toned nose. The palate is actually a little harsh, but an hours aeration starts to smooth the edges. Nice acidity and reasonable length. Almost good.
1999 Guy Roulot, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale yellow. The nose is the most forward of this trio – like a half-pint Meursault. Reasonable fat and a nice finishing intensity to the fruit. Good acidity too. How nice? – well I promptly bought a case!
2000 Guy Roulot, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale yellow. The nice nose is a little appley. On the palate the fruit’s not as intense as the 1999, but has some fat – comes across almost in a Chablis style. Medium length, but still quite young. Should improve for 2 or 3 years.

VILLAGE WINES

1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
A good medium/medium-plus colour, virtually no fading. The nose has high toned raspberries and a decadent red cherry. Lovely concentration to the fruit, very fresh acidity and well mannered tannins. Good length – did I buy a case of this? – I think I did – a good decision!
2001 Louis Carillon, Côte de Beaune Villages
Medium ruby with a bright cherry red rim. The nose is a tasty high toned red cherry and raspberry affair. The palate shows surprisingly intense red fruit, good fat and well mannered slightly drying tannins. The fat gives the impression that (maybe) the acidity is a little low, but this was perfect with Christmas dinner. A real find!
1996 René Engel, Vosne-Romanée
Medium ruby colour fading very little to the rim. The nose is pure, characteristic Vosne; starting with a touch of undergrowth, deep spicy notes, a touch of black fruit and slowly developing, eventually dominating, raspberry. The palate is very fresh from the forward acidity, showing reasonably concentrated red cherry fruit – still quite primary. The tannins finish with a little unintrusive grain and the finish is almost good. Without showing real fat, the wine is still mouthfilling and obviously some way from maturity. I’ll try the next in another couple of years – good wine.
2000 Humbert Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium cherry red. The nose is relatively subdued giving up only a red cherry note – little else. The palate is more forward with fresh acidity. There are red fruits and a more than pleasant finish that’s just tinged with cream. A lightish wine but one that worked perfectly for lunch…
1993 Michael Lafarge, Volnay Vendanges Selectionées
We drank this one directly after the ’97 Lafarge 1er Cru Volnay (below). Darker in colour, with a nose that is shaded a little more towards black fruit. The palate seems more concentrated than the ’97 1er, with good acidity and grainier, more obvious tannin. Despite the apparent extra concentration of fruit, there’s a bit of a gap in the mid-palate compared to the 1er Cru, and this is also not quite so long. Neither the elegance nor the mid palate of the 1er Cru, but then that’s the way it’s supposed to be, also shows in a much younger way. A wine that you should wait a little longer for – enjoyed all the same.
1997 Moillard-Grivot, Pommard
Medium, medium-plus ruby red – still a shade of cherry at the rim. The nose is diffuse red fruit – but nothing to put a name to. Good concentration in the mouth with furry tannins and licorice black fruit. The palate is much more interesting than the nose.
1999 de Montille, Volnay
Medium cherry red in colour. Lovely, high-toned red fruity nose, raspberry and strawberry. The palate is medium intensity but has beautifully pure high toned fruit and kind of sneaks up on you with the finish. Perfect acidity and tannin that’s only there if you search for it. Not a blockbuster. but balanced and pure – should age very gracefully – lovely.
1993 Mugneret-Gibourg, Vosne-Romanée
I don’t know, maybe it was the 4 days of furniture moving, or then again perhaps it was the two weeks of shiraz, malbec and merlot etc., but boy did this wine sing. Straight from the cellar (14°C); A lovely medium blood-red colour – just fading a little to the rim. The nose has spicy tertiary notes that surround a centre of currant, coffee, tobacco and high toned fruits. In the mouth there’s perfect harmony – lingering acidity and only just fading drying tannins. The fruit has a compelling raspberry/strawberry complexion. Not very fat, but oh so fresh – really lovely – a village wine that transcends its appelation and the notion of numerical scores. I’d say this is only just entering its drinking window – with at least 10 years ahead to keep enjoying.
2000 Nicolas Potel, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose starts a little oaky, mostly dispersing to show high toned red fruit against the milder oak. The fruit becomes more and more intense as the wine warms in the glass and takes on a coffee edge. In the mouth the oak is bordering on intrusive giving a slight grain to the sweet palate, but the fruit and acidity balance make this wine just so succulent. Still a little oaky bitterness on the finish. I don’t think Nicolas often overdoes the oak, and this wine is so close to being an excellent villages but I’m not sure if the wood or the wine will be the winner.
2000 Charles Thomas, Savigny-Les-Beaune
A good medium cherry red colour. The nose is a little subdued but is mainly red cherry. Sweet with good acidity and reasonably concentrated fruit. Unfortunately the tannins dominate – which is unusual in 2000. Still almost good this one.
2000 Charles Thomas, Nuits-Saint-Georges Charmottes
Medium cherry red with no fading. Black and red fruit on the nose – not very expressive. Good attack on the palate, nice fruit with good depth. The acidity is good and the tannins don’t dominate the finish’s creamy black fruit. Much more interesting.
1993 Domaine Trapet, Gevrey-Chambertin
The colour has a core of medium-plus ruby red, fading to a watery edge. The nose is very Gevrey with lots of turned earth and eventually a young showing mix of primary red and black cherry. The palate has depth, reasonable fat and pretty much perfect acidity. The tannins are there, but you need to search for them. Good length – helped along by the acidity. Nice wine and still only a youth.
1997 Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos du Meix des Ouches
I shade darker and less amber thane the ’97 Varoilles. A little coffee and slowly evolving black fruits on the nose. Again there’s good fat, but this time the fruit has a less obviously roast character. Tannins are pretty much resolved. Tasty and drinking now.
1999 Moillard-Grivot, Meursault
Pale gold. Very nutty – in fact almost too nutty. There’s also a faint oxidative note. The palate shows some fat and good acidity too, but there’s a little of oxidative impression here too. If it’s just the style than I’m not a fan!

1er CRU WINES

1988 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots
An aged colour of medium-plus browning amber. Not too much spice on the nose, but plenty of sous bois and turned earth. Unlike some of the younger vintages which are very, very concentrated, the wine puts in a very elegant performance. The tannins are resolved, the acidity is good and there is the silky texture that only a good Burgundy can deliver. A treat!
1993 Domaine Bertagna, Vougeot Clos de la Perrière
Very deep ruby in colour – solid to the rim too. The generous nose has warm red confiture over a base of secondary and slightly dusty aromas. Two hours in a decanter loses much of the secondary aromas leaving a faintly spicy cherry. The palate shows surprising (to me) density and silkiness – this is surely the preserve of a grand cru? Good acidity and fine tannins that are close to being resolved. I’m genuinely surprised by the density of this wine, I expect a Vougeot to be a medium weight red-cherry-fruit-affair. Is it the vintage or the winemaking? There doesn’t seem to be any obvious (over) extraction, and despite the density there is balance – did they miss-label their Clos Vougeot? There’s 10+ years left to enjoy this wine – Chapeau!
1993 Pierre Boillot, Volnay-Santenots
For info, all the Volnay-Santenots wines come from the Meursault side of Volnay ;-)
This wine has a super deep colour, still more cherry red than than ruby – just starting to change. The nose shows sweet high tones and cherry tart of good depth – there’s even a note similar to very ripe tomato! The palate shows almost completely resolved tannis, perfect acidity and a penetrating concentration of fruit. There are no hard edges with this wine – drinks perfectly now, but there’s many a year of enjoyment in store.
1997 Domaine Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin Combe aux Moines
Medium-plus ruby red, still with a shade of cherry – not much fading. The nose shows sweet raspberry and red cherry pie – complex and enticing. The palate shows fresh acidity, like biting into fresh fruit – if only the tannins and finish were a match. Despite good length, they start a little bitter and astringent. Certainly improves (up to a point) with aeration and food and is quite drinkable – lovely fruit. Interesting – even nice – but not a ‘re-buy’.
1993 Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin Combe aux Moines Vieilles Vignes
Deep ruby colour almost to the rim, though amber tinged. The nose is splendid; faint earth and mocha with primary black fruit floating above, given time the fruit starts take on a more raisined note and become more meaty, smokey notes come through too. Super palate of perfect acidity and furry tannin that shows only if you keep the wine moving around in your mouth. The fruit is also surprisingly primary on the palate too – like baked raspberries and very intense. I really enjoyed this very much, and it is frankly some way from showing it’s best – my only other bottle will have to wait to 2010 – at least!
1993 Louis Jadot, Savigny-les-Beaune Narbantons
A super colour, medium plus blood-ruby just fading to a watery rim. The nose started a little funky with undergrowth and mushrooms. Given an hour this subsided a little to allow an earthy raspberry note to show. In the mouth the wine is not really a charmer, despite good fruit, the acidity is in the ascendant though the tannins are well mannered. With food there’s much more balance and the wine really starts to become enjoyable – good length too. This is a wine that really needs more time – 3-5 years I’d say – hopefully the fruit will last as long(?)
1997 Michael Lafarge, Volnay 1er
Medium cherry red, just starting to take on a more ruby colour. The nose is of bright red fruits – just a little primary and one-dimensional. The palate is fresh and clean with a quite lovely understated concentration coupled with discrete tannins. Just a little creamy edge to the finish. Showing in a young way and not a typical 1997 style. Very nice.
1995 Thomas-Moillard, Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Thorey
A medium-plus ruby core fading only very slightly. The nose shows high tones and red raspberry/strawberry confiture, not bad at all. Good acidity and prominent grainy tannins. Big fruit and a touch of astringency on the finish. To be honest this is a bit unruly, perhaps it will get better with time. Young but needs to show a bit more class.
1996 Thomas-Moillard, Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts
Deep ruby, lightens a little at the rim. The nose shows a blast of fruit – more plum than cherry. There’s real depth, more than many from this vineyard, but perhaps not the width or expanse (if you prefer) of the best. The palate has perfect acidity and smooth but sneaky tannin that creeps up on you. There’s good intensity to the fruit, but it’s perhaps a little one dimensional – same with the finish. An enjoyable wine – I enjoyed it to the last drop – but it’s missing a little of what Malconsorts can offer, or at least at this obviously young age it is.
1995 Trapet Père et Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin Petite Chapelle
Obvious signs of of past seepage on the top the cork. Medium, medium-plus ruby, just fading a little to brick at the rim. The nose is a beauty – starts with tons of berry fruit – black as well as red; summer pudding. Gradually becomes more diffuse, but gains in depth and secondary, more savoury aromas with a trace of earth. The palate is medium fat and could do with a little more concentration for a 1er Cru, but shows lovely fruit with a long, almost licorice finish. The acidity is good, though the tannins are still present and show a hint of bitterness at the end – but they’re quite well mannered. A wine that shows both balance and plenty of interest, though still requires at least another couple of years in the keller.
2002 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, Clos des Varoilles
Not quite so deep a colour as the 2003, more a medium-plus cherry red. High toned flowery nose with red cherry on a deep undertow of black-skinned fruits. Some fat and very smooth with good acidity. Shows well mannered tannins and mix of black and red fruits. Finishes with a little wood on the palate – but should be no problem at this age – and very good length. Will be a lovely wine.
2001 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, Clos des Varoilles
Medium-plus cherry red. Lovely high-toned nose over sweet red cherry. The palate is less fat than the 2002 and has much fresher acidity that comes across as a little harsh – doesn’t show the concentration of the last wine. Medium tannins that are quite smooth. The finish is a good one, this time with no wood. Much less charming than the 2002 though.
2000 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, Clos des Varoilles
The 2001 disappointed slightly after the 2002, but we’re back with a bang here. Medium cherry red, just fading a little at the rim. The now characteristic high-toned nose supported by cherry red fruit is in evidence. Lovely fruit with real depth – much friendlier than the last wine, but certainly not a ‘short-termer’. This is a really fine effort for a 2000, has everything it needs for 5-10 years of development.
1999 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, Clos des Varoilles
Same colour as the 2000. It’s confirmed – the nose again showing high tones over a red cherry base, just hint of spicy development on this wine too. Nice mouthfeel, concentrated with good acidity. The tannin clings to your gums, but they’re finely grained. A very good finish – will be a good wine.
1999 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, La Romanée
Similar depth of colour to the Varoilles, but shows just a trace of amber at the rim. Redder aspect to the nose with an extra raspberry depth. Rounder and more elegant with perfect acidity. The tannins seem better covered by the extract. Again good length and another good wine.
1998 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, Clos des Varoilles
Medium cherry red, a paler salmon shade at the rim. The nose is not so pronounced but has the high tones of the other ‘varoilles’ though with a much deeper spicy aspect and some chocolate. Good concentration to the fruit though seems more roasted and mouth wrapping, but fine, tannins. Good acidity and god good length. Again a nice wine.
1997 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, Clos des Varoilles
Medium ruby red shading to amber. Again the nose is a little muted, same high tones but a more roasted aspect to the fruit. Fat with almost good acidity and still a little tannin. The rôti note is more obvious still on the palate. The finish is deep and admirably long but my preference would be for the previous wines.
1996 Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos des Varoilles
Medium ruby red, just a trace of amber at the rim. Not as high-toned as many and no spice, but the red cherry comes through just like the others from this vineyard. Concentrated with fresh acidity and good tannins – in fact lovely concentration. The finish doesn’t linger as long as the ’97 Varoilles but this is very much my preferred style.
2000 Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Vaucoupin
Lemon yellow in colour. This wine shows a nice depth of fruit on the nose. The palate is more reserved, but also smoother and more elegant than the ’98 Fevre ‘Le Clos’, doesn’t show the same level of concentration though. Nice acidity, pretty and satisfying.
2001 Vincent Dauvissat, Chablis Le Forest
Light gold in colour. The nose is deep and honeyed. Understated and mineral is the palate, the best feature being the really excellent balance. The finish lingers with the fine acidity – a bottle that was suddenly empty – how did that happen?
2000 Guy Roulot, Meursault Perrières
I cannot lie, I was hiding away 3 bottles for a rainy day, but the moment (the party actually) got the better of me. Not much of a note as I was without pen – just a glass! The intensity is superb, this is an excellent wine that puts many a Corton-Charlemagne to shame. Not cheap, but worth searching for – now I’ll have to replace it – with interest!
1999 Roux Père et Fils, Saint Aubin
A new name for me, but a nice wine. Quite a deep yellow. The nose is dense with gunflint against higher toned citrussy notes. Dense, perhaps need in a little more acidity, but long and tasty. Could be more refined I suppose, but made a good match with my dourade!

GRAND CRU WINES

1993 Adrien Belland, Corton Clos de la Vigne au Saint
In the glass – disappointment – there’s good depth to the ruby red colour, which fades to amber, but also a slight cloudiness. On the nose, chocolate, meat and a faint oxidative note. On the palate there’s good acidity and velvety tannins – still with a little dryness, but leaving a smooth coating on your teeth – always a good sign. Good depth to the sweet fruit with a reasonable chocolaty length. Okay, not a perfect bottle, and if they’re all the same then you should look elsewhere. I did, however, manage to finish the bottle without problem :-)
1995 Domaine Dujac, Clos de la Roche
Medium, medium-plus ruby core fading with amber, clear, but not glintingly so, so I double decanted leaving a fine sediment behind. The vacuvined last third of the bottle was no brighter on day two. The unusual nose started very earthy and smokey – perhaps green and stalky – but this left the scene to give up a raisined, dried cherry note after 30-40 minutes. The palate is reasonably fresh with furry tannins that are starting to wane. Not obviously fat, and the acidity’s a little tart, but there’s certainly an exceptional grand cru finish – compelling in complexity and length – smokey, sour cherry and cream. Tons of interest, but the wine just seems a little disjointed. The vacuvined ‘third’ was more joined-up on day two, seeming a fatter and more intense. If the wine had shown the same on day 2 as day 1 I would have been concerned about the future, in fact I still might open up another this time next year.

1993 Frédéric Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin
Deep ruby colour fading to an amber rim. The nose starts a real joy; coffee and caramel notes intertwine with a little ash and tobacco – all supported by a sweet and piercing morello cherry – this slowly becomes the dominant note. The palate is fat and sweet with resolved tannin and a raisined fruit finish that is as persistent as it is tasty. No rush to finish, but perfect drinking today, a super-enjoyable wine – but should a Mazy be a little more sauvage?
1993 Frédéric Esmonin, Ruchottes-Chambertin
Deep ruby colour though there’s more of an amber caste than the Mazy. The nose shows more oak, but this slowly fades to leave chocolate cake, plum and eventually a toasty cherry note. The palate has good fat and sweet, slowly fading fruit. The tannin is fully resolved though the acidity shows just a little tartness at the end. Less rounded than the Mazy, but despite the tart finish, more than pleasant.
1993 Frédéric Esmonin, Griottes-Chambertin
Medium-plus ruby red, only fading a little. The nose starts just a little woody but this quickly fades to give a true griottes nose of focused red fruit. The palate has good fat and perfect acidity. The tannins, though smooth, are more present than in either of the other two cuvées. Despite everything being in place this wine is more one-dimensional than the others – needs more time – perfectly enjoyable for that and very good wine.
1999 Joseph Faiveley, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Nightmare – bottle 1 – tainted as tainted can be, a big shame. Bottle 2 – medium-plus ruby red, still cherry at the rim. The nose starts in an almost syrah way, slowly unknitting to give a little woodspice then really dense black cherry that slowly becomes more red and shows a little coffee. There’s still a little grain from the wood, but this is one full-on wine with incredible length – you really can taste it minutes later. The palate has fine tannins, good acidity and super-intense fruit, shaded towards black. This is a wine that’s a big black shadow of its future self and despite commendable depth doesn’t yet shout ‘I’m a great wine’, but wait another 10 years and things might be starting to get very interesting.
1989 Louis Latour, Corton Château Corton Grancey
Looks relatively pale as you pour the wine, but gives a surprisingly deep amber/brown in the glass. The nose seems to be of a much more ancient vintage than 89, but it’s sweet and a little meaty, still a little stewing, pruney fruit. The palate has depth, good acidity and still a little rasp on the (mostly) resolved tannins. It’s a perfectly mature and perfectly pleasant wine – not one to get overly excited over though.
1993 Dr Georges Mugneret, Clos Vougeot
Similar colour. The nose is deeper with a slightly more roast fruit character, but fresh cherry top notes though. Similar intensity to their ‘Ruchottes’, but a little more silky and certainly a longer, more intense finish. Not the complexity of their Ruchottes, but smoother and still plenty of interest. Despite the smooth profile of this wine, I reckon it is younger still than the Ruchottes – a super wine to have in the cellar.
1993 Dr Georges Mugneret, Ruchottes-Chambertin
Medium-plus ruby, not much fading. A high toned nose of crushed raspberry and dried cherry together with the faint traces of oak and coffee – just starting to show a meaty note. Really lovely and intense fresh fruit – really nice(!) Lingering acidity and finely grained tannins with just a little creaminess to the finish. Very lovely and still very young – a super wine.
1997 Nicolas Potel, Clos de la Roche
A medium-plus ruby-red, right up to the rim. The nose shows plenty of red cherry covering a deeper base of solid fruit and just a trace of secondary scents. Super intensity as you draw air through the wine, the fruit just shaded towards red. The tannins are in the background and there’s a lovely texture to the wine. Very long, but the finish is initially spoiled by an awkward showing to the acidity – but I think this must have been the cheese I was tasting (Sbrinz) as one espresso later, everything was fine. A very good and relatively young wine which improve over several years.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Échézeaux
Medium, medium-plus cherry red. Bright and intense nose of red and black cherry – shaded to red – with raspberry and subtle spice. The palate is sweet with very smooth tannin, nice concentration and just a little vanilla on the finish – a finish of 20-30 seconds. Smooth, understated and very drinkable – I’m surprised how easily this drinks. With time the impressive nose develops a little more spice. To put this wine firmly into context, after the La Tâche and Romanée-Conti, the nose is slightly less concentrated and certainly more diffuse. Still, there’s super length if less depth on the palate – in a word the wine is just ‘simpler’ than the top two, but nonetheless a very fine Échézeaux.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Grands Échézeaux
Again a medium, medium-plus cherry red colour. Where the Échézeaux was ‘broad’ in the nose, this is more focused though giving-up less. Higher toned with more maraschino cherry. The palate shows higher acidity and again, svelte, discrete tannin. The palate is also more focused and deep, though less ‘broad’ than the Échézeaux. There’s similar outstanding length, but to start with the wine doesn’t have the overall appeal of the Échézeaux. Slowly the nose starts to develop a wide, subtly spicy undertone (takes more than 10 minutes in the glass) which also starts to increase in depth. The palate is unchanging. I tried the second bottle and there was more obvious oak – though transient. This showed a little more depth than before and even a black edge to the fruit on the finish.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-St-Vivant
By a short-head this is the darkest wine on display – though still medium, medium-plus cherry red in colour. The nose is a melange of red fruits – mainly cherry – vanilla and a nice white pepper note. Instantly obvious is the extra fat and density of fruit when compared to the previous two wines. Again the tannins are super-smooth. Much more interesting length than the Grands Échézeaux. This wine really impresses – an appreciable step-up. Given extended time in the glass the nose becomes more focused on the red fruit and shows a touch of mocha. I seem to have written the least about this wine, but it is actually the most outstanding of the six – relative to their appellations of course.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Richebourg
Less deep colour than the Romanée-St-Vivant – but marginally. The nose has a more black aspect to the fruit, subtle aspects from the stems and quite high toned. Doesn’t seem to develop in the glass to the same extent as the others, but there’s still some change with the oak spice becoming more pronounced and a little more meaty. The palate has really good depth and fat, similar to the RSV, the quality and fineness of the tannin shining through – more so than the previous wines. The finish is very long, but seems more oak than wine. Has the depth of the Grands Échézeaux but shows in a more backward way – lovely smooth coating on the teeth though. A wine that’s not all joined-up yet, oak, fruit and oak but not a ‘whole’ wine just yet.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
A funny wine, in a large glass on the serving table this looked the lightest wine on display, whereas take a modest serving in a tasting glass and it looks altogether darker. The nose is La Tâche – dense, heavy laden branches of red cherries and raspberries, then a little cedar and blood-orange too. Then the nose closes down for a while only to return with tar and mint. Not as incredibly changing as the 2000 at the same stage last year, but like I said – it’s still La Tâche. In the mouth it’s much more explosive than the Richebourg with a super finish that’s carried on by a wave of perfect acidity. If anything, these are the grainiest tannins of all the wines – but then it’s all relative!
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti
In the tasting glass, this wine is a shade lighter in colour vs La Tâche, it’s also the only wine in the line-up to show some ruby colour. The nose starts with a blast of fruit and spice – very much like La Tâche – but closes down much faster. A quarter of an hour with the glass yields a few more floral notes, and then something a little green that morphs into a cedary pencil-lead note. The palate is very round, without the initial fireworks of the La Tâche, in fact it’s very understated. This is a wine that you could easily overlook after La Tâche and the RSV, but what sets it apart is the crystalline purity of fruit in the mid-palate and the faint but haunting finish. Very special.
1999 Charles Thomas, Grands Echézeaux
Medium ruby red. The nose starts a little disjointed – bit of oak here, a little cherry there. Slowly the high toned fruit mix melds with the (now fading) creamy oak – I really think that this could me mistaken for a white wine if you didn’t see the colour! Perfect acidity and medium strength, fine tannin. The palate isn’t fat, but there’s a nice persistence to the creamy fruit. This is a super, balanced, very elegant and drinkable wine – I’d expect a little more of everything from a top Grands Echézeaux, but I’m not sure it would provide more enjoyment!
2001 Maison Henri Boillot, Corton-Charlemagne
Deeply coloured for such a young wine, a shimmering gold. The nose has a creamy fruit-salad sense to it, almost brooding. The palate is a Charlemagne tour-de-force with it’s upfront burst of flavour and stunning concentration – it was a challenge to drink the second glass – but I persevered!. Keeping the wine in your mouth brings thoughts of a stream gushing over rock, but if you need a respite and try swallowing you’re in for a shock; it’s like opening the curtains and letting in the sun as the finish unfolds with deep, creamy waves. Best young Charlie I ever tried – as if I haven’t bought enough white wine already…
1998 William Fevre, Chablis Le Clos
Pale gold. A fresh nose of grapefruit. The palate betrays a little (oak induced?) harshness, but this softens with aeration. As the harsh note fades there’s a waxy-smooth character to the palate with a creamy butterscotch on the medium plus length finish. Despite good concentration and even with time in the glass I didn’t really warm to this wine
2001 William Fevre, Chablis Le Clos
Lemon yellow, just a little deeper than the 2002. The nose is waxy with faint citrus and grapefruit plus the remnants of oak. The palate has the faintest element of harshness from oak, but it’s fading. Lovely minerality with the acidity giving a really penetrating finish. Less ready than the 2002, but this level of concentration will amply repay 5-10 years in the cellar. There’s now 12 in the cellar!
2002 William Fevre, Chablis Le Clos
Pale lemon yellow. The nose starts subdued giving high toned floral aromas, faint green apple and mild peach. With time the peach component becomes stronger. The palate has the hallmarks of great Chablis – purity, just a little trace of fat and a superb length. I felt that maybe a shade more acidity would provide an even better wine, but not enough to stop me ordering half a case for future reference(!) A stealth wine that creeps up on you getting better and better in the glass.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?