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               Why Big Red Diary?

Round-up of all wines

No slurping and spitting; these wines were drunk at home with food and friends between July and November 2004. I picked up a few regional 2002’s and whilst they weren’t bad, I had expected a little more given the vintage. Corkwatch: 2 from 78 = 2.6%

REGIONAL WINES

2000 Joseph Faiveley, Bourgogne Rouge
Medium cherry red. The nose is of earthy cooked red cherries against a faintly smokey background. Quite fat with soft tannins and good extension on the finish. A good Bourgogne and worth leaving for 1-2 years.
1997 Hubert de Montille, Bourgogne Rouge
A wine that never ceases to surprise me. Medium cherry red still – it could easily be from 2000. The nose speaks of Volnay; it’s soft and welcoming with smooth and primary red cherry and raspberry. Despite only 12% alcohol the palate is nicely fat with strong cherry fruit and very good acidity. Whilst the tannins are still a little astringent, they’ve lost the harsh note they had two years ago. Medium length, but frankly if this was re-labelled as 1er Cru Volnay under a négociant name (that you never heard of) you probably wouldn’t be disappointed! Forget the Bourgogne label, this is better than many village Volnays from 1999 – can you buy better Bourgogne?
1997 Méo-Camuzet, Bourgogne Rouge
It looks like I should have bought much more Bourgogne in this year. The temperature is 33°C so I chilled this to 10°C and let the bottle gradually warm up as we sat and drank in the garden. Deep ruby colour with no signs of age. The nose is a very forward mix of red berries and cherry, leaving the glass to rest provides a little vanilla. Very smooth palate with good acidity. The fruit is again red with beautifully resolved silky tannin – can this be a bourgogne? Medium-plus length finishing with a trace of vanilla. Excellent.
2000 Georges Faiveley, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale yellow. The nose is subdued and mildly alcoholic. The palate has good acidity with a grapefruit and melon fruit profile. Slight oak on the finish. Chill it for an aperitif, otherwise not so exciting.
2000 Domaine Leflaive, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale gold. The nose is also a little subdued, but there’s ripe pineapple and melon with swirling. Fatter and richer palate which is just a little buttery. Lovely acidity and has a much longer finish than Faiveley’s. Excellent Bourgogne.
1999 Domaine Leflaive, Bourgogne Blanc
This is pale yellow with a very prominent peach and apricot nose – most individual. Fat, with a very wide palate and good acidity. I liked the style but my wife didn’t like the nose. Individual and very good.
1998 Domaine Leflaive, Bourgogne Blanc
Just a little darker than the 1999. The nose is more subdued but again shows some peach and higher floral tones. The palate has a little more citrus and pear. Almost as much concentration again with good acidity. Another excellent effort which I slightly prefer to the 1999.
2000 Domaine Roulot, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale yellow. The nose is lovely blend of apple and pear. Not quite the intensity of fruit to be found in Leflaive’s Bourgogne, but quite fat and there’s still a lot of material that’s held together with refreshing acidity. Medium length, currently a one-dimensional wine that I’d be tempted to leave in the cellar for a couple of years. Potentially very good Bourgogne.
1998 Domaine Pierre Morey, Bourgogne Aligote
Pale yellow. The nose shows a little fat and is quite citrussy. Lovely lemony palate with excellent acidity which manages to push the finish a little longer. Simple, but lovely on a hot afternoon.
1999 Daniel Rion, Bourgogne Blanc
Straw coloured, just a trace of green at the rim. A wide, faintly citrus nose over a melony base. Fatter than the Aligote and also a little less simple. Good acid and medium length. Almost good.
1998 Daniel Rion, Bourgogne Blanc
More yellow in colour. The nose shows some oak, faint butter and lime. Again subtle butter on the palate, more interesting length and good acidity. The extra year seems to have made the difference. Good.
2000 Domaine Pierre Morey, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale straw. High toned nose of citrus and white flowers. Palate seems a little woody at first with peach and good acidity. Just a little more mineral with medium length. I like the style of this.
2000 Charles Thomas, Bourgogne Haut Côte de Nuits
Impressively deep melony nose. Quite fat, coupled with very good acidity. Lovely style, despite the fruit being a little too sweet – the acidity saves it though. Quite a find at this price – excellent value.
2000 Michel Bouzereau, Bourgogne Chardonnay
Pale lemon yellow colour. There’s a pleasing, high toned citrussy nose. The sweet palate has good fat and a light nutty tone. I would have preferred a touch more acidity, but it’s not bad. In fact it’s rather nice – good value too. A good wine.
2000 Remy Jobard, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale yellow. The nose starts very mallic with green apples, given aeration there’s perhaps some pear fruit too. In the mouth it’s soft with very persistent fruit flavours – again pear. This is very nice, at first I though lacking a little acidity but there seems plenty on the finish. Very good value, and worth keeping for a couple of years.
2000 Denis Mortet, Bourgogne Blanc
Lemon yellow colour. The nose shows a little oak and waxy citrus fruits. With time it develops an overall effect which is almost ‘Puligny’. Fresh acidity which really pushes the length. The oak makes the palate creamy rather than buttery but there’s some harshness. The fruit is quite peachy with citrus but I find the overall effect just a little hard. I think, given the good concentration of the fruit and the very good acidity, that this wine will certainly benefit from a couple of years keeping as it improved throughout the evening. A nice wine to have in the cellar.

VILLAGE WINES

1997 Moillard-Grivot, Pommard
Still a young colour, medium shade. Nose is of high toned raspberry and redcurrants. Good fruit concentration – again redcurrant is dominant. The acidity is a little harsh coupled with grainy tannins – traditional, slightly rustic Pommard. Almost good.
1997 Dominique Laurent, Vosne-Romanée
No mention on the label, but the cork has V.V. embossed on the side – so we’ll assume vieille vignes. Medium-plus ruby colour with just a sign of maturity at the lighter rim. The nose has a residue of sweet toasty oak and a slightly funky note. Given some aeration the funk recedes revealing deep plummy fruit. Bursts across the palate with concentrated fruit, but harsh and prickly acidity. Medium-plus length and nice tannins. Another curate’s egg.
1997 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée
A beautiful ruby colour when it catches the sun. Roasted raspberry nose, just a trace of spice too. Neither the concentration nor tannin of Grivot’s 1995 VR Bossières, but this is very smooth with medium concentrated fruit. The palate was also very dry – but became more friendly with time. Almost good today, but I think much better in 2 or 3 years time.
1997 Henri Gouges, Nuits-Saint-Georges
Medium-pale ruby, just a little paler at the rim. The nose is dominated by toasty oak- after 25 minutes just a little red fruit starts to come through. Certainly not a blockbuster style, but lovely persistent fruit on the palate and finish with tannins which only show on the finish. Lovely balance to this wine – should age very well. Lovely wine with at least 10 years ahead of it.
1998 JJ Confuron, Nuits-Saint-Georges
Deep cherry red. The pronounced nose starts high toned, settling on black cherry. Lovely blackcurrant fruit on the palate coupled with excellent acidity. The grainy tannins have some prominence but manage not to dominate the overall effect. Nice but very young.
1998 Louis Jadot, Monthelie
Medium-plus cherry red. Nose is very black – cherry and blackberry – and becomes sweeter with time in the glass. Fresh palate with forward tannins that are a little on the grainy side. Slightly rustic today, but there’s plenty of fruit concentration to merit leaving the bottles another year or two. Almost good.
1996 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle -Musigny
Deep ruby – just fading a little. A lovely nose of focused red cherry overlaying candied red fruits. Concentrated fruit on the palate with smooth, very 1996, acidity and well hidden tannins. It doesn’t have the fat it showed 3 years ago, but is still some way from maturity. Very good villages.
1999 Joseph Faiveley, Givry Champ-Lalot
Medium ruby red. Clean, sweet red berried nose – raspberry, redcurrant and strawberry. Quite full with medium-soft tannins and good acidity. This has a nice style and would be worth leaving a couple of years.
1999 Joseph Faiveley, Mercurey La Framoisière
Medium ruby red with cherry at the rim. A subdued cooked cherry nose with just a trace of caramel. Less sweet than the Givry but good depth of fruit and good acidity too. The smooth tannin is a good buffer. Good.
2000 Tollot-Beaut, Chorey-les-Beaune
Medium cherry red. Nose is sweet and oaky with difficult to define, though cooked red fruits. Soft, with good acidity and concentration. Sometimes I get a bit of a “bubble-gum” impression with Chorey, but not in this case. Very good for Chorey-les-Beaune.
1999 Château Génot-Boulanger, Pommard
Medium cherry red. The nose is subdued but sweet strawberry is the dominant note. Also sweet on the palate with medium-plus tannins and slightly tart acidity. The fruit is mainly red and quite persistent. Perhaps a bit rustic, almost good.
2000 Morey-Coffinet, Chassagne-Montrachet
Medium ruby red. The nose is spicy with toasty oak – does a good job of masking the fruit. The palate is oaky and sweet with very smooth tannins and good acidity. I like the concentration. Personally I’d wait for the oak to subside, but this drinks very well already – excellent value too.
1999 Confuron-Coteditot, Vosne-Romanée
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose is a subdued strawberry and raspberry number – very smooth. Lovely mouthfeel, lots of high-toned fruits, good acidity and medium, velvetty tannins. Persistent finish too. This is a very good villages wine.
1999 Confuron-Coteditot, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose is a very forward mix of of red and black cherries. Nice mouthfeel again with medium velvetty tannins coupled with good acidity and fruit concentration. Also a very good villages – I marginally prefer the Vosne-Romanée.
2000 Comte de Vogüé, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium cherry red. The nose is a forward mix of cherries, cassis, oak and faint vanilla. Very smooth, slightly oaky and concentrated palate. The acidity is adequate and the medium density tannins are very fine. A very long finish. Priced higher than many 1er Cru’s – but probably worth the outlay. Excellent villages. I’d suggest leaving 3 or 4 years to tone down the oak influence which I find a little ‘blurring’, but no rush to drink for several years there-after.
2000 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium cherry red. Cherry and pretty red fruits. The palate shows good acidity, medium tannins and a little coffee on the finish. Very 2000 and very nice. Not a big wine, but a rich creamy finish to remember it by.
1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Hospices de Beaune Pommard Cuvée Dames de Charité
Medium-plus ruby, no fading. The nose is primary red and black cherry, mainly black. Excellent fat black fruity palate with prominent grainy tannins and good acidity. Medium plus length, finishing slightly creamy – an excellent example, I like this a lot – now where can I get some more!
1997 Louis Jadot, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium ruby red, no hint of maturity. The nose shows toasty oak and is quite sweet. The palate also shows sweetness, good acidity and very nice depth to the fruit. Still quite marked by the wood though. This wine is much more primary than many and needs at least 3 or 4 years in the cellar despite its village appellation. Very good.
1998 Louis Jadot, Savigny-les-Beaune
Medium ruby red, no maturity. The nose shows raspberry and cherry. In the mouth there’s good concentrated fruit which bursts across the palate at first taste, coupled with medium tannins and refreshing acidity. Very primary, but it can easily be enjoyed for its youth now. Nice wine.
1997 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium-plus ruby, the merest shade browner at the rim. The nose is deep with a little oak and sweet high toned fruit. The palate is also sweet and still a little marked by oak. The fruit is slightly cooked and doesn’t have as much concentration as I would like. There’s also fairly rough acidity and a grainy texture to the tannins. I don’t think this bottle is out of condition. Considering that this is a wine I often buy, very disappointing.
1997 Domaine Ponsot, Morey Saint-Denis Cuvée des Grives
Surprisingly light colour, a pale-medium ruby. The nose starts with a big waft of oak, quickly replaced by sweet, stewing red fruits. The palate is still quite oaky, but shows good acidity, some fat and a persistent finish. The tannins are still a little grainy. Despite the colour I rather like this and I’d still be tempted to wait another 2 years for this wine.
1997 Hubert Lamy, Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes La Goujonne
Medium ruby – all the way to the rim. The nose is of cooking cherries and raspberries. Deep fruit on the palate – slightly cooked. Still quite some tannin and good acidity. This wine is very fresh and perhaps a little chunky with a medium finish. Still showing in a very young fashion. Nice wine and worth leaving another 2 or 3 years.
1997 Nicolas Potel, Volnay
Medium, perhaps medium-plus ruby, but no colour development and only a little lighter at the rim. The nose shows nice raspberry but predominantly redcurrant with a little red cherry. Silky, fat palate with tannins that come through late on the finish. The acidity is almost good, helping the length somewhat. A wine I’ve tasted 3 times in the last year and each time it leaves me with the feeling I’ve wasted another bottle due to the excellent base material but very tight presentation. Will probably be very good, and I promise not to open another for at least 2 years . . . . .
2000 Domaine Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet
Pale gold. Quite an understated nose of white flowers, peach and grapefruit. A more intense fruit experience than Leflaive’s bourgogne, still a little oak and almost good acidity. The finish is longer than the Bourgogne too. For best effect, I’d suggest leaving this for 2 or 3 years while you drink the Bourgogne!
1999 Moillard-Grivot, Meursault
Pale colour. This shows a heavy, almost reduced nose, perhaps a little vegetal too – over 45 minutes it didn’t improve. The palate, however, is quite fat and very Meursault. Good length too. Shame about the nose.

1er CRU WINES

1997 Christian Clerget, Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes
Medium-plus ruby red still with a cherry rim. The nose soars with red fruits – cherry and raspberry and redcurrants hint of cream. A fat, concentrated fruity palate with extra creamy length another wine with apparently hidden tannins – unless you look for them – good acidity too. Excellent, a long life ahead.
1997 J-F Mugnier, Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées
Not deeply coloured – a ruby core gently fading to brown. High red tones – slightly cooked – against a mild-toast background. Not fat, but splendid fruit which again is a little cooked with currants coming through. There’s lovely length, I really like the depth and persistence of the fruit. The tannins are still quite astringent and are coupled with good acidity. Very, very good wine. Despite the relatively light colour, I’d personally leave this another 3+ years.
1997 Daniel Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vignes Rondes
Medium-plus ruby, still with a cherry highlight. The nose starts predominantly with medium toast oak, gradually there’s a lovely pure cherry note that develops. Lovely smooth texture, finishing long and creamy with grainy tannins. Good acidity and very nice fruit. Very tasty and quite elegant, drink now or save 5 years – no problem.
1997 Charles Thomas, Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de Thorey
Medium depth colour – just starting to become ruby. High toned fruit – shaded to red – with a slightly roast character. Good attack on the palate, nice fruit and grainy tannins though I find the acidity a little harsh. Still needs time to settle down, but there’s very good length. Should be good.
1997 Domaine Parent, Pommard Les Argillières
Deep ruby, no fading. The nose is very low toned with an unusual meaty and spicy character overlaid with mushrooms, eventually something like cooked blackberries starts to come through. Dense and smooth with good enough acidity and strong tannins that creep up on you. The fruit is a little cooked, perhaps that’s why you get the impression it’s mainly black, shows above average length too. This is an individual and very impressive wine. Worth leaving another three years-plus.
1997 Domaine Parent, Pommard Epenots
Again a deep ruby with no fading. The nose is very meaty and starts just a little reduced – with time red fruit comes through and griottes too. The palate is fat with very good tannins and good acidity. The finish is medium plus length. Today I’d rather drink the Argillières but long term this Epenots could be the favourite. Very good.
1997 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay Champans
Deep ruby, no browning. Characteristic high toned Volnay nose of raspberries and some cherry. Deeper notes lower down too. Fresh, indeed harsh palate when first opened – but 15 minutes aeration was enough to smooth the edges. Good acidity and smooth ‘I’m here if you look for me’ tannins. Lovely concentrated fruit coupled with medium-plus length. This is still young – but lovely anyway.
1997 Domaine Tollot-Beaut, Savigny-Champ-Chevrey
Champ-Chevrey is a 3.6 acre Monopole of Domaine Tollot-Beaut and is actually a climat of the better known 19.5 acre Aux Forneaux on the eastern limit of Savigny. To make life even more interesting, not all of the Aux Forneaux vineyard is 1er Cru! This particular wine has a reasonably deep ruby hue, though is still showing cherry red at the rim. The nose is quite broad with, still, primary black cherry and even a little blueberry. The palate shows an earthy edge, good acidity and there’s also a pleasing creaminess apparent on the finish. Not profound, but very lovely.
1997 Jean-Marc Pavelot, Savigny-les-Beaune Dominode
Deep ruby colour, but there’s still a hint of cherry at the rim. The nose starts with deep black cherry then gives way to coffee, then gives way again to a pronounced meaty note. Fresh acidity with drying slightly grainy tannins. Good concentration black fruit here but despite this, the wine doesn’t come across as very ‘fat’. Seems very well balanced, perhaps a touch austere even – but no rush to open the next bottle. Should be good, but I’ll wait another couple of years before the next.
1997 Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin Combottes
Medium ruby colour but just starting to show an amber/brown caste. The nose starts with fresh, primary and slightly roasted fruits and is quite earthy. Given aeration it becomes a little more meaty. The palate has a delightful texture with good acidity and smooth tannins which need looking for. Like the nose there’s a baked element to the fruit. The length is medium-plus – another very pleasing wine that should only get better over the next few years.
1997 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée Aux Brulées
Medium/medium-plus ruby colour but quite a lot of development – looks older than many others here. The nose is of caramel, unusually a trace of spicy cedar and high toned raspberry and black cherry. The palate shows creamy raspberry and redcurrant against nice acidity and very astringent medium tannins – they’re quite smooth though. This is, perhaps, the most obviously young wine of all these tested and definitely should be left for at least 3 or 4 more years. Not a charmer today, but there’s plenty of potential.
1997 Marc Morey, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot
Medium-plus ruby colour. High toned cherry nose with faint blueberry. The nose really evolved, going through a stage where I suspected cork taint (despite an anything but dull palate) but this quickly became first caramel and then coffee. The palate is absolutely not meek and mild, fresh with lovely acidity, furry tannin and still a little oak. Becomes a little sweeter with aeration.
A very long too, still with an astringent cherry finish – but then the cork note returns and dominates. A young and very characterful wine – spoiled by taint in this case.
1997 Louis Jadot, Beaune Clos des Ursules
Lovely ‘intermediate’ colour – a deep cherry red centre turning first ruby then brown as you reach the edge of the glass. The nose starts with a surprisingly earthy note, backed by oak – though not the high toast found on many ’97’s from Jadot. The palate shows intense fruit against an oaky base, but is a little rough – you could pick this as Corton – then the reason – CORK! That’s two in a row – what a shame, this also seems excellent.
1997 Louis Jadot, Beaune Les Grèves
Wasn’t able to replace the Clos des Ursules in time – so here’s the stand-in. Not normally quite as good as the ‘Clos’, but let’s see. Deep ruby colour – looks pretty young. The nose starts quite closed, but there’s plenty of high toned cherry fruit in the mouth – excellent acidity too. The tannins are very smooth and drying. The finish is medium-plus length. With time a lightly cooked nose of strawberry, plum and cherry develops and the fruit profile seems to become more red – redcurrant and raspberry. Perfectly balanced to leave as long as you wish. Very good.
1997 Marquis D’Angerville, Volnay 1er Clos Des Ducs
Medium ruby red, but looks much older than Jadot’s Grèves. Nose starts quietly, then goes deep and sweet. After time a little wood spice develops together with higher ‘flowery’ tones. Well structured with very good acidity bold but controlled tannin. The fruit has good intensity and shows medium-plus length. Certainly worth saving longer as it should be very good, but this wine is not not as interesting as the 1998 I recently had, and doesn’t come close to the 1999.
1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Hospices de Beaune Beaune Cuvée Dames Hospitalières
Deep ruby colour with no obvious aging. Lovely rich nose of high toned black cherry underpinned by a trace of oak, develops a little blood-orange and coffee with time. Lovely mouthfeel with silky drying tannins and excellent acidity. There’s good concentration of black cherry which lingers in a very satisfying way. This is a wine that you can drink much faster than you should. Perfectly balanced to age but very satisfying today – very impressive.
1997 Bruno Clair, Marsannay Les Longerois
Medium ruby which seems to shine from the glass. The nose right from the start shows a beautifully deep fruit profile – red and black sweet fruits. Good, though slightly cooked, fruit on the palate – persistent too. The acidity is good with slightly grainy tannins. Great now and no problem to leave in the cellar – a bottle which was drained much too quickly(!)
2000 Alex Gambal, Saint-Aubin (Sur Gamay)
Pale yellow. A subdued sherbet and toffee nose. Good fat and a lovely depth to the fruit. Good acidity too which pushes the finish along. There’s nice style here.
2001 Alex Gambal, Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Saint Jean
Deeper colour with waxy high fruit over a deeper toned base on the nose. Sweet, good acidity and shows a little more ‘width’ and fat than the Saint-Aubin. Creamy and fat on the the finish. This is lovely.

GRAND CRU WINES

1997 Nicolas Potel, Échézeaux
Very deep ruby colour right to the rim. The nose is a little earthy, supporting black cherries and a savoury, meaty note. The palate is sweet, showing refreshing acidity and medium, drying tannins. The mainly black fruit has lovely concentration – blackberry being dominant and slightly roasted in character – and sustains a very long finish. Perhaps the oak is still making the palate slightly harsh, but frankly this has excellent potential and needs all of 4 or 5 years before it really starts to drink well.
1997 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
Medium ruby but already looking mature with brick at the rim. This is a wine that both inspires and disappoints; a gorgeous nose and finish but the palate is a little rough. First the nose; ripe and deeply scented with cooked plums trailing off to dried currants. In the mouth the wine is quite smooth with intense fruit and grainy tannins, the problem is the acidity which is badly integrated and sharp or spiky. I’m assuming that this needed acidifying and the result lacks balance. Despite this, the finish is a very good one with the same dried currants from the nose lingering very well. Given the tannins, I’d still look to leave this for another couple of years and hopefully the acidity might be more balanced.
1997 Jean Grivot, Clos de Vougeot
Medium-plus ruby with a brick rim. Slightly subdued nose which is sweet and primary with high toned red berry fruit, perhaps some blueberry too. Excellent red and black cherry fruit extract on the faintly oaky palate. The dry tannins are still evident – though not rough. This is currently a little austere, but a wine with a very sneaky, creamy length. Despite the lovely fruit, this wine is certainly less dense than the previous two, very fine though – I’d say this is nowhere near ready and would suggest waiting another 3-4 years before trying again.
1997 Antonin Guyon, Corton Bressandes
Medium ruby colour a little browner at the rim. The nose is oaky with a medium-high toast note plus sweet and creamy cooked cherry tart. Smooth palate with tannins that really only show up on the finish – unfortunately there’s something rather bitter about the acidity – which shows up most on the finish. The finish is reasonably long with a creamy tinge. Given 30 minutes-plus in a decanter and the toasty oak is gone from the nose, replaced by a surprisingly earthy character and roasted fruits. The bitterness tones down a little – but only a little. Another wine that’s a bit of a curate’s egg.
1997 Moillard-Grivot, Romanée Saint-Vivant
For around 60€ Domaine Charles Thomas produce one of the best value RSV’s that you can find. If you compare the price to some domaine’s village wines at ~50€, it’s a bit of an eye-opener. That wine was, until recently, labeled as Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Now this wine from Moillard-Grivot is not the same wine as it is made from purchased grapes for the négociant arm of the Thomas business. The colour is deep ruby, hardly any lighter at the rim. The nose at first soars with floral notes to be replaced by a deep meaty note and unusually even a trace of cedar. The fruit is black and a little roasted in character. The palate is fat, concentrated and silky smooth. The tannins are deep but silky. The length could be a little better – this is RSV after-all – but even though the fruit on the palate is also a little roasted this is super wine. Judged as RSV, this wine certainly lacks the required elegance – judged on price, even at 60€ it is very fine. Personally I’d keep this in the cellar for another 3 or 4 years
1997 JJ Confuron, Romanée Saint-Vivant
Here we find the elegance of Romanée Saint-Vivant. The colour is paler than Moillard’s with a not-quite medium ruby. The nose is a little understated but shows a top-end of red fruits on a creamy, slightly vanilla base – with time a more meaty tone starts to emerge and definitely no roast fruit notes here. The palate is obviously fat with very silky tannins that you need to look for – no fireworks but a definite RSV elegance. I’d say that this is just a little subdued or, perhaps, even closed, despite the exceptional length. Very, very lovely.
1997 Armand Rousseau, Ruchottes-Chambertin
Medium ruby, just a little browner at the rim. The nose has fresh red berries as a top note but if you stop swirling, the glass gradually fills with a vanilla note. The palate is also quite fresh with very good acidity. The wine seems at first to be a little slight despite intense fruit but in the end I put this down to how the primary the fruit was showing – more like a 1996. The tannins are deftly hidden but very velvety. Very, very elegant and very tasty – also just a touch of vanilla on the finish. This excellent wine has gorgeous balance and should have a very long life.
1997 Joseph Drouhin, Griottes-Chambertin
Medium-plus ruby at the core still showing some cherry red. The nose is a little subdued with bright red berries and rose petals. Lovely fat with pure, concentrated redcurrant and cherry. Good acidity and tannins that you need to search for. Some vanilla on the long finish. A lovely bottle which showed in a subdued way – perhaps in it’s shell? Even if not, there’s more than enough material to safely leave this for a few more years.
1997 Jean-Claude Belland, Chambertin
Medium-plus ruby core moving through brown to amber at the rim – this could be 20 years old from the colour. On opening you’re met with a pronounced medium toasty-oak nose which gradually subsides to the background becoming more like plum and coffee. The nose constantly evolved – from the colour I was expecting a cooked fruit profile, but gradually primary red an black cherry is unlocked from the mix – even redcurrants too after a time. The palate has very silky tannins with long acidity. This feels really sumptuous in the mouth and shows perhaps a little more cooked fruit than the nose with a deep plum pie. If there is one area of disappointment it is in the medium plus finish – given the nose and silky palate I’d expected an extra length – but it wasn’t there. Still a lovely wine and this producer’s version is usually cheaper than many a Charmes’.
1997 Geantet-Pansiot, Charmes-Chambertin
Deep ruby – no sign of age. Bright blueberry and black cherry nose trailing off with a hint of coffee. The palate has good fat and acidity. Nice black fruit with slightly grainy, medium-density tannins. Very good length too – BUT – there seems no ‘involvement’ with this wine and it seems flat. I suspect the insidious entry of low level taint – you can’t tell that it’s corked and unfortunately there is no back-up bottle for reference. This was drunk following Méo-Camuzet’s Bourgogne – and all four people drinking preferred the Bourgogne despite the obviously better underlying material of this wine. Not cooked – must be tainted – a shame.
1997 Joseph Faiveley, Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley
Deep ruby colour – still looks very young. Lovely fruity nose of damson and black cherry – some coffee too – a blend of aromas to wallow in. Structured and fat, with big, still grainy tannins and plenty of acidity. Really excellent, creamy concentration. Hardly budged since last tasted 2 years ago – lovely now and has real potential to stay lovely for the next 15 years.
1993 Méo-Camuzet, Corton Clos Rognets
Deep colour – almost saturated – young looking too. The nose has the residuals from creamy, toasty oak, enough to hide the fruit at any rate. Extra silky, fat palate, showing a supremely long and creamy finish. Excellent acidity with medium tannins. This is an oaky and very civilised Corton for fans of Australian shiraz. Does it show typicité? – maybe not. Is it compelling wine? – of course it is!
1999 Alex Gambal, Échézeaux
Bought in as wine. Dark young cherry colour. The deep nose has blueberry and black cherry. Fat with big velvetty tannins and a black fruit profile. Lovely concentration, though slightly diffuse – it’s hard to easily pick the individual elements. Overall this has very good style. The winery is keeping back a quantity of this wine – so if you spot some on the shelf in 3 or 4 years time – snap it up!
1999 Joseph Faiveley, Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley
From the Rognet area of Corton. This is medium-full in colour, with a gorgeous mixture of pure blackberries and cherries on the nose. Really full, mouth-filling, velvetty tannins and excellent acidity. It’s very rich and long with the black fruit clinging to the inside of your mouth with the tannin. Excellent, but really needs many years in the cellar.
2001 Charles Thomas, Bonnes-Mares
Only medium colour – cherry red. The nose is very subdued, but shows a few high tones. Given 40 minutes opens up just a little more to give a deeper profile, perhaps a trace of caramel too. The palate on the other hand, shows very fine, concentrated fruit with good fat. Nice acidity with forward, but well mannered, tannins. Should become a very good bottle.
1984 Michel Juillot, Corton Perrières
From magnum. Paling ruby with a brown rim. The nose is non-existent for around 15 minutes – becomes a sweet cooked plum and cherry pie with time, creamy coffee too. Perfect acidity, just a trace of tannin and exceptional length to the compote-like fruit. Very lovely. Who says you shouldn’t by job-lots of cheap wine with no provenance?! The cost was around 20 Euros.
2000 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Montrachet
Medium-pale yellow with just a tinge of green to the rim. Citrus, apple, peach and toasty bread all glued together with a botrytis note – lots of things you can find on the nose. Once you put your lips to the glass you’re in for quite an experience – the wine is just so fat you can’t believe that it can be balanced – but balanced it is. Somehow seems to have a mineral streak running through its centre too. Very long. Yep – I’m impressed!
1981 Moillard-Grivot, Bâtard-Montrachet
Golden colour. The nose is very individual and interesting, waxy with spent fireworks (gunflint?), walnuts and no trace of oxidation. The palate is very much alive, thick and smooth as smooth. Unfortunately no fireworks on the palate, good acidity but quite one-dimensional and the finish is medium length at best. Given the ‘poor-ish’ 1981 vintage, this, I suppose, is a testament to the vineyard. Interesting, but drink-up.

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