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               Why Big Red Diary?

Roundup of all wines tasted…

wine testing
No slurping and spitting. These wines were predominantly drunk at home with food and friends between February and July 2004. For the first time I’ve tried to bring a semblance of order to these notes, so in each section you will find the producers in alphabetical order!
Corkwatch: 4 from 88 = 4.5%

REGIONAL WINES

2001 Henri Boillot, Bourgogne Rouge
Good medium cherry red colour – for a regional. The nose starts with lots of oak, but not ‘overdone’, there’s also high toned, almost orange, fruit to compliment the red cherry. The palate starts a little harsh, but like the oak on the nose becomes more harmonious. There’s a slight tartness to acidity, though the tannins are quite smooth. The fruit gives up something close to blackforest gateau(!) Obviously showing a little young, but there’s good density. I’d suggest waiting another 1-2 years.
1998 Faiveley, Bourgogne Rouge
From magnum. Deep red with no fading. The nose has lost some of the oak of its youth leaving mainly red cherry. The tannins are still this wines most obvious attribute, but the fruit gives reasonable balance. Good acidity that helps push the finish a little longer. A nice, quite ‘big’ wine that is borderline rustic – despite the bottle size still doesn’t last very long with 4 friends and a raging barbeque.
1997 Germain, Bourgogne Rouge
Medium-plus ruby red colour. The nose shows not so much in the way of fruit and an unattractive yeasty note. In contrast the palate is fat with very sweet fruit and mouth watering acidity and fading tannins. For my taste this is a little too much like fruit-juice, but in context a seven year-old wine for only €12 so more than decent value.
1998 Gros Frère & Soeur, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits
Generously deep colour. The appealing nose is shaded towards black fruit, developing a few high tones. On the palate, there’s fresh acidity and tannins that are still astringent. For the appelation you’ll find slightly sour but well concentrated fruit and a medium length finish. I’d wait at least another year before drinking any more of these. Well above average for a bourgogne.
2001 Domaine Leflaive, Bourgogne Blanc
A honeyed yellow colour. The nose is quite intense with a deep, initially oak base that turns ever more honey and cream, just a little citrus topping too. As always, this wine shows the intensity and definition of a good village wine – but then it should, it’s always the price of some producers village wines! Hard to criticise at this AOC level, but I’d have liked just a touch more acidity. If you find some in a sale I wouldn’t (indeed I didn’t!) hesitate to buy a few.
2002 Méo-Camuzet, Clos Saint-Philibert Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc
Pale colour. The subdued nose starts with a waxy melon note with a faint citrus edge and proceeds to offer a deeper honey note that gains strength with time. Dry, good/good-plus length. Not fat, but rather slender and elegant is a good description. Lovely acidity. Though not overtly fruity, this wine shows a very pleasing (to my palate) crisply mineral style.
2001 Méo-Camuzet, Clos Saint-Philibert Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc
Deeper yellow colour vs 2002. The nose is more developed, slightly nutty but retains the melon, citrus and honey of 2002. The acidity seems a little more pronounced on first tasting, but I decided it was actually a little lower acidity than 2002 – just less integrated. Again an elegant rather than fat style which has a little more length than the younger wine. For the four tasters on first tasting, this was the least favourite of the six wines. Overnight in the fridge showed a marked improvement with everyone enjoying on day two.
2000 Méo-Camuzet, Clos Saint-Philibert Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc
Just a little lighter in colour than 2001. The nose is pleasing if a little subdued – eventually coming through with the (now) characteristic mix of melon and honey. Fatter than the previous wines but with a lovely, mouth-watering acidity and good length. Another good wine.
1999 Méo-Camuzet, Clos Saint-Philibert Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc
Pale gold. The nose is the first that offers an oaky note, some pepper too. A little fat – in the manner of 2000 but longer than that wine. Only slowly does the nose start to develop in a similar way to the other wines. Dense mid-palate fruit in a Meursault vein. I think that there could have been a little better integration of this mid-palate with the finish, but it’s a very good wine all the same.
1998 Méo-Camuzet, Clos Saint-Philibert Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc
Pale to medium gold. The nose is unlike all the other wines; high toned, pear-drops. Less fat than 2000/1999 but as long as the 1999. Penetrating fruit in an almost oxidised (but not) style. Well integrated and mouth-watering acidity. The wine starts in a completely different style to the others, but 3 hours later it’s obviously cut from the same cloth – no hint of oxidation and shows the characteristic nose – we were all impressed with the transformation.
1997 Méo-Camuzet, Clos Saint-Philibert Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc
Pale gold. The nose again starts differently – two tasters disliking – but soon settles down to our familiar and characteristic profile. The palate is perhaps a little sweeter than 1998, still with good acidity and a nice punch to the fruit in the mid-palate.

VILLAGE WINES

1998 Domaine l’Arlot, Côte de Nuits Villages Clos du Chapeau
Medium ruby red, shading slightly to amber. The nose starts with sweet, creamy, toasty oak of sufficient volume to drown out traces of fruit. Given time (45 minutes) a little plummy fruit comes through. The equally sweet palate shows fat, depth, soft tannin and understated acidity that flows into a slightly creamy finish. You can find a little candied fruit, so tasty, but I like a little more fruit, so would personally wait another year or two to see if any appears.
1998 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium cherry red colour. Lovely nose; red cherry with a shade of black fruit. The smooth palate has good depth, good acidity together with mild tannins. Medium length. This is a pure and pretty wine with little to dislike.
1998 Jean-Marc Boillot, Volnay
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose is a little subdued, raspberry and redcurrant and a little alcohol. The palate is sweet with good acidity with slightly grainy tannins that show a little astringency. Medium bodied fruit which also shows in quite a subdued way. A pleasant and tasty well-balanced wine, but currently quite subdued – hint of taint?
2001 Robert Chevillon, Nuits Saint-Georges Vieilles Vignes
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose starts with an overcoat of plummy fruit, slowly removed to reveal a more earthy black cherry centre. The palate is fat and soft with good acidity and slightly grainy tannin. The fruit is again shaded to black and shows very good length though there is a little bitterness to the lingering fruit. This is certainly what I would describe as modern in style – eminently drinkable even if I’d never guess it was from Nuits!
1998 Christian Clerget, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium-plus ruby-red with no obvious fading. The nose has dried cranberry/cherry/raisin – very like many 1993’s – and very nice. The palate shows denser fruit than I expected though the acidity carries it off successfully. The tannin is less astringent than many, giving overall a plush, soft texture. About 1 glass was left in the vacuvinned bottle and on day two the nose was diffuse and the palate dense and less obviously balanced. Day 1 showing is a winner – day 2 not.
2001 Confuron-Coteditot, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose has high toned red fruit and the merest trace of Gevrey earth. A round and interesting palate – the fruit is nice and pure, the tannins are velvetty and very well behaved. Tasty wine – an archetypal 2001.
1998 René Engel, Vosne Romanée
Medium-plus cherry red, no sign of ruby yet. The nose starts with a burst of well toasted oak – lasts only a minute or two – replaced by red pinot fruits against a background of sweet Vosne spice and faint tobacco. Concentrated fruit, red & black, mouthwatering acidity and forward, slightly grainy tannin. Tannins are much less drying than either of the following Vosnes. This will start to drink well earlier than many – but still wait another 3 years.
2000 Faiveley, Mercurey Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet
Medium-pale cherry red. The nose is a slightly dense cherry with higher floral tones. The palate has surprisingly full tannins – and they’re a little bitter too. Medium density fruit and fresh acidity. I have to say that this is not very charming, but will be probably be okay if served chilled on a hot summer day.
2001 Domaine Fourrier, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes
Drank this one directly after Gambal’s Chambolle 1er Gruenchers of the same vintage. Slightly deeper and younger colour than the 1er Cru. The nose has more intensity and a dried fruit aspect to the intense red fruits, perhaps the high tones on the nose are slightly soapy. Instantly more demonstrative than the Gruenchers, but less impact on the mid-palate. Good length that’s helped by the acidity. This is a really super villages – certainly not overshadowed by ther 1er Cru – but then it costs the same…
1998 Henri Gouges, Nuits-St-Georges
Medium cherry-red. The nose starts a little subdued, but given time there’s a high toned sweet note – almost blueberry – eventually a little spice too. Initially the palate starts a little disappointing and thin, though the tannins are smooth and the acidity’s good. Given 90 minutes the palate fattens up some. There’s a nice purity to the fruit though the medium finish never loses a slight bitter aspect. If I hadn’t given this some time to open up I’d have to say this pales next to the following wine, but it’s well balanced so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
1998 Jean Grivot, Nuits-St-Georges Lavières
Drunk after the Potel villages NSG. Darker ruby colour. The nose shows a blacker complexion to the fruit and a fleeting trace of oak. The palate shows an equally black face, good acidity and dry, furry tannin. Opens up nicely with aeration and the tannin seems to show more and more subtlety. I’d say this has a little more potential than the average villages – perhaps like the ’96 that I’ve got in the cellar.
1998 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée Bossières
The colour is pretty deep, still a little cherry colour at the rim. The nose is starting to show some development – lots of interest here – deep black cherry, just a little cooked and spicy plum fruit, eventually you can find a little raspberry fruit too. The palate has plenty of tannin, but very much in the Grivot style i.e. quite extracted but not too grainy. Good fruit with reasonable espresso-style length and just right acidity. Much more interesting than the 1997 non – Bossières villages.
1998 Antonin Guyon, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium-plus cherry red, little fading. The nose starts in a lovely fashion, deep but still red cherry, faintly fading creme brulee too. Initially the palate is very tasty and succulent, good acidity and slightly dry tannnins. At a tasting this would stand out but actually became a bit wearing as the tannin seemed to get more pronounced. Then as the bottle was fading it really started to sing again with super red fruit and currants on the finish – there’s a little oak too, but not at all jarring. So starts great becomes disappointing then finishes with a flourish 2 out of 3 isn’t bad! I bought a couple more for future reference.
1998 Gros Frère & Soeur, Vosne-Romanée
Good deep colour, still shaded to cherry red. The nose is deep, black and spicy – just a little high tone akin to a redcurrant and raspberry mix, becomes quite blackberry then more raisined. The palate has plenty of drying tannin – slightly astringent at the end and a black aspect to fruit here too. Good length and acidity. This wine is super, but very, very young – I’d go for this ahead of the Grivot.
1999 Hamilton-Russell, Pinot Noir
For my own pinot preferences I’m unconvinced by Australia, bemused by oak from Oregon, occasionaly impressed by New Zealand but I thought I’d slip this one in and see if anyone notices… Some evidence of seepage on top of the cork. The colour is deep ruby with a little amber at the rim. The nose is already showing secondary aromas, sweet and meaty with mocha, currants and red fruit, well judged oak too. The palate shows sweet, concentrated fruit and acidity that seems a tad short with food, but okay without. Good length. This is actually a very nice wine – showing older than it’s age – but given the seepage, maybe that’s the explanation. One of the most convincing ‘non-Côte’ pinots, maybe just a little too sweet but a very lovely wine. The style is that of a good ‘older’ wine, say from the late ’80’s, but well done South Africa.
1998 Louis Jadot, Beaune
A deep ruby core with just a trace of amber towards the rim. The nose is meaty and at the same time high toned – latent traces of oak too. A sweet palate, though the svelte tannins show in quite a dry fashion they are quite in balance. A medium length, tasty and pleasing wine. Like most of Jadot’s wines this will benefit from further storage, but an hour in a decanter is all you need with this one.
1998 Louis Jadot, Pommard
(From a half bottle) Deep ruby still with a little cherry at the rim. The nose is predominantly sweet red fruit, perhaps just a trace of a meaty note too. The palate is also sweet with good tannins that started a little rustic but softened with air. There’s no astringency to the palate, just balanced concentration and good acidity that lifts the finish slightly. A moreish wine that was done all too quickly. Good villages.
2000 Hubert Lignier, Chambolle-Musigny
A wine with two faces. Medium plus ruby-red that’s shaded to cherry-red at the rim. The nose is of deep red fruit; cherry and a lovely redcurrant note, slightly over the top vanilla
for the first few minutes fading to leave nice oaky notes and faint espresso coffee. The palate is one of those sumptuous, slightly fat, fruit-forward wines, but lovely red fruit and beautifully balanced acidity. The finish shows a creamy, dried red cherry and raisin note – very nice. And the second face? – a grainy oaky texture develops with food – so drink on its own, but it’s worth it.
2000 Morey-Coffinet, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge
Medium-plus ruby red with just a little amber development. The nose shows very dark cherry fruit over an oaky base – there’s still some toast evident – but it’s by no means overdone. A super, fat palate with very well covered tannins and good acidity. The fruit is a little muddy and imprecise – but you can wallow in it! Excellent €16 burgundy!
1998 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin
Frankly I’m amazed! This wine was just so full of toasty oak – of which I’m not enamoured – when released, that it took close to 36 hours to reach the limits of my drinkability. Today you’d never know, the toast is in the background and there’s a faint, sweet, coffee tinged, black skinned fruit note in its place. The colour is a deep cherry red, no fading or browning. The palate has real concentration, good acidity and very well mannered tannins. The wine’s currently showing in a subdued and primary way. One to leave – fortunately, I’ve 10 more to go.
1998 Nicolas Potel, Nuits-St-Georges
A wine that took a little time for me to warm to, but it was worth the wait. Medium cherry red colour. The nose starts very uncouth, high toned and alcoholic. It takes over a hour from opening (no decanting) to start showing a high-toned, fresh and piercing red fruit nose. From the start the palate was fresh, round, nicely concentrated and had very pleasant tannins – a little grain, but not particularly drying. Creamy fruit on the finish too. Next time I’d decant for an hour – otherwise wait two or three years.
1998 Nicolas Potel, Santenay
From a half bottle. Deep, healthy colour. The nose is a faintly oak influenced melange of red and black, slowly develops a nice creme brulee note. The palate is big and sweet with very good acidity and plenty of tannins – they are very slightly bitter, but not overly astringent. Tons of fruit, though its a somewhat stewed black and red mix. Good finish. Brusque and bold – I enjoyed every drop!
1998 Daniel Rion, Côte de Nuits Villages Le Vaucrain
Medium-plus ruby colour, some development and a little amber at the rim. The nose comes mainly from the well toasted wood with coffee and roast nuts in evidence, faint powdery plum in the background. The palate is sweet and medium bodied with a slight rasp to the medium tannins and almost good acidity. Again you’ll notice the wood more than the fruit. Personally I prefer to taste the fruit, but if you like sweet toasted oak in the style of a certain pastry chef – you’ll love this.
1998 Daniel Rion, Nuits-St-Georges Les Lavières
Medium-plus ruby core with a lighter cherry-red rim. The nose has deep plummy tones with just a trace of oak influence. The wine is smooth and sweet with nicely concentrated red fruits and well mannered tannins. The acidity is just right, helping the finish to hang on just that little bit longer. Young, but quite a smoothie for a village Nuits.
2000 Tollot-Beaut, Chorey-les-Beaune
Medium cherry red with a slightly amber rim. The nose is red and powdery/dusty. Good fat with nice furry tannin and good fruit. A little TCA taint on the palate, but a good bottle would be a very good value wine, both interesting and showing none of the jammy fruit you sometimes find with Chorey
2001 Domaine du Colombier, Chablis
Pale gold. The nose has good depth set against higher fruit notes. The palate showing medium density and good lemony acidity. Steely and nicely balanced – this seems very good value at ~12 Euro.
2001 Henri Boillot, Meursault
Deep gold. Nose is spoiled by cork taint. The palate is fat and has good acidity, plenty of concentration and length – could be a good wine if it was in the right condition.
2001 Château Génot-Boulanger, Meursault Clos du Cromin
Pale golden colour. The nose has a well presented base of oak surmounted by a higher toned fruit top layer. Good fat and acidity – not the minerality of the Chablis – This is almost good and shows plenty of Meursault character, but at more than twice the price of Colombier’s Chablis I don’t see the value.
1997 MacMahon, Auxey-Duresses
Golden. The nose is a mix of slightly alcoholic high tones plus a little green-skinned fruit against a pungent base of honey. Starts a little out of sorts and slightly bitter, but comes round quickly to reveal a good, fat palate of mature, primary fruit and almost good acidity. The finish is of reasonable length. Quite a good wine that is unlikely to get better so I’ll be drinking and enjoying mine over the summer.

1er CRU WINES

1998 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Forets Saint Georges
I’ve had mixed success with wines from this domaine, hence, often pass them by, but . . . Medium ruby colour, still cherry at the rim. The nose is really very tasty; residual oak, sweet, very candied cherry fruit over a creme brulée base. The palate has forward but very refined tannins, good acidity and a medium length finish. Whilst very pretty, I’d hope for a bit more concentration in top 1er Cru – but it has to be said that this is complex and will be very elegant, particularly for a 1998 – lovely aromatics too – I bought a couple more!
2000 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Forets Saint Georges
Medium cherry red, shading just a little to amber at the rim. The nose shows dusty red, high-toned fruit – interesting and complex – but I’m never a fan of the ‘dusty’ nose. Some tannin and excellent acidity. The palate mirrors the nose with high toned red fruit and shows a sneaky, creamy length. Interesting and balanced, but from these two the 1998 is one to buy.
1998 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay Champans
Medium-plus cherry/ruby core, not much fading. The nose is a little closed but shows restrained sweet red cherry and a little floral note. The palate is super-smooth with good fat. The tannins are only there if you look for them and there’s a distinctive creamy note to the finish, only one problem, there’s also a distinctive cork taint too, hence, the subdued nose I suppose. A better bottle should be rather fine.
1998 Jean-Marc Boillot, Beaune Montrevenots
A premier cru you don’t see so often, it lies above Cols des Mouches and borders Pommard’s (villages)Le Bas de Saussilles. Deep cherry red. Lovely nose of red and black fruit, nice purity too. The palate shows deep black fruit, good acidity and tannins that start quite drying – good texture despite the astringency. After two hours in a decanter there’s balance and tons of interest – the tannins don’t seem so bad now – maybe they’ve dissolved the inside of my mouth! Has pure fruit and excellent density that should easily outlast the tannin, more a Pommard than a Beaune.
1998 Bouchard Père et Fils, Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos Saint Marc
What a wine… Deeply coloured, still cherry red but no fading. The nose soars with high toned berry fruit before slowly settling down to a deep, spicy-edged black-skinned fruit. Intense black fruit that really follows into the finish. Good acidity and tannins that really make themselves known if you keep the wine in your mouth, mouthwrapping though they are, they are also velvetty and not so astringent as many. Why did I only buy two…
1999 Champy Père et Fils, Beaune Clos des Avaux
Medium-plus cherry red. High-toned floral notes and a hint of rôti to the black fruit. Concentrated and balanced, but a little rustic for a 1er Cru. The length is almost good and the wine made a nice pairing with my gigot d’agneau – fulfilling it’s raison d’être. A clean wine but should be better.
2000 Robert Chevillon, Nuits Saint-Georges Chaignots
Dark ruby colour with very little fading. Deep, pronounced nose of primary black cherry. The palate is rich, soft and polished with impressive depth, velvetty tannins and pretty good acidity. At first I thought this was a little short, but it’s not, it’s more a slight hole in the mid-palate. A little too polished and not quite ‘fresh’ enough for further purchases chez Nanson, but could very well be described as ‘hedonistic’ in some circles – perhaps I’m more of a masochist :-)
1998 Bruno Clair, Marsannay Les Grasses Têtes
Deep cherry red. The nose is sweet with some toasty oak and cooking red cherries. The palate is surprisingly fat and sweet. Nice acidity, well mannered tannins and lovely long fruit – red and black. This is really excellent. I expect that the oak (which is very well done) will soon start to add to the complexity – I bought a few more of these after this tasting.
1998 Bruno Clair, Savigny-les-Beaune La Dominode
From vines that were planted in 1902. A deep core of ruby, fading to cherry red. The nose has a super depth of slightly spicy black cherry. Intense black fruit that really holds into the finish. Good acidity and thick, velvetty, drying tannins. Very young and potentially a super wine.
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
Deep cherry red. A nose of spicy black fruit and already a little secondary development, some undergrowth too. Sweet with impressive concentration of spicy fruit and superbly covered velvetty tannins – very long and creamy too. Personally I’d prefer a little less spicyness, but this is a very, very good wine.
2001 Domaine Fourrier, Vougeot Les Petits Vougeot Vieilles Vignes
Whilst I loved Fourrier’s 2001 village Chambolle, this had to work hard to endear itself – eventually failing. Medium, medium-pale cherry red. The nose starts with a slightly reductive note, red fruit and a trace of coffee. It takes nearly two hours to show a little raspberry focus and eventually black fruit and cedar. The palate despite a little fat has slightly bitter tannins and a little dryness, good acidity and medium fruit. Give it a little time and it might be more interesting, but I think the tannins are a little unripe – probably most peoples impression of a Vougeot…!
2001 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny Gruenchers
Medium, medium-plus ruby red. Nose starts very understated, shiny red berries and only hinting at some depth. On the palate this wine zings along with very fine acidity and well-put-together tannins, quite velvetty. Just a little grain on the finish – but I think this is more from the wood. The fruit is at first a little one-dimensional – to be fair the staff at Gambal always recommend decanting young wines to aerate saying that they are pretty reductive when bottled. Towards the end of the bottle the nose is more interesting with a blacker dried-fruit aspect, the palate also shows more complexity – for the price this wine is very, very satisfying.
1999 Pierre Gelin, Fixin Clos Napoléon
Medium / medium-plus ruby red colour. There’s super depth on the nose with very pure plum and cherry fruit. Excellent balance, with good acidity and well covered tannin – again nice purity to the fruit – long too. This is a good example and is very tasty even today!
1998 Germain (Château Chorey-les-Beaune), Beaune Le Cras Vieilles Vignes
Very deep colour, still with a cherry red rim. The nose has high toned slightly estery notes over an undertow of black skinned fruit. The fruit is also deeply black on the palate too. The acidity is very good and the drying tannins of the vintage are present, but with sufficiently intense fruit to act as a buffer. A big black wine of a Beaune that you might pick as from the Côte de Nuits. I’d leave it for another three years to tame the tannin some more.
2001 Camille Giroud, Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts
This bottle was very cold and took some time to come round. Medium-plus colour. The nose is understated, a little spice, but takes a while for creamy red fruit to come through. The concentrated palate has fine, silky tannins and a spicy complexion to the fruit. This is a super Vosne, but is it a good Malconsorts? Revisiting an hour or so later, the nose is a little more forward with an additional black-fruit dimension. The palate remains concentrated and a little one dimensional. Certainly has the material and absolutely no hard edges, but will take some time to flower. Given the way the RSV (below) developed over longer time-frame I’d certainly expect good things.
1998 Henri Gouges, Nuits-St-Georges Les Vaucrains
This is a step-up from Gouges’ villages Nuits. Darker in colour with with blacker fruit on the nose. Good intensity and length, again very smooth tannins. Fresh and pretty interesting. This is a nice wine.
2000 Hudelot-Noellat, Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts
Medium ruby red. The nose is so characteristic of Vosne that you could easily spot it without help from the label. A spicy base with appealing fruit that slowly closes up in the glass – takes about 30 minutes – the fruit remains at a lower register together with some coffee and less appealing cigarette ash. The palate is medium concentrated with a smooth palate, lingering acidity and slightly grainy tannin. The finish is long with penetrating red fruit, currently shows some slightly bitter oak tannin though. This just needs a couple of years to round out – should be a very nice wine – has the balance to go much longer too.
2001 Hudelot-Noellat, Vosne-Romanée Suchots
Medium ruby red. From a rather powdery red fruit beginning the nose slowly takes on more interest and depth – though not obviously Vosne like the Beaumonts – kirsch, a little plum and cherry. The palate is fresh with tasty medium concentrated fruit. The wood is not that well integrated giving plenty of grain and a bitter edge to the finish – more-so than the 2000. Improves with aeration. This will also be a very nice wine, but needs keeping a little longer than the 2000, despite not seeming so concentrated.
1998 Louis Jadot, Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint Jacques
I enjoyed this lots when released (November 2000), but frankly it’s a little disappointing now. Medium ruby red already showing some development and fading to the rim. A strawberry pie nose with deeper red cherry behind. Some fat with slightly prickly acidity and dusty, slightly drying tannins. Perhaps this is a dumb phase, there’s a little tertiary development, but it’s showing in a lacklustre way and is prematurely aged vs the ’98 Jadot village Beaune that has shared the same shelf for the last 3+ years.
1998 Dr Georges Mugneret, Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Chaignots
Medium ruby red, still cherry red at the rim. The nose has reticent but very pure cherry. Gorgeously smooth palate with a very sneaky, creamy red fruit length. The acidity is fine and the tannins are first class. Not many words to describe a super Nuits – but I made another order!
1998 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier, Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées
Medium-plus, cherry red with no fading. The nose bursts with red berries; raspberry and cherry set against a creamy background – lovely purity. The palate is intense and succulent, again showing mainly red fruit. The fine tannins show a dry edge. There is an oaky depth at first which makes the palate a little ‘muddy’, but this rights itself on aeration. Young but still fine.
1998 Nicolas Potel, Nuits Saint-Georges Vaucrains
More a tasting note about the manifestation of cork taint; medium, medium-plus ruby red and no fading. The nose is subdued with just a trace of blue skinned fruit, no taint and a slightly green, minty rather than leafy note. In the mouth there’s definitely a little taint on the finish – which is a shame as this is a very smooth wine. After 10 minutes it’s there on the nose too – still faint. Obviously this wine is close to my detection (or should that be toleration) limit as a small amount left in a glass for 30+ minutes actually tastes quite nice…
1998 Nicolas Potel, Santenay Beauregards
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose is red – a lovely blend of raspberry and a little strawberry. Straight from the bottle the palate’s a little coarse, but softens with some aeration. Succulent fruit with faintly drying tannin and good acidity. This is a big-fun wine, save it or dunk into a decanter and drink now.
1998 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée Suchots
Signs of seepage under the capsule, but nothing untoward in the way the wine presented itself. Deep cherry red. The nose starts with tons of black cherry depth, but it’s primary and there’s not much else, perhaps a little high toned red fruit and mint – okay perhaps there is more… Not much fat but super concentration. The tannin is well behaved – no astringency – and good acidity. With food there seems a bit of a gap in the mid-palate, otherwise you don’t notice. Medium, medium-plus length. I enjoyed this wine plenty.
1998 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts
Deep ruby core with a cherry red rim. The nose starts with a blast of blackberry fruit, eventually settles to a mix of minty red fruit pies. Very concentrated fruit, with perfect acidity and long, grippy, but velvetty tannin. The mid-palate starts a little soupy but gradually becomes more and more distinct – tons of complexity. This wine was drunk after the good Engel villages Vosne and has so much extra dimension that it’s hard to believe it’s not a grand cru.
1998 Tollot-Beaut, Savigny-les-Beaune Champs-Chevrey
Medium-plus cherry red. Nose is high toned, a lovely raspberry- cherry mix – biased to raspberry, below is a subtle and fading vanilla. The palate is wonderfully smooth, with super acidity, red fruit and a really stand-out length. The silky tannins in this case don’t share the astringency so common in their Côte de Nuits cousins. Excellent – I’ve bought some more.
1997 Georges de Vogüé, Chambolle-Musigny 1er
Medium ruby with just a little amber. The nose is relatively young showing with slightly baked fruit – not much complexity, though given time you do find a pure red cherry note pushing through. The palate is rich and dense with primary fruit, plenty of velvetty tannin and almost good acidity. No fireworks on the finish but there’s a subtle length. Good, but at this stage quite primary and not showing good value – we’ll see!
2001 William Fevre, Chablis Fourchaume
Medium-plus yellow. The nose is a citrussy blend of creamy peach and apricot – very nice. The palate has very nice intensity and a lovely balance to the acidity. A wine I can happily drink on its own. Almost good length too. I found a very good price for this (and the Fevre 2001 Bougros too), a price that will allow me to make this one of my tipples of choice in the garden over the summer
2001 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin Murgeurs des Dents de Chien
Medium yellow. The nose is a nice blend of leesy, deep creamy notes and overlaying higher-toned, sweeter notes of subtle pineapple. The palate shows real intensity to the fruit and is coupled to super acidity – finishes with a real flourish. To be honest the intensity becomes wearing, but I’m drinking this way too young. Keep it cool as there’s a loss of focus when the temperature rises, otherwise this is a super wine in terms of both presentation and value – and now there’s a case in my cellar! Apparently the 2002 has a little extra ripeness and a little lower acidity, so sounds less likely to gain a place in my cellar – but you never know.
2002 Prieur-Brunet, Meursault Charmes
Very pale colour with an understated nose of faint oak and melony notes. Really good acidity and a little fat too. The fruit is quite high toned and supported by a slightly grainy base of oak that intrudes slightly onto the quite long, aniseed finish. The oak will of course fade to leave a well made and interesting wine, but it’s not so exciting at this tender age.
2000 Truffière, Puligny-Montrachet Champs Gains
Golden colour. Nose is a little solid and unyielding, shows some depth though. Palate betrays the truth – good density, acidity seems in balance, but badly tainted…

GRAND CRU WINES

1998 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
I’ve bought this wine from 1996 to 1999 (inclusive) but then my overstocked merchant dropped the label – I think I’ll have to pay a visit and keep my mini-vertical running… The wine is medium-plus garnet, little fading. The nose starts a little disjointed and heavy on the oak, given five minutes the oak has harmonised with a coffee topped plum and cherry pie effect – still quite understated – a cooked note spoils the overall effect a little. Direct from the cellar the fresh palate is not obviously fat, but becomes more so as the wine approaches room-temp. The tannins are of velvet and the acidity lingers into a gorgeous and complex finish – which comes as a surprise given the understated way the wine begins. If there’s one criticism, the wine seems more advanced than most ’98’s and not just on the nose – but it’s a lovely drop.
1998 Guy Castagnier, Charmes-Chambertin
The slightly cooked nose of the Clos de la Roche is turned up a notch on this Charmes, together with very dusty/powdery red fruit that makes the nose slightly unattractive for my taste. The colour is medium-plus ruby. On the palate the wine seems not that well integrated, deep red fruit, and forward, velvetty tannins that show a bitter edge. The last quarter of the bottle was vacuvined and left overnight – subsequently showing a little more balance and intense red fruit, but this time the acidity seems too forward. A wine that doesn’t find the right balance and isn’t in the same league as the superb 1999.
1998 Guy Castagnier, Clos de Vougeot
The colour is medium-plus ruby, not quite as developed as the Charmes. The nose shows a trace of oak and also a trace of the cooked note of the previous two Castagniers – but on a much lower register. The fruit is higher toned showing a little redcurrant above the cherry which itself sits above a meaty coffee note. The wine shows in a fresher and more aloof (I wouldn’t go as far as saying austere) manner than the Charmes but with a very impressive length. The acidity is just right and the tannin is thick and velvetty. This is a very good young wine.
1998 Gros Frère & Soeur, Grands-Echézeaux
Almost the wine of the series – were it not for the cork! The cork itself was slightly unusual in that the only inscription it bore was the number 983 – even the GF&S Bourgogne told me more. Said cork also had an unusual rancio-type of note – there it was in the wine too – unless you swirled and then it was gone – clinged to the palate though. So everything was dumped into a decanter to see if I could shift the smell, it wasn’t overpowering, but it was enough to spoil (my) enjoyment. The decanter failed to clear the ‘problem’ so I had to make a quick swirl with the wine before each time putting nose to glass. The colour showed no obvious oxidation – a lovely deep ruby colour with minimal fading to the rim. Post swirling the nose was first-class young, aristocratic Bourgogne; depth, bloody dried cranberries, coffee, dried currants – so complex. The palate showed none of the astringency of many, the tannins marked by a slight grain, but nothing more. The acidity is shows up on the mouthwatering finish, which despite no explosion lingers really well. But then the real taint came through – it had to be the GE that was tainted didn’t it(!) I got a new bottle, but didn’t see the point in opening it – I know it’s a superb wine – cork permitting!
2001 Romanée Saint-Vivant
Medium, medium-plus colour. Again like the Malconsorts a very cold bottle that also takes some time to come round. The nose whilst reticent starts with a little oak that slowly fades to reveal a classic, slightly floral RSV of many dimensions. Warm it in the mouth and you start to see a little action, tightly wound concentration and beautifully covered structure. This was a wine that continued to improve over a long period of time. Another wine to wait for, but it will surely be excellent.
1998 Antonin Guyon, Corton Clos du Roy
Instantly too young, tannic/astringent. Improved plenty with food and an hour in a decanter – so I’ll give you the latter version! Medium/medium-plus core of cherry red that slowly fades to the rim. The nose starts with a blast of high-toned red and black fruit, settling down to subtle high-toast oak and a concentrated mix of black fruit and meaty tones. Ripe, deep black fruit and tough in a Corton style. There’s some grain to the tannin and a medium-plus length. Good, but wait at least 3 years.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Échézeaux
Medium, medium-plus cherry red in colour. The nose is of crushed cherry and raspberries that overlay a faintly spicy, subtle coffee-bean base. The tannin seems to show a little more grip than the last tasting, but frankly (despite chewing on bread for the last ten minutes) I keep getting ‘Montrachet-flashbacks’ as I taste. The spicy palate is silken with excellent acidity and a tinge of oak on the finish that’s reminiscent of the Montrachet – unless that’s still the Montrachet! Clearly a pure and distinguished wine, but doesn’t show that joie de vivre that was so evident in January.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Grands-Échézeaux
Medium, medium-plus cherry red colour. The nose is a little less extrovert than the Échézeaux. It starts with powdery red fruit – no raspberry – but moves on to give a deeper and sweeter black cherry aspect coupled with a little earth. The palate gives the impression of more density and a blacker tone to the fruit. The acidity is first class and that tannins show a velvet touch. On the finish this shows less like the Montrachet/Échézeaux with pure fruit lingering well. Whilst still a backward wine, this shows much better than in January and you can easily see that although it is a little less ‘flashy’ than the Échézeaux, it also has more potential.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Saint-Vivant
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose shows in a more restrained way than January – a little powdery at first – slowly becoming vanilla-tinged red fruit with a shade of pepper. The palate is a model of understated power; well covered, finely grained tannins. The nose is now starting to unlock a little, still mainly red berries, but we’ve moved up a gear. A real smoothie and whilst obviously outstanding it’s not such a stand-out as the last tasting.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Richebourg
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is of faintly alcoholic red cherry that overlays a spicy base. In the mouth, concentrated essence of dried fruits (shouldn’t write that – the next might be even more concentrated). The tannins are close to be completely covered by the fruit, the finish evidently more harmonious than the last tasting. Whilst this doesn’t quite have that ‘x-factor’ displayed by the Romanée-Saint-Vivant it now shows the makings of a super wine.
2000 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Together with a few 1997’s, this is one of the few wines you can really enjoy now that have been produced since 1995, despite it only being released a year ago. It was actually an hour before I started to taste this, I was just captivated by the scent. Medium ruby colour with a cherry red rm. The nose assaults the palate with an incredible green, spicy note – seems to have a lavender component – quite unlike the tasting just over a year ago. Slowly the ‘green-ness’ becomes more focused as cedar and amazingly becomes more intense. After 90 minutes there’s a whiff of smoke and finally white pepper, blood-orange and red berry-fruits – that’s closer to what I remember! The palate is impeccably balanced with intense fruit red and black berries. Very long. The palate can’t quite match the amazing intensity of the nose – but this is the real deal and a real honey.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Once more medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is surprisingly subdued, powdery red fruits, but after 15 minutes still didn’t get going. On the palate reminiscent of how the Romanée-Conti showed in London; understated but very pure. Despite wonderful depth, very reserved indeed. No La Tâche fireworks this time, but impeccably balanced and very long.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti
Unlike London, the bottles here consistently showed no ruby tones – virtually the same shade of medium, medium-plus cherry red as the other wines. Versus La Tâche there’s more obvious spice that goes together with a melange of red and black fruits. Given time in the glass there’s a higher-toned floral aspect. Sweet, concentrated palate that is a little understated, but continues to understate itself for over a minute on the finish! Slowly evolves a cedary aspect to the finish.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Montrachet
The colour is tending towards gold but I’d still describe it as medium lemon yellow. The nose is not obviously fruity, but shows amazing depth – you fall into a bottomless pit of butterscotch, fresh bread and faint vanilla. The nose really set me up for what I expected to be a very fat and powerful wine – I was only half right: the palate is neither fat nor in any way heavy. The very fine acidity carries the lace-like texture into an incredible finish – I had to go away and eat some bread as I could still taste this wine when I was supposed to be tasting the Échézeaux. An almost ethereal experience – I was truly impressed.
2001 William Fevre, Chablis Bougros
Two bottles in two days – a treat! Pale-medium lemon yellow with hints of green. The nose is of sea-shells and creamy lemon. Just-right acidity and meltingly intense. The length is not up there with Fevre’s 2001 Le Clos, but in it’s own right, this is a super wine and should get many outings chez Nanson this summer.
1992 Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne
Medium gold. The nose doesn’t have the depth of the Roumier but shows a wider horizon of creamy citrus fruit and a faint, high-toned soapy note. The palate, just like the nose doesn’t show the depth of the Roumier wine, but there’s a wider range of creamy fruit driven flavours – super length too. I like fruit – so I personally prefer this wine – despite it probably not being the ‘better wine’. Held up well in the glass – solid as a rock 2 hours later.
1982 Roumier, Corton-Charlemagne
Deep gold. The nose retains a hint of toast, un-salted butter and sea-shells. There’s admirable depth, it’s all tertiary now – I can’t pick up any fruit – but impressive all the same. The palate has some fat, perfect acidity and a creamy finish of good length. Shows quite young – only with time does the nose become more diffuse and eventually the palate goes too – but this was a super wine for 45+ minutes.

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