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               Why Big Red Diary?

Round-up of wines tasted

wine testing
No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that, in the main, were really drunk with food, friends and family between March and August 2007. There main exception in these pages are that the majority of the 1997’s were tasted at a large gathering in Beaune in June.

Only the bottled, consumer-ready wines – no barrel samples are included.

Corked bottles – after the last issues amazing 0, we have 5 from 60 wines or 8.3%. I didn’t include the 1997’s from the tasting as I don’t konw how many defective bottles they had!

REGIONAL WINES

2005 Arlaud, Bourgogne La Roncevietry to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour with more than a hint of purple at the rim. The nose is (for me) disappointingly more like Beaujolais than pinot – for 60 minutes it’s completely unchanging. If the aromatics don’t really impress, I have to say the palate is a little more interesting: A narrow, lithe entry, quite some depth and dimension plus there’s lovely acidity pushing the finish rather long – probably too long for gamay! Overall I’m a little disappointed – the wine ‘only’ costs around €12 but tastes like a (almost good) €10 Beaujolais – I think it’s sourced from Gevrey vines but I get little sense of pinot, never mind Gevrey. In the interests of fairness I left some for day 2, when it smells more like pinot – still understated, but almost good – it’s well crafted and there are no hard edges. Perhaps then, it will be more interesting in 2-3 years.
2005 Camille Giroud, Bourgognetry to find this wine...
Medium plus colour. The nose is wide, ripe and softly red fruited. In the mouth you have to get past a little dissolved carbon dioxide – it’s the first time that David Croix hasn’t racked during elevage – frankly you need an hour after opening or a few minutes in a decanter. You return to find a really good depth and balance and an uncommon length for the label. The nose has now taken on an additional toffee dimension. I get the impression there is also a reasonable amount of village level material in this as it’s very good.
2003 Camille Giroud, Bourgognetry to find this wine...
Now coming into the last bottles of this case – only 4 remain. Medium, medium-plus cherry red. The nose is quite 2003 in style yet shows beautifully delineated red and blue fruits and more unusually for 2003 there are violets too over a creamy base – so far it’s better than many grand crus from this vintage. The palate is less fine, but it’s sweet, medium intensity and quite well mannered. The fruit has really good density – more so than most bourgognes – chapeau. Shame that so few remain in the cellar – a real sniffer’s wine – and you don’t get to say that very often with a bourgogne!
2005 Joseph Drouhin, Laforet Bourgogne Pinot Noirtry to find this wine...
Bright medium cherry-red with a trace of purple. The nose is like a bowl of fresh cherries, a little tart and high-toned with just a faint edge of garden mint. The palate shows plenty of freshness and an unexpected intensity in the mid-palate. The texture is good and tannin only shows as transient rasp on the tongue before a almost good finish. In any other vintage this would be a great bourgogne, in 2005 it is ‘merely’ well above average – and did I mention the value – it’s only around €10.
2005 Lignier-Michelot, Bourgognetry to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour with plenty of purple. Very understated nose – very little to say for the first glass, but glass two shows black cherry and a lovely red berry note as it drains. The palate is quite full, nicely textured and has good acidity that rolls into the finish. There’s a nice little burst in the mid-palate before you feel the slight astringence of the tannin. Lots of character here and enjoyed from the start.
2004 Lucien Le Moine Bourgogne Rougetry to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. Obviously a 2004 with soft cedar top-notes that mingle with raspberry and eventually redcurrant. When opened there is too much carbon dioxide; you can see the density and good texture but little else. I stoppered it and returned next day. The CO2 is gone and the fine texture and good depth remain. I’m sure there’s more villages wine than than ‘regional’ in this blend – it’s almost good and apart from the texture I see little overt oak. So what’s the rub? – Well, €18 per bottle (in Beaune) – it’s good, but not that good.
2005 Remoissenet, Bourgogne Renomméetry to find this wine...
Since mid-2005, Remoissenet have been under new ownership – it has to be all the better from a quality perspective as good premier crus from great vintages e.g. 1999 were at best dull and lifeless. What better way to start the assessment of the new regime than with their most basic product? The colour is medium cherry-red. The nose is rather good; fresh, ripe, slightly powdery red cherry – no confiture – some high tones and nice depth. The palate is rather fresh with plenty of mouthwatering acidity. The fruit is high-toned in the mouth and (for a 2005 at least) just a little tart. The relatively fine grained tannin is there if you search. Overall much fresher than many fruit-bomb 2005’s and if that’s your style, at this price it’s very much recommended.
2005 Roulot, Bourgogne Rougetry to find this wine...
Another 05 bourgogne that’s deeply coloured and quite purple. Close your eyes and the first sniffs could convince you that it’s white wine in your glass – lightly toasted bread and well mannered oak of some depth – you have to concentrate to spot the background black cherry. The palate is fresh, showing plenty of mouth-watering acidity, some astringent tannin and good length with a faint edge of bitterness. Lots of personality again and again recommended, but at €16.50 it certainly doesn’t show the value of the Lignier-Michelot – or if your prepared to wait, the Arlaud.

1997 Jean-Yves Devevey, Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Les Chagnotstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Pale yellow. The nose is unusual, lots of peardrops and just a little sickly to me. The palate, however, is has plenty of acidity that is not perfectly refined but there’s plenty of dimension and good length. A bit of a Curate’s Egg.
2005 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Chardonnaytry to find this wine...
2002 was fantastic and 2004 was very good, so I bought a six-pack of 2005 blind! The nose is pretty classic for this bottling with faintly oaky, sweet depth, pear fruit and some higher tones – eventually a little minerality too in this vintage. This has a slightly different stance to the plusher 2002, it’s very well balanced but throughout the mid-palate and into the finish it’s rather more mineral with slowly lingering acidity. Less facile than the very user friendly 2002, I think this will also be rather long lived. Excellent
2005 Roulot, Bourgogne Blanctry to find this wine...
Plenty of toasty bread and brioche on the nose. The palate is very much about a savoury intensity wrapped with excellent acidity. There’s little here for instant gratification, rather a linear, mineral wine constructed for the longer term. I have no issue with the style and the quality is undeniable, but find it out of place in a bourgogne – even an expensive one such as this. Bourgogne’s should be fun, this will require a few years of slumber to provide that.

VILLAGE WINES

1998 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanéetry to find this wine...
Bright, shiny, medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose starts with quite a waft of spicy, toasty oak but fortunately this hangs around for only 10 minutes or-so. The end result is wide, with higher tones and mainly red fruits that have just an edge of black about them. There is good concentration with even an extra kick in the mid-palate – it’s all coupled with good, smooth texture too. Excellent acidity and long finishing – very successful and better than many a 1er cru.
2000 des Chézeaux (Berthaut), Gevrey-Chambertintry to find this wine...
Medium-pale ruby-red. The nose starts with a waft of sweet oak, 2 minutes later it’s gone, replaced by a forward and ripe mix of strawberry/raspberry against a developing, more tertiary background. Sweet and soft with a good intensity in the mid-palate, the slowly mouthwatering finish is not bad either. This is a medium-weight wine that’s relatively easy drinking and simple but very tasty – shows the friendly side of the vintage.
2005 F&D Clair, Santenaytry to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. The nose starts like cherryade and whilst it becomes a little finer, on day one it never loses the intense cherry although in the background there’s an additional mineral edge. Day two it’s much more interesting with a red berry note behind the cherry – very nice. The main impression on the palate is a rather forward acidity – it’s clean and lingering but certainly pronounced – for all that it has quite some intensity. Day two it’s a little rounder. It’s nice enough wine, and without some of the extra ripeness of many from this vintage. It’s not very expensive yet becomes ever-more serious if you give it enough time. In 2005 there’s a lot of competition at the lower price points, this is good but doesn’t excel.
1999 Dujac, Morey-St.Denistry to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose is brown-sugar sweet with quite some understated density, very subtle stems and eventually a mix of black cherry and a last note of redcurrant. The palate is very well textured with fine grained tannin offsetting dense fruit and very good acidity. The only negative today is a little oak-driven bitterness on the finish. This is showing as a very young wine – much younger and denser than the 1995 at the same stage of evolution (or perhaps better to say age) – I wouldn’t open another for 3-5 years. Perhaps it’s time to dig out another 95…
1995 Dujac, Morey-St.Denistry to find this wine...
Medium-pale ruby-red. The nose is heavy with the musky scent of strawberry, raspberry and the smoky stems – it’s a beauty. The palate has a soft entry that nicely widens with the help of understated acidity. The equally soft tannin is still there as an undercurrent as you head into a finish of creamy baked red fruit and still just a little bitterness – here for the first time the acidity is not so seamless. As is usual for this village cuvée in a reasonable vintage, it’s still not quite ready to drink at 12 years of age, but I’m happy there are more in the cellar!
1996 René Engel, Vosne-Romanéetry to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red. The nose right from opening is a bit of a star. Deep with a twist of oak before transparent red berry and redcurrant notes come through. Plenty of higher, slightly volatile notes too – but always quite compelling. The palate is just a little more challenging – very forward acidity, indeed borderline ‘too much acidity’, very, very linear presentation, still a little astringent tannin remains, but there’s also some bitterness in the finish. No sign of decline because this is exactly how the wine presented itself for the whole 3 hours before it was gone. A bit of a challenge this bottle, balanced by the lovely aromatics.
2003 Pierre Gelin, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Meixvelletry to find this wine...
Medium colour. A deep nose of latent oak and faint reduction, slowly revealing faint herbs and interesting if not too obvious over-ripe elements. In the mouth it’s intense with furry tannins and surprises with a very impressive length. There’s a faint bitternes, probably form the tannins, but overall quite an impressive 2003.
2004 Pierre Gelin, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Meixvelletry to find this wine...
Medium colour. Cedar on the nose against a finer, if more obscured background. Good texture, plenty of velvety tannin and very good acidity. Again this is very long – mainly it’s just fresher than the 2003.
2005 Pierre Gelin, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Meixvelletry to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. The nose is dense with herbal elements – bouquet garni – above pleasing black-shaded fruit. Compared to the previous wines, this has a real ‘executive’ texture and depth. The finish lingers well, shaded with black olive form the oak. This is very good.
1997 Emmanuel Giboulot, Beaune Lalunetry to find this wine...
Roasted red fruit notes on the nose. The palate shows good concentration, sweet ripe fruit and a good balance. There is still some tannin and no rush to drink this. A very successful 97.
1995 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée Bossièrestry to find this wine...
Medium garnet red colour. The nose started with a transient whiff of oak before settling into a wide, high-toned and faintly estery and sweet vista. The palate is soft until you reach the (still) forward tannin on the backend. Good mouth-watering acidity and reasonable length. Versus the last showing I find the aromatics less interesting but the palate is much more mature. No rush but this is coming closer to maturity.
2001 Antonin Guyon, Chambolle-Musignytry to find this wine...
Medium ruby red. The nose starts with a little deep oak and mainly red shaded fruit – just a little heavy and cumbersome. Slowly the oak fades (about 90% gone) and the impression becomes more high-toned and just a little more refined – by day two it’s quite fine. The palate is quite concentrated and dense with lightly grained tannin and just a hint of bitterness – but this seems derived from the faint toasty oak. The finish is faint but long. Overall this is no shrinking violet, rather a relatively powerful wine that could do with a little more delicacy. Certainly has a long life ahead
2002 Antonin Guyon, Chambolle-Musignytry to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus core of cherry-red colour. The nose is forward, deep, faintly oaky, a little savoury and initially a touch reduced. The palate is effusive and rather intense – pulled along with wouth-watering but balanced acidity. It starts better than the 2001 started, but not as good as the 2001 finished. Given enough time (about 90 minutes) the nose is dark, wide and soft, with brown sugar and eventually a fine red berry. The palate becomes more elegant, though like the 2001 is edged with a trace of dark, bitter oak. Overall I marginally prefer the balance of this to the 2001.
2005 Antonin Guyon, Chambolle-Musigny Clos du Villagetry to find this wine...
It’s from a monopole walled area next to the 1er cru of Cras – from barrel tasting it had a super extra dimension versus the ’straight’ villages Chambolle. I was concerned on opening – the cork smelled of taint, as did the headspace – furtunately not a trace on pouring. A super nose; its deep cherry fruit with an edge of cream reminds me directly of the taste and smell from barrel. The palate has fat and a silky texture, perfectly cut by the acidity. This is very long, majoring on mineral rather than fruit notes. The cream on the nose is there on the palate too. From any other vintage you would assume this to a be a top 1er – at least.
2004 Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée La Colombièretry to find this wine...
Medium, Medium-pale colour. Aromatically more impressive than you expect from the colour, deep with a faint edge of coffee – only turning redder and finer with a little tobacco and spice as you slowly drain the glass – no green notes. Light but intense in the mouth – it’s the slightly bright acidity that adds to the apparent intensity. Red berry fruit that slowly fades, good, understated velvet tannins. It’s precocious though quite well balanced, I’d be tempted to drink this younger rather than older.
2005 Lignier-Michelot, Morey St.Denis Vieilles Vignestry to find this wine...
Deep colour with a purple rim. The nose has vibrant dark-shaded fruit with a soft undertone of mocha/coffee – after twenty minutes the coffee’s gone. The concentrated fruit expands even further in the mid-palate. There’s plenty of tannin, and though it’s not the most sophisticated, it’s quite well textured and very well covered by the fruit concentration. The finish is long, giving a slow diminuendo. This is quite a villages wine but will require plenty of slumber – excellent.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Gevrey-Chambertintry to find this wine...
The nose is floral, bright and ripe – given time it shows redder and redder. Clean and linear with tannin that shows itself quite late. This is a nice fresh villages and recommended.
2002 Nicolas Potel, Aloxe-Corton Les Boutièrestry to find this wine...
This was lush, sweet and full of joie-de-vivre from barrel and also for it’s first 18 months in bottle – it was great fun – it’s now a different wine. It still retains that medium-plus cherry red colour and the nose is high toned and fresh though has now lost some bass notes. There is still sweetness and it retains a well-concentrated punch in the mid-palate, but today this wine has lost much of the lush foil to the acidity. It’s fresh and certainly not overly acidic now – but is more obviously tart than before. The last 5 or 6 can spend some time resting now…
2000 Hubert Lignier, Chambolle-Musignytry to find this wine...
Medium garnet but it still retains more than an edge of cherry-red. The nose impresses with lovely high-toned fruit over a deeper base – it starts with a twist of black, but gets redder and finer all the while – eventually I even find wild strawberry, a common descriptor for pinot, but one that I rarely find. This wine shows an impressive level of concentration to go with its smooth texture. There’s plenty of oak artifacts on the finish – vanilla cream – but it’s very long for a village wine and continues to impress as the glass empties. What differentiates this from other ‘beautifully oaked’ wines is the fresh, complex and compelling ‘Chambolle’ fruit on the nose – devoid of oak. I remember this being relatively expensive, but it’s a wine that I can say I wish I had more of. Smooth and ‘giving’ there’s definitely no rush to drink this.
1999 JF Mugnier, Chambolle-Musignytry to find this wine...
The first bottle from a pack of 12 halves. Medium ruby-red, still edged with cherry-red. The nose starts just a little lactic, but the raspberry fruit soon dovetails to give a better creamy raspberry effect – the last sniffs are quite brown sugar… The palate is lithe, though seems rather less concentrated than the preceding Lignier, but it’s light on its feet with a medium finish – the acidity slowly lingers. These 1999’s were lovely on release but just now they are ‘only’ showing as ‘pretty good’. Much less compelling than the 2000 Lignier today. I’ll let them rest for 3-5.
1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Vieilles Vignestry to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby red. The nose is a real stunner; full of individual red berries – redcurrant and cranberry. The palate has an understated entry which starts narrow, opening wider as you move along with the acidity into the mid-palate. Silken with well covered tannins and a nice length. Wonderful villages despite the short note!
2005 Gaston & Pierre Ravaut, Ladoix Les Carrièrestry to find this wine...
Deep cherry red colour. A deep and dark nose; it’s a mix of red and and black fruits and a very subtle undertone of oak. Mouth-filling, soft-textured – density without inappropriateness and ripe primary fruit. The acidity brings a ‘just right’ balance. Tannins are not too unruly though you will have to search hard for them and there’s an additional faint black olive element that seems wood derived. Tasted blind you might guess a 2004 grand cru from the concentration but alas never the finish – merely a solid medium length. Tremendous value at €12 and highly recommended.
1997 Daniel Rion, Vosne-Romanéetry to find this wine...
It’s a nice nose of dark fruit, ripe, but not overly so. The palate has real depth, length and good balance too. I rather liked it and would buy at a decent price
1997 Jean Tardy, Chambolle-Musigny Les Athetstry to find this wine...
A high-toned, rather nice nose. The palate is understated, with faintly astringent tannin. Has good length though. Quite nice but not the full package.

Blancs

2005 Maison Blanche, Chablistry to find this wine...
Medium-pale yellow. The nose is wide, fresh and shows faint citrus hints – it’s a hit. The palate is very concentrated and plush for such a ‘lowly’ wine with almost good acidity – I would have liked just a little more – but a good-plus length. Base Chablis from this vintage can be incredibly successful and I have to say I’ve had (so far) more bulls-eyes from Chablis than the Côte de Beaune. An excellent potential
1997 Emmanuel Giboulot, Côte de Beaune Le Grand Chatelainetry to find this wine...
Pale golden. The nose is similar to his Rully and quite interesting. The palate is ripe, pleasant and has almost good acidity. Not the punch of the Rully but a nice, mature drink still.
1997 Louis Jadot, Auxey-Duressestry to find this wine...
Pale yellow. A deep oaky nose. Lots of dimension on the palate and quite some depth too. The acidity is just a little spiky, but this is serious and very interesting – oh and tasty too!
1997 Patrick Javillier, Meursault Cuvée Tête de Murgertry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Medium yellow. The nose is very understated – tight even – but quite round. The palate seems to mirror the nose with a very narrow entry though quickly it opens out into the mid-palate. The acidity is not bad, contributing to to a good savoury length. Today the tightness gives this the impression that it lacks character, but there are no obvious faults. Leave for a couple of years and re-try.

1er CRU WINES

1997 d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Clos des Ducstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) A soft, sweet and much redder fruited nose than the last bottles. The palate is medium intensity, coming across as quite sophisticated and with an additional creamy depth to the red fruited finish.
1999 Ronert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchotstry to find this wine...
A deep ruby-red core right to the rim. The nose is a bit of a give-away; once the prominent dark oak fades – 5 minutes – you are left with a wide and spicy vista over deeper sweet and dark oak. It takes rather a long time – over 1 hour – before striking yet still spice-edged cherry fruit is revealed. After the last wine this is sleeker and certainly more polished yet is equally concentrated. The acidity is just a little brighter but the velvet tannins and the finish are certainly more oak driven and just show a little bitterness because of that – it’s long though. Complex and compelling, though this wine is the only one of these five to show a strong winemaker’s signature with its modern oak-driven style.
2001 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchotstry to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby red colour. The nose starts with heavy, sweet oak that totally obscures any fruit. The palate is jam packed and quite well textured, but my first impression is the creamy coconut on a finish who’s duration is frankly amazing for a 1er cru, it’s even like toffee after (over) a minute. The overall stance of this wine is medium-weight and it really has first-class balance – though I couldn’t find anything to indicate the village, let alone the vineyard for the first hour it was in my glass. The most telling comment came from my wife – and she wasn’t tasting (yet) – “what’s wrong, why are you pulling a face – is it corked?” – I didn’t know I was being watched! Two hours(!) in there’s a finer red fruit note just starting to appear above the sweet, soft base. Unlike some very expensive names in 2001, this wine has very ripe, if understated tannin and is excuisitely made, but particular in style. Going forward from here is quite simple; if you want a very high quality wine to luxuriate in, drink this wine right away. If, however, you want to drink a very high quality wine that reflects its origin, then don’t even think of opening one of these before 2012 – or you will be disappointed – in fact, make that 2015!
1997 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Crastry to find this wine...
A little oak then tight red fruit at the base. Rather bigger in the mouth than the Thierry Mortet, with lots of tannin but more than enough dimension to match. This is rather good.
2004 Billard-Gonnet, Pommard 1er Clos des Vergerstry to find this wine...
Rather deeply coloured. The nose starts tight, clean, slightly floral but gets progressively more impressive with red fruit that has a twist of blueberry in the mix – despite being primary it becomes very lovely – there is a hint of the vintage green somewhere but it’s on such a low level it is really additive. The palate is linear and intense, also very clean and mineral even. It’s just a little more unruly in the mid-palate but only because it’s so effusive. It’s a lower-case finish showing a slightly creamy undertone. This is very impressive for a 2004, I must look out for the 2005!
1997 Simon Bize, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Marconnetstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Medium-plus colour. The nose is understated – actually quite tight. The palate is equally tight, the only forward aspect is the grainy astringency of the tannin, the fruit gives little away, though it’s ripe enough and shows no roast characteristics. In this format I wouldn’t be rushing to drink bottles, but I wouldn’t be searching them out either.
1997 Jean-Marc Boillot, Pommard 1er Les Rugienstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) The nose is understated and tight. The palate has plenty of tannin, but impresses with an extra dimension of flavours that adhere to your gums. Very young but a good bottle.
2005 Jean-Claude Boisset, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Hauts Jarronstry to find this wine...
From 45 year-old vines. Frankly on opening this reminds more of shiraz than pinot – Clarendon Hills style – you can take that as a criticism. The colour is deep purple – only just see-thru. The nose starts deep and, well – shiraz like; some high tones and mineral with a faint sweet topping. The nose very slowly unfurls, first with black cherry then red berry fruit – now we’re talking – day 2 and it’s lovely. The palate is linear and intense but there’s no expansion in the mid-palate, rather a laser-like run for the finish making it almost ‘lean’. That finish is quite long and also a little mineral, but very understated. The texture is, however, textbook pinot noir with soft tannins underpinned with very good acidity. If the nose was a little more fruit-driven (day 1) and if the mid-palate was to fill-out a little, you could easily mistake it for Leroy. Note that other ‘JCB’ Savigny 1ers like Serpentières and Dominode are better still, yet all cost only about €16! Hard to drink today as this needs lots of time, but infinitely better, yet cheaper, than most ‘luxury’ bourgognes…
2005 Jean-Claude Boisset, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er La Serpentièretry to find this wine...
Deeply coloured with a purple rim. Wide and high-toned aromatics on opening, very slowly deepens with black cherry and a snip of cream. Lithe entry, expanding in the mid palate with perfect acidity. The well-covered tannin is quite silky. Finally the nose is of redcurrant with a twist of tobacco – very nice. It’s young but a little easier to drink than the 05 Hautes Jarrons and certainly more elegant, but I just tend more towards the personality of the Hautes Jarrons – from 2012+
2000 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Clos du Roitry to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose starts virtually cedar-free with a tight, round core of red fruit. Slowly there develops a lovely deep red cherry note and bit-by-bit a background of cedar emerges – not enough to spoil the wine, just enough to point to its origin. Good texture and lovely acidity, it’s a wine that starts narrow but opens wider and wider, expanding into a good if rather mineral-infused finish. There’s a reasonable amount of tannin but it’s finely grained. I’d leave this about 5 years before revisiting. Day 2 the cedar is 90% gone (hopefully a positive sign) and we have a lovely, long and tasty wine that would be a certain rebuy.
1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésustry to find this wine...
The nose is reasonably fresh and quite wide. In this company the palate is very fresh yet still appears balanced. The fruit is tight yet ripe, but is wrapped in fine tannin that adheres to your teeth – they seem ripe enough. This is the youngest wine I’ve yet come across in this series of ’97’s, I would not hesitate in saying leave these for another 5 years. Seems to have real potential.
1997 Chandon de Brailles, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Lavièrestry to find this wine...
(Magnum) This smells a little older than its years, but I have to say it smells wonderful – just wide, understated complexity. The palate doesn’t quite live up to the early billing as the main component is astringent grainy tannin. That the nose is so far ahead of the palate is a little worrysome and would dissuade me from looking for bottles, but if you have some, keep them locked for now.
1997 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsortstry to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby-red. The nose is deep and dense with an edge of maturity, cocoa and undergrowth too – actually it reminds me of the 97 La Tâche – cool! – very Vosne. The cocoa/chocolate is apparent on the palate too, set against some fat and a lovely penetrating and slowly lingering central line of flavour. Of-course the acidity is on a relatively low level but, hence, provides no awkward shape to the wine. The tannin is velvetty and has just a trace of bitterness, but in a pleasing bitter chocolate style. The length is very impressive – maybe it was worth buying a full 12 after-all! The balance makes this quite precocious, so for drinking from now and over the next 10+ years.
1997 Champy, Beaune 1er Clos des Avauxtry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Deep and dark on the nose. Sweet and ripe fruit runs through the palate, no problem with the tannins but the acidity seems not all that well integrated. Overall this is not bad, indeed quite drinkable.
1997 Champy, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peuilletstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Medium colour. The nose shows quite some oak overlaying roasted fruits. The palate is incredibly unruly but also quite fun – oak, astringent tannin and that same roasted fruit – you could never use the term ‘balanced’.
1997 Robert Chevillon, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Vaucrainstry to find this wine...
Plenty of oak still on a nose that narrowly avoids reduction. Where the aromatics don’t involve, the palate delivers more; good dimension set against a furry tannin. Overall this is almost good but no more.
2004 Chézeaux (Ponsot), Chambolle-Musigny 1er Charmestry to find this wine...
This was lovely for about a year after release, was far less pleasant for about 2 years thereafter, but now it seems to be coming back into favour. This is made with purchased grapes from a long-term contract and is usually great value wine – if relatively simple vs their Beaune 1er du Château. The colour is medium ruby-red. The red-fruited nose just about avoids a baked/cooked effect and is high-toned and sweet with a hint of garden mint. The palate has just about enough acidity, a little fat and an interesting length. The finish has more than a hint of oak about it, but all the positives from oak and none of the negatives. Soft sweet and friendly – a nice wine.
1997 Château de Chorey (Germain), Beaune 1er Les Crastry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Medium-plus colour. On the nose you note the much fresher fruit than many. Lots of ripe concentration on the palate backed by forward but ripe tannin. Understated length too. This is very very good for the vintage.
1997 Bruno Clair, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Dominodestry to find this wine...
Wide, sweet and interesting aromatics – some dried fruits in the background. Plenty of grainy tannin, but it’s ripe tannin – nice density and the fruit is pleasant enough. This is also very good and like the Pavelot also requires another 3 or 4 years in the cellar.
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Montstry to find this wine...
A deep core of colour, just the last vestige of cherry at the rim. The nose is deep and dense if rather bashful to start, showing little more than dark flashes of toasty, sweet oak – fortunately this remains an undertone before fading as a dense and primary deep red note comes through that becomes finer with aeration – I can only summarise it as ‘very sexy’. After wine #2 this is altogether denser, softer and with riper fruit too. It’s brimming with intensity and concentration – it’s a real mouth-filler – showing a lovely expansion in the mid-palate before slowly narrowing in the good finish. In the background there plenty of soft texture from the tannins, but they will need a few more years in the cellar to shrink. Everything about this wine is more fun and lush than the Jadot Bèze, if rather less tight and precise.
1995 René Engel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Brûléestry to find this wine...
Medium-pale red with a strong amber caste. The nose started with a whiff of oak before settling for quite some time into a dirty, almost fixed sulfur motif. It wasn’t fixed as extended aeration brought a denser red fruit that eventually became more elegant and redcurrant in style. Good acidity with quite some extension in the mid-palate – this punch is delivered with little overt density but still impresses. The tannin has reasonably fine grain but still needs a little time to provide a perfect texture. This is not a powerhouse wine, but despite the initially disappointing aromatics there’s still some interest here.
1997 des Epeneaux, Pommard 1er Clos des Epeneauxtry to find this wine...
(Magnum) The nose is more interesting than the the rather ‘harder’ and stand-offish stance this wine often shows; high-toned with plenty of dried fruits – more interesting that the standard 1997 ‘roasted’ fruits – plus freshness and depth. The palate is sweet with grainy tannin and is very long finishing. It’s clearly a very young, but surprised me in that there is more charachter here than I find in many vintages of this wine.
2003 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleontry to find this wine...
The nose first shows oak, but it is less obvious than the 2003 Gevrey and more fruit-driven. This is a real mouthful of wine – it burrows into your palate – lots of grainy texture. Quite a good length, but overall just a little more rustic than the the 2003 Meivelle
2004 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleontry to find this wine...
Cedar on the nose – it’s fresh but very green shaded (today). In the mouth there’s good concentration and a velvety texture – much more refinement than the 2003. The herbal aspect is to the fore here on the palate too. The length is good, but at this stage this 04 demands time in the cellar.
2005 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleontry to find this wine...
Understated dark oak on the nose, width and a slowly developing red note. Plenty of velvet tannin here and the oak remains a subtle undertow to the rest of the flavours. It’s fresh, long and quite structured, in fact that structure is today a little in the ascendent, but this seems to have enough material to provide a longer-term balance.
1997 Camille Giroud, Volnay 1er Carellestry to find this wine...
It’s a soft and red nose – despite the softness it seems tight, or at any rate a little muted. The palate is medium-bodied and shows a very nice mid-palate intensity. The tannin is grainy but not too astringent leaving us with a good finale. It’s a nice wine.
1976 Camille Giroud, Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cazetierstry to find this wine...
This has an impressive, deep, sweet, caramel old wine nose; no funk, no nasties just ‘irony’ (not ironic) and interesting for sniff after sniff. Smooth on the palate, it expands very nicely as you move towards the finish. The tannins are very well managed unlike (still) some from ‘76. Very alive, some elegance and quite some personality. Like many older Girouds, it doesn’t show quite the complexity you expect from the age – or the length, but despite not classing it as ‘great’, I would certainly class it as a lovely glass that was much appreciated.
1997 AF Gros & François Parent, Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Réastry to find this wine...
Understated nose that slowly becomes redder and quite excellent. The palate is furry, slightly prickly and comparitively disappointing.
1996 Hospices de Beaune (Chanson), Beaune 1er Nicolas Rolintry to find this wine...
A Chanson Père bottling. Medium-plus colour. The nose is deep and forward but throughout most of our time together it was always a little uncouth – there was finally a pretty red fruit note to save it. The palate is much better; density, very good acidity, background tannin and rather long – though like many from 96 the flavour profile is just a little metallic. Quite tasty but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy more.
1996 Jaboulet-Vercherre, Beaune 1er Clos de l’Ecutry to find this wine...
Medium-pale ruby-red. The nose has a high-toned start with a little resinous/green background, slowly a little jammier depth comes through. The palate is a little thin, with tart acidity, mild tannin and a rather unripe finish – if you persevere, your palate adjusts a little and there is some apparent sweetness – but I wouldn’t recommend it. Is this the worst wine I’ve opened this year? – well there was that 96 Lamadon Echézeaux, but more on that another day – for now this has that dubious award.
1997 Lucien Jacob, Beaune 1er Cent Vignestry to find this wine...
A wide and interesting nose of red fruit that largely avoids roast notes. High-toned in the mouth, concentrated and somehow masculine. Plenty of ripe tannin and good depth. Also very good in this vintage
1999 Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Les Theuronstry to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red. The nose is just a little reduced, eventually a mix of sweet, slightly dark oak and understated redder notes. The palate is fresh and linear with well-covered tannins. The acidity is a little tart, but there is quite enough fruit and a nice creamy edge to the fruit and acid-driven finish. Fresh but fun – I enjoyed.
1997 Louis Jadot, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Baudestry to find this wine...
Lovely red fruit on the nose, high tones too. Plenty of dimension on the palate, excellent attack coupled to plenty of grainy but ripe tannin. This is very, very good.
1997 Michel Lafarge, Beaune 1er Grèvestry to find this wine...
An understated, tight nose. Sweet red strawberry fruit on the palate couples to understated tannins and reserves as yet untested. Understatedly impressive.
1997 Michel Lafarge, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênestry to find this wine...
Roasted red fruits on the nose. The palate is much fresher and tannic; mouth-gripping and dry. The nicest part is the lovely red-fruited length. For sure this is a very young wine but overall hard to like – perhaps it will have it’s day, but I will already have drunk the Lafon by then!
1997 Comtes Lafon, Volnay 1er Santenotstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) The nose is mainly about understated black cherry – but few ’97’s have such quality of fruit. The first impression on the palate is the tannin – there’s plenty – but not too astringent and forecasting a long life. The ample concentration lingers on a fine finish. More than enough balance here, this is one of the most successful 97’s and firmly recommended.
1997 François Mikulski, Volnay 1er Santenotstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) A nice black fruit nose. The palate is sweetly fruited and has ample grainy tannin. A wine that delivers concentration and good balance. I don’t really know Mikulski’s wines but this is a strong advert.

2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Volnay 1er, Clos des Chenestry to find this wine...
A mineral nose with an undercurrent of red cherry. Lovely, with slightly plush concentration. The tannins are a little grainy but ripe and well-managed. Intense with a lingering finish. Worthy of the label.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Pommard 1er, Clos Blanctry to find this wine...
An impressively complex nose, interesting and high-toned. Ripe, intense and again ripe tannin. Plenty of red-fruited, dense concentration. Very good.
1997 de Montille, Volnay 1er Mitanstry to find this wine...
Its a deep, young colour in the glass. Aromatically not much to say – very tight. The palate is far more expressive; lovely texture, fine tannins and understatedly long. The acidity is relaively low but there is also a good balance – I’d rather have this than ill-judged acidification. Good wine.
1997 de Montille, Pommard 1er Les Rugienstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) A lovely soft and sweet red fruit nose – still quite primary. Plenty of decent tannin and lots of dimension on the palate. This is young but in the context of the vintage, excellent – the pick of these Pommards.
1997 Thierry Mortet, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Beaux Brunstry to find this wine...
Soft but fresh red fruits on the nose. The palate is very good, fresh and tannic. This is interesting and full of personality..

1997 Gérard Mugneret, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Bruléestry to find this wine...
High-toned nose, understated but very nice. The palate is rather linear, but lots of dimension and almost good length. It’s actually almost good.
1999 J-F Mugnier, Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureusestry to find this wine...
Medium ruby red, still with a cherry-red rim. The nose starts a little diffuse but quickly tightens; it’s still a rather understated and bashful but has soft red fruit with the faintest cream rim – as you would expect (hope) from any of these wines, you can sniff this all day long as the intensity slowly builds into a perfect redcurrant as the glass empties. The sweet palate reflects the nose – it’s no powerhouse – intensity without apparent weight and almost perfect silky texture. There’s plenty of acidity but the balance is first-class. Absolutely everything about this wine is understated – apart from it’s class! There are no fireworks, but I’m still sad that I bought 6 and not 12! Young obviously, but a rewarding drink right now.
1999 Jean-Marc Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er La Dominodetry to find this wine...
The first from the case. Medium-plus cherry red – still very young looking. The nose is broad and quite dense, a little meaty, just a little moist undergrowth too – not particularly fruit-driven – though an hour in the glass gives cleaner, higher toned dark mineral notes and finally a little tobacco mixed with red berries. Fresh with intense dark fruit, very linear and quite mineral. The texture is silky and despite the linear presentation gives the impression of some nice oak upholstery – a little grainy tannin adheres to the palate. Very young with a fine future ahead.
1997 Jean-Marc Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Aux Gravainsstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) A deep, dank, underbrush nose with ripe fruit to match. Sweet, with high-toned fruit in the mouth and still some tannin too – though less astringent than the preceding wines. This is very good, but really does require another 3 or so years in the cellar – in this format anyway.
1997 Daniel Rion, Nuits St.Georges 1er Vignes Rondestry to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby-red. The nose starts with deep, musky oak, only very slowly does a lovely red berry note start to come through – actually it becomes very nice indeed. The palate is lithe though concentrated and shows balanced acidity. The tannin is there but you must search hard to find it. The finish is long, but like the nose, rather oak driven and, hence, just a little bitter. A good wine that is not at all easy to spot as a ‘97 and needs at least another 3 years to start coming into maturity.
1997 Nicolas Rossignol, Volnay 1er Cailleretstry to find this wine...
An interesting nose, but there’s a cheesy element that’s spoiling the show. The palate is, however, sweet and sophisticated but I find an unusual flavour to the fruit – no suitable descriptor – just odd. The finish lingers well. A curate’s egg.
1997 Georges Roumier, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Crastry to find this wine...
Redder and faintly estery aromatics after the Barthod. The palate is less explosive but on the positive side shows a little more complexity. In the end I found this a very nice wine.
1997 Jean Tardy, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Boudotstry to find this wine...
The nose has the 97 sweetness though unusually it’s coupled with a rather herby presentation but nice high-toned red fruits too. Actually quite appealing. The palate was grainy and red – I didn’t really think of much more to say…
1998 Thomas-Moillard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsortstry to find this wine...
A rather unnattractively muddy, if deep mahogany red colour. The nose is high-toned but the fruit seems a little cooked in profile, wide but unappealing in a stewed tea kind of way. The tannin rather sticks out and I suppose that this was one of those hideously astringent 98’s in it’s first couple of years, but the tannins have moderated – if only a little. The acidity is quite clean and good and eventually you find the one redeeming feature of the wine; nice fruit in the finish with a creamy edge and an understated length. Only two more lie in the cellar, fortunately, and I expect that in the normal Thomas-Moillard style they won’t be close to mature for at least another 10 years. I think they will always be rather uncouth and lacking style. Shame, as the starting material hints of much more potential. It’s very rare that I ‘waste’ wine, but this bottle was poured down the sink on day 2…
2003 Domaine des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos des Varoillestry to find this wine...
Deep colour. The nose is an impressively wide and sweet affair tempered by a faintly spicy and understated vanilla, slowly it releases flashes of red and black fruits. In the mouth it’s less sweet than the nose suggests, even just a little tart. The tannin is well textured but perhaps in the finish is just a little bitter. Understated acidity still leaves your mouth watering and there’s reasonable length too. This wine seems to have a miss-match of parts, but might be worth a bottle or two in the cellar.

1er CRU Whites

1997 Domaine Stéphane Aladame, Montagny 1er Crutry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Pale yellow coloured. The nose is high-toned – plenty of ripe fruit yet remains quite fresh. Good fruit with nice enough acidity – a successful wine.
1997 l’Arlot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de l’Arlottry to find this wine...
Fat, concentrated long and very tropical – not why I buy white Burgundy.
1997 Jean-Marc Boillot, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champ Canettry to find this wine...
Medium golden colour. The nose is high-toned and faintly estery – not unpleasantly so but not ‘fine’ either. In the mouth it’s very ripe and sweet. Though the acidity is not bad, I still find it too sweet – not my style…
1997 Champy, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Hameau de Blagnytry to find this wine...
Golden colour. The nose is high-toned, faintly estery and also faintly oxidative. Lacks cohesion on the palate and shows spiky acidity – Drink Up!
1997 Chandon de Brailles, Pernand Vergelesses 1er Ile des Vergelessestry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Medium yellow. A waxy brioche nose. The palate is fresh with very good acidity that’s coupled to quite some dimension and personality – very good length too – a very worthy 97.
2001 Colin-Deleger, St.Aubin 1er Le Charmoistry to find this wine...
Wide, just a little tight yet waxy with some pleasing depth and and a twist of citrus. The palate is plush yet at the same time reasonably mineral; it expands and expands in the mouth with a waxy, concentrated texture and length that has a faint impression of coconut but for all that seems fine. It’s not a cheap example of St.Aubin, but on this hot evening it’s certainly an impressive one; it’s open and very tasty. It actually followed a bottle of Jadot’s 2005 bourgogne chardonnay, and despite the quality of that wine, this is a major quality advancement.
1997 Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Cailleretstry to find this wine...
Wow – don’t often drink from a jeroboam! Medium-pale yellow colour. The nose is understated but relatively fine – gives the impression of being very young. The palate has lots of interest and character – just as important, appears very well integrated. A very nice personality to this wine.
2002 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents de Chientry to find this wine...
From magnum. Medium lemon-yellow colour. The nose is soft and sweet with a faint citrus edge over a note of ripe pear. In the mouth this has a soft texture and in particular has a lovely and impressively lingering, mineral intensity. The acidity is almost good and certainly leaves my mouth watering. This is a super little wine which I try to buy every year, great value.
1997 Emmanuel Giboulot, Rully 1er La Pucelletry to find this wine...
Golden colour. The nose is honied and very faintly oxidative – but in a mature wine way rather than a premature problematic way. This is a big mouthful of wine with soft, nice texture coupled to toasty depth. Ready now and very good.
1997 Lucien Jacob, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Vergelessestry to find this wine...
Pale gold colour. The nose remains rather understated, majoring in high-tones. Soft texture with lowish acidity but seems nicely put together. Quite nice.
1997 Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Grèves La Clos Blanctry to find this wine...
Medium yellow colour. The nose is high toned and just a little understated – the palate is anything but; it’s full-packed, concentrated and ripe. Deep and creamy length. The acidity is relatively low but the power and delivery are impressive.
1997 François & Antoine Jobard, Meursault 1er Poruzotstry to find this wine...
Medium yellow. An understated but very pleasant nose. The palate has dimension, concentration and integration – It’s really very good. Lowish acidity but very tasty.
1997 François & Antoine Jobard, Meursault 1er Genevrièrestry to find this wine...
Medium yellow. A narrow, tight nose. Well balanced and tasty but suffers a little after the ripeness of the Lafon, holds a very good length though.
1997 Comtes lafon, Meursault 1er Genevrièrestry to find this wine...
Width, freshness and a brioche depth on the nose. Ripe and concentrated with a very good texture. Long too. This hangs together very well, it’s very good wine – vintage independant.
1997 Comtes Lafon, Meursault 1er Charmestry to find this wine...
Pale yellow. The nose is less obviously forward than his Genevrières, but finer with extra sophistication. The palate is wide, complex, ripe and long. What more can I say? Less showy but no less quality than the Genevrières.
1997 Hubert Lamy, Saint Aubin 1er En Remillytry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Medium yellow. The nose is nicely wide and shows more than a touch of brioche. The palate is wide and fresh with particularly good integration of the acidity – plenty of mid-palate density too. Very nice wine whatever the vintage.
1997 Joseph Matrot, Meursault 1er Blagnytry to find this wine...
Medium yellow. An understated though slightly estery nose. The palate is more interesting, it shows real depth, good texture and very nice integrated acidity.
1997 François Mikulski, Meursault 1er Genevrièrestry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Medium yellow. It’s an understated nose – little to put your finger on. The palate is wide, nicely concentrated yet also understated. Another wine with excellent length – really good balance here.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeottry to find this wine...
Bottled at the end of February. The nose is high-toned and shows nice depth. This is quite big in the mouth, there’s plenty of fruit extract and just the right amount of acidity to whisk you into a good finish.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Meursault 1er Charmestry to find this wine...
It’s a nicely characteristic nose, some high tones over roast nuts. The palate has a nice, lean minerality and very good acidity to match. Fast on its feet, this is lovely – nice finish too.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er, Champs-Gainstry to find this wine...
A waxy, dense and impressive nose. Lovely minerality and super acidity that pushes long into a creamy finish. There’s a great extra dimesion in the mid-palate too. Just so communicative today – very lovely.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er, Cailleretstry to find this wine...
The nose is not so deep as the Champs-Gains, a little tighter but with a clear extra width. The action here is on the palate; mouthfilling then rather hauntingly and understatedly long. This has tightened since last tasted, the waves of attack are on a lower level. Still very, very classy.
1997 de Montille, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cailleretstry to find this wine...
(Magnum) The nose is very mineral – the only white in the 1997 line-up that showed this. Tons of dimension on the palate that is is magnified by the citrus acidity. Very long and showing lovely balance. Vintage independant – very, very good
1997 Morey-Blanc, Saint Aubin 1er Combestry to find this wine...
Medium yellow. The nose is understated and high-toned. The palate isn’t! Waxy, deep and softly concentrated. The acidity is not so well integrated but this remains a very enjoyable wine.

GRAND CRU WINES

1997 Denis Bachelet, Charmes-Chambertintry to find this wine...
The nose is understated, wide and fresh. The palate is likewise impressively fresh (for 97) and shows quite some grainy tannin. Nothing is pushed but this is very impressive – I’d buy some!
1996 Jean-Claude Belland, Chambertintry to find this wine...
The colour is a rather deep mahogany with just a hint of ruby-red in the reflections. The nose shouts of toasty oak when first poured but rapidly starts to show a super depth and even height of red shaded fruits then finally some floral violet notes – super complexity and quite impressive. After the 2000 Thomas-Moillard St.Vivant this is excredibly lithe, tight and acid-driven – it takes a few sips to adjust before calm is restored. There’s real intensity here and though the finish is quite understated, it is very long. You sense rather than feel the tannins due to a faint astringency, but they are very well behaved. Slowly the density builds in the mid-palate rounding the wine out more and more – I’d say this conservatively needs another 5 years to make the next step from impressive to excellent. This was really super value costing ‘only’ ~€50, I seem to remember the price jumping significantly for the 1999 vintage, today I’ve lost touch on the pricing.
1999 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Clos St.Denis Vieilles Vignestry to find this wine...
Another corked bottle, so onto number 2. Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose is very wide and somehow silky. It’s very slow to evolve, but first you note dried cranberry fruit before a subtle blackcurrant confiture, the last drops in the glass are sweet and red. Like the nose, my first impression of the palate is its silken texture, the second is the length – impossibly long – no other of these wines comes close and it’s not about bitter oak, it’s about a subtle sweetness that clings to the palate. There’s a real, but measured intensity about the palate, driven by perfect acidity and tannins that are there only if you search for them. Despite the concentration there is perfect balance, this wine is the ultimate in sophistication. Monumental, it’s the best wine I’ve drunk this year…
1997 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Rochetry to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour with more than a passing shade of amber at the rim. The fresh nose has some lovely componets; high tones, coffee, sweet undergrowth, unfortunately they don’t really meld together in a particularly interesting way. The palate has more interest, starting with a narrow entry it opens nicely on the mid-palate and shows good intensity. The acidity sticks out a little but there is sweetness and a very impressive length. Overall there’s no real class here – it’s very drinkable despite the rough edges, but hardly a grand cru experience – at least it wasn’t corked!
2004 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertintry to find this wine...
The nose starts high-toned with a backdrop of vintage 2004 cedar. Slowly the cedar recedes giving space for a much more mineral aspect than is usual for this vineyard and certainly less alluring. The palate is silky with fresh acidity and super intensity, but unusually the length is again very mineral. It’s actually quite super, but I’d never pick it as Griotte. Day 2 the nose is transformed to the classic soft, but deep red cherry, perhaps including also a shade of raspberry and importantly the cedar is totally vanished – that’s very promising. The palate gains a little more depth and the finish remains unchanged – mineral but very long. This could become a super wine – but wait for 2015 as a minimum – I think it will need it as it was even slightly better on day 3!
1997 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertintry to find this wine...
Much more fruit on the nose (vs Drouhin’s 97), in fact it’s so deep, pure and intense, it’s unlike any other wine here. The palate is concentrated and seems to harbour more dry extract than most others. The acidity is a little bright on the finish but it’s a minor blemish on a very fine face. The most ‘un-97-like’ wine in the show.
1994 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertintry to find this wine...
Good 94’s are hard to come by but I’ve never been disappointed by this cuvée – apart from one corked bottle. This Ponsot elevaged wine shows medium ruby-red colour and a lovely forward nose of sweet red cherry and faint sweat oak – eventually there’s a little strawberry confiture, finally a lovely pure red berry and a little mocha peeking out – there’s much more density than most 94’s show. The palate is well-textured with creamy flavour that clings to your mouth – it doesn’t have the length of a great year but it’s unmistakedly grand cru. The acidity is mouth-watering though could be a little smoother in the mid-palate, likewise the tannins are not perfect but their texture is not bad either. Coming close to, but not quite at maturity, this wine has very impressive fruit for the vintage, whereas the structure is just a little less sophisticated than normal. Still an easy 90pt wine and it provides a lot of love – that’s is quite a compliment for a 1994!
1992 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertintry to find this wine...
There has been some obvious seepage from the cork, but the bottle/label remains clean. A medium-plus garnet colour. The nose starts deep and brooding, perhaps a little sweet – but little else – the last drops in the glass, however, are of a lovely penetrating red berry. The palate is lithe, quite well concentrated and pleasingly fresh. The fruit remains nicely sweet but is set against slightly bitter tannin which is the main note of the finish. Aeration softens the bitter edge but never quite removes it. No obvious heat damage and very drinkable, but the 1994 is better.
1997 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertintry to find this wine...
Much more fruit on the nose (vs Drouhin’s 97), in fact it’s so deep, pure and intense, it’s unlike any other wine here. The palate is concentrated and seems to harbour more dry extract than most others. The acidity is a little bright on the finish but it’s a minor blemish on a very fine face. The most ‘un-97-like’ wine in the show.
1997 Dujac, Clos de la Rochetry to find this wine...
The nose is very stemmy – more so than even the average Dujac – but some nice pure fruit behind. I like stems, but not so overpowering. Overall there is a sense of disappointment as this is a rather blurred and muted bottle.
1997 Dupont-Tisserandotot, Charmes-Chambertintry to find this wine...
Greeny oak on the nose. The palate is fresh but shows spiky acidity and tannin on the finish – not that great.
1997 Jean Grivot, Richebourgtry to find this wine...
(Magnum) Basically blurred and stodgy, no better than last month’s bottle
1997 AF Gros & François Parent, Richebourgtry to find this wine...
The nose shows some high tones, faint spice and interesting but understated fruit. The palate seems less ripe than some but frankly has tons of complexity and dimension – this will need at least 10 years but might be worth an outside bet.
1999 Louis Jadot, Chambertin Clos de Bèzetry to find this wine...
After 4 months without a corked bottle, bugger – corked – now I only have 4 of these left. The colour is medium, medium-plus ruby red with just a little less cherry red at the rim than the first wine. The nose starts with a waft of dark, spicy oak but this is quickly gone to reveal a dark and understatedly spicy base. Time in the glass opens the wine out into a redder and finer vernacular without much in the way of density. Lithe and rather linear the plate shows forward acidity, but such is the superb intensity that this is kept quite in balance. What tannin can be discerned against the background of acidity and intensity has just a little astringency and the faintest edge of bitterness. The length is impressive, but it is rather ‘thin’ and an extension of the flavours I associated with the tannin, just a little tart too. The nose is now rather good, but the palate needs some time and currently shows much less ripe than the Mugnier Amoureuses.
1997 Frédéric Magnien, Bonnes-Marestry to find this wine...
Oaky top notes underpinned by creamy deep fruit – quite fresh too – nice. The palate is very good, fresh and concentrated with some grainy tannin. Very good.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Corton-Bressandestry to find this wine...
A lovely, understated though ripe and slightly musky nose. Densly concentrated, super acidity with a real extra dimension on the palate. Good length too. A real grand cru at a bargain price.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Clos de Vougeottry to find this wine...
The nose is very understated – not giving much away. The palate has a narrow entry that suddenly and impressively widens – bathed in ripe, decently grained tannin. There are many worse Clos Vougeots, though this is clearly giving little away today.
2004 Nicolas Potel, Clos de la Rochetry to find this wine...
Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The instant aromatic impact comes from red fruit notes before a stronger, mineral/cedar element takes over. The less wine you have in your glass, the more wonderful it smells, lovely red fruits. The palate is very well filled with concentrated fruit and quite some intensity in the mid-palate. The tannin is not badly textured though there’s a short-lived trace of bitterness – but it comes at the same time as the earthy, dark oak appears on the finish so that bitterness seems to be more wood-based. That length is certainly grand cru without being too showy, though there’s a subtle creamy undertow there somewhere. Overall it shows good ripeness, and nice balance – if the cedar element becomes more subtle this will be lovely, but right now it remains – for me – a questionmark.
1997 Armand Rousseau, Chambertintry to find this wine...
The nose is creamy with a little cedar (à la 2004), not bad. The palate is fresh and complex and medium weight but very long. Blind, this would be hard to place as a 97. This is very good.
2000 Thomas-Moillard, Bonnes-Marestry to find this wine...
Medium-plus garnet-red colour. The nose starts wide with a deep red core. Time adds a faint cedar with a mint edge that’s subtle enough to add a nice additional complexity rather than an obvious unripe element. The palate offers quite some surprises; the slightly astringent tannins are just a little rustic, but there is depth, plus a shape and acid balance that you would never assume to come from the ripe 2000 vintage. The concentration is ample, and delivered in a fresh and lithe, rather than fat way. The finish shows good, if not amazing length, but there’s a lot of complexity and depth here. It’s a young, rather ‘old school’ wine, but one that brims with value. I’ll revisit ~2012.
2000 Thomas-Moillard, Romanée Saint-Vivanttry to find this wine...
A lovely medium-plus ruby red colour – still just a hint of cherry red at the rim. The nose starts just a little meaty and beetrooty – not so great – but soon there is creamy black cherry but with a hint of reduction, finally it becomes redder, softer, more floral and much more interesting. This wine equals the concentration of the Bonnes-Mares but with a totally different and much more elegant personality. The tannins are in there somewhere, but the super-smooth, high quality fruit is the main attribute. The finish is borne on nicely judged acidity and again hints towards cream-edged black cherry – oh and it’s excellent – really long. Very young, but this is a wine I should perhaps have gone for the ‘full 12′ rather than the 6, it’s also more ‘honest’ about the vintage than the Bonnes-Mares was; obviously ripe with understated acidity and just a little plump. Versus the 1999 at the same time last year this is all the more interesting, elegant and drinkable – the 99 probably needs 10+ years to excite.
1997 de Vogüé, Bonnes-Marestry to find this wine...
A high-toned fresh nose with very precise fruit – rare in 1997. The palate also shows precise young fruit and is rather racy too. The tannins probably need at least another 5 years. Less friendly than the Magnien, but younger.

GRAND CRU Whites

1997 Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagnetry to find this wine...
Pale yellow. The nose is high-toned but is also coupled to an understated depth. Concentrated and ripe in the mouth, even hinting at minerality. Good integration and long finishing. Very good.
2001 William Fevre, Chablis Le Clostry to find this wine...
A young lemon-yellow colour. The nose is a little reticent but wide and with some citrus bite – slowly increasing in depth with time. The palate is well textured – even waxy – also, like the nose, it’s understated and tight though the perfect acidity and length go unquestioned. This is showing about 50% of what was on display about 18 months ago so I won’t touch another for 4 or 5 years. Should still be top-class in the future
1997 Leflaive, Bâtard-Montrachettry to find this wine...
Medium yellow. Typical toasty nose of quite some depth and eventually sings with high-toned notes – the last drops showing an intensity more like a red wine. The palate is jam-packed, showing good texture and always interest. Again, very, very good.

2 responses to “Round-up of wines tasted”

  1. Greg Love

    Hi Bill

    You may recall us chatting at the Coche Dury tasting at the Ledbury earlier this year. Just wanted to compliment you on the evolution of your reviewing. I believe you are showing more confidence, articulacy and a more complete repertoire in your wine assessments. Well done and bless your good work. Kind regards. Greg Love.

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