Back from travelling in the UK and I thought I’d share with you my notes of some lovely wines that were presented to bunch of enthusiasts in Scotland at a meeting organised by Tom Cannavan. Our presenter was Bernard Repolt of Maison Remoissenet.
First – a comparison of Gevrey Cazetiers and Combottes
Mainly from vintages ending with a 9! The Cazetiers being the more sinewy/wiry and the Combottes showing way more width, not unlike a Chapelle or good Charmes-Chambertin:
2007/2005 Gevrey 1er Cazetiers
The 07 is just a little soft-focus due to the fresh oak showing on all aspects of the wine; nose, palate and finish but it is ripe and creamy with just a hint of astringency – should be a lovely, precocious drink but personally I’d wait 1+ years for less barrel influence – not too much to learn about Cazetiers at this age. The 2005 is an archetypal 05 right now; tight, acid-forward and a world away from the lush, mineral density of 12 months ago. Clearly more intense, but then there’s no obvious oak putting a soft focus on the acidity. Needs to sleep.
1999/1989 Gevrey 1er Cazetiers
The 99 was fresh, full and ripe – started with a hint of mustiness on the nose but that soon disappeared – good intensity and length. This really surprised me as other 99’s I’ve had from the producer have been dull and unfocused. Still an astringent edge to decent tannins. Young, and whilst far from a great Cazetiers, it is verily a tasty beverage. The 89 showed more high-toned aromas and a little herb too. Less full on the palate and more secondary flavours coming through. Ripe, and brings a feeling of warmth, perhaps needing an edge more of acidity to give it sparkle but another tasty wine.
1979/1969 Gevrey 1er Combottes
The 79 displayed a beautiful dark chocolate, sweet nose that still seemed fresh. Really mouth-filling. Starts a little narrow but then really fills your mouth with broad panorama of flavour – very gevrey grand cru in style if (possibly) needing a bit more intensity for that badge – very sweet fruit but the acidity is balanced. Plenty of astringent tannin and slowly fading flavours – a gorgeous mouthful – and there’s no rush to drink. The 69, if anything, showed a younger colour. More mineral and medicinal aromas. In the mouth much more mineral and muscular – yet with the same panoramic, faintly astringent width as the 79. Faintly long and very sprightly. There is a perfect skeleton here for a longer life than the 79.
Afterwards I had a discussion with someone who he asked me if I thought the 69 was ‘adulterated’ as someone on his table said straight away that it was. Frankly I’ve had no more than 7 or 8 69’s, and all have shown in a similar way – darker colour than all other older (save 59!) wines I’ve seen and darker than most younger wines from the 70’s – including most 78’s! Maybe they were all adulterated, including the DRC’s! – though the La Tâche was beginning to fade! Anyway, I found nothing obviously ‘false’ about the wine, and clearly it came from impeccable storage. I also think that no more than a handful of people in the UK could say yes/no adulterated with a greater than 50% accuracy level – in this case I certainly can’t – and I don’t think any of these people were at our tasting 😉
Re the ‘gout Anglaise’, my understanding is that this manipulation was very common indeed and most obviously practiced in the cellars of UK merchants who had bought in barrel. Based on discussions with people in Beaune, except where a wine was clearly destined for the UK, it was more discreetly done in France (where done) because the bottles mainly ended up on French tables for French palates. Whilst far from irreproachable, wines destined to lay in a (french) cellar for 40 years were significantly ‘lesser targets’ for such practices.
Second – The Whites
I was lucky enough to taste all the 06’s in November 07 from barrel and even some gassy 07’s, so lovely to put that context next to the uniformly excellent bottles. On that day, the Bienvenue showed better to me than the Bâtard or even the Montrachet – we didn’t get to compare it to the Montrachet this time, but I still prefer it to the Bâtard.
2007/2006 Meursault 1er Charmes
A blast of toasty oak needs to fade on the 07 before I can get near it – but it only takes a minute or two of swirling – plenty of clean citrus aromas and good depth are the reward. Lithe, some fat balanced by vg acidity. I sometimes find Meursault 1ers a little too soft – but not here, lovely. The 06 has hints of lanolin on the nose which I normally find only on substantially older wines. I find a texture on the palate that implies some dissolved gas, but I also find fine complexity and good balance – very good for an 06!
2007/2006 Puligny 1er Garenne – from memory a blend of Garenne and Les Garennes
High-toned complex aromas from the 07. Lovely mouthwatering acidity plays with savoury elements and intensity. Lingers beautifully – really super wine. The 2006 shows denser aromas of riper fruit and initially a little yeast. Despite the riper aromas this has a nice mineral spine and again very good balance. I’d happily drink both, but would buy the 07…
2006 Bienvenues / Bâtard
The Bienvenues shows creamy, dense, very wide and complex aromas – wow. In the mouth there is fat and concentration, yet there are nicely clean flavours, delicacy and balance – thanks to fine acidity. The finish is very long but majors on barrel components right now. Simply super. As a contrast the Bâtard has deeper but much tighter aromas. In the mouth likewise, it’s hiding it’s complexity. If there is one area where this pulls rank, it is the intensity of the mid-palate, but overall this is showing in a very tight way so gives an ‘easy win’ to the Bienvenues for drinking today.