lessons in luzerne…



What a beautiful night on Saturday in Luzerne!

Great company and food, excellent wines – all blind – sat outside in the shadow of Pilatus.

To start, two whites: The first was ripe and had both depth and concentration – a little fat to the texture too. The second was simply beautiful; a deeper shade but still lemon yellow, beautifully floral and with a grace, balance and depth that could only be grand cru – I would guess a good 2006 grand cru. A lesson – expect the unexpected! The identity of the first wine was Dauvisat’s 2002 Cablis 1er Vaillons, we were all shocked by the second wine, because it was a 2003, yet such a wonderful 2003 from Chassagne’s Blanchot Dessus, admittedly sitting in the shadow of the grand crus – what a wine from Jean-Noel Gagnard!

The reds were to come thick and fast. First a 95 Chapelle from Damoy which wowed with its depth, still some structure, yet with none of the steminess of the 96. Next a 98 Latricières from Remy which was more mineral, still showing a lick of tannin and had a nose that became ever-more ethereal. Next up was a wine that showed a lot of leafiness and undergrowth on the nose and had an extra sweetness to the palate – it looked a little brown on pouring but much redder in the glass. My guess was a 92, but it was the 1990 Echézeaux from Cacheaux. Clearly the next wine had a much younger colour, but a beautiful nose that melded fruit and flower, beautiful texture and concentration, just a beautiful wine. The nose reminded me of great Volnay Caillerets or Beaune Vignes-Franches – I opted for a 2009 of the latter, but was anyway in the wrong Côte; it was Bénigne Joliet’s 2009 Fixin Clos de la Perrière – I can only say well-done Bénigne! Next was a wine that had an aromatic familiarity, but it took a little while to crystallise in my (tiring!) mind – but it was a low level of pyrazine, say P2 – but what a generally lovely wine that also showed nice fruit on the nose, and had super poise and complexity in the mouth. Given the colour it was clear that this must be a 2011, not a 2004 – it turned-out that this was a wine that trumped many better-known producers in a recent blind tasting of Echézeaux, the 2011 from Capitain-Gagnerot. Once again, chapeau! Our last red was complete and virile, a wine of energy and distinction too – given the ever-present structure, I guessed a 1999, but I had little more input at this stage of the evening! The wine was a great testament to Philippe Engel, it was the Engel 1993 Vosne Brûlées.

With the cheese we returned to a white wine; it seemed a little subdued – or was that me? 🙂 – but my neighbour was convinced it was a 2006 and I could find no reason to argue! He was right it was Vincent Dancer’s Chassagne 1er Tête du Clos, a mellow wine that perfectly suited the hour…

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