to be, or not to be, 2004…


I know, I know, ‘here we go again’ you are thinking. Well yes, and no…

I’ve actually tried a few very good 2004s in the last days – I looked very hard at them, but found nothing amiss. So everything’s alright now say some. Hold your horses say I! The three wines that were fine, in every way, have not suddenly got better and lost their pyrazines – not as far as I know anyway – because I’d never tasted these wines before (as far as I remember) so I don’t know how good or bad they were before. But let’s be fair to those good wines and note them here, because I’d happily drink all three again:

2004 Domaine Lafon, Volnay 1er Champans
2004 Domaine Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux St.Jacques
2004 Maison Lucien Le Moine, Clos St.Denis

But all is still not rosy. On Saturday, a gathering of friends delivered many bottles; some great, some sad, some in-between – it also, most importantly, delivered a great evening. It wasn’t at my house, so I’m not responsible – but I know all-too-well the urge, late in the evening to finish the evening off (maybe ;-)) with something special. So it was with our host: He returned with a magnum in a blind-tasting sock. My pour looked young in the glass but -ouf! – smelled strongly of pyrazines. I immediately said ‘2011!’ As I slowly pulled up the ‘sock’ I read the words Clos de Tart. I was pretty shocked – why would anyone open such a young magnum? But soon I found I was wrong, it wasn’t 2011, it was the 2004 in the headline image above. Okay, now I’m no-longer mad with my host – maybe there is a case for opening magnums of 2004! I was fooled by the young colour and the silky freshness of the wine – hard to believe a wine in such great, young condition was a 2004. It was also a great wine; a German winemaker amongst our number loved it but could also see and taste the character. But it was strong enough that (not only) I couldn’t enjoy it.

So another 2004 I hadn’t tasted before – but this time with a different result. Is the difference in this case only the format, and the relative youth of this wine, whilst all the others are getting older and better? Well, let’s see. Every couple of years I retest a number of retained bottles – but that’s not due until early 2016…

But let’s not forget a great evening:

By the way:
1999 Roulot Bourgogne surprisingly fresh if a little rich – did somebody really say Corton-Charlemagne?
1993 Leflaive Bourgogne – brilliant, but (very!) unfortunately, it was my last. My white of the night.
Thevenot 1979 was just lovely in that indeterminable age-ness thing.
JM Vincent’s 2010 Auxey was also lovely – as would have been expected, if everything wasn’t blind! I couldn’t make my mind up if was Puligny or St.Aubin…
2003 Pommard was, well, quite nice and I can’t remember what I guessed, but not 2003.
Swiss Wolfer? I really didn’t like – I said Beaujolais as I thought carbonic maceration but really couldn’t place it in Burgundy (go figure…!)
1994 Drouhin Musigny? Given the general poorness of the vintage, this triumphed to be wine of the night – I thought it a rather beautiful 1985!
2008 Claude Dugat Gevrey was a wine I could drink all night – yes the acidity of 08 but like biting into fresh fruit – almost my (red) wine of the night.
JM Pillot’s 2009 in isolation would have been nice enough, but in this company – particularly set against the Dugat, it was simply too full and too ripe to take a second glass.
Dominique Laurent’s 1998 Gevrey Cazetiers – completely and overwhelmingly corked – ouf!
Gaunoux Pommard – I forget it – I think it may also have been corked!
Jadot’s 1993 Clos des Corvées is at it’s first plateau of maturity – it is lovely and still with a bite of Premeaux tannin…
Dubiously labelled Clos St.Denis – villages standard wine, maybe…
Jean-Michel Guillon’s 2003 (I think!) Gevrey VV – tasty but but a lot of funkiness on the nose…
Denis Mortet’s 2004 Lavaux was lovely, cushioned, fine wine.
Clos de Tart 2004 – well you already know – for some people, great wine.
Benoit’s Tante Berthe – well, it wasn’t really a great tribute to him – a bit hot with unbalanced, spiky acidity – shame.
And to finish, 2005 Francois Jobard’s Meursault Genevrières – now that was a nice wine!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There is one response to “to be, or not to be, 2004…”

  1. Tom Blach11th November 2014 at 10:24 pmPermalinkReply

    Lots of heartrending 94s now, Bill. I’m starting to think that vintage really isn’t that important if we can wait.

    • billn13th November 2014 at 8:30 amPermalinkReply

      This is the only wine from that vintage (I’ve ever tasted) where I might consider to use your description Tom. The next closest was also a Musigny – from Mugnier – but a harder wine too, more of the vintage character showing there, perhaps! For me to change tack, I think the Beaunes and Gevreys also have to taste heartrending, and I haven’t noted any of that yet – but I’ve those in the cellar and will get around to them one by one – eventually.

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