p.ox-y mischief

Update 23.7.2016(21.7.2016)billn


Having mistakenly opened a (remarkably super!) 2007 M&M to follow-up on my p.oxed 2005, here – eventually – are a couple of 2005 follow-ups. Sadly, and in my cellar at-least, these are for the fish or chicken sauce – only.

2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Caillerets
Deep colour. Basically like the last bottle – it smells more like an exotic blend of fermented marmalade with a large helping of Jura wine. This is such a shame because this wine was a stunner 6-7 years ago – shame on me for not drinking them all at that time.
Rebuy – No

2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs Gain
Deep colour – exactly the same as the last wine. This also has the fermented marmalade / cider / sweet honey nose – though in this case without a clear note of Jura. Less exotic than the Caillerets, but equally compromised. In the mouth there’s a good line and excellent concentration of flavour – but also a wine for the cooking, not the Riedel…
Rebuy – No

I shall be rounding up all my remaining 05s – save the Leflaive Chevalier – probably for cooking with…

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

There are 14 responses to “p.ox-y mischief”

  1. Jerome F Hasenpflug23rd July 2016 at 1:42 pmPermalinkReply

    What a pity! A refund is in order…

  2. nickma23rd July 2016 at 7:05 pmPermalinkReply

    What do M&M say – poor corks? To be fair I’ve had loads of knackered 05s, which seems to be particularly badly affected as a year, so maybe not about the corks….

  3. Sycamore24th July 2016 at 5:23 amPermalinkReply

    Pretty hard to get a refund on an 11-year old wine in most cases!

  4. billn24th July 2016 at 9:05 amPermalinkReply

    Nothing had changed in winemaking in 05 vs the late 1990s – the majority of Burgundy was still on the cusp of denial regarding the existence of p.ox in those days. These were brilliant wines when purchased, and I wouldn’t for one second consider trying to get a refund on bottles that I’ve cellared for 10 years – unless they were corked – but that’s a very different discussion.

    These are not poor corks – they seem have a very good seal and they certainly took some effort to extract. It seems that Michael Twelftree (one of the original M&M ‘M’s) has the same issue with 05 1ers from his own cellar too. Interestingly, as long ago as 6-7 years ago, some winemakers were suggesting that 05 was the type of vintage that would be resistant to oxidation, being very ripe like 03…

    I may have one or two more in cellar, which I’ll open next week – I won’t fill these pages with blah-blah about the same affected bottles, but if one, by magic, has survived, I might make a note on it!

  5. Marko de Morey25th July 2016 at 12:20 pmPermalinkReply

    Rolled the dice on a couple of my older white burgs this past weekend, namely a J-M Pillot 2006 Les Noyers Bret and an Arnaud Ente 1998 Meursault 1er Goutte’ D’Or. Both of these have been in long term professional storage since EP purchase until 6 bottles of each were pulled out a few weeks back to my cool garage ‘cellar’. Prior to this weekend I’d had a single bottle of each – the Pillot Puligny quite delicious but the Ente was ‘shot. Without being able to explain why (gut feel only) I was confident the second Pillot would be ok (it was) but less sure on the Ente. Very relieved though, after a bit of a struggle to shift a long & very tight indeed cork, on pouring to note an ok colour & sure enough, hurrah, a fairly classic, complex, very drinkable and aged Meursault was much enjoyed both on its own & with salmon salade. Am I confident re the remaining 4 Ente bottles, err nervous cough !

    On 2005’s I’ve been drinking my way through a ‘collection’ of Lafon 2005 Macons this year. Not had a totally shot one yet albeit one or two heading there fast. They have been all sorts of colours and levels of ‘enjoyment’, but all very rich and, whilst I’m not sure what the methodology is now, one reason I kept them a while was the. for me, too heavy handed oak treatment which is still evident.

    • billn27th July 2016 at 8:42 amPermalinkReply

      Keep the faith Marko 😉
      Are you girding your loins for harvesting in October this year? 🙂

  6. Michael L. Ragg26th July 2016 at 12:59 pmPermalinkReply


    Many thanks for your thoughts and feedback.

    I was unaware that you had any of our 2005 white wines still in your cellar.

    Your comments on the wines in their youth, ” these were brilliant wines when purchased ” are appreciated, as is the fact that you reference that our 2005 PM Les Caillerets was a stunner 6-7 years ago.

    The longer we have been making wines here, the more I take the view that our Premier Cru whites are approachable after 2 years, and ” in the zone ” ( which for us means clean, linear, pure, mineral and with a tight acidic core ) at anything between 3-7 years. This may seem a short drinking window, but you pretty much reference the same time frame yourself, in order to ensure that the wines be enjoyed at their best.

    Of course, it is dependent on vintage – I have never felt that 2005 was a great vintage for white wines ( call it 7 out of 10 ), which is why I am a little surprised that you still had these in your cellar. I sincerely regret that you have not been able to enjoy the wines at their peak – we tasted our 2005 Meursault Charmes a couple of months ago direct from the cellar and it looked like young Chablis, tinged with green, beautifully fresh and balanced.

    I suppose this variability, more than anything, is what frustrates lovers of great Burgundy, but I can only re-iterate that my view, for what it’s worth, is that the white wines at this qualitative level, at least those that we make, are at their best between 3-7 years. There are exceptions to this of course ( I saw that you recently pulled the cork on our 2007 Meursault Charmes, which is in beautiful shape ) but as a general guideline it holds true.

    Come over and taste the 2014’s soon !

    All the best,

    Michael L. Ragg

    Mischief and Mayhem

    • billn27th July 2016 at 9:15 amPermalinkReply

      Hi Michael
      Many thanks for your comment.

      Your contention that quasi-grand-crus should be drunk by the age of 7 is, of-course, troubling. Whilst I appreciate that, empirically, for some producers, that might very well be the case – and it is indeed in-line with my general recommendations for drinking white burgundy – that doesn’t mean that anybody will be happy to hear it, and nobody ever said that I should take my own advice 😉

      I do think you are being responsible in openly stating it though – so kudos not criticism for that – you are something of a rarity!

      I always contended that 05s, in general, were massive, indeed monolithic wines, with occasional absolute stunners. 2005 is a white vintage that has impressive concentration if less than impressive delivery – I always thought its best chance was to age – assuming the wines didn’t die in the process. Here, clearly we have death. Many producers told me that they would be immune to oxidation because of their ripe concentration – haha!

      In my opinion, your 7/10 is, on average, generous for the vintage, though the Bouchard 05 Bougros I drank a couple of days before the Caillerets (and was stored in the same case as those M&M’s for the last 7-8 years) was easily 9.5/10!

      I (clearly) must have a clear-out of old-ish whites – I have another of Champs Gain 05, and two Caillerets 07s. It pains me, but I will open – and hopefully drink! – all three in the next 10 days or so. My Leflaive 04 Batards and 05 Chevaliers remain in storage, though an 04 Bâtard was superb in our harvest Paulée last year.

      For all that, my early 90s and 1970s-80s whites continue to drink, and with pleasure, some corked (of-course) but none oxidised. That’s why we all hurt…

      • Michael L. Ragg27th July 2016 at 3:11 pmPermalinkReply


        All interesting – I especially like the ” immune to oxidation because of their ripe concentration ” point !

        Perhaps I am being generous re. a 7/10 for the 2005 white wines, but as you reference there are several that are completely outstanding. Our 2005 Meursault Genevrieres is probably one of the best white wines that we have ever produced, but I wouldn’t say it was typical of the vintage.

        I suppose that my thoughts on drinking windows are simply influenced by a clear desire to enjoy wines when they are at their best, nothing more than that, and just my personal view.

        Of course ” best ” can mean different things to different people, but, as mentioned previously, for me personally ” best ” for these white wines, means clean, pure, mineral, fresh, all supported by great acidity…etc…

        Having spent 10 years in the UK trade with BB&R and 13 years here in Aloxe-Corton, I am still unclear as to why so many people are obsessed with cellaring white Burgundy long term – like you, I have had a number of extraordinary old bottles, but these are, almost invariably, the exception rather than the rule.

        Also, and I know you will have a view on this, I am not sure about the efficacy ( or even accuracy ) of describing an 11 year old wine, from an average vintage for whites ( which you concede that 2005 is ) as ” prematurely ” oxidised.

        Is it ” premature ” ? The wine is 11 years old ( 9 and a half of these in bottle ). At what point is the oxidation deemed to be premature ? 4 years, 6 years, 8 years ? And who decides what is ” premature ” ?

        I don’t have a definitive answer to this of course, but I believe that it is a valid point. Clearly a Premier Cru wine from a good vintage should be in excellent shape after 6-7 years but double this ?

        Anyway, food for thought, and very much look forward to seeing you soon.

        All the best,

        Michael L. Ragg

        Mischief and Mayhem

  7. Marko de Morey27th July 2016 at 12:36 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Bill,

    Interesting exchange between Michael & yourself – but never having owned or drunk any M&M wines I’ve no ‘skin in that game’. Reading Michael’s comments before getting to your response, my immediate thought was “But Michael, you don’t explain why white burgundies used to age but there have been all the issues since whenever (96/97 ?) i.e what changed, what was responsible and why isn’t it possible to revert to ‘the old ways’ ?” I wish someone could explain that for me, as still the owner of way too many oldish whites (plenty back to 95 and the early noughties).

    Otherwise, am doing my best to keep the faith – tested every time I open a white burg of age !, but came here to reply to your harvest comment. Not sure about the loins (oooerr missis) but am doing my best to improve fitness levels in readiness for my 9th harvest and return to dear ole Morey – if Cyprien will put up with me again 🙂 ! You made me smile at the mention of October as I recall, acknowledging that was some months back & maybe premature, when I previously referenced a late Sept harvest possibility you sort of ‘told me off’ 🙂 . The more and more dire weather reports I’ve been reading the more I’ve been thinking of the likes of the character building grimness of 2013 as went into October but we’ll see I guess. As madame and self have a week’s stay in Beaune booked for mid November (my 60th) if the harvest gets very late it will almost not be worth coming home to GB !

    Hoping to share some celebratory nice bottles with you if you are around in November – you can write them up to save me the job 😉 (D’s never been in Bar du Square or certain Beaune restaurants but we would like to return to La Ferme one evening). Maybe I should fetch some older whites over for harvest time for our joint research purposes, free time allowing ? I don’t have any Leflaive GC’s but do have Pierre Morey 2001 Batard untouched hum plus numerous premiers!

    Will let you know what I’m up to as the weeks tick by. Assume you haven’t been back to see Cyprien on BR business ?

  8. Michael L. Ragg27th July 2016 at 3:46 pmPermalinkReply


    Your questions are important.

    In my 13 years here however, I have yet to hear an entirely conclusive explanation as to why a number of white wines, post-1996, have developed in the way that they have, and oxidised at a proportionately faster rate than historically was the case for equivalent wines from the 1970s and 1980s.

    If I had answers to all of your questions then I would be unique in the region !

    As Bill points out, the majority of these wines have been made in broadly the same way over the entire period.

    I have outlined my own thinking behind drinking times, and raised a couple of points re. the definition of ” premature ” in my note to Bill above.

    As indicated, these are simply my personal views based on both my experiences, and on my stylistic preference for the ” youthful ” elements of these white wines.

    All the best,


  9. billn27th July 2016 at 4:05 pmPermalinkReply

    Lots of semantics here.

    In the end, there is youthful and there are wines with maturity – there is a continuum of more or less ‘something’ between these two states. These wines never, by any definition, have reached ‘maturity’ so ‘pre-mature’ oxidation – as the wines are certainly oxidised – is a fair and apt word or description.

    I would certainly side with Michael if we were talking about bourgogne blanc, but not e.g. Puligny Caillerets. Whilst Michael might point to ‘exceptional’ bottles, it was always the case (pre-1996) that you would have 1-2 corked bottles and 1 oxidised bottle per case of white burgundy – but usually only 1. Today – or rather in the 2005 vintage – it’s not the same.

    That’s not taking a cheap shot at M&M, only a clear description of the truth. There is nothing wrong with the packaging or corks here, so no easy target, only that the base wine – along with that of so many other producers, is often no-longer fit/capable of reaching maturity, however you may wish to define it.

    Another dead Champs Gain 05 tonight – but it’s the last, which is, I suppose, a relief. I will move to Caillerets 07 after attending to my emails….

  10. Marko de Morey28th July 2016 at 7:21 amPermalinkReply

    Thank you Michael (and Bill).

    If you’ve yet to hear an entirely conclusive explanation then the ‘rest’ of us have no chance have we 😉 ? Frustration continues to rule for us all then.

    I’d love to be able to follow your drinking time recommendations but I’ve way too many older white burgundies to ‘deal with’ before applying what now has to be reality – but maybe I’ll get there one day. Meantime, noting Bill’s mention of Caillerets, maybe I should stop putting off opening my last home bottle of Lambrays 2001 Puligny Caillerets (predecessors ain’t been ‘good’ !). Alternatively, maybe BdM’s 1997 Charlemagne ! Glutton for punishment ? Mais oui 🙂

    Hope to see you on the Cote perhaps one day soon – have driven past your place numerous times, normally in a hurry to get to Pernand (Dubreuil-Fontaine). Maybe, if Bill and self get round to it, you could join us having a go at some of my older whites – for research purposes – but perhaps not the ‘best’ offer you’ll ever have !



  11. Marko de Morey1st August 2016 at 12:12 pmPermalinkReply

    Final (for now) word for me here. Opened the Lambrays 2001 Puligny Clos du Caillerets yesterday. Encouraging initial pour showing decent (as in not orange !) colour. Lovely complex nose then just flat out delicious & complex en bouche. Phew ! Regret that this is my last one but relief it was so good. Some of its predecessors were shocking ! What a funny (strange), frustrating and mixed up business we have with these white burgs.

  12. David Bennett2nd August 2016 at 7:29 amPermalinkReply

    Having popped in to M&M ( and missed Michael – but Fiona was ever present and most gracious as I piled in on the off chance as our group was barrelling through Aloxe, en route to “that” restaurant…) I can report to you all that the 14 Corton was, probably, the most excitng thing I have tasted for along time…as for the other 14s then my car was not nige enough to take the minute quantities for the delicious other wines …. I’ll be back for more..

    • billn2nd August 2016 at 10:47 amPermalinkReply

      It’s always a problem when your car isn’t nige enough….

      • David Bennett2nd August 2016 at 11:09 amPermalinkReply

        New word “nige” – its when your Range Rover has to fit in 60 cases of Champagne rather than 60 cases of Corton! 🙂

  13. Greg Sewell15th August 2016 at 4:22 amPermalinkReply

    Hi Bill,

    After reading your depressing experiences with M&M white burgundies over the past few weeks I rounded up my last 3 bottles of M&M 2005 Corton Charlemagne and am happy to report that all 3 were pristine, taut and delicious textbook examples of this grand cru. They were the last of an assortment of M&M 1er and grand cru white burgundies from 2004 and 2005 purchased at auction in Sydney. So they had experienced the long voyage to Australia and matured at a higher temperature relative to cooler European cellars. My experience of the maturity profile of the 1er crus matched the frank assessment of Michael Ragg. To add to the mystery last week I opened a bottle of 1998 Chablis Montmains from Domaine Francois Raveneau. It showed almost no age!

    Best wishes,
    Greg Sewell

    • billn15th August 2016 at 7:39 amPermalinkReply

      Good to hear Greg.
      Of-course it’s not just M&M, I also had a couple of dodgy Pillots in the last couple of weeks. I really feel that ‘natural’ cork is no-longer a suitable seal for aging whites, it’s simply too variable for a base wine that is more sensitive to oxidation than it once was.
      I don’t have a problem with screwcap, only that it brings to mind cola – DIAMs, however, seem a good approach for my own psyche!
      Good drinking!

  14. Greg Sewell16th August 2016 at 2:09 amPermalinkReply

    Bill, I am with you on the cork issue. In Australia with Riesling vintages under screw cap going back to the 1980’s the closure has proved itself and in my experience development occurs at roughly the same pace as cork. Twisting the cap off does remove some of the ceremony and anticipation although the older tops can gum up and turn opening the bottle into a performance to equal any crumbling cork.
    Cheers Greg.

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