Excess, in this case, not necessarily volume-related…
I’d planned to post on this modest line-up of bottles early last week – but the frost-related events of the week made me reconsider my timing – despite bottles such as these being the marketing livelihood of the region – or at least the central part of the Burgundy region.
Whilst it’s no surprise that we began with the white, I’m more often inclined to drink great Montrachets/hyphen-Montrachets at the end of a tasting – the reason? There’s extra glycerol and a mouth-coating nature that can dull the reds that follow – any level of red and it can last for quite a time too – up to half-an-hour – but anyway:
2005 Leflaive, Chevalier-Montrachet
It’s hard to believe, but in the great scheme of things these bottles were relatively inexpensive – certainly versus their retail price today. A wine that was impressive young, and then impressively impossible to drink when 5-6-years-old. What would today hold?
A deeper yellow colour but no overt oxidation – not aromatically either. The nose was powerful and mineral, practically a salinity hovering above the depth of ripe but still fresh fruit, an accent of creaminess suggesting a little age. In the mouth a blend of muscle and richness – the almost brutal structural minerality that I remember from my last bottle, fortunately, now only that – a memory. This wine opened wider and wider with aeration – no mean feat from a great start. I’m so happy that I retained a modicum of patience with this wine. Incisive, powerful, complex and with just enough of the minerality of this place that you might even have a chance of guessing (blind!) where it came from. Over 3 hours a wine that never waned but I would still say super-impressive rather than delicious…
Rebuy – Maybe at the old price
2007 Comte Liger-Belair, La Romanée
My last bottle of this vintage – the first drunk during our Paulée meal at the end of the 2011 vintage in Beaune. Probably the vintage of this wine that I have drunk the most – so often was it served by Louis-Michel Liger-Belair in the first 15+ years of his tenure.
A little aeration is required but here’s a nose that adds more and more weight – there’s a complex foral and spice mix that overlays the fruit – one might say a typical very great Vosne – particularly as there’s plenty of evidence of sous-bois/dried leaves to this wine now. Mouth-filling – but with a roundness too – no space is spared in the mouth. The flavour sweeps you towards the finish, finely textured but then widens over the palate in the finish like only a great wine can – so impressively spiced here – a great, great finish. Not the best vintage but a wine that would transcend its neck-label – if it wore one!
Rebuy – Yes at the old price!
2001 Romanée-Conti, Romanée St.Vivant
My only bottle of this. A wine of great, great repute when young, so I decided 20 years should be enough time to check on that!
The colour here is not much ‘older’ looking than that of La Romanée. What a nose; stems, spice, redcurrant purity, florals – I am very impressed – a notch more impressive than the 2007, though it’s also had more maturation time – just a brilliant perfume. Textural sweetness, starting in such a seductive way – it’s the combination of texture and balance that does it. The flavour clearly delivering delineated layer after delineated layer of deliciousness, not just fruit and spice but a suggestion of coffee-complexity too. In the end, I think I chose the correct order for the reds – it didn’t seem much of a step up to the RSV from the La Romanée but going in the other direction showed a smaller wine in the mouth – albeit, only modestly smaller – the clarity of middle-flavour of the RSV took it in this case though. A shame I didn’t have the chance to compare the same vintages.
Rebuy – would love to!