Why Big Red Diary?

Round-up of wines tasted

No slurping and spitting; these wines were drunk at home with food and friends between July and November 2003. Corkwatch: 4 from 84 = 4.8%


2000 Joseph Faiveley, Bourgogne Rouge
Medium cherry red. The nose is of earthy cooked red cherries against a faintly smokey background. Quite fat with soft tannins and good extension on the finish. Quite a good Bourgogne and worth leaving for 1-2 years.
2001 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Clos du Château Bourgogne Blanc
An unusual wine in that despite it’s regional appelation it hails from a single vineyard – the walled ‘Clos’ of the Château grounds. The wall helps considerably in the process of becoming more biodynamic, but there can also be pitfalls when sourcing from a single vineyard; due to frost in April 2003 followed by the ‘le canicule’ yields for 2003 were only 9.5hl/ha! Pale yellow coloured, the nose shows a little citrus and sherbety tones – quite wide, but not very deep. More interesting depth on the palate – more classy than the nose. Whilst not a ‘yardstick’ example this is good and quite persistent in the finish.
1997 Remoissenet, Bourgogne Chardonnay
A bright lemon yellow. The nose betrays a hint of old oak plus a little higher toned citrus. Reasonably fat with a blend of citrus and pear fruit. Good acidity and a medium finish make this a very pleasant wine. At first I thought this wine could happily be left a couple more years – but gradually you start to get a little hazelnut and perhaps an oxidised note on the finish – so why wait drink this now – it’s pretty good.
1997 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Chardonnay
A medium yellow. The nose starts with a blast of fruit but quickly becomes more subdued – waxy with pineapple – with time a hint of wet wool. Nice weight in the mouth, reasonably sweet, certainly simple with medium length. Nothing to really dislike about this wine unless it warms up in the glass, if this happens the overall effect is a bit flabby and lacking balance. Kept chilled this is a very nice wine and still seems quite young.
1997 Domaine Leflaive, Bourgogne Blanc
Pale-medium yellow. The nose has a lovely lemony custard note and shows good depth. Fat with very good acidity and for the appelation tremendous depth and length, just a trace of butteryness. This is seriously good bourgogne and would put most villages wines to shame. I think I shall order a case!


1993 Leroy, Pommard Les Vignots
Medium-plus cherry red – if I hadn’t seen the label from the colour I would have guessed this was a 1999. The nose was very individual, starting deep, perhaps a little oaky and definitely quite gamey and mushroomy. It took close to two hours (by which time there was very little left) for a red fruit compote nose to develop, further development gave redcurrant. The palate has excellent acidity and very smooth tannin to match. For the first 1 hour+ I was a little concerned whether there was enough density of fruit for the long-term. When we started on the beef course (with a little risotto) the fat improved and the wine took on the appearance of more concentration. Only medium plus length and showing in a very young and very atypical way. Very good food wine and very interesting, but I probably wouldn’t be looking to stock my cellar with this wine.
1998 Nicolas Potel, Santenay
Medium cherry red – looks very young – perhaps just a little lighter at the rim. Bright redcurrant nose, some raspberry and strawberry too – must admit, unlike many tasters I don’t often find strawberry in reds. The palate has excellent acidity and medium tannins which are quite smooth if very drying. Despite how mouth-wateringly juicy this wine is, there seems a lack of depth on the palate. Certainly tasty and has very pure fruit but I would have preferred a little more oomph!
2000 Sylvie Esmonin, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
Quite deep, extracted looking ruby – still cherry red at the rim. The nose starts very dumb, given time it starts to betray a little oak but also quite deep cherry – shaded to black. The palate is quite smooth with good acidity and strong fruit. The finish is woody from the oak. Nice fruit, but currently trapped in a wooden box – I’d be interested to try this again in 4/5 years – hopefully it will be starting to coalesce.
2000 Domaine des Chézeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin
A complete contrast to the last wine. Only medium ruby colour, just the slightest trace of cherry at the rim – looks like a 1997. The nose is of raspberry and strawberry confiture and a little earth – not at all confected despite the description and with time develops a raisin note. Medium concentration, though good volume in the mouth and good acidity with relatively light and very smooth tannin. The finish builds well; first slightly cooked fruit then a little earth. Elegant and moreish. Exceptional value direct from the domaine – 11 Euro plus taxes.
1999 Domaine Bouchard Père, Pommard
Lufthansa first class! Medium/medium-plus colour. A little spice and subdued red raspberry fruit coated with subtle vanilla. Nice texture, medium concentration, good acidity and medium plus well-grained tannins. Good length on the slightly sweet fruit, a little banana too. I’d prefer the fruit to be a bit more concentrated but this is a nice drink at 35,000 feet and in this environment surprisingly refined – but couldn’t I have expected a 1er or Grand Cru in first class? 😉
1985 Domaine Bouchard Père, Chambolle-Musigny
The hotel I stayed in had exclusively wines from the 1980’s! First bottle was medium ruby with an amber rim. The nose was aged but still quite fruity. The palate was on the downslope though with a nice light bodied profile which was just a little metallic – nice finish though. Bottle two was deeper coloured, slightly more alcoholic and less interesting nose. The palate was actually quite fat and interesting. Still good length. First bottle was almost good, second was good!
2001 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet
A blend from three different vineyards. Just a little darker in colour. A deeper nose, more sumptuous and floral, at first I thought ripe pear fruit, but before emptying the glass I decidied it was more pineapple. More concentration and depth on the mid-palate than the Clos du Château. There’s a super little burst/flourish of fruit on the finish. This is a lovely villages.
2001 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet
Medium lemon yellow. Quite an understated nose with more obvious citrus – quite classy. A fat and really very Puligny palate. Much more forward than the nose suggests. There’s super acidity and fine length. This is a very fine villages – and would be a pretty good 1er Cru!
1996 Dujac, Morey-Saint-Denis Blanc
Deep golden colour. The nose is deep and fat with lanolin and and getting close to a gunflint note. The palate is equally big and robust – this is a wine that takes no prisoners. Not amazing length but nicely balanced and quite involving. Drinking very well now, a very good wine.
1997 Louis Latour, Savigny-les-Beaune
Pale lemon yellow. The nose starts with a whiff of sulfur, replaced by lime and waxy grapefruit – there’s also a quite appealing smokey undertow of wood. The palate has some fat and very primary fruit. There’s also slightly harsh wood, but the acidity and fruit concentration are not bad at all. Not as satisfying to drink today as most of the Bourgogne blancs from the tasting in the ‘summer issue’, but comes across as being too young. Hopefully with another three years or so there might be a little more interest.
1997 Bruno Clair, Marsannay
Deeply coloured – worryingly deep – oops, oxidised to death, ugh!
1997 Billaud-Simon, Chablis
Pale golden. Nose is a little waxy with melon and pear, just a trace of oxidation too. Nice fat palate but with a touch of oxidation here too. The acidity is pretty good and overall this is not a bad drink. If the oxidation note is typical I’d say drink these up this summer.
1997 Jospeph Faiveley, Montagny Les Joncs
Pale golden colour. The nose shows a little spent fireworks and candied fruit, more time in the glass increases the fireworks note. In the mouth there is quite nice volume and a lemony acidity which lengthens the finish. Nothing really exciting but clean and tasty – a nice wine.
1997 Joseph de Bucy, Meursault Les Tillets
Deep lemony yellow. The nose starts with blast of toasty oak which gradually moves to the background allowing some pear and apricot notes to come through, gradually becomes more perfumed. The palate has citrussy acidity which is ‘just right’ and a lovely long follow-through which gradually develops a coconut note. More interesting than Marius Clerget’s ‘Tillets’. A nice wine with no rush to drink.
1997 Louis Jadot, Auxey-Duresses
Golden colour. Toasty, oaky nose with a sweet background creaminess and a hint of spent fireworks. A lovely intense palate with pear and peach and a little nutty, still marked by oak. There’s good acidity and a long creamy aftertaste. Voluptuous rather than elegant, I’d be quite content to leave this in the cellar for another year or two to let the oak fade a little more. Rather good.
1997 Colin-Deléger, Meursault
Had one of these earlier in the year that was a little oxidised, this seemed better. Golden colour. The nose has a little residual oak and a slughtly nutty note that underpins sweet melon. The palate is fat and rich – a little exotic perhaps – certainly covers the ample acidity. An interesting and long finish too. A wine I enjoyed – obviously some bottle variation around though.
1997 Marius Clerget, Meursault Les Tillets
Lemony in both colour and length – the nose is smooth and waxy with white flowers and melon. In the mouth there’s lemon plus a hazelnut note. Improved with time in the glass, nice acidity and medium length. Perhaps just a little simple after the Auxey, but seems younger, so certainly no rush to drink. Almost good.
1997 Jean-Marc Boillot, Puligny-Montrachet
More straw coloured. Mainly oak on the nose. The palate is a little less fat than the previous Meursault, but has a nicer texture, perhaps a little buttery. This has good acidity and comes across as very young and très Puligny. The longer that this wine was open the more we enjoyed it, in fact over the space of an hour I changed my (pedantic) rating from almost good to very good.


2000 Nicolas Potel, Savigny-les-Beaune Les Peuillets
Medium-plus colour – already turning to ruby from cherry. The nose starts with wood, and plenty of it. With aeration there is black cherry, coffee and chocolate. Good acidity and nice concentration of blackberry and raspberry. The tannins are close to being completely covered by the fruit. The finish is long, but slightly harsh from the wood. Very good potential and a good drink today to boot.
2000 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune Clos du Roi
A little lighter than the Potel wine and still cherry-red coloured. Still has hints of oak on the nose, but mainly a mix of red fruits. Very good acidity – like closing the jaws on a mouthful of cherries – without the stones! Medium-plus and quite drying tannins. This shows in a young way, but was a delight anyway.
2000 Jean-Marc Boillot, Pommard Jarollières
Medium-plus cherry already starting with a hint of amber at the rim. The nose starts with toasty oak and plenty of raspberry fruit, the oak soon blows off. Another luciously juicy palate with excellent acidity. The fruit is medium concentrated but very pure, again red in profile. Drying tannins on the finish tell the story of a very young but currently very tasty wine.
2000 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Pitures
Medium ruby colour, right up to the rim. High toned violet notes overlaying redcurrant, raspberry and red cherry, plus a deeper aspect. The palate has perfect acidity and starts with a little spritz – though this fades. Medium concentrated fruit, but presented in a pure and very satisfying way. The smooth tannins only show on the finish which shows medium-plus length. Certainly a little more depth than than the previous three wines but not quite as juicily succulent. Definitely worth keeping.
1999 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay Freimets
Medium ruby red colour with a cherry red rim. Other than a red nose of raspberry and cherry it’s hard say much about this wine – everything seems in balance – but I find it very hard to say something interesting. I certainly didn’t find anything wrong with the wine and there’s really good concentration with well judged acidity – but frankly I think it’s closing up – wait another five years before opening another!
1999 Domaine de Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Varoilles
Deep ruby with a slightly cherry rim. Coffee and dark cherry fruit. Fresh palate due to good acidity light to medium grainy tannins but a nice penetrating finish. I would have preferred more fat for a 1er Cru but this wine has lovely complexity. It will be interesting to see how it develops.
2000 Domaine des Chézeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers
Only medium/medium-pale colour – same depth of colour as the village Gevrey. The nose starts just a little closed and funky – with time there’s high toned, slightly cooked, sweet red fruit. Nicely intense fruit with good, balanced acidity and low level, smooth tannin. Certainly a step-up from the village wine but I was looking for a larger step given the appelation. Still a nice wine.
2000 Domaine des Chézeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux Saint-Jacques
From 40+ year old vines. Medium-plus ruby. The nose is everything that the Cazetiers isn’t, it has depth and a faintly caramel tinged red fruit – perhaps a little alcoholic. Really good intensity, good acidity and drying tannin. This is more serious, but also shows much younger as the intesitity is such that it is definitely not a 2000 for drinking now – worth saving.
1997 Domaine des Chézeaux, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Also from 40+ year old vines. Medium-plus ruby – just starting to brown a little at the rim. Starts with a waft of very deep and concentrated cherry, but a cedary/currant pie note gradually takes over. Fat and mouth coating, really super pure fruit, balanced acidity and absolutely the smoothest of tannin. There’s no denying the quality of the underlying material, but the woody/cedary note on the nose is also evident on the palate and is very similar in character to what I didn’t like about the 1991 Ponsot Griotte – it’s a transient thing though, as after two hours the cedary note is completely gone. There’s a super, ever changing finish, lovely wine.
1998 Nicolas Potel, Pommard Les Epenots
Medium ruby colour. The nose has black and red cherry – shaded to black – with a sweet capuccino tail – still quite primary. The palate doesn’t show much fat, but there’s super acidity and deep, drying, velvetty tannins. Despite the lack of fat, the fruit seems amply concentrated. A good, above average length finish too. Restored my faith, the first two bottles from the case were corked!
1993 Comte Armand, Pommard Clos des Epeneaux
Medium-plus ruby colour – fading a little towards the rim, but almost impossible to guess the age. The high toned nose is still primary, though if I had to try and put a name to the fruit I’d say crushed raspberries. The palate has good fat, very good acidity and lovely concentrated fruit. The tannins are svelte and well managed and the length is very impressive. Actually this is a very refined wine that should only get better – leave for 5 years if you can keep your hands off it!
1997 Domaine des Perdrix, Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Perdrix
Medium-plus colour. High toned nose of blueberry fruit over oak. Lots of oak on the palate, almost good fruit and relatively soft tannin. The acidity is good, and the wine comes across as quite young – but the oak on the palate doesn’t make it a charmer.
1992 Armand Rousseau, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetières
Medium ruby colour. The nose has a hint of undergrowth and characteristic Gevrey earth. Medium intensity palate, nice acidity, though is just a little harsh on the finish. Actually there’s still some tannin here. The wine worked really well with food but seemed lacking a little dimension in its own right – still, isn’t wine supposed to be enjoyed with food?
1987 Domaine Lejeune, Pommard Rugiens
A medium ruby core, fading slowly to amber. The nose shows tertiary aromas and surprisingly still a little primary raspberry fruit. On the palate there’s good depth to the fruit – shows an almost orangey note. Just a little rasping tannin on the finish. A surprisingly fine wine – I enjoyed this.
2000 Javillier-Guyot, Savigny-les-Beaune Les Serpentières
Nice medium cherry red colour. The fruit is literally buried under earthy notes on the nose. The palate has good fat, nice acidity and drying tannins. Not as fresh and ‘now’ as many 2000’s, this is down to the oak on the palate – worth waiting a cvouple more years to retry – a good wine I think.
2001 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Saint-Aubin En Remilly
The ‘En Remilly’ vineyard is just over the the border from Puligny. Paler yellow colour. The nose is higher toned and less obviously fruity. In the mouth the wine is fat and shows a deeper fruit profile, quite exotic and less mineral. This is a nice wine but for my personal style preferences the previous wine puts it in shade.
2001 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault Les Perrières
Again a vineyard just over the border from Puligny. Medium yellow coloured. Deep and fruity nose, initially very linear – like following a beam of light – widens a little with time. Very fat palate – at first seems too fat, but the second sip shows enough rescuing acidity. There even seems to be just a trace of tannin. Very lovely finish, no fireworks, just fades very slowly. A really good wine.
2001 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières
Pale golden. You have to dig deep for the low-toned but very focused nose, swirling produces a little agrumes and subtle floral notes. Nice fat, but still a very elegant palate. So smooth, a wine which, with a bit of age and complexity, you could just float away with. Persistant yet very understated – a wine which you could (and would) enjoy today, but I sense that would be a waste.
1997 J-M Brocard, Chablis Montée de la Tonnerre
Lighter yellow colour compared to Faiveley’s Montagny. Nose starts with a waft of toasty oak, replaced by toasty bread and some higher floral tones. Much fatter though not quite as dense on the mid-palate. Good acidity with much more dimension on the palate and the finish. This is very good and still very primary
1997 J-M Boillot, Rully Mont Palais
Still a pale lemon yellow. The nose starts with toasty oak, then a little boiled sweets and sweet melon too. Interesting palate, the acidity jumps out at you on the front of your tongue, almost in a sherbety way. Seems reasonably well balanced, though there’s a little spritz. Completely unlike any of the other wines tasted. Not bad, just a little odd.
1997 Hubert de Montille, Puligny-Montrachet Le Caillerets
A medium gold colour. The nose gathers depth with time, with well integrated oak, faint petrolly notes and agrumes. Good acidity and a mildly oaky palate that is concentrated but very tight and initially a little flat in the mid-palate – certainly would benefit from another 2 or 3 years wait, the mid-palate really fills out with aeration. Super length that sneaks up on you. For drinking today there’s more fun to be found from J-M Boillots village Puligny, but for the long term, this is the wine I’d really like to have in my cellar.


1999 Domaine des Varoilles, Charmes-Chambertin
Just a little deeper coloured than the des Varoilles Gevrey 1er. There’s a little toasty oak but this is very well done as despite the young age, it already provides a good cocoa topping to the dark cherry fruit. The palate without showing great weight manages to produce an intense young fruit profile with well balanced acidity and buried tannins. Starting to close up a little but a wine worth following.
1999 Guy Castagnier, Charmes-Chambertin
Deep cherry red colour. Wow! the nose is a rather fine, pronounced and concentrated cherry cordial, perhaps just a little cream too. Really good concentration with fresh, well balanced acidity and very smooth and well covered tannins. The finish is just a little tart but with pretty good length. Super aromatics here – normally I buy Castagnier’s Clos de la Roche, but it seems that I also need space for the Charmes from 1999!
1999 Guy Castagnier, Clos de Vougeot
Deep cherry red colour. Pure cherry but not the penetrating cordial nose of the ‘Charmes’ Much more subdued in character too despite it’s concentration. Good acidity and more noticeable tannic structure – very smooth mind! So, equally concentrated but a little more austere in presentation. A perfectly good, though not an outstanding example.
2000 Domaine des Lambrays, Clos des Lambrays
Medium cherry red colour. The nose has red fruit, a confiture of roasting raspberries and just a little spicy oak and alcohol. With time in a decanter the palate becomes sweet and supple but starts with a very grainy and oaky expression that is wearing. The fruit has good concentration and some depth and complexity, good acidity and silkily soft tannin. There’s a reasonable turnaround in the decanter so the oak will better integrate with time and what’s underneath is very lovely, but I’m still concerned for the future. Despite only medium concentration, because of the oak I won’t touch another of mine before its tenth birthday.
2000 Domaine Charles Thomas, Romanée Saint-Vivant
Really deep cherry colour, just fades gently to the rim. The nose has a lovely focused griotte note which gains emphasis with time, not at all floral. Creamily fat, concentrated, and surprisingly tannic – this has a finish like a fully loaded shiraz. Good acidity and concentrated fruit that seems to be up to the job. I’m surprised how up-front this wine shows – it’s not really for drinking right now, but at least half a dozen will be finding their way to my cellar for 2010+
1997 Domaine de La Tour, Clos de Vougeot Vieilles Vignes
Deep ruby colour, almost no fading at the rim. Lovely deep nose of meat, red and black cherry and little coffee, just a little (slightly worrying) woody note too. Gorgeous fat palate which was both meaty and fruity. Really super concentration, good acidity and fine tannins – but unfortunately cork taint started to dominate . . . . Based on this bottle I will be looking at this domaine much more closely.
2001 Domaine Fourrier, Griotte-Chambertin
This is medium/medium-plus cherry red. Quite a high toned nose, slightly floral, but despite the double decanting comes across as a little closed. The palate is anything but; lovely depth to the fruit and super balance. I’m so pleased I bought some of these after an en-primeur tasting in January this year!
2001 Domaine des Chézeaux, Griotte-Chambertin
Deep cherry red colour. Beautiful pure red fruits on the nose – raspberry and deep red cherry. A deep, concentrated cherry palate too – this is gorgeous – lovely acidity and nice tannins that finish with a little graininess. Long and creamy finish with super length. Excellent.
2000 Domaine des Chézeaux, Griotte-Chambertin
Almost as deep colour as the 2001 – still cherry red. Compared to the 2001 the nose starts a little more diffuse, however, given aeration a really penetrating cherry note comes through, overlaying a little cream. Really silky mouthfeel and lovely concentration, despite this, there’s a little of the 2001’s vibrancy missing – which you don’t notice if you taste them the other way round! I prefer the previous wine, but only by a degree of course, this is still very good.
2000 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium cherry red. The nose is sweet with warm red fruits – one of the rare wines in this line-up to show griottes! Rich and fat this wine shows beautiful red fruit, lovely acidity and medium, relatively refined tannin. A finish which I would describe as long in most line-ups, but merely average in this company. Whilst very primary, there is a drinkability about the wine which makes it ‘moreish’ today, but my remaining two bottles will have to wait at least until their 10th birthdays for the next viewing.
2000 Domaine Fourrier, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium cherry colour. Again a high toned, slightly floral nose complimenting a red cherry base. Tasted together with Drouhin’s and Chézeaux’s 2000, this wine is less obviously fat, but it seems that there is a slightly mineral expression. Very pure with just a trace of astringency to the tannin. A beautifully pure and balanced 2000.
1999 Domaine des Chézeaux, Griotte-Chambertin
Similar colour to the 2000. The nose is quite reserved but similar style to how the 2000 develops. The palate shows perfectly delineated red fruits with fine acidity. There’s more than enough concentration to buffer the tannins. Despite the reserved presentation this is a 1999 that you could drink today but that would be such a waste. The flavours linger beautifully . . .
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium cherry red colour. The nose is dense and tight, still with some oak apparent. Very concentrated palate with good acidity and very refined tannins. Superb length too, but this wine is as tight as a drum – definitely not a wine for drinking now. Will be superb in another 10 years.
1998 Domaine des Chézeaux, Griotte-Chambertin
Perhaps a little deeper colour than the previous wines, still cherry at the rim. Just a little more complexity on the nose, there’s a musky undergrowth to the cherry and raspberry fruit. The tannins are more drying – in fact very drying – but they are finely grained. Given the texture and concentration of the fruit I’m not really concerned about the tannins – though I think you will always know they are there. The finish is a good one, there’s even an unusual orange note. A concentrated, interesting and very young wine.
1998 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium ruby with a cherry red colour at the rim. The nose is of red berries and a cedar note which grows with time. Lovely silky texture – more so than the 1999, though not instantly apparent there’s super fruit concentration – it’s just so well balanced with the acidity. Some slightly rasping tannin on the long and creamy finish – not quite as long as the 1999, but this wine is much more forward and drinkable. Lovely.
1997 Domaine des Chézeaux, Griotte-Chambertin
The shade is less deep than the 1998 – closer to that of the other wines – just fading a little at the rim. The nose is (for the first time) quite earthy, takes some aeration to coax the fruit from the glass, when it comes it’s a little more roasted than the other wines; a cherry tart rather than fresh cherries. A lovely fat and luxurious palate. Pure extract of fruit – no roast notes here. The tannins are very well covered by the extract. This wine is enchantingly long with flavours that go on and on, perhaps even better than the 1999.
1997 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Two bottles in two months – only one left now. Medium-plus ruby at the core still showing some cherry red at the rim. The nose is understated with red berry fruit and floral elements. Similarly beautiful texture to the 1998 but without the tannic rasp on the finish. Fat with concentrated redcurrant and cherry fruit. Good acidity and refined tannins that only show on the long finish. The double decanting did the trick as this showed in much more exuberant fashion to the last bottle. Lovely now and still a long life ahead.
1996 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium ruby colour. The nose shows a little more wood than any other wine here, but there’s also a deep, deep fruit compote to fall into. The palate has superbly concentrated red fruit with excellent acidity for balance. Fine tannins and a long finish. This is excellent and a long way from the start of its mature phase – needs at least another 5 years.
1995 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium-plus ruby colour – the most opaque wine of the whole series. Whilst not as forward as the 1998 the nose has a slightly blacker impression to the fruit. Really concentrated, fat palate. Perfect acidity and fine tannins, though these are perhaps not as fine as in the 1996. This is a very impressive wine which I (just) prefer to the 1996.
1994 Domaine des Chézeaux, Griotte-Chambertin
This was the first year for elevage of Griotte by René Leclerc. Medium-plus colour, fading to amber at the rim. The nose starts a little diffuse, With extra aeration the wine gives up a creamy red fruit compote set against a faintly earthy background. Silky texture with good acidity and fine mouth coating tannin. The concentration is still in the ascendant. Just starting to come into it’s drinking window. A lovely Griotte and another very fine 1994.
1994 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Mature looking medium ruby. The nose is wide if not deep with a lovely focused note of raisins and stewing griottes – not cooked though – quite lovely. The palate doesn’t have the depth of many here, but with food has more than enough fat, good acidity and tannins which could still run for a few more years. Yet another example of an excellent ‘off vintage’ wine from this climat. This was a super wine with food.
1993 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium ruby with some colour development towards the rim. Understated, almost closed nose – just a little red fruit. Lovely weight to the concentration – vying with 1995 here. Just a little more acidity and very fine and smooth tannins. Still far too young. I think this just gets the nod over the 1995 – but it’s a close call!
1993 Domaine Ponsot, Griotte-Chambertin
The only wine not decanted – and didn’t it show; Medium-plus ruby with a trace of amber at the rim. For around 15 minutes this wine had absolutely no perceptible smell – eventually a beautiful pure redcurrant and griotte nose came through, all the while increasing in intensity. Perfect acidity and slightly rasping tannins which subsided with time. There is understated red fruit of medium concentration that lingers well but not much more that I can add. Unfortunately this wine was ‘sacrificed’ – doesn’t seem to have the class or the concentration of the wines above or ’93 Drouhin wine, but it is closed tight shut so I’ll reserve judgement for another day. Requires at least 2 hours in a decanter or better still 3-5 more years somewhere cold and dark – still I’ve got two more chances of getting this right!
1992 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Medium ruby with amber towards the rim. Again an understated red fruit nose with a little coffee and cedar. Absolutely nothing understated once the glass touches your lips; big red cherry fruit assaults the palate – after the exceptional 1993 the flavours are perhaps a little diffuse. There’s almost good acidity and medium, slightly grainy tannin. Neither the fat nor the extra length of many here, but drinking now, and supremely elegant. Probably the best 1992 I’ve tasted and no rush to drink up.
1991 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
The colour is a little more developed than the 1993. Deep nose of more roasted red fruits. The fruit comes through as roasted on the palate too. Fine concentration and fat allied to very good acidity and lovely, still drying tannins. Again a wine that is still very young. Nice if you have it!
1991 Domaine Ponsot, Griotte-Chambertin
The weather was hot, so this wine overnighted in the fridge before being decanted. I left it in the decanter for an hour before drinking by which time it had already warmed up to 14/15°C. A medium-plus ruby core but moving to amber at the rim. Initially the nose gave a fabulous blast of bloody and aging tertiary fruit notes, then it started to close up giving only a cedar aroma – at this point I was starting to worry about taint. In the mouth there was lovely volume, just a little grain to the end of the tannins and lingering acidity, however, there are also waves of roast fruit and meat flavours that cling to your palate. Atypical in delivery, but very impressive none-the-less. The problem was that the suspicion of taint didn’t leave me for the first glass, so the wine that wasn’t fully enjoyed as I spent most of the while thinking; ‘what would this wine be like if . . . . ‘ In the end the day was saved, the cedar note receded to be replaced by raspberry jam and chocolate notes.
1990 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
A wine that I certainly enjoyed, decadent and voluptuous, but perhaps a little over-ripe and at this stage not really showing as Griotte. A deep core of ruby red, fading, but barely to the rim. The nose starts nicely rounded with high flowery notes at the top, reasonable fruity depth and some complexity providing the width – the depth improves with more time in the glass giving raspberry and a slightly meaty note, slowly starts to show some Griotte character. Gorgeous soft texture, super sweet fruit – perhaps too sweet – and completely buried tannins. A long, long finish with just a hint of bitterness 2 minutes(!) into the finish – but this is transient. Personally I find this wine a bit too 1990 and not enough Griotte – I’d rather have 1993, 1995, 1996 or 1999 in the cellar – but wouldn’t be too unhappy if I had some of this 🙂
1989 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
We are finally starting to see some maturity in these wines: Medium ruby with an amber rim. Not pronounced, but a beautifully understated nose to fall into; red fruits, caramel, coffee and a touch of licorice too. Despite finely concentrated fruit, acidity and still prominent, drying tannins, the palate seems a little ‘flat’ after the 1991 – a super finish though. In retrospect perhaps this is still a little too young. Still very fine, but it’s up against stiff competition here.
1985 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Quite a dense colour but browner at the rim. When first smelled there was a pronounced red fruit compote nose – one hour later (and around three since opening) it is less fruity and a little more estery – for me, less interesting. Retains it’s beauty in the mouth though! Gorgeous texture and lovely acidity to compliment palate coating fruit and very smooth, drying tannins. In the context of this tasting, only medium-plus length to the finish but ‘ready’ and very hedonistic.
1976 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
This wine actually pre-dates by 5 years Drouhin’s purchase of their holding in Griotte-Chambertin. Medium ruby, but a deep core of colour – less brown and indeed younger looking than the 1985. Deep nose that was also more pronounced and interesting an hour earlier. The texture is not quite so splendid as the ’85. There is more acidity and tannin, but also a longer and more interesting finish. This is delicious, very, very tasty. No need to rush your drinking either!
1999 Domaine des Chézeaux, Clos Saint Denis Vieilles Vignes
Deeply coloured cherry red, right to the rim. The nose has good depth with a laser-like focus of black cherry running through the middle, dried fruits also in evidence. Superb intensity on the palate – this is special. The fruit just keeps on going through the achingly long finish. Perfect acidity and tannins that you hardly notice – buy every bottle that you can find!
2000 Domaine des Chézeaux, Clos Saint Denis Vieilles Vignes
Quite deep cherry red. The nose is sweet and fat, very red cherry and super depth too. The fat is also there on the palate, not the intense concentration of the 1999, but intense all the same – but that’s the vintage. This is super, and certainly Grand Cru quality, well balanced and for much earlier drinking than the 1999 – but no rush.
2000 Domaine des Chézeaux, Chambertin
From 40+ year old vines. Disappointingly pale. Medium ruby, only the merest trace of cherry red hinting that this is not already 10 years old. With aeration there’s nice complexity on the high-toned nose. The palate has some sweetness, almost good acidity, and a little harsh wood on the finish. For sure there’s quite a lot going on in the mouth, for sure this is a still a very good wine, and for sure it’s better than many wines bearing the same label – but for my money this inferior to both the Griotte and Clos Saint Denis in 2000.
1971 Dudet-Naudin, Corton Marechaudes
Lovely pale-medium ruby colour. The nose starts a little reduced, cheesy and not quite right – gradually shows better. Nice fat palate though the acidity is a little spikey. Although past its best, there’s still a lot of wine here and will surely fade only slowly. Not fantastic, but quite interesting and enjoyable.
1997 Maison Blanche, Chablis Vaudesir
Yellow colour. Minerally, lemon nose. Much fatter than J-M Boillot’s Puligny, but less mineral than the nose suggested. The acidity is excellent and there’s a trace of nuttyness. Long but no complexity. I’d say that this is still very young. Very good today, could become excellent in time.
1997 J-M Brocard, Chablis Les Clos
Paler yellow. Some oak notes and higher flowery tones. Compared to the previous wine, the palate here, is a little ‘thinner’ and ‘dirtier’ – hopefully the oak artifact will fade. Medium citrussy length. Could improve as the oak fades, but seems much less classy than the previous wine.
1997 Domaine Parent, Corton
One of the rare white Corton’s i.e. one made on soil normally producing red wines. Still it’s the land that is classed as Grand Cru so this also carries that tag despite not being from the ‘Charlemagne’ area. The first bottle was quite interesting in a thin, mineral sort of way but betrayed a little taint and was absolutely not of Grand Cru quality. So bottle number two is golden in colour. The nose is deep and totally different to bottle number one, perhaps just the merest trace of oxidation – perhaps not it’s very faint – maybe it’s just the mix of nuts and faint cheese (better than it sounds) that seems to be there. The palate is very fat, perhaps needs just a lift more of acidity, but there’s interesting high toned fruit and is long too – though just a little bitterness and yes now I think there is some oxidation. Given the slight nutty oxidative note I’d say this wine is not for keeping. A very interesting wine, and in terms of density it’s worthy of Grand Cru status – but it’s a world away from the following wine.
1997 Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne
Paler gold. Nose starts very closed, gradually a lemony note comes through just hinting at something deeper, the lemon becomes more lime with time. No fireworks on the nose but there’s a blast on the palate; perfect acidity and a true multidimensional palate. Very long too. I’d say this is both excellent and very young. I just might look to top the cellar up with a few more of these!
1997 Bruno Clair, Corton-Charlemagne
Compared to Bruno’s Marsannay the colour seems okay, a pale gold colour. The nose has lots of depth, a little more oak than is necessary, but the fruit has a creamy edge. With time the oak fades and the pineapple fruit comes more to the fore, a little caramel too. The fruit is concentrated, even intense. Good length, even a coconut element which makes for added interest. A very good wine then, though not quite to the level of Bonneau du Martray’s. Will obviously continue to improve.
1998 Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne
Light yellow. The nose doesn’t burst from the glass quite like the 1997 currently does. With time and swirling you can coax out a little sugar coated pineapple. The mildly oaky palate has good acidity, understated concentration and a finish that builds and builds – I expect the opposite with Corton-Charlemagne! Seemed fatter with the langoustine and not bad with the goat’s cheese. Overall a bit disappointing

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