FEED | SEARCH://
               Why Big Red Diary?

Round-up of wines tasted

wine testing
No slurping or spitting!

No slurping and spitting; these wines were (in the main) really drunk, and mostly at home with food and friends between July 2005 and October 2005. …

Corkwatch: 4 from 104 = 3.8% for ‘corked’ – best result for a while, apart from 2 being La Tâche!

REGIONAL WINES
2004 Albert Bichot, Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes
In this case VV indicating vines older than 20 years, it’s the first year for this cuvée. Very cheap looking cork – but smells sweet enough. Medium-pale cherry-red. The nose starts very green – like a early-malo wine – all green pea rather than a lack of ripeness. Slowly the shade turns more red, never quite losing that green edge though. The palate is quite clean, some sweetness, nice acidity and a perceptible dryness to the medium tannins – they are quite fine tannins though. While it is possible to find better Bourgognes, at it’s price-point (~6€) it’s stunning value and a little more ‘classic’ than the 2003’s that follow.
2003 Bouchard Père et Fils, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Medium-plus cherry-red. Obviously about 03 on the nose, with deep liqueur cherry. Nice mouthfeel – plenty of velvety tannin, long finishing for a bourgogne with a fruit-colour that just hints toward black – high-toned mid-palate, reasonable freshness too. Recommended.
2003 Chanson Père et Fils, Le Bourgogne
Medium-plus cherry-red. The nose is very 2003, forward red and black cherry liqueur. Well concentrated, chocolatey, shaded to black fruit, slightly drying, but not too grainy tannin with good sweetness. Another highly recommended 2003 bourgogne. I’ve bought a few more for the summer months to come!
2002 David Duband, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Cuvée Louis Auguste
Medium, medium-pale ruby red. The nose starts with plenty of red berries and a slightly graphite background, holds nicely for an hour or so then slowly closes leaving only a sweet red core. Light bodied with nicely detailed red berry fruit, redcurrant, and lovely balancing acidity. There’s real style here, but you have to be prepared for a wine that’s less dense than most other bourgognes.
2003 Vincent Girardin, Bourgogne Emotion de Terroirs
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose starts quite 2003 in style, but gradually becomes a little more high/toned with violets. Good density and concentration. The tannins retain a little fur, the fruit being diffuse but mainly red. The acidity is just enough. Another impressive 03 bourgogne, even if the last glass seems a little tiring to drink. Poorer value vs the Bouchard, Giroud and Chanson.
2003 Camille Giroud, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
A recurring bottle over the summer, ~6 so-far, this wine has been very consistent. Sweet, stewing cherries on the nose with that characteristic hint of 2003 in the background. Fresh, with sweetness coming from the ripe fruit and a little burst on the mid-palate. Grainy but fun tannin – continues to shine at this price-point.
2003 Bernard Dugat-Py, Bourgogne
Medium-plus cherry-red. The nose reminds of walking into a barrel cellar, very young red fruit, tinged with black and mixed with a strong vanilla component. Concentrated to a level way above regional wine, good texture and good enough acidity. Roughly medium-length creamy fruit – if it was any longer you might guess 1er cru. Bravo!
2002 David Duband, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits
Pale-medium yellow in colour. The nose betrays some oak on opening, but 10 minutes later this is well to the background, then shows a nice blend of high tones, a little white blossom and a sweet but subtle pear note. Well balanced with good acidity and a very round and smooth personality. Medium finish with just a little burst of high-toned fruit. Lean, smooth and understated but very well made. This would make an excellent house wine. In the context of ‘Burgundy’ this is fine value, in the context of a faintly oak-based Chablis (which it resembles) then it is ‘only’ very good value – that’s a compliment by the way…
2004 Bouchard Père et Fils, Bourgogne Chardonnay
Pale lemon-yellow. The nose is subdued and faintly sweet and citrussy. The palate is fresh and clean, with good acidity. There is not so much to this wine in terms of depth of flavour or intensity, but neither is there much to criticise given the price-point. Almost good, ‘for what it is’.
2004 Evelyne Gagnerot, Bourgogne Blanc
Already rather advanced colour – medium golden. The nose starts a little sherbety, but soon becomes more subdued and subtle. Instantly this is very drinkable, the acidity is a little harsh and perhaps a little unripe, but there’s just about sufficient sweetness to buffer – like sucking on a grapefruit, but very refreshing. The last half of the bottle was left overnight in the fridge and became almost undrinkable – now like sucking a lemon! I didn’t dislike the first mouthfuls but in no way could recommend what followed – I would get this drunk this over the next 12 months.
1997 Pierre et Marc Guillemot-Michel, Bourgogne Blanc
Medium golden. The nose still shows, indeed is dominated by, toasty bread notes, some sweet high-toned fruit peeks from behind. This is sweet from the ripe fruit with medium density to compliment a medium length finish. Made in clean and tasty style that’s still fresh as a daisy. Nice wine.
2002 Denis Mortet, Bourgogne Blanc
Medium yellow. The nose starts sweet, heavy and a little soapy. Very good density for a bourgogne with a ripe sweetness on the palate – quite a bit of material here. The finish is reasonably long but there’s a hint of something oxidised – almost like a sweet 10 year-old! Two hours after opening there’s no trace of that oxidised note and the wine is excellent for it’s level. Excellent bourgogne, but I’d be just a little concerned by that opening impression so wouldn’t leave them hanging around in the cellar too long.

VILLAGE WINES
2004 Domaine d’Ardhuy, Gevrey-Chambertin
Bottled in September. A little tight, but still gives up ripe blue and red-skinned fruit on the nose. The palate is nicely put together, well balanced and mouthwatering with quite a fine tannic base. A well-crafted villages.
2004 Domaine d’Ardhuy, Nuits Saint Georges
Bottled in September. From a south-facing slope very close to Les Argillières. The nose is also a little tight, though pure cherry fruit is evident. In the mouth there’s a darker aspect to the presentation – very good tannins and fine acidity. There’s lots of material here – a very high quality villages.
2002 Bouchard Père, Vosne-Romanée
Medium cherry-red colour. High toned nose shows a disconcerting musty edge for the first 30 minutes, but does eventually leave the scene. Sweet raspberry is the main aspect remaining on the rather ‘thin’ nose. The palate is sweet and elegant, nicely balanced though not very concentrated. The tannins are a little grainy, but you need to hold the wine in your mouth to find them. Tasty and elegant, with good length. Elegance over concentration here, but eventually a very enjoyable wine for all that.
2003 Pascal Chevigny, Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes
Deep colour with a purple rim. The nose settles to bright red cherry with an edge of red berry fruit over a deeper, bubbling base. The fruit on the palate easily cuts through a swathe of tannin. There’s good concentration and it’s very enjoyable. It still comes over as cool and burgundian rather than hot and bothered. Frankly I expect it’s a wine for the short to medium term as the tannin could dominate if the fruit recedes. It’s been a bit of a crowd pleaser for guests at home this summer – particularly those shiraz lovers…
1964 Maison Faiveley, Vosne-Romanée
Pale amber colour though there’s still some redness at the core. Estery and leathery nose that retains sweetness and a high-tone fruit element. Plenty of acidity and a rather slender figure to be sure, but the texture is still good and there is a more-than interesting length. A wine that is still alive and despite the acidity becoming dominant it is interesting and still quite drinkable – provided you keep away from the considerable sediment!
2003 Domaine Harmand-Geoffrey, Gevrey-Chambertin
Deep cherry-red colour. The nose is high-toned and just a little linear, the faint cherry fruit is edged with peppery notes. Drunk directly following Bernard Dugat-Py’s 2003 Bourgogne, there is good texture, but not so good as the Bourgogne, there is depth but not the concentration or perhaps the ripeness of the bourgogne, however, there is an extra burst of black fruit interest in this wine as it enters the finish. The finish does not quite a match the bourgogne for length. So 3-1 to the bourgogne? Not exactly, at ~15 Euros in the Leclerc supermarket this was less than half the price of the Dugat-Py Bourgogne – a sound, clean & tasty wine of some value.
2002 Michel et Jean-Pierre Guyon, Vosne-Romanée
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose bears a striking family resemblance to the same domaine’s Echézeaux, dark cherry, lots of barrel-spice but no obvious toasty oak notes. Very good acidity that’s balanced with fresh but concentrated cherry fruit. Good length, just a little grain to the tannin too. Well-made and tasty.
1999 Michel Lafarge, Volnay
Medium young ruby core with a cherry rim. High-toned soaring nose of ripe cherry/cranberry and a hint of redcurrant – really super. The palate is very fresh – the acidity is certainly to the fore – but with a silky texture and density that seems to be just about enough to come round with time vs the structure. I’m a lover of the fresh, slightly acidic style but still found this bottle a bit of a challenge. I suspect that it will come round and if that’s the case it should be a wonderful villages given the super aromatics – leave it another 3-5 years before revisiting. If you want a surer bet though, you could always try the next wine…
1999 Michel Lafarge, Volnay Selectionées
Like the ‘simpler’ Lafarge villages, this wine has a personality quite different to the others; it’s not the easiest drink right now, whereas all the others could, to my taste, be amply enjoyed. The colour is rather deep, a core of ruby-red that fades only slightly to the rim. Wide and fresh nose, red in complexion, deep red, eventually bordering on sweet blackcurrant. Fresh, linear, but well concentrated palate – very good – mouth watering acidity. I’d leave this another 5 years in the cellar, and will probably buy a few more.
2002 Nicolas Potel, Pommard
Medium-plus cherry red. The nose is quite forward, initially black shaded – cherry and olive – then a violet note starts coming through. The palate starts a little tight, but is very well balanced with sweetness from the ripe fruit, drying tannins that show themselves only if you hold the wine in your mouth and forward but well mannered acidity. This wine was a bit of a bargain at ~13 Euro – so I had to invest in a six-pack.
1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Vieilles Vignes
I’ve one superb and one really good Potel 1er Cru from Potel in 99 (Clos des Chênes and En Chevret), time to see how the villages is getting on. Medium-plus ruby-red colour to a watery rim. The nose is dominated at the start by toasty oak – unusual for a Potel wine – though slowly this goes through a caramel stage before it majors on the fruit: beautiful, clear red berries before becoming rather indistinct. Fresh and quite intense though I think there is still rather a lot of oak on the palate where it’s the most likely the source of those grainy tannins. There’s plenty of material here but I’m not 100% sure it will eventually overcome the ‘muddying’ effect of the wood – after-all it’s already 4 years since release. Still, however, I managed to enjoy it to the last drop.
2001 Armand Rousseau, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium, medium-pale ruby-red colour. High tones, a distinct raspberry character and a cedar-oak background, quite wide and interesting. The palate is a shade less than medium bodied but has a lovely seam of acidity running through. The tannin has a hint of dryness and grain, but only a hint. A real treat after a few 2003’s, and this is less dense than many ’03 Bourgognes, but this a lovely lacy wine by comparison with super aromas that are held in the empty glass – I’ll buy a couple more.
2002 Armand Rousseau, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium cherry-red colour. The nose soars, high-toned and fresh, with violets and cherry-skinned fruit over toast from the creamy oak base. Some fat, fresh red-shaded fruit on the palate with a creamy texture. This is, at best, only medium weight, but there’s super purity and detail, the fruit is really quite punchy on the mid-palate. I prefer the finish on the 2001 but this presents itself really well – I’ll also buy a couple more of these. One negative from the last drops; the nose becomes quite estery and not that pleasant – quite a contrast to the 2001.
1999 René Tardy, Nuits St.Georges
Smells estery for a couple of minutes before being overwhelmed with cork! No spare.
2004 Domaine d’Ardhuy, Puligny-Montrachet
A forward and fruity nose that majors on pear whilst retaining some elegance. Ripe (~13.7°), the acidity is fine as it rolls you into a very nice fruity finish. The mid-palate is a little subdued by comparison, but this is a fine villages Puligny and I will probably buy a few bottles.
2001 Jean Boillot et Fils, Puligny-Montrachet
Medium golden colour. Lots of oak on the nose, toasted bread, very savoury. The palate hints at an ever-improving waxy, soft texture, good acidity and a very good, savoury length. The intensity is above average for the appellation, giving a nice round feeling in the mouth. Today it’s a little too oak driven for my own taste, but this half-bottle was still sunk quite quickly after a hot game of ping-pong! I’d leave it another 2-3 years before revisiting, as all the material is present for a very above average village wine.
1996 Jean-Claude Boisset, Puilly-Fuissé
Medium golden colour. The nose is sweet, some high-tones, quite pleasant. Super acidity, good intensity and medium length. A lovely refreshing drink and no rush to finish – surprisingly good.
2003 Vincent Dauvisat, Chablis
A young looking medium-pale yellow. The nose initially borders on the exotic with a little added caramel. Given time the nose becomes purer, still sweet, with nice high tones and shades of green-skinned apples. I’d describe the palate as rather mute and one dimensional following the Denis Mortet Bourgogne Blanc, but given the sweetness of the Mortet perhaps that was no surprise. Time shows a well concentrated finish and good-enough acidity though I would have preferred more. Almost good, but not on my re-purchase list.
2002 Michel Niellon, Chassagne-Montrachet
Medium-pale yellow. Nicely forward nose of well integrated oak and pineapple. Quite dense, but there’s good balance to this wine, the ripeness of the fruit giving quite a sweet complexion – really enjoyed.
2001 Michel Niellon, Chassagne-Montrachet
Medium golden colour. In contrast to the 2002 this is much more reticent on the nose but offers a much more complex mix. The density is almost to the same level as the 2002, though this time it’s delivered in a much more understated way, perhaps a more silky delivery too. Again nicely balanced and very tasty.
2002 Charton & Trebuchet, Saint-Romain
Medium yellow colour. High-toned, shades of spearmint and a fainter honeyed depth. The palate has bracing acidity – only just sufficient buffering fruit extract to bring into balance. Medium finishing. This is a very clean an crisp wine, but comes close to losing balance due to the forward acidity, given that (with time) the fruit is only going the wane I would look to drink these by the end of next summer.

1er CRU WINES
1997 Guy Amiot, Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Saint Jean
Medium-minus ruby-red colour. Fresh nose that’s surprisingly tight for the vintage. Much more depth than the nose would suggest, clean, sweet and ripe flavours that open out on the mid-palate before fading into a nice medium-length finish that shows a lovely redcurrant note. Hard to fault, but it’s only the finish that holds the interest.
1999 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay Champans
Medium-plus ruby-red colour. It takes a while in the glass to start becoming interesting – I’d recommend at least 45 minutes in a decanter if drinking now. The nose just gets better and better, as the wine is finished ~90 minutes after opening there is a really lovely blend of red and black fruit and a faint high-toned floral backing. It’s certainly both concentrated and mouthwatering, but the acidity in this bottle still doesn’t quite even-out before the last drop is drunk – it’s a little harsh. Good if not great length and young but well-textured tannins. So, great nose, lots of material, but a little coarse on this showing.
1999 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay Fremiets
Medium ruby-red. A trace of mustiness on opening, but wide, open and fresh red fruitiness thereafter. Medium-plus intensity, mostly in the mid-palate onwards, and again very nice freshness. Frankly rather simple after the previous three wines but, in isolation, tasty with a youthful vivacity. The length is average in this company, but a nice wine to have at under 30 Euros. Rather like the wine from Guyon, in any vintage other than 99, very fine, but in 99 only above average!
1999 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay Clos des Ducs
Medium-plus ruby-red with a cherry-red rim. The nose starts broad and brawny, slipping for a moment into bright red berries before settling into a medium intensity mix of sweet coffee inflected red cherry, some higher tones continue to evolve. Almost painful intensity of high-toned fruit – very, very impressive! Good acidity and very good tannins though not so svelte as those in de Montilles’ Les Mitans. Great length – a King in waiting – I think the next test shouldn’t be before 2012.
2004 Domaine d’Ardhuy, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Peiullets
Bottled in September. The nose has sweet, forward primary fruit – plenty of floral aspects too. Concentrated, some fat coupled with sweet, very ripe fruit (~14%). Despite the high alcohol it’s not a bruiser of a wine, coming across as quite balanced. Modern, fruit-driven but excellently executed.
2004 Domaine d’Ardhuy, Pommard Les Fremiets
Bottled in September. A nose of purest fruit, linear yet still quite forward. This is also quite ripe, but has both a good texture and a very fine length – not flabby or warm finishing despite the ripeness. Very well made again.
2004 Domaine d’Ardhuy, Vosne-Romanée Les Chaumes
Bottled in September. I was tempted not to include this as I’d like it all for myself! A reticent nose that needs quite some coaxing from the glass – it’s worth the effort though. This is one of those transparent and haunting noses that stay in the glass long after you drain it – very lovely. Real concentration on the palate, just a little fat, with flavours that are exquisitely precise. This is a really lovely wine – warmly recommended, provided there’s enough left for me.
2003 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits Saint Georges Clos de l’Arlot
Medium colour. Initially not an obvious 03 nose, it retains the hallmarks of the rest of its family, high-toned fresh fruit, and a hint of coffee mixed with the smoky notes. Also the palate is quite fresh and concentrated, but without the ponderous effects often seen in 03. Architypal 03 finish that is about concentrated dry-extract rather than elegance. Very good for the vintage.
2002 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits Saint Georges Clos de l’Arlot
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. Tight but still fresh and high-toned. Slowly gives up a more creamy depth. Lovely mouthfeel, really silky, well-balanced and elegant. Very complex and long. The tannins stay on your teeth to remind you of the experience – now a nice floral aspect is developing in the glass too. Lovely.
2001 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits Saint Georges Clos de l’Arlot
Medium colour. The nose is denser than the other l’Arlots, more plummy and mature, hints of rose petal – atypical fruit profile. Apparently the wine was like this since it was in barrel – the domaine were a little concerned, but as the wine continues to remained stable they are less and less worried about it tumbling into early maturity. It seems less precise than the other wines but has a nice ‘gras’ and mouthfeel. Atypical l’Arlot, a nice wine but I prefer the clarity and precision of the previous bottles.
2003 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits Saint Georges Clos des Fôrets Saint Georges
Medium-plus cherry-red. A little tighter, more linear and darker shaded than the l’Arlot. Lots of action on the palate, bulkier with more tannin, brighter fruit in the background. Again the weight of dry extract on the finish. A good wine, but I still prefer the l’Arlot in this vintage
2002 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits Saint Georges Clos des Fôrets Saint Georges
Medium, medium-plus colour. Dark and deep in character with a faintly spicy edge. There is a higher level of tannin, though velvety, and extra dimensions of dark fruit on the palate. Well balanced, though certainly more masculine in style. Good length and interesting aspect to the acidity as it seems to ‘melt’ the tannins in the finish – a very interesting and impressive wine.
2001 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits Saint Georges Clos des Fôrets Saint Georges
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. Starts a little tight and diffuse, taking a few minutes to develop more depth and with it precise red & black cherry fruit. More delicate and precise that the 01 l’Arlot. Lots of complexity, and good acidity – this is a seriously lovely wine and beautifully presented in 2001.
1998 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras
Medium ruby-red – looks lovely in the glass. The nose is very tight, hints of marzipan, red fruit and a high-toned estery note – not that nice. It’s a concentrated wine, but equally there’s plenty of (currently) astringent tannin that has a trace of bitterness about it. The acidity is also on quite a high level. Returning after an hour there is a little more balance, both the tannin and the acidity are in more harmony with the fruit – I must say though that it never quite became ‘charming’.
1999 Bouchard Père et Fils, Volnay Caillerets Ancient Cuvée Carnot
Deep ruby core, still just a hint of cherry at the rim. The nose is dominated by wood when first opened, taking around 30 minutes to start showing coffee and caramel tones. Another hour shows roasting red fruits and gradually higher tones. The palate has first-class texture, acidity that lingers and super length that has a touch of creamy black cherry about it. Not the outright density of the very best, but it’s borne in a very impressive way. Today still far too much wood obscuring its ‘Volnay-ness’ – should be coming round in another 10 years or so.
2002 Bernard Dugat-Py, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles
Deep cherry-red. The nose shows a really intense redcurrant and cranberry note – very impressive – as I was expecting an attack of oak. The palate has structure, but the tannins are completely covered by the high-quality fruit. The level of extract is higher than some grand crus, what is missing in such a comparison is the complexity. For all that, this is a splendidly dense – but balanced – village wine, I’d be really interested to revisit this in 10 years to see what awaits. It’s only a shame that it costs more than many grand crus!
1999 Maurice Ecard, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Narbantons
Medium ruby-red. Lots of funk on the nose to start, but slowly an rather fetching red-berry note starts to dominate. The palate is quite linear with a tight presentation of red-framed fruit swept allonge on really good acidity. Medium length and no obvious grab from the tannin. Just a little closed, but the overall effect was positive. A good wine.
Domaine Jean Grivot, Nuits Saint Georges Les Pruliers
Medium ruby-red, just starting to take an amber shade at the rim of the glass. A sweet, meaty nose that takes quite some time to reveal a red-fruit cocktail above the savoury tones. The texture is almost good, though the tannins are still quite forward, if velvety. The acidity is prominent though not unduly so. Certainly in an ‘awkward phase’, I’d suggest waiting another 3 years before revisiting.
1999 Antonin Guyon, Volnay Clos des Chênes
Deep ruby with virtually no fading. High tones and low, even a green fruit note against a creamy background. Very fresh palate with a wonderfully creamy depth to the fruit – not the ultimate that 99 can offer, but in any other vintage quite profound. The tannin is held to the background by the extract and the very fine, creamy length, still with a trace of oak. Just a little disappointing on the nose, but still top of the class in any year but 99.
1999 des Comtes Lafon, Volnay Santenots-du Milieu
Deep colour and still very-much cherry-red. The nose starts very tight, slowly adding weight to provide primary cherry fruit with a faint edge of oak toast. A couple of hours after opening there is a very pleasant and truly Volnay impression. Crushing intensity and powerful, velvety, tannins that are 90% covered by the fruit. Good acidity. This is a higher-toned, less obviously sweet rendition of Volnay that, despite it’s concentration, is a little less ‘burly’ than most others, still some oak too. An hour after opening, there’s even an element of friendliness! Very good length, though not quite in the vein of the Clos des Ducs. Certainly the wine that will require longest in the cellar; given how young a recent 1990 tasted, I see no reason to consider drinking this before 2015.
2001 Domaine Hubert Lamy, Saint-Aubin Les Castets
A bright medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose is a mix of both red and black cherry skins, quite high tones with a few estery traces. The palate is fresh and intense, sour-cherry is the main theme. Long but rather austere. It’s clean, very balanced, no real angles but anyway somehow tart – that sour-cherry thing again. One of those wines that dovetails with food but is somewhat harder without – leave another three years before revisiting.
1999 de Montille, Volnay Les Mitans
Medium-plus cherry-red colour – looks very young. The nose, save for a few higher tones, is a dead ringer for the Potel Mitans. This was a wine that was a little disjointed and very soft to start with, but really tightened-up and came good after 30 minutes. The palate is much more understated; great texture – the tannins are much finer – the mid-palate is quite soft (reminds me of Geantet-Pansiot), there is good intensity and a very sneaky length. Much more understated than the Potel rendition, each have there place, but typically I would plump for the chunkier Potel – but then I like Pommard!
2001 Georges Mugneret, Chambolle-Musigny les Feusselottes
Medium colour, that halfway-house between cherry and ruby. Deep and intense with a mineral, slightly spicy edge, the fruit is rather linear and red but still with real depth. Soft entry, but this wine has a bit of a peacocks tail, it just gets wider and wider with a lovely finish. It’s only medium density but has a lovely back-bone of acidity and you hardly notice the tannin.
2002 Georges Mugneret, Chambolle-Musigny les Feusselottes
Similar depth of colour to the 2001, but the shade is more cherry-red. A deep nose again, this time a little more coffee-infused with a hint of blood-orange – more things to find, but less focused. Very different style on the palate – the length of finish is comparable, but it’s no crescendo, this wine starts as it ends – full-speed – starting much wider than the 2001. The finish is long but currently a little saccharin. There’s just a little more material – but not necessarily better material. Today I’d much rather drink the 01 (it’s that saccharin thing, I also don’t like Cola-Lite), longer-term my cellar is keeping an open mind despite retaining an emphasis on 2001…
1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay En Chevret
Medium-plus cherry-red colour. A forward and stylish nose that is both wide and complex – high-toned red fruit and violets framed with caramel notes. Similar interest for the palate; if not the intensity of the top wines in the mouth then it matches for interest and complexity. The tannins are less elegant than some, but given the overall performance this is a minor quibble. A very lovely creamy finish. Excellent
1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Clos des Chênes
Medium-plus ruby-red with a cherry-red rim. The nose is wide, some sweet red-cherry and floral notes, slightly mineral too, but not so deep as some. Having had this wine a few times before, I really expected that it might better the Clos des Ducs and the Lafon wine – it’s very impressive, but doesn’t manage to raise the performance bar. Where the previous two wines combine amazing intensity with panoramic width, this one has the concentration but has a much tighter presentation – certainly a rounder shape and nicer texture for sure. The finish is a very good and shows hints of oak spice. Hard to compare as the personality is so different, but on this showing a little behind the top two.
1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Mitans
Medium-plus ruby-red with a cherry-red rim. The nose, despite starting in an understated way, still shows commendable depth and width. The fruit is red and black, quite dense but without any roast notes – slowly gives-up a more intense red-berry note. The palate is quite fresh, with really impressive intensity and length. The acidity is great and the tannins show quite a lot of grain. Very good length indeed. There’s a great future for this ebullient wine.
2002 Prieur-Brunet, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot
Medium cherry-red. A nose of red fruits, a shade of something green and a little caramel on standing. The palate has racy acidity, medium tannin but comes across as a little harsh and woody – perhaps the tannins have a bit of green about them. Good enough to drink but disappointing in the context of the ‘average’ 2002.
1999 Remoissenet Père et Fils, Volnay 1er Santenots
Medium-minus ruby-red colour. There’s a faintly savoury edge to the high-toned red fruit, even some orange tones and pine notes. No real excitement to start with, but gradually gains interest. The palate is fresh and red-shaded. Medium intensity fruit with medium well-grained tannins, slightly astringent. The acidity is almost good, coupling well to the sweet, medium-plus, stewed-tea finish. Very well balanced and nice enough wine, but it’s a little ‘flat’, and not close to the quality any of the other 1er Crus here. I’d rather drink the Lafarge village wines.
2002 Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. High toned, red and black cherry nose plus a little earthy undercurrent against a creamy oak background. Balanced, fresh and elegant with real intensity. Lovely silky palate. The finish is long with that creamy oak thing still apparent. Very lovely wine – and I mean very!
2002 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits Saint Georges Blanc 1er Clos de l’Arlot
From a steep section of 37 year-old vines in the Clos, mixed with 5% Pinot Gris also from the Clos. High-toned, sweet floral esters over a base of passion-fruit. Apparently this exotic aspect is very typical for the cuvée, taking 5-6 years to resemble a more typical white burgundy. Good mouthfeel, seems relatively low acidity but Olivier comments that it is ‘average’ and that the exotic aspects and richness are probably hiding it a little. An interesting extra dimension of flavour on the mid-palate, melting into a very interesting medium-length finish. Slowly takes on a more honeyed aspect in the glass. Seriously interesting, a Nuits version of Meursault Gouttes d’Or perhaps. Regarding longevity the domaine always assumed it was better to drink this wine on the younger side, but apparently wines from the late 80’s are very nice still.
1999 Bouchard Père, Meursault Perrières
Drank directly after Bertagna’s Charlemagne, which frankly towered above this Perrières! Pale yellow. The nose is rather tight, giving up a little fresh bread and very faintly minty high-toned fruit. Medium intensity but with a profile that expands into a good finish.. It’s very clean, with lovely acidity, your mouth subtly waters for at least a minute after swallowing. A very lovely wine – in isolation.
2000 Henri Clerc, Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières
Deep yellow. The nose is a little tight at first, but with real depth, hinting at peach and botrytis over a honeyed base. Viscous, dense palate that shows a real burst of intensity in the mid-palate. The acidity, likewise, comes with a bit of a burst. This is a dense, and currently slightly heavy wine that’s showing in a very young way. Should be very good, but needs 4-8 years before revisiting.
1999 Michel Colin-Deleger, Chassagne-Montrachet En Remilly
More of a reflection than a tasting note as I wrote this a couple of days later. This followed both of the village Chassagnes from Niellon. The density appeared no more than the two villages wines, the nose showing higher tones and more complexity. Where this wine really differed was the delivery – really lovely acidity and a silky palate combining to give a real extra dimension on the finish. Understated, but very classy.
2002 Benoit Ente, Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts
Oops – corked. Bottle 2: Surprisingly deep colour for such a young wine, mid-plus yellow. The nose is tight and a little honeyed. The palate is dense with quite some concentration, though initially seems to have some spritz. The fruit hints at alcoholic melon with a slightly toffee edge to it, relatively low acidity too. The finish is quite long but has a slightly harsh, barrel-induced edge. Starts off in quite an unfavourable way to my own preference and vastly overpriced vs its level of ‘Puligny-ness’. The nose certainly opens up with time, becoming much more interesting, the palate also takes on much more balance, but misses minerality; blind I would still guess it came from California.

GRAND CRU WINES
2002 Michel et Jean-Pierre Guyon, Echézeaux
A new domaine to me, but one that looks worth searching out. A medium-plus ruby red core in the glass. Hints of black olive compliment the black-skinned cherry fruit on the nose, some spicy pepper too. Medium density is the impression on the palate but wide and intense is the fruit on the mid-palate. Interesting and complex though the acidity finished just a little roughly at first – rounding with time in the glass. Medium, medium-plus length, complex and with some nice sweetness. Also very good Echézeaux!!
2002 Hudelot-Noellat, Clos de Vougeot
Medium-plus cherry-red. The nose is wide, but starts rather indistinct – black skinned fruit edged with vanilla slowly comes into focus – slowly tightening to show a meaty base. In the mouth this is a lithe and interesting wine that shows super balance and medium-plus length. Very good Clos de Vougeot!
2002 Hudelot-Noellat, Richebourg
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose is quite tight, meaty with aspects of black fruit but gives little away. You need to wait quite some time for more exuberance, precise red berry notes slowly emerge. Plenty of grainy tannins and super length are the first impression, but what’s missing is a little excitement. There’s still some oak apparent on the finish. Density certainly, good mouth-feel and no easily spotted faults, but tonight it’s missing the spark.
2002 Hudelot-Noellat, Romanée Saint-Vivant
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. Both depth and width on the nose, mixing meaty and red berry notes, eventually coated with vanilla. Really super texture with density and acidity to match. Finally a slight rasp to the tannins as they fade into the spicy and very long finish. Yes, this is a real RSV – excellent.
1983 Hudelot-Noellat, Romanée Saint-Vivant
Excellent medium-plus colour, clear and bright, ruby cored with an amber edge. The nose initially disappoints majoring on sous-bois elements – slowly it builds meat then chocolate aspects before finally giving up spicy red fruit. On the palate acidity is the dominant aspect, still coupled to mouth wrapping tannins of some grain that dominates what fruit there is. There is one saving grace, the finish is very long and has a compelling raisin aspect to it. That the wine easily held-up in the glass, indeed improved over 2 hours, implies that this wine isn’t simply over-the-hill, rather that it was never a great wine – the fruit was perhaps never a match for the structure. An interesting, but ultimately disappointing wine.
2001 Georges Mugneret, Clos de Vougeot
Medium, medium-plus colour, pretty much transitions between cherry and ruby-red. A lovely nose, impressive in a sort of understated way; medium-sweet, precise red raspberry and berry fruits of lovely width, hints of cedar and finally caramel too. In the glass it gradually becomes creamier and rounder with high tones, more and more depth – impressive. In the mouth the wine is fresh, intense and perfectly showcases the texture of the 2001 tannins – super smooth and a different class to most 2002’s. Depth, intensity and tasteful oak on the creamy length. Top-class 2001 and very drinkable – I’m stocking-up.
2002 Dr Georges Mugneret, Echézeaux
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. High-toned, a pure core of red-cherry perfume that’s under-pinned with subtle spice, swirling accentuates the spice. Ripe tannins and intense red-fruit compete with acidity that needs a little taming. Tons of complexity and purity, fading from the mid-palate burst into the medium-plus-length finish. No shrinking violet this one, but the quality is quite apparent – save for at least 5 years before returning.
2000 Virginie Pillet, Corton
Not entirely sure of the provenance of this wine, the label has in small letters – ‘par Dubreuil-Fontaine à Pernand’. Medium ruby red, right to the rim. Powdery red fruit on the nose, quite understated, gradually builds in intensity with redcurrant coming through. The palate is dense, sweet and fat, avoids the thin astringent aspect of many from the Côte de Beaune in 2000, but is obviously very ripe in the 2000 vernacular. Still quite primary but anyway pretty good
2002 Nicolas Potel, Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. The nose is high-toned and, initially, a little ‘clipped’; it’s very wide but takes quite some time to take on a rounder form. The palate is not about overt density or creamy, spicy oak, rather transparency and a fine burst of intensity that crescendos into the very long finish. Vs my memory of the cask sample, I’m a little disappointed (maybe it was a different cask) as that was one of the finest wines I’ve ever tasted from barrel. In isolation this is a very fine Chambertin with great complexity and a wonderful finish. Excellent rather than great!
2002 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Already lost much of its youthful colour, just a trace of cherry still at the rim compliments a core of medium-plus ruby. Starts with a blast of fruit, becomes mute for a while, then starts to show its wares; complex fruit laced with spice notes that you really only get with La Tâche – almost ginger cake – just a trace of oak toast and smoky stems in the mix too. There’s an understated entry into this wine before a fabulous burst of fruit rushes you from the mid-palate into the finish. The soft tannins are buried and the acidity is just right. It needs an hour from opening to blossom, but this was a stellar performance for such a baby.
1997 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
A wine that set the tone (hue) for the colour of the other wines – despite it’s relative youth, this wine was an old mahogany colour of medium-plus depth. On opening, this wine showed mushroom, forest-floor, inflections of soil, a deep peppery undertone and eventually a baked cherry note. Less round than the 2002 – the acidity sticks out a little. There is good length and weight, but the elements are somewhat disparate. This was actually the only wine that required extended air-time to show its potential. One hour later there was more harmony, less mushroom and a very strong ‘family’ resemblance to the wines that followed it. Don’t be disappointed if you have this wine – I wouldn’t be!
1996 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
The deepest colour yet – looks quite old though with its mahogany colour and browning rim. The nose is a little gamey and still shows some mushroom – but this time much more subtle – together with high tones and jammy red fruit. Beautiful texture and weight in the mouth. This is the first wine with such volume. There is again a crescendo effect as you savour the wine, the finish being of bitter chocolate coated red fruits. Still a rasp to the tannins and lovely acidity. Very classy.
1995 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Almost as deep colour as the 1996, but perhaps with an extra hint of youth. On pouring the nose is a little diffuse, it needs time to develop into a wonderfully meaty mix of savoury and fruit driven aspects. Doesn’t have quite the volume in the mouth as the 1996 but rather than building it’s attack, it delivers a knockout punch right from the start – even seems slightly fresher than 1996. The tannins still have quite a rasp, but there’s the next 20 years-plus to wait for them to soften. Gorgeous intensity. I slightly prefer this to our bottle of 1996.
1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Virtually the same colour and shade as the 1996. The nose starts a little closed, delicate and precise. Wait a little and a tour de force greets you, richer, earthier, spicier, hints of blood-orange. Here is a wine of incredible intensity, it’s full-bodied, yet delivered with an amazing lightness of touch. The tannins are still quite young and there is a wonderful length. Unlike some 1990’s there’s no extra fat, this is true ‘ULTRA-WINE’. Sensational stuff.
1986 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Medium mahogany in colour. The nose is little vegetal and mildewy to start, slowly mature red fruit emerges plus a little pine-needle and earth, unfortunately just a wisp of TCA too. It’s not apparent on the palate, though there must be some diminution of the experience. Despite this there is a nice soft entry and a concentration that builds to a crescendo on the palate. In this company still a little subdued, certainly mildly corked.
1978 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Medium colour, again an old mahogany shade. Width on the nose, hints of resin, sweetness, doesn’t start spicy, rather broad and deep, becoming ever more intense and rounder. Wonderful effects on the inside of your mouth – fireworks certainly – quite rich, with a finish that defies reason. It’s about as mature as any wine could be in gamey yet sweet way. For me this wine is second only to 1990, though the 1959 was probably its equal.
1976 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Unfortunately our planned bottle of 1971 was corked, so this was the back-up bottle. Consistent colour with 86 and 78. Slightly mineral nose, some sweetness, smokey bacon covered with caramel coupled with fresh higher tones. The acidity is not quite so refined as the others – parallel here with the hot vintage and 1997 – and the tannins still have a grainy texture, but the fruit has real intensity. A very interesting bottle that (again) like the 1997 took on more balance with aeration and time. A very worthy backup.
1971 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Corked – shame!
1969 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
Medium colour. The nose starts rather closed vs the other wines, taking rather a while to develop – ends up like a less intense, perhaps ‘junior’ 1978 – no bad thing! The palate is less explosive than most of the others, but the intensity still grows and grows in your mouth. Perfect texture and lovely acidity. It has everything that the other wines have, but on a slightly lower register – perhaps it’s starting to fade – it is, however, a beautiful thing.
1959 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
What a wine! It’s actually a little deeper in colour than all the preceding wines – until you reach the 1990. The sweet nose has truffles and subtle rose petals, slowly expanding to provide a wonderful panorama of notes. Again beautiful texture and volume in the mouth, there’s even still a bite of tannin in the finish. Once again a wine that builds and builds in the mouth – Bravo. On this showing as good as the 1978 even if the 78 has a little more aromatic intensity.
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Grands-Echézeaux
There won’t be so many press tastings for this vintage as the average harvest across the domaine was a mere 18hl/ha – I guess I was lucky to taste this. Medium-plus colour. The nose is wide and deep with fresh berries, a little time in the glass gives up an extra spicy edge and extra purity to the fruit. In the mouth it’s fat and creamy and is loaded with velvety tannin and concentrated dry extract of fruit on the finish. This is a fascinating expression of the vintage, drier and less fresh than 2004 which I prefer.
2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Echézeaux
Tasted blind. Medium, medium-plus colour. High-toned, less dense than the previous 2003, narrower and more floral, slowly adds weight and dimension. Lovely palate, plenty of fine tannin, fresh candied red fruit. Good density, a slow diminuendo to the reasonably long finish. Very stylish. Someone else guessed the vintage, I got the appellation.
2002 Armand Rousseau, Clos de la Roche
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. A forward and expressive nose of vanilla-tinged red and black fruit, a creme brulee note becoming stronger with time. It’s well balanced and finely presented in an elegant, rather than powerful, way. Well made and tasty, though hardly exceptional. Good-plus.
2002 Armand Rousseau, Clos des Ruchottes
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red. The nose is a little tight, high tones over a tight red and black centre. Wide and fresh palate, very elegant, fine tannins leave a soft coating on your teeth and gums. Understated but very well read, this can talk to you on any level you wish. Lovely.
2002 Armand Rousseau, Mazy-Chambertin
Medium cherry-red. A quite forward nose of creme brulee tinged red fruit. The palate is just a little more panoramic than the Ruchottes, more explosive too. Actually this wine is heading in too many directions at one time, much less controlled and elegant that the Ruchottes – which I prefer. Again very fine tannins. A very different personality even though the vines are separated by only 50-60 metres. I wouldn’t say no, but given the choice I would go for the Ruchottes.
2002 Armand Rousseau, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Medium-plus cherry-red. A wild mix of brambly black fruit and subtle oak toast on the nose, gradually becoming higher toned with a hazelnut-coffee edge. The entry is smooth, then the wine explodes on your palate before slowly shrinking into the very long finish. Lithe and slender in complexion despite the evident concentration. Plenty of fireworks here – a very, very impressive wine.
2002 Armand Rousseau, Chambertin
Medium-plus cherry-red. Creme brulee and red fruit presented in a very linear way. Takes a few minutes in the glass to open out, but really starts to shout ‘look at me!’ – mainly barrel influenced notes, coffee in the background too. The palate has an extra ‘fatness’ to the palate vs the Bèze, fireworks here too, they build a little more slowly but to equal effect. It’s hard to make a preference here – it can only be based on stylistic leanings – but today, with fewer barrel artifacts and its more ‘athletic’ pose, I’d take the Bèze.
2002 Comte Georges de Vogüé, Bonnes-Mares
Deep cherry-red. A brooding nose that mixes red and black fruit, though black is dominant, with a coffee edge. Concentrated and tannic. Starts on full power, a gradual diminuendo is the character of the wine – well it couldn’t go higher! – fading very slowly into the finish. It’s fully-packed with material and shows great balance. Not a hint four-square, but I wouldn’t consider opening this bruiser for at least another 8 years.
2002 Comte Georges de Vogüé, Musigny Vieilles Vignes
Deep, saturated cherry-red. Wow, what a nose; the glass doesn’t even need a swirl to give up chocolate and creme brulee covered red cherry-fruit – super complexity. The nose is well matched to a beautifully textured palate, incredibly complex flavours that cling to your gums, fine tannins that are completely covered by the fruit. Magnificent now, I’m drooling at the prospect of its 20th birthday!
2002 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chablis Bougros
Pale, yellow coloured. Bright, forward – even effusive – nose, with sweet candied fruit, a hint of salty seashore and lots of precision. Concentrated with a beautiful lingering acidity that pushes the sweet flavours very, very long – the fruit is very ripe, but not so as to spoil the balance. Frankly, apart from that whisp of seashore on the nose, this doesn’t say ‘Chablis’ to me, but it does say ‘buy more’ – and I will – you can’t get this level of value on the Côte de Beaune!
2002 Bertagna, Corton-Charlemagne
Medium-pale lemon-yellow, edged with green. Lovely depth to the nose, starts with a whisp of aniseed, leaving cream-edged citrus fruit against fresh bread. The beautifully clean palate is linear, ripe and sweet, and really expands from the mid-palate into the strong finish. No obvious oak influence, save for a creamy element. Very fine intensity. Young, obviously, but very tasty. A wine to drink now or save 5+ years.
2002 Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne
Medium-pale lemon-yellow. A high-toned, slightly alcoholic nose that slowly turns from green to yellow-skinned fruit. The palate already shows fine, soft texture and an impressive length. Sweet from the ripe fruit with super balancing acidity. This is a very round and tasty wine that shows a modest burst of fireworks on the mid-palate. Already the oak is mainly consumed – very good Corton-Charlemagne. I’d drink this over the next 18 months and then leave the rest for 8+ years.
2002 Domaine Leflaive, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet
Medium yellow colour. The nose has depth combined with a high-toned top note. Lovely texture, waxy without becoming cloying. Long, still oak tinged at the end. The mid-palate shows a high-toned profile, somewhat mineral rather than fat. Very balanced and accomplished, but missing a hint of excitement.
2002 Domaine Leflaive, Bâtard-Montrachet
The colour is just a faint shade deeper than the Bienvenues. Similar oaky depth to the nose but rounder in shape, slowly lets some higher tones escape. An extra depth on the mid-palate, more mouthwatering and certainly longer. This wine has tons of material and makes a compelling statement – really excellent.
2002 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Montrachet Tasted blind. Medium colour. The nose starts a little tight with some barrel notes, then marzipan, pear-drops slowly becoming a little spicy and creamy. The palate just makes you say ‘Ooh!’. It’s amazingly complex, long, long, long and ever-changing. Gorgeous texture, simply a tour de force. The multidimensional palate was exactly as I remembered the 2002, but the acidity seemed less gushing than when last tasted, so I made a flying guess at a lower acid vintage – 1997 – I was wrong it was the 02!

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