Round-up of wines tasted…

Update 13.4.2010(14.4.2010)billn

wine testing

No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that were drunk with food, friends and family, between mid-December 2009 and mid-April 2010.


2005 David Clark, Bourgogne Au Pelson
Deep colour. The nose is a brooding affair with faint spice and herb top-notes and a tight concentration of fruit below, eventually a faint milk-chocolate note surfaces. In the mouth this is unexpectedly intense for the appellation, rather tight and narrow in form which allows the acidity to gain the upper-hand – the classic face for many 2005s now. The tannin is a background velvet texture and the fruit is dark and fresh, finishing with a dried cranberry/raisin element. I suspect that this wine would have been absolutely singing a couple of years ago. Today, despite the appellation, this is a wine about future potential – I still find much to enjoy, but such a shame it was my only bottle. I don’t see either Morey or Chambolle in this, but it is anyway very impressive indeed, this clearly has the intensity, structure and balance of a very decent villages!
2006 David Clark, Bourgogne Passetoutgrains
Deep colour – plenty of purple too. The nose shows lots of reduction – about 90 minutes is needed for it to fade though it is never completely gone – deep brambly fruit and a herbal top-note. Linear entry and rather fine tannin – good balancing acidity that amplifies and widens the flavours across the mid-palate – it finishes really impressively. This is a relatively big wine – much more so than the domaine’s 2006 Morey St.Denis for instance. Well-done!
2008 Lejeune, Bourgogne
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a sweet, red/black, (mainly red) cherry over a base of herbs, even faint violets – it does remind me of Lejeune’s 2005 but this is more open. Some fat and some faintly astringent tannin before a lip-smacking tart cherry acidity. Okay length, and provided you like acid slap, this is a super, pinot fun-delivering bottle. The acidity might get a little too much in a couple of years, but this will be lovely over the summer – I really must check on the domaine’s ‘higher’ wines from 2008…
2006 Georges Mugneret-Gibourg, Bourgogne
The second from this case. Medium-plus colour. The deep nose shows plenty of dark cherry. More concentrated than you expect given the label, with a velvet texture and showing an extra dimension of flavour in the mid-plate. A decent finish too. This wine is in an excellent place right now!

Bourgogne Blancs

2006 Alex Gambal, Bourgogne Blanc
I might have written elsewhere that there’s a ‘deliciousness’ to chardonnay (sorry white burgundy!) that can really perk you up – particularly if you’re tasting at 9:00am! I recall a tasting about 1 year ago at Maison Alex Gambal, before we dived into the 2007s we tasted Alex’s most basic bourgogne blanc – a 2006 – it just hit the spot! For somebody of limited will-power there was absolutely no doubt that ‘on the spot’ I would order a case – not unexpectedly I have cases dotted around the Côte d’Or only waiting for my next visit – well, that and some cash of-course! I finally got around to picking it up (amongst other things) when I visited to taste the 2008s about 2 weeks ago. So, one year-on, how does this wine show? The 2006 vintage has endowed it with a little extra richness but it remains perfectly well balanced. Clearly then, this wine has only one obvious flaw – I bought it to use as a nice summer aperitif, but I’ve already drunk two bottles – it seems unlikely that any will survive to see the official starting date for summer time – clearly it’s not fit for purpose then!
2001 Leflaive, Bourgogne
Medium-plus yellow colour. The nose had plenty of struck match and savoury elements – even intruding on the (quite) big flavours. Initially seemed a little too fat. I decanted and returned after 3 hours. Smooth interesting and fruit driven aromas, the struck match is gone and the balance is better – or maybe my palate is better! It’s a concentrated and ripe impression – high quality.
2000 Méo-Camuzet, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Clos St.Philibert
Medium straw/gold. The nose is warm and faintly savoury with perhaps a little honey too. Vibrant, ripe, quite enough acidity to balance the ‘fat’. This wine is now ‘just right’. Neither super complex, nor super intense, but very tasty all the same.


2007 Denis Bachelet, Côte de Nuits Villages
Medium colour. The nose starts a little ‘thin’, but quickly fills out with a mix of red and blue shaded fruit and there’s a width of higher tones, no bass-notes though. A balanced and slightly floral impression with an impressive width, though like the nose there’s a limited depth for the life of this bottle. The fruit impression does build a lovely red, cream inflected note. This becomes very tasty indeed. A pretty wine that was once a great value cuvée – currently it’s just pretty…
2006 Albert Bichot, Volnay
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is deep and a little dark-shaded, perhaps a little dense and unyielding too- higher, floral tones flutter above. In the mouth it is round, velvet textured, with a good, slow diminuendo of flavour. The acidity smoothly keeps everything balanced and ‘together’. Structured and serious, yet currently quite drinkable – very, very good.
2002 Domaine des Chezeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Chezeaux
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a little depth and intensity, faint herbs and, as the glass drains, lovely piercing red berries – mmmm… It starts a little strident, but 30 minutes from opening there’s a real extra fatness and super acidity that dovetails to a decent villages intensity. Subtly long. A wine that ‘gives’ a lot – yum!
1998 Bruno Clair, Marsannay Les Grasses Têtes
Half bottle, plenty of dark sediment adheres to the inside of the bottle. The colour is taking on a slightly browner caste at the rim, relatively young and red it remains at the core. Hmm, the nose let’s us down, slight beefy aromas that hint to brett and a hint of VA too – just this bottle? Wait long enough and a sweet red cherry aroma starts to poke through, but it remains slightly veiled. In the mouth there is the expected pure, candied and detailed red berry fruit, the finish is pure strawberry – beautiful primary flavours still – and it’s 12 year-old Marsannay! The tannin is understated and shows no astringency – beautiful acidity. Lovely, lovely apart from the nose – my worst bottle…
2006 David Clark, Morey St.Denis Les Porroux
A wine of elegance and balance – very, very charming – certainly not the masculinity often seen from Morey.
2005 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Volnay
Double decanted an hour before pouring. Aromatically this is a little mute but there are fresh, high-tones of dark red fruits and fainter, high-toned floral aromas – very fine fruit – and the empty glass smells of rose petals. The last vestiges of fat are melting as the acidity starts to come to the fore – very smooth before a hint of tannin in the back-end. Certainly there’s a really nice depth of fruit with a decent length and a residual hint of sweetness, but here’s a tight wine. With the merest hint of a wince, this is drinkable today, but realistically it is already set for a 10 year-plus sleep – I think I’m lucky that I didn’t meet it earlier – otherwise I might have bought 2 cases!
2001 Mugneret-Gibourg, Vosne-Romanée
Has a decent, dark colour. The nose is dark-fruit shaded and shows the village spiciness. In the mouth it has lost the fat and impact of it’s youth – it’s narrower and more taught. There is certainly some development of mid-palate complexity and a decent length. To drink today it’s quite okay, but reward is at least 7 or 8 years away.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes
Medium, medium-plus colour. A wide panorama of aromas; acid cherries, a deep, dark, slightly musky base and some violet aromas above – lots of interesting components if not quite a ‘together’ impression. The texture is okay, you’re drawn to the slight astringency more than anything, but there is an excellent intensity for a villages wine. Reasonably narrow on entry but the flavour becomes ever-wider and quite long too. There’s plenty of slightly floral pot-pourri together with the fruit. Good acidity and an evident back-bone of structure. No simple ‘villages’ this, today it’s not perfectly ‘together’ either aromatically or in the mouth – it will need some cellar time – but the basics are here for a very good performance. Wait – perhaps – another 5 years or-so…
2006 Jean Tardy, Fixin La Place
Medium colour. High tones, slightly volatile, a hint of leaf and beef broth, eventually a blue-skinned fruit comes through – actually, nicer than the description may sound. Also a high-toned fruit impression in the mouth. There is a little fat but it quickly falls to the background as the slightly astringent tannin covers it. Good acidity and medium length, nice flavours. Not much density. The initial slight volatility makes me think to drink young, but the tannin needs one or two years to melt a little. Day two this seemed better. Despite the astringency, this is far from a traditional ‘rustic’ Fixin. It’s well made yet quite expensive for a ‘villages’, or at least one that could offer a little more density…

Villages Whites

2007 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, St.Aubin Le Blanc
Opened a little too cold, there is only a little well judged toast aroma. As it warms in the glass it expends with an undertow of cream and hints of citrus. Fresh, waxy-smooth and, aided by a kick of smooth acidity it is intense and flavourful in the mid-palate. I like this a lot – it wasn’t particularly cheap for a villages St.Aubin at 33 Swiss francs, but it is a far from cheap performance. I’d drink these young to enjoy the mix of suppleness and and structure. Lovely.
1999 Morey-Blanc, Meursault
Inspecting the half-bottle, there’s some very fine sediment at the base and the wine is not perfectly bright. Under the capsule it is completely black, it looks like you could plant potatoes! The cork comes out and has pink and blue lines down it, the dark coloured wine is – quite obviously – oxidised! Not to an undrinkable level, but not far away. The nose has a little ginger mixed in with the oxidised aromas. In the mouth it seems clean and fresh. The acidity seems a little separate from the rest of the wine, but it is quite fine, but it’s oxidised…


2001 d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Clos des Ducs
A good medium, medium-plus colour. It’s an ever-changing nose, though not particularly in a good way: it starts a little diffuse and harsh, then there is a period of absolute red-fruited Volnay beauty followed again by diffuse and slightly green notes. You go through this cycle each time you top up your glass! In the mouth the fruit has a very nice perfume, reasonable density and there is some real persistence of flavour – yet the overall effect is slightly tart and certainly has a little ungainly tannin. It contains some great Volnay references, but it’s far from a great Clos des Ducs…
2005 d’Ardhuy, Vosne-Romanée Les Chaumes
Deeply coloured. The nose has dark, brambly fruit and plenty of spicy, herbal aspects. In the mouth the acidity has become a little forward though far from overwhelming. A lovely borderline ripe flavour that has a hint of mint to go with its piercingly long finish – there’s added depth through the mid-palate. Rather smooth, this is very good now – even if it’s on its ’sleeptime downslope’. Very-much enjoyed.
1995 Jean-Marc Boillot, Pommard Les Jarollières
The last bottle of this didn’t show brilliantly, hopefully this does a little better. The colour has a much older, browner caste than I expect for a ‘95. The aromas are not promising; quite beefy and hint bretty – I’m not really looking forward to putting it in my mouth! Some sweetness to the fruit, intensity too – it’s a rather macerated, spicy impression. The tannin is relatively understated and the acidity decently balanced. The texture has a reasonable soft and fat impression. Certainly much, much better than the last bottle or my I expectation given the nose. I’m thinking that there may be some slight bacterial spoilage here with this one. 10 left, hmm…
2002 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune Grèves l’Enfant Jesus
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is very fine; there’s latent oak that brings a little espresso macchiato into the equation but essentially it’s about a fresh, dark red fruit and occasional faint whiffs of bacon. Smooth, fresh and intense, it’s a classic middle-years wine – forward acidity and a narrow, lean complexion, but long too. This will be excellent – eventually! I won’t open another for 5 years, but I expect I’ll need to wait another five for real dividends. Super.
2007 Cornu, Ladoix Le Bois Roussot
Medium colour. The nose has a little oaky vanilla and a mineral infused but faint red fruit. Nice soft texture backed by an oak-spiced red fruit. There’s width and complexity in the mid-plate, but the density could be better considering that this is a 1er cru. Day two and the oak is much less prominent, though the acidity is less soft. Quite nice overall – for now, decant for an hour and drink on day one.
1995 René Engel, Vosne-Romanée Les Brulees
Medium rusty-red colour, more rust than red at the edges. Forward aromas of part fresh, part baked red fruits over a sterner and much more mineral depth – a raspberry jelly aroma is one of the last from the glass. Impact in the mouth – this isn’t a wine that widens across the palate, it starts at full width. Velvet tannin that is faintly edged with astringency and a fresh burst of dimension across the mid-palate. The mineral aroma is also reflected in the flavours. A success! The fruit flavours remain relatively primary, take that together with the slight astringency and I would guesstimate that this is at least 5 or 6 years from being ‘mature’
2006 Faiveley, Nuits St.Georges cru Pôrets St.Georges
I’d love to be able to recommend this wine (after all I bought some!) but today is not the day to tell you if it is, or will be, any good. Today it is a complete waste of money – aromatically dumb, narrow on the palate and showing a very limited flavour profile. It is a wine that is a perfect exemplar of the oft-used descriptor – closed. This is so closed that it’s even rolled down the shutters. For those that are still reading, the texture is silky and the balance is fine, there is even a hint of intensity, but today MIA… Day two and there’s hint of dark cherry and damson on the nose – wow – careful, I’m almost starting to enjoy it!
2007 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose shows a little savoury smokiness over a deeper, but tighter fruit core. In the mouth, your first impression is of something not entirely substantial, yet there is an extension into the the finish and width in the mid-palate that suggests much more. The acidity is very well judged and with extended aeration (say 2 hours) the palate fills out a little, demonstrating intensity and some minerality.
1988 Camille Giroud, Chambolle-Musigny Cru Les Charmes
Medium colour. The nose starts in that Italian (many years in barrel) botti vernacular, it really needs at least an hour for that to fade, below it builds a core of dried fruits, above is some faintly volatile floral notes. In the mouth there’s a cushioned, slightly padded level of tannin and a very interesting intensity of mature fruit flavours in the mid-plate. The finish is understated but long. Interesting rather than ‘great’, but very much enjoyed.
1997 Michel Lafarge, Volnay 1er Cru
Day 1. Medium rusty-red colour. Despite a certain 1997 ripeness to the fruit aromas, there is something of a cool edge and plenty of herbal notes – overall it’s ruff and gruff – not a lacy picture of Volnay. The leading edge is the acidity, though behind it the tannin is quite fine. The first flavours have a slight oxidised impression, but the best part of the wine is its extra dimension of very nice mid-palate flavour. Overall this wine lacks a lot of charm, and some aspects give me concern for further cellaring – still, this was my last. Day 2. Same room, same time of day – looks less rust coloured (!?) The aromatics have really cleaned up, it’s still slightly austere but a little less herbal. More balance, and that slight oxidised flavour is gone, the fruit has an altogether younger and darker impression – I would even go as far as to say appeal! Whilst still not charming, I would say this is an altogether more ‘correct’ performance – one that indicates the vigour of youth rather than the previous day’s pallor of age… Day 3. Like day 2, but more diffuse. Today the austerity coupled to the loose performance would give it the thumbs down. Interesting that the day 1 problem seemed to be something volatile in the wine – once it was gone, things really came together.
2004 Lambrays, Morey St.Denis Les Loups
Medium colour. The nose is heavy with the volatile 2004 taint, below is an interesting coffee edge though I can’t quite get to the fruit. In the mouth this has sweet fruit, nicely soft texture with depth and a subtle extra dimension in the mid-palate that lingers through the finish. As usual when I experience the 04 character the acidity seems a little elevated. If you’re not sensitive, then this would be a very tasty wine just now.
2007 Domaine Lejeune, Pommard Les Argillières
Medium colour. The nose is of soft raspberry and red cherry that’s slightly soft-focus and sweet rather than sharply defined and fresh, filled out with a background of faint caramel – it’s rather pretty and very comely! Plenty of fat, late arriving tannin with a hint of astringency and a good width of mid-palate flavours. Medium-weight but above medium-interest. Understated acidity yet just enough structural ‘bite’ to keep you on your toes. This good value wine is very nice to drink now and also to improve over the next 5-10 years.
2006 Gérard Mugneret, Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots
Medium-plus colour. Straight away the nose is about depth, dark fruit and a little coffee/mineral mix and an impressive Vosne-style dimension – a great start. In the mouth for the first 20 minutes I can’t drink it, it tastes like salt – no, really like salt! A long pause and a coffee later, I come to it and it’s on a lower level – more an inflection (of salt) in the mid-palate – like a Denis Mortet wine! There is just a lack of smoothness – or better, elegance – to the wine. There is plenty of flavour, some here some there, complexity too, and without overt oak, yet there is cola and and a total lack of integration – this is such a shame, as it smells fantastic. Half is left for day 2: hurrah, not really ’salty’, a hint of gras and the texture is okay. I’m rather bemused, I’ve never really come across a wine that was too salty before – perhaps something to do with the oak – anyway, this was eventually very nice – but I’d recommend decanting!
2000 Potel Nicolas, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Peuillets
Medium colour – salmon pink at the rim. The nose, right from popping the cork is wide-open, brimming with coffee-laden, musky aromas, maybe a hint of brett too but it’s only part of the complexity. Quite well textured, decently balanced with unseen but slowly mouthwatering acidity. Lovely extension and intensity in the mid-palate that fades into a decent finish. Very much enjoyed!
1999 Remoriquet, Vosne-Romanée Aux dessus du Malconsorts
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose slowly opens over about 25 minutes, hints of spice, warm dark fruit and a slightly strange mineral/coal note. Over the tongue, it’s balanced and quite intense, some grain still from the tannin, but that strange aroma is also their as a flavour too. Previous bottles were fine so perhaps this strange flavour is a one-off – it was anyway more of a background note on day two.
1998 Serveau, Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses
All I know is that a burgundy shape half-bottle has been decanted. This is very pale, almost salmon pink. The nose is dominated by volatile acidity and esters, much more-so than my recent 72. In the mouth those aromas can still be tasted, but only as a pale backdrop to a sweet core of ripe strawberry fruit, nice enough acidity and almost no tannin to speak of. I don’t mess around – I think it’s a decent 78 Beaune 1er that’s heading for the downslope (assuming it’s not a rhone!). Well I got the ‘8′ and the 1er cru correct, but I’m amazed to see it’s a 1998. It’s tasty and doesn’t smell too bad as the VA moves into the background (~30mins), but clearly this is a wine to ‘drink-up’.
2004 Tollot-Beaut, Savigny-lès-Beaune Champ-Chevery
Medium colour. A clear, if not stomach churning, vintage character, below is a deep, dark and slightly sweet fruit base. The combination of acidity and faintly astringent tannin have a not too mouth-puckering affect, and the texture is quite interesting. The fruit has just enough sweetness to deliver a level of balance.
2006 Tollot-Beaut, Savigny-lès-Beaune Champ-Chevery
Medium colour. Heavy floral notes that are accented with toffee mainly obscure a pure red fruit note – but occasionally it shines through. In the mouth it’s currently a bit disjointed, that said, all the pieces are pretty good – good volume, background tannins and tasty fruit that’s edged with licorice as it slips into the finish. Not a bit tight, but not showing well either. The last glass is reserved for day 2 and it’s far less the roller-coaster of the previous day. Still the ‘value’ wine of the T-B range.

Premier Cru Whites

2005 Françoise et Denis Clair, St.Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien
The aromas start in a surprisingly floral/perfumed vein, slowly becoming more sedate with a faintly ripe yellow fruit and there are still hints of the almonds of it’s youth. Dense and ripe flavours that finish with a little agrumes. There’s plenty of fat and just enough acidity to balance. Certainly a very rich performance but very drinkable after a little aeration. I normally have in mind feminine adjectives with white wines, but there’s a builder’s muscle in here.
2007 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien
Pale greeny-yellow. Effusive, wide, fresh but there’s a serious core – even if the layers above do much to obscure it. It’s hard to talk of texture because the acidity, ‘augmented’ by a hint of petillance, means that the wine doesn’t hang around on your tongue for long. Plenty of extra dimension in the mid-palate and the fruit has a very nice tang to it. Slowly lingering flavour. This wine certainly exhibits the rawness of youth so needs a little cellar time to settle down but I’m sure the wait will be worth it – on day two everything was much more composed!
2007 Alain Geoffroy, Chablis Beauroy
Seems pretty but a little too light after the Christmas fizz. Wait, eat and return, and it’s very lovely indeed. At about 25 Swiss francs I will buy some more.
2001 Vincent Girardin, Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes
A wine of gunflint and latent savoury oak, lean yet still balanced. The oak means that it’s not my favourite style but it pleased many around the table.
2005 Morey Marc, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot
A half bottle. Medium, medium-plus yellow colour. A hint of sulfur, but otherwise soft yet penetrating notes of butterscotch and cream over ripe but very pretty fruits. Excellent intensity with slowly penetrating acidity, this is both rich and powerful. In some ways it’s a little over the top and certainly starts a little chunky, but it really comes together with aeration. This wine is no shrinking violet – don’t go here for elegance – today it’s more of a swashbuckler!
2001 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet Folatières
A rather deep, initially worrisome colour. Fortunately the nose betrays nothing unmentionable though it’s a little heavy, indeed ponderous. In the mouth it’s wide, a little fat and certainly has lots of mid-palate flavour. There is just about enough acidity for balance. The fruit starts sweet but the finish is a little more sour. The finish has a decent length. Whilst this was a beauty when younger, if I had more in the cellar I’d be drinking them all this year.
1992 Remoissenet, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot
From a jeroboam with dinner! Golden but not oxidised – savoury, biscuity. Much more mineral and muscular than I expected – no ‘ample’ 1992 here – complex, balanced and very satisfying. I ‘needed’ 3 more glasses…


1988 Bouchard Père et Fils, Le Corton
Hmm I had this two years ago – but at Bouchard. This also starts with quite leafy aromas of undergrowth. Much narrower, this ripples its muscles right from the outset, never really softening up – I only had it in my glass for 30 minutes. The core is of sweet, dark red fruit. Overall mineral and long, but probably drunk 20 years too soon
1996 Guy Castagnier, Bonnes-Mares
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose is quite mineral, edged with macerating dark fruits and the faintest hint of brett – at this level it’s quite nice. There is still a velvet texture to the (now) medium tannins, and despite its age there is still more than enough fruit extract to balance the acid-led mid-palate flavour fireworks. It’s an impressive burst of power that leads you, mouth watering, into a very good finish. Perhaps there’s another 4 or 5 years left for absolute maturity, but this is very drinkable today, very drinkable…
2001 Chandon de Briailles, Corton Maréchaudes
Medium, medium-pale. The nose is oh-so scented, an obvious note of stems is intertwined with floral aspects over warm, red fruit – raspberry. Smooth and balanced, with an almost ethereal melting flavour impression. Like the nose it’s a warm red ‘comforting wine’ impression. It’s very ‘giving’ but that’s far from the same thing as ‘mature’ – tasty now but will live and grow for many years in the cellar…
1990 Joseph Drouhin, Grands-Echézeaux
Still deeply coloured. The nose starts with forceful aromas of freshly turned leaves, after 30 minutes it’s on a lower lever but my glass actually needed almost an hour to finally develop sweet and detailed dried red fruits, meat and herbs – the aromas were probably peaking as I was sleeping in my bed – but burgundians don’t decant do they 😉 In the mouth this is sweet and quite powerful. The mid-palate structure is actually a little rustic, but who cares when there are so many dimensions of flavour. Energy and character here, and it’s a long way from it’s peak – bravo!
1997 Armand Rousseau, Clos de la Roche
Medium, medium-plus colour. From top to bottom this nose is impresses with quality dark red fruit, there is the faintest edge of something a bit looser – caramel and redcurrant – but overall this is super. In the mouth there is a silky density that drives rather too fast into the finish. Swirl it around over your tongue for longer and then the intensity builds, but with it comes some slightly bitter tannin. The finish holds much longer now but with a little of that bitterness. A bit of a monolith in the mid-palate, I’ll save some for tomorrow to see if it opens. Day two and the aromatics are more subdued though the palate is indeed a little more open. A good wine, even in the context of the vintage, but I’d still rather have the Ruchottes…

Grand Cru Whites

2001 Henri Boillot, Corton-Charlemagne
My last two bottles showed a hint of oxidation, so here’s the last one of six. Medium gold – it seemed lighter on pouring. The nose has no obvious oxidation, rather caramel and toffee over sweet fruit. Soft textured with understated acidity. Versus its youth there’s an understated intensity and equally understated – though long – finish with just a hint of gunflint. Just a youthful wine going through a tight phase. Given the track record in my cellar I won’t be rebuying, but this was a very nice bottle.
2007 Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne
Very pale yellow colour. Perhaps it was a little cold, but this was very tight to start with. Eventually the nose starts to give up fresh apple fruit backed by cold (trifle) custard. In the mouth this is absolutely linear, firing into an understated but very long finish that has a little sweet vanilla attached. Only if you keep the wine in your mouth do you appreciate the weight of extract and feel the mid-palate intensity. This is a very tight but very good wine – to be honest I’m impressed, but I really expected to be ‘wowed’!
1994 Chandon de Briailles, Corton (Blanc)
Rather deeply coloured, but a sniff shows that there is no overt oxidation. The nose has impact and power and reminds me very much of (a previously drunk) 83 Giroud Corton-Charlemagne, there is power and impact and some melting cream and lanolin in the background – I leave my guessing there! On the palate there is considerable power and quite some ripeness though it’s well-enough balanced (I think the 83 was much more mineral – but hey, it might turn out to be from Australia!). Very good complexity as it moves into the finish. Whilst not begging me to take a second (third!) pour – there are others to taste – this is rather good.
2001 Fevre, Chablis Le Clos
Chalk and cheese versus the Leflaive – actually (way back when) this wine was only about 10% more expensive than the Leflaive. Sharper, finer, still quite ripe but a wine of focus and precision. If anything the Leflaive had more overt concentration, but not the intensity.
2000 Antonin Guyon, Corton-Charlemagne
Medium straw colour. The nose shows oxidative notes, nuts and a hint of lanolin. In the mouth the texture is good – concentrated and silky – intense, dry, very well balanced, but the flavour that obscures much is an oxidative one. Drinkable – but without joy – probably opened 6-12 months too late and, if anything, was slightly worse on day 2…
2002 Antonin Guyon, Corton-Charlemagne
My last of these, the previous two were rather oxidised. Medium gold. The nose has hints of toffee – a sort of tarte tartin – lots of depth, and yes it’s just tending to oxidation, but to this minor extent I can live with it. Width, decent acidity and good intensity. The length has hints of oxidative notes that to a certain extent compromise the finish but there are also nice creamy hints with waxy lanolin. Drinkable.
2001 Louis Jadot, Criots-Bâtard Montrachet
Given the deep colour I have a concern about oxidation, and there is an edge to the nose, but there’s also still enough detailed, pretty fruit to keep my interest. Across your tongue there’s plenty of freshness and a very good balance. The flavour is quite savoury in the mid-palate and it’s quite long too – detailed but no fireworks. Blind, I certainly wouldn’t assume this to be a grand cru that costs more than €100. Eventually my glass gives up more aromas of oxidation. My neighbour pulls a face when he smells my glass – he enjoyed his very much, but it was from another bottle. Bottle variation and some oxidation, I expect that this was a good (tax advantageous) opportunity to get rid of 100 bottles or-so…
2006 Nicolas Potel, Criots-Bâtard Montrachet
This a replacement for the last bottle that was corked. Only in its last 20 minutes did it show any aromatic depth (it was decanted 2 hours before serving), but its supple, brooding approach and achingly long finish were enough to convince.

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