Grands Maisons, Grand Crus at the Clos de Vougeot, 20 March, 2014
All of these wines were tasted blind by me. Actually they are presented in the format “Wine 1. Chablis Les Clos” so you know the vineyard but not the producer – though, if there had been a Chablis Moutonne, that would have been a bit of a giveaway! Afterwards, (actually, only when typing this) I checked the supplied ‘key’ to see which wines were which.
The 2008 Whites
The normal format for this tasting would have been to see wines just from 2011, but for this presentation they chose to show the 2008 whites to ‘showcase their freshness and that they can age.’ Largely that was a failure; there were wines that were obviously oxidative and others that seemed to be heading in that direction. I think they would have done much better to stick with convention and show their 2011s.
The 2011 Reds
Overall, these are nice and tasty wines. Only a few showed some faint pyrazine notes, either reflecting the masking power of oak barrels in young wine, or that more grand cru producers have vibrating sorting tables! What was clear from this blind approach to tasting was that it was a rare wine that showed the full power that you might expect from a Grand Cru, rather they were tasting middleweights – i.e. offering more of a 1er Cru density.
2008 Joseph Drouhin, Chablis Les Clos
The nose is high-toned and concentrated. There’s some pineapple and some pepper, and it seems quite fresh. Full, round and has energy and lots of flavour. A very good 2008.
2008 Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Les Preuses
Rather high-toned, concentrated but not so interesting – it’s verging on asparagus aroma. Mineral, but similar flavour to the nose. There is good energy and dimension here, but I really don’t like the flavours.
2008 Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Valmur
High-toned and concentrated, aromatically reminds me of a 2005. Round, apparently oaky, decent concentration and acidity. Great finishing intensity. Again the flavour profile is not my favourite.
2008 Louis Moreau, Chablis Vaudésir
Some high-tones; it’s a modest nose with a little honey. I like the flavour and dimension very much, there is a growing mouth-watering flavour, and a hint of salt too. Lovely finish.
2008 Louis Jadot, Corton-Chalemagne
A deep and quite impressive nose, with lots of creamy notes and lots of power two. Muscular, impressive width in the mouth. Not my favourite style, but a really super wine.
2008 Corton-André, Corton-Charlemagne
High-tones and a little aromatic padding. Lots of width and concentration, some oak flavour as support, but intensity in the finish. Quite good but already somewhat savoury, so drink up.
The nose is wide, fresh, and faintly oaked – it’s very nice indeed. Width and dimension lovely flavour, still fresh in the mouth. Flavour-packed.
2008 Jean-Mac Boillot, Bâtard-Montrachet
Fresh, with oaky toast, but relatively high-toned too. Very fresh, salty, some minerality, and a lovely growth of savoury flavour. Again not my style, but in great condition.
2008 Olivier Leflaive, Bâtard-Montrachet
Deep aromas of fresh but ripe fruit – there’s some oak in the background too. Lots of energy, surprisingly still a little too much carbon dioxide. Lots of flavour here, this is very good, but give it a Fourrier shake first.
2008 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chevalier-Montrachet
High-toned, with good freshness and a depth of ripe fruit. In the mouth, wide, round, tons of flavour. There are some oak aspects, and maybe this would be even better with a little more acid freshness. But a good wine.
2011 Joseph Drouhin, Grands-Echézeaux
Dark, baked-fruit, good focus. Wide, round, well-structured, quite mineral and good texture too. Not much fruit flavour, but good wine. Finally fruit in the finish!
Medium high-toned, with very pretty red fruit and some stems. Wide, fresh and with lots of flavour. Very, very pretty wine, not super concentrated but super pretty.
2011 Louis Max, Charmes-Chambertin
Darker. Seems to show some stem anecdotes, actually faint pyrazine too. Wide, with plenty of ripe tannin. Distinguishes itself in the mid-palate really well, luckily, as undistinguished elsewhere.
Deeper colour. Faintly reduced, but with plenty of width, a nicely growing fruit note that gets better and better as the reduction fades. Lots of dimension here, this is rather good, definitely grand cru concentration, intensity and quality. The only one so far!
2011 Chanson Père et Fils, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Nicely high-toned fruit with a faint pyrazine. Elegantly pretty. Plenty of tannin, but ripe tannin that’s fine-grained. The fruit manages to fight its way through the structure. Not bad in the finish.
2011 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Dark oak, darker fruit. The palate is lithe and concentrated. There’s plenty of tannin but a great dark fruit behind it too. Rather oaky it seems, but still a great 2011.
2011 Louis Latour, Romanée St-Vivant
High-toned, faint salt, faint pyrazine. Round, mineral, a hint of salt again. Very good concentration, another grand cru here – that’s two! Rather loose knit just now, but has plenty going for it.