The same procedure as each of the last two Grands Jours – the Syndicat of Clos de Vougeot producers pour some more mature bottles. This year there were some super interesting bottles, but they were, sadly, in the minority. Only four of these 18 bottles I would be excited to have in my cellar, so given my (oft-expressed) love for this cru – that’s a disappointment…
2008 Domaine Manuel Olivier
This nose already has some sous bois on a great width of aroma, little points of red fruit interest too. Fresh, not a lot of sucrosity, but balanced and quite long. Tasty and fresh finishing – here is the most attractive part of the wine today with a little floral complexity.
2007 Jacques Prieur
A much more compact nose, showing a little chocolate truffle. Bright and fresh – a little austerity for sure but there’s a good width of flavour – it’s complex too. Intense in the finish, still a structural wine. Like the last, currently the best part of this wine is the finish.
2006 Capitain Gagnerot
Not the largest nose, but so far the one with the most attractive complexity. Supple, depth of both flavour and texture, the flavour is a little meaty and less attractive – but here is another nice floral finish.
2006 Gros Frère et Soeur
A nice width of aroma, almost textured and complex, more subtle high tones. Supple, much finer texture, almost a menthol accent to the middle. Long, approachable, if slightly medicinal in style.
2005 Sylvain Liochet
Magnum – This nose seems a little stewed, but is accented with more interesting florals. Bright and fresh in the mouth – in fact there’s a lovely fresh direction to the flavour and very fine tannin too – almost no astringency. Plenty of flavour complexity and actually an excellent finish – only the nose is sub-optimal today. Lots of potential.
2005 Clos Frantin
This nose is deep, if a little compact, but seemingly textured with a little clean mushroom. Like the last, freshness and drive – more mineral, less fruit. Open and mouth-watering, it’s still something of a baby, but disappointing if you’d like some fruit in your 2005 wine…
Deeply coloured. A deep nose too – it starts with herb, slowly adding some floral complexity. Wide, complex but rather herbal, almost to a level suggesting modest TCA. But there’s clearly a big and interesting wine behind.
2005 Michel Gros
A big, floral and oaked nose. Wide, fresh, layered wine, the oak is bothering me but the shape, complexity and depth of flavour are not – they are all first-rate. The finish is a very good one but still oaky. This might be excellent in another 10 years.
Here is a wine that was definitely oaky when young. Today we have a medium-sized nose but with a good fruit and slowly growing floral accent. Extra sweetness vs many – and today the oak is gone. Mouth-watering, complex and long – here still a little oak on the end of the finish, but a lovely finishing flavour. Super wine – the first that ticks all my boxes!
2004 Gerard Raphet
Magnum – More evolved colour. Deep, complex aroma, some pyrazine. I love the balance and the texture but, despite the complexity of the palate and its relative sucrosity, this flavour is not for me…
Such a deep nose, still some vestiges of toasty oak mix with higher-toned complexity too. Silky, sleek, direct – I wouldn’t guess 2003! Lots of energetic finishing flavour. Long and still young. Super, vigorous wine!
2003 Château de La Tour
Ooh, such a deep, layered nose – a hint of plum and mint in the complexity – it’s so very inviting. Ooh – a mouthful of tannic structure – mouth-watering flavour through the middle. It’s like trying to suck some flavour through sand. Oof – be VERY patient but there’s nothing incorrect here, provided you ignore 200% tannin!
2003 Anne Gros
A big, complex, faintly mushroomed nose – starting to show some age. Freshness, a suggestion of menthol. Only at the end is there a leap in tannin – but still only 20% of the La Tour!
Hmm, this has such a fine combination of freshness and sweet, spicy, complexity – including a subtle sous-bois. Sweet in the mouth too – fresh, with layers of flavour, depth of flavour – super wine!
A massive nose, quite complex, lots of whole-cluster but suggesting pyrazine too. In the mouth also, a vegetal almost asparagus flavour. Not a gorgeous thing today…
1991 Armelle et Bernard Rion
Bottle 1 – Rather too oxidized – no fun. Bottle 2 – Better, still quite a caramel wine. Full, fat, layered wine too, still with a little tannic salinity. Interesting, and whilst still tending towards oxidation in the finish it’s not too bad. A tasty wine all the same today but clearly drink up.
Deep, stinky, oaky – but this is still such an exciting nose. Volume, energy, power, still the tannin is present, and it’s quite a meaty wine too – but absolutely alive and exciting. This wine has zero to do with fruit but it’s thrilling and very long! Definitely an alternative viewpoint!
1989 Joseph Drouhin
Hmm, deeply sweet, a much more ‘moderated’ version of the Grivot, a sweetly enticing nose though with a little alcohol. A little medicinal in the flavour, but nicely textured, some sweetness and complex too. Very drinkable.