2004 Fontaine-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Romanée
Medium-yellow. Initially, wide but not deep aromatics that hint towards melon rather than the citrus paradigm of 2004; with time, higher tones start to predominate, perhaps with a hint of smoke and citrus! If the nose doesn’t leave you thinking of 2004 the taste does; classical acid-driven citrus notes that run perfectly into a finish that’s just a little more savoury. Versus the best 1er Cru’s of 04 this doesn’t have that painful, moreish intensity, yet it’s very tasty and enjoyable; I’d still be happy to drink this anytime. Rebuy- Yes
1999 Michel Gay, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Serpentières
Medium-plus ruby-red. The nose is forward and deep but to my taste unfortunately pruney – though there is a core of red fruit. The wine is concentrated and well textured – there’s plenty of wine here, ripe and sweet but again there’s that rather blocky, pruney element in the mid-palate, some raisin too. As said, there’s a lot of wine here, unfortunately I don’t like it very much… Rebuy – No
2001 Tollot-Beaut, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Champs Chevrey
Medium ruby-red. A nose that’s wide and relatively high-toned, just a slight estery edge over faint, warm, ripe red fruit. The palate is soft and light with sweet red fruit, even a hint of oranges going into the finish. From a flavour perspective, this actually showing quite a bit of maturity. Lighter and more elegant than many Tollot wines, but it’s made in a very sympathetic way, as in this case there is no oak character at all. Very tasty, but not a wine for the ages…
Drunk in a nice restaurant, this was the chef’s choice:
2003 Bouchard P & F, La Vignée Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Nice deep colour – already quite ruby-red at the core – looks good the glass. The aromatics are relatively muted, a little earth and faint underbrush, only occasional glimpses of nice red fruit.
The palate is soft with good apparent concentration, enough acidity and tannins that only show themselves with a little grain as you move into the finish. At its price-point this is a very successful wine, I was only missing a little ‘character’.
Rebuy – Maybe.
2002 Tollot-Beaut, Beaune Greves
Deep cherry-red. The nose is quite super; a deep and forward mix of black and red cherry over subtly creamy oak. Depth, concentration and velvety texture, pushed by the mouthwatering acidity this is very long. There’s still a littly oaky bitterness on the finish, another 2-3 years and I think this will be absorbed. Despite the open nose there’s a real brooding sense of character to this wine. Top-notch Beaune that will amply repay cellar time. Rebuy – Yes
This bottle really improved my mood after the two corked bottles. Also we had a ‘Truffière’ Corton-Charlemagne. I’m still not sure of the provenance of this label, I think it might be a second label of Vincent Girardin(?)
2003 Le Truffière, Corton-Charlemagne
An oversize and overweight ‘statement bottle’ with a super-deep punt. Medium yellow. The nose shouts ‘pear-drops’ before becoming a more subtle blend with classic white blossom and higher-toned alcoholic notes. The palate is quite well concentrated and reasonably long, it just needs an extra dab of acidity to carry the ample mid-palate through into the finish. Almost good. Rebuy – No
What do these bottles have in common?
Well, they were opened 30 minutes apart and both were corked. I’d been looking forward to opening the Bonneau, so chose my birthday – the perfect example of Murphy’s Law, or as the Germans prefer to say; ‘Shit Happens’.
Anyway, post Corton-Charlemagne, I decided to cleanse my palate with Marc Morey’s 2002 Chassagne 1er Morgeots – what a mistake-a to make-a. This (red) Chassagne was even more heavily tainted than the white – in fact so much so I couldn’t even bear to describe how bad.
Fortunately two other bottles came to the rescue – one of which was really excellent, I’ll get to that tomorrow, but for the record, the Bonneau had some (slightly oxidised) potential:
2001 Domaine Guyon, Vosne-Romanée
Medium ruby-red. The nose starts with deep and spicy, even rubbery oaky elements, slowly there are high-toned red fruit and floral aspects and eventually more plummy fruit added to the mix, the last drops in the glass smell fantastic. There’s a real kick when you first taste this, a burst of concentration and mouthwatering acidity. Initially there’s lots of spicy and slightly bitter oak in the finish too – this takes quite a while to improve – but only a little, taking on a more licorice style. For me there’s still far too much oak marking this wine and I’m sure it will never be fully absorbed – great for those that like this style, but I find it a shame that good underlying material is ‘coloured’ in this way. Rebuy – No
Not to be confused with the domaine Antonin Guyon, this small domaine is based in Vosne, the latest bottles have the label Michel et Jean-Pierre Guyon, but the design remains the same. They typically make concentrated wines and use a lot of toasty oak but the results can be variable; the 2002 Vosne and Echézeaux took up the oak pretty well, but as you can see, this 2001 less so.
The last Gevrey of the week is the deepest coloured, most juvenile and perhaps most concentrated; it also came from a producer that I don’t think I’ve tried before – Thierry Mortet is the younder brother of the late Denis Mortet and also based in Gevrey-Chambertin. His range when I last saw them listed is quite small, only 4 cuvées. Some of his bother’s skill is surely evident in this wine.
2001 Thierry Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium-plus red, still with a strong cherry-red hue. The nose starts quite masculine with a strong Gevrey-earth character supporting a melange of red and black berry fruit, slowly this becomes softer and a little higher toned if not better focused. The palate is full and concentrated and obviously started life with a real injection of oak, but the residual effect is more about soft, fat texture and a little bitterness in the finish. The bitterness doesn’t last long and is eventually replaced with a reasonable length and a more creamy aspect. The tannins have a little rasp right at the end, but this is a very accomplished wine, and quite concentrated for an 01. Really very good. Rebuy – Yes
2001 Domaine Ponsot, Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée l’Abeille
Medium ruby red. The nose starts with a little undergrowth then soil, both fade to reveal a diffuse red-fruit curtain – improvement is required and the patient are rewarded; first with a deeper plum fruit before a lovely high-toned and focused red fruit effect – very nice. The palate is much less ripe than the 01 Bachelet Gevrey that precedes it, providing a sour-cherry fruit which is not unattractive and mirrored by the balanced, mouth-watering yet somewhat tart acidity. The overall texture is excellent with understated velvet tannins. In the end this is a wine that even with food, is just a little too tart – I can enjoy it, but I wouldn’t rebuy it. Rebuy – No