2007 à trois – with good, bad & ugly corks!

By billn on April 22, 2020 #degustation

good, bad, ugly - corks

2007 Lignier-Michelot, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles-Vignes
Oops – a cork that slides out way too easily – I’m almost surprised that the worm of the corkscrew didn’t push it deeper into the neck! It’s one of those, not very attractive, pale-looking things – it looks peroxide washed.
Given the cork, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the wine was prematurely aged – certainly, the colour is far from youthful – but the nose confounds me with quite a muffled and reductive start – the flavours playing a similar game. Only 10 minutes from opening and there’s a significant improvement; the nose remains a little clumsy but has flashes of Chambolle fruit – the palate too – but a little better than the nose. The half a bottle that made it into day 2 didn’t hold up well. Maybe I should blame the cork, but on this outing…
Rebuy – No

2007 Fourrier, Morey St.Denis Clos Solon Vieilles-Vignes
Another unimpressive cork, indeed an infuriating cork that breaks in half, the last part coming out in one piece – but only just! Fortunately, it seems, nonetheless, to have been a good seal and has a decent (untreated) colour.
Like the Lignier-Michelot, the colour is showing some age. Also a wine with a little aromatic reduction – but you can almost blink and then it’s gone – maybe 5 minutes at the most – I neither ‘shook’ nor decanted this bottle. The nose freshens nicely, and with each little swirl, you get a floral reward. In the mouth, it’s fuller and deeper flavoured than the Chambolle – more clarity of flavour and with a fineness of structure that I’m really appreciating. This is a lovely wine – despite the cork. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2007 Camille Giroud, Chapelle-Chambertin
The best cork of the lot – a Trescases for what that’s worth. It looks untreated and was well-sealed and robust.
Like the previous wines, the colour here is far from young – as I may have expected from a 2000 or 2001, but I’m surprised by the aged consistency of these colours – here the Chapelle is also the lightest coloured of all these wines too – it’s barely medium intensity. But here’s a nose that delivers far more than ‘medium’ intensity – full and round at the base, initially a little creamy, let is stand in the glass and there’s forest-floor and even a suggestion of balsamic, swirl and you have a heady weight of floral perfume – now we are talking! In the mouth, the shape and weight of their flavours belie the colour – complex, initially silky and even more floral perfumed than the nose – what a wine. Slowly a hint of structure, worth calling-out as faint rusticity, creeps into the finishing impression – but it’s a wine that simply declaring its youth. Bravo – super wine!
Rebuy – Yes

So, this particular bottle of Lignier-Michelot is a little prematurely aged. The Fourrier has the youngest fruit, the Camille Giroud the youngest structure, both of these last two wines are simply excellent for their respective labels. Despite their colours, these 2007s have come on very well…

Virgile Lignier, Jean-Marie Fourier, Camille Giroud

week 16 2020 – some weekend wines…

By billn on April 20, 2020 #degustation

1985 Cave du Dauphin, Beaune 1er Grèves
More than 10 years ago, and still to my eternal shame, I bought a bunch of these at auction. Half have been ‘sort-of’ okay, from an ‘old-wine’ perspective – the others have been irredeemably oxidised. Chalk another one up to oxidation here….

2017 William Fèvre, Chablis
Again the domaine version. As my 2018s how been tasty but young and structural, I tracked down some 2017s of the same:
Hmm – a flighty and attractive nose – citrus and salinity in tandem – that will work! In the mouth more supple, melting with flavour, less structured but also less overtly concentrated than the 2018 – go figure given the yields! But what a deliciously easy wine to drink. Not quite the same impact as the Julien Brocard that has been my house wine for the last 18 months, but not far behind. For now, this is still a worthy replacement while the 2018s mature a little more.
Rebuy – Yes

1990 Michel Juillot, Corton-Perrières
A wine that on opening has both a good strength and apparent youth to its colour. Easy and fruity on the nose – and likewise it’s the same for the flavours – not very Corton-Perrières-esque! Easy and tasty wine – not really a grand cru performance. It’s just as well that it’s an easy drink, because any that’s left-over in the fridge for day 2 has lost both its clarity and its interest – not so robust!
Rebuy – No

week 16, 2020 – a couple of mid-weekers…

By billn on April 16, 2020 #degustation

2017 Francois Carillon, Bourgogne Aligoté
Here’s a nice weight of fresh aroma, that’s very modestly citrus too. Hmm, I like this on the palate too; mineral, yes citrus again, but melting over the tongue too. That’s excellent aligoté!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Chanzy, Santenay 1er Beaurepaire
Here the nose is airy, open, and brimming with an almost macerating strawberry fruit. Modest tannin supports open, delicious, easy flavours – but there’s complexity too, it grows out from the mid-palate – so this 2017 isn’t too simple. Early drinking for sure, but delicious drinking too!
Rebuy – Yes

Tollot-Beaut’s 1976 Aloxe-Corton

By billn on April 15, 2020 #degustation

Just by way of a change. This case was buried in the cellar, so following a little Spring cleaning…

1976 Tollot-Beaut, Aloxe-Corton
The cork needs plenty of work to remove, and even with the Ah-So ‘corkscrew’ it broke, leaving the last cm or-so in-place. Luckily at the second attempt that came out whole. 1976 wasn’t a particularly hot vintage for Burgundy, but it was one of the driest – this taking the blame for the commonly elevated tannins when the wines were young.
What a great colour – none of the browning of age – the first couple of pours were beautifully clean and bright, though after, the gradual movement of the wine brought a little more mixing of the sediment. The nose – iron-filings – practically bloody to start. The first sips – not long from the coolness of the fridge – were impressively direct, narrow, fine-textured and seemingly mineral with good acidity. A wine that drives you towards a very decent finish. Whilst there’s not much in the way of fruit left in here, there’s also very little of the disadvantages that age can bring too and nothing spiky about the delivery either. Like the nose, I’m reminded of iron, practically a steeliness, but also an engaging freshness. I’ve 5 or 6 more and there is, seemingly, no rush…
Rebuy – No Chance

week number 15, 2020 – le easter weekend et les wines…

By billn on April 13, 2020 #degustation

Cathiard already knew how to charge for their wine when this was released en-primeur; £100 per bottle ex-tax in January 2001 versus £41 for Engel’s Grands-Echézeaux – both are great wines, but the latter, so far, unquestionably the greater. Of course, that’s still very cheap versus today! The merchant offered to split a case of 12 for me, so I could merely buy 6 – probably it’s impossible to buy cases of 12 today(!?) With hindsight, oh for the chance to buy Cathiard and particularly Engel at those prices again!

I still think of Cathiard in that period as a more than good producer, who was striving for excellent – since the 1980s, first the André Cathiard labels, then Sylvain’s had always been more than good – and relatively inexpensive too – rarely great wines but always great values. Hints of that lack of detail-conscious approach remain for this 1999 – not least, the unassuming normal length, bleached pale, unbranded cork – just a Burgundian coat of arms and ‘mis en bouteille a la proprieté‘ – that’s all you get, but:

1999 Sylvain Cathiard, Romanée St.Vivant
A practically sombre, if still clean, red colour – no signs of age though. Oh! What a beautifully elegant red-fruit nose – that’s a great invitation – though not the complex class of Arlot’s 99 Clos Arlot right now. In the mouth it’s similarly red-fruited to the nose with a panorama of flavour that rapidly widens – and here is a profound depth of flavour that’s inextricably linked to the upper-class length of finish – clearly ‘bravo’ wine – equally clearly a wine whose performance remains out of sync with the commercial value of the bottle – despite still being a great wine. Today the Arlot is the better wine in all except, perhaps, ultimate length. One of each remain to compare in another 9-10 years – maybe also with the Arlot RSV – wouldn’t that be fun?!
Rebuy – Yes at the old price, definitely not the market price…

2017 Julien Brocard, Chablis Boissoneuse
The penultimate of 28 bottles of this, and the nose seems to have shrunk – still a clarity and freshness but less depth and attack here. In the mouth, well that’s just lovely – as always – fresh, mobile, fine citrus energy. A little sweetness but also saline and with that beautiful ‘Chablis balance’ – just completely delicious – and then it was gone!
Rebuy – Yes

2012 Domaine Faiveley, Corton-Charlemagne
A nose with quite some weight of punch – a faint firework reduction that wraps a creamy, almost creme-brulee, note around the sweetness of the fruit. If it wasn’t so damn impressive, it would be too much! Mouth-filling, oily-silky, intense, radiating sweet flavour wide and long, here is also some mouth-watering minerality. I wine that is just so brilliantly impressive – yet today it lacks a little freshness for the best balance. I just have one more of the original 3 of these, and clearly this has the potential to be great wine. It needs 5 more years – maybe 10 – but it’s sealed with cork, so that’s a worry. This was so nearly great that I’m prepared to wait on the last bottle until 2027 – I hope that the cork is sympathetic…
Rebuy – Yes

this week’s sequence of bottles…

By billn on April 10, 2020 #degustation

2006 JF Mugnier, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Maréchale
Of-course, the biggest disappointment is being able to say nothing at all about the wine – the cork was very smelly from TCA – the wine equally so…

2007 Prince Florent de Merode, Corton Clos du Roi
Bought, like the last, on release. The early bottles were rather modest, no faults – except for lack of overt concentration. As this wine gains in maturity, I’m starting to warm to it. The nose is direct, pretty even, not powerful but still with an invitation. The palate starts much the same – a little narrow but has a little extra fat in the middle flavours that I’ve not previously noted. The flavour is pure, has decent depth and is frankly delicious. I still consider this to show the intensity of a modest 1er cru – the 2005 Pierre Bourée is certainly ahead in that respect. But it was a delicious bottle, and just one more example of the difficult 2007 vintage starting to open up in a positive way.
Rebuy – Yes at the old price 😉

2008 des Comtes Lafon, Monthèlie 1er Les Duresses
This was a helpful wine in positioning the previous Clos du Roi. Here’s a similar energy and intensity to that grand cru. This nose has a vibrant depth, and that small hint of youth – still. The mouth – ooh – I love the combination of energy and delicious flavour complexity – a darker more brambly fruit impression here, only missing that extra fat of the mid-palate from the Corton. Very satisfying wine – qualitatively, easily the match of the 2007 Mèrode. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

2009 David Clark, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Au Pelson
This was David’s experiment with stems – previously an avid de-stemmer, David went 100% whole-cluster with this wine – it’s surely time to see how it’s developing.
This was a wine with a strong aromatic profile of whole-clusters – towards the dark-side, the gothic side – today that has been replaced by a more easy-going floral style. In the mouth, also easy-going, indeed modest of flavour. Round, no hard edges, easy to drink – but essentially a proper Bourgogne, well-made, though a wine that has no pretension of trying to keep up with the previous two bottles. Nice Bourgogne, that was probably ready to drink 5 years ago. No-longer a rebuy, but when young, maybe.
Rebuy – No

2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Bourgogne l’Héritière
A very old-vine cuvée – 1922.
Not an ultra-deep colour, but still a certain youth. The nose is silky-smooth, pungently perfumed, certainly a little leathery and with an inky depth too – and that’s despite the red-fruited style. At the base is a little rub of tannin for support, but here is an open and energetic flavour profile – again red-fruited, again a little leather with the fruit but also with an intensity and structure that says that more is to come. Unlike the previous, completely ready, Bourgogne, here is a wine that has plenty of youth on its side, and a much more incisive delivery of flavour. Young, with a power and punch that says much more is to come. Excellent wine, already drinking quite well.
Rebuy – Yes


By billn on April 07, 2020 #degustation

Having already done a 2002 and a 2003 before the 2005 last week, but not quite being able to force myself to open a 2004, from the image above, I suspect you may still be able to spot my coming (cunning) plan.

This was squarely interrupted by the 2006 from Mugnier being totally corrupted by cork taint – the cork was smelly on its own, but the wine – pooeee! – but yes, there will have to be more beef bourguignone! I didn’t have another 06 ready – in the fridge, it’s already 20°C here – so jumped straight into the 2007. The 2008 will get its cork popped tonight – so notes on the next 4 later in the week…

something(s) from the côte st.jacques…

By billn on April 04, 2020 #degustation

2018 William Fèvre, Chablis
Secured with diam 5
To open with: A nose that’s just a little tight to start, but obviously saline and lime-style fruited – there’s the suggestion of structure. An hour from opening and the citrus is friendlier and brighter and wider. In the mouth a lovely acidity for the vintage, proper Chablis structure and finishing minerality. A wine that gets better and better with air – even better on day 2! Bravo, but what a baby! if you are lucky enough to have some 2017 it’s more drinkable than this today.
Rebuy – Yes

And what about 3 wines from the Côte St.Jacques?

2002 Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos des Varoilles
A nose of smoky width – I have the impression that there was a bit of toasty oak here when younger. Time gives this a bit more fresh energy and depth of aroma – a fine invitation. A direct wine in the mouth – lovely energy and vibration of flavour, but hardly medium intensity. Very tasty and seemingly still quite young. Modest intensity for a 1er cru but tasty wine all the same.
Rebuy – Maybe

2003 des Chézeaux/Berthaut, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
In lower volume vintages their Lavaux St.Jacques is blended with their Cazetiers – as here.
The nose is a little fuller and more complex, lots of depth and no smoke – this is a lovely invitation and one that becomes ever-more floral. A surprisingly nice drive and energy here for the vintage, not far behind that of the 2002 from Varoilles, there’s the sweetness of fruit of 2003 but also with width and depth of flavour. Slowly and deliciously mouth-watering – I was right to order a case of this after tasting the wine young – 5-6 more of these beauties still await…
Rebuy – Yes

2005 Pierre Bourée, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos St.Jacques
A rare wine, but one with a nightmare cork; first welded into place, then two-thirds breaks off. The remaining third eventually comes out though not before I’ve completely drilled through the middle of it with the corkscrew…
The most colour of these three wines. The nose starts a little lactic and with a suggestion vanilla too – obviously there had been plenty of aromatic oak to start with this one. 20 minutes after opening this has a width of very impressive aroma – cushioned, complex, and oh-so inviting – that’s excellent! Fresh, wide, mouth-filling and mouth-watering too – finishing with a mix of sweetness, salinity and mineral salivation – oh yes! Less lush than the 2003 but perfect for the cep risotto! Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

‘getting through’ the weekend with…

By billn on March 30, 2020 #degustation

2009 Ardhuy, Corton Clos du Roi
Less colour than the Renardes. Here there’s a little obvious whole-cluster in the aromatics and presumably, that’s the reason for the lighter colour. The nose, actually, is a little diffuse and in all the time it’s open, never really has any kind of focus or compelling aspects – good but not great. In the mouth, it reflects a little the nose – there’s a good balance and none of the harsh finishing oak of the Renardes from a few days ago, but in terms of interest, whilst this is easier to drink, the Renardes is easily the most compelling of this duo. Given the initial tasting, much more of a disappointment than the Renardes was.
Rebuy – No

2018 Chevallier, Chablis Cuvée Prestige
Unlike the base ‘Chablis’ from this domaine, this wine is cork-sealed, rather than Nomacorc. Ooh – a proper Chablis nose of freshness and a little seashore. The aromas are reflected in the flavours – good mineral freshness – that’s a proper Chablis, even in 2018 – well done!
Rebuy – Yes

2010 François Mikulski, Meursault 1er Les Charmes 1913
The cuvée of old, 1913, vines.
Anecdotally this had a high chance of being poxed, but no, it was fine. Deep, intense yellow colour, not really gold. The nose was pungent with saline citrus – almost an oily weight to the fruit. In the mouth, it was similarly intense with really great acidity – impressive stuff. Complex, with ginger and perhaps a faint oxidative ‘something’ in the flavours, but this is great wine, the intense citrus flavour is seemingly quite peppery – no question, and one of the best whites of the year.
Rebuy – Yes

2006 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgurs des Dents du Chien
I found this wine a little heavy, almost ponderous when young – what a change!
The nose is wide, fresh, floral, multi-dimensional stuff – eventually with a little salted-caramel in the mix too. Structural, open, no fat, but still a layered depth to the delivery of vibrant flavour. Sweetly wide but always with a mix of delicacy and intensity – never a suggestion of heavy. What do we have here? It’s even better than the Mikulski – that’s two nights in a row with the bottle emptied! Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

Netflix’s ‘Uncorked’ made me do it – cellar finds:

1996 Penfolds, Bin 389
I watched Netflix’s Uncorked this weekend, and there was a reference to the Bin 389, ‘the baby Grange’ and with this weekend’s cellar tidying – guess what I found? I’m still not ready to open the 1996 Bin 707s, but why not one of these?
Not the density of colour that I remember from 15 years ago – the (14%) nose a little spirity and with plenty of prune and plume – fresh and interesting prunes all the same, and the depth growing and widening with aeration. A little fat and a lot of silk to the texture – there’s still a small grain of tannin that slowly comes to the surface. A hint spirity in the middle again, but here’s an impressively mouthwatering flavour and one that finishes with such a force of spice; cinnamon, musk, who needs La Tâche? Impressed, though it would be even better without that spirity character…

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