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The January Burgundy Session

Absolutely good food, good wine, good company. Warming up with two red wines with friends on the Thursday evening (Clos de la Roche and Grands Echézeaux), and considerably more on the Friday evening when 13 of us from the wine-pages forum got together in London.

As you can see from the first picture, everything started in a perfectly orderly fashion: four hours later you can see lower down that perhaps we weren’t such a well oiled machine !

THE WHITE TN’s

All of these drunk at the restaurant – La Trouvaille, just off Carnaby Street.

1996 Verget, Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnere
Medium toast oak and a hint of something green on the nose – lime I think, gradually becomes buttery and honied. The palate is powerful and rich, showing very good acidity, just a little butter and very long. Despite just a trace of bitterness on the finish I think this is excellent wine, though the oak blurs the ‘sense of place’ for me.

1999 Hubert Lamy, St.Aubin 1er Clos de la Chatenière
More subtle nose than the Chablis, the oak is less obvious and there are white flowers against a faintly citrus background. The more mineral palate is wide and quite powerful, though can’t compete with the richness of the Chablis. Lovely acidity and very long too, almost a caramel ending. Very good.

1997 Colin-Deléger, Meursault
Deeper colour. For me just a hint of oxidation on the nose. The palate is fat and rich, in fact rich enough to do a good job of hiding the good acidity. A long finish too. The palate is better than the disappointing nose, but still a pretty good wine.

1999 Colin-Deléger, Meursault Les Corbin
Nicely integrated oak on the nose. The palate is quite sweet and again the extract does a good job of hiding the acidity. Not as long as the previous wines. For me, pretty good only.

2001 Domaine Dujac, Morey St. Denis 1er Les Monts Luisants
Lovely nose with grapefruit and banana notes. Good acidity and reasonable volume in the mouth. There’s reasonable length, but I find the wine a little bland, perhaps the fact that the wine’s only been in bottle for two weeks is to blame.

1996 Fontaine-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets
Lovely nose, nicely integrated. Plenty of acidity but slightly harsh. The palate has good intensity but comes across a little bland. Quite good only.

1995 Gerard Chavy, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières
Relatively subdued nose, faintly nutty. Lovely acidity coupled with a slightly buttery palate that opens really wide. The long finish shows a little aniseed. This is a lovely wine.

THE RED TN’s
All but two of these were also drunk at La Trouvaille, you might find a couple of interlopers . . . .
2000 Robert Groffier, Bourgogne Rouge
Slightly animale nose with primary black fruit. For a Bourgogne this has excellent density and very good acidity. The tannins are quite grainy with blackberry and raspberry fruit. This is very nice wine and excellent Bourgogne.

1989 Albert Morot, Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Vergelesses
Restrained nose still has surprisingly primary berry fruit. The palate has good volume and acidity but is less interesting than the nose. Quite good.

1996 Fougeray de Beauclair, Fixin ‘Clos Marion’
Lovely red berry nose, though slightly ‘spikey’. The palate is relatively sweet with a nice depth of fruit. Good, though slightly tart acidity. A little rustic but still worth leaving for a while. Good

2001 Seville Estate, Yarra Valley Pinot Noir
Nose is quite black and astringent. Thick and ripe with good acidity. Finish is slightly bitter. Not bad but for my style preference, over-ripe.

2000 Ashton Hills Vineyard, Pinot Noir
Red cherry and raspberry nose. Less ‘over-ripe’ than the Seville Estate, making the fruit much more interesting. Acidity is good and perhaps a trace of banana on the medium-plus finish. Quite good.

1989 Tollot-Beaut, Corton Bressandes
Starts a little cheesy on the nose. Good depth with furry tannins, but the acidity is a little harsh. I’d drink this quite soon, pretty good, but for me no better.

1994 Joseph Faiveley, Latricières-Chambertin
High toned nose with cherry and quite raw alcohol at the top end and earth at the bottom. The palate shows lots of Gevrey earth, medium density and medium length. Good acidity and tannins, but to my palate not fantastic.

1994 Armand Rousseau, Clos de la Roche
Medium ruby with obvious bricking at the rim. There’s an undertow of red fruit, but the dominant note is of vanilla. The palate is sweet, has good concentration of black cherry and the tannins are absolutely smooth and ‘ready’. The vanilla comes through on the palate too, but still very good.

1991 Louis Latour, Corton Grancey
Undergrowth and earth on the nose, perhaps a little animale too. The animale notes disappear to leave light toasty aromas and some fruit. Excellent acidity with still vigorous tannins. Quite long, this is a very good wine.

1997 Dugat-Py, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles
Nose is mainly toasty oak – not much else. Good acidity and relatively fine, mouth-coating tannins, but where is the fruit? Considering that 1997 is generally a very ripe vintage I amazed that I could only find the ‘wood’. To my palate very disappointing.

1995 René Engel, Grands Echézeaux
Deep colour. Nose has quite primary small berry fruit. Good acidity and quite grainy tannins. Lovely depth, I wouldn’t suggest trying another for at least 3 years. Very good.

1982 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Clos des Ducs
From magnum. This has the best nose so far, and is a lovely complex mix of sweet red fruits, orange peel and rose petals. The sweet palate shows good acidity and still furry (though slightly drying) tannins. A very good wine, and excellent senior citizen.

1985 Domaine Dujac, Bonnes-Mares
From magnum. Sweet, cooked cherry nose still shows lots of oak, but the wood is well integrated. The palate is very ripe and sweet with good acidity and mouth-wrapping tannins. I’m surprised how primary this wine still is, no real complexity. I don’t know whether it will just stay at this level for another 15 years or whether it will improve. Still a fine wine.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?