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oldtimers…

Drank over two nights with new friends from the 2011 vendanges. The first two bottles, and particularly the second, underline the loss to the world of the concept of aged white burgundy…

1978 Bouchard Père et Fils, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Pucelles
Golden. No hint of oxidation on the nose; there is some impact but it’s a little foursquare, hints of lanolin escaping from the glass. In the mouth – now we’re talking – good acidity and a lithe impression of restrained power. Decent length too. Belying its 33 years – this is lovely old white burgundy.

1984 Yves Boyer-Martenot, Meursault 1er Les Charmes
Golden. Hmm now this also shows no oxidation and has a little spicy honey on the nose. There is less direct impact versus the Pucelles, but the acidity is just a notch better and more impressive still is the way that the flavour grows in the mid-palate – many dimensions. This is first class old white burgundy. Yum!

1979 Robert Ampeau, Volnay 1er Les Santenots
I don’t usually decant older wines, but my ham-fisted attempt to remove the cork ensured that plenty of pieces dropped into the bottle – so I filtered through an unscented tissue into a decanter. The aromas were soil, soil and more soil – perhaps damp soil too – I initially thought brett but it blew off, so probably wasn’t. Given 20 minutes a very nice, almost creamy red fruit started to show itself – given one hour, this was very pretty indeed. The palate transformed a little less; always silky and with just a little fat for weight, the acidity was the only thing that seemed to change – moving from a little spiky to nicely smooth with aeration. Was a lovely wine, not too robust or rustic – a nice birthday vintage bottle for one of our (younger!) group.

1969 Thonas-Bassot, Chambolle-Musigny
Older bottles of villages wines are not quite a lottery but the odds of having a great experience are similar to tossing a coin, even when well-stored. We tossed well. This time the cork was removed in one piece; the aroma was disjointed and dark to start but in the glass you needed only ten minutes for it to transform into a beautiful musky, sultry, almost velvety dark red fruit – you had to be there! In the mouth there was both volume and dimension, sweetness and good length. A clean and very tasty wine indeed – I wonder if my second bottle will be so good…

And next day? No headache!

2 responses to “oldtimers…”

  1. Don Cornwell

    I’ve had consistently good luck with older bottles of Thomas-Bassot, particularly with the Ruchottes and Griotte.

  2. Tom Blach

    I’ve found village wines from that period a particularly good bet. It seems that plenty of 1er cru juice ended up in these as no-one was interested in 1ers-indeed there was time when Dujac found their village to be those only wine anyone wanted
    I’ve also enjoyed old T-B, particularly the Clos Des Ruchottes which is now the Rousseau holding, and I’ve still got a couple of the 85 Bouchard Pucelles, pretty variable but the best bottles have been lovely.

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

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