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a nine bottle evening

With beouf bourguignone, a really interesting set of wines – the Thomas Frères wines coming from an undisturbed Zürich cellar. Wines were served blind…

67-clos-de-la-perriere1966 Thomas Frères, Tastevinage Cote de Nuits Villages
Pronounced, wild aromatics – you have the impression that this could be a young ‘natural’ wine. The palate is all-over the place: decently concentrated and each sip seems differently balanced to the the previous one – clean flavours though. Frankly brilliant for the age/label but sadly it was rather ignored given how good some of the others were…
1967 Thomas Frères, Fixin 1er Cos de la Perrière
This was, quite simply, the wine of the night. Beautiful aromas of fine fruit with a graphite note in the background. The palate was mineral and complex, not really showing it’s age – I may have guessed early 1980s. I wonder if Bénigne Joliet has recaptured this grand cru quality in his last vintages(?)
1968 Thomas Frères, Chassagne-Montrachet (blanc)
The wine we started with – I guessed it was a good condition late 1970s wine. Gunflint, lanolin, power rather than elegance but with great acidity and balance. Excellent.
1993 Jobard, Meursault 1er Genevrieres
Took a little while to open in the glass, but here is an elegant and rather complex wine – lovely aromatics but a very faint musty note in the mid-palate takes away the ‘excellent’ badge – merely very, very good.
1999 Vincent & Denis Berthaut, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Cazetiers
I really loved the aromatics here – I guessed it could have been a Bachelet Charmes from the nose. The palate did not deliver the best equilibrium because the acidity was not completely smooth. Because of that, it was another wine (like the 66) that was a bit unfairly ignored. I could sniff it all night though.
2002 Bart, Chambolle-Musigny Les Varoilles
Another wine that smelled gorgeous – I guessed Chambolle, but chose 2006 as the colour looked rather young. The flavour reflected the the aromas too – very excellent wine this for a villages.
2005 Pierre Morey, Meursault Tessons
I really didn’t like this to start with, the aromas were brash and boorish, I’d have guess a non-Burgundian ringer. Yet, over about 25 minutes the aromas gradually became finer and the flavour less solid. It ended up a quite drinkable but still not covetable.
2007 Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Chaumes
Jump out of the glass aromas that speak of Louis-Michel’s vinification but with very, very pretty raspberry and wild strawberry fruit. The palate really surprised me because it is rather more mineral and complex than is the reputation for Chaumes – lovely fine acidity too – just a beautiful wine.
2007 Morey-Coffinet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Farendes
Young colour. The nose shouts Meursault 2010 to me – oops! It really doesn’t smell like Chassagne to me, but it does smell very, very nice indeed. The entry to the palate was frankly a bit loose / unfocused but as the wine slipped into the mid-palate it was very, very impressive with lovely intensity and something of a peacock’s tail of energy and flavour.

A great night…

12 responses to “a nine bottle evening”

  1. Tom Blach

    That’s presumably Thomas as in Thomas-Moillard? I wonder what’s happened to the millions of old bottles I once saw in their cellars.
    I had a really top Laurent Clos De La Perriere 96 a few weeks ago.

  2. Brian Robson

    Bill: Recently read Alexis Lichine Wines of France 1953 and interestingly La Perriere Fixin was listed as one of the primary vineyards of the Cote de Nuits !
    Tom: A number of those bottles ended up in my cellar as I worked with Moillard for some years up until the sale to Vincent Sauvestre at Domaines Bejot (the big modern facility on the main rd just before you turn left into Meursault) Some of the older bottles of Moillard still remain in the relocated cellar on the RN74 thru NSG

  3. Brian Robson

    It was never mentioned in my time associated with the Thomas family in NSG, so I don’t think so.
    Cheers.

  4. Claude Kolm

    In “The Wines and Vineyards of France” (1965 revised edition, translated from the French by T.A. Layton), Louis Jacquelin and René Poulain classify Clos des Perrières as a first great growth, their classification for what we today would say is grand cru (with some present-day grands crus not attaining that level and some present-day non-grands crus attaining it and with Chambertin and Clos-de-Bèze, Clos Vougeot, the Vosne (but not Flagey) grands crus, Musigny, and Bonnes Mares being a level above — hors ligne). However, the classification of Clos des Perrières is mades somewhat ambiguous because it is included with wines of the Dijon District, not Côte de Nuits, and the commentary on the Dijon District wines is that they make wines inferior to those of the Côtes de Nuits and Beaune (and that in a number of places Gamay has replaced Pinot Noir and that only red is made). Does Clos des Perrières rise above the general level of Dijon District so that the judgment would be the same if it were included with the Côte de Nuits wines, or is this a special classification for Dijon District only?

    BTW, I see that Drouhin has been making a Clos des Perrières since 2009. Has anyone tried it?

  5. Claude Kolm

    Oops, I see that I negligently wrote Clos des Perrières instead of Clos de la Perriere.

  6. Claude Kolm

    Reading tonight in Maurice Healy’s “Stay With Me Flagons” (written in 1939), he singles out the Clos de la Perrière as the first remarkable vineyard coming from Dijon. Healy says that for years, CdlP commanded the same price as Chambertin and the fact that it was monopole ownership “would tempt me to a higher bid than I would make for most bottles labelled Chambertin to-day.”

  7. Claude Kolm

    Interesting to trace the decline of the reputation of Clos de la Perrière (and Fixin in general) in various versions of Alexis Lichine’s “Wines of France” (which turned into “Alexis Lichine’s Guide to the Wines and Vineyards of France”), of which I have various editions.

    The earliest I have is the second edition (from 1953). There, he ranks La Perrière (which is a lieu-dit in the climat Clos de la Perrière, at least according to the recent book by Pitiot and Landrieu-Lussigny) and was not a monopole at the time as Lichine lists more than one owner, as just after Nuits-Pruliers, Nuits-Cailles and Volnay-Caillerets and ahead of Mazys-Chambertin, Chambolle-Amoureuses, and Clos Saint-Jacques. He comments on the wines of Fixin in general: “When well made, they can almost equal the great wines of Gevrey-Chambertin. The wines from the Outstanding Vineyard, Clos de la Perrière, not quite 12 acres in size [so this presumably would be one of the three lieux-dits, assuming no changes over the years, as the climat Clos de la Perrière today is nearly 7ha or about 17 acres, while the lieu-dit Perrière is just under 5 ha] are better than the wine from such First Growth Chambertin vineyards as Mazys or Mazoyères.”

    In the sixth edition (1964), Mazys-Chambertin has jumped head of Nuits-Pruliers, Nuits-Cailles, and Volnay-Caillerets, but La Perrière is still put ahead of Echézeaux, Amoureuses, and Clos St.-Jacques, among others. The commentary now says the wines from Clos de la Perrière are better than “such First Growth Chambertin vineyards as Charmes or Chapelle.”

    By the 1979 edition of the “Guide to the Wines and Vineyards”, La Perrière had fallen to just after Chassagne-Clos de la Boudriotte, Chassagne-Clos St. Jean, and Chassagne-Morgeot, and just ahead of Fixin-Clos du Chapître and Volnay-Santenots. The text says that “[w]hen well-made, Clos de la Perrière and Clos du Chapître can equal some of the lesser Premiers Crus [here apparently meaning what we call premier cru and not his First Growth, i.e., grand cru used in the earlier texts] of Gevrey-Chambertin.” The other wines of Fixin, by implication, are not near the level of Gevrey.

    We, of course, all make adjustments to our rankings of vineyards as the wines change through time and as we gather more experience. I wonder if Lichine’s change in estimation is due to a falling off of quality of the Clos de la Perrière or an increase in quality of the other vineyards? Probably some of both, of course, but certainly a good dose of the former, I should think. But note also that he winds up downplaying the wines of Fixin in general, too, from his high estimation in the 1953 edition. I expect that the overall repute of Gevrey wines improved considerably over time as more domaine bottlings became available (and perhaps, too, as French authorities better policed what went into negociant bottlings labelled Gevrey).

  8. Brian Robson

    Bill.. Thanks for the update. In one of the old Thomas/Moillard facilities in NSG there was a size able room with a mind boggling array of labels.

    Claude…Thanks for sharing the info on Clos de La Perriere. I will keep an eye out for older bottles and try the Drouhin.

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