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1982 Engel René, Vosne-Romanée Aux BrûléesOct. 2010
Medium, medium pale colour. Right from the start, there’s not a hint of leaf, soil or mustiness on the nose, just a frankly gorgeous blend of precise red berries, brown sugar and the finest ginger cake – wow! One hour on and the snose has lost some of those precise berries to a marzipan-type layer. To me this is a negative as I’m no fan of marzipan – to others, quite the reverse. The flavours deliver width, a plush texture, very fine acidity and an impressive density of sweet, slightly raisin-fruited flavour in the mid-palate. Approaching 30 years-old one might expect this to be described as an old grandmother of a wine – how very wrong that would be. It remains fresh, sensuous and complex. It is blisteringly good – thank-you Caves Baggli…
2004 Engel René, Grands-EchézeauxSep. 2010
Medium ruby-red – I caught myself admiring the late-evening sun as it beautifully reflected through the glass. The nose is not immune to the vintage character; it starts at an encouragingly low level but disappointingly blooms in the glass – maybe to a 6/10 level. Below the mirepoix is a creamy, faintly lactic depth – and depth this wine certainly has. Wide in the mouth, the acidity has a slightly jarring, sharp leading edge – give it an hour of aeration and this mainly but not completely tones down. The texture is very fine and the width and depth are high-class indeed. The length, despite its persistence, currently holds onto some of that character. Today this isn’t a fitting tribute to Philippe, so take any of 99-2003 to toast him – they are all drinking well. I hope that my other bottles of this will come good in another 10 years or so…
1995 Engel René, Vosne-Romanée Aux BrûléesFeb. 2010
Medium rusty-red colour, more rust than red at the edges. Forward aromas of part fresh, part baked red fruits over a sterner and much more mineral depth – a raspberry jelly aroma is one of the last from the glass. Impact in the mouth – this isn’t a wine that widens across the palate, it starts at full width. Velvet tannin that is faintly edged with astringency and a fresh burst of dimension across the mid-palate. The mineral aroma is also reflected in the flavours. A success! The fruit flavours remain relatively primary, take that together with the slight astringency and I would guesstimate that this is at least 5 or 6 years from being ‘mature’
2002 Engel René, Grands-EchézeauxDec. 2009
Medium ruby-red. The nose has hints of dark, spicy oak and turned earth – as the glass drains there are beautiful flashes of red berries. Perfect freshness and still grainy, though generally background tannins. The flavours make a broad panorama on the tongue and are a mix of red berries and more raisined, lingering notes. Very long. I had the 99 a few months ago, but this seems much better focused and ‘together’ if perhaps not quite as concentrated. A lovely bottle and far from a shame to enjoy now.
1999 Engel René, Grands-EchézeauxMay. 2009
Medium-plus colour. The nose is about deep, macerated fruit – and even goes deeper with time in the glass. It’s very pretty indeed and all the while adds faint if not wild complexity. In the mouth the clear first impression is width, aided by faintly grainy tannin across the whole panorama. There is an understated presence and interesting complexity, though the finishing flavours are a tad simple despite their length. A good wine here, but today I shy away from ‘great’ as I didn’t find any real focus or ’spine’ to the wine making it come across as ill-defined/loose in the mid-palate. Give it time, but today I’d rather drink the 99 Leroy Narbantons.
1996 Engel René, Vosne-Romanée Aux BrûléesApr. 2009
Medium-plus colour. The nose is deep, showing plenty of leaf, undergrowth and a nice spicy element. Very nice acidity and flavours that burst across the mid-palate, then a wave of tannin before fading in the finish. This is a lovely wine and not ‘too’ 1996.
1996 Engel René, Vosne-RomanéeAug. 2007
Medium ruby-red. The nose right from opening is a bit of a star. Deep with a twist of oak before transparent red berry and redcurrant notes come through. Plenty of higher, slightly volatile notes too – but always quite compelling. The palate is just a little more challenging – very forward acidity, indeed borderline ‘too much acidity’, very, very linear presentation, still a little astringent tannin remains, but there’s also some bitterness in the finish. No sign of decline because this is exactly how the wine presented itself for the whole 3 hours before it was gone. A bit of a challenge this bottle, balanced by the lovely aromatics.
1995 Engel René, Vosne-Romanée Aux BrûléesAug. 2007
Medium-pale red with a strong amber caste. The nose started with a whiff of oak before settling for quite some time into a dirty, almost fixed sulfur motif. It wasn’t fixed as extended aeration brought a denser red fruit that eventually became more elegant and redcurrant in style. Good acidity with quite some extension in the mid-palate – this punch is delivered with little overt density but still impresses. The tannin has reasonably fine grain but still needs a little time to provide a perfect texture. This is not a powerhouse wine, but despite the initially disappointing aromatics there’s still some interest here.
1996 Engel René, Vosne-RomanéeNov. 2004
Medium red, with quite a dense core. The nose is sweetly red and faintly spicy. The palate is very fresh with a super core of fruit – but you need to wait a while in the glass – it’s not so obvious at first. The longer it’s in the glass the better it gets – one to wait another 3 or 4 years for.
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