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10 notes

 

2005 Leflaive, Chevalier-MontrachetJun. 2011
Medium golden colour. The first notes on the nose were – ouch – of Jerez, I left the bottle for five or six hours. On returning there’s merely a suggestion of that oxidative note, more to the fore is dense core of aroma that smells of old oak and some suggestions of mature aromas. Full in the mouth, flavour growing in the mid-palate with cool acidity; the flavour is intense and very long, some creamy and toffee elements too – though it’s not particularly moreish. Day two it’s a little (not lots) better, still with a hint of oxidation. Day three there is none, perhaps the colour is also more yellow than gold. Now it has creamy depth with a hint of lanolin (normally I expect this on 15+ year-old wine). In the mouth it’s full and powerful a hint toffeed and still maybe not the greatest mid-palate flavour – but for the first time I’ve topped up my glass. So, this Chevalier is in an awful place right now. Accepted there were sherry aromas when opened, and even on day two. But no-one tasting this wine on day 3 would say it was premoxed, it has become cleaner every day; it was on the same level after 72 hours (open) as after 48 – just that rather frumpy presentation that many 05s show.
2009 Ramonet Noel, Chevalier-MontrachetMay. 2011
The domaine trade some Bâtard with Chartron for this. Very understated aromas. Super, super mouth-coating flavour. Minerality and a hint of astringency. I think this really excellent. It is a completely different, higher-toned personality to the other wines and I also think it is just behind the Bâtard in quality.
2008 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chevalier-MontrachetApr. 2010
The aromas are wide, pretty and very interesting, perhaps not with too much depth but the panorama is fine. Wow! It’s a super-supple, silky texture. Real intensity of mineral flavour. Really super. Now I know that the Charlemagnes really were soft, not me!
2003 Girardin Vincent, Chevalier-MontrachetFeb. 2010
And what an impressive bottle – and I mean the bottle – a super-deep punt and heavy glass. On pouring, nothing untoward on the colour, but the nose has the first whiffs of oxidation – annoying rather than destructive. Across the palate this is certainly balanced enough and displays a generous extra mass versus the 03 Girardin Charlemagne, the texture is good too. Unfortunately this is linear and young – tasty but little overt complexity – just what you don’t want to hear after the oxidative hints on the nose. That’s a shame, as non-oxidising bottles won’t be anywhere near peaking in the next 5 years…
2007 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chevalier-MontrachetDec. 2009
The nose delicate and floral, very complex but also very understated, slowly hints of cream and wool are added. It’s a narrow entry that gets wider and wider as the intensity and acidity build across your tongue. This wine is mineral but today it is very tightly wound, and delivering none of the energy of the 1ers.
1948 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chevalier-MontrachetApr. 2008
From a merely ‘average’ vintage. Possibly recorked twice but otherwise never moved in almost 60 years. The wonder of an old wine – deep colour, almost orange – it must be oxidised right? The nose is deep and truffle-laden but not a hint of oxidation. The aromas are those of your favourite woollen pullover, a little faint hard cheese and eventually creme brulee. The palate also shows a truffle flavour and an immense length. The texture is soft though there’s just a sharpness to the leading edge of the acidity, but what follows is perfection. For 3 hours this grew and grew in the glass, both aromatically and from a flavour perspective, not even a hint of oxidation. Based on comments from the other tables this was very consistent from bottle to bottle. Possibly the greatest wine I ever drank – a privilege.
2006 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chevalier-MontrachetApr. 2008
From 2.5 hectares of vines – BP&F own one third of the appellation, all purchase in the 1800’s. The nose focuses on fruit, higher and mineral tones. Fantastic, mouth-filling, clean, pure and mineral. Long, very long, eventually with a little cream – superb. I delayed as long as possible tasting the Charlemagne as the taste of this lingered for minutes…
2005 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chevalier-MontrachetApr. 2007
Was reduced on opening but cleared up quite quickly, that said this has a totally different nose to the other wines with really dense fruit but it’s glossy and focused so in no way ponderous – continues to widen in the glass – very impressive. It’s rich with a mineral edge, but like the Charlemagne the concentration bursts across the palate then the acidity ploughs into the finish – grows well in the glass. Rich with a mineral edge and like the Charlemagne the concentration bursts across the palate before the acidity ploughs you into the finish. Very lovely – stylisticly I prefer the Charlemagne but this has a real wow factor despite Christophe saying it’s closed up a little since bottling!
2000 Leflaive, Chevalier-MontrachetDec. 2006
Not so much full-on oak on the nose as many grand crus from Leflaive, but plenty of toasty bread, tight fruit and eventually higher alcoholic notes. In the mouth my first impression is disappointment; soft, rather unfocused but good acidity. The wine then wakes a little with an impressive burst of complexity on the mid-palate that holds into a long – if rather oak driven – finish. It’s long and has some undoubted complexity but maybe I’ve caught it on a bad day as there’s no real focus or spark.
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