1er CRU WINES
1997 d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Clos des Ducs
(Magnum) A soft, sweet and much redder fruited nose than the last bottles. The palate is medium intensity, coming across as quite sophisticated and with an additional creamy depth to the red fruited finish.
1999 Ronert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots
A deep ruby-red core right to the rim. The nose is a bit of a give-away; once the prominent dark oak fades – 5 minutes – you are left with a wide and spicy vista over deeper sweet and dark oak. It takes rather a long time – over 1 hour – before striking yet still spice-edged cherry fruit is revealed. After the last wine this is sleeker and certainly more polished yet is equally concentrated. The acidity is just a little brighter but the velvet tannins and the finish are certainly more oak driven and just show a little bitterness because of that – it’s long though. Complex and compelling, though this wine is the only one of these five to show a strong winemaker’s signature with its modern oak-driven style.
2001 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots
Medium, medium-plus ruby red colour. The nose starts with heavy, sweet oak that totally obscures any fruit. The palate is jam packed and quite well textured, but my first impression is the creamy coconut on a finish who’s duration is frankly amazing for a 1er cru, it’s even like toffee after (over) a minute. The overall stance of this wine is medium-weight and it really has first-class balance – though I couldn’t find anything to indicate the village, let alone the vineyard for the first hour it was in my glass. The most telling comment came from my wife – and she wasn’t tasting (yet) – “what’s wrong, why are you pulling a face – is it corked?” – I didn’t know I was being watched! Two hours(!) in there’s a finer red fruit note just starting to appear above the sweet, soft base. Unlike some very expensive names in 2001, this wine has very ripe, if understated tannin and is excuisitely made, but particular in style. Going forward from here is quite simple; if you want a very high quality wine to luxuriate in, drink this wine right away. If, however, you want to drink a very high quality wine that reflects its origin, then don’t even think of opening one of these before 2012 – or you will be disappointed – in fact, make that 2015!
1997 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Cras
A little oak then tight red fruit at the base. Rather bigger in the mouth than the Thierry Mortet, with lots of tannin but more than enough dimension to match. This is rather good.
2004 Billard-Gonnet, Pommard 1er Clos des Vergers
Rather deeply coloured. The nose starts tight, clean, slightly floral but gets progressively more impressive with red fruit that has a twist of blueberry in the mix – despite being primary it becomes very lovely – there is a hint of the vintage green somewhere but it’s on such a low level it is really additive. The palate is linear and intense, also very clean and mineral even. It’s just a little more unruly in the mid-palate but only because it’s so effusive. It’s a lower-case finish showing a slightly creamy undertone. This is very impressive for a 2004, I must look out for the 2005!
1997 Simon Bize, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Marconnets
(Magnum) Medium-plus colour. The nose is understated – actually quite tight. The palate is equally tight, the only forward aspect is the grainy astringency of the tannin, the fruit gives little away, though it’s ripe enough and shows no roast characteristics. In this format I wouldn’t be rushing to drink bottles, but I wouldn’t be searching them out either.
1997 Jean-Marc Boillot, Pommard 1er Les Rugiens
(Magnum) The nose is understated and tight. The palate has plenty of tannin, but impresses with an extra dimension of flavours that adhere to your gums. Very young but a good bottle.
2005 Jean-Claude Boisset, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Hauts Jarrons
From 45 year-old vines. Frankly on opening this reminds more of shiraz than pinot – Clarendon Hills style – you can take that as a criticism. The colour is deep purple – only just see-thru. The nose starts deep and, well – shiraz like; some high tones and mineral with a faint sweet topping. The nose very slowly unfurls, first with black cherry then red berry fruit – now we’re talking – day 2 and it’s lovely. The palate is linear and intense but there’s no expansion in the mid-palate, rather a laser-like run for the finish making it almost ‘lean’. That finish is quite long and also a little mineral, but very understated. The texture is, however, textbook pinot noir with soft tannins underpinned with very good acidity. If the nose was a little more fruit-driven (day 1) and if the mid-palate was to fill-out a little, you could easily mistake it for Leroy. Note that other ‘JCB’ Savigny 1ers like Serpentières and Dominode are better still, yet all cost only about €16! Hard to drink today as this needs lots of time, but infinitely better, yet cheaper, than most ‘luxury’ bourgognes…
2005 Jean-Claude Boisset, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er La Serpentière
Deeply coloured with a purple rim. Wide and high-toned aromatics on opening, very slowly deepens with black cherry and a snip of cream. Lithe entry, expanding in the mid palate with perfect acidity. The well-covered tannin is quite silky. Finally the nose is of redcurrant with a twist of tobacco – very nice. It’s young but a little easier to drink than the 05 Hautes Jarrons and certainly more elegant, but I just tend more towards the personality of the Hautes Jarrons – from 2012+
2000 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Clos du Roi
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose starts virtually cedar-free with a tight, round core of red fruit. Slowly there develops a lovely deep red cherry note and bit-by-bit a background of cedar emerges – not enough to spoil the wine, just enough to point to its origin. Good texture and lovely acidity, it’s a wine that starts narrow but opens wider and wider, expanding into a good if rather mineral-infused finish. There’s a reasonable amount of tannin but it’s finely grained. I’d leave this about 5 years before revisiting. Day 2 the cedar is 90% gone (hopefully a positive sign) and we have a lovely, long and tasty wine that would be a certain rebuy.
1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus
The nose is reasonably fresh and quite wide. In this company the palate is very fresh yet still appears balanced. The fruit is tight yet ripe, but is wrapped in fine tannin that adheres to your teeth – they seem ripe enough. This is the youngest wine I’ve yet come across in this series of ’97’s, I would not hesitate in saying leave these for another 5 years. Seems to have real potential.
1997 Chandon de Brailles, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Lavières
(Magnum) This smells a little older than its years, but I have to say it smells wonderful – just wide, understated complexity. The palate doesn’t quite live up to the early billing as the main component is astringent grainy tannin. That the nose is so far ahead of the palate is a little worrysome and would dissuade me from looking for bottles, but if you have some, keep them locked for now.
1997 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts
Medium-plus ruby-red. The nose is deep and dense with an edge of maturity, cocoa and undergrowth too – actually it reminds me of the 97 La Tâche – cool! – very Vosne. The cocoa/chocolate is apparent on the palate too, set against some fat and a lovely penetrating and slowly lingering central line of flavour. Of-course the acidity is on a relatively low level but, hence, provides no awkward shape to the wine. The tannin is velvetty and has just a trace of bitterness, but in a pleasing bitter chocolate style. The length is very impressive – maybe it was worth buying a full 12 after-all! The balance makes this quite precocious, so for drinking from now and over the next 10+ years.
1997 Champy, Beaune 1er Clos des Avaux
(Magnum) Deep and dark on the nose. Sweet and ripe fruit runs through the palate, no problem with the tannins but the acidity seems not all that well integrated. Overall this is not bad, indeed quite drinkable.
1997 Champy, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peuillets
(Magnum) Medium colour. The nose shows quite some oak overlaying roasted fruits. The palate is incredibly unruly but also quite fun – oak, astringent tannin and that same roasted fruit – you could never use the term ‘balanced’.
1997 Robert Chevillon, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Vaucrains
Plenty of oak still on a nose that narrowly avoids reduction. Where the aromatics don’t involve, the palate delivers more; good dimension set against a furry tannin. Overall this is almost good but no more.
2004 Chézeaux (Ponsot), Chambolle-Musigny 1er Charmes
This was lovely for about a year after release, was far less pleasant for about 2 years thereafter, but now it seems to be coming back into favour. This is made with purchased grapes from a long-term contract and is usually great value wine – if relatively simple vs their Beaune 1er du Château. The colour is medium ruby-red. The red-fruited nose just about avoids a baked/cooked effect and is high-toned and sweet with a hint of garden mint. The palate has just about enough acidity, a little fat and an interesting length. The finish has more than a hint of oak about it, but all the positives from oak and none of the negatives. Soft sweet and friendly – a nice wine.
1997 Château de Chorey (Germain), Beaune 1er Les Cras
(Magnum) Medium-plus colour. On the nose you note the much fresher fruit than many. Lots of ripe concentration on the palate backed by forward but ripe tannin. Understated length too. This is very very good for the vintage.
1997 Bruno Clair, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Dominodes
Wide, sweet and interesting aromatics – some dried fruits in the background. Plenty of grainy tannin, but it’s ripe tannin – nice density and the fruit is pleasant enough. This is also very good and like the Pavelot also requires another 3 or 4 years in the cellar.
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Monts
A deep core of colour, just the last vestige of cherry at the rim. The nose is deep and dense if rather bashful to start, showing little more than dark flashes of toasty, sweet oak – fortunately this remains an undertone before fading as a dense and primary deep red note comes through that becomes finer with aeration – I can only summarise it as ‘very sexy’. After wine #2 this is altogether denser, softer and with riper fruit too. It’s brimming with intensity and concentration – it’s a real mouth-filler – showing a lovely expansion in the mid-palate before slowly narrowing in the good finish. In the background there plenty of soft texture from the tannins, but they will need a few more years in the cellar to shrink. Everything about this wine is more fun and lush than the Jadot Bèze, if rather less tight and precise.
1995 René Engel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Brûlées
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.
1997 des Epeneaux, Pommard 1er Clos des Epeneaux
(Magnum) The nose is more interesting than the the rather ‘harder’ and stand-offish stance this wine often shows; high-toned with plenty of dried fruits – more interesting that the standard 1997 ‘roasted’ fruits – plus freshness and depth. The palate is sweet with grainy tannin and is very long finishing. It’s clearly a very young, but surprised me in that there is more charachter here than I find in many vintages of this wine.
2003 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleon
The nose first shows oak, but it is less obvious than the 2003 Gevrey and more fruit-driven. This is a real mouthful of wine – it burrows into your palate – lots of grainy texture. Quite a good length, but overall just a little more rustic than the the 2003 Meivelle
2004 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleon
Cedar on the nose – it’s fresh but very green shaded (today). In the mouth there’s good concentration and a velvety texture – much more refinement than the 2003. The herbal aspect is to the fore here on the palate too. The length is good, but at this stage this 04 demands time in the cellar.
2005 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleon
Understated dark oak on the nose, width and a slowly developing red note. Plenty of velvet tannin here and the oak remains a subtle undertow to the rest of the flavours. It’s fresh, long and quite structured, in fact that structure is today a little in the ascendent, but this seems to have enough material to provide a longer-term balance.
1997 Camille Giroud, Volnay 1er Carelles
It’s a soft and red nose – despite the softness it seems tight, or at any rate a little muted. The palate is medium-bodied and shows a very nice mid-palate intensity. The tannin is grainy but not too astringent leaving us with a good finale. It’s a nice wine.
1976 Camille Giroud, Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cazetiers
This has an impressive, deep, sweet, caramel old wine nose; no funk, no nasties just ‘irony’ (not ironic) and interesting for sniff after sniff. Smooth on the palate, it expands very nicely as you move towards the finish. The tannins are very well managed unlike (still) some from ‘76. Very alive, some elegance and quite some personality. Like many older Girouds, it doesn’t show quite the complexity you expect from the age – or the length, but despite not classing it as ‘great’, I would certainly class it as a lovely glass that was much appreciated.
1997 AF Gros & François Parent, Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Réas
Understated nose that slowly becomes redder and quite excellent. The palate is furry, slightly prickly and comparitively disappointing.
1996 Hospices de Beaune (Chanson), Beaune 1er Nicolas Rolin
A Chanson Père bottling. Medium-plus colour. The nose is deep and forward but throughout most of our time together it was always a little uncouth – there was finally a pretty red fruit note to save it. The palate is much better; density, very good acidity, background tannin and rather long – though like many from 96 the flavour profile is just a little metallic. Quite tasty but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy more.
1996 Jaboulet-Vercherre, Beaune 1er Clos de l’Ecu
Medium-pale ruby-red. The nose has a high-toned start with a little resinous/green background, slowly a little jammier depth comes through. The palate is a little thin, with tart acidity, mild tannin and a rather unripe finish – if you persevere, your palate adjusts a little and there is some apparent sweetness – but I wouldn’t recommend it. Is this the worst wine I’ve opened this year? – well there was that 96 Lamadon Echézeaux, but more on that another day – for now this has that dubious award.
1997 Lucien Jacob, Beaune 1er Cent Vignes
A wide and interesting nose of red fruit that largely avoids roast notes. High-toned in the mouth, concentrated and somehow masculine. Plenty of ripe tannin and good depth. Also very good in this vintage
1999 Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Les Theurons
Medium ruby-red. The nose is just a little reduced, eventually a mix of sweet, slightly dark oak and understated redder notes. The palate is fresh and linear with well-covered tannins. The acidity is a little tart, but there is quite enough fruit and a nice creamy edge to the fruit and acid-driven finish. Fresh but fun – I enjoyed.
1997 Louis Jadot, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Baudes
Lovely red fruit on the nose, high tones too. Plenty of dimension on the palate, excellent attack coupled to plenty of grainy but ripe tannin. This is very, very good.
1997 Michel Lafarge, Beaune 1er Grèves
An understated, tight nose. Sweet red strawberry fruit on the palate couples to understated tannins and reserves as yet untested. Understatedly impressive.
1997 Michel Lafarge, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
Roasted red fruits on the nose. The palate is much fresher and tannic; mouth-gripping and dry. The nicest part is the lovely red-fruited length. For sure this is a very young wine but overall hard to like – perhaps it will have it’s day, but I will already have drunk the Lafon by then!
1997 Comtes Lafon, Volnay 1er Santenots
(Magnum) The nose is mainly about understated black cherry – but few ’97’s have such quality of fruit. The first impression on the palate is the tannin – there’s plenty – but not too astringent and forecasting a long life. The ample concentration lingers on a fine finish. More than enough balance here, this is one of the most successful 97’s and firmly recommended.
1997 François Mikulski, Volnay 1er Santenots
(Magnum) A nice black fruit nose. The palate is sweetly fruited and has ample grainy tannin. A wine that delivers concentration and good balance. I don’t really know Mikulski’s wines but this is a strong advert.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Volnay 1er, Clos des Chenes
A mineral nose with an undercurrent of red cherry. Lovely, with slightly plush concentration. The tannins are a little grainy but ripe and well-managed. Intense with a lingering finish. Worthy of the label.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Pommard 1er, Clos Blanc
An impressively complex nose, interesting and high-toned. Ripe, intense and again ripe tannin. Plenty of red-fruited, dense concentration. Very good.
1997 de Montille, Volnay 1er Mitans
Its a deep, young colour in the glass. Aromatically not much to say – very tight. The palate is far more expressive; lovely texture, fine tannins and understatedly long. The acidity is relaively low but there is also a good balance – I’d rather have this than ill-judged acidification. Good wine.
1997 de Montille, Pommard 1er Les Rugiens
(Magnum) A lovely soft and sweet red fruit nose – still quite primary. Plenty of decent tannin and lots of dimension on the palate. This is young but in the context of the vintage, excellent – the pick of these Pommards.
1997 Thierry Mortet, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Beaux Bruns
Soft but fresh red fruits on the nose. The palate is very good, fresh and tannic. This is interesting and full of personality..
1997 Gérard Mugneret, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Brulées
High-toned nose, understated but very nice. The palate is rather linear, but lots of dimension and almost good length. It’s actually almost good.
1999 J-F Mugnier, Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses
Medium ruby red, still with a cherry-red rim. The nose starts a little diffuse but quickly tightens; it’s still a rather understated and bashful but has soft red fruit with the faintest cream rim – as you would expect (hope) from any of these wines, you can sniff this all day long as the intensity slowly builds into a perfect redcurrant as the glass empties. The sweet palate reflects the nose – it’s no powerhouse – intensity without apparent weight and almost perfect silky texture. There’s plenty of acidity but the balance is first-class. Absolutely everything about this wine is understated – apart from it’s class! There are no fireworks, but I’m still sad that I bought 6 and not 12! Young obviously, but a rewarding drink right now.
1999 Jean-Marc Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er La Dominode
The first from the case. Medium-plus cherry red – still very young looking. The nose is broad and quite dense, a little meaty, just a little moist undergrowth too – not particularly fruit-driven – though an hour in the glass gives cleaner, higher toned dark mineral notes and finally a little tobacco mixed with red berries. Fresh with intense dark fruit, very linear and quite mineral. The texture is silky and despite the linear presentation gives the impression of some nice oak upholstery – a little grainy tannin adheres to the palate. Very young with a fine future ahead.
1997 Jean-Marc Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Aux Gravainss
(Magnum) A deep, dank, underbrush nose with ripe fruit to match. Sweet, with high-toned fruit in the mouth and still some tannin too – though less astringent than the preceding wines. This is very good, but really does require another 3 or so years in the cellar – in this format anyway.
1997 Daniel Rion, Nuits St.Georges 1er Vignes Rondes
Medium-plus ruby-red. The nose starts with deep, musky oak, only very slowly does a lovely red berry note start to come through – actually it becomes very nice indeed. The palate is lithe though concentrated and shows balanced acidity. The tannin is there but you must search hard to find it. The finish is long, but like the nose, rather oak driven and, hence, just a little bitter. A good wine that is not at all easy to spot as a ‘97 and needs at least another 3 years to start coming into maturity.
1997 Nicolas Rossignol, Volnay 1er Caillerets
An interesting nose, but there’s a cheesy element that’s spoiling the show. The palate is, however, sweet and sophisticated but I find an unusual flavour to the fruit – no suitable descriptor – just odd. The finish lingers well. A curate’s egg.
1997 Georges Roumier, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Cras
Redder and faintly estery aromatics after the Barthod. The palate is less explosive but on the positive side shows a little more complexity. In the end I found this a very nice wine.
1997 Jean Tardy, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Boudots
The nose has the 97 sweetness though unusually it’s coupled with a rather herby presentation but nice high-toned red fruits too. Actually quite appealing. The palate was grainy and red – I didn’t really think of much more to say…
1998 Thomas-Moillard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts
A rather unnattractively muddy, if deep mahogany red colour. The nose is high-toned but the fruit seems a little cooked in profile, wide but unappealing in a stewed tea kind of way. The tannin rather sticks out and I suppose that this was one of those hideously astringent 98’s in it’s first couple of years, but the tannins have moderated – if only a little. The acidity is quite clean and good and eventually you find the one redeeming feature of the wine; nice fruit in the finish with a creamy edge and an understated length. Only two more lie in the cellar, fortunately, and I expect that in the normal Thomas-Moillard style they won’t be close to mature for at least another 10 years. I think they will always be rather uncouth and lacking style. Shame, as the starting material hints of much more potential. It’s very rare that I ‘waste’ wine, but this bottle was poured down the sink on day 2…
2003 Domaine des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos des Varoilles
Deep colour. The nose is an impressively wide and sweet affair tempered by a faintly spicy and understated vanilla, slowly it releases flashes of red and black fruits. In the mouth it’s less sweet than the nose suggests, even just a little tart. The tannin is well textured but perhaps in the finish is just a little bitter. Understated acidity still leaves your mouth watering and there’s reasonable length too. This wine seems to have a miss-match of parts, but might be worth a bottle or two in the cellar.
1er CRU Whites
1997 Domaine Stéphane Aladame, Montagny 1er Cru
(Magnum) Pale yellow coloured. The nose is high-toned – plenty of ripe fruit yet remains quite fresh. Good fruit with nice enough acidity – a successful wine.
1997 l’Arlot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de l’Arlot
Fat, concentrated long and very tropical – not why I buy white Burgundy.
1997 Jean-Marc Boillot, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champ Canet
Medium golden colour. The nose is high-toned and faintly estery – not unpleasantly so but not ‘fine’ either. In the mouth it’s very ripe and sweet. Though the acidity is not bad, I still find it too sweet – not my style…
1997 Champy, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Hameau de Blagny
Golden colour. The nose is high-toned, faintly estery and also faintly oxidative. Lacks cohesion on the palate and shows spiky acidity – Drink Up!
1997 Chandon de Brailles, Pernand Vergelesses 1er Ile des Vergelesses
(Magnum) Medium yellow. A waxy brioche nose. The palate is fresh with very good acidity that’s coupled to quite some dimension and personality – very good length too – a very worthy 97.
2001 Colin-Deleger, St.Aubin 1er Le Charmois
Wide, just a little tight yet waxy with some pleasing depth and and a twist of citrus. The palate is plush yet at the same time reasonably mineral; it expands and expands in the mouth with a waxy, concentrated texture and length that has a faint impression of coconut but for all that seems fine. It’s not a cheap example of St.Aubin, but on this hot evening it’s certainly an impressive one; it’s open and very tasty. It actually followed a bottle of Jadot’s 2005 bourgogne chardonnay, and despite the quality of that wine, this is a major quality advancement.
1997 Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets
Wow – don’t often drink from a jeroboam! Medium-pale yellow colour. The nose is understated but relatively fine – gives the impression of being very young. The palate has lots of interest and character – just as important, appears very well integrated. A very nice personality to this wine.
2002 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents de Chien
From magnum. Medium lemon-yellow colour. The nose is soft and sweet with a faint citrus edge over a note of ripe pear. In the mouth this has a soft texture and in particular has a lovely and impressively lingering, mineral intensity. The acidity is almost good and certainly leaves my mouth watering. This is a super little wine which I try to buy every year, great value.
1997 Emmanuel Giboulot, Rully 1er La Pucelle
Golden colour. The nose is honied and very faintly oxidative – but in a mature wine way rather than a premature problematic way. This is a big mouthful of wine with soft, nice texture coupled to toasty depth. Ready now and very good.
1997 Lucien Jacob, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Vergelesses
Pale gold colour. The nose remains rather understated, majoring in high-tones. Soft texture with lowish acidity but seems nicely put together. Quite nice.
1997 Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Grèves La Clos Blanc
Medium yellow colour. The nose is high toned and just a little understated – the palate is anything but; it’s full-packed, concentrated and ripe. Deep and creamy length. The acidity is relatively low but the power and delivery are impressive.
1997 François & Antoine Jobard, Meursault 1er Poruzots
Medium yellow. An understated but very pleasant nose. The palate has dimension, concentration and integration – It’s really very good. Lowish acidity but very tasty.
1997 François & Antoine Jobard, Meursault 1er Genevrières
Medium yellow. A narrow, tight nose. Well balanced and tasty but suffers a little after the ripeness of the Lafon, holds a very good length though.
1997 Comtes lafon, Meursault 1er Genevrières
Width, freshness and a brioche depth on the nose. Ripe and concentrated with a very good texture. Long too. This hangs together very well, it’s very good wine – vintage independant.
1997 Comtes Lafon, Meursault 1er Charmes
Pale yellow. The nose is less obviously forward than his Genevrières, but finer with extra sophistication. The palate is wide, complex, ripe and long. What more can I say? Less showy but no less quality than the Genevrières.
1997 Hubert Lamy, Saint Aubin 1er En Remilly
(Magnum) Medium yellow. The nose is nicely wide and shows more than a touch of brioche. The palate is wide and fresh with particularly good integration of the acidity – plenty of mid-palate density too. Very nice wine whatever the vintage.
1997 Joseph Matrot, Meursault 1er Blagny
Medium yellow. An understated though slightly estery nose. The palate is more interesting, it shows real depth, good texture and very nice integrated acidity.
1997 François Mikulski, Meursault 1er Genevrières
(Magnum) Medium yellow. It’s an understated nose – little to put your finger on. The palate is wide, nicely concentrated yet also understated. Another wine with excellent length – really good balance here.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot
Bottled at the end of February. The nose is high-toned and shows nice depth. This is quite big in the mouth, there’s plenty of fruit extract and just the right amount of acidity to whisk you into a good finish.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Meursault 1er Charmes
It’s a nicely characteristic nose, some high tones over roast nuts. The palate has a nice, lean minerality and very good acidity to match. Fast on its feet, this is lovely – nice finish too.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er, Champs-Gains
A waxy, dense and impressive nose. Lovely minerality and super acidity that pushes long into a creamy finish. There’s a great extra dimesion in the mid-palate too. Just so communicative today – very lovely.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er, Caillerets
The nose is not so deep as the Champs-Gains, a little tighter but with a clear extra width. The action here is on the palate; mouthfilling then rather hauntingly and understatedly long. This has tightened since last tasted, the waves of attack are on a lower level. Still very, very classy.
1997 de Montille, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Caillerets
(Magnum) The nose is very mineral – the only white in the 1997 line-up that showed this. Tons of dimension on the palate that is is magnified by the citrus acidity. Very long and showing lovely balance. Vintage independant – very, very good
1997 Morey-Blanc, Saint Aubin 1er Combes
Medium yellow. The nose is understated and high-toned. The palate isn’t! Waxy, deep and softly concentrated. The acidity is not so well integrated but this remains a very enjoyable wine.
GRAND CRU WINES
1997 Denis Bachelet, Charmes-Chambertin
The nose is understated, wide and fresh. The palate is likewise impressively fresh (for 97) and shows quite some grainy tannin. Nothing is pushed but this is very impressive – I’d buy some!
1996 Jean-Claude Belland, Chambertin
The colour is a rather deep mahogany with just a hint of ruby-red in the reflections. The nose shouts of toasty oak when first poured but rapidly starts to show a super depth and even height of red shaded fruits then finally some floral violet notes – super complexity and quite impressive. After the 2000 Thomas-Moillard St.Vivant this is excredibly lithe, tight and acid-driven – it takes a few sips to adjust before calm is restored. There’s real intensity here and though the finish is quite understated, it is very long. You sense rather than feel the tannins due to a faint astringency, but they are very well behaved. Slowly the density builds in the mid-palate rounding the wine out more and more – I’d say this conservatively needs another 5 years to make the next step from impressive to excellent. This was really super value costing ‘only’ ~€50, I seem to remember the price jumping significantly for the 1999 vintage, today I’ve lost touch on the pricing.
1999 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Clos St.Denis Vieilles Vignes
Another corked bottle, so onto number 2. Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose is very wide and somehow silky. It’s very slow to evolve, but first you note dried cranberry fruit before a subtle blackcurrant confiture, the last drops in the glass are sweet and red. Like the nose, my first impression of the palate is its silken texture, the second is the length – impossibly long – no other of these wines comes close and it’s not about bitter oak, it’s about a subtle sweetness that clings to the palate. There’s a real, but measured intensity about the palate, driven by perfect acidity and tannins that are there only if you search for them. Despite the concentration there is perfect balance, this wine is the ultimate in sophistication. Monumental, it’s the best wine I’ve drunk this year…
1997 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
Medium ruby-red colour with more than a passing shade of amber at the rim. The fresh nose has some lovely componets; high tones, coffee, sweet undergrowth, unfortunately they don’t really meld together in a particularly interesting way. The palate has more interest, starting with a narrow entry it opens nicely on the mid-palate and shows good intensity. The acidity sticks out a little but there is sweetness and a very impressive length. Overall there’s no real class here – it’s very drinkable despite the rough edges, but hardly a grand cru experience – at least it wasn’t corked!
2004 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertin
The nose starts high-toned with a backdrop of vintage 2004 cedar. Slowly the cedar recedes giving space for a much more mineral aspect than is usual for this vineyard and certainly less alluring. The palate is silky with fresh acidity and super intensity, but unusually the length is again very mineral. It’s actually quite super, but I’d never pick it as Griotte. Day 2 the nose is transformed to the classic soft, but deep red cherry, perhaps including also a shade of raspberry and importantly the cedar is totally vanished – that’s very promising. The palate gains a little more depth and the finish remains unchanged – mineral but very long. This could become a super wine – but wait for 2015 as a minimum – I think it will need it as it was even slightly better on day 3!
1997 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertin
Much more fruit on the nose (vs Drouhin’s 97), in fact it’s so deep, pure and intense, it’s unlike any other wine here. The palate is concentrated and seems to harbour more dry extract than most others. The acidity is a little bright on the finish but it’s a minor blemish on a very fine face. The most ‘un-97-like’ wine in the show.
1994 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertin
Good 94’s are hard to come by but I’ve never been disappointed by this cuvée – apart from one corked bottle. This Ponsot elevaged wine shows medium ruby-red colour and a lovely forward nose of sweet red cherry and faint sweat oak – eventually there’s a little strawberry confiture, finally a lovely pure red berry and a little mocha peeking out – there’s much more density than most 94’s show. The palate is well-textured with creamy flavour that clings to your mouth – it doesn’t have the length of a great year but it’s unmistakedly grand cru. The acidity is mouth-watering though could be a little smoother in the mid-palate, likewise the tannins are not perfect but their texture is not bad either. Coming close to, but not quite at maturity, this wine has very impressive fruit for the vintage, whereas the structure is just a little less sophisticated than normal. Still an easy 90pt wine and it provides a lot of love – that’s is quite a compliment for a 1994!
1992 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertin
There has been some obvious seepage from the cork, but the bottle/label remains clean. A medium-plus garnet colour. The nose starts deep and brooding, perhaps a little sweet – but little else – the last drops in the glass, however, are of a lovely penetrating red berry. The palate is lithe, quite well concentrated and pleasingly fresh. The fruit remains nicely sweet but is set against slightly bitter tannin which is the main note of the finish. Aeration softens the bitter edge but never quite removes it. No obvious heat damage and very drinkable, but the 1994 is better.
1997 Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin
Much more fruit on the nose (vs Drouhin’s 97), in fact it’s so deep, pure and intense, it’s unlike any other wine here. The palate is concentrated and seems to harbour more dry extract than most others. The acidity is a little bright on the finish but it’s a minor blemish on a very fine face. The most ‘un-97-like’ wine in the show.
1997 Dujac, Clos de la Roche
The nose is very stemmy – more so than even the average Dujac – but some nice pure fruit behind. I like stems, but not so overpowering. Overall there is a sense of disappointment as this is a rather blurred and muted bottle.
1997 Dupont-Tisserandotot, Charmes-Chambertin
Greeny oak on the nose. The palate is fresh but shows spiky acidity and tannin on the finish – not that great.
1997 Jean Grivot, Richebourg
(Magnum) Basically blurred and stodgy, no better than last month’s bottle
1997 AF Gros & François Parent, Richebourg
The nose shows some high tones, faint spice and interesting but understated fruit. The palate seems less ripe than some but frankly has tons of complexity and dimension – this will need at least 10 years but might be worth an outside bet.
1999 Louis Jadot, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
After 4 months without a corked bottle, bugger – corked – now I only have 4 of these left. The colour is medium, medium-plus ruby red with just a little less cherry red at the rim than the first wine. The nose starts with a waft of dark, spicy oak but this is quickly gone to reveal a dark and understatedly spicy base. Time in the glass opens the wine out into a redder and finer vernacular without much in the way of density. Lithe and rather linear the plate shows forward acidity, but such is the superb intensity that this is kept quite in balance. What tannin can be discerned against the background of acidity and intensity has just a little astringency and the faintest edge of bitterness. The length is impressive, but it is rather ‘thin’ and an extension of the flavours I associated with the tannin, just a little tart too. The nose is now rather good, but the palate needs some time and currently shows much less ripe than the Mugnier Amoureuses.
1997 Frédéric Magnien, Bonnes-Mares
Oaky top notes underpinned by creamy deep fruit – quite fresh too – nice. The palate is very good, fresh and concentrated with some grainy tannin. Very good.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Corton-Bressandes
A lovely, understated though ripe and slightly musky nose. Densly concentrated, super acidity with a real extra dimension on the palate. Good length too. A real grand cru at a bargain price.
2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Clos de Vougeot
The nose is very understated – not giving much away. The palate has a narrow entry that suddenly and impressively widens – bathed in ripe, decently grained tannin. There are many worse Clos Vougeots, though this is clearly giving little away today.
2004 Nicolas Potel, Clos de la Roche
Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The instant aromatic impact comes from red fruit notes before a stronger, mineral/cedar element takes over. The less wine you have in your glass, the more wonderful it smells, lovely red fruits. The palate is very well filled with concentrated fruit and quite some intensity in the mid-palate. The tannin is not badly textured though there’s a short-lived trace of bitterness – but it comes at the same time as the earthy, dark oak appears on the finish so that bitterness seems to be more wood-based. That length is certainly grand cru without being too showy, though there’s a subtle creamy undertow there somewhere. Overall it shows good ripeness, and nice balance – if the cedar element becomes more subtle this will be lovely, but right now it remains – for me – a questionmark.
1997 Armand Rousseau, Chambertin
The nose is creamy with a little cedar (à la 2004), not bad. The palate is fresh and complex and medium weight but very long. Blind, this would be hard to place as a 97. This is very good.
2000 Thomas-Moillard, Bonnes-Mares
Medium-plus garnet-red colour. The nose starts wide with a deep red core. Time adds a faint cedar with a mint edge that’s subtle enough to add a nice additional complexity rather than an obvious unripe element. The palate offers quite some surprises; the slightly astringent tannins are just a little rustic, but there is depth, plus a shape and acid balance that you would never assume to come from the ripe 2000 vintage. The concentration is ample, and delivered in a fresh and lithe, rather than fat way. The finish shows good, if not amazing length, but there’s a lot of complexity and depth here. It’s a young, rather ‘old school’ wine, but one that brims with value. I’ll revisit ~2012.
2000 Thomas-Moillard, Romanée Saint-Vivant
A lovely medium-plus ruby red colour – still just a hint of cherry red at the rim. The nose starts just a little meaty and beetrooty – not so great – but soon there is creamy black cherry but with a hint of reduction, finally it becomes redder, softer, more floral and much more interesting. This wine equals the concentration of the Bonnes-Mares but with a totally different and much more elegant personality. The tannins are in there somewhere, but the super-smooth, high quality fruit is the main attribute. The finish is borne on nicely judged acidity and again hints towards cream-edged black cherry – oh and it’s excellent – really long. Very young, but this is a wine I should perhaps have gone for the ‘full 12′ rather than the 6, it’s also more ‘honest’ about the vintage than the Bonnes-Mares was; obviously ripe with understated acidity and just a little plump. Versus the 1999 at the same time last year this is all the more interesting, elegant and drinkable – the 99 probably needs 10+ years to excite.
1997 de Vogüé, Bonnes-Mares
A high-toned fresh nose with very precise fruit – rare in 1997. The palate also shows precise young fruit and is rather racy too. The tannins probably need at least another 5 years. Less friendly than the Magnien, but younger.
GRAND CRU Whites
1997 Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne
Pale yellow. The nose is high-toned but is also coupled to an understated depth. Concentrated and ripe in the mouth, even hinting at minerality. Good integration and long finishing. Very good.
2001 William Fevre, Chablis Le Clos
A young lemon-yellow colour. The nose is a little reticent but wide and with some citrus bite – slowly increasing in depth with time. The palate is well textured – even waxy – also, like the nose, it’s understated and tight though the perfect acidity and length go unquestioned. This is showing about 50% of what was on display about 18 months ago so I won’t touch another for 4 or 5 years. Should still be top-class in the future
1997 Leflaive, Bâtard-Montrachet
Medium yellow. Typical toasty nose of quite some depth and eventually sings with high-toned notes – the last drops showing an intensity more like a red wine. The palate is jam-packed, showing good texture and always interest. Again, very, very good.