Why Big Red Diary?

The others tasted…

wine testing

No slurping or spitting! These wines were (in the main) really drunk, and mostly at home with food and friends between November 2005 and March 2006…

Corkwatch: 3 from 66 = 4.5% for ‘corked’


2002 Domaine de l’Abbeye du Petit Quincy, Bourgogne Epineuil Cuvée Juliette
A wine that could easily win the award for the longest name in any report – I didn’t have room for the few words at the bottom of the label – Domaine Dominique Gruhier, vigneron à Epineuil. So to the wine. Generously deep cherry-red colour. The nose is high-toned cherry with an edge of black to the fruit over a mineral background. Fresh palate, reasonably intense, tart fruit with a really interesting tannic background – but only from the mid-palate onwards. It’s a rather mineral finish, but of some length and texture from those tannins. Very well put together and very nice.
1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Bourgogne
Medium, medium-plus cherry red – holding its colour very well. The nose is a little tight; mainly glossy red cherry, but not very expressive. The palate is reserved yet quite sophisticated. Good acidity, some fat, a little grain to the tannin and very good concentration in the mid-palate. A wine that is currently hiding much of its wares but is clearly a very ‘above average’ bourgogne.
2002 Domaine Bertagna, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits, Les Dames Huguettes
Medium cherry-red. The nose is very forward; high-toned cherry and quite some depth too. A completely different wine to the 2003 version in that it hasn’t the same level of concentration, but is much more classic and fresh. Very nicely balanced, good acidity and sweet fruit of a concentration that belies the appellation. Understated tannins and a good finish – a hearty recommendation for this wine.
2003 Evelyne Gagnerot, Bourgogne
Deeply coloured for a burgundy of any appellation. The nose is quite glossy over sweet cherry fruit. In the mouth this manages to be reasonably well balanced; well concentrated but with slightly unripe tannins. Still there’s currently enough extract to buffer it, so almost good today, but I wouldn’t be looking to save any in the cellar.
1998 Leroy, Bourgogne Rouge
Medium ruby-red – still some cherry at the rim. The nose is a little unusual to start – freshly struck matches – not uncommon in whites, but rather rarer in reds. Slowly this dissipates to reveal sweet, meaty fruit of some depth. Very good texture and reasonable concentration, but the overall impression is mainly one of tartness coupled to medium length. None of the astringent tannins of the vintage but could still be better.
2002 Robert Groffier Père et Fils, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Shiny medium cherry-red colour. Sweet cherry skins over an earthy base, perhaps a transient note of oak toast. The palate has a little more density and sweetness vs the Bourgogne Epineuil that came before it. The acidity is pretty good with a not-bad finish, though frankly this needs just a little more to provide excitement. Well crafted and a nice wine but just a little dull.
1999 Joseph Roty, Bourgogne Les Pressoniers
Medium-pale ruby colour. The nose is not so fantastic – deeper notes that hint more of oak than fruit and higher-toned estery, indeed ketone influences. Drain the glass and the last vestiges of wine that cling to the glass smell gorgeous – shame you have to wait for it! The wine shows a very tart aspect – a hint of the unripe – an extra dimension on the mid-palate, though more creamy-oak than fruit-driven. Grainy, faintly astringent tannin. A curate’s egg. Given a choice between the currently uninteresting Barthod and this, I’d still go for the Barthod!
2002 Robert Arnoux, Bourgogne Aligoté
Quite a deep yellow. The nose is tight but not so deep. The palate is bold and has quite some concentration, though is rather harsh. It’s long finishing, but is certainly not an easy drinking style. Went only ‘okay’ with langoustines, but rather well with Brillat-Savarin.
2001 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Blanc
Medium yellow. The nose starts with a dominating oak note, however, about 30 minutes from opening and things are much more refined – nicely deep fruit with a mineral core – simple but well done. Obviously lacks the concentration of a higher appellation wine, but what I particularly like is that the wine opens in the mouth with just an edge of cream going into the finish. It really does need about thirty minutes of air to balance out, but will be lovely summer wine.
2002 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Blanc
Medium yellow. The nose is sweet smelling once the oak disperses, a mix of pineapple and the exotic. The palate has good acidity and a real burst of ripe, cream edged fruit. The length is almost good. Whereas the 01 is about minerality this is about sweet, ripe fruit. Excellent bourgogne, I expect lots of ‘outings’ for this over the coming months.


1980 Arthur Barolet, Volnay
Heavy glass bottle. The cork is soaked through and crumbly, only saved by the sideways intervention of a screwpull worm. Deep ruby-colour core edging to amber. The nose starts a little tight and mixes faint high-toned fruit, stewing plum over soil. The first observation on the palate is the acidity – fine but forward – seems dominant but very quickly the palate fills out and shows both density and texture if strangely little flavour – very linear! Then moving from the mid-palate to the finish the wine explodes with that missing flavour and forward grainy tannin. The finish is quite long, edged with cream though there’s a suggestion of oxidation in the background somewhere.
1996 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
At last, a good bottle from this case, the first was all bottle-stink and the second had sulfur which had fixed in the wine. Medium-plus ruby-red. Very interesting nose, deep and meaty, a hint of gun-flint and occasional flashes of piercingly lovely red berry fruits. Great texture, there’s still some tannin, but it’s very fine. Like most 96’s there is an obviously fresh complexion from the acidity but there’s enough red-berry fruit to balance it out – it will, however, always remain acid-forward, though the balance will see it live for many years to come – certainly no rush over the next 10! Very enjoyable.
1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
Short note, two days after drinking. Medium cherry-red. Soaring if rather tight nose, very elegant with high, fresh tones. The palate is also a little tight, but, like the nose, very elegant. The acidity carries it through the mid-palate into a good finish. Good concentration and has the balance to last very well.
2002 Maison Albert Bichot, Savigny-lès-Beaune
Clear medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. The wide nose starts with a hint of barrel-spice and high-toned cherry fruit. Fresh acidity brings sour-cherry fruit to the fore – fruit that has good intensity in the mid-palate and enough sweetness. Well-textured tannin shows just an edge of dryness. I enjoyed it very much, in fact it just hints at a raisiny edge to the finish which could further develop, but this will most likely remain a little on the tart side – a world away from many 2003’s. At this price I bought a couple more.
2001 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium cherry-red. A lingering nose of cream-tinged cherry fruit. Linear in presentation, an athletic pose though perhaps could do with a little more concentration. Good acidity and understated tannin. The length surprises and is more in line with the depth of the nose than the width of the palate. Tasty and enjoyable but with just a hint of disappointment too.
2001 Bouchard Père et Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin
Bright medium cherry-red. The nose is high-toned with a few earthy notes buttressing the red fruits. The palate is lithe and linear with very good acidity. Shape-wise, this is fit rather than fat with modest tannins and a medium finish. Quite acceptable, but some-way behind the Rousseau version in 2001.
2000 Philippe Charlopin-Parizot, Morey-Saint-Denis
Good deep colour – at least vs the average for the vintage. The nose starts really rather interesting and fruitily complex, and hour or two in the glass doesn’t really do it any favours though, a little chocolate perhaps and a cedar note, but not so nice as the start. The palate is more anonymous at the start, yet rather annoyingly improves – so you can have the nose or the taste, but today, not both together… Good concentration and also the texture is not bad, interesting length too. That cedar note from the nose also goes through the core of the palate and into the finish too – just a little to emphasised for my taste. Next day the wine is certainly becoming astringent and drying out a little which might not bode well for the future. If I was to drink a second bottle I’d do it over an hour or two and just let it change in the glass.
1999 Francoise & Denis Clair, Santenay
Medium-plus ruby-red colour. Sumptuous nose, deep, heavy and ripe cherry fruit. In the mouth it’s nicely round, concentrated and ripe, yet well balanced. Not much more to say really, but it’s a still young wine that reminds me of 2003. Great value and heartily recommended.
2001 Francoise & Denis Clair, Santenay Clos Genet
Medium cherry-red colour, heading to a more ruby hue at the rim. Wide, if fairly diffuse, red fruit covered by some higher tones – given time, a rather good and piercing red berry-fruit note comes through. The fruit is broad-shouldered, less obviously ripe than the ’99, but nicely sweet as it enters the mid-palate and seemingly just a twist of licorice / oak-toast in the finish. Certainly less precise than their 99 Santenay, but still well-made and a bit of a bargain.
2002 Forey Père et Fils, Vosne-Romanée Petits Monts
Medium, medium-plus colour, looked really super in the glass. The nose shows sweet cherry against a cedar background. Fresh, forward acidity with a burst of fruity interest on the mid-palate followed by almost good length. For about 30 minutes it didn’t seem to hold together all that well, but time is a great healer, and this was quite compelling for the last glass.
1996 Jean Grivot, Nuits St.Georges Lavières
Medium-plus ruby-red, fading to salmon-pink. The nose is high toned and a little diffuse, just an edge of caramel perhaps. Smooth, with some concentration and way above average length for a villages, but ends just a little ‘wishy-washy’ – I wouldn’t say that the acidity dominates, but given another 5 year, it might.
1995 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée Bossières
Medium-plus blood-red. The nose has a wide and interesting blend of high tones and panoramic red fruit plus cranberry – just a little mint at the start and eventually a little licorice. Still plenty of grainy tannin that clings to the inside of your mouth. Good fruit and, again, just a little licorice. Showing very well right now, and that’s good thing too as my last two bottles were both corked.
1998 Henri Latour, Auxey-Duresses Vieilles Vignes
The back label suggests that this should be reaching it’s peak 3-5 years from the vintage – hopefully it’s not past its peak! Medium-plus ruby-red colour – looks very purposeful. The nose is deep, a little meaty, sugar coated fruit and short-lived oak-toast. The palate is clean and precise with plenty of acidity and fruit that’s starting to show some maturity. No really dense fruit here so it’s better with food, but very svelte tannins for a 98. Super price at ~12 Euro.
1998 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose starts with lots of char effects and cigarette ash – not particularly appealing. Given time (needs 2 hours) the fruit becomes purer and coffee edged – plums and macerated red cherry. Very nicely textured with good acidity and high-toned fruit, the tannins have some grain if you chew long enough. The finish has an edge of licorice with medium-plus length for the cru. Thirty minutes of air is all that’s needed for this to show very well.
2000 J-F Mugnier, Chambolle-Musigny
Short note two days after drinking. This was drunk together with the 99 Chambolle from Barthod. Just a little deeper in colour. The nose is more diffuse but seems to have more going on. The palate is not so focused, but matches the concentration of the Barthod then takes on another dimension – a really fantastic, many faceted finish – a real surprise, overall (just) bettering the 99, but perhaps less long-lived.
1997 Nicolas Potel, Volnay
Highly rated by Coates on release this wine tightened up and hid it’s charms very soon afterwards – most bottles were disappointing until last year when it looked like it might be turning the corner. Today it shows a medium-plus ruby-red colour. Cool, the nose is imbued with a hint of roast coffee and faint plum. As it warms, high-toned red berry fruit and red-currant is released. The palate gives a ripe impression, but still manages to serve-up sour cherry with a caramel edged finish. Still on the up, without a doubt the best bottle from this case.
1998 Joseph Roty, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Fontenys
A bright medium colour, somewhere between cherry and ruby-red. To start, the nose is an absorbing and deep mix of faint mushroom, absorbed creamy oak and a sweet, almost impenetrably deep, musky fruit. Good acidity, if perhaps a tad tart, and a real kick of intensity in the mid-palate onwards. No rough or astringent tannins here, just a very above average finish.
1998 Joseph Roty, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur Bas
Beautifully clear medium ruby-red colour. The nose is a mix of faintly old oak and wonderfully pure red berry. Fresh palate shows very good acidity and slightly dry – but well – managed tannin. There’s an impression of oak on the palate too, in that slightly drying sense, though the fruit is well concentrated enough to cope. Actually reminds me of a 1996, and a reasonably forward one at that. Enjoyable, but not a ‘re-buy’.
1999 Philippe Roty, Marsannay Champs St.Etienne
Medium ruby colour. Starts with a little cigarette-ash but the nose soon bursts into life with gorgeous, haunting red fruits – lovely. The palate is not on the same level as the nose, but has some sweetness, nice acidity too. Basically very simple except for that haunting nose.
1999 Joseph Roty, Marsannay Les Ouzeloy
Medium ruby colour. The nose is more like the 99 Roty bourgogne, a little estery and diffuse. This has a similar tartness to the fruit too, much less friendly than the Champs St.Etienne which at this stage I would certainly take ahead of this. Given about 1 hour from opening the texture improves, more fat and slightly less tart. Almost good concentration and some sweetness, but I’d still go for the St.Etienne.
1999 Domaine Tortochot, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jeunes Rois
Medium ruby-red colour. High-toned nose, traces of orange and fresh red berries. Fresh and intense palate with mouth watering acidity, still a little austere. Medium length. Almost good, but needs food.
2001 En Truffière, Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes
Medium-plus colour, more ruby than cherry-red. The nose is deep, slightly peppery and is ringed with sweet (as opposed to toasty) oak. Good balance, very good acidity, drying but not rustic tannin and a finish that is, like the nose, ringed with sweet oak influence and creamy notes. Plenty of concentration, a very good value wine.
2000 A&P de Villaine, Mercurey Les Montots
Medium colour – a ruby-red core which fades at its limits. The nose is bold, ripe and sweet, but then goes through a 10 minute phase where I suspect taint, 10 minutes later plum predominates for before becoming a little more diffuse. Needs some aeration for the palate to even-out, but then we have a relatively low acidity, silky and sweet wine, but with that faint edge of taint…
2002 Bouchard P&F, Chablis
Medium-pale yellow colour. Wide nose, plenty of high tones over a sweet core. The palate has ‘just-right’ acidity, medium concentrated sweet fruit and a slowly mouth-watering finish. No rough edges this is a super value basic wine.
1999 Chateau de Chorey, Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottes
Medium golden. Nose is linear with high-tones, somewhat tight in presentation. The palate is quite fresh, good acidity, a little tight perhaps, but nicely racy. Very well priced villages


2000 Domaine de l’Arlot, Nuits St.Georges Clos des Fôrets St.Georges
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose starts with prominent stalky smoke, slowly becoming more subtle. With time the nose tightens but still shows a faintly cream-tinged red-fruit jam. Nice texture though the acidity is obviously low. The fruit is ripe and sweet, though only a medium length finish. well-made with a lovely nose that currently overshadows the palate.
1998 Bouchard Père, Beaune Grèves Vigne Enfant Jesus
Corked! For what it’s worth, no drying tannins in this 98.

2001 Jean-Marc Bouley, Pommard Les Rugiens
From Rugiens Hautes. Deeply coloured. The nose is dominated by toasty oak, it needs at least 45 minutes before black, coffee edged fruit takes over, eventually with an edge of cream. The palate is lithe and fresh with pretty good tannins and quite some length. The fruit has good sweetness once you get past the oak, the acidity, however, is not fully ‘joined-up’ – it seems to stand proud and prickly from the wine. To be honest it took me quite a while to warm to this wine, but the last glass was really starting to come together and become interesting – worth returning to in 2-3 years.
1998 Bruno Clair, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Dominode
Drunk directly following Leroy’s Bourgogne of the same year and more interesting in every dimension. Deep, meaty yet sweet fruity nose with an edge of vanilla. Good mouth perfume, fresher yet without the tart aspect of the Leroy. Concentrated, still some quite dry tannin but it’s well covered by the fruit. Long finishing, still with a little vanilla. Very high quality for the price, and bought for cheaper than the Leroy too!

2002 Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée Petits Monts
More of a tasting recollection as this note is taken around two days later. Medium cherry-red colour. The nose is a beauty; impressively deep red fruit swirling with creamy notes that have a subtle vanilla edge. In the mouth the wine shows a classic structure for long aging; very good acidity, fine tannins and fruit that shows a real burst of intensity. Not the concentration of the 1999 and also very primary, but still it’s very tasty. A haunting creamy finish that is redolent of the nose – a very fine wine.

2002 Dudet-Naudin, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Gravains
Medium cherry-red colour. The nose is red, sweet cherry. The palate is a big disappointment, with astringent tannin, slightly unripe acidity and an overall poor performance, particularly vs the average 2002 – shame.

1999 Alex Gambal, Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots
Medium ruby-red. The nose is a wide and complex mix of powdery red cherry and interesting green/herbal spicy notes. Medium weight at best, but has good balance, well-mannered tannins and a very pretty lingering finish. A very pleasant bottle that offers good value, but definitely 2nd class vs the best from this vintage.

2003 Evelyne Gagnerot, Beaune Les Reversées
Deep colour. The nose is not to my taste, porty, meaty and overcooked. Sweet fruit is paired to grainy tannin with some acidity on the finish. The tannins could be a little unripe, but that’s not so easy to tell given the concentration of the fruit. Anyway ungainly and I found it quite hard to drink.

2002 Nicolas Potel, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Vergelesses
Drunk to follow the Bichot village Savigny. Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose is initially more about forest floor than fruit, even a concern about taint, but it doesn’t develop on either the nose or palate, eventually (2+ hours) good, high-toned red fruit. The palate is less about the austere precision of the Bichot, and more about an earthy (from a texture perspective) and exciting complexity of sweet fruit – exactly the same contrast as in these two producer’s 2004 Malconsorts – grainy tannin and just an edge of blackness, perhaps a hint of toast too on the finish. Frankly the texture makes me think of brett, perhaps how the nose starts substantiates that – perhaps not. Right now this is still a good wine of real value.
2002 La Pousse d’Or, Volnay Clos des 60 Ouvrées
Medium cherry-red. A lovely nose, sweet, wide, incisive red cherry with the merest edge of cream. The palate is very well balanced and has real intensity. There’s sufficient fat and the tannins are sophisticated. Like quite a number of 02’s there’s eventually an edge of bitterness in the finish, but it’s one of reasonable length with, like nose, a touch of cream. A very nice wine.

2002 Gaston & Pierre Ravault, Aloxe-Corton 1er
Medium ruby-red. The nose starts deep, but is nicely round with complimentary high tones – quite pretty and fresh. The palate also has more than a hint of freshness, narrowly avoiding being ‘too fresh’! Tasty red fruit of reasonable length and benign tannins make this an interesting wine that just might be better in its youth than 5 or 8 years down the line. Enjoyed.

1998 Bouchard Père, Meursault Les Genevrières
Golden. The nose is understated, sweet with faint vanilla but quite sophisticated, some depth too. The palate is nicely fresh also very understated too. The acidity is good and there seems to be good concentration – but of what? – what’s missing is a little flavour. Actually there’s suddenly a bit of a burst on the mid-palate and reasonable and quite flavourful length too. So, a surprisingly mineral Genevrières – I normally think of it as more sumptuous – quite nice, and worth buying if you get a good price.
2002 Genot-Boulanger, Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières
Medium-plus yellow. The nose is wide and deep, plenty of creamy vanillin oak plus sweet fruit – quite impressive for such a young wine. The palate is nicely textured and has good concentration, unfortunately it’s let down by a rather clipped finish. Almost good.

1998 Jean Dauvissat Père et Fils, Chablis Fourchaume
Medium-pale golden. There’s a hint of the oxidative on first sniff, but it’s soon gone, replaced by honeyed, waxy aspects and faint pineapple, nice high tones with plenty of width. In your mouth the first impression is a little dilute but the wine expands with a real kick at the back, even hinting at caramel. Good wine that gets ever better with time in the glass, definitely 1er cru quality.
2002 Chartron et Trebuchet, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Morgeots
Medium-pale yellow. A tightly focused nose, perhaps a little pear fruit with faint citrus overlay. The palate has lovely acidity; pure, quite linear and delicate, yet so much to find. No real burst of concentration on the mid-palate yet the finish seems to have so much. A delicate but wonderfully engaging wine.
2002 Chartron et Trebuchet, Meursault Les Charmes
Medium yellow. The nose builds with time, intense and sweet, only faint traces of honey. The palate is all about a core of excellent acidity moving you towards a lovely wide and expressive finish. Like the Chassagne that precedes it, this is delicate rather than powerful, but with quite sufficient complexity for a 1er Cru – very enjoyable, though I just preferred the Chassagne.
2002 Long-Depaquit, Chablis les Vaillons
Medium yellow. The nose mixes sweet citrus notes with seashells. Understated, some concentration of agrumes-style fruit, nice acidity and medium length. Slowly mouth-watering. Clean and interesting. A good value wine.

2002 Jean-Michel Gaunoux, Meursault Perrières
Medium lemon-yellow. Initially the nose is rather tight and undemonstrative, you really need at least 30 minutes of ‘breathing’ before things become interesting – then you have a much wider and indeed classic profile – quite lovely and fresh, citrus infused high toned fruit. The palate will not win an award for density, but it is as well textured as it is balanced and shows a very nice burst of concentrated interest on the mid-palate. The finish is reasonably long. Overall it’s a nicely mineral wine, both enjoyable and worthy, if not a class-leading Perrières.
1996 Château Perruchot, Meursault Charmes
Medium golden. The aromatics start high-toned before closing to tight core of caramel-edged honey. Bright with fresh acidity, and a nice punch of fruity intensity with a hint of fat but no trace of heavyness. The finish is subdued, though reasonably long. A terrific bargain-bin purchase with many years ahead of it.
2000 Nicolas Potel, Saint Aubin Les Charmois
Medium golden. The nose is understated, slightly monolithic but betrays a hint of oxidation. The palate is fresh with nice texture, but there’s that note of oxidation on the finish. Not for me.


2002 Maison Bouchard Père et Fils, Echézeaux
Medium cherry-red. The nose starts impressively deep, aspects of soil and spicy, macerating black cherries – a good start – after an hour it settles into a spicy compote of cherry/plum fruit. The palate is fresh, reasonably textured and has a medium-plus finish. The fruit is clear and crisp, though not really of (very good) grand cru quality. So, a very tasty, indeed lovely wine, but I’d expect the palate to show just a little more to justify the label.
1996 Dominique Gallois, Charmes-Chambertin
Deep ruby-red. The nose is real mix; a hint of ash, pencil lead and faint meaty notes over a core of blackcurrant. The blackcurrant, black fruit edge continues on the palate – almost confiture – but you have to wait about 45 minutes before it comes into focus, medium length. The acidity is well-balanced and the tannin quite subdued – primary fruit though – still needs a few years. Tasty.
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Echézeaux
Medium-plus colour. Bright, ebullient nose: at first it’s wide and fat, becoming sleeker with time. Eventually there is a dense core of slightly indistinct fruit overlayed with a minty tone. The instant impression in the mouth is from the texture of the tannins, they’re not the most cultured – plenty of rasp – followed by ripe, sweet fruit that ends with an interesting touch of sourness. There’s a long, intriguing finish that has a little saccharin about it. I’d have no concern over drinking this today as it’s a lovely wine, but vs other recent vintages it’s just a little more simple.
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Grands-Echézeaux
The nose is deeper and darker of aspect; dusky, fecund – quite exciting. Slowly the nose ‘brightens’ to bring higher-toned spicy elements to the fore, aniseed and red-wrapped fruit. The palate is less obviously sweet, some separation in the mouth between the impression from the fruit vs the tannin and extract that comes through on the mid-palate. The length is haunting, slowly drying out onto your teeth. This is an enigmatic wine today, almost two personalities in one glass – if they marry this will be a superb wine – it is anyway a larger step-up from the Echézeaux than in recent years.
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Saint-Vivant
The nose is instantly brighter, redder and more ’round’. Softer and perhaps less precise but with an intense and persistent weight of fruit at its centre. The palate is full-wrapped velvet, though despite the fineness of these ripe tannins I’m a little concerned by their abundance. This wine is quite different to the GE, with even more extract that leads to a drying impression into the finish – full-on, rather than graceful and the flavours don’t quite etch into the palate like those of the GE. Looking to the long-term, there is a cool and concentrated quality to the fruit and the tannin will anyway lessen with time, and the glass was also emptied rather easily!
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Richebourg
The only wine today that reluctantly welcomes your nose – quite closed, only slowly, slowly evolving a deep, coffee edged, savoury plum aspect. Given time this perspective becomes broader and more spice inflected but never quite matching the openness of the other wines. Again this is a wine where the palate is dominated by its weight of extract, bettering the RSV and equalling the GE for length. The tannins are just a little less astringent than those from the RSV. I find the wine incredibly impressive, yet somehow not as compulsive as the GE.
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tâche
The nose starts in a similar vein to that of the GE; exciting, deep, musky, before broadening to an even wider panorama of powdery red fruit aromas. Mouth-filling and concentrated. There is an easily perceptible extra density to this wine. The marvellous finish is easily a match for the GE, and overall, this is the first wine that manages to better it. Superb.
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti
Perhaps it is a little passé to describe this wine as ’rounder’, but that is certainly the impression from the aromatics; similar to La Tâche except that there is a distinctly more mineral core and the fruit has an extra edge of cream bedecked fruit. Take a sip, and there is not the same ‘hit’ that you get from La Tâche – there is much more subtlety and understatement. More sophistication than any other wine in the line-up, the tannins are as fine as those of the RSV, but with none of their astringency. Better than superb? No, just different.
1997 Jean Grivot, Clos de Vougeot
Deep ruby-red, fades to mahogany at the rim. The nose is forward and feral; coffee and chocolate covered leaves mix with roast meat. This is a surprisingly subtle wine, the concentration quickly creeping up on you into the mid-palate – and good concentration it is – but disappearing way-too fast in the finish. Furry, velvety tannins that are well-balanced to the rest of the wine. In isolation, not bad, if rather anonymous, but this was drunk with Mortet’s ’98 villages Gevrey, and on this day, everyone preferred the Mortet…

1972 Domaine Clos du Frantin, Richebourg
A strong core of ruby that fades to a mahogany rim. Whilst the palate is sweet and shows a very interesting weight, the nose was dominated by cork taint…
2000 Domaine Antonin Guyon (Hyppolite Thevenot), Corton-Charlemagne
Medium yellow, looks quite young. The nose is lovely – textbook Charlemagne – wide, deep and dense with hints of agrumes against white blossom. Starts with a punch a grows even more in the mouth before slowly fading. Almost good acidity with good purity and intensity from the fruit. I’d have preferred a touch more sweetness, but this wine should now be left for is more savoury future. A good Charlemagne.

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