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Roundup of Wines Tasted

wine testing
No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that were drunk with food, friends and family, between December 2008 and the end of March 2009.

Just over 60 bottles are listed here, but there are another 219 dotted through this Spring Report that it didn’t make sense to list for a second time. As is my usual custom, barrel tastings don’t get put either here or in the NoteFinder database, only in the relevant article.

One corked bottle only!

REGIONAL WINES

1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Bourgogne Rouge try to find this wine...
A little deeper, medium ruby-red versus the Leroy, with a nose that is denser but at the same time less pretty – darker fruit that today is less successfully delineated. In the mouth there is also a little more density and certainly an extra dimension of flavour in the mid-palate. There is more ‘material’ in the glass and more secondary development than the Leroy, this wine had a significant advantage in purchase price too – it’s a really good regional wine – yet I would certainly go for the Leroy in preference today.
2005 Jean-Philippe Fichet, Bourgogne Rouge try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour – actually a very bright red. Wide and round, quite fresh aromas with sweet fruit and bouquet-garni too. Today the acidity is bright, providing a slight metallic edge to the flavour, but it also pushes the mouth-watering flavours much longer. The texture is smooth and though the concentration is not amazing in the context of 2005 it is way above average in the context of regionals from other vintages. I’m not overly concerned by the bright acidity as many wines from 05 are starting to show in that way, a super bourgogne.
1996 Maison Leroy, Bourgogne Rouge try to find this wine...
Limpid, medium, medium pale ruby red – looks lovely in the glass. The nose is restrained yet finely transparent with clean strawberry, raspberry and cherry impressions. In the mouth it’s a delightful combination of lightness yet intensity, transparency and freshness. Frankly this wine excels, drinking very well now despite still being far from mature. Filigree burgundy that’s more about impression than weight.

Bourgogne Blancs

1993 Leflaive, Bourgogne Blanc try to find this wine...
A medium, in fact quite young looking yellow. A little creamy, mature lanolin underpins the aromas of a younger wine. In the mouth it is linear and quite mineral until a small burst of interest in the mid-palate and a nice finish. Whilst the acidity is the defining feature of the wine, it has just enough padding that it doesn’t become jarring. Everyone around the room was sure it was a Puligny…

VILLAGE WINES

2005 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chambolle-Musigny try to find this wine...
A négoce wine. Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose has decent width but better depth, but note that it has an appreciable oak base. In the mouth the concentration is almost good and there is plenty of tannin though it seems more wood than grape-driven. The length is good, but despite it being a decent enough and very drinkable effort, indeed a wine you may be happy to have in your cellar in 10 years time, I see this as well behind the better village cuvées from the 2005 vintage.
2005 Bouchard Père et Fils, Mercurey try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. Direct and concentrated fruit on the nose – dark red – little complexity. Nice texture – little overt tannin as it’s covered by the fruit, little overt acidity also but it is always balanced. Like the nose, nothing complex here but it’s perfectly packaged, easy-drinking and yet a concentrated effort. Zero faults apart from the want of a little character today. Will certainly keep and possibly grow in personality.
1996 Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose has a very faintly lifted and coffee tinged impression – it seems quite 1996-ish – underneath is tight red cherry fruit at the core and small impression of prune – as a whole this is actually quite nice. Given time there’s a hint of smoke and dried currants – lovely. Chewing the wine is not so easy given the typical 1996 acidity, but it yields faint but sandy textured tannins. Some impression of maturity to the fruit flavours, but whether you wait 2 or 10 years I’m not sure you will ever get a ‘comfort wine’, it will always fully reflect the vintage, but as someone with who is not acid-averse, no problem for me. Faintly lingering flavours are the last(ing) impression. Clean and quite tasty.
2005 Drouhin-Laroze, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium-plus cherry-red, still some purple reflections. High-toned black and blue fruit mingles with faint notes of violets – below lies a nice earthy base – lovely. Plenty of forward acidity, but here’s a 2005 that has not yet completely sunk into it’s acidic sleep. Very good fruit, relatively linear but it’s got intensity and length. The tannin is a low-level faint grain and I find no obvious oaky elements. This was a relative bargain and is recommended.
2005 Vincent Girardin, Santenay Les Charmes try to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose started blocky with a little dark oak and roasted dark fruit – a little uncouth – but five minutes in the glass and it is transformed with very pretty flashes of red and black fruits. In the mouth it starts in a similar fashion; muddled dark fruits and oak but quite silky. This improves no end, though never becoming as captivating as the nose. Smooth dark fruit and an ever-present but not unfriendly dark oak flavour as undertow. Smooth and easy drinking once it’s open.
2006 Camille Giroud, Gevrey-Chambertin En Champ try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a sweet concoction of very well dovetailed dark oak notes and equally dark cherry fruit. In the mouth you start softly, plenty of sweetness, though the fruit doesn’t seem too ripe. Tannin is only really ’suggested’ quite late, as flavour that peaks in the mid-palate just keeps rolling along. If anything (versus memory) this wine seems slightly denser than the 2005, but the way it just lingers on the tongue is quite the same. A super, if seemingly slightly sweet wine that will drink beautifully for the next year or two, but then you should be patient as it will probably peak closer to 2020.
2003 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée try to find this wine...
Frankly, I’ve no experience of recent Grivots, so this will be interesting: Deep colour. Dense but not at all clunky red fruit – a little tight but nothing ungainly – slowly building some higher tones, rounding out to be quite lithe and not a bit jammy – a good 2003 nose. Mouth-filling though also a little mouth-puckering from the tannin, yet the acidity is not bad. Just a little mouth-watering which combined with the tannin that clings to your gums makes this quite long – incredibly young though. Not a bit of roasted fruit and showing enough energy on the palate. Clearly this needs lots of cellar time but it’s a very successful wine for the vintage – well done Etienne!
1995 Lafarge, Volnay try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose is deep, meaty and leafy – one to keep sniffing. In the mouth there’s plenty of acidity and it’s followed by plenty of action too. Good persistence of flavour and whilst rather unruly, it’s definitely a wine with personality.
1998 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
The colour is quite deep, but showing plenty of age with a little mahogany cast. The nose is complex with high and low tones; ash, coconut, deeper faintly reductive notes and some sweetness of fruit at its core. Excellent acidity though with a late metallic impression. Decent length, resolved tannin and some reasonable sweet fruit. Interesting and more balanced than the the last time out, less marked by the oak, though the base is still obvious.apparently thickens with concentration. If you’re immune to the 2004 cedar it’s a buy.
2004 Thierry Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium colour. The nose has more than a hint of 2004 about it, plenty of high-toned cedar but a quick swirl displays the frankly lovely red berry/cherry fruit below. In the mouth it’s a little mineral and perhaps a hint flimsy in the concentration department, but despite that, the flavours are really long in the finish. Slowly the palate’s texture apparently thickens with concentration. If you’re immune to the 2004 cedar it’s a buy.
2005 Thierry Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium colour. None of the lovely fruit notes of the 2004, rather a darker, quite sumptuous effect. Dense, but it’s a cushioned concentration and there’s super depth of creamy fruit, and completely buried structure today. Lovely, though it will be a long wait for complexity…
1999 J-F Mugnier, Chambolle-Musigny try to find this wine...
From a half bottle. Medium ruby-red colour. The nose shows understated but heavily perfumed notes of dark flowers over tight red fruit notes. In the mouth it’s fresh and shows almost no tannin. Initially linear, it slowly unwinds in the mouth with decent intensity and a slowly growing width of flavours – it seems just a little fatter as it reaches room temperature and there’s quite a nice high toned ‘mouth perfume’. The flavours in the almost good finish are becoming just a little secondary. Clearly it’s a little tight showing not even close to the extra depth of flavour you currently find in a good 2005 villages Chambolle or even what it showed itself 5 or 6 years ago. Clean, pretty, slightly acid forward and easy drinking is the report today – not too much here to set the pulse racing. Return in another two or three years…
2006 Patrice Rion, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur try to find this wine...
Medium colour. A caramel nose that almost completely hides the nice red cherry fruit. Nice acidity and plenty of sweet, ripe fruit. Nothing obviously ‘gevrey’ today; faint astringency to the tannin and a decent length. Very tasty indeed, but I’d like a bit more connection with the village – it just needs a little time for that as many young wines need to shake off their elevage. Anyway it’s a good value bottle.

Villages Whites

2005 Jean-Claude Bessin, Chablis Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Pale yellow-green colour. The nose is fresh with sea-shells and an undertow of ripe melon-style fruit. Reasonably fresh and certainly intense in the slightly ‘padded’ mid-palate. Despite the padding it could only come from Chablis due to the mineral core that goes through the center. Pretty good acidity and a good length. Frankly, blind you would say a decent 1er cru or even an ‘average’ grand cru, such is the concentration from those old vines. Very impressive stuff and on another planet to ‘basic’ Chablis from the likes of Fevre.
2006 Louis Carillon, Puligny-Montrachet try to find this wine...
Pale yellow. The nose starts with a waft of oak that subsides to brioche over an understated but slightly volatile pear-drops note. Good texture and lovely acidity, the fruit has a similar, slightly lifted pear fruit, but it’s largely buried by the toasty, savoury flavours in the mid-palate and a really good, sweeter length. The fruit is better – the volatility is gone – on day two, but the aromatics are slightly less good.

1er CRU WINES

1996 Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots try to find this wine...
Warm and sweet are main thoughts as you bring your nose to this, very pretty if not stunningly effusive. In the mouth it’s sweet and intense – tannic still – and has nice complexity. I don’t find the ‘cut’ and excitement that was evident in the Engel Brûlées, so would much rather drink that today but this is clearly no slouch.
2005 Billard-Gonnet, Pommard Chaponnières try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. Directly following the Château de Chorey the nose and palate both seemed attenuated and narrow, only the finish was captivating – much longer than the Beaune. Within 5 minutes the nose showed occasional flashes of brilliance – beautiful red fruits and hints of coffee. The palate is clearly barrel-tight making the acidity seem forward, but the tannin is burried. You only have to experience the finish to know this is a great wine, but perhaps we may have to wait 10 years to see it. Day two there’s a hint more width, but no more.
2006 Jean-Claude Boisset, Morey St.Denis 1er Monts Luisants try to find this wine...
Medium colour. The nose is about hints of tar, licorice, blacker cherry and bramble fruit over a more mineral base. A narrow entry that widens in the mid-palate and pushes a long finish that’s borne on super acidity. Quite transparent and very interesting. Intense, though almost too understated because of its primary nature. Was a lovely bottle.
1994 Bouchard Père, Volnay 1er Caillerets Cuvée Carnot try to find this wine...
Surprisingly deep colour, amber at the rim. The nose starts tight and dense, faintly savoury too, time adds a greeny, herbal note – but not unlikeable. In the mouth it has more than decent concentration for the vintage, similarly decent acidity and a grained tannin that retains a little astringency. The fruit has some sweetness, yet there’s still a bit of bitterness in the finish – I have the impression that the tannin grain and and the bitterness are both barrel derived. Overall this stays rather clunky even if there’s not much here to particularly dislike – or indeed like!
2006 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er du Château try to find this wine...
A bright and pretty medium cherry-red colour. The nose is a broad and forward blend of sweet toasty elements, some coffee even something faintly resembling fruit. Obvious, but quite well textured and slightly astringent tannin. Good intensity that grows and grows before peaking in the mid-palate. Helped by perfect acidity there is a very good length – but that length is mainly oak derived and relatively bitter – much more than a bitter chocolate effect. I’m sure this will be nicer, and perhaps even ‘worthy’ in a couple of years, but frankly today the forward oak left me with little to enjoy.
2005 Pierre Bourée, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Cazetiers try to find this wine...
A little more than medium colour. The nose is awash with iron-infused soil, milder stem smoke and minerals – it’s very, very nice. Medium bodied, with very good fruit that almost completely obscures the tannins. Depth and interest here despite it showing far from all it has. Good length. 2005 is clearly the perfect to vintage to buy from a producer with such a traditional approach – it may never be the greatest of 2005’s, but is a great alternative to (for instance) a Dujac from other vintages and it will surely last and last if that’s your wish. Very tasty.
1991 Pierre Bourée, Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
The cork is black were it meets the air, and stained red all the way through – perhaps 2cm of ullage – but the wine is fine. Medium-pale though it’s a relatively young colour. The nose is soft and faintly spicy with hints of strawberry and stems but it’s also rather clean and interesting, occasionally it’s beguiling. In the mouth it’s soft and supple with a little kick in the mid-palate and perfect acidity. The almost-gone tannin is but a transparent screen. Very long, but it’s on a very subtle level – and despite the evident complexity, that’s the problem – everything about this wine is on too subtle a level, it’s like it’s diluted. Yields? Beautiful if you have the patience and lack of distractions but, if I may say, too ephemeral! For all that, every last drop was drunk in about 2 hours, I just wish I’d savoured it a little more, rather than thought ‘if only…’
2001 Pierre Bourée, Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose, whilst still reasonably primary, sets high expectations; heavy with red fruit concentrate against higher tones of stems and, if you don’t swirl, an understated pot-pourri of herbs. In the mouth there is some fat, then acidity that finishes just a little tart – like under-ripe – before a very nice extra dimension of creamy fruit. The understated finish, whilst long, seems to pick-up a slightly metallic note from that acidity. I’ve never been acid averse, so despite this being less than perfect, there’s enough character here for me to buy a couple more (it’s anyway a good price) for later reflection.
1999 Château de Chorey, Beaune Le Cras Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. Wide, a little herbal and mineral with a dark core of fruit. In your mouth there’s great fruit though it’s wrapped in plenty of structure – it’s relatively smooth but the tannin still needs a number of years. The depth is super and there is a mineral length. Don’t touch again for at least 5 years.
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny 1er try to find this wine...
Medium cherry-red colour. The nose is deep, just a little plummy at the base and higher-up has lovely red cherry fruit – it just misses a little higher perfume. A really lovely extra dimension of fruit flavour that becomes more intense in the mid-palate and is borne on excellent acidity, except that it has a slightly sharp edge. The tannin is an understated fine grain as you head into mineral finish. Tightens-up considerably in the glass after about 1 hour – it becomes only half the wine it was before, so pop, pour and drink, or leave in the cellar another 3-5 years. Not perfect, but very good.
2000 Veronique Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée 1er Lest Petits Monts try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose is lovely, slightly baked fruit, forward with a ginger edge and some deep herby elements. In the mouth there is sweet fruit but the acidity that comes along is bright indeed sharp finishing – it rather dominates the palate despite the slowly lingering flavours. I can’t get at much else as the problem with the acidity is so prominent. A badly stored bottle? I don’t know, but I can’t recommend this.
1996 Engel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Brûlées try to find this wine...
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.
2006 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes try to find this wine...
The colour is a medium, medium-pale lemon-yellow. Dense, though not lush, aromas that are supported with citrus fruit elements. In the mouth it’s round with nice concentration and in the mid-palate shows the typical extra dimension of this cuvée. It’s fair to say that (in the 2006 vernacular) that this is a little plump, but the acidity is enough that it doesn’t become wearisome. Nice length. Another good showing.
2006 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses try to find this wine...
Started high-toned and diffuse – ouch, what’s happened here? – but 10 minutes in and the glass brings an ever-widening and ever-deepening palate of notes; deep, full, lightly sugar-coated cherries, swirling releases higher tones too – that’s more like it! In the mouth the first sip is also a little disconcerting, but following the path set by the nose, it fills out very nicely indeed – a broad range of flavours that amply fill the mouth. The fruit has none of the slightly distracting savoury element found in the Chambolle Charmes, but seems just a hint less ripe (no issue, just an observation), like-wise the tannin is finer, but clings a little harder to your gums as you exit the mid-palate for the finish – it just about falls short of being called astringent – how about astringent-ish(?) Very long, though just now much of that length is barrel flavour. A very different kettle of fish to the 2005 which was a fulsome and brazen ‘drink me now’ type of wine – this one should be allowed to slumber – if I had any more ‘bottles’ I’d make another test in about 2016, but I don’t, so the magnums will have to wait until 2020!
2006 Camille Giroud, Volnay 1er Taillepieds try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus color. Initially a tight nose; floral high-tones and a darker oak base but for quite some time there is little more – patience raises a faint caramel impression as the barrel notes subside. In the mouth this is a little plump and furry from the ripe tannins and slides into a very long finish but one that’s currently dominated by oak. The concentration seems ample from the tight red fruit and though the acidity seems very understated you don’t really miss it until, perhaps, the finish. As it slowly opens and ’rounds’ in the glass the apparent concentration is similar to the 2005 but the delivery differs; this is up-front concentration that fades through the mid-palate, whereas the 2005 builds into the mid-palate and currently shows more layers. Day 2 this shows a little more rustic and behind the delivery of (for instance) the Pavillon Santenots at the same stage.
2005 Camille Giroud, Volnay 1er Taillepieds try to find this wine...
The colour is only a little more intense. The nose, however, is much more open – at least at the top-end with red fruit liqueur – below is a begrudging concentration of tight red notes, but there are occasional flashes of brilliantly pure red cherry. In the mouth this is plush, rather than plump – the still understated yet better balancing acidity seems to make the difference – much finer tannin than the 2006 and super intensity with several dimensions in the mid-palate. This shows a similar length to the 2006 but the oak has faded and you have a largely fruit-driven impression. If the 2006 is a fine 1er, then this vintage is by comparison a grand cru – what a shame that when I bought the last bottles at the domaine, there were only 3… – A superb Volnay.
1996 Jean Grivot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Boudots try to find this wine...
I havented tasted one for a while, but I have a quite a few Grivot Nuits from this vintage – the Roncières in particular has been very nice. My first Grivot Boudots from ‘96: A little darker in colour than the Corton. The darker fruit also shows a hint of mustiness and is also a little more muscular. The delivery on the palate is similar to the Corton, intense, some tannin though the fruit is darker and a shade metallic tasting. Almost good, and of-course very young.
2005 Pierre Guillemot, Savigny-lès-Beaune Sepentières try to find this wine...
Medium, medium plus colour. The nose needs about 1 hour before it starts to become interesting; always clean but initially inconsequential, it gradually acquires gravitas with quality red fruit over a faint base of coffee. The palate starts quite roughly – carbon dioxide is to blame. Like-wise an hour from opening it is velvety, with plenty of kind tannin and good forward acidity. It is narrow in the mid-palate and narrows further into the finish. I would suggest this as being rather tight. From being uncouth and ’short’ in the first 30 minutes to becoming ever-more engaging, this wine slowly won me over. Probably 80/100 if freshly opened at a big tasting, 90 if you are prepared to sit, wait and negotiate. I’d leave remaining bottles at least 6-8 years.
2005 Louis Latour, Aloxe-Corton Les Chaillots try to find this wine...
Medium colour. Limited high tones but decent depth of sugary red fruit. Medium density, slightly astringent but very fine tannin plus a super expansion of fruit in the mid-palate. This is surprisingly long, though much of that flavour is slightly bitter oak-juice. It’s far from seamless but it’s ebulliant delivery has made a friend of me.
2006 Domaine du Pavillon, Volnay 1er Santenots try to find this wine...
Hmmm – interesting wine. On the first sniff there was a hint of unwelcome aldehyde, on the second it was already transformed to flower petals. Slowly the aromas took on density if not so much depth. The flavour reminded me very-much of recently drunk Santenots – but on checking I was surprised to see that my last two were both from 2005, not 2006. There is width, a smattering of faintly astringent tannin and then a lovely extra dimension of creamy red fruit in the mid-palate. Just ripe enough and nicely plump yet almost good enough acidity. This is a very lovely glass and though perhaps missing a comparative hint of intensity, can stand next a decent bottle from 2005. Based on the price I paid, and by recent standards this is a super value bottle.
1999 Nicolas Potel Volnay 1er Cru En Chevret try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. Deep dark, brambly fruit at the core, pepper at the top and just below there are hints of toffee and dark chocolate. In the mouth the acidity is faintly prickly which accentuates the tannin a little, but it’s padded with some fat and shows a little burst of red fruit in the mid-palate and more creamy edge in the finish. Every bottle from this case has so far had an unruly edge, but has been brim full of personality and complexity. Great fun still…
1999 Prieuré-Roch, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots try to find this wine...
A medium-plus core of ruby-red that fades to a crystal-clear watery edge. The nose is wine – but not as most people know it! A smoky, stemmy aroma that starts with an undertow – yes it can go deeper! – of dark oak. The oak fades within 15 minutes to leave a smoky impression of crushed/shredded vine leaves – but Autumn vine leaves, not Spring or Summer! Is there some fruit too? Well there is something behind, but you can’t really identify it. Time in the glass and you slowly transition from smoky elements to sweet, soft red strawberry fruit. The first sip gives you very finely grained tannin with a slight twist of astringency – but only slight. Decent freshness, though clearly moderated by all the stems (they increase pH), leading you into the mid-palate which has a nice and growing intensity against a sweet fruit background. The finish is long but very understated. Today this is riper and less tight from many from the vintage, yet it clearly should be left to slumber – it is also particular in style – whilst there is no overt oak flavour the stems initially dominate much more than in DRC, Dujac and l’Arlot, perhaps even more than Bourée. For me it certainly says more about the house style than the vineyard, but that’s today, I think I’ll make a comparison with the Arnoux when they reach 20 years, not long to wait…
2005 Rapet Père et Fils, Pernand-Vergelesses Les Vergelesses try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose only gives hints of interest in the first minutes, but gradually offers up a beautiful mix of raspberry and violets with occasional traces of caramel, but these pretty aromas come and go. A very soft entry – maybe just a little too soft – but smooth tannin and decent acidity. The flavour gently builds into the mid-palate and decays just as gently. In the middle the fruit is clean, has reasonable depth and some extra creamy dimension. So I’m not sure about this – lovely aromatics and very pretty fruit, but I felt it somehow just a little too soft.
2007 Terres d’Arômes, Volnay 1er En Champans try to find this wine...
The colour is medium, medium-plus cherry red with a faint purple rim. When first opened, there’s deep scent of faintly musky dark fruit, slowly the muskiness fades and the dark cherry moves to the fore, even accented by creaminess. More and more the nose fills and rounds out with higher tones – despite the dark fruit profile it’s a very elegant and lovely nose. In the mouth there’s very fine tannin that adds a little texture, fresh acidity and fruit that really imposes itself only from the mid-palate – but it widens nicely and has good depth.
2005 Thomas-Moillard, Pommard Epenots try to find this wine...
Medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose retains a consistently understated mix of the mineral, plus dark, deep red fruit. In the mouth it’s a powerful blend of intense fruit that peaks in the mid-palate, decaying with a creamy edge, and showing just enough tannin to poke it’s faint astringency through the blanket of fruit extract – slightly exacerbated by hint of carbon dioxide. The finish is very understated, but lingering and entirely made up of non-barrel elements – you can’t say that for many. Not the ultimate in smooth sophistication that many 2005’s can display, but at a good price, this would be an easy rebuy recommendation. Built with the long-term in mind, but today (at least) relatively approachable.
2005 Thomas-Moillard, Volnay Clos des Chênes try to find this wine...
A domaine wine whose back-label proclaims the grapes to be ‘biologique’ and that all operations were done according to the lunar calendar. Medium-plus colour. Brooding aromatics but there are glimpses of very fine fruit that slowly turns redder in the glass. Concentrated, lots of very fine tannin that’s largely submerged under fruit – and what fruit it is – intense and edged with cream – it lingers very well too. It doesn’t merit the tag ‘elegant’, rather ‘muscular’ would be better and I think that maybe 2005 is a little early to be influenced by Bernard Zito and Pascal Marchand, but it is a definite rebuy.
2001 Charles Thomas, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
The replacement for my last TCA infected bottle. Medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose is deep, slightly savoury, eventually full of beef stock though spicily wide – I have to say it’s far from pretty. In the mouth it’s much better; nicely fresh, intense, wide and flavourful – it’s really very good. There’s decently fine tannin and a nice flavour in the finish. The frankly off-putting nose eventually becomes more acceptable as the beef fades, adding focus with a nice red berry note – takes 2 hours. Day 2, top to bottom it’s a super wine, but most people don’t get to day 2, hence, I can’t be overly positive.
2002 Charles Thomas, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose had a little bottle-stink, but that was gone in a couple of minutes. There’s a little of that beefy aroma that I disliked on day 1 of the 2001, but it’s better balanced with sweet, spicy red fruit, eventually nice creamy-edged redcurrant for the last drops in the glass. It’s a little tight and acid-forward, though the impression is of a wine that expands into an intense mid-palate. The tannin comes quite late to the scene and has a little rasp – though it’s understated. Tight and young but a bottle that looks like it has a decent future. Worth buying a couple.
2005 Charles Thomas, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. A nose that remains compact over the three hours the wine lasts; complex, creamy fruit with a nice acidic redcurrant lift. Like a many, many 05’s it’s now acid-forward in stance, though the tannin remains completely submerged. The fruit is completely primary and in the redcurrant, raspberry area rather than cherry or darker fruit. Clean and understatedly long. I already see some transition from the older vintages.

Premier Cru Whites

2002 Bouchard Père, Meursault 1er Perrières try to find this wine...
Medium-pale colour – certainly looks okay. The nose is wide, showing soft fruit and faint lanolin with an even fainter citrus veil – a faint caramel note eventually escapes the glass. Perfect acidity, a little linear in the mid-palate and a super acid-driven length. Not as ‘giving’ as 3 years ago, but understated excellence, still.
2001 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin Les Murgers des Dents du Chien try to find this wine...
The colour raises suspicious eyebrows – medium golden – but despite slightly heavy fruit aromas at first, the nose is rather clean and there’s not a trace of oxidation. A little swirling reveals rather young, mainly pineapple, fruit – a good start then. Nice texture, acidity that unobtrusively shepherds you through to the finish and a little extra mid-palate dimension. In its current adolescence the amplitude of the peaks and troughs of this wine have been squeezed a little since it was bought, but that’s what you get when talking to adolescents! Drunk over 4 consecutive nights without a hint of oxidation, and confidence renewed, I’ll wait another 5 or 6 years before taking another look.
2006 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin Les Murgers des Dents du Chien try to find this wine...
The colour is a medium, medium-pale lemon-yellow. Dense, though not lush, aromas that are supported with citrus fruit elements. In the mouth it’s round with nice concentration and in the mid-palate shows the typical extra dimension of this cuvée. It’s fair to say that (in the 2006 vernacular) that this is a little plump, but the acidity is enough that it doesn’t become wearisome. Nice length. Another good showing.
2003 Louis Jadot, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Folatières try to find this wine...
A few hints of oxidation on the nose, but it’s largely fresh and interesting. In your mouth this wine is all over the place and despite evident complexity and some additional dimension – not just oxidation! – in the mid-palate it’s frankly a mess. Poorly judged acidification or just an impossible vintage? I don’t know but it seemed to have plenty of acidity.
2001 Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Pucelles try to find this wine...
A much deeper colour than the 93 bourgogne. The colour made me rush to smell – but no problems with oxidation here, only caramelised butter and hints of citrus for freshness – it was actually very nice. In the mouth it definitely needed time to unwind and I’m sure it never fully did, but the texture and impression is of density coupled to long, lingering flavours. Not much complexity today or even excitement come to that, despite all, it still made a strong impression around our table.
2002 Ponsot, Morey St.Denis Clos des Monts Luisants Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium gold. The nose hits you with mild oxidation and a pronounced mineral note. The palate is concentrated and mouth-watering – very long with the help of that acidity too. The oxidation is there in the flavours but on a lower level than the nose. Lots of dimension in the mid-palate but a shame the bottle is spoiled so…

GRAND CRU WINES

2005 Bertagna, Clos St.Denis try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. A nose of macerating cherries, slightly alcoholic but focused. Full in the mouth with concentrated fruit and equally concentrated, reasonably fine and ripe tannin. Very nice fruit that hints at an extra creamy dimension and lovely acidity. This wine has plenty of muscle and I wouldn’t hesitate to leave it another 10 years, yet was a tasty wee dram. Very good.
1996 Chandon des Brailles, Corton Bressandes try to find this wine...
The nose initially has a musty background though that aspect slowly fades to primary and nicely transparent red fruit, slowly it deepens and has a more obvious cherry aspect – very young aromatics though. Fresh, slightly forward acidity. Smooth, yet still with an undercurrent of velvety tannin. Nicely intense and even mineral fruit that slowly fades in the finish. Relatively open yet obviously painfully young – probably at least 5 years away from even some secondary development – very nice wine.
1993 Joseph Drouhin, Charmes-Chambertin try to find this wine...
There’s a deep core of colour here – looks relatively mature. The nose starts deep, sweet and earthy – that’s a great start – concentrated, macerating dark fruit that very slowly gives up a redder berry-note. In the mouth there is intensity, depth and really good acidity – it is a luxurious rather than ‘fat’ impression. The tannin is a mere after-thought and the flavours, with a bitter chocolate edge, linger very well. Despite it being more than 15 years since it was harvested, it’s still a young wine, but clearly it’s in an early phase of maturity and certainly drinkability! A clear ‘rebuy’ with it’s blend of power and elegance. Really super stuff.
1995 Joseph Drouhin, Clos de la Roche try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-pale ruby-red. A little sweetness and minerality on the nose, faint red and orange fruit but for the first hour rather undemonstrative. On your tongue there’s perfect acidity and an intensity that builds all the more over time, though needs at least 1 hour to start becoming interesting. The tannin is relatively background and eventually a little fat develops. This becomes almost good without ever becoming really interesting.
1993 Joseph Drouhin, Clos de Vougeot try to find this wine...
A big cork has been common to all these Drouhins, but this is the first to easily slide from the bottle – it doesn’t look like it’s been a perfect seal – let’s see. A deep core of ruby-red colour, just hinting at amber. Over time the nose vacillates between tight, deep but dark woody notes and a wider, undergrowth driven panorama – I ‘feel’ rather than smell just a hint of oxidation. In the mouth there’s no hint of oxidation, rather a core of flowing acidity is the central pillar. Good intensity with a mouth-watering finish and tannin that still shows a grain. The length and dimension are impressive. This bottle, despite what I suspect to be a less than perfect cork, needs a couple more years – I expect other bottles may need at least five! Much younger than the 93 Charmes and today, far less satisfying – but I’ll be buying a few for future reference.
1995 Joseph Drouhin, Clos de Vougeot try to find this wine...
A deep core of fruit. The nose is an interesting blend of deep notes, leafy sous bois and plenty savoury width – it’s very nice without ever removing its jacket. Wide, super acidity, background tannin and a wave of mid-palate intensity. Slowly fading flavours finish a very interesting wine. Far from ‘easy’ or ‘open for business’ but this is a nice glass today, and should end up being very super…
1996 Joseph Drouhin, Clos de Vougeot try to find this wine...
Like all these Clos de Vougeots there’s deep core of colour. The nose has width and high, faintly alcoholic tones but also beautiful red fruits and violets though you destroy the picture if you swirl. A mouthful of perfume, fine but forward acidity, little obvious tannin, yet a very long finish that is borne on the vintage acidity. If you give it sufficient time – more than 2 hours – the mid-palate really fills out with dimension such that the acidity is apparently more balanced. I winced, but I really enjoyed it. Day two the palate is fuller and less pain-inducing – even better!
1995 Joseph Drouhin, Corton try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour – perhaps a little muddy. For the first 2 hours this is a ’so what’ wine, a nose that seems a little roast and shows flavours that offer little interest and no charm. Very slowly the nose takes on a little width, and whilst far from effusive seems a little fresher. The palate slowly becomes fatter and develops more complexity – its best ‘angle’ is certainly the mix of lingering flavours, though the acidity and tannin are pretty good.
2000 Dujac, Bonnes-Mares try to find this wine...
The nose is wide and surprisingly mineral with understated red fruits – no obvious stems showing here. In the mouth the personality is of a medium-bodied red-fruited wine with tannin that’s hardly worth a mention. Despite its very understated acidity it is both long finishing and not a little mouth-watering. I found this a very good and very approachable wine, though several steps below the quality I might expect given the pricing of more recent vintages.
2004 Camille Giroud, Chambertin try to find this wine...
Deep, initially dominated by oaky notes though they quickly fade leaving a very tight aromatic profile – needs time in the glass. In the mouth it is dense, silky and with plenty of well covered structure. Sneakily long with an edge of barrel flavour. A wine that begs a few years in bottle, but seems to have good potential. The funny thing is that the majority of Giroud 04’s that I’ve tasted don’t have much 04 taint – the ladybirds were there, I photo’d them, maybe it’s not them – but who’s complaining this wine’s lovely.
1976 Camille Giroud, Clos St.Denis try to find this wine...
The nose starts like many old Girouds with that Italian ‘botti’ aroma, however, not much swirling is required to consign that to history as a frankly beautiful floral aroma fills the glass – spectacular. The taste is quite okay but cannot come close to the beauty of the nose; fat, mouth-filling, still some fine-grained tannin. No fireworks here – merely fine.
1998 JF Mugnier, Musigny try to find this wine...
Opened 2 yours before the first pour. Medium colour – ruby but still with cherry-red accents. The nose is deeper and darker than that of the Bonnes-Mares, but less wide. Slowly in the glass the aromas gain width and dimension – I would say very fine. In the mouth my first impression is that it’s a little hard and tight; in tandem with the nose it slowly unwinds, softens and adds width. Another wine where the tannin hardly warrants a mention, though the quality of the wide and creamy finish was streets ahead of the Bonnes-Mares. In this context it was a fine wine, but one that didn’t ‘wow’.
1964 François Protheau, Château d’Etroyes, Chambertin Clos de Bèze try to find this wine...
The ’sample’ was medium-pale and slightly brown looking, but when it caught the sun the colour was pure ruby-red at the core. The nose is superbly clean for an old’un; a little turned soil and beef stock against sweet, decaying leaves – much nicer than it sounds. Bright acidity (like every ‘64 I’ve tasted) is on display, but somehow with ‘cut’ and focus. Linear, tannin-free, very mineral and subtly long – though it certainly won’t win any prizes in this area. Six hours on the nose has a faint but appealing volatile edge, otherwise it’s as steady as a rock. Texturally the wine fills out a little – perhaps it’s a (warmer) temperature effect – moderating the acidity just a little, it also seems just a little more intense and long, though certainly there’s now a metallic edge to the flavour. It didn’t fade a bit over 3 hours (so that’s 9 in total) of drinking.
2001 Charles Thomas, Corton Clos du Roi try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. A nose of macerating cherries, slightly alcoholic but focused. Full in the mouth with concentrated fruit and equally concentrated, reasonably fine and ripe tannin. Very nice fruit that hints at an extra creamy dimension and lovely acidity. This wine has plenty of muscle and I wouldn’t hesitate to leave it another 10 years, yet was a tasty wee dram. Very good.

Whites
2003 Vincent Girardin, Corton-Charlemagne try to find this wine...
Deeper yellow. The nose is dense and more obviously displays ripe fruit. In the mouth it’s well textured, even slightly oily, and suddenly widens to great effect in the mid-palate. A perfect wine for sipping alone – it just needs a little extra acidity to lift it to the next level – but finishes well.
2006 Long-Depaquit, Chablis Moutonne try to find this wine...
More of a tasting recollection as I’ve slept since drinking it! Medium-pale gold. The nose is classic seashore with a hint of savoury that could be an accent from a little barrel ferment. In the mouth there’s none of that blousy thing going on that some 2006’s show: it’s linear, mineral and rather savoury and also a beautiful wine with or without food – it was followed by a Girardin 2003 Corton-Charlemagne that was clearly more gregarious; richer and showing an extra dimension in the mid-plate (good wine) yet was less successful during dinner – perhaps and hint more of acidity could have helped the Corton. I can currently buy the Moutonne at 60% the cost of the Fevre Le Clos, and about the price of a good maker’s village Puligny – a very nice and good value bottle.

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