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The others tasted…

wine testing

No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that were drunk with food, friends and family, between December 2010 and March 2011.

REGIONAL WINES

2006 Roger Belland, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Medium colour. The nose has wide, slightly alcoholic top-notes that mix with a little spearmint and narrows to a base of dark red fruit. In the mouth the fruit has a nice sweet dimension, but the acidity is just slightly in the ascendant providing a sour, perhaps for some people too sour reflection. The tannin is far from evident. I’d say this is in the last days of pinot-noir youth, an adolescence of acidity like a breaking voice just compromising the performance. I’ve enjoyed a number of these over that couple of years, but this is the last – a job done because I’m not looking to keep this 20 years, but done well!
2005 des Croix, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Popped and poured. Still a relatively deep, purple-highlighted colour. The very faint background reduction mixes with a little oak and higher-toned alcoholic notes – that could be a little CO2 – let’s see. Slowly that slightly volatile element calms with, first, high-toned redcurrant then raspberry as the aromatic profile becomes more settled. Fine, soft tannin, slightly plush with a very silky texture. Really good pinot flavour and again an oaky impression plus a little creamy depth in the mid-palate. Really fills the mouth but with dimension rather and acid-driven expansion. Super. Wait a couple of hours and the oak/reduction is on a lower level and the nose is both deeper and darker. And the flavour, well it rather recedes – it’s still there and still interesting but you have to chew harder on the tannin to find it – still without the dimension of its early phase. Just very good young wine with a quality level bearing no resemblance to its label.
2006 Lafarge, Bourgogne Passetoutgrains l’Exception
Medium-plus colour. The nose is fresh, slightly floral though bordering on a little volatile – but they are alcoholic tones rather than esters. In the mouth – wow – that’s dangerously close to ‘shrill’ – and that comes from a self-confessed acid-o-phile! The tannins are not totally sophisticated unlike the fruit that seems very high quality indeed. Despite looking askance with each sip, I have to say the bottle was easily drained so this wine is certainly not a total loss. The overall package is a let-down, and unless you are talking 20-years-plus, I don’t really see the acidity becomng seamless.
1996 Maison Leroy, Bourgogne
Medium colour. The nose starts a little disappointingly with something that reminds me of brett – this is backed-up with a metallic taste – my first bottle like this. Time in the glass and the aroma is less overt, eventually showing a baked tart red fruit. In the mouth the metallic taste is transient, leaving a smooth, nicely acidic wine with decent intensity of warm round fruit and a mouth-watering finish. My last bottle was much finer but if brett is the culprit, all or none of my remaining bottles could have it. Still as the character faded this was very drinkable indeed.
2006 Pierre Morey, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
This wine has already lost the inviting youthful fruit aromas of its first two years; it’s now narrower but perhaps deeper too with a hint of leather with some macerating dark cherry. Nice and round in the mouth and still with a hint of fat to the texture. Initially there’s just a little bitter/sour in the finish but it’s a little character before either I or it reach equilibrium and it’s gone! What’s left is a nice wine of quite enough depth for the label, still some interesting fruit and last drops that leave a lovely aroma in the glass. This is the last from half a dozen – all drank well – I would say drink-up, I have.
2008 A&R Olivier, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Medium colour. The nose has more than a hint of borderline ripe herb and slightly alcoholic top notes but there is red fruit too. On the tongue, the acidity is not too bright, though as the flavour drifts into the finish there is some lip-smacking tartness. The mid-palate flavour-dimension is actually quite nice and below the sour is just enough sweet. This isn’t a wine I’d recommend, but it is quite drinkable.

2007 Arnaud Ente, Bourgogne Aligoté
Medium lemon-yellow colour. The nose has a little of that aligoté savouriness and quite some depth to it’s concentrated core of fruit. I sense CO2 on the palate – I’ll let it aerate a little. Hmm, returning I have the aromatic impression of walking through tall, golden late summer grass plus a hint of cream. Lovely acid balance brings freshness but nothing tart, Clean, very pretty, laser-like flavours that include an occasional flash of cream that then quickly fall-away before holding onto an understated note, A very accomplished wine, regardles of grape!
2008 Alex Gambal, Bourgogne Blanc
There is a slightly more obvious whiff of oak toast on the nose than I remember than from the previous 12 bottles(!) though it remains an accent rather than a dominant tone; round and inviting the aromas remain. In the mouth also quite round with a late arriving, mouth-watering lick of acidity then the subtle extra dimension of fruit that has made this wine a standout chez nous. Still in a lovely place.
2009 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Chardonnay
Medium, medium pale yellow. It’s an interesting nose that at first seems to have a lot of aniseed and then as you take the glass away from your nose the aniseed seems to split into yellow fruit and sulfur, eventually there’s a little baked bread too. In the mouth this starts round, up-front and full but decays very quickly into the mid-palate. What’s left is a little linear though with apparently decent length. To start with I didn’t think it completely to my taste – over about one hour either I or it moved position a little and it became reasonably palatable. Just in-case the problem was sulfur I left it ‘topless’ in the fridge overnight. Still pretty dull on day 2 I’m afraid. I can’t honestly say I’ll be searching for more, which is a shame as I really enjoyed a few vintages of this.

VILLAGE WINES

1999 Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny
Medium, medium-plus colour. There’s a depth of really super dark red and black fruit – quite glossy and initially very primary – given time there’s a floral dimension, rather heavy but not to worry, it’s young. Wow; swirl this around in your mouth and there’s a hint of silk but more importantly there’s an intensity that soon rebels – you have to swallow. Okay the acidity is reasonably bright, but the intensity is really about flavour and the depth of that flavour is enough to balance. An impression of tannin remains and a little bitter edge to the long flavour too – eventually the mid-palate takes on an extra dimension of higher-toned, pretty fruit. This really will become one of those sweet and delectable mature wines. Very impressive – you might think was only four or five years of age – not 12; unfortunately that means you should still wait another 4 or 5 years! Super.
2001 Albert Bichot, Vosne-Romanée
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is still interesting, if with a slightly heavy emphasis on coconut-oak but a nice acid-red fruit bubbles below. In the mouth this is slightly narrower and sharper than its youth but despite a little coconut flavour there’s good acidity and a nice dimension of fresh finishing flavour with fine length. Half the bottle was left overnight in the fridge. Next day the aromas are more interesting; the coconut is gone and it’s replaced with a little ginger-cake. In the mouth the wine also seems rounder and again no coconut – less narrow, more generous. I’d definitely rebuy this based on the day two performance, as for day one, I’m not the greatest fan of coconut!
1998 Bruno Clair, Marsannay Les Longerois
Medium colour. The aromas plumb a great depth of clean dark fruit and a little forest floor – occasional halves of these are showing VA, but not this full bottle. A narrow entry slowly widens; the tannin is almost all resolved but still delivers a little bitter chocolate in the finish. The acidity is just a hint prominent, but there’s nothing currently to worry about. The fruit has plenty of sweet maturity about it, particularly I like the strong note it holds in the mid-palate. No shame in drinking these now, and to my taste the last bottle about three years ago was better, but like most burgundy there’s no rush!
1985 Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium-plus colour, tending more to mahogany than red. The nose has limited width, but quite some brown-sugared and warm-fruited depth. There is less silk to the texture but a more open and sweet flavour, like-able as it is, I still have the occasional faint impression of something oxidative (the cork slid out very easily) and a last vestige of tannic astringency. Slowly fading on a similar bitter-chocolate note to the previous wine, though perhaps not with the length of the Pontbriand.
1985 Lionel de Pontbriand, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium-plus ruby-red that fades and transforms to mahogany at the rim. Deep, slightly musky and meaty aromas over a sweeter, almost sugared core of fruit – if anything it puts on ever-more weight with time. This has a lovely silky fatness to the texture and hints at sweetness before snatching it away again – fully ripe at harvest? – yet there is a mineral, almost metallic flavour at the core that seems almost cleansing, the acidity is quite understated. Half an hour in glass and the metallic impression is gone and there’s more than a hint of some extra mid-palate flavour. The finish may be a little understated but its reminiscent of sweet and dark, bitter-chocolate and it’s very long.

2006 JC Boisset, Morey St.Denis Monts Luisants
Pale yellow. The nose has hints of vanilla and botrytis – neither over-powering but it doesn’t give the impression that the wine will be a whirlwind of energy. As a complete contrast the acidity and, hence, the overall impression this wine delivers is quite ’2008′; fresh, some minerality but also still a depth of rich, faintly vanilla-inflected flavour. This is a very, very successful wine for the vintage – it’s so good in-fact, I could even be tempted to buy more, even though there was only one barrel! Yum!
2007 Mischief & Mayhem, St.Romain
This showed very well indeed when first bottled, but shortly afterwards (after I had bought!) it seemed a little sharp and sherbety – waiting 18 months has really paid dividend. Medium yellow colour. Hints of yellow fruit overlay a denser core of fruit too. In the mouth there is plenty of acidity but there is real balance here too – no sense of thin or sharp – with a slightly creamy impression in the mid-palate there now seems to be a little padding similar to an 08, but without that tropical element. Very decent length too. I think I’ll work my way through these during the heat (hopefully!) of the summer.
2007 de Moor, Chablis Humeur Du Temps
Medium, medium pale yellow. Aromatically a little narrow – but no worry – there are heights and depths here, just a little agrumes at the core. In the mouth this seems a bit slight and acid-led for the first sip, thereafter I really warmed to it; borderline acidic yet coupled to super intensity for such a basic level. Slowly the flavours of flint and rock take on a yellow-fruited accent. Narrow entry, wider in the mid-palate I find this at a similar quality level to some 1er crus. Perhaps the zinging acidity is better-suited to the summer months – but yum!
2009 Joseph Voillot, Meursault Chevalières
Medium, medium-plus lemon yellow. The nose is round with hints of ginger and fuller base of fruit. Sweetness from ripe fruit and a lovely acidity that lingers, mouth-wateringly into the finish. The ginger on the nose is reflected in a spiced-bread flavour too. Rounder than same domaine’s Meursault Cras – possibly a more classic Meursault too. Anyway – lovely.

1er CRU WINES

1985 Bertagna, Vougeot 1er Les Cras
Medium colour. The nose is edged with a little mushroom but swirl and you fall headlong into a depth of sweet, blood-red fruit – lovely! In the mouth this doesn’t have quite the same fat as either Gevrey, but it has for my taste a nicer balance; the acidity is a little more to the fore, there is a slightly more mineral stance and the mid-palate has a lovely growth of still lacy fruit flavour. More complex and finer if less impact than either Gevrey – but impact isn’t everything – I might look at food to tone-down the Gevreys but I’m savouring this on its own – delicious!
2008 Jean Chauvenet, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Perrières
Bigger glass, more aeration; yet the fruit holds onto a creamy-vanilla coating which I don’t remember being so obvious back in Nuits in the (11°!) cellar. The fruit, however, is a summer pudding of black and to a lesser extent red berries and is quite captivating. Plenty of acidity which turns into real intensity in the mid-palate and towards the finish – plenty more of that summer-pudding fruit flavour as go into the finish. There is just enough concentration of sweet-sour fruit to avoid the acidity taking over. You really have to search out the tannin; I cool it down in the fridge and there’s that glossy dark fruit impression that I noted in Nuits – at least it’s the same wine then! Intense, even a bit cerebral – I love this wine.
2008 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium-plus colour. From the first pour this is an excellent mix of deep dark blue/black fruit against a mineral background. Hmm, this has a real lithe character, plenty of acidity – though not out of bounds – and no padding whatsoever. There is a whisper of tannin that shows for a second or two at the end of the mid-palate, just before the wine slinks away into the finish. Perhaps slink is not the best adjective as the flavour, understated as it is, lasts very well indead. The fruit is super, if completely linear. This is gives the impression of being ‘slight’ yet at the same time shows plenty of intensity. It is a wine that demands cellar time. The acid-forward character of the vintage is clearly visible here if not overwhelming – at eight to ten years it might be worth checking whether it has filled out at all, but this is a 20+ year wine.
2008 Jaffelin, Beaune 1er Sur Les Grèves – Clos St.Anne
Medium-colour. Instantly the nose is overwhelmed by toasty oak – you have no other pointers – I left the wine in the glass for 20 minutes before returning. On my return the oak is a bit more manageable, finally there are some high tones that might one day aspire to something more perfumed and at least a suggestion of fruit below – even a kind of iodine note found on older whites. Likewise the first taste was sweet oak-water – perhaps pinot but nothing to indicate Burgundy. The texture is very smooth – certainly executive tannins – good balance, indeed the sweet oak gives the impression that the acidity is rather low – in a 2008! I eventually warmed a little to the nose and even a little more to the flavours where there is both depth and a certain density, but on day 1, frankly I find – n o t h i n g – to indicate Burgundy! Shame
2007 Mommessin, Beaune 1er Les Greves – Clos St.Anne
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is just a little bit better than pretty, there’s a high-toned fruit-pastille impression, but also a nice cherry core too – the last drops smell lovely – bravo! Ripe fruit that becomes fresher and more intense as you hold onto it. Decent acidity and the merest reference to tannin in the mid-palate. Good depth with most subtle touch of cream. The tiniest bit of fat pads out the texture. It’s not the most concentrated Beaune you will ever drink, but it is complex and a very well made 2007 indeed. I have to bite my lip and say – bravo (again!) – particularly as the price I paid was less than €20.
2008 Lucien Muzard, Santenay 1er La Maladière
A really interesting wine. First of all, too much CO2; I had to re-stopper the wine and give it a good shake to liberate a few litres of gas – fortunately the wine managed to stay in the bottle despite sounding like champagne as I removed the cork (the second time)! ‘Cold’ from the cellar this is focused and just a little mineral, let it warm and it gets rounder and rounder and eventually a little flabby – I chose to keep it cool with the following result: Deep aromas of fruit, some hints of reduction that quickly fade, the nose opening in tandem to offer nice dark red fruits. This is nicely supple, has good concentration and plenty of fruit padding to balance the acidity. Nice length too. This is a large but well-focused wine – just don’t let it get too warm. Very good value too.
2008 Lucien Muzard, Santenay 1er Beauregard
Medium colour. Medium width too, and some reduction for the first hour; eventually a nice red dominated-berry fruit and the last drops have a lovely acid-cherry impression. In the mouth there is a freshness that dovetails nicely with the width – again emphasising an acid-cherry note. There was again plenty of CO2 making this almost shiraz-like for thirty minutes or so, but sixty minutes in there was no mistaking the provenance of this wine. More elegant and finer than the Maladières but equal fun. Enjoyed!
1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay 1er En Chevret
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose shows a hint of maturity, layers of aroma cover a tighter core of dark fruit – a little Pommard in style – then below are flashed of pure dark fruit. In the mouth, there’s super balance and plenty of intensity from the still-young flavours. I’d say the palate needs another 3 or 4 years to similar maturity to the nose. Lots of complexity here – drunk far too quickly to be honest!

2008 Buisson-Charles, Meursault 1er Les Cras
The nose has less depth, but significantly more width and complexity; initially perhaps a higher-toned hint of mint amongst warm, green leaves and a tight core of fruit. Wow, a narrower entry than the Bourgogne, but waxy smooth before opening – w i d e – and growing and growing in the very impressive mid-palate with a super-tasty, slightly creamy agrumes flavour. The finish is about pure mineral and it’s very long. It’s a beauty.
2004 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents du Chien
Medium golden colour. The nose is a blend of slightly musky, creamy Puligny style invitation and a much riper core of yellow fruit. In the mouth this has a good width that’s coupled to very good acidity – it seems with riper fruit flavours than in its youth. Grows a little in the mid-palate then slowly decays. It’s a lovely wine, but one I slightly preferred in its youth and would certainly prefer in another 5 or 6 years – ah c’est la vie! At least I can settle down and enjoy it for what it is.
2008 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Les Murgers des Dents du Chien
Soft, vanilla accented aromas of fresh fruit. Just a little smoothness of texture, lovely flavours, slightly linear, with balanced intensity then a lingering finish. Few words, but alround excellent wine!
2008 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny 1er Les Folatières
Starts deep and very faintly of baked bread, but swirl and the nose has a nice freshness and the fruit behind is high-toned and citrussy . This is a mouthful of energy and joy – blind I might have guessed it to be the 2007 (I must compare!) as the obvious richness of 2008 is hardly visible. Roll the wine around your tongue and the acidity helps develop a fine and mineral flavour – there’s no fat or excess here, just a good mineral end-note. Quite linear, mineral and with a good intensity – it’s my kind of wine, but if this is the performance of a 2008, can I handle the 2007?
2007 Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny 1er Les Folatières
Medium-pale yellow. The nose has a ripe but sweet yellow lemon about it, but with a minerality that makes me reminisce about some almost finished Chablis Le Clos 2001! There is an undertow of sweetness but the real current (energy) of this wine is the citrus acidity that runs right through the core and into the finish, and it brings with it an intense mineral-led flavour that is actually very, very long. Good as the tension is in the 2008, this absolutely crackles with energy – hopefully a wine you can drink forever!
2009 Joseph Voillot, Meursault 1er Les Cras
Right from the start the aromas could be mistaken for the 08 Buisson-Charles Cras; there is a little more emphasis to the high-toned aromas, but otherwise remarkable similarity! The texture likewise starts similarly, the flavours too, yet the shape of the wine is quite different. Despite a waxy-smooth complexion this starts with a burst and slowly fades – but wait, there is certainly some CO2 at work in the mid-palate. I think I need to reserve judgement for 30 minutes on that shape! I return and the character of the wine if not completely the shape has changed; the nose has lost some of the higher-toned emphasis (CO2 now gone I suppose!) and in the mouth it is now smooth for its full length – the early upfront burst of flavour is more elegantly captured by the mid-palate. Similar length, but slightly less intensity versus the 2008 – I guess that’s the vintage acidity talking – another lovely wine.

GRAND CRU WINES

1996 Dominique Gallois, Charmes-Chambertin
Deep and vibrant – lovely colour. The nose has lots of maturity about it, and certainly plenty of complexity; depth, a little morel mushroom, also a little cigar-box that slowly morphs into cedar-ish hints, not unlike the of 2004 pyrazines but in no way over-powering. In the mouth there’s lots of intensity here; super acidity and very understated tannin – very long with a quite mineral flavour. Sweetness of fruit remains an undertow. You could get a great idea of of a mature Charmes by drinking this already – and that’s a very different personality to a young Charmes – but have no fear, there’s another 20 years of interest here for sure. Yum.
1991 Jaboulet-Vercherre, Echézeaux
Medium colour – no obvious age. The nose is understated, a hint of coal mineral and faint baked red fruit – initially it is rather tight, after 2 hours there’s a bit more width – it’s not too bad. Balanced – decent acidity, faint tannin but really my first impression is that it’s an okay, perhaps not quite average villages at its apogee. Time brings? Well, nothing much actually! It’s innocuous, certainly nothing to hate, but doesn’t beg a second glass and it’s a very long way from a Grand Cru experience too – it’s more like ‘optimistically cropped’ Vosne-Romanée that was probably best drunk 18 years ago – fortunately it’s semi-drinkable (I only ditched half the bottle!)…
1985 Louis Remy, Clos de la Roche
Medium colour. The nose starts without incredible depth, rather it’s relatively wide with pretty layers of fresh fruit with a very faint spice accent in the background, slowly it becomes ever-more delicate and well-defined with wild strawberries and perhaps raspberry too – swirl and it is a more leathery effect – I really could sniff this all night! The freshest acidity of all these recent 1985s and clearly the most mineral too – some impression of violets in the mid-palate where it’s actually rather linear but with achingly long (if narrow) flavours that continue as long as your mouth keeps watering – which was quite a while. Remarkably pretty, but should there be a bit more Grand Cru depth and dimension? I suppose I’ll never find out if I just keep sniffing! On day two this has a little oxidation – unlike all the other 85s I opened – so it’s fragile as well as delicate. Drink up in the next couple of years seems to be the way forward…

1998 Antonin Guyon, Corton-Charlemagne
Deep colour. One sniff of the nose and I’m smiling; there are the lanolin aromas of an even older wine, and perhaps the merest suggestion of something oxidative but it’s an interesting complexity on a lower level than many champagnes(!) – no complaints. For the first 20 minutes or-so, this seems a little alcoholic and disjointed, but thereafter it becomes a decently integrated wine. Good acidity and nice intensity too – actually the flavour is also very long. There isn’t the seemless, smooth-ness of a very good vintage but this is a very nice drink that belies the vintage reputation. I don’t recommend the odds of taking a replacement bottle, but I’ll happily accept what this one offers.
2006 Long-Depaquit, Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne
I really don’t like the smell of this cork – it’s not TCA, it’s not musty either but it has a very strong deep, almost nutty odour. Pale colour. The smell of the cork fortunately doesn’t seem to be on the nose – rather it is a fresh and very mineral aroma. In the mouth there is good balance and again a very mineral impression – unfortunately I can taste something similar to the aroma from the cork. There is intensity but none of the complexity of it’s youth, the style is much more linear. A shame that my last bottle wasn’t allowed to shine – all down to the cork.

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