Why Big Red Diary?

The others tasted…

wine testing

No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that were drunk with food, friends and family, between November 2011 and April 2012…


2009 Domaine de Bellene, Bourgogne Maison Dieu Vieilles Vignes
Medium, medium-plus colour. The mose has a hint of sweet, smoky, musky red fruits; it pulls you in for a sniff and then an exclamaition of ahhhh… In the mouth this is really round, sweet fruit, decent underlying acidity and even a hint of tannin. This is all puppy-fat today but I perceive steel below the surface. I would have drunk a little more but everyone-else liked it so much that I didn’t get the chance…
2009 Camille-Giroud, Bourgogne Cuvée L
Medium-plus colour. Ooh, depth, silky fruit and hints of violets. The texture starts with silk but quickly changes as the ripe tannin shows its face. Plenty of fruit and some minerality in the mid-palate too. Very good length. Clearly this is significantly above the standard suggested by the label, but given the contents of the bottle that’s surely no surprise. Another ‘Bourgogne’ that begs time to mature…
2009 Jayer-Gilles, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits
High toned aromas and no obvious oak – very good width too – this is very nice. Very fine, quite narrow but mated to a fine acidity and intensity. I like the fruit very much and it has interesting, rather than heavy-handed, oak accents. Neither a super-ripe nor a fluffy textured 09, simply a stunning Bourgogne – excellent.
2005 Henri Naudin-Ferrand, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune
The label says ‘Orchis Mascula’ – not sure if that’s just a bit of decoration, or the name of the cuvée. Dark, slightly spicy aromas, hints of sweet smoke – almost certainly some stems – approaching a floral perfume. A nice width of flavour, then the acidity comes to the fore – but no problem – a hint of tannin too as you head into the finish. An hour later and it’s rounder, better balanced and quite tasty with a clear strawberry flavour. Good wine – a second bottle in the cellar should be quite interesting with a few more years…
2008 Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Le Chapitre
Medium-plus colour. The nose initially reminds me of the 2009 with a hint of cola, but this is relatively transient as a beautifully smooth and dark fruit comes to the fore. Quite round in the mouth but it’s understatedly concentrated whilst displaying an equally understated acidity. Long and mineral this is a wine that does everything without fuss but with great aplomb. Cut from the same cloth as the 2009, and certainly another wine to wait for…
2009 Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Le Chapitre
Medium-plus colour. The nose is hard to love at the start – it seems more like cola than wine – with time the cola slowly transforms to a musky, smoky, creamy red-black, almost blue fruit. Good concentration, plenty of freshness too. This wine is almost textured from the tannin but there’s hardly any astringency. Surprisingly (after the nose) this is far from the easy and sweet vernacular of 2009, it is a serious wine and I wouldn’t touch another for at least three years.
2009 Maison Nicolas Potel, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Vieilles-Vignes
A little green mint-leaf twists through the red fruit – it’s not a particularly ripe nose, even before you factor-in the 2009 vintage, but there’s nothing off-putting. In the mouth there is lots that is unripe, sone greenness to the flavours and although there’s not a lot of tannin, it has some astringency attached. Drinkable, but a long way from interesting…
2009 Ramonet, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
‘Nomacorked’. This has a fresh but forward nose of dark red fruit with a mint-leaf impression too – quite like the Potel but with more depth and balance. The flavour is also quite forward and friendly, the acidity giving the impression of sweet and sour in combination with the fruit. In the mouth the impression is of roundness, and I have to say it’s rather delicious too. Far from the concentration of the Camille-Giroud or the Pataille, but more effortlessly drinkable today.

2009 Alex Gambal, Bourgogne Chardonnay
The nose is rather rich for the appellation, showing a little brioche and with a swirl some ripe fruit. More than a hint of minerality and with a nice initial acidity before filling out in a richer vernacular. It does taste very nice but from the mid-palate onwards I’d just like a hint more acidity. I have to say, the wine was easily despatched, and Alex was right it is very tasty, but based on the mid-palate and finish I would probably would look elsewhere when it comes to re-stocking the cellar – probably to the 2010 now the 2008s are exhausted!


1999 Arlaud, Chambolle-Musigny
Rather deeply coloured, and it still looks quite young. The nose is deep and a little meaty, yet is classically (some might say clichéd) Chambolle-Musigny with its very pretty floral top notes – the bass notes are perhaps meatier than your average Chambolle but that’s probably the slow march to maturity. Round, clearly with plenty of extract and a lovely diminuendo into the mouth-watering finish. The tannins give a little astringency if you keep the wine in your mouth, but if you ‘just drink’, the word that comes into my mind is ‘luxurious’. Young but very drinkable. I can only dream that the rest of my 99s would perform to this level right now.
2009 Alain Burguet, Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Favourites Vieilles Vignes
There’s spice on the nose, over soil – eventually a core of fruit, dark fruit, builds from the glass, accented with coconut. In the mouth this is pretty wide, there’s a decent amount of tannin too, but in form that offers cushioning rather than abrasion. There’s plenty of extraction in this. The finish is fine enough. I find it a chewy mouthful rather than a wine to contemplate – but there is a place for that too.
1969 Pierre Bourée, Nuits St.Georges
Medium colour. To start with there is no aroma at all, very slowly there is hint of beef broth and a more impressive and sweeter acid cherry. Very silky. You have the taste impression that somewhere there there lies a hint of oxidation but it’s buried under a sweet red note and never becomes more than a suggestion. Pretty with a fine, if understated acidity. Very stable in the glass, and with a lovely core of fruit. My run of excellent 69s continues.
1972 Pierre Bourée, Gevery-Chambertin
This one has about 7cm of ullage and a cork that crumbles – c’est la vie…
Here is also some balsamic aroma but it’s just a trace, there’s a little beef broth too – neither are my favourite. Slowly both of those components fade to reveal a wine of clarity, silky intensity and a lovely extra creamy dimension of flavour in the mid-palate and into the bright finish. There’s a result! The fruit aromas are of alcohol macerated cherries and oranges. I started to make a coffee in the first few minutes this was opened – I never did finish making it!
1978 Pierre Bourée, Monthelie
The cork comes out in one piece – no mean feet in these older Bourées – the bottle glass has a blue shade to it; clearly a bit unscientific but I’ve never yet had an off wine from a blue-shade bottle! Very good, relatively young colour. The nose? Well it’s rather particular; in-fact blind this is a 2004 with at least a 6/10 ‘score’ for pyrazines. Underneath is a pretty depth of still croquant, sugared strawberry fruit with the faintest suggestion of stems – as an occasional bottle, I’m quite happy to put this in my mouth! There is weight and sweetness to the red fruit with fine if understated acidity – overall a very smooth ride. There is some taste from the pyrazines – mainly in the mid palate before the flavour slowly decays in the finish. I have to say, pyrazines aside this is quite some wine – for those with low sensitivity I expect they would absolutely love this bottle – certainly I find it interesting and still drinkable: Indeed quite a remarkable bottle.
2009 Pierre Damoy, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Tamisot
This has a beautiful nose; pure dark cherry and more higher-toned red fruit. Lithe in stance, with a velvet texture to the tannin. The intensity is pretty good, helped along the way by good acidity. Overall this wine’s stance is quite narrow today, but the aromas and flavours are excellent.
2009 Eugénie, Vosne-Romanée
Classic spice-bread on the nose. Clearly there is quite some extraction here, evidenced by that modern rarity – real tannin! Good underlying acidity and plenty of flavour too. This is a wine of real character; the tannins are forward but without astringency and the fruit flavour is equally boisterous. I like it.
2007 Eugénie, Vosne-Romanée
Medium-plus colour. I have an impression of a little coffee at the centre of this wine’s aromas, but mainly this is a clean and almost 2006-style of Vosne with a textured depth to the aromas, edged with a little dark minerals – very fine. Across the tongue there’s nothing of the facile sweetness that some 2007s display, but there is a little of that borderline lack of ripeness that some other producer’s wines show – in this case it is on a really low level and adds an interesting element. There’s no denying the extra dimension of flavour it the end of the mid-palate. An excellent 2007 indeed.
2008 Antonin Guyon, Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras
Medium, medium-plus colour. Forward red fruit notes that have a hint of sour about them – they make me think of rhubarb – lucky I like rhubarb! In the mouth this is very smooth and it pulls you into the mid-palate with plenty of (equally smooth) acidity – but I expect this could become a bit screechy in 2-3 years as the sweet fat of the fruit shrinks. There is quite some intensity and even a little extra dimension in the mid-palate, though to be fair, it’s mainly acid-led intensity. The last flavours of the mid-palate have a little bitter-chocolate about them but I think they are mainly the result of a hint of toasty oak blended with a bit of borderline ripe fruit. I have to say that I’m enjoying this wine, but I really do think that the enjoyment could be transient – say 18-or-so months worth.
2009 Louis Jadot, Pommard
Some quite high tones, red fruit notes that are sweet and faintly alcoholic, but not overly so. In the mouth this is soft and understated, actually a bit too soft. The fruit is sweet enough and buffered with just a little tannin. Frankly I don’t have much engagement with this wine, though it seems friendly enough. As a Pommard it’s very simple and doesn’t seem a patch on the 2008.
2008 Louis Jadot, Pommard
This wine showed two personalities; day 1 it was a little non-descript on the nose; rounder and sweeter than the Guyon Chambolle but less impact or dimension – here was a club to the rapier of the Guyon. Day 2 and I’m much more impressed with this; the nose has opened with a slightly warm and sweet core but coupled to creamy flashes and top notes of violets – nice! There also seems a bit more depth to the palate, pretty, higher-toned red fruit and a slowly lingering finish on very good but not bright acidity. There is a hint of grain to the low-key tannin. If I’m totally honest, this cuvée can be a bit expensive, but here is a wine that rewards your investment – on day 2 anyway!
2008 L&A Lignier, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Seuvrées
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose shows lovely depth; just a hint of musk and dark red fruits. Fresh, but not overly so this trips over the tongue delivering excellent dark-shaded fruit and impressive complexity – just a hint tart in the finish but compellingly-so. Chew and you can find a little tannin that sticks to your mouth with a hint of astringency.
2006 Château de Marsannay, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose begins with deep but narrow aromas with a little mint-leaf and occasional but very pretty flowers and cream. There seems not too much tightening of flavour yet – there’s still a little rasp of tannin and a reasonable width of flavour too. Good acidity, which helps further expand the flavours in the mid-palate, which also shows a nice floral aspect. A more than adequate wine for the label!
2006 Xavier Monnot, Pommard Les Vignots
Medium-plus colour, still with purple highlights. The nose is reasonably forward but a bit burly and bulky with hints of cola, only after the bottle has been opened a couple of hours do you start to get some clear, clean and quite pretty fruit notes but it’s only from the last drops in the glass. Like the nose, this a broad-shouldered wine and it wears it’s tannin without a hint of reserve – but the tannin is ripe and not too grippy. There’s a nice breath of fresh acidity and a reasonable length, but I’m missing some excitement – not sure if it’s this wine or also a bit of 2006 thing – will have to check on some.
2007 du Pavillon, Beaune Les Epenottes
Medium, medium-plus colour. This has a nose that starts with quite a bit of vanilla – it’s also reflected in the early flavours – not my favourite but it just about avoids excess; behind is a raspberry coulee, and very nice that is! In the mouth this has the weight of a 1er cru Epenottes and a good ripe aspect to the fruit which lingers on an understated but fine line of acidity. If told this was a 1er cru from Beaune I don’t expect you’d quibble – though you might reject the barrel vanilla. Over 2-3 hours the unneccessary vanilla make-up fades significantly from both the aromas and flavours but underneath is a wine of excellent value.
2008 Marc Roy, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a depth of dark red fruit with just a faint sweetness and eventually a characterful twist of tobacco. This is lovely; a depth of fresh dark fruit, just enough texture to give a slightly cushioned satin impression and tannins that are oh-so silky – one of Alexandrine Roy’s signatures I think. Long for a villages with just a hint of aniseed and blue fruit flavour. A wine that was very, very much appreciated.
2009 Marc Roy, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur
Ooh – deep, ripe fruit, perhaps a hint of cola, actually more than a hint. In the mouth I find this has quite nice acidity, intensity comes in tandem – the flavour is long too for a villages. Clearly the fruit is very ripe and the tannin has a little rasp to the texture – unlike both the 2008 an 2010. Tasty, and certainly I prefer the flavours to the aromas, but overall I’d much rather drink the 2008 today – I expect also in 10 years but I’m happy to have the bottles to allow for that possibility
2009 Jean Tardy, Chambolle-Musigny Les Athets
The nose has a really nice depth, cushioned with a little musk. This seems nicely round in the mouth and shows a very nice concentration for a villages. There’s just a little grab from the tannins, but they are quite understated. Balanced with a nice finish – there’s a little oak flavour throughout the wine today but it is far from jarring and will fade – still a lovely wine.
2009 Jean Tardy, Nuits St.Georges Au Bas de Combe Vieilles Vignes
High tones, some herb notes too that float above lovely red fruit – this is very pretty! In the mouth this seems finely boned and with good acidity too. This finishes well with beautiful red fruit note. Very good wine indeed, but in an elegant, less forceful way – I certainly wouldn’t guess this was a Nuits.
1969 Thomas-Bassot, Chambolle-Musigny
The nose needed just a few minutes to deliver its perfume of cushioned dark red fruit – perhaps not as ethereal as the first bottle, but lovely none-the-less. Once more a very clean and tasty wine delivering volume, dimension and still a little tannin. Very nice length, that’s still dominated by the fruit. What a lovely, elegant yet still robust wine.

2009 Jean-Marc Boillot, Puligny-Montrachet
The nose is relatively tight; very understated high toned flowers, perhaps pear-drops. This is surprisingly fresh and mineral for a 2009 – too much so? – certainly it’s a little austere. The flavour does expand in the mid-palate, and it’s clearly quite fresh but I’m not entirely convinced this is a great wine for the price – this is relatively expensive for a villages. The last part of the mid-palate and finish has plenty of extract and flavour – I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt but I’d only buy at a much better price.
2007 Guillot-Broux, Macon-Cruzille Les Genièvrières
The nose has slightly more than ample brioche notes, eventually the notes go deeper and sweeter improving complexity though not at the expense of impact. Large-scaled flavours, where, to start with, the acidity plays a subtle supporting role – still there is tons of creamy complexity in the mid-palate and finish. This is a wine that transitions from impressive to VERY impressive once it is paired with food; the acidity now seems more supportive and the fruit has a clear sucrosity. Very very impressive despite somehow retaining a Maçon character.
2006 Mischief and Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet
Golden colour. The nose has more than a little butterscotch and a core of floral aromas – eventually an appealing, if slightly disconcerting balsamic note that reminds me more of a red wine. The has a whack of quite powerful flavour, waxy silkiness and sufficient (plenty in a 2006 context) acidity for good balance. The finishing flavour is long with a hint of mineral, but also a trace of oxidation. Fully enjoyed, that oxidative note certainly not spoiling things but it would remind me to finish these up and replace with a younger vintage.<


1981 Robert Ampeau, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Lavières
Medium colour. The nose has depth and width – there’s still some fruit and sweetness of fruit, turned-over leaves and a hint of meat. There is a slight cushioning to texture and still a little velvet from the tannin – lovely acidity flows through the core of the wine. There’s plenty of flavour here, perhaps becoming a little higher-toned in the mid-palate but it’s not about to fall off a cliff. Very smooth, very yum…
1997 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Reignots
The nose starts broad and faintly of dark oak – slowly a pungent, dark, coconut cream begins to fill the glass, only very slowly are the granular, spicy notes one expects of Vosne to be found. In the glass this starts with a silky texture and a slightly bright though smooth acidity – which is the main component through the centre of the wine and into it’s finish. As the wine warms in the glass the finish first pads out with some of the dark flavours that match the nose. Over three hours this wine remains steady as a rock; acid led but not too much, with a freshness and stance that belies the vintage. I would say this is still very-much young and primary, it is certainly excellent in the context of the vintage.
2009 Denis Bachelet, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Corbeaux
Medium, medium-plus colour. Wow: There’s a strong smell of pyrazines on the nose – blind, I’d probably lose my house pronouncing this as a 2004. The flavour is likewise corrupted. This seems very stable in the glass, and it’s not for me.
2000 Jean-Marc Boillot, Pommard 1er Jarollières
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is as good as it has ever been; close to ripe fruit has a coating of musky/creamy-ness – it’s actually quite interesting. The acidity and associated tannin is tart and a little astringent, but if you swallow quickly, it seems quite okay. I probably needn’t add more…
2008 Bouchard Père, Beaune 1er Beaune du Château
Gradually there are some higher, floral tones and eventually a few flashes of tobacco too, but mainly this has a deeper register of dark fruit buttressed by equally dark oak. Round, plenty of sweet depth, just a little cushioning, balanced by close to perfect acidity. There’s plenty of flavour here, but I really can’t find the ‘Beaune’, and that’s because such a large part of the flavour profile is the sweetness of dark oak. Despite that oak, this has quite a measure of elegance – this is a lovely wine – but it needs to shed a lot of non-grape derived flavour before it becomes a lovely Beaune.
2010 Gilles Bouton, Blagny 1er Sous le Puits
Rather paler colour than previous vintages. The aroma is rather faint but with a warm, slightly dark sweetness. Some silkiness and a decent balance of acidity. The flavour is rather understated, and far from unpleasant – what’s missing is a little concentration and engagement. Quite pretty but missing much of what I expect from this producer’s version. Lifted only by a pretty red cherry fruit in the decently long finish.
2010 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er Les Champlots
Medium cherry red. Some clean, high-toned and glossy red cherry fruit but overall a bit tight. Fresh, with acid-borne intensity. This wine has both energy and a lovely crunchy fruit. Lovely as it is, and as well priced as it is, I’d be getting my enjoyment this year before whatever padding the fruit may currently be providing fades…
2009 Alain Burguet, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Rouges du Dessus
Very high-toned aromas, indeed close to volatile. In the mouth there’s some good tannin that has just a twist of astringency, yet, again, I have the impression that the fruit is rather medicinal and seems a match to the nose. I hope this is an off bottle because it is far from my taste, even before taking into account the price asked…
2000 des Chézeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux St.Jacques
Medium colour. The nose is a symphony; there’s still a pure red fruit note towards the top of the range, but there’s a musky undergrowth that cushions it, lovely depth too – you could just sit and sniff this – which is just fine! Actually the palate’s not that bad either, but the nose gives you the impression that there should be more. It’s still pretty good with a (more) linear (than you expect) but still slightly cushioned impression, decent acidity and still just a hint of astringency on the back of your tongue. The fruit has a little sweetness to it, but not in the rather warm, typical 2000 vernacular. Understated, slighly mineral flavours linger in the finish. Not the concentration of yesterday’s 99 villages Chambolle, but complex and interesting.
2007 des Croix, Beaune 1er Les Grèves
The nose shows depth, width and complexity – of fruit – a totally different animal to the previous wine, eventually also delivering a floral aroma too. Silken entry, this is round and concentrated, and like the Le Moine also delivers a bitter-chocolate tannin in the finish – the first obvious oak artefact. Very lovely wine – you would be hard pressed to guess the vintage.
2007 Dublère, Beaune 1er Les Blanches Fleurs
I still have a few bottles of this and it has been unremittingly lovely at home. The nose offers of a wide perspective of relatively complex but perhaps a slightly diffuse interest. In the mouth this is the lovely middleweight I recall; wide, subtle and complex – just a very pretty glass of wine.
2008 Dublère, Beaune 1er Les Blanches Fleurs
There are aromatic similarities between this and the 2007 – wide, interesting yet perhaps just a little diffuse – the fruit just needs a little polish to bring it completely into focus. In the mouth this is a little less like the 07 – clearly there’s another level of intensity, the flavour just grows and grows. Different in character but with similar interest.
2009 Dublère, Beaune 1er Les Blanches Fleurs
Today there is more obvious barrel note on the nose, some herbal complexity too – I find more clarity though than for 07 and 08. Apparently not the same level of intensity delivered by the 08, but there is an understated complexity and a very impressive finish indeed.
2007 d’Eugénie, Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Brûlées
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is deep and padded with a hint of musk, fine spice and a creamy crust to the dark fruit aromas. Soft entry, but it’s a little glycerol cushioning that provides the softness, not a lack of structure or flabby fruit; here is a beautifully delineated wine – for a 2007 – clarity of flavour and clean-lines from the understated cool acidity, and even a good base of minerality. There’s a late arriving bitter twist to the serious fruit and finally just a little fine tannic texture. It would be easy to knock ‘Château Eugénie’, and this is certainly very, very polished wine but here is also a wine of class and distinction – the combination of those two words is a rarity in 2007 – not the absolute energy of a 2008 or 2010, but there’s something a little zen-like here.
2009 Camille Giroud, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peuillets
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose shows quite some powdery aspects but with flashes of fresh raspberry fruit, occasional barrel-notes too. In the mouth there is a really nice balance of fruit, acidity and concentration – a little CO2 exacerbates the tannin making it a little raspy and rustic to start with – you need an hour-plus for the gas to fade – soon it becomes smoother and the extra depth of fruit flavour then comes to the fore. The flavours are long, with some fruit mouth-watering fruit elements but majors on a mineral, stony fruit. A wine to wait for. Day two and it was better still. Lovely.
1992 Comtes Lafon, Monthélie 1er Les Duresses
Beautiful medium-red colour, no obvious browning or bricking. The nose is highly engaging (this time!); a macerating, baked redcurrant note with just the merest hint of a creamy coating – interestingly there’s a little 2004-style pyrazine here too – of ~2/10 green meanie intensity – a level that adds interest, rather than turns the stomach. It starts with a narrow flavour profile, but it’s balanced, indeed fresh – a little time in the glass allows the shape of wine to fill out some. The fruit has just enough ripeness and a very faint astringency (still). I might be tempted to say that I’m drinking this a little young, but I’m finding much of interest here. At a good price I certainly might buy again.
2009 Lejeune, Pommard 1er Les Argillières
Here is a quite lovely red-fruit-driven nose. In the moth this is a combination of equally red pretty fruit and quite some tannin. There’s a bit of astringency before a long finish. A strong character in all departments and certainly an interesting glass yet initially this seemed not that ‘together’. The last third was drunk on day two; it was rounder, more supple and seemed very well put together. Probably a wine to wait at least ten years for, but worth a few bottles in the cellar!
2007 Pascal Marchand, Morey St.Denis 1er Clos des Ormes
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is quite interesting; clearly a few stems that are partially obscuring violet flowers but the stems are far from gothic plus, if you swirl, you get a great punch of floral aromas. In the mouth there’s decent weight that despite being a little light on acidity never seems overly heavy. There is sweetness from the fruit, a little more than a suggestion of minerality in the mid-palate and eventually a mouth-watering finish. This is very moreish wine, it shows the vintage more than the village today, but it is very tasty indeed – and that’s before you look at the great price ex domaine.
2009 Alain Michelot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Chaignots
Rather deep colour. Ooh – now that’s nice – beautiful fruit here, maybe even a hint of gooseberry. Full in the mouth, with a not too generous helping of tannin plus very pretty fruit that seems a mirror of that on the nose. Simply a very tasty wine indeed.
2009 Alain Michelot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Champs Perdrix
The nose is quite different to what I remember of the Chaignots – different vines so a good thing – certainly higher toned though perhaps a little more diffuse because of that. This is quite full, with plenty of tannin – yet the fruit comes through very well indeed – super-engaging personality. I think this excellent.
2007 Lucien Le Moine, Beaune 1er Les Avaux
The nose starts as pure oak but needs only a handful of minutes to start coming together in the glass, leaving a prominent but quite nice spicy dimension to the red fruit that has now come into frame. Here is an excellent depth of fruit flavour and a very nice intensity too. Clearly there is the carpenter’s hand here, but this is a wine that works very well indeed. The final twist of tannin gives a bitter-chocolate tang to the finish. Very tasty.
2006 JF Mugnier, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Maréchale
Medium-plus colour once more. Here the nose is really about pinot (oops – Nuits! – well, maybe…) with a top to bottom elegance, plenty of floral, violet, references too. In the mouth this has extra sweetness and also is much more silky; yet roll it around in your mouth and you’ll find lovely acidity and no lack of velvety tannin – you just need to look for it. The fruit in the mouth is quite high toned, but very pretty. This is actually very lovely now, but has a reserve of balance – which I hope will allow me to still enjoy my last bottle in at least another 20 years. It’s not super-long, but it is super-tasty. Yum. A point worth noting is that if the wine reaches the heady heights of a mere 20 degrees, it becomes a bit diffuse an less impressive – keep to 18 or below and all is well.
2009 Ponsot, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is quite different to yesterday’s M&P Rion; narrow, yet it plumbs impressive depth; redder with a note of cherry stones – blind, you would be unlikely to pick this as a 2009. In the mouth this has some fat, but there’s also a beautiful line of acidity that runs through the core of the wine. The crystalline fruit seems equally bright and quite fleet of foot too – nothing vaguely ponderous here. Quite long on a fading mineral note. Considering he’s such a late picker I have no idea how Laurent delivers such minerality in a vintage like 2009, but chapeau! Excellent wine that is far from the vintage stereotype.
1989 Pousse d’Or, Pommard 1er Jarollières
Medium, medium-plus colour – certainly there is a bit of age about the colour. The nose is an inviting blend of fresh brown sugar and a hard to pin down note – like a faint cabbage – but better than it sounds. In the mouth this is very round, still with a faint rasp of tannin. There’s a mineral flavour that grows in the mid-palate and eventually fades to something akin to the dark sugar note of the nose, but there’s something else too… Hmm, that cabbage note is now ‘cork’ and, yep, there it is in the finish.
2009 Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos de la Boudriotte
Cork, quite a long cork. Aromas of herbs and pure red fruits, eventually with a warm edge; there’s also the typical 09 top notes that are close alcoholic. Rather silky though the intensity grows quickly delivering a little texture in the finish – this is beautifully detailed but rather boisterous, delivering a whack of mid-palate flavour that couldn’t really be described as elegant, despite the lovely texture – but today I don’t need elegant, excellent will do and this fits the bill.
2009 Ponsot, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is quite different to yesterday’s M&P Rion; narrow, yet it plumbs impressive depth; redder with a note of cherry stones – blind, you would be unlikely to pick this as a 2009. In the mouth this has some fat, but there’s also a beautiful line of acidity that runs through the core of the wine. The crystalline fruit seems equally bright and quite fleet of foot too – nothing vaguely ponderous here. Quite long on a fading mineral note. Considering he’s such a late picker I have no idea how Laurent delivers such minerality in a vintage like 2009, but chapeau! Excellent wine that is far from the vintage stereotype.
2007 Jean Tardy, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Chaumes
Medium colour. The nose has some herbal elements above an understated but quite complex mix of fruit; cherry, strawberry and eventually a long redcurrant note. There is a hint of spice too, though I’m not sure if it’s from the soil or the barrel. I find a herbal element on the palate too – not quite green, but hinting at green. The texture is reasonably smooth, and seems to have an element of weight – tannin is there as a faint rasp on the end of your tongue. Decent length in a red register. I expect this had a bit better balance 18 months ago; today it’s far from seemless, the acidity just seems to be approaching ‘sharp’ if not quite there yet, though sweet and sour with emphasis on the sour could certainly be used. Day three: (only stoppered and left at about 17°C) and this wine is suddenly delicious; all herbal references have faded to relative insignificance and the fruit has a beguiling, understated sweetness – how did that happen? I don’t know, but I’d buy it again now!

2010 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er Le Chatenière
Pale colour. A hint of oak toast and clean high-toned aromas, slowly it has more of a brioche impression before disappearing completely. Leaner than the Dents du Chien, with a linear minerality – quite some intensity too – a burst of flavour in the mid-palate with a new, faintly sweet herbal note. Understated, lingering finish that’s couched with a subtle sweetness. Great value wine without a doubt.
2010 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er Murgers les Dents du Chien
Pale colour. High-toned, fresh, crisp with a fain creamy depth to some herby fruit – rather engaging. Fresh, but not overly so. A decently silky texture and a very nice intensity in the mid palate. Slightly green-tinged fruit in the finish. Tip-top wine for the price.
2010 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
Pale colour. Wide, slightly waxy impression, some faint herbs and with a little yellow fruit too. Fresh, nicely intense with just a hint of mouth-puckering acidity – but not overly so. The flavour of greeen-skinned fruits comes through in mouth-watering fashion. Racy and fun – lovely stuff.
2008 Jean-Noel Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Blanchot Dessus
Full, round and very complex aromas – never a classic wine of Chassagne to me – but super it its own way. Lush and rich yet with excellent acidity and energy. Surely some creamy barrel aspects but the layers of flavour are so compelling. Is there anything missing? Perhaps just a hint of Caillerets minerality; with that, it could have been the best 2008 I tasted at home this year.
2009 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers les Dents du Chien
After the 2010 Bouton, this has a little brioche on the nose with higher-toned, faintly agrume fruit. There is more depth and concentration than apparent in the Bouton, if slightly less acidity – so there doesn’t seem to be quite the intensity – but there remains despite the extra richness, balance, and more to contemplate. Very good wine, but then it should be for twice the price of the Bouton.
2007 Dublère, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peuillets
Medium lemon-yellow. Wide, inviting, clean citrus fruit and flower notes. After the M&M 06 Puligny, this is much more mineral and lithe – as much the vintage as the vines. Lovely acidity is smoothly rendered and underpinning the intensity and leaving a mouth-watering finish. Excellent
2008 Lucien Le Moine, Meursault 1er Les Perrières
The bottle, I’m afraid to say, seems the glass equivalent of a red sports car; heavy, and with a punt into which you could lose your arm. Clearly the nose ushers in the presence of quite a bit of oak, a little transient gunflint/struck match too, yet this is far from jarring wood, indeed it is very well polished. In the mouth I have a faint hint of surprise; despite a perfectly smooth texture, this is a wine that’s clearly cut from the chalk of Perrières; mineral with some 08 tension and undoubted density and intensity. There are a few other MPs that I might might prefer to drink, all of them lower priced, but this is a very fine wine – no discussion. I have the impression of pear fruit on the palate yet without a hint of obvious sweetness. Very good line into the considerable finish. Clearly I have listened to too much hearsay, because this is super wine.
2008 Michel Niellon, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos de la Maltroie
Medium golden. Plenty of sweet toasted bread, brioche indeed – (very) nice as it is, it does rather smother any obvious Chassagne-ness. There is a decent whack of concentration though the personality is reasonably direct rather than round. Just about perfect acidity accentuates a little agrumes fruit and a finishing sweet note from the barrel that reminds you of the brioche nose, plus a little toffee. Initially, despite how delicious it is, I find the oak influence is obscuring the place; given about 1 hour your mouth starts to water with plenty of mineral flavour that actually does hint to Chassagne. Despite the caveats, simply delicious.
2008 Michel Niellon, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chenevottes
A faint creme brûlée floats over green and yellow citrus notes – you have to wait some time before the classic Chassagne green herbs finally appear – it’s a tight and ripe at the core. The entry is silky but quite understated, indeed indifferent, but the mid-palate just launches you into the next dimension with minerals, agrumes fruit, mouth-watering acidity and really super intensity. You’re left with a long line of finishing flavour. This is really super.
2009 Verget, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs Gains
This has a forward nose with a few herbs and decent, high-toned fruit. There’s plenty of flavour and a really good intensity too. I’d just like a little more acidity to provide focus, without this it’s a bit too expensive – both 2008 and 2010 villages will offer more value.


1989 Cave du Dauphin, Bonnes-Mares
Medium colour. There is a hint of roasted to the fruit but generally this is not so bad, rounded with a faint pot-pourri note. The fruit is ripe enough and actually shows a good mineral tension; not the last word in intensity, but not bad either. The acidity is just fine and you can still get a few grains of tannin too. Probably not an exceptional Bonnes-Mares, but a nice enough bottle.
1998 Camus, Chambertin
An auction purchase, but the bottles look in perfect condition – twirling capsules too – though I expected wax. Medium-plus colour with just a little amber at the rim. The nose has plenty of depth, understated leafy forest floor and a faint creamy edge to the muscled, dark-red fruit. With time the nose fills out with a hint of mushroom and an even clearer dark-red berry fruit. In the mouth this is full, reasonably intense and with a large-scaled flavour profile in the mid-palate. The length is understated but for all that, very impressive. The tannin is relatively faint but quite fine and still enveloping, perhaps adding to a little bitter-chocolate impression to the fruit in the mid-palate. And as a direct counterpoint? The Eugénie VR Brûlées is smoother, but has less scale and flavour dimension, it may be more elegant, but it seems there’s only so much you can extract from that terroir – despite charging almost 3x the price for it!
2008 Pierre Damoy, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Medium, medium-plus colour. Lovely precise dark fruits on the nose, partly shaded to black, hints of minerals too before a beautiful note of violets takes centre-stage – just lovely. Cool in the mouth with initially understated impact, yet there is a wonderful complexity of fruit flavours. Just about perfect acidity finally meets tannin with a little hard grain to it. Long and very fine indeed – a clear winner!
2001 Joseph Drouhin, Echézeaux
Medium colour. The nose offers occasional floral flashes, there is little on show here, perhaps just a little warm brown sugar. Sweetness of fruit and just a faint sour edge to good acidity. There’s a nice core of flavour, still with a faint rasp of tannin and quite some complexity – like a creamy cinnamon flavour but it’s all in the mid-palate and finish. This, grand cru or not, is a wine of subtle complexity rather than intensity and/or concentration. There should be no rush to drink this, but this is hardly even a middle-weight of a wine – that said, it was lovely!
2009 Camille Giroud, Corton
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is at first reticent but the array of pretty red and black fruits is certainly enticing. Eventually there’s a more savoury soil note which isn’t so nice – I hope that’s just a phase. Silky entry, with good freshness. There is a wiry strength to this, linear until the flavours grow in the mid-palate then decay in a subtle but long finish. Overall this has quite a mineral personality and largely submerged tannins – but it’s certainly less involving than the 2008 was at this time last year. A good wine but with a question-mark over the aromatics…(?)
2008 Ponsot, Griotte-Chambertin
The nose has some herbal notes to begin with; building and building in the glass to offer aromas that show a very impressive depth of cushioned red fruit – very fine indeed (some might say). Round, with very fine acidity, the tannins have just a little grip but are pretty-much overwhelmed by the fresh fruit flavours. Sleek lines for a Griotte but super, flavour.
1985 Louis Remy, Clos de la Roche
Ten minutes are needed for the nose to open, but when it does…
Stunning, sweet-inflected red blood, faint smoke and precise layers of fruit – glorious stuff. The palate is very fine, showing ripe fruit and nice acidity – just a little minerality too. I still expect more oomph from a Grand Cru – the intensity and concentration is more that of a villages – churlish to complain (perhaps) as this is both complex and compelling. Just beautiful wine. This time around, none was left to oxidise overnight!
1999 Thomas-Moillard, Romanée Saint-Vivant
The colour’s quite dark. Aromatically this is rather monolithic for quite some hours – only on day two do you have more of a Vosne impression, but there is still a solid core of dark, almost roast, licorice-laced fruit. There’s good acidity and balance – just a little lithe in shape and it’s also sneakily, mouth-wateringly long. Whilst it’s not very tannic, there’s the clear impression that everything that could have been extracted, was extracted. Drinkable but despite that, a mile away from drinking ‘nicely’. Wait at least 10 years!

1982 Duchet, Corton-Charlemagne
Deep golden hue. The nose started as an old (but correct) white does; interesting, a little diffuse but nuts an d a faint impression there may be some oxidation. In minutes it comes together, delivers more focus and adds a little caramel, some struck-match too. In the mouth, this is less sweet than the nose suggests – you even have the impression that there is a hint of tannic astringency. Quite long flavours and even a little more flavour development in the mid-palate. Certainly this is interesting and even a little rewarding but it will never be cosseting, nor ever was (probably) ‘great’.

One response to “The others tasted…”

  1. Tone Kelly

    Nice note on the 1985 Remy Clos de la Roche. I unfortunately had 2 bottles on this side (US) of the ocean and they were both tired and decrepit. All Mushroom juice and flat. No fruit or zip at all. I ascribe it to poor storage.

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