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Round-up of wines tasted

wine testing
No slurping or spitting!

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

70 bottles are listed here, but there are another 155 dotted through this Summer 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 – but it was a Criots Bâtard-Montrachet!

REGIONAL WINES
2006 Roger Belland, Bourgogne Pinot Noir try to find this wine...
A relatively rare ‘Diam’ cork-amalgam seal. Medium, medium-plus colour. A nice, forward blend of red and black cherry that with swirling concentrates more on the red – the last drops are super and redcurranty. A surprising amount of fat for the appellation, relatively fine tannin and good acidity. In the mid-palate I have the impression of some savoury flavour that goes into a decent finish. Very superior Bourgogne and perfect for pouring now. Excellent.
2006 Pierre Morey, Bourgogne Pinot Noir try to find this wine...
Medium colour. High tones, with pretty red berry and cherry fruit – it’s really lovely. The palate is not quite how I remember it; the texture is reasonably silky with just an edge of fat, but the acidity is much more in the ascendant than when I first had it – it’s also quite tart. Mouth-watering length, not surprisingly, but with a sneaky creamy edge. The fruit on the nose remains super. I would not touch another of these for at least 3 years as I does remind me of the ‘96 Leroy bourgogne at the same stage, and that’s a beauty now!
2006 Mugneret-Gibourg, Bourgogne try to find this wine...
Relatively deep colour with purple hints. The nose is heavy with dark, sugar-coated cherry. There’s a soft texture and decent concentration. Slightly tart acidity is more than offset by young fruit that is both stylish and concentrated plus shows a good extra dimension in the mid-plate. A reasonable, if rather faint finish is the last act – perhaps dilute would also be an appropriate alternate description, despite the length. Not a long note, but a bottle that was emptied alarmingly fast. At a good price, this is worth going ‘long’ on for your cellar.
Bourgogne Blancs
2000/01 Méo-Camuzet, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Clos St.Philibert try to find this wine...
Like chalk and cheese these two wines. The 2000 has a quite young, medium yellow colour whereas the 2001 is much more golden. Despite the colours, the 2000 is the more toasty and faintly madirised, the 2001 is aromatically much more like a classic white burgundy. The 2000 needs time in the glass as it starts also with madirised flavours – but they all-but disappear with 1 hour’s aeration, leaving some sweetness, good concentration and balance. The 2001 is very balanced but much more austere in the mid-palate and finish – just needs a little more sweetness for ’solo’ drinking, however, it fits really well with food. Overall, decent value wines that I occasionally see at reasonable prices on restaurant lists

VILLAGE WINES
1999 Bachelet, Gevrey-Chambertin VV try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. A gorgeous nose; creamy red fruit of lovely depth, just a little brown sugar rounding it out – seems very much a Bachelet (barrel) signature rather than ‘Gevrey’ (the ‘96 Charmes is very similar) time adds a little darker cherry. The texture is silky, there’s penetrating acidity without it being over the top, the mouth-watering flavours have very good dimension and a sugared impression that mirrors the aromas. Like the nose, there’s a very slow development of darker cherry flavours. Never more than medium-bodied, this is a super-elegant bottle – a shame that I only bought 6, way back when – an outstanding villages…
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Côtes de Nuits Villages try to find this wine...
Medium colour. A deep nose of spice and cedar plus faint, sweet and maturing background fruit. Quite silky, a slightly unripe impression to the fruit, good acidity and largely diminished tannin. A pretty length until some finishing bitterness. Interesting parts and great value, but missing charm today.
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée try to find this wine...
Some meaty depth on the nose, covered by a slightly alcoholic note. Lots of acidity, tannin that only shows itself in the mid-palate and certainly some dimension. This, today, needs either a little more density or ripeness to offset acidity that has a tart edge to it. Just a trace of bitterness in the finish.
2006 Vincent Girardin, Santenay Les Charmes try to find this wine...
Medium-plus cherry-red with purple reflections. Soft, dark cherry fruit, a hint alcoholic but initially just missing some depth – that definitely improves with time. Very good intensity. Whilst there are none of the obvious oak characters, there is an ashy accent to the fruit. Just a little lift to the acidity and indeed the mid-palate where there’s just a hint of gas (that’s probably the reason). The finish that falls away relatively quickly. For most of the bottle I thought this a ’so what?’ wine, but the last half of the last glass was quite engaging.
2006 Alain Jeanniard, Morey St.Denis Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. Lovely depth and Morey character to the nose – nice red fruit with a real density to back it up – very nice indeed. On the tongue it seems not the ultimate in concentration, but there’s excellent darker fruit with that creamy old-vine impression. The acidity and tannin are slightly forward, but they only serve to cement the long mineral-infused finish – again with an impression of cream – excellent stuff, I’m looking forward to trying one of the domaine’s 1er crus.
2006 Alain Jeanniard, Morey St.Denis Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose and indeed the flavours show some reduction so I made a quick double-decant, within 10 minutes all was fixed. Not so obviously Gevrey, but there’s nice red cherry with some darker fruit and savoury hints – eventually a lovely redcurrant impression. Balanced acidity and decent depth of flavour. There is some tannin that’s accented with a faint astringency and a decent length. It’s tasty, so if you get a good price it’s worth buying, but their 06 Morey VV is on a higher level.
2006 Lucie et Auguste Lignier, Morey St.Denis Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. For over one hour there’s a slightly reductive, foisty cardboard behind the fruit – it’s not TCA and it’s not on the palate. Slowly the fruit comes to the fore and 99% covers the cardboard – and it’s lovely fruit – red-black and edged with a little toffee and old-vine cream. In the mouth it needs about 30 minutes to build to a decent level of concentration and nice texture, there’s also a good lick of ripe tannin in and around the mid-palate. Depth of fruit and a nice finish. One third of the bottle was saved for day 2 – and it turned out really well – no strange smells, just brilliant red berry fruit and creamy depth, really super. I blame some reduction for the initial aroma note, as the oxygenation certainly cured it!
2004 Lignier-Michelot, Chambolle-Musigny Les Gammaires try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. The nose starts with a fine depth and only the faintest of the vintage taint – slowly that a builds to an almost unpleasant level – after 2 hours it fades a little, giving a faint spearmint edge and some nice red berry notes. In the mouth there’s reasonable density and slightly forward acidity. The texture is okay, as is the slightly savoury length – maybe even a first hint of mushroom is there. If a little overwhelming on the nose the ‘04 character’ remains only a faintly interesting note on the palate.
2005 Maillard Père et Fils, Beaune try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. The nose starts with sweet, toasty caramel oak and some associated savoury notes – over time it has a more floral, violets dimension. Sweet fruit with glinting acidity – it’s a nice balance – the tannin of the backbone has depth but is fine and ripe. Relatively linear in the mid-palate – I’m not sure if that’s because it’s tight or because I just finished a Griottes! Well-made and tasty wine.
1997 Nicolas Potel, Volnay try to find this wine...
A medium-plus core of ruby-red colour. The nose starts a little dense and unyielding, only slowly and partially opening to give a tense, brooding red cherry impression against fainter savoury elements, perhaps hinting at brett. In the mouth this is silkily textured, still with a grain to the background tannin. The acidity is not perfectly seamless in the mid-palate, but makes your mouth gently water. In the mid-palate there’s a very impressive concentration of clean and tasty fruit that does have a small burst of additional dimension. A good finish. This wine has only very slowly opened in the last couple of years and I would say it needs another couple of years to start drinking well, I’m just a little concerned about that bretty element on the nose. A successful ‘97.
1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay try to find this wine...
A medium, medium-plus quite young looking colour. If it wasn’t so sweetly fruity I’d describe the nose as perfumed; it starts as a creamy ’summer pudding’ with undertones of caramel, 2 hours is enough to focus the aromas to a beam of pure red berry – as perfect as a young villages Volnay can be. On your tongue it has A1 balance and a very understated impact. A characterful flavour in the finish that nods to the barrel but without any of the wood tannin texture. I spent most of my time sniffing, but it tastes rather good too. I rather wish I’d bought this in magnums – but hey-ho…
2006 Gaston & Pierre Ravaut, Aloxe-Corton Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium cherry-red colour. The nose is quite forward and red fruited, but it’s a mix of higher-toned red fruit over a core of more baked red fruit and a faint mineral background. Nice fruit, good acidity and a not too grainy but slightly astringent tannic edge to your mouthful. I suspect this may be a little nicer in 12 months or-so, but it was enjoyed without remorse today – decent value at about 25 Swiss francs a bottle.
Villages Whites
2007 Michel Bouzereau, Meursault Les Grands Charrons try to find this wine...
Medium-pale yellow. The nose starts a little diffuse. In the mouth it’s very fresh but seems overly dilute – I think it’s too cold – let’s wait for the contents of the glass to warm a little. Warmer, the nose is a little tighter though offers slightly sherbet-style fruit aromas. In the mouth it’s gained a surprising amount of fat – this now almost good – slowly lingering in the finish. Quite pretty, fresh and clean – it’s tasty, but it says Meursault on the label and much as I enjoyed it, I’m torn as to whether I see that level of performance.
2006 Mischief and Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet try to find this wine...
Seems a little fatter and less crisp than last time out – countered by being served a little too cool. Beautiful Puligny aromas and plenty of flavour – good length too. Very tasty, and devoured in about 20-25 minutes by the thirsty four!

1er CRU WINES
1997 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Reignots try to find this wine...
Starts with dark, slightly dirty oak and some forest floor – slowly the forest floor fades to leave the oak and a slight roast coffee ground plus much fainter, greener herbal note – there is a little spiciness, but this is interesting, rather than captivating . Some sweetness though it is ‘balanced’ by acidity that’s a little tart and a lick of slightly astringent tannin. The sweetness is associated with the fruit, mainly red shaded in this vintage and hinting at cream too. There’s enough here to make me interested to try other vintages, but this wine is a poster-child to ‘not quite there 1997′. I gave it a bit more of a chance and left the last third for day 3 (day 2 I was out!) – hints of red berry, less oak and more balance. Still far from worth the normal sticker price, but there is now some interest here. Another bottle will rest in the cellar until its 15th birthday or-so.
1995 J-M Boillot, Pommard 1er Jarollières try to find this wine...
There’s some age in the colour, but the core is still a nice red. The nose is meaty, only a little leafy and eventually gives a very pretty redcurrant note. There’s a lift to the acidity, it’s even a little raw to start with, but it’s moderated with aeration. The concentration/intensity is reasonably good and whilst the tannin is well in the background it still manages to add a note of hardness. The overall impression today is a sweet/sour stance though the acidity provides a decently mouthwatering finish, yet is a long way from seamless. The jury’s out on this one – I’d leave it in the cellar another 3+ years as a starting point…
2007 Chézeaux/Ponsot, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes try to find this wine...
Medium colour. The nose is intense red fruit, slightly dried and creamy cranberry in aspect. Lovely freshness, depth without overt concentration and impressive dimension(s) of fruit in the mid-palate. Even without real intensity I’m rather smitten – the complexity is enough! Nice length, the last few drops in the glass provide a gorgeous redcurrant aroma – really super!
2000 Bruno Clavelier, Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Brulées try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose is round and delicately sweet and, at its core, retains that gorgeous crystalline dark cherry fruit of my original tasting – for the vintage that’s a rare treat. Good acidity also for the vintage and just enough fat to give a silky texture. You can find a little tannin if you’re prepared to work for it, but frankly, why bother? The fruit remains quite primary and shows a subtle creaminess as it lingers. Also a little bitter chocolate in the finish too that harks to oak. Young, but a beautiful drink today.
1989 André Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots try to find this wine...
This wine retains a very healthy and quite deep (medium-plus) ruby-red colour at the core. The nose has some high woody notes – but relatively elegant wood – a darker more mineral core and fruit with a little raisined aspect. Impressive intensity is the opening gambit, again with clean, though slightly raisiny fruit – plenty of sweetness too. The acidity has a slightly harsh leading edge, but this is quickly broached to leave a complex, tasty melange of flavours that include a mineral – almost coal – type flavour. Long finishing too. Still grainy tannins that could do with resolving. Full marks for personality and complexity, some demerit for a hint of rusticity – but it’s actually still a young wine. I’m won over by its character and complexity – I drank rather more of it than I normally do in one evening – it’s a really engaging bottle.
1995 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour – no obvious signs of age here. The creamy-fruit nose reminds me a lot of the Bachelet ‘99′ Gevrey VV from last week; there’s just a little more depth and a ‘harder’ red berry core – it’s very nice indeed, though not the usual Malconsorts spice. In the mouth there is plenty of understated concentration and similarly understated tannins though those tannins seem to keep you under surveillance the whole time the wine is in your mouth. I’d suggest another year or two in the cellar. Coolly confident fruit that has more than one dimension and lingers well on smooth acidity. After 3 hours there’s a hint of spice aroma – but the bottle is almost gone…
2001 de Courcel, Pommard 1er Grand Clos des Épenots try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour at the core, just fading to salmon at the rim. The nose is a sweet mix of tea, coffee, forest floor and dark plum fruit. Immediate impact in the mouth, but then it smoothly melts across the palate without apparent tannin (how did that happen?) – at the start you have to look very hard to dig out the tannin, though slowly it starts to exert a little grip with faint fut finely grained astringency. The acid balance is lovely and a bitter mocha note follows long into the finish. It’s a wine of real character, young, but with more than a nod to some semi-mature flavours. A really personable individual…
1995 Jean Grivot, Nuits St.Georges Les Lavières try to find this wine...
The colour has quite some garnet maturity, but it’s bright and appealing. The nose starts a little meaty, but with about 45 minutes of aeration it centres itself on slightly spicy red-skinned plum – but not in any way heavy. Likewise the palate is quite stodgy for about 1 hour, but little-by-little it becomes fresher, helped by penetrating but smooth acidity that amplifies high toned dark red fruits on the palate. It seems to slowly sweeten, the tannin is background but encases everything in a very thin astringent coating – actually quite a nice effect. Slowly lingering with a trace of warmth. I slowly warmed to this, it was quite aloof and even unknit when opened, but was worth the wait.
1999 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Combes aux Moines VV try to find this wine...
I have to preface this note with the fact that the paint was worn from the end of the capsule, there were signs of seepage and the label was rather dirty – none of my other wines from storage have been in such condition. It’s a singleton, and hopefully (cosmetically at least) a one-off so maybe not representative. The colour is medium ruby-red. The nose starts with an impression of oak (despite Fourrier using very little), some sous-bois and a hint of brett – only the last drops in the glass show some very fine berry fruit. A forward personality in the mouth – good acidity and intensity without great weight. The flavours linger well, it’s smooth but the mid-palate is a little lumpy. My thoughts are mixed; this was certainly tasty, very tasty, but aromatically disappointing. If this bottle and that brett is representative, I’d be thinking of drinking a majority of bottles in the near future for their personality and keeping just a few back for longer term, I wouldn’t be buying more.
2005 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Goulots try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour – not that deeply coloured for a 1er cru from this vintage. The nose starts with a characteristic note that makes you think of oak, but as I’ve slowly learned with Fourrier’s wines, it’s more about reduction, as it fades, in this case, in about 30 minutes without decanting. Slightly heavy and powdery fruit morphs to beautiful red berry notes over cherry – primary but very, very pretty – more time will give a pretty creme-brulee background. In the mouth this is soft and rather silky – you will only find the tannin with serious rolling around the mouth. There is decent density of dark fruit that slowly melts and becomes redder as the nose also develops. It’s slowly lingering on slightly emphasised acidity. Versus the impact of virtually every 2005 villages and higher Gevrey tasted in 2008, this is more mellow and understated – what a difference a year makes – there’s a little iron and minerals, but in particular this misses out on the ‘I’ word – impact. The style of Fourrier still makes this eminently drinkable, but I expect it was all the more impressive 12 months ago. Time for a long sleep…
2002 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos St.Jacques try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour that’s just turning to offer a hint of mahogany at the rim. The nose starts with red fruit but also a dark, reductive undertow that initially makes one (wrongly) think to oak – it takes a little over 90 minutes (without decanting) to disappear. Over time the nose becomes lovely and transparent, just a little powdery and young though. From the start there is sweetness coupled to perfect acidity – it’s relatively narrow at the entry but there’s a tight core of concentration in the mid-palate – this also shows a dark, reductive flavour for as long as the same lasts on the nose. This is about transparency rather than impact and is exactly to the Fourrier ‘template’, if arguably not to the terrior. The finish a good one, if not really remarkable. Very tasty, indeed I would say its balancing of sweetness and acidity make it delicious.
2002 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Monts try to find this wine...
A medium, medium-plus intermediate age colour. The nose starts a little dumb but slowly adds width, depth and dimension – it’s about understated but polished fruit and a blend of spicy herbs. Like the nose, the palate needs about 45 minutes to one hour to get into a good place but then you have a mouthful of silky texture, decent concentration, the sweetly fresh fruit that is the hallmark of the vintage and a really super length that mixes faint caramel and oak flavours. Very well balanced and, like many 2002s, still partly in its shell – but this has super potential – I should say it also wasn’t bad on the night!
2002 Henri Latour et Fils, Auxey-Duresses 1er Grands Champs try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red. The nose has a dense core, but is generally hard to get at for over an hour – after, it has some savoury hints, faint estery top-notes but stronger and almost good red fruit in the middle. In the mouth there’s good balance – perhaps a little ‘thin’ in the mid-palate, but just now that’s a 2002 thing, it’s definitely not just this wine. Despite that, there’s a nice cushioned texture and a reasonable finish. Decent intensity in the mid-palate. This is a value wine and was enjoyed.
1999 Leroy, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Narbantons try to find this wine...
The cork is soaked through with wine and splits in half while trying to extract. A medium, medium-plus young colour. The nose starts quite oaky, though slowly it fades to leave heavier and heavier young fruit notes. In the mouth it starts with grainy tannin and a little spritz but it’s followed by a lovely impression of damson/plum fruit and a super length. The fruit continues to blossom, becoming cleaner and fresher though this is clearly a Leroy wine rather than a wine of Savigny. Over time there’s a little mushroom and mineral on the nose, though a quick swirl reveals perfect berry notes.
2006 Lucie et Auguste Lignier, Morey St.Denis 1er Les Chaffots try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is darkly-fruited, a little mineral and spicy – it almost smells tannic – very interesting and open, time makes it a little creamier and just a shade redder. Despite ’smelling’ tannic, the considerable structure is almost entirely hidden under a smooth, slightly linear but intense dark fruit. There is an impressive extra dimension of faintly creamy, dark fruit that forms a reprise in the finish. Today it’s far from an elegant pinot – you will have to wait for that – but it is an exciting and rumbustious mouth-full of Morey – serious fun, in a glass.
2006 Lignier-Michelot, Morey St.Denis 1er Aux Charmes try to find this wine...
Wide with a forward black-cherry note, even a hint of Sage – slowly a beautiful clear note of fruit runs through the middle – very precocious, very impressive. Fine tannin with good acidity that forms the basis of a lovely mouth-watering finish – and there’s even a little reprise after a minute. Wide on the palate with fruit that’s almost as good as nose. A really super wine that had the density and presence to walk all over the ‘95 Pomerol (Lagrange) that preceded it.
1961 Morin Père et Fils, Pommard 1er Rugiens
Medium-pale colour but still with plenty of red. The nose is soft and more than a little earthy with a hint of sweetness. In the mouth it retains a masculine lick of tannin and there’s a good length. Clean and alive
2006 JF Mugnier, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Maréchale try to find this wine...
Relatively deep colour with purple hints. The nose starts with sugary dark fruit of real depth, though less width – slowly it adds a creamy coating and eventually red berry notes begin to peek through. Fresh impact and plenty of extract too; the wine/wood tannins are smooth and impart an acceptably bitter note through the core of the wine – the sweetness of the dark cherry fruit is quite enough to balance, mixed with iron and minerals. The tannin and some of the bitterness are the main items of note in the finish, though these will fade and bring to the fore the creamy fruit that plays second fiddle today. It impresses now, but it will clearly impress more in the future.
2006 François Parent, Pommard 1er Les Rugiens try to find this wine...
Medium-colour. A sweet-ish, slightly meaty but rather more diffuse nose than I’d like – a little oaky cola too before finally giving way to some finer red berry notes. Fresh and quite intense, relatively velvet texture with a dark fruit personality. There’s a sneaky extra fruit dimension in the mid-palate – which is nice. The finish is reasonably long if rather understated. There are no nasty bits here, but for a Rugiens I find this rather underpowered, or should I say, rather ‘under-interested’. I liked it, but it hovers close to a grand cru price and I don’t see what’s in the glass as an ‘added value’ 1er – it was certainly trumped by yesterday’s Morey. I wouldn’t turn away if it ended up in the sales however!
2006 Nicolas Potel, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Fuées try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. So effusive once the cork is popped, it’s like you’re back in the barrel cellar with forward red and black fruit that is softened at the edges with a sweet, faintly brulee’d note – primary but very gorgeous. In the mouth it has lost some of that barrel ‘padding’, but you have good intensity, equally good acidity and a reasonable amount of structure; the tannin is there and whilst velvety, has the merest trace of astringency. Slowly lingering, this is super – it’s perhaps more structured than when last tasted (and ordered!) and I’d recommend that you leave it in the cellar, but the fruit is gorgeous.
1997 Daniel Rion, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Vignes Rondes try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour still. The nose is full of sweet-edged undergrowth and below there’s still a dark edge of oak-toast. In the mouth there’s a silkiness and good, if not totally seamless acidity. The dark flavours mirror the nose but have a nice extra creamy dimension, there’s still a bitter-chocolate edge to the tannins too. No sharp edges and only just beginning to enter its drinking window, despite its oaky beginnings being still on display, this is becoming a very above average 1997.
2006 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos des Varoilles try to find this wine...
A slight update to the label for this vintage. Only just a little more than medium colour. Wide, quite high-toned floral, violet aromatics, underneath a more cherry-type fruit. The palate is soft, slightly fat and shows good fruit that’s edged with a little bitter chocolate / coffee. A reasonable amount of decently grained tannin – perhaps not 100% ripe given a trace of bitterness, but tannin fades. Good acidity and a very nice burst of interest in the mid-palate. Drunk over 3 days it was just a little better each day and the only thing lost was that bitter edge to the tannin. A very nice 2006.
2000 Vougeraie, Vougeot 1er Les Cras try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose is deep, edged with sweet oak spice and more than a hint of cedar – reminiscent of an 04 but less ‘high-toned’. In the mouth this is sweetly ripe and with a little fat in its texture but also a nice core of acidity. Plush but tasty though the decent length finish still shows a little bitter oaky element that has almost become bitter chocolate rather than just ‘bitter’ – a little creamy coconut too – but also some more cedar. For the first hour it was open it was alternately yummy and engaging then herby and bitter, I expected improvement, but instead the palate became a little prickly/pickley. Basically this is all over the place today – unusual for a 2000 – so I can’t recommended it.
Premier Cru Whites
2002 Bouchard Père et Fils, Meursault Perrières try to find this wine...
Oxidised
2000 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chablis 1er Montmains try to find this wine...
Just a little darker than last week’s 02 Perrières, but frankly nothing more than a medium gold – no alarm bells. The nose is deep, a little exotic and not really hinting of oxidation, more about toffee-edged fruit – not exactly Chablis-esque, but way-ahead of the Perrières. In the mouth it’s also better – but not by much, clearly showing a strong oxidative character. Actually quite drinkable – but tastes like a 20+ year-old wine. I’m not sure where the border is with respect to fair/not fair to complain about oxidised 1er cru Chablis – but I know it’s not 7 and a bit years after bottling…
2001 Truffière (Vincent Girardin), Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets try to find this wine...
Medium gold. The nose majors on a residue of toasty oak and fainter gun-flint aromas. The bottle lasted under an hour, but was actually becoming less interesting with time. After the younger wines of the previous day, this is significantly more mineral and wiry framed. Good acidity and density, yet the flavours do reflect the aromas. Complex for sure but I never really warmed to it – that’s a pure style judgment, so whilst I wouldn’t buy it again for me, I certainly wouldn’t tell you not to.
2005 Mischief and Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs Gains try to find this wine...
The forward oaky notes of its youth are now more considered and savoury. A little better balanced and more mineral than the 06 villages. Way more dimension in the mid-palate and a great finish
2006 Roulot, Meursault 1er Perrières try to find this wine...
Pale to medium yellow. The nose is just a little tight, ripe but tight. In the mouth there’s width, density and a very sneaky extra dimension in the mid-palate – it’s very impressive. What’s less impressive is an apparent lack of energy – I think it really needs a bit more acidity. Very nice, but no wow.
2007 Domaine Vrignaud, Chablis 1er Fourchaume try to find this wine...
Pale yellow. Faintly citrus over an even fainter sweet core of yellow fruit. Nice freshness that’s emphasised by the citrus acidity. Not a really concentrated nor intense effort but there is a hint of salty seashore in the mid-palate and the bottle was finished in double-quick time on a balmy evening. Despite the intensity being more on a par with a good villages wine, this is quite pretty and still seems good value.

GRAND CRU WINES
2006 Albert Bichot, Latrcières-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium cherry-red colour. High-toned, slightly volatile red fruits over a faintly gunflint and vanilla base. Red fruit that is not so concentrated, but pretty striking. Plenty of oaky flavour and really impressive length, though that’s also a little heavy on the vanilla. Softly textured, this has the intensity of a 1er cru, but it really does have the complexity of a grand cru. It’s a relatively cheap bottling, at that price it’s an easy rebuy nomination.
1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Le Corton try to find this wine...
Medium colour. The nose starts with a herby top-note and a little meat below, it slowly develops a sweeter core of spiced plums. In the mouth this is full of dimension and some reasonable tannin too – the flavour is slightly savoury and inflected with coffee. Good sweetness and no lack of balance helps produce a decent finish. Unlike many from the vintage, there’s a real smoothness here – impresses. Half a bottle was left in the refrigerator overnight and next day it was acid-forward and not so nice, though my single glass was always rather cold. So on the third day, at room temperature (~19°C – the weather was cold!) the impression was somewhere between the last two days. So initially a very tasty if not stunning grand cru. Drink it straight away, watch your serving temperature and you will be rewarded!
2007 Chézeaux/Ponsot, Griotte-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium cherry-red. The nose starts with a burst of enthusiasm, tightens for a couple of minutes, then relaxes; although it’s not so wide there is a wonderful depth of dark, close to raised, fruit – eventually the aromas fill-out, proffering baked raspberry edged with violets! In your mouth, it cocks it’s hat to the domaine’s Clos St.Denis with an intensity that is acid-encrusted – fresh redcurrant style – with this wine there’s a little more tannin, but the most surprising aspect is the finish – it’s not so much the length, rather the very mineral, slatey flavour – it seems more like grand cru Chablis than comely Griotte, and that’s the wine all-over. No comfy, plush, slightly facile experience that you may expect from the label, rather a wine that challenges you with every sniff and sip, but in return offers you a different aroma and flavour as reward. I can’t call it gorgeous, but I found it sooo rewarding…
2007 Chézeaux/Ponsot, Clos St.Denis Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
These are now over 100 year-old vines, the label says ‘vieilles vignes’, but the cork, (like the label on the Ponsot botting) says très vieilles vignes’. Medium, medium-plus colour. For quite a while after opening, the aromatics are rather diffuse offering almost a little blood-orange fruit, slowly it takes on a little focus with a dark, if not black cherry-fruit, still a little ‘lifted’ though intense and eventually very pretty violet floral notes – the longer it is open the more intense it gets, perhaps a little raisined fruit hiding in the depths. Right from the start, this is intense and fresh – reminds me of a great white wine where the intensity and acidity make it hard for you to keep it in your mouth. If you’re prepared to fight with that intensity you will find very little overt tannin yet a certain silkiness, and there’s an understated but considerable length. At a similar stage (September last year) the 2006 was also rather difficult to judge, maybe that’s why Laurent Ponsot waits longer to release his wines, likewise this impresses in so many areas without quite delivering a ‘whole’. I’m confident enough that the balance and intensity will bestow a long life to this wine, eventually to blossom.
1999 Engel, Grands-Echézeaux try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. The nose is about deep, macerated fruit – and even goes deeper with time in the glass. It’s very pretty indeed and all the while adds faint if not wild complexity. In the mouth the clear first impression is width, aided by faintly grainy tannin across the whole panorama. There is an understated presence and interesting complexity, though the finishing flavours are a tad simple despite their length. A good wine here, but today I shy away from ‘great’ as I didn’t find any real focus or ’spine’ to the wine making it come across as ill-defined/loose in the mid-palate. Give it time, but today I’d rather drink the 99 Leroy Narbantons.
1999 Frédéric Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour, still with some last vestige of cherry-red. Right from pouring, cold – say 12°-ish – the nose was just a gorgeously smooth interpretation of macerating dark cherry – wow! The palate, however, was tight, linear, hinting towards tannin but delivering only a dark, faintly oaky but very long finish. As the contents of the glass slowly warm the nose adds a little coffee though slightly tightens, the flavours are expanding though, and with them, the tannin seems to be diminishing. Eventually a herbal complexity fills out the aromas. The palate becomes more intense and builds a sweetness – not a ripe vintage, confiture type of sweetness, rather an intensity of sweetness at the back of the palate. A very young, but very rewarding performance – I really wish I’d bought more, not just this wine, but Mazy (Mazis) in general.
1999 Frédéric Esmonin, Griottes-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour – still with a little cherry-red shimmer. The nose has a mineral, earthy edge before swirling releases dried currant fruits, finally lovely red berry fruit – even hints of raspberry – hmmm. Intense concentration abetted by perfect acidity. The tannin is is just a little more than ‘background’, and certainly has an astringent edge. I’m bowled over – a Griotte with real character and a little extra dimension in the mid-palate – a Gevrey dimension at that. Chalk and cheese versus the 02 Fourrier – today I’d much, much rather drink this. Character is king…
1999 Frédéric Esmonin, Ruchottes-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour – paler than the Mazy. The nose starts quite dark and oaky – some dark toast notes that take at least 30 minutes to lift. Redder, less dense fruit is the result, though the dark oak slowly turns to make a nice coffee ‘coating’. Nicely balanced concentration with background velvet tannin. Truth be told it has more of a 1er cru weight, the only distinct grand cru element is the mid-palate flavour – pretty red fruit with a distinct creamy edge and excellent length. Some distance behind the quality of the Mazy, and there are probably better premier crus, but they will cost more than this bottle – value has always been the watchword on the Esmonin GCs, and there is plenty of value in this bottle.
2001 Frédéric Esmonin, Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour – certainly paler than the Bèze. The nose starts with coffee/caramel oak and sweetly browning sugar – slowly it develops a very pretty red berry note. In the mouth there’s good intensity that is driven by great acidity – the acidity also helps push a very good length. Quite linear and not overtly powerful. The nose gets better and better – it becomes a gorgeous and complex melange of candied and jellied red fruits. It doesn’t appear to be a ‘great’ Chambertin as today I miss a punch and complexity in the mid-palate, but it’s a very lovely wine and certainly has the balance to age very well.
2001 Frédéric Esmonin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze try to find this wine...
A medium-plus, young, ruby-red colour. The nose is a beauty; superb depth, remnants of dark oak, wide notes of turned soil, baked bread and a slightly peppery dark fruit. Slowly but surely a soft red fruit note builds in the glass, the last drops showing a super-precise and penetrating redcurrant perfume. In the mouth this is full, velvety and still shows quite some oak flavour. There’s a little high-toned ‘mouth perfume’ and a very long bitter chocolate and oak finish. To dwell on the oak would be to ignore waves of fruit flavour that wash across the mid-palate, not to mention another burst of flavour before moving into the finish. Clearly a very young wine, but it just oozes class; that it was bought en-primeur for less than most premier crus of 2005-2007 makes me love it all the more. Really, really super.
2002 Fourrier, Griotte-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose opens with wide and forward and very, very young grapey fruit – it’s like a genie escaping from the bottle, but escape it does and what you are left with is a dense core of red fruit. The aromas remain solid and one-dimensional for the next 2 hours – no 02 CSJ-style reduction here. The palate is fatter and more concentrated than the CSJ and the balance is very good – the tannin is there only if you search it out. Like the nose, there is concentration but no complexity – it’s big and rounded and soft and somehow comforting, but it’s monosyllabic – typical young Griotte I suppose. Remaining bottles should wait at least until their 12th birthday I think, though 15+ is likely to be better.
1998 Louis Jadot, Chambertin Clos de Bèze try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red – no obvious age. The nose on first pour is reticent; a little bramble fruit but not much else. Without ever becoming effusive, the nose builds a core of dark fruit, slowly releasing finer red-fruit notes and even gives a hint of gingerbread. In the mouth it has excellent freshness, tempered by concentration and width without apparent weight. Just a faint fatness covers tannin that still offers a slight astringency. The length is impressive though hardly ‘impactful’. I left the wine for another hour. On return the wine is more open, mineral and showing much more depth of dark fruit on the nose. In the mouth there seems to be more concentration and intensity – I actually left the bottle in the refrigerator as the room was very warm – I think it made all the difference. It’s more together, more intense and the dark flavours infuse the tongue. I was wavering at first, but keep this wine below 18°C and you well get the return for your outlay. Impressive, yet it will be better in 5-10!
2000 Clos des Lambrays try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour – looks great in the glass. The nose has a little more truffle than the Clavelier, some brown sugar and higher tones – pretty, but less pretty than the Brulées. In the mouth it’s nicely sweet, reasonably concentrated and provides a lingering sweet, mouth-watering finish that has more than one dimension. There’s still a little bitter oak in the finish but it’s only a minor distraction today. It needs at least another 2 or 3 years to reach its apogee, but it’s still a very tasty bottle.
2006 Lignier-Michelot, Clos de la Roche try to find this wine...
2006 L et A Lignier, Clos de la Roche try to find this wine...
A side-by-side comparison – neither holds all the aces. The L et A Lignier, though offering slightly less colour, is a clear winner in the aroma department – just a gorgeous expression of complex fruit – the Lignier-Michelot is good, but really can’t compete. Over the tongue, mirroring the extra colour, the Lignier-Michelot is a little more extracted and offers more ‘up-front’ oomph, from there-on it’s a long slow diminuendo. The L et A offers a different recipe; narrower on entry, bursting with mid-plate dimension and shows more length. No bad wines here, each offers a balanced performance and I’d certainly buy both again, but the relative proportions today would clearly be in favour of Lucie and Auguste’s bottle.
1961 Max Quenot Fils et Meuneveaux, Corton-Bressandes
If any thing the colour is yet younger. The nose is sweeter, still with plenty of fruit – a little roasted. In the mouth it’s clearly more sweetly red fruited than the Pommard, minimal tannin and has a lovely balance. The finish is a good one. I would say this is just about ready – and it’s also very tasty!
2000 Vougeraie, Clos de Vougeot try to find this wine...
I wasn’t going to rush to open one of these, but given the relatively poor performance of the 2000 ‘Cras‘, I felt compelled to. Medium, medium-plus colour. Warm, ripe aromas with a hint of spice but without any loss of elegance and still a decent focus. Nicely mouth-filling, excellently textured and with understated, though sufficient, acidity. Decent depth of fruit and the faintest residue of tannin – only one complaint; there’s a hint of cola flavour that I don’t think appropriate for Clos de Vougeot. The finish is elegantly long. Neither a powerhouse nor a wine of mind-bending dimension – you might say not a great grand cru then, but this is a beautifully judged middle-weight that is in a very nice place at the moment. Most villages wines now cost more than I paid for this – I’d buy a dozen without a moment’s hesitation if I could pay the same price!
Grand Cru Whites
2005 Bouchard Père et Fils, Chablis Bougros try to find this wine...
Pale yellow. A round nose that’s just fresh enough, has a little brioche and subdued but smooth and seemingly ripe fruit below. Maybe it’s just a little fatter, richer that I consider perfect for GC Chablis, but it has the requisite mineral core and a late-arriving mouth-watering finish. Sweetly intense and quite pretty. The purchase price was a bargain and I’d buy more at the price – about half the current Fevre Bougros price!
2006 Louis Carillon, Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet try to find this wine...
A whiff of SO2 defines the first interaction – it’s even still there after about 20 minutes in the glass but on a much lower level. The fading of the sulfur reveals a width of aromas and some very pretty higher tones and eventually a little caramel. For the vintage there’s very decent acidity and a really beautiful width of creamy, dreamy ripe fruit – it seems to go on and on. No fireworks – if anything it’s a little tight – but it’s a very, very competent demonstration of a grand cru.
2001 William Fevre, Chablis Les Clos try to find this wine...
Yellow with green glints. Deep, hints of green fruit, a faint impression of oak and sulfur, ripe melon – quite some depth. Intense, good acidity and very mineral – hurrah, super and rather young Les Clos.
2002 William Fevre, Chablis Les Clos try to find this wine...
Slightly lighter, again with a hint of green. The nose is finer and lighter with higher toned fruit and floral notes. Again intense, just a little more acid driven. Mineral, but less obviously so than than the 2001 and perhaps a little less concentrated, but what’s that in the finish – TCA. Within 15 minutes of opening it went from lovely to yucky – but never any cork aroma, only flavour…
2002 William Fevre, Chablis Bougros try to find this wine...
Maybe even lighter than the clos. Similarly fresh an wide, just a little less oomph. Lovely width, hint of lime and ripe fruit good length – very good. This was lovely.
2006 Nicolas Potel, Criots Bâtard-Montrachet try to find this wine...
The best young white I tasted last year, indeed in the last couple of years – expectations were positioned! Pale yellow. The aromas are very tight – the wine was too ambitiously cooled given the 30° temperatures. Some fat, but balanced and with a width on the mid-palate and finishing length that was on another level to the Caillerets – yet disappointing. Okay, if it’s too cold, I’ll encourage it to warm and open by decanting. As it warmed it put on weight, but no sign of the palate staining flavours of last year. Eventually a faint but unmistakable note appeared on the nose – cork. We actually drank it all, as it was still a better wine than the 01 Girardin Puligny Caillerets, but what should have been a resounding bottle was merely a sombre one – bugger!

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