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.
I’d brought a bottle of this for us to enjoy as a mark of Nicolas’s first production vintage under his own name (the few 1996s were bottlings of finished wine). Sadly it had some cork-related taint. I didn’t spot while tasting those wines above that Nicolas had arranged to get a replacement from his own stock. ”What a baby!’ was his reaction when he sniffed it. I found good freshness to the aromas; some earth, herbs and a dark fruit component. Lots of width and a good texture. A wine to savour, and yes, still a baby!
Beautiful colour – it still looks young – François thinks this intensification of colour is down to the stems. Imediately wide and warm aromas that slowly develop higher tones and fresher fruit to match – there’s plenty of mineral dimension to match. In the mouth this is sweet and well-textured – surprisingly fine and delicate acidity acidity for the vintage. The flavours are starting to be augmented by a little chocolate. A really super 1997, bravo!
Do you ever find yourself trying to find an excuse to drink a corked wine? Initial cost of purchase may have had something to do with it, I have to say that for about 3 or 4 minutes I’d convinced myself that if I swirled the glass I could hardly smell it, and the taste wasn’t so bad, indeed it was very long for a corked bottle. I passed the glass to my wife who muttered something about me trying to poison her and she needed a beer to take the taste away – I was back, grounded. Very corked and very yuk.
Medium, medium-plus colour. From top to bottom this nose is impresses with quality dark red fruit, there is the faintest edge of something a bit looser – caramel and redcurrant – but overall this is super. In the mouth there is a silky density that drives rather too fast into the finish. Swirl it around over your tongue for longer and then the intensity builds, but with it comes some slightly bitter tannin. The finish holds much longer now but with a little of that bitterness. A bit of a monolith in the mid-palate, I’ll save some for tomorrow to see if it opens. Day two and the aromatics are more subdued though the palate is indeed a little more open. A good wine, even in the context of the vintage, but I’d still rather have the Ruchottes…
Day 1. Medium rusty-red colour. Despite a certain 1997 ripeness to the fruit aromas, there is something of a cool edge and plenty of herbal notes – overall it’s ruff and gruff – not a lacy picture of Volnay. The leading edge is the acidity, though behind it the tannin is quite fine. The first flavours have a slight oxidised impression, but the best part of the wine is its extra dimension of very nice mid-palate flavour. Overall this wine lacks a lot of charm, and some aspects give me concern for further cellaring – still, this was my last. Day 2. Same room, same time of day – looks less rust coloured (!?) The aromatics have really cleaned up, it’s still slightly austere but a little less herbal. More balance, and that slight oxidised flavour is gone, the fruit has an altogether younger and darker impression – I would even go as far as to say appeal! Whilst still not charming, I would say this is an altogether more ‘correct’ performance – one that indicates the vigour of youth rather than the previous day’s pallor of age… Day 3. Like day 2, but more diffuse. Today the austerity coupled to the loose performance would give it the thumbs down. Interesting that the day 1 problem seemed to be something volatile in the wine – once it was gone, things really came together.
This was altogether a different kettle of fish next to the 97 Pavelot Doiminode. I’ve had some lovely open and friendly bottles from this case, but this wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t unfriendly, rather it was uncommunicative. Clearly cut from the same vintage cloth as the Pavelot, but tighter in all aspects – no plateau of maturity here. A little more intense in the mid-palate, but as a pure object of pleasure, bettered by the Pavelot today.
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.