2007 White Burgundy Vintage Assessment and Premox Check Dinner No 3

As many of you already know, each year in February and March I host a series of white burgundy vintage appraisal and oxidation check dinners in Los Angeles. We taste the vintage which is then 7.5 years from the date of harvest. This was our tenth consecutive year of holding these dinners and this year the vintage was 2007.

We tasted the 2007 Chablis, Meursault and Corton Charlemagne at Valentino on February 3, 2015. You’ll find the notes on those wines here. 2007 White Burgundy Vintage Assessment and Premox Check Dinner No 1 - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers We tasted the 2007 Bienvenues-Batard, Criots-Batard, Batard and Chevalier Montrachet on March 4, 2015 at Valentino. You’ll find the notes on those wines here: 2007 White Burgundy Vintage Assessment and Premox Check Dinner No 2 - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, ten of us gathered at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica for the final dinner of the 2007 series which is referred to as the “Mostly Montrachet” dinner. This event, just as the title implies, consists primarily of Montrachets from the vintage and a few other very expensive wines – invariably the Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne and Meursault Perrieres and usually the Leroy Corton Charlemagne. This dinner, which is always a celebration of the vintage (and for me for having survived another year) is traditionally held in the Burgundy Room at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica. Melisse has two Michelin stars, which probably tells you all you need to know. Chef and owner Josiah Citrin and Wine Director Brian Kalliel were in very fine form again this year – as I think the photos below will indicate.

As in the other two tastings, all of the wines were served single blind (except for the two ringers – which were double blind and known only Brian Kalliel and me). As we did with the other two tastings this year, we held the reveal on the wines until after everyone had voted on and ranked their top five wines of the evening. This turned out be the most remarkable “Mostly Montrachet” dinner we’ve ever had. The wines and the food courses are described below.

My thanks to Andy Gavin for all of the great photographs he took at the dinner.

Beef Bernaise, Santa Barbara Ridgeback Prawn Ravioli, Liberty Duck Breast, Marche Chery and Caper Chip

1996 Philipponnat Clos de Goisses Champagne (2 750ml bottles)
We had two bottles that came out of the same six bottle case and they were a bit different from each other. The first bottle showed youthful citrus aromas and a hint of melba toast; this was quite dry, had intense citrus and minerals flavors, lots of structure and a very minerally finish. It was a great bottle but it begged for a bit more time. 95+ The second bottle exhibited more developed fruit aromas and flavors – peach and citrus and almost no detectable toast in aromas; the fruit flavors on the palate were softer and this was very appealing in a different way. A more sumptuous fruity finish. 94 The contrast between the two bottles here made it like drinking two completely different champagnes.

Stonington Maine Diver Scallop with grilled leeks, cardoons and Crème de Brandade

#1 [2007 Drouhin Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet]
Light gold color; amazingly sweet and intense honeysuckle and lime blossom aromas – very reminiscent of Bienvenues at its finest; concentrated key lime flavors – quite intense – and the very good acidity hiding under that key lime sweetness; very long sweet finish. I thought this was pretty amazing Montrachet and it was my fourth favorite wine of the night, but I was definitely splitting hairs making the final choices. A few people downgraded this a bit for its very sweet BBM like aromas. N.B. I thought this was the best Drouhin Montrachet I’ve had in over two decades – since the 1985. Group Rank: 9th place, 4 points (0/0/0/1/2) 96

#2 [2007 Prieur Montrachet]
Light gold color; slightly sweet citrus aromas; on the palate this had lemon-lime citrus flavors with a hint of coconut like Coche; some power and a lot of minerality here; very nice complete wine. It seems like this must be the Coche MP. Group Rank: 2nd place, 27 points (1/3/2/2/0) 95

#3 [2007 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres]
Light gold color; light pear and green apple aromas; some light, very bright lemon citrus flavors and a ton of minerality on the mid-palate and the finish. A very long minerals and fruit finish. I really like this and it has gobs of potential room to improve. My fifth favorite wine of the night I’m guessing this is the Boillot Montrachet. Group Rank: Sixth place, 8 points (0/0/2/0/2) 95++

#4 [2007 Henri Boillot Montrachet]
Medium gold color, more developed apple aromas here; relatively fat, applesauce flavors. The longer this stayed open the more mature the aromas and flavors got. I think this is advanced. Michael Zadikian, Ron Movich and I all feel strongly this is advanced, but the rest of the group doesn’t think it is advanced but a couple of people think this is “off.” By the end of the night, the aromas were developing almost sherry-like hints. Drink up now Group Rank: Tied for 12th place (last), 0 points (0/0/0/0/0) 93|92 Advanced

Atlantic Turbot with Porcini Mushroom, Celeriac, Black Barley and Roasted Celery Broth

#5 [2007 Bouchard Montrachet]
Medium gold color; slightly sweet white flower aromas; on the palate this had concentrated pear and lemon-lime citrus flavors; definitely a high acid wine and this bottle had some notable phenols apparent on the mid-palate; pretty amazing amount of minerality and length on the finish. This isn’t 100% integrated yet, but I think this will be an awesome wine with some more time. My third place wine of the night Bouchard? Group Rank: 11th place, 3 points (0/0/1/0/0) 96

#6 [2007 Louis Latour Montrachet]
Light yellow gold color with light green hints; sweet white flowers and pear aromas; on the palate there are pear flavors with great density and weight like a Corton; really amazing weight and yet this has tremendous elegance on the palate and a really graceful long finish. Really impressive wine My second favorite of the night Group Rank: 1st place, 36 points (5/2/1/0/0) 96

#7 [2007 Le Moine Montrachet Cuvee C]
Almost medium gold color; white flowers and green apple aromas; on the palate the fruit esters taste completely different – pears and some light lime citrus with good depth; a long very elegant sweet fruit and minerals finish. Group Rank: Fifth place, 14 points (1/0/2/1/1) 94

#8 [2007 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne]
Light gold color; sweet flowers aromas – almost honeysuckle; this is another really sweet and very fruity wine on the front part of the palate; however, it has a lighter texture than the others. There is some sneaky acidity here that gets buried by all of the sweetness until the finish. Group Rank: Tied for 12th place (last), 0 points (0/0/0/0/0) 95

#9 [2007 Ringer No. 6: 2007 Ramey “Hyde Vineyard” Chardonnay]
Medium gold color; sweet pear aromas with some oak – more oak apparent than the other wines. Some pear and citrus flavors with both breadth and richness; good acidity showing in the finish and a peacock’s tail on the finish. This is the Ramey I’m sure, but this bottle is more mature and a bit less compelling than the bottle on night two. Group Rank: Tied for Seventh Place, 7 points (1/0/0/1/0) 92?

Roasted Jidori (Hay-Baked) Chicken with smoked carrots, braised Swiss Chard, and Potato Mousseline

The Jidori “Hay Baked” Chicken sealed into the Cast Iron Pot

Jidori “Hay Baked” Chicken

The Chicken As Served

#10 [2007 Ringer No. 7: 2007 Leflaive Batard Montrachet]
Medium gold color; white honey and white flowers aromas; sweet pear fruit and some citrus fruit tart flavors; this had very good fruit depth and acidity, yet I can’t quite square the white honey aromas with the citrus flavors and good underlying acidity. Overall, a very nice impression. Group Rank: 11th place, 1 point (0/0/0/0/1) 95

#11 [2007 Jadot Montrachet]
Medium gold color; some sweet lime citrus aromas with a little background SO2; light lemon-lime citrus flavors which is amazingly mineral laden wine; the minerality practically jumps out at you. There is wonderful subtlety and elegance in this wine; the fruit and acid and very good, but the minerality is really amazing. This just kept getting better with time. My favorite wine of the night. Group Rank: Third place, 23 points (2/1/1/2/2) 96|97

#12 [2007 Le Moine Montrachet Cuvee P]
Medium gold color; lemon-lime citrus aromas; intense lemon-lime flavors with some richness on tne back end; a very long thick fruity finish. This is pretty much a full throttle Montrachet. Group Rank: Fourth place, 20 points (0/3/1/2/1) 95

#13 [2007 Ramonet Montrachet]
About half way between light and medium gold color; prominent white flowers aromas ; very concentrated lime citrus flavors with very prominent acidity and notable phenols. This is just a baby; seems to have a huge amount in reserve here. Drinking this, I suddenly had the mental image that I was strapped into an Apollo capsule sitting on top of a huge Atlas rocket waiting for my butt to be blasted into space any second. I think it has tremendous potential, but give this another three or four years to see how the ride turns out. Group Rank: Tied for 7th place, 7 points (0/1/0/1/1) 94++

#14 [2007 Sauzet Montrachet]
Nearly medium gold color; this had forward, rich and somewhat advanced peachy aromas; somewhat two dimensional on the palate, fruit salad flavor with notable peach bits. I think this is advanced; so did Michael Zadikian, but the others were dubious. Group Rank: Tied for 12th, 0 points (0/0/0/0/0) 92? Advanced

Apple Tart Fine

1989 Von Simmeren Hattenheimer Mannberg TBA (375ml)
Deep brown color; diesel fuel and botyrtised fruit aromas; very rich, dried fruit flavors with fairly prominent phenolic bitterness in the middle of the palate; the best feature by far is the very long brown sugar finish. I have very mixed feelings about this wine. 89/93?

1994 Fritz Haag Braunenberger Juffer Sonnenuhr BA (375ml)
Medium gold color; fresh apricot and floral notes in the aromas; apricot and tropical fruit with very good acidity and a very long sweet tropical fruit finish. 95

My thanks to Ron Movich who brought the great dessert wines.

It was a fabulous evening. The food was extraordinary, the service was excellent and the wines were truly awesome. I thought the wines performed better overall than at any other “Mostly Montrachet” dinner that we’ve held over the last 10 years. There were some absolutely HUGE surprises. Here is the list of wines we had ranked by group preference from 1-14:

RANK______________________Total Points
1 2007 Latour Montrachet 36
2 2007 Prieur Montrachet 27
3 2007 Jadot Montrachet 23
4 2007 Le Moine Montrachet Cuvee P 20
5 2007 Le Mone Montrachet Cuvee C 14
6 2007 Coche Meursault Perrieres 8
7 tie 2007 Ramey Hyde Chardonnay 7
7 tie 2007 Ramonet Montrachet 7
9 2007 Drouhin De Laguiche Montrachet 4
10 2007 Bouchard Montrachet 3
11 2007 Leflaive Batard Montrachet 1
12 tie 2007 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne 0
12 tie 2007 Boillot Montrachet 0
12 tie 2007 Sauzet Montrachet 0

The five names at the top of the “leader board” have never been there before. Make no mistake, the Latour, Prieur and Jadot were absolutely awesome wines. The Le Moine wines also showed quite well.

I thought that the really youthful wines of the night that need more time to show how great they really are were the Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres (yes, we also tasted a bottle of this wine on night one) and the Ramonet Montrachet.

David Ramey’s 2007 Hyde vineyard Chardonnay did double-duty as a ringer this year and it did very well even against the much stiffer competition among the Montrachets. (I didn’t think the bottle on Night Three showed as well as the bottle we had with the Batards on night two, but it was still a well-liked wine with one first place vote.) Mr. Ramey has clearly established, on both nights two and three (as well as in past vintages wihich operated with different voting rules), that his Hyde Vineyard bottling definitely belongs in the conversation when assessing the world’s best chardonnays.

Premox Stats for Night Three and All Three Nights of the 2007 Dinners:

There were no oxidized wines on night three and the group overall didn’t think we had any advanced wines (although myself and two others thought that the Boillot Montrachet and Sauzet Montrachet were advanced and the Boillot Montrachet was almost borderline oxidized.)

From the premature oxidation perspective, looking at this on a historical basis, the 2007 vintage performed very well. While seeing the oxidized and advanced Domaine Leflaive wines on night two was quite alarming (as was the emergency follow-up tasting on Leflaive done by some of us thereafter), from an overall perspective, the 2007s were, by the narrowest of margins, the best-ever peforming vintage from a premox perspective that we have had to date. The 2007 wines were in a virtual photo finish with the 2004 vintage, which is a very good sign considering that most of the 2004s are really excellent to drink today.

1996 vintage (tasted at 10 years of age):
Corked: 2/28 (7%)
Oxidized: 5/28 (18%)
Advanced: 3/28 (11%)
Total advanced plus oxidized: 8/28 (29%)

1999 vintage (tasted at 7.5 years of age):
Corked: 1 or 2 of 4 (2% to 4%)
Oxidized: 9/44 (20%) Highest percentage of oxidized wines ever
Advanced: 3/44(7%)
Total Oxidized + Advanced: 12/44 (27%)

2000 vintage (tasted a 7 and 7.5 years of age):
Corked: 1/58 (2%)
Oxidized: 9/58 (16%)
Advanced: 7/58 (12%)
Total Oxidized + Advanced: 16/58 (28%)

2001 vintage:
Corked: 0/43 (0%)
Oxidized: 4/43 (9%)
Advanced: 7/43 (16%)
Total Oxidized + Advanced: 11/43 (26%)

2002 vintage:
Corked: 3/64 (5%)
Oxidized: 5/64 (8%) or 6/64 (by my count) (9%)
Advanced: 5/64 (8%) Tied for lowest percentage of advanced wines ever
Total oxidized + advanced: 11/64 (17%)

2004 vintage:
Corked – 1/63 (2%)
Permanently Reduced- 1/63 (2%)
Oxidized–3/63 (5%) Second lowest percentage of oxidized wines ever
Advanced-5/63 (8%) Tied for lowest percentage of advanced wines ever
Total Oxidized + advanced- 8/63 (12.7%) Second lowest total percentage ever

2005 vintage:
Corked: 1/66 (2%) [Corked bottle of Raveneau MDT replaced on night one]
Oxidized: 4/65 (6%)
Advanced:16/65 (25%) Highest percentage of advanced wines ever
Total Oxidized + advanced: 20/65 (31%) Highest total percentage ever/b]

2006 vintage:
Corked - 0/28 (some controversy about one wine)
Oxidation - 0/28 group consensus; but two partially oxidized later 0%/7.1%
Advanced - 4/28 14.3%
Oxidized or advanced - 6/28 21.4%

2007 Vintage:
Corked - 1/71 1.41%
Oxidation - 3/71 4.23% Lowest percentage of oxidized wines ever
Advanced - 6/71 8.45% or 9/71 (my count) 12.68%
Oxidized or advanced - 9/71 12.68% (lowest group total ever) or 12/71 (my count) 16.9%

fascinating information and insight, Don. As always, you are to be commended. Kicking myself for missing that last dinner. Did you find out if Leflaive did dial back sulfur as of 07 and, more importantly, have they recognized the mistake and increased it again? Thanks so much.

Wow that food looks delicious! How was the hay roasted chicken? Did it have a pronounced flavor?

Whoever gave the Ramey their 1st place vote might want to reconsider spending many hundreds of dollars on single bottles of chardonnay! (I’m assuming all participants purchase and cellar wines at this level.)

Don, thanks for the interesting perspective. Anecdotally it seems like people are encountering a lot of premoxed 2002.

I’m curious if that is a proportional increase over time or if the 2002 premox percentage has shot up over the last few years.

Any thought of doing a vintage reassessment dinner at 14 years?

The Ramey showing so well doesn’t surprise me. In some California tastings we have held, the Ramey is always at the top of some very highly rated and rare Ca. chards. And in case you didn’t know, PYCM worked at Ramey for a while. On my last visit to see PYCM I took him a bottle of the 08 Ramey Hyde vineyard.

Thanks again Don for the excellent work.

Had a 2012 Ramey Sonoma Coast Chardy at Gramercy Tavern the other night. Very impressive wine.

Best Regards

Don(and others that have a lot of experience), given that I’m a youngster, are the results of the 07 dinners more in line with oxidation rates before the premox era?

These 07 dinners have been a wonderful data point and hopefully provide a ray of sunshine for white burgundy and the premox rates.


You would definitely have enjoyed this dinner.

As for Leflaive, there are no definitive answers yet. In Issue 35 of Burghound (published June 2009), which reviewed the 2007 wines in bottle, Mr. Meadows states: “I asked Remy what the current policy was chez Leflaive on free SO2 at bottling and he told me that he shoots for a range of between 25 and 28 ppm.” That number struck me at the time I read it as well below my expectations for Leflaive, which I suspected was likely using between 40 and 45 ppm, but since they are well known for their reductive winemaking, and I couldn’t imagine that Mr. Remy would actually cut the level of SO2 used by his predecessor, I just assumed that this must be the same level that had been used by Pierre Morey. A certain winemaker that we both know thinks Mr. Remy definitely cut the SO2 level. Bill Nanson reports that 2008 and 2009 Leflaives are not showing well, but that the Leflaive wines seemed much more classically styled from 2010 onward. As you probably saw on the thread with the Night Two notes, Don Cornutt said he’s experienced premoxed 2008 Leflaives for sure. I definitely intend to open up a few post-2007 Leflaives to see what’s happening.

They probably wanted to [dead-horse.gif] you for not bringing the DRC Monty!

Really surprised my “dream” wine didn’t show up to something like this? [shrug.gif]


The chicken is amazing. It is about the moistest, tenderest chicken you could imagine. There is a very lightly earthy note to the chicken but nothng that I would says is pronounced. Josiah likes to do this every once in a while for the Mostly Montrachet dinners because this goes so well with the wines. (And there’s a lot of theater to it too.)

The incidence tends to rise as the wines reach the end of their life cycle. These days not many wines will last past 12 years from the vintage date and a lot won’t go past 10. So what I think you’re observing is not “premature” oxidation, but merely the normal end of life for the vintage. One other factor on the 2002 vintage is that the acidities were not all that high. The ability of a given amount of SO2 to protect against acetaldehyde formation is a direct function of the ph level. The lower the ph, the higher the free molecular SO2 level, which is the portion that really protects against oxidation. Since burgundian wine makers tend use static amounts of free SO2 at bottling, generally bottling each vintage with the same amount, the ability of a given vintage to avoid oxidation is partially a function of the ph of the wine. Put simply, the higher acid (lower ph) wines tend to last longer.

I haven’t really given any thought to trying to do a white burgundy dinner at 14 years after the vintage. Most people don’t hold sufficient quantities of their white burgundies to that age, myself included, so it likely wouldn’t be possible. For example, right now I have less than a case of 2002 white burgundies left – a total of six different wines. I drank the bulk of my 2002s between 2011 and 2013 (9 to 11 years).

The 2004 vintage is the one vintage since 1996 where perhaps a majority of the wines we usually taste could last until year 14. There are a handful of wines which are getting a little tired and starting to go – e.g. Lafon MP. But most are brilliant right now and a few are still youthful and astringent.

Wow Don. Only a case of 02 ? I was just down in the cellar and I’m really backed up on whites. I have about 2 to 3 cases of 02 and a mixed case or so of older.

Need some help?

Interesting perspective Don (as always) - particularly your views on age-ability. You suggest “most” wines won’t last 12+ years from vintage given modern practices, but your notes from the dinners also suggest there are some wines that at this 8-year mark is still (too) young. Reading between the lines, it would seem to me that “drink young” consistently includes Latour/Jadot/Prieur; a sound consistent performer that may go a bit longer is the Drouhin, and then there are wines that benefit from quite a bit more than 8 years (Ramonet? Coche MP & CC? Bouchard?). Have you thought about, or have any views on, which producers (when bottles are sound) have long age-ability vs those that are “drink soon” even when bottles are sound - based on the experience across these tastings etc?

Excellent write up and analysis.

However, stating that white burgundies NOW does not age beyond 12+ years itself is an admission that premox is too be expected. I would still call a oxidised white Burgundy at 13-15 years of its life cycle “premoxed” based on what it should have been based on past track record rather than be a apologist for the white Burgundy makers ands call it a new paradigm.

Well if you ever send me an invite ! Although I warm you, it’s just old Roulot, Coche and Rav.

The quandary is which burgs to lay down and which not. There’s a pretty clear division of what producers to age or not. But people who consistently lay down Jadot and then get frustrated 7 years later should look up the definition of insanity. On the other hand if I were writing a wine list today I’d absolutely be looking at Bouchard and Girardin.

My thoughts, pictures, and write-ups on the last 3 years of this series can be found here on my blog http://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2015/03/22/melisse-2007-montrachet/.

Outstanding showings indeed. A pleasure to read, as always, and especially to see this snapshot of fine 07s that look like they’re doing well. On a much lower scale, can contribute that a 2007 Drouhin Puligny Folatieres a few days ago was just fine, no premox notes whatsoever.



Thanks for the posting, Andy, specially your impression of one of the wine… champagne.gif

I had it at a blind tasting group last night (it was my #2 and the group’s #4) and enjoyed its verve. But my #1 wine of the evening (and the group’s #2) was the 2012 Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay: it was a powerhouse wine with tons of acidity to help balance the richness. What a delicious effort from California!