2008 BURGUNDY & RHONE tasting in Graz

23 wine-lovers met in Graz in the restaurant „Im Fünften“ (On the Fifth Floor) on April 1 to taste through the vintage 2008 in the regions of Burgundy and Rhone Valley, with the addition of one or another 2007.

All vintage 2008 (except when stated), the points are mine, groups vote for the WOTF in addition.

1st flight:
#1: Chambolle-Musigny „Les Charmes“ 1er Cru - Hudelot-Noellat: medium bright ruby, red berried fruit with some dried herbs, good texture, really enjoyable but not very long, 88p (12 votes)

#2: Chambolle-Musigny (Village) – J.F.Mugnier: slightly sweeter on the palate, but a bit simple, 86p (0 votes)

#3: Chambolle-Musigny „Les Fuées“ 1er Cru – J.F.Mugnier: darkest colour (but still not very dense), v.g. structure, slightly herbaceous, but good length … and a certain potential, 89p (9 votes)

#4: Vosne-Romanée „Clos du Chateau“ Monopole (Village) – L-M. Liger-Belair: brightes colour, but good intensity, nevertheless a bit of oak and quite prominent acidity, attractive and tasty, 87p (0 votes)

This 1st flight was a bit disapointing, showing the limitations of the vintage on this medium level, the wines were much brighter than from cask, and dispite a certain dryness quite accessable, the potential remains a questionmark …
2nd flight:
#5: Gigondas „Les Hauts de Montmirail“ – Domaine Brusset: sure much darker that the whole 1st flight, real concentration, hints of toast, good dark fruits, but a certain dryness in the finish, 87p (1 vote)

#6: Minervois „Les Carretals“ Jean-Paul Tollot & Anne Gros: still darker and slightly sweeter, soft and ripe tannins, mouthfilling, good length, 88p (6 votes), expensive for what it is …

#7: Vosne-Romanee „Aux Malconsorts“ 1er Cru – Sylvain Cathiard: more saturated than #3, very good concentration and really elegant and long, nevertheless a bit brittle compared to other vintages, 91p (14 votes)

#8: Trollinger „Handwerk Rot“ vintage 2010 – Weinwerk Württemberg (Germany): this was not meant to be an April-fools-joke … produced by a friend who sent me a bottle to taste, so I though „why not in this tasting“ … ok, quite bright „rosé“ ruby, mix of sweet and sour (although dry), slightly bitter almonds and hints of v.a. - people thought it to be a „bad Burgundy“ … but not a bad wine, only very simply, nevertheless for 7 Euro and chilled a nice summer wine for the terrasse … around 79p (13% alc. – dry, several months in a used barrel).

#9: Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2008 – Dom. de Marcoux: medium dark ruby, full of red and dark fruits with some spices, sweet mouthfeel, balanced with medium length, very good and already very accessable, 89p (1 vote, but 2nd best of the flight by far)

Sure it was a bit unfair to combine these different origins, but some tasters spotted the Gigondas and Minervois (the had a list of the available wines in advance – and of course the Burgundy, although they guessed Clos Vougeot). Nevertheless a cdertain dryness of the vintage was still there (except Marcoux).

1st plate: three kinds of Styrian beef: Carpaccio, Aspic and creamy Beef Tartare – stunning!

3rd flight:
#10: Chateauneuf-du-Pape „Combe de Fous“ 2008 – Clos St.Jean: quite full ruby with hints of brown, open nose, a bit cedar, nice palate if with a tiny bitterness, 90p (4 votes)

#11: Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2008 – Charvin: slightly more saturated, indeed very elegant and balanced, good acidity, fine mouth flow, can develope further, 91p (0 votes)

#12: Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2008 – Pegau: very dark ruby, animalic nose with the typical Garrigue and hints of brett (I like it), mouthfilling, chewy though elegant, reminds me on 2004, real intensity and length, 92+p (10 votes)

#13: Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2008 – Ferrand: medium ruby, full of fruit, slightly jammy but also complex with floral and mineral hints, sweet on the palate, excellent depth and balance, good potential, 91p (7 votes)

Certainly some of the best CdPs of the vintage, although the Combe de Fous is far away from the 94p RMP awarded … A Beaucastel 2008 tasted two weeks ago would be app. on the same level (90-91 p and well balanced).

4th flight:
#14: Clos Vougeot GC – Dom. Arnoux-Lascaux: medium depth, quite plummy fruit, very good, lacking a bit complexity, 90p (0 votes)

#15: Latricieres-Chambertin GC – Dom. Arnoux-Lascaux: very similar to #14, only a hint brighter and slightly more acidity, 90p (0 votes)

#16: Clos Vougeot GC – Dom. JJ Confuron: slightly more saturated colour, but much deeper fruit with great elegance and perfect balance, perfect integrated acidity, great Clos Vougeot, 94p (4 votes)

#17: Clos Vougeot „Le Grand Maupertui“ GC – Dom. Anne Gros: darker fruits, typical decent toast, fine concentration but less finesse than Confuron, wood more obvious, 93p (19 votes)

This flight was much more convincing than the Burgundies #1 to 4.

main plate: Really great roasted rosé duck breast with vegetables etc.

5th flight:
#18: Chateauneuf-du-Pape „Reine des Bois“ (2008) – Dom. de la Mordorée: saturated dark ruby, obviously modern style with toast, coffee, cedar, but quite balanced if a little bit dry in the finish, reminds me on the (excellent) 1996, 90p

#19: Cote-Rotie „Lancement“ (2007) – Dom. M&S Ogier: slightly brighter, more red fruits, decent oak, very elegant and aromatic (I don´t think there is any Viognier in the blend, but it smells similar), excellent balance, 93p (3 votes)

#20: Hermitage (2007) – Domaine JL Chave: this is really very serious, full, deep, concentrated, multidimensional, with great texture and excellent bite, youthful but perfectly balanced, great success, made for decades, 95+p (15 votes)

#21: Cote-Rotie “Cote blonde“ (2008) – Dom. René Rostaing: nice decent cherry and olive scented nose, slightly sweet, good follow-through, mouthfilling, medium length, the usual tiny dryness of 08 in the finish, 90p (René declassified almost all of both crus into his „Cuvee Terroirs", bottled only a tiny quantity seperately)

Slightly unfair pairing 08 versus 07, but nobody really recognized the different origins. 2008 will be mature much earlier! Sure I also could have put in Rostaings 2007 which are very fine … No special cuvees produced in 2008 at Ogier.

(to be continued soon with last flight, dessert wines and summary)
Please post your comments heavily !


Thanks for the great notes and data points.

How far in advance did you open the wines? I ask because coincidentally I opened the '08 Pegau last night for an early peek. After pop and pour, it was quite grumpy and unbalanced initially. Am letting it sit through the day today and will re-sample tonight. I suspect it just needs some air.

Glad to hear the Charvin and Ferrand showed well. Those are my annual must-buy CdP producers. I was especially curious about the Ferrand in '08 since Bravay’s wines tend to need a lot of time in bottle in most vintages.


Thanks for the snapshot in 2008 Rhone Gerhard and a real great note on the 07 Chave and 08 Ogier. I’ve been quietly considering whether or not to buy my stable of favorites (Pegau, Beaucastel, Charvin) and it seems to be a situation where if they’re priced properly, they should hold a nice place in the cellar to dissuade me from opening my 05-07s in favor of the lighter 08s. Look forward to the rest of the notes.


all wines have been uncorked 5 hours in advance (slow oxy after the schedule of the tasting) and decanted 10-15 min. before serving. Pegau sure needs quite a bit of air!

attention: 2007 Ogier ! Not 2008!
All three (Pegau, Beaucastel, Charvin) are excellent, the most characterful is Pegau (but I am and always was a Pegau-guy, so I´m not without bias), Charvin is the most elegant, and Beaucastel (tasted weeks earlier) is an excellent vintage, if you like the quite fruity full bodied style the Chateau fancies after 1998/99 … but tasted side by side with 2007 there IS a huge difference !!! Think perhaps of 1988 or 1994, only more modern, less animalic.
I would NOT buy Beaucastel because it´s the most expensive, and I already bought Pegau and Charvin! You should get at least 2 bottles Charvin for one Beaucastel … right?


5th flight:
#22: Echezeaux GC (2008) – Dom. L-M Liger-Belair: bright shining ruby, very fine and elegant nose of red berries with that attractive hint of beetroots, perfect balance with just the right amount of oak, this is Echezeaux at ist best (regards from the late Henri), nevertheless acidity and a bit reserved typical of 2008, 94p, (4 votes)

#23: Romanee-St-Vivant GC (2008) – Dom. Hudelot-Noellat: a shade darker than the former, more filigree, more open, very attractive and tasty, I hesitate to say „perfect to drink now“, but it WAS, more noticable lively acidity, fine finish, but neither a blockbuster nor a real vin de garde, 94-95p (or better: 94.5 points incomparison with ist two neighbours), (10 votes)

#24: Romanee-St-Vivant GC (2008) – Dom. JJ Confuron: slightly more saturated, slightly more concentrated, acidity less obvious, slightly longer on the palate, but less open, less attractive NOW, but outstanding balance and more potential … 95p (I hesitate to give more, knowing vintages like 2005 which are certainly better still), my WOTN so far. (8 votes)

#25: very saturated bright ruby, initially strange nose, very intense, even pungent, kind of volatile, but it blew off more and more, underneath a monster of a wine, fleshy, chewy, sweet, mouthfilling, a sea of cherry fruit with very intense spices, lingering endlessly on the palate, immensly complex and deep, this wine will become a legend … but at the moment it behaves like a „Jinn“ in the bottle who wants to escape the cork.
Re-tasted the next day the „stink“ had gone, remaining an intense, voluptuous intense great wine, the essence of …


This was Chateau Rayas 2007 !
My rating: 98+?p - with reservations regarding the nose (only 1 vote from the group)
If I hadn´t known better I had guessed that the wine has been bottled a week before (in fact it has been in the bottle for two years), so young, so sauvage and untamed it behaved. Maybe also a less than perfect bottle, although I bought it at the Chateau myself and brought it to my cellar together with all other 2008s.

Well, I could understand if somebody would not trust that it will develope positively, but I´m certain. This will be the best Rayas after 1989/90, in fact more 1989, but it needs time!

Dessert wines:
#26: Muscat Beaumes de Venice 0.5 l – Domaine des Richards: fruity, excellent match for the dessert, 89p

#27: Eiswein Nittnaus 2009 (Grüner Veltliner, Chardonnay, Traminer, Welschriesling) (Burgenland/Austria), 0,375 l: very good, although primary, (a slightly questionmark, a bit muted in the nose, probably not perfectly ok), 90p?

#28: 0.35 l, immense intense nose of lemon, ananas and elder, very sweet, but huge acidity, thick and chewy, people guessed confused though the vineyards worldwide, from Loire to Australia, Canada Icewine etc.

this was my April fools drink: a syrup of elder flowers, home-made in 1995, forgotten in my cellar and re-discovered recently, filtered two times, obviously partially fermented, but no wine at all, a curiosity, (and rarity, the last of only two and a half bottles, the other two drunk up 12+ years ago, of course mixed 1:5 with mineral water !!! neener

#29: Schönberger Süss Trockenbeerenauslese TBA Welschriesling 0.375 – Weingut Schönberger (Burgenland/Austria) 2007: really outstanding if very young, great potential, 93+p

#30: TBA – Martin Haider 1990 0.375: saturated golden-orange colour, beautiful mature sweet wine, 92p

Dessert: three different kinds of chocolate mousse … outstanding!

A very interesting journey through the vintage 2008 in two different regions. In Burgundy I really doubt if the lower level wines possess enough ripeness and concentration to perfectly balance out the huge acidity, I also didn´t detect the textbook “purity” that has been written about, but some really great wines (Grand Crus and top 1er Crus) have doubtlessly been made.
In the Southern Rhone the best producers made very good, rather early maturing wines that should be drunk before 2007, 2005, and possibly before 2006 as well, not dissimilar to 1994, in most cases better than e.g. 1996, with some very good wines on all levels.
The Northern Rhone is a bit more mixed, but the best wines are elegant and accessable … (from what I´ve tasted also in the cellars).
A certain typical “dryness”(less perfect ripeness) was to be found in many wines, especially on the lower level.

Any further questions?

Great notes Gerhard and good to get your take on the '08s.

On the Jean-Paul Tollot & Anne Gros Les Carretals, any idea what the blend is here? A recent bottle of the Les Fontanilles was very pretty. Agreed on most of the '08s although I like them a tad more than you on the whole. The Pegau is a big success for the vintage and I loved a recent bottle… I also think the Clos Saint Jean lineup is top notch in '08 and shows more flesh than other estates… the vieilles vignes is straightup delicious and worth checking out.

The '07 Chave is certainly a beauty as well and shows real cut & structure for what’s mostly a softer vintage.

Thanks again,

the info about Les Carretals says: Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan … vines 99 years old, but not the exact percentage.
Fontanilles has the same varieties, but app. 40% Grenache, and 20% each the rest …

Thanks for the notes, Gerhard. I must say I am a little surprised as to how ordinary many of the 08 Burgs showed. My experience has been much more positive from top to bottom, though I have not tasted any of these. Cheers Mike


Did the '08 Mordoree show its alcohol? I was very surprised to see the label advertising such a high alcohol and have been concerned that this may be a notable flaw that sticks with this wine through its life.


I cannot exclude that some wines will fill out a bit with time in bottle … but on the other hand the fact remains that the ripeness in many cases is not perfect - and the acidity is quite high, and that will always determine the character of the vintage. My feeling is that the better vineyards can boost it better than less favorable terroir.

No, not at all. I just checked that the Mordoree says 15% on the label - and many others “only” 14.5% … but that are street-numbers only … Marcoux also stated 15%, and it was wonderfully elegant and balanced … IF one wine showed kind of slightly elevated alc. it was Combe des Fous - and it only indicated 14.5% …

Steven, Faryan, Jeb, Mike and Fred: Thank you very much for your attention!

On the other hand: For me it´s definitely not worth the effort of hours to type a comprehensive report – and eventually get a reaction from only five persons.

That´s it.

Gerhard, I hope you keep it going, but appreciate that the lack of attention is a concern, I expect many others have read this and taken note. I didn’t mention it but I was also very interested in how the J J Confuron’s showed. A much underrated domain. The Clos Vougeot is often a bargain and your post prompted me to get some. Also made me think more about the balance of 08 in general, I think it is a important vintage… Cheers Mike

Hi Gerhard - looks a very enjoyable tasting.

Question: were your feelings/observcations on the 08s reflected across all tasters?

It is very very easy to see those that are balanced and those that are too acidic in 08, those with balance seem to have me and most people I know in raptures - and that’s not just RSV! - clearly that is not conveyed by your notes…

Cheers, Bill


Thanks for the notes, I was particularly interested to read abot the 2008 burgs.

Seems to reaffirm the thoughts that it is a vintage that brought forth some great wines at the higher levels, but one must choose carefully.

I’m still not sure why JJ Confuron is not more popular in the US. The wines are not widely distributed, and some of the bottlings are not brought in at all.

as always I regret very much not having been at your tasting, but I told you about my schedule.
Your notes reflect exactly what I have tasted so far in 08 Burgundys: the vintage is lacking ripeness and has rather high acidity, maybe too high despite my German educated palate [wow.gif]
I haven´t had any of your wines, but Hudelot-Noellats CM Village was somewhat too easy, fresh and drinkable to convince in the long term, while Dujacs premier and grand crus have fine balance and potential.

BTW: where did you get the Rayas 07 from? It´s not yet on the market?

Thanks for the report, Gerhard, excellent notes as always. I’m sorry you feel this way about the response to your post. I see that circa 500 people have read it, and isn’t that really the point about tasting notes? I do agree it is nice to get a lively discussion going, but sometimes it just does not happen. I posted a detailed report of a blind tasting last Sunday, and only five different people replied, but several hundred read the report, and I’m OK with that.

BTW, with 23 tasters, I assume you opened 2 bottles of each wine?

I think it just comes down to “different strokes for different folks.” It’s just the nature of the beast that each vintage style will be more attractive to some, and less attractive to others. I’m OK with that. It doesn’t mean that one side is right and the other side is wrong. Other than 2005 red Burgs, how far back do you have to go to find a vintage where we all agree, especially at an early stage? Just my $0.02.

Exactly, Lew. I expect that there are many reasons that many here don’t contribute to a discussion, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t derive a great deal of benefit and enjoyment from reading what’s posted. I really enjoyed both Gerhard’s notes here and your’s in the post you mention, but time constraints (law practice, hobby wine business, wife, three young boys, etc.) really limit the time I can spend here. Also, I am reluctant to post if I can’t do so thoughtfully, adding something of value. A post like “ya, Rayas rocks” adds nothing. Like you, I am a big fan of Bertheau, Clavelier and the like, and really enjoy all of your contributions here. Please keep them coming knowing that I and many others like me really appreciate them. [cheers.gif]

Martin, thank you for the kind words, much appreciated. I’m sure your comments will re-assure Gerhard as well.

+1 on what Martin said. I think everyone really does appreciate the contributions that some of the more experienced tasters. Even though I think I figured out that you are my nemesis on Ackerauctions !!!

ditto for Gerhard. Know that your tastings provide great value to burgheads.