'99 Red Burgundies comin' round the mountain??

I usually try to keep a vintage for 20 years before I start consuming it regularly, as I think that’s what’s necessary for the a payback. Though 1999 reds are not yet 20 (19 1/2 ; won’t be 20 until this fall), my curiosity has won out. In the last several months, I’ve tried 4 reds from 1999. Admittedly, the producers are top flight, but… 3 of the 4 were “WOW” wines…and the 4th, IMO, needs another 5 years to get there. I am really looking forward to this vintage from here on. (I’ve always been concerned of the ridiculously enormous yields in both red and white in 1999). But, I look at vintages accross the board, at all levels of appellation, and my concern is mainly on the Cote de Beaune and “lesser” reds from the Cote de Nuit. These producers didn’t seem to have any such issues.


4/19: Roumier Chambolles “Les Cras”, 1er cru : with shad fillet…pop, filter and pour…coffee; fruit…wow at first…and red and black fruits galore…long very fruity finish…coffee; some tannin left, but velvet fist stuff…classy nose…everything about it is great. Will still improve as more tannins can drop out. Sufficient acidity for balance and freshness. Even better 2 days later.

4/19:Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Vosne-Romanee: salmon…cleaned…and poured…beautiful…viscous…round…fruity…glorious villages wine…Improved on the next day.

2/18: Robert Chevillon NSG “Les Vaucrains” 1er cru: smoked brisket; latkes. A burnt rubbery smell which stays. Good fruit, but only med long finish now. This wine still needs 5 years or so…will it be great?

1/19: Robert Chevillon NSG “Les Roncieres” 1er cru: lovely lovely lovely. black fruits; concentration galore without sacrificing finesse.sweet fruit, beautifully long long finish…a winner and ready to drink though will age another decade, and maybe even improve, as the concentration and structure are both there…wow!!

Time to start the 1999 engines…I think. See you in the promised land…of hope and dreams…

I tried a 1999 Domaine de Courcel Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos des Epenots recently with a group, and this became the discussion around the table- whether 99s needed more time or what. I thought the Courcel was in a good place.

Was 99 thought to need more time than 00?


99 lafarge clos des chenes was enormous a couple of months ago. Very much surprised at the density for a 20 year old wine.

for me the grand crus in 99 need more time but some 1er crus are coming around. Great vintage.

Chevillon Roncieres is an under the radar wine. Some vintages better than LSG

For me, most of the 99’s are still relatively primary and haven’t reached the secondary aspects yet. I’m still holding off as much as I can…

+1. I tried a few premier and grand crus to see if it was worth putting on a large scale tasting, and they were either, as Jerry says young and primary, or closed up. Only one Grand Cru seemed evolved enough to show off tertiary flavors, the Joseph Roty Charmes Chambertin and that was really superb.

Any specifics, Mark/Jerry/Alan?

I haven’t and won’t be opening any grand crus from 1999 for a few more years…but I don’t think they age differently from villages and 1er cru wines.

Though I have found all of the '99s I reported on to be dense, I found none of them to be “primary” or “closed up”. I was surprised, frankly. I had supposed that the '99s would have “required” 25 years to really show development and give pleasure. But, I’m convinced that’s not the case. Will they improve? Probably-- and worth seeing. But, they are very near, if not at, the stage I can’t resist. And, in every case but the Vaucrains, the tannins were subtle and enveloped in maturing fruit.

Any specifics would be very helpful.

Hi Stuart,

I’ve recently had an Arnoux (Robert) NSG Clos des Corvees Pagets and a Drouhin Charmes Chambertin, both of which I thought not ready. I’m not sure how good a wine the latter will be, figured it was ok to try being a Charmes, but the first had serious promise, just still needed time, shut down, and somewhat tannic.

Grands Crus
Dujac and Girardin Clos Saint Denis; and the Roty and Geantet Charmes

Premier Crus
Drouhin Chambolle 1er Cru and Gouges NSG LSG

Tasting took place in early February, apart from Dujac opened earlier in the fall as part of a small vertical. The Dujac BTW was very dense, considerably more so than the 1996, and 2001.

Rousseau Gevrey-Chamb. ‘CSJ’–beautiful and seductively ready to enjoy.

M-G Chambolle ‘Feusselottes’–charming and ready to enjoy

d’Angerville Volnay ‘Champans’–relatively dark fruited with more layers of complexity than usual, but holding a little back. Will be very good, but wait another 5 years.

I’ve found that most PC wines and several GC’s are ready to fully enjoy. The ones that aren’t quite there yet are pretty predictable. I haven’t had any big surprises.

In a week and a half I will be opening up the two following PC wines from 1999 for some of my students. I will post notes afterwards.

1999 Domaine Daniel Rion et Fils Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts

1999 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Clos des Réas

Also pairing it with a recent Ceritas as contrast. If I had a good CA pinot from 1999 I would do that – but I do not.

I agree with John Stimson - “Rousseau Gevrey-Chamb. ‘CSJ’–beautiful and seductively ready to enjoy.” I had this a couple weeks ago and it was truly delicious, but for my taste it has many years to go to develop the secondary and tertiary flavors that I like.

Had a '99 Groffier Bonne Mare earlier this year that was still pretty primary. Delicious but still could use some years.

1999 was Burgundy’s highest yield vintage in the 20th century and of excellent quality.

I was thinking …what would be a comparable vintage for this century so far?

Don’t know who your “students” are…but they select well, whoever.

I will be especially interested in the Rion Beaux Monts…before Patrice Rion left in 2001 to form his own estate (and make great wines), his VR Beaumonts/Beaux Monts…was both my favorite 1er cru vineyard in Burgundy (still is)…and my favorite wine (lost touch with the wine after Patrice left…and it remained at his family’s estate). I have a bunch…but haven’t opened any and don’t plan to until at least after your notes…so…enjoy it. In 1996, I walked that vineyard with him and my wife…and it gave me a great appreciation for it…and its neighbors, both in the vineyard and down the hill.

Thanks for the info Stuart. My students are law students who won the wine tasting I auctioned for our public interest fellowship program. They paid over 500 so I said I would open something nice. The person who bid said she likes Pinot. I don’t have much burgundy but I did boy multiple bottles of some 1999. I have not tried any yet so thought this was a good opportunity to try them.

Any advice on whether, and if so how long, to decant?

And for snacks. I am thinking roast mushroom caps with a little melted Brie. And maybe some other assorted cheeses and bread. I want to do mushrooms but don’t want to provide a full meal!

Now there’s a Pandora’s box. I would personally double decant the wines 2-3 hours before, but you will likely hear diametrically opposed views.

Thanks John – I was thinking something similar. Perhaps after I taste I guess to get a sense of where they are.