Chris, following what Nathan said, I would describe the wines as masculine and feminine. Both will need a fair bit of time to show really well, but the Vaucrains will need a fair bit longer. My suggestion would be to vary from your usual buying policy and get two of each, as they both should be delicious down the road, and quite different. I buy these two, the Les St. Georges and the Pruliers in pretty much every vintage and I am never disappointed. I drank the 07 Cailles the other night, and it was very young, obviously, but lovely.
When tasting side by side, I usually prefer the Cailles. Vaucrains is almost always too young, the only one I’ve had mature was the '82 a few years ago. Cailles has a harmony and roundness that usually puts a smile on my face. Vaucrains is more brooding and takes more work.
Nice to see some people speaking up for Cailles. In my experience it is less generally lauded and sought-after than Vaucrains but I think it lacks for nothing in terms of complexity, style and desirability. I loved the Chevillon Cailles 09 and, when I gather the funds to pay my patient merchant, 6 bottles of it will eventually make it into my greasy mitts.
I agree with those views given already: Vaucrains may be the one for long-term cellaring but in serious vintages that period of time may well be longer than all but the most obsessed with deferred pleasure can be bothered to wait around for. Cailles is a more voluptuous and accessible wine that is approachable much sooner. A different expression of Nuits to the butch vineyards, but still definitely Nuits and definitely of a high quality-level.
If your implication is that Cailles and Vaucrains are “lesser” crus, I would disagree, as these two plus Boudots and Les Saint-Georges are way up there among the elite 1er crus of Burgundy, IMO. Too bad Chevillon does not produce Boudots, but they do as well with the other three as anyone, I believe.
I am partial to Les Cailles, as the elegance of this cru combines with the power of Nuits in a way that captivates me. However, a recent 2001 Vaucrains was mind-bendingly good, as great as any NSG wine I’ve had. My TN is in the Burg Week thread on Nuits-Saint-Georges. ( Link )
Cailles and Vaucrains are definitely up there as two of the very best vineyards in Nuits, certainly not lesser plots of land. When chatting to enlightened Pinotophiles about Nuits (as I am wont to do), received wisdom favours Les St-Georges and Vaucrains as the two rated bits of earth.
If I were forced to commit myself to an opinion, there are some other Nuits 1er crus I would not be happy without a couple of bottles of in my woefully diminutive collection. Cailles, as you may have guessed, is one. Pruliers can make top wine. The 09s from Gouges and Chevillon are the very best Pruliers I have been lucky enough to wallow in with unconcealed mirth, but the 01 from Gouges has pleasured me immensely on a few occasions. I am also taken with its usually reasonable price-point. Also in the ‘affordable for unemployed lunatics’-bracket is Gouges monopole Clos des Porrets St Georges. Again, the 09 was fan-tmesis-tastic, best young one I recall having, to be honest. But I’ve had many, many other superlatively enjoyable vintages: the 69, 78, 90, 91 and 95 have all stirred me to aureate elocution. I buy Clos de la Marechale every year from Freddie Mugnier and feel hilariously lucky to do so. It is tits. I could well be tempted to add aux Thorey to this list, but I have only really tried this from a handful of producers and only in vintages since 2005 which includes, let’s face it, perilously few disastrous years.
Any other favourite Nuits vineyards we should be on the prowl for? Do tell!
PS. Just to be complete I might as well say that, even though I love the vintage in general, it struck me that Nuits was particularly successful in 2009 (Pommard is a hit too, try de Courcel Rugiens and be amazed). So I’ve ordered plenty. Pruliers and Cailles from Chevillon, Porets St Georges from Gouges and I’ll get the Clos de la Marechale from Mugnier when the scrumptious Audrey (his ravishing right-hand lady) allows me to claim it.
Certainly not! I was meaning to imply that I’ve never had any of chevillon’s ‘big three’ (lsg, cailles, vaucrains), only some of the ‘lesser’ of the 1er crus (which have all been fantastic, particularly the '07 pruliers).
Thanks for the advice everyone, I have some '06 vaucrains in the cellar and I’m only 31, but I’m not particularly keen on a mandatory 15+ year wait… I’m thinking some cailles may be in my future… maybe 2 of each is the best way to go…
I’ve had 'em both young. If you made me choose one I would pick Cailles. I love it for its red fruit and lightly wild forest aspects. I have had an older Cailles, a 1990, and it was an utter knee bender. I would love to drink the 1990 Chevillon line up side by side, or at least over a couple of days.
Winnie Churchill said, “An Englishman has the right to pronounce foreign words as he chooses” and given that the USA is the big daddy country these days I am sure he’d extend that permission to you all.
As a dyslexic fellow with only underachiever-schoolboy-level French even looking at the word makes me sweat in terror…