Drinking Beautiful Burgs out in the Boston Burbs

Greg M. organized an off-line at a restaurant out in Hudson, MA back on June 9, with a loose theme of Burgundies from 1999 or before. Greg offered a bottle of Giacosa Barbaresco to the bringer of the Wine of the Night, so that encouraged some fun competition. The wines were not served blind.

First, we started with some random white wines to get the palate warmed up.

2000 Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Cuvee Laurence. As usual, this Weinbach Gewurztraminer offers up a full cornucopia of aromas that includes lychee, brown spices, orange blossom, kiwi and peach pit. It might be a bit darker in tone than I usually experience, but it is still pretty. In the mouth, it is again a bit darker-toned, with a big whack of woody, mildly bitter spices. Flavors of lychee, kiwi and guava are not overly sweet, but densely packaged and substantial. It might be a bit too serious at this point, but is still a fine drink.

2004 Domaines Ott Cotes de Provence Blanc de Blancs Clos Mireille. This wine has an interesting nose of lemon rind, bone, chalk and earthy root vegetables. In the mouth, it has a good deal of body and surprising richness. Pear, white peach, light honey and chalk flavors are more rich than refreshing, though a slightly sour acidity does come on toward the finish, which is a bit simple but of moderate length.

1999 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc La Crau. This is a bit burnished gold in color. On the nose, it definitely shows oxidative notes of rusty minerality to go with very ripe guava and grapefruit rind aromas. On the palate, it has a strong aluminum flavor on the entry that is off-putting. Thankfully, the mid-palate is a bit creamier, with a viscous flow and decent vibrancy. The finish feels disjointed and overall the wine is just not real pleasurable to me.

1996 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon . This is absolutely crystal clear in color. Out of the glass waft pure crystalline aromas of crushed gravel, white chalk dust, lemon balls, candy cigarettes and crushed shells. It is very firm but still pulls one right in. On the palate, it has an airy weight, but with a fascinating bottom note that gives it a more glycerol heft. Clean flavors of lemon peel and mica minerality sing very high register notes through the middle and the wine’s true pedigree comes out on the fabulously bright, tingly, enticing finish. This has plenty of life left, for sure.

We then started in on the assorted Burgundies. Albert convinced Greg to serve the wines oldest to youngest, so that is what we did.

1992 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques. This wine has a fascinatingly fuzzy aromatic profile that features lovely aromas of sweet dried cherries, crushed raspberries, cola nut, crunchy leaves, smoky charred mint leaf, birch bark, dried red flowers and some earthy, gamy notes thrown in for good measure. There are also some woody accents to cope with for those averse to that, but for me this just works on a lot of levels with its different aromatic textures and layering. In the mouth, it is again fuzzy in that leesy fashion, and is really pillowy soft in texture—like a Burgundy shag carpet or something. It has a suave, luxuriant feel to the intense but wide-open fruit and soft spices and it flows effortlessly across the palate. It features musky red fruit flavors in spades and isn’t shy with the wood-accented spices. The acidity is rather gentle, but does grow a bit more tingly on the ashy, smoky finish. I like this a lot and it was definitely one of my top 3 wines of the night.

1993 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Clos de la Roche. This wine has a fantastic bouquet of fresh-turned earth, horse hair, sweaty saddle leather and spiced crushed raspberries. It has lovely purity and a direct transparency that is just so expressive. In the mouth, it has great presence and structured cohesiveness. It is all about sour cherry fruit early on, but over time it grows darker as spicy earth notes come in to balance out the tangy elements. The tannins never get in the way of this dance and the wine finishes dry and nicely balanced. This was another of my top 3 wines.

1995 Domaine Meo-Camuzet Clos Vougeot. There are gorgeous aromatics here—with aromas of bridle leather, horsehide, turned earth, jalapeno pepper and crushed black raspberry combining beautifully. Yet, it seems evident that there is more being held in reserve for even further complexity down the road. In the mouth, it is sappy and pure with red berry fruit that is sexy and pretty and keeps drawing one back for more. There are some mysterious, darker incense and earth notes that lurk beneath and just put this over the top to be my WOTN. This can age easily for some time to come, as well. By the way, this was also the group WOTN, narrowly edging out the ’93 Rousseau.

1995 Hubert Lignier Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes. This wine shows darker-colored than those that have come before it. Again, we are the happy recipients of beautiful Burgundian aromatics here, as swirling notes of pure cherry compote, dried currants, spiced leather, volcanic rock, tomato leaf, cinnamon red hots and fudge brownie batter compete for one’s attention. It is dark-fruited and dark-toned in the mouth, with earthy savory flavors in a luscious, glycerin-laden package. It is juicy and round with glossy tannins and a hint of sweetness to the black fruit. It feels young and tight, though, and sadly the finish is too clipped and abrupt at this stage for it to really feel complete. It would be best to wait on this one a few more years.

1997 Dominique Laurent Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Suchots Serie Rare. This wine and the next from Vosne couldn’t display more different aromatic profiles than the previous set of wines. In this particular case, the wine smells of fuzzy red raspberries, fresh herbs, grass, iodine, blue slate and charred oak. It is warm and sweet in the mouth with very nice spiced raspberry and dried cherry fruit flavors carried along by a big squirt of easy acidity. Yes, there is some sweet vanilla here, too, but it melds in well with the overall profile and personality of the wine. It has an easy flow and an open-knit texture with that soft acidity still managing to keep it fresh and moderately lively. Tannins take a back seat, as the wine finishes mellow and rounded. This is in its drinking window right now.

1998 Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts. This wine opens with notes of herbs and alpine meadow framing darker aromas of black cherry, rhubarb, moist earth and cigar smoke. That leads to a palate that is big and extremely serious in tone. Though it is sober by nature, it is in no way lacking for vibrant flavor, as this just pours it on with black currant, black raspberry, smoky earth and dark chocolate goodness. Also, this is showing manageable but more readily noticeable tannin than its older predecessors in the line-up. The breeding, balance, freshness and restraint of the wine are impressive features that will keep it aging nicely for some time to come.

1999 Bouchard Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers. Notes of fresh raspberries, old leather luggage, horse saddle, smoke and pepper skin are starting to show some nascent complexity but overall are more fresh, immediate and pleasing than deep or compelling. It has a sharp streak of acidity that runs the entire length of the palate, carrying along some simple red cherry fruit flavor. It is rather smooth and easy in the mouth, with some tangy edges, but it just isn’t up to the quality of the other wines this night.

1999 Bouchard Père et Fils Bonnes Mares. Lively dark aromas of cinder ash, charred leather and cool black fruit give this wine a refined and classy feel on the nose. It stays serious on the palate, but really pumps out a ton of dark-tinged flavor, including charred embers and black fruit galore. The mouthfeel is really nice through the mid-palate, but some big sticky tannins come on late to let one know that it is best to cellar this one a while longer. This is nice now, but really shows the raw ingredients to be special down the road.

1999 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. This is a return to a lighter, more red-fruited aromatic bouquet, though it is young and fairly tightly-coiled. Fresh strawberry, cranberry, tomato leaf and soft leather aromas are fresh and taut, yet friendly. It is young and a bit leathery-textured in the mouth, with more obvious tannic structure than just about any other wine poured this evening. It shows a brawny, earthy character allied to fresh strawberry fruit through the mid-palate before the tannins dry out the finish. Through all of this, there is a sense of class lurking beneath the rough edges and I think this will be more enjoyable in 5+ years.

Afterwards came the usual (but quite welcome) onslaught of sweet wines.

1997 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume. The nose on our first sweet wine is enjoyably complex—with toasted orange peel, brown sugar, mango, hard caramel strands, lime, creme brulee topping, honey and candied pear aromas all competing for attention at different points. It is abundantly sweet in the mouth, with flavors of toasted crème brulee topping, honey and melted caramel. It is dense and viscous, but finely balanced by tingly acidity. It is a big wine with a vivid presence, but it is certainly not without its charming side. It’s a nice combination.

1998 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rotenberg Vendange Tardive. Aromas of copper kettle, kiwi, toasted orange peel and clementines are echoed on the sweet, exuberant palate. This is vibrant despite being richly sweet, as tangy acidity lends it a welcome freshness to the browned apricot and peach flavors. This has a lot of life to share right now and a lot of life to give down the road.

2004 Paul Cluver Riesling Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest Elgin. From 375 ml. This South African sweet wine is an absolute shot of pure rock sugar on the nose, accompanied by scents of yellow Chuckle candy, orange gumdrop and orange marmalade. It is massively sweet in the mouth, with tons of sugary sweetness and a bit of honey. There is not a lot of acid here, and the wine comes across a bit simple. It is viscous and thick and a bit cloying, with flavors of baked apricot vying with the pure sugar cane sensations for one’s attention. Certainly not one of my favorites this night.

1978 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes. This is showing a bit orange-hued in color. It features a gorgeous nose of Fuji apple, caramel apple, burnt orange peel and creamy meringue cookies. In the mouth, it shows a lot of caramel, but also plenty of baking spices and browned glazed apricot tart flavors. The acidity is right there and keeps this feeling fresh and lively, and indeed it almost feels tannic in the way it coats the teeth with flavor. This is a great showing for this wine and it sure seems like it has a lot left in the tank.

After most folks had left, Greg and his friends were hanging out at the bar and there was one last bottle to be tasted. I’m not sure where it came from, but I gave it a try.

2005 Roger Sabon Chateauneuf du Pape Les Olivets. Aromas of dusty rubber band, licorice, spiced blueberries and sweet boysenberries meld together with notes of smoky creosote, grape stems, rusty nail and raw meat in an interesting but aggressively-toned package. It feels heavy in the mouth (perhaps after all the Burgundies…), and a bit rough-hewn and gangly. There is plenty of density to the fruit, but also a ton of tannin. It feels very young and primary and clearly needs time.

-Michael

My phone must have been out of commission when you called about this one [diablo.gif] !

I agree that the 99 Bouchard Bonnes Mares needs time, I found it very animale/sauvage.

was this what you opened on NYE?

Yeah, Peter, you were probably busy pondering your meat (likely your earliest memory, too!) when I called.

In reality, this was a Patriots-fan-only event, so you wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway [berserker.gif]

-Michael

I have some 99 Jadot CSJ, and wasn’t really considering opening any for a few years yet.

Good to know I was right. :wink:

[highfive.gif]

And thanks for the notes. Looks like you had a great time.

Oh that’s just cold.
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