Has Premox Affected Your Appreciation Of Maturity?

Disclaimer: I have only limited experience with mature white Burgs. I opened a 2004 Fevre Domaine Bougros. The color was between a pale yellow and a light golden. The nose was dominated by a light sherry aroma that blew off rather quickly. On the palate, once again a mild Sherry flavor was present. The minerality and acid of Chablis that I love were greatly diminished. I’m really not sure if this is the way this 15 year old wine should taste or not. And if it is, I’m pretty sure my preference would be 5 years younger.

I’ve really just stopped buying chard from anywhere but Oregon.

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I shun white Burgundy now.

I apologize if that seems too iconoclastic.

Well, maybe at restaurants.

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No change in my appreciation of maturity for white Burgs or any other wines. I just don’t experience it in white Burgs any more since I buy very few and don’t age those I do buy.

I think that the people who make white burgundy have mostly changed their practices and such. I think you are fine with anything from 2010 forward. That being said, I have not really tasted much of older white Burgundy


I am really sad that I can’t enjoy fine white Burgundy at 10 - 20 years of age. I substitute with Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnays, Savennieres, Roussannes from the south of France, Alsace and Alto Adige Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, but of course they are not the same. I love fresh white wine with bottle age and fully secondary character, it’s just become so much harder to find.

Dan Kravitz

Fevre is apparently one of the worst in that era (they have switched to Diam, and seem to have much less premox in recent years). I opened a 2004 Fevre Falmur tonight and it was quite oxidized (sour sherry). A pity, because the 2004 Fevre I had last year was excellent and fresh.

That said, yes, the threat of premox had turned me off from collecting white Burgundy, which I consider a considerable personal loss as I really like white Burgundy. I wish I had the capital to shrug at the odds.

That may well be. Yet as much as I love well-aged white Burgs, I’m not giving them another shot. Partly lack of confidence, partly my age.

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I definitely changed what I buy (and amount) and how long I keep it.


I still have a significant cellar of white burgundy dating back to 1999 - the results remained mixed with some beauties eg 04 Fevre Vaudesir, 07 Sauzet Combettes, 01 Ramonet Morgeot and some disasters that’s you 04 Sauzet Combettes, 05 DRC Montrachet, 05 Leflaive Pucelles etc. What I’ve never had is a premoxed Chardonnay under Stelvin or Diam suggesting that despite all the other concerns ( many with real validity when you speak to vignerons ) this a problem very much lessened by attention to the bottling process.

What is also clear to me is that there is ‘premox’ and there’s ‘advanced oxidation’ and they look different, smell different, taste different and are different, probably from day 1. What you describe sounds like premox with the dreaded sherry and dead apple taste. Advanced wines still show their origin unless completely gone and can give some pleasure but premox is premox.

Yes, I still buy and age white burg but only under Diam, Stelvin or ( with less enthusiasm ) wax seal. I avoid Boillot, Sauzet ( sadly ) and DRC Monty ( happy wife, happy life ) !

Yes, you have experienced a premoxed WB, so no, this is not how a 15 year old Chablis in a good vintage should taste. Unfortunately, Fevre, whose wines have always received excellent reviews upon release, has for years been a poster child for premox. Only after they switched to DIAM corks has the incidence decreased…supposedly close to zero?? But then again, some producers such as Leflaive and Jadot, I believe, switched to DIAM in 2014, so premox would only be setting in about now and over the next couple of years, and thus the verdict may still be out. I think Fevre switched all or most by 2010, so unless anyone out there has had premoxed Fevre’s after that, then perhaps the DIAM’s may have “solved”(or at least masked) the problem. i think most (but not all) people think the problem is multifactorial, but it seems like the most reasonable explanation for the variability from bottle to bottle within a case would point to cork variability…perhaps exposing an underlying more vulnerable wine to premox.

In any event, many of us have given up aging WB’s, and if you have not experienced the heights that an aged (but still fresh) WB can reach, you may not fully appreciate how depressing this situation has been for almost 20 years, and how resentful WB fans feel as they pour expensive dead and dying bottles down the drain. One approach is to only buy producers who have switched to DIAM and hope for the best. Some have switched to other varietals, but at least for me there is no good substitute that even comes close. And in my case I just buy lesser WB’s and drink them early…which is a real compromise…but I am considering going the DIAM route.

Right, Michael. That’s not what a non-premoxed 15 year old GC Chablis tastes like. Some would claim that you had an appropriately oxed Chablis at that age, and not pre-moxed, but that’s baloney.

If you haven’t had experience with aged white burg from before 95, I’m not sure how many folks know what a healthy mature white burg should taste like. Perhaps that’s being a little too extreme, as now and then a pristine bottle of 96 or 99 will slip through. But one thing for sure–an appropriately mature bottle of WB, even at 20-30 years of age, does not include sherry or baked browned apple notes.

Absolutely, though I admit I’m not sure exactly what your question is trying to get at :wink:!

Firstly, that Fevre should not yet have had sherry notes. There will be sound bottles of that wine which do not, though to an extent I think '04s are weaker as a vintage than some thought originally. A 1994 tasted in 2009 might have been equally tired - possibly in a different way - and people might not bat an eyelid at that.

Secondly, I appreciate correctly mature WBs that I come across even more now (that they are so rare) than I used to. For example, a lovely '01 Dauvissat Forets recently - not a grand wine, but showing that unique level of development (just moving to tertiary) that only comes after 15-20 years. Because it is so rare, and such a specific taste / flavour / complexity expression I value this very highly.

Thirdly, I keep most wines less long. Funnily enough, I tend to drink my GCs earlier in the main ('04s-'08s recently, some even younger) because I’m more reluctant to take the risk on such rare and pricey bottles. Many 1ers and Village I’m happier taking the risk, with great results from '01s and '02s recently but also the odd dud. In theory, of course, the GCs should age longer than the humble 1ers and Villages but I have absolutely not found this to be the case - with a failure (advanced / oxidising) rate in GCs at least as high as the “lesser” wines. Naturally, every now and again I will have a great bottle of GC that “could have gone another decade” (Carillon '05 BBM the other week) but instead of leaving my last hoping for that perfect maturity I will probably drink it in the next 12 months.

I agree with John. I’ve had properly aged white burgundy from prior to 1995 and it’s a great experience. It hardly ever happens these days.

I don’t know the basis of Mike Reff’s assertion that some change has occurred since 2010, so perhaps he’ll elaborate. That would mean that the Burgundians figured out what the problem was. Up until now, they’ve mostly just denied that a problem existed. If the Burgundians want us consumers back, they’ll admit the problem and then tell us what they did to fix it. Otherwise, I’m done dumping expensive white burgundies down the drain.

Sooo how can one tell just by looking at the bottle?

You would have to slip the capsule off, or check a website, or ask your retailer, I guess.

This is what I do, too.

The good news is that White Burgundies drink quite well in their youth these days. I realize they don’t develop the most haunting traits of very aged wines, but they’re otherwise still complex and tasty. It’s definitely not like the old days, when young White Burgs were searingly acidic in their youth.

I generally try to drink mine by about 5-6 years from the vintage date. You still get a few early premox bottles, but it’s mostly safe in that time range.

Robert, what are some producers making reasonably priced White Burgs with DIAM these days?

Some people claim they can tell by looking at the bottles. I do agree that you can see a relative difference by comparing the color against a strong light – I did this with some older white burgs I had a case of at one point, where you could hold two bottles of the same wine up and see that one was darker than the other, and indeed, that did turn out to be the premoxed one of the two.

But I couldn’t tell in absolute terms (e.g. looking at a single bottle to see if its premoxed). And even with relative differences, it doesn’t mean the lighter one isn’t premoxed, it might just be less dark than the other bottle.

Maybe with a lot of trial and error and experience, someone could actually get good at that? I don’t know.

I had presumed that Markus was asking how you could tell the the bottle had a diam cork.