Palo Alto Burg Dinner - Leroy, Dauvissat, Raveneau, Jadot, etc.

Got together with friends in Palo Alto recently for a Burgundy Dinner. It was a really great time to catch up with our southbay friends over some nice wine! The following are brief observations of all wines opened, listed in order of personal preference by flight. With the exception of the Sojourn Pinot Noir and Cabernet, all wines were pop and pour, no decant and served blind!

White Wine of the Night:
2004 Domaine William Fevre Les Clos

Red Wine of the Night:
1998 Domaine Leroy Savigny Les Beaune Les Narbantons

Sojourn Flight

Before moving on to the White and Red Burgundy, Craig Hasserot of Sojourn generously poured the current 2009 offering from his winery. All bottles were newly opened just prior to dinner.

2009 Sojourn Cellars Rodger’s Creek Pinot Noir - Hardwood spices, forest floor, firm structure and earthy. Very close call which showed better on this occasion, the Rogers Creek vs Gap’s Crown.

2009 Sojourn Cellars Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir - Clean blue fruits, deep, rich, riper palate and an exceptionally long finish. A friendly and approachable wine that could have easily been the top Sojourn Pinot this evening.

2009 Sojourn Cellars Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir - Initially thought it showed tighter on the palate, picked up steam in time. More blackberry leaning than the others, a complete wine that should age beautifully.

2009 Sojourn Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - Dusty, bright, creamy, cherry fruit, an easy drinking well made wine. Had a distinct character of its own relative to the other Sojourn Pinot Noirs.

Chablis Flight

Opened the night with three Grand Cru and one Premier Cru Chablis. Unfortunately a bottle of 2002 Vincent Dauvissat Les Preuses was corked and immediately pulled from the flight.

2004 Domaine William Fevre Les Clos - Crisp firm acidity, lime, ocean air, steely, tight, very slowly put on a little more weight over time. Thought the wine showed better than the last bottle tasted a year ago.

2005 Vincent Dauvissat Les Preuses - Full bodied, more intense yeast, salty, mineral, stone, the wine had perfect balance. Should age beautifully and continue to improve in the coming years.

2005 Vincent Dauvissat Les Clos - Similar to the Les Preuses, a much more fully bodied wine than the Fevre. Good acidity, oyster shell, citrus, no question a young wine, but strikingly approachable.

2001 Domaine François Raveneau Butteaux - A medium bodied wine, was more creamy, bread, and more lemon citrus based than the others. The color was advanced, deeper straw colored and fully mature.

Wine Intermission

While the Red Burgundy flight was being organized, a blind wine intermission was opened and shared with the group. The guessing game began, what year? what region? etc.? The group quickly called it out correctly as a Rhone.

1997 Tardieu Laurent Hermitage - Animal, game, smoke, menthol and a little brett, the nose on this wine was foxy and interesting, highly expressive. It was a cleaner style Rhone, with good balance. A very nice wine!

Red Burgundy Flight

Similar to the Chablis flight, unfortunately an off bottle of 2000 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Clos du Chateau Des Ducs was poured. The wine was funky and chemical, clearly something wrong and quickly pulled from the table.

1998 Domaine Leroy Savigny Les Beaune Les Narbantons - Easily the red wine of the night, showed rich blueberry fruit and mint in a silky, clean and pure wine. Grand Cru quality in a Premier Cru. Simple outstanding!

2002 Frederic Magnien Savigny Les Beaune - Ripe raspberry fruit, full bodied, extracted, nice balance. Showed very well, but a distant second place after the Leroy Les Narbantons.

1989 Louis Jadot Corton - Initially clean, light, and not very inspiring, improved considerably in time becoming more earthy, mineral, underbrush, and tree bark.

1990 Maison Leroy Chassagne Montrachet Rouge - High acidity and funky, did not find the wine appealing. Did not spend a lot of time with the wine.

A few other wines were poured at the end of the evening: 2002 Copain Dennison Pinot Noir, 2002 Faiveley Les Saint Georges Cuvee de Sires de Vergy, 2008 Sojourn Home Ranch Cabernet and 2008 Sojourn Beckstoffer Georges III Cabernet. Like the final Leroy tasted unfortunately, there was not enough time to spend with the wine to give a fair impression! Hopefully others that attended the dinner will chime in with their thoughts?

Cheers to a really good time! [cheers.gif]

Too bad on the Lafarge, it’s a great wine from an underappreciated vintage. The note on the Raveneau has me thinking off bottle as a 2000 of the same wine was still quite young though very expressive. I guess '01 in Chablis was just a weak vintage. I also didn’t know that Mugnier made an SLB. Very cool. Do you know if Mugnier still makes the SLB and if he so, does he get any 1er Cru fruit?

Thanks for the notes, Nick.

That '04 Fevre Clos can be really stunning. Two of the three times I have had it, they were in the running for white wine of the year for me. The third time? Prem-ox’d! [soap.gif]

that 98 leroy is OUTSTANDING “qpr” in comparison to other leroy. The two times i’ve opened it in the last month it’s been just off the charts good.

Gregg - Sure you looked at this later, and thought ooops! It was a 2002 Frederic Magnien SLB, not Mugnier. :slight_smile: A very nice wine, no question. Interesting about the Raveneau, in the group standings, it came out as second favorite. Thought it was a good wine in a very good flight, next to the other wines, thought it did not shine as bright.

Steven - The 04 was awesome IMO, sorry to hear about the pre-mox on your last bottle, little scary to hear that in an 04! Interesting note, the full group thought it the least favorite wine in the flight! Tend to like Chablis on the younger side, enjoy the crisp youthfulness, especially when it comes to Fevre (have opened too many early 2000 premox bottles from this producer).

Charlie - Absolutely agree! Have had a few different years, and this one was outstanding. No question wine of the night, and finally I matched the group consensus! ha

Bummer on the 1990 Maison Leroy Chassagne Montrachet Rouge…since I have one. Who would think a '90 Leroy ANYTHING would suck?

Agree on the '04 Fevre Les Clos! Needs good air to really shine though.

Nice notes, sounds like a very good evening. If at a restaurant, where did you hold this event?


QPR and Leroy are funny together, particularly since the 2002 vintage. I think the Narbantons is $250ish, which has to make it the most expensive Savigny Les Beaune out there. For $50 more, I can have DRC Echezeaux, which I much prefer. I have a small pile of Leroy wines that I bottom fished from auction and I have enjoyed drinking them, but I think the wines in the low and middle tiers are hyper inflated (maybe in the distribution chain), so backfill or hoard your stash.



In my experience, it is not altogether uncommon for Maison Leroy bottlings to disappoint. Part of the cause, IMO, is that the wines span the spectrum of negociant activity from purchased fruit (pretty sure they do this sometimes; maybe just must or wine in barrel) to purchased bottled wine (where the only thing Leroy does is select it and put a label on it). There is, of course, a strong reputation of quality here, so you pay a premium for the Leroy label and it has name recognition. I suspect a second factor is that the popularity and recognition of the Leroy name means that many of these wines have extra mileage and possible damage in their lives. Finally, I have had plenty of bottle variation in the 1990 Bourgogne Rouge (way back when I bought a bunch of it in the late '90s - long since drunk up). There may have been something else going on at Leroy in that era that leads to some variability of the experience. This might give you some hope that your bottle doesn’t suck.

Time to go glass half full and find out?


Palo Alto…aah…some of the best times of my life. Lived at the corner of Ramona and Forest for 8 years. I won’t bore you with that, other than that I met and married my wife there. Proposed to her at “La Tour”, a restaurant in the “high rise” in Palo Alto. I had arranged for the guy playing the Stradivarius, yadah, yadah, yadah. Great memories.
Anything these Palo Alto guys say is spot-on in my mind! [cheers.gif]

Colin grouphug

P.S. This group-hug is my family…the Stradivarius worked. Twenty-six years and counting flirtysmile (until she gets sick of me). [shock.gif]

Apropos Maison Leroy, I believe that when Lalou bought the Charles Noëllat estate it came with a huge store of bottles, which she had the legal right simply to slap a Maison Leroy label on and sell. The variation in quality in the Maison bottlings is indeed wild, from the sublime to the off-putting, all equally expensive.

Ha! I saw the Fred M…and that’s all she wrote. [pwn.gif]

Andrew - It was at a restaurant called Gravity Wine Bar (544 Emerson St). First time at this place, the food was very good and affordable, excellent service, and they were BYO wine friendly. Think they are fairly new, we had the upper level to ourselves.

Colin - Nice story! The Palo Alto folks are very sharp and experienced in Burgundy. Nice to see threads of folks interested in getting into Burgundy, cannot think of a better way to come up the steep learning curve then to start a focused group like the one they have in Palo Alto (and we have in Sonoma).

Along the same lines as others, think some of the Maison Leroy wines can be hit or miss, IMO, mostly hit on the PC and GC wines tasted to date, far more variability at the village level. In terms of the village wines, tend to have better luck with younger whites, than reds of all years. And curious enough, have experienced a fair share of bottle to bottle variation as well.