Recent TNs: Piuze, Lafon, Leroy, Rougeard, Mugnier, Lamarche, Keller

From a final dinner at Ripple last week with Tim O’Rourke, marked by terrific food and his remarkable generosity.

2013 Patrick Piuze Chablis Grand Clos Les Clos
Focused, rich, with tons of Chablis character. A little smoky richness on the finish buffered by some serious acidity. Really compelling wine with lots of upside, but easy to get lost in today.

2010 Comtes Lafon Meursault 'Clos de la Barre’
So young it’s almost raw. Oodles of high-quality oak, but a massive, elegant, mineral-laden wine with terrific acid cut showing through the wood. Very ripe, but unmistakably Burgundian. It’s going to take a long while to integrate the oak, but this will be spectacular when that day arrives in…honestly, I’m not sure how long. Maybe 10 years? Hard to play prem-ox roulette, though.

2015 Domaine Leroy Bourgogne Rouge
On the first night, this was all about density and ripeness. Like burying your face in a bowl full of crushed dark raspberries, cherries, and violets. So much baby fat. But on day two, far more elegant. The violets are still there, and the fruit is still ripe, but everything has come into alignment and gained focus. A while back I opened a couple of '99 Leroy basic burgundies that were spectacular. I have no doubt these will be just as good in time.

2008 Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny Les Poyeux
This is so young, but oh so elegant. Beautiful smoky Cab Franc fruit. Concentrated, ripe, great length and focus. Doesn’t immediately knock your socks off, but a subtle greatness that sneaks up on you.

2007 Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny Le Bourg
Good but not a great as its younger stablemate. Richer but lacking the focus and elegance of the '08 Les Poyeux. I don’t have a ton of experience with Rougeard, and may have judged it a bit harshly given its price and scarcity.

2009 J.F. Mugnier Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos de les Maréchale
This was an interesting experience. On Day 1, it showed superbly concentrated dark fruit and a field’s worth of violets. Terrific balance, length, and some hints of earth. The considerable structure was entirely buried beneath the copious fruit. On Day 2, I was surprised that the fruit turned a bit candied, even liqueur-like. It was never over the top, but will clearly need a lot of time to gain a classic profile.

The food at Ripple was really, really good, and I was glad to hear that the chef has plans to open a new place in the near future.

Then last week at Gramercy Tavern:

2010 Francois Lamarche Vosne Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, La Croix Rameau
Definitely a terroir signature here - like RSV-lite. Lacking the power you’d really like to see from a VR 1er cru, it did show the beautiful perfume of its grander neighbor. It might flesh out a little with time, but will never be a big wine. That said, it seems like Lamarche may be starting to make the most of its spectacular holdings.

Lastly, on a random summer Tuesday:

2016 Weingut Keller ‘Limestone’ Riesling
Beautiful purity and cut set against just the right amount of sweetness. Lives up to its minerally moniker.



Nice wines! Thanks for the notes. I haven’t had anything recent from Lamarche…

Thanks for the notes.

Those 2008 Rougeards have impressed me, too.
However, I generally find young Le Bourg to be less accessible and more difficult than a comparable-vintage Poyeux. Could be the clay versus sand thing. They both age very well, though.

I assume due to the david beating the goliath


sorry…i was reacting without a filter of tact…

I see 4 potentially great, ageable Burgs…the oldest not yet even 8 years old…and I think “ouch”…what a shame they’ll never get to show why they’re considered potentially great. I realize that this is just my personal point of view…but…when 4 are reported on…like this, I wince. I also don’t think one can tell all that much about such wines at such a young age.

normally…i’d just ignore and move on…but this one struck me, I guess.


I thought you stubbed your little toe while swinging around the chair to catch a better look… [tease.gif]

Stuart, if you have a cellar full of 15-30+ year old premier and grand crus, more power to you. Not all of us do. The Piuze, Lafon and Mugnier were off the list at Ripple - on deep discount because the restaurant was closing down. Should we have left them alone so as not to violate some Platonic ideal drinking window?

And for the Lamarche - you surely must know that this estate’s rep has been pretty poor a long time. I bought and tried one interesting wine from a more recent vintage to see if rumors of its return to form are true, and to try a rather rare VR premier cru. In any case, the Croix Rameau didn’t have the structure to improve for the 15-20 years one might expect from its terroir. Had I waited the typically recommended amount of time, I would have been in for a disappointment.

Assuming one is not among the privileged few to taste at the domaines, how would you imagine anyone go about finding wines they like before investing deeply other than by opening a few bottles young? Needless to say, I disagree about what you can learn at the early stages, but does your critique imply you only buy from domaines from whence you’ve tasted fully mature wines? How does this account for changing generations of winemakers, or changes of philosophy for the same winemaker (e.g. Grivot), or replanting of vineyards, or new sources of fruit, or entirely new domaine? I

Thanks for the insight, Ramon - I have only a handful of experiences with these wines, so good to know. Someone else told me that the Poyeux is generally more elegant compared to Le Bourg’s power, and so it’s also a matter of stylistic preference. Would be interested for your take.

Indeed - the Croix Rameau was promising enough that I took a flyer on some '15s figuring that even if they’re still producing lighter wines, the vintage character will help provide a bit more stuffing. Fingers are crossed.

Serious questions, serious response, Max.

What you drink./consume is up to you. None of mine or anyone’s business. When you post on that, however, things change. You are making a statement…and opening yourself up to opinions.

When I read your post …leading off with a not yet 4 year old grand cru chablis…I winced. Your note in no ways suggests the limitations of what you are reporting on. A little oblivious…to me. It continued.

I don’t advocate drinking only great wines that are mature. But, it does bother me to see great wines that are barely toddlers…being reported on as if they have much going on to hint of why they are considered great wines.

If you really want to learn, I guess…there are ways to do so, without visiting the domaines (which almost never serve “mature” wines, just barrel samples.) But…you have to make an effort…and I didn’t see any Grivot in your mix…or ANY lesser wines…that might make me wince less.

And…I think there is a certain irony that you had them at “Ripple”, which was, in my youth, the emblem of rot-gut wine for the masses…maybe undeserved, but…emblematic.

Perhaps you might want to make clearer your reason for posting…perhaps not. Post what you want… and I guess people like me will extrapolate what they can from such postings. After all, my reaction was just one word. I didn’t give it loads of thought…or criticism. But, other than reporting on your fun…I didn’t take much from those notes.

Stuart, whilst I understand your criticism, I think it’s a little unfair. First, I think you can’t complain about any white burgundy being drunk too young these days thanks to premox, particularly Lafon. Second, young burgundies in restaurants are a different kettle of fish - even if they aren’t consumed in restaurants that are soon to close. Few restaurants have deep enough cellars to serve well aged examples for sensible prices. If you don’t want to limit yourself to beer at all but a few restaurants, you’re going to have to sometimes drink young wine when you’re out to eat. I had a 2011 Mortet Lavaux St Jacques this weekend in a restaurant that was very enjoyable. I wouldn’t advocate popping open yours if you have any at home (and indeed all of my 2011 Burgundy is in offsite storage) but it gave me a glimpse into the wine’s potential and I very much enjoyed it. Finally, I find it helpful when I read notes from someone who has tried a wine I own before I would broach my first bottle to see what state it’s in.

Max - was the Leroy a domaine or maison wine?

Max, appreciate the notes. Particularly glad to see someone chime in on the 2015 Leroy Bourgogne rouge as I bought a case (which is “going long” for me).

I caught that too in the OP – isn’t all of Leroy’s Bourgogne rouge Maison Leroy?

Stuart - You’re being ridiculous. Max clearly knows what he’s drinking. He’s under no obligation to qualify his notes to address your particular concerns.

Interesting as I bought the 2012 and 2015 Croix Rameau. Do I need to age them 15-20 years or should I drink them earlier given their lack of structure and stuffing?

Sometime Berserker Claude Kolm, who is generally very stingy with points, has given the '15 Lamarches very high scores on his blog:

Also the '13s:

I can’t find his posting on the '12s.

Claude has been reviewing those wines – and other Burgundies – since at least the 90s, so he knows them well.

Whatever you do, please check with Stuart first, so we don’t have to endure this again.

Max, as a relative newcomer to the board, you should know that Stuart has been dumping on good threads for years, just as he has yours. He single-handedly chased away Tom Blach, who was a valuable contributor to this board. Tom provided more good material about Burgundy in a paragraph than Stuart has in seven years. As an example of Stuart’s dizzying intellect, he maintains that those ITB should not be allowed to post about wines they sell or about wines that compete with wines they sell, i.e., they should not be able to post here. So, the likes of Jeremy Holmes would have to stop posting. Wouldn’t that be great?

Is Claude still active? I know you are his biggest sycophant, John, so I deduce he must be. Haven’t even heard his name mentioned in years. Someone did tell me that you and he traveled together a lot…years ago. Is that true?