TN: 2007 Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin

Bah. I suspect many producers make tough, age-requiring Cortons, because they think that is how they are supposed to be. (Along the same lines as your argument that everybody thinks Chambolle should taste like Mugnier)

I had a stunning red-fruited, delicate, 2008 Corton Les Perrieres last week. Age-worthy, for certain. Will it improve? Little doubt. But “needs time”? No way. It was my wine of the month.

To become drinkable and to become mature are two different things. The new style Faiveley Corton is not only drinkable, it is enjoyable at the age of 6. The 2007 is nicely structured, full of fruit and perfectly balanced. Not mature but very enjoyable. The 1999 is not even drinkable at the age of 14 due to ferocious tannins.

Hans, the 1990 was beautifully drinkable at age 6. It didn’t remain so.

Brady, is that not a non-sequitur? there’s nothing wrong with it happening to be drinkable at that age, but a Corton that isn’t deserves no opprobrium at all. Corton comes out tough when you don’t interfere with it, that’s all. One can perfectly well intervene to make a more approachable wine, if that’s what’s wanted.

2007 is a completely different animal though.

The same arguments are used to describe Pommard. Masculine, powerful and rustic. It certainly does not need to be that. In the hands of a great wine maker it can be the opposite.

Or perhaps the opposite is true? Perhaps the intervention makes it tough, and gentler, less extractive winemaking shows the true terroir? Who knows? Certainly not I.

I was merely responding to your statement that Corton always needs time. Like everything else burgundian, “always” is a tough label to apply.

Corton is a very slow maturing wine. Perhaps the slowest in the whole of Burgundy. That does not mean that it should be unpleasant to drink as a young wine. The new Faiveley wines are much more pleasant and balanced to drink as young wines than the old style. I believe in the philosophy that the better balance a wine has from the beginning the more likely it will be balanced when it is fullt mature.

Hoping a '90 Charmes Chambertin shows well for an upcoming tasting. Grabbed the last bottle available at retail.

It is hard to really know anything, as you point out, but this seems to me more of a certainty than most.
Corton always needs time, though it may show well at various points on the way.

You are welcome to any belief that you wish, Hans.The idea of balance in wine seems increasingly abstract to me.
What I do wonder is how much experience you have with young Faiveley from say 1985-2005? they often took years to close, so that a five or even ten year old wine could be quite delightfully accessible. When closed, though, they are undoubtedly pretty rebarbative. As is, interestingly, the 06 Clos Des Cortons, from a time when most of the changes had already happened.

So what do I do with the following Faiveley wines:

05 Mazis-Chambertin
05 Latricieres-Chambertin
05 Clos Vougeot
06 Mazis-Chambertin
09 Corton-Clos des Cortons

I am sure that Tom will say they all need time, and I am not doubting that, but I am looking for some more specific suggestions. Also, I have never tasted any of them; they are just resting in storage. What would be the best one to try now if I had to pop one?

No idea, Michael, though if I had to guess the 09 may be accessible. The 05s from here are phenomenal. I wouldn’t expect much joy now but it is just possible they may show brilliantly.

Regarding the 2006 Clos des Cortons I can inform you that it was made the same way as the old style wines, except that it had the new barrel maker Francois Freres instead of Remond. The new style of wine making came with the 2007 vintage.

Thank you Hans. Did you have much experience of drinking the wines of the old regime young?

I have had the vintages from 1996 young and always found them too austere.

Some were, certainly, but not 97,01,02,or 04. 01 has been glorious until quite recently(don’t touch them now), 02 remains approachable and some 03s are already starting to reveal their glory in my limited but not completely insignificant sampling. I wish I had more 97s, a recent Combe D’Orveaux was simply sensational.