TN: Getting your ringer bell rung

2013 White Burgundy Tasting with the monthly group. This was an interesting one for me for a couple of reasons.

  • First, I really didn’t like 2013 compared to other recent white burg vintages - to me, they were excessively green and lacked the kind of density I look for. This tasting reconfirmed that for me - some pretty wines, but not my thing.
  • Second, boy did I fall hard for the ringer.

Order from Group’s First to Last

Paul Pillot Chassagne Montrachet 1er Les Grands Ruchottes - Group’s 1st (29 points), my 2nd. Easily the best wine on the table in any sort of objective sense - with a ton of chalk and density. Lip-smacking, which is what I like in my white burgs. Chalk, chalk, chalk, and lots of extract. I don’t rank this first because it has a ton of sulfur - even 3 hours after it was opened, the nose is impenetrably sulfury. But this has a ton of promise if it doesn’t fry. I wrongly assumed this was a PYCM.

Francis Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Les Perrieres - Group’s 2nd (36 points), my 3rd. Lovely bottle. Classic nose of lemon curd, French oak. This has a fairly rich midpalate but enough chalk and extract so that it doesn’t get sloppy. Lemony and delicious.

Domaine Ramonet Chassagne Montrachet - Group’s 3rd (41 points), my 6th. Very green, almost grassy. Minty. I had (correct) suspicions about this bottle. Lemon fruit and some chalk on the finish. Too green for my taste but I can see why this would be a very nice wine for some.

Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet Les Ancegnieres - Group’s 4th (46 points), my 7th. Green, minty nose, more green apple than lemon. Touch of cream. Oddly soft and short on the palate - missing the back half of the wine. Not enough oomph for me.

Paul Pernot Puligny Montrachet 1er Clos de Folatieres - Group’s 5th (50 points), my 5th. Whoa?! Flamboyant! Tropical, ripe. Papaya, passion fruit, some lemon. Whoa is this ripe. Even a touch alcoholic. A little more oak than some. I wrote down “Is this a ringer?” Was stunned to learn this was the Pernot. Probably would be the best wine in a CA tasting as a ringer but seems out of place here. Everyone seemed to agree that this had a very unusual profile. Across the board, I’ve had bad or odd 2013’s from Pernot.

Chantereves Chassagne Montrachet 1er Morgeot - Group’s T6th (51 points), my 4th. Holy cow, is this appley. I wrote down “green apple like a laser!” Good but very simple - this is missing extract and minerality, its tasty but its very clean/fruit focused. Some of that may be the vineyard - never liked Morgeot for whites. A touch green.

Domaine Hudelot-Baillet Hautes Cotes de Nuits - Group’s T6th (51 points), my 8th. Anonymous, high acid. Lemon vinagrette. John Morris snarks that I don’t like high acid whites (which stings a little more after the next reveal). Perhaps. Tastes like muscadet.

RINGER Domaine Carneros La Terre Promise Vineyard 2013 - Group’s 8th (56 points), my 1st. Oops. I thought, “finally, a 2013 that doesn’t taste like a 2013”. Indeed. Less green than the others. Lemon and cream on the nose, some oak but not over the top. Broader midpalate. Salty finish. I thought there was plenty of acid here, but others suggested maybe acidified. Not my finest hour.

Boy, there’s nothing more embarrassing than enjoying a wine made in a style you prefer.

I liked these more than David, but he often doesn’t like young wines with substantial acids as much as I do. I didn’t find anything remotely green in any of these.

What I did find was lots of oak. And I loved it. This is chardonnay, after all. What’s to cover up, really? As I said at the tasting, I felt at times like I was grading these on the oak – which was differing degrees of very fine oak. And they all had sufficient acid. No New World buttered popcorn oak. More like freshly sawn oak. Good French oak.

Whether I liked them $65-$110 worth is another story.

Decanted into serving bottles about 90 minutes ahead. Repoured the refrigerated remains after an hour or so of tasting and ranking.

Listed in my ranking order.

Francis Carillon: Puligny Montrachet - Les Perrieres ($110) – my 1st, group’s 2nd, DZ’s 3rd.
Nice oak on the nose. Chewy, lovely texture. Nice tension of fruit and acid. Lovely oak on the finish. 92+ for me.

Domaine Ramonet: Chassagne Montrachet ($64) – my 2nd, group’s 3rd, DZ’s 6th.
Some oak, lovely texture in the mouth. Minerals her. A bit less concentrated than some, but lovely. Minerals at the back, too. 91 for me.

Domaine Hudelot-Baillet: Hautes Cotes de Nuits ($25) – my 3rd, group’s 6th, DZ’s 8th.
Sweet oak on the nose, pale hue. Good tension and some minerals in the mouth, with minerals in the finish. 90 for me, and a great value. Even the people who rated this low would agree it’s a great value, I think.

Pierre Yves Colin-Morey: Chassagne Montrachet - Les Ancegnieres ($65) – My 4th, group’s 4th, DZ’s 7th.
More pale color. Less intense oak on the nose than some. Medium body, nice acid. Less distinctive than some. ~89 for me.

Chantereves: Chassagne Montrachet - Morgeot ($65) – my 5th, group’s 6th, DZ’s 4th.
Fresh apples on the nose – a rarity in this line-up. In the mouth, some spice and a tad less acid than most – fairly lush. 88 for me, though on retasting I thought I underrated this a tad.

Paul Pernot: Puligny Montrachet - Clos de Folatieres ($90) – my 6th, group’s 5th, DZ’s 5th.
Gorgeous oak on the nose. Then some pineapple and grass. Definitely not typical. Rich, but with good acid. Peaches and tropical fruit notes in the mouth, and peach on the finish. 87 for me.

Domaine Carneros - La Terre Promise Vineyard ($45) – my 7th, group’s 8th (by a fair margin), DZ’s 1st.
There was a caramel note on the nose not found in the other wines, and it was a tad softer (lower acid) than the other seven, but not something you’d call out as Californian. (The tasting sheet handed out at the beginning showed a PYCM St. Aubin En Remilly and no one suspected a ringer.) Fairly rich but balanced. A very nice wine and a damned fine ringer. 87 for me.

Paul Pillot Chassagne Montrachet 1er Les Grands Ruchottes ($80) – my 8th, group’s 1st (by a wide margin), DZ’s 2nd.
I scored this too low, but for me this was an outlier, along with the Dom. Carneros and the Pernot, though for different reasons. There was something odd and funky in the nose – a little chemical or something. Also, the finish seemed astringent. There were no leftovers of this so I couldn’t retaste it later or the next day. Maybe my glass wasn’t perfectly clean or something.

I agree that there was something funky on the nose on the Pillot - that was why it was my second instead of an easy first, with that fabulously concentrated/extracted palate.