Sarah’s recent post on the '99 d’Angerville Champans prompted me to pull three vintages of the Ducs to see how they are developing. Generally speaking, the d’Angerville wines take a long time to come around, and when they do, they are wonderful expressions of Volnay. Mature examples provide the elegance and purity characteristic of Volnay, with a fragrant perfume and silky texture that are simply sensational. The bottles were decanted for three hours and consumed over the next two, and shared by six persons over a dinner of grilled quail, smashed red potatoes and sauteed spinach. The '85 was bought in France and the '98 and '02 sourced locally. By the way, I did drink the '99 Champans on release, but other than hinting at its potential, did not give much.
'85 Ducs - Bricking throughout. Complex and fragrant bouquet of damp earth, red and blue fruits, mineral, iron, crushed leaves and flowers. The aromatics soar from the glass, one moment revealing earth and iron, the next subtle smells of cherries and red fruit. A note of rose petals emerges with more time in the glass. Medium bodied and elegant, with flavors of sweet cherry fruit and and minerals that fill the mouth and linger. All of this is enhanced by a silky mouthfeel that is utterly seductive. Ready to go.
'98 Ducs - Dark ruby and showing no signs of age. Very little on the nose, but vigorous swirling reveals hints of red fruit, earth and rose petals. Mouthfilling and meaty, with just the slightest impression of red cherries. Tannins really kick in, exacerbating the chunky mouthfeel. Not close to drinkable, even with food. Check back in ten years.
'02 Ducs - Medium ruby with no signs of age. Intense aromas of earth, ripe red and dark fruit, minerals and iron. The latter is especially pronounced. Medium bodied and starting to show some elegance, with tastes of bright red cherries and strawberries. Good length but some tannins emerge on the back end. Developing a smooth texture. Surprisingly drinkable with a long decant, but this one is for the long haul.
For my Volnays (or Pommard for that matter) I prefer Voillot. Just purchased two and a half mixed cases of the 2015. Opened a 2015 Village Volnay. Very elegant wine. Sensual. Just the way I want it.
They make a terrific Champans. We tasted the 2005 Voillot Champans earlier this year. Beautiful wine drinking quite well now but with a long life ahead of it.
Peter and Nowell–That hasn’t been my experience with the 98–I’ve had it a couple of times in the past three years and each time it had good engaging fruit and a fairly typical Ducs nose. It’s hallmark has been somewhat coarser tannins than usual, so sitting on it longer does make sense.
Thanks, John. It seems most of our collected '98s still need a few more years, but I’m always happy to read a hopeful note. I’ve also recently noted coarser than usual tannins in some other '98s from climats that are generally elegant.
I read Burhound’s comments on Clos de Ducs 2005 and 2006. There was something now quite right with the 2006 - score of 86? so I should perhaps get rid of that vintage. And the 2005 is tannic and he suggest it should be opened after 2030.
As always, illuminating and very enjoyable to read.
Interesting on the '06 Sanjay; I have some of his Champans from that year, which according to CT (and also Meadows) is turning into a very nice drink. I wondered what happened to the Ducs, which I thought was supposed to be the best of these.
Pearl and Ash had the '99 on their list, for a relative steal. Still remember that bottle with pleasure. Young, could have gone way longer–I think we decanted–but definitely giving at the time. Lovely drink.
Peter, thank you for the good notes here and for several others recently. 30 years or so seems about right for most red Burgundies, and that 85 Ducs sounds pretty much perfect. For my business, I would like to have better access to d’Angerville at importer release prices (I believe that the Rare Wine Co. handles on the west coast) but don’t, so must content myself with Voillot. I don’t drink much d’Angerville, but I think of Voillot as having a paler fruit/savory profile, perhaps along the lines of Gouges. That said, it sounds like the 85 Ducs had plenty of autumnal action going on.
Thanks for the kind words, Martin. I do agree that 30 years (and even longer) is when many red Burgundies show their virtues, and the '85 Ducs was just that. I’ve got lots of '85s and '78s that I’ll start drinking later in the year when the weather turns cooler, and I’ll post notes. And indeed, this bottle had lots of autumnal qualities, and truly evocative of the pleasures of aged Burgundy.