TNs : Older Grand Cru Burgs from disrespected negoc

Recently a trove of Burgs showed up on the doorstep of my favorite wine shop. A distributor we had thought was long gone turned out to still be around and had back stocks of older wines, all from negociants that nobody gives a second look. I posted in the Nuits-St-Georges thread about a lovely magnum of '85 Lupé-Cholet Château Gris - which turned out to be the only bottle. Last night, the shop put on a tasting of likely quality wines of which there were reasonable quantity to sell.

Openers :

1996 Roux Père & Fils Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères : Light color, nice waxiness and melted citrus. A little mineral at the edges. Not complex or special, but nice.

1986 Pierre André Côte de Nuits Villages : (I had a bottle of this a few weeks ago as a bellweather for the storage conditions of the wines. It showed much better.) Tired and drawn, though not abused. Slight oxidative notes and tart. Drinkable as generic aged red wine.

Whites :

1989 Pierre André Corton-Charlemagne : Slightly funky oxidative / madeira nose - some speculation as to corked. Really, really light on color. Disjointed, odd textures. After a couple of hours, it reformed and was a pleasant albeit extremely weak wine. Decent enough after the air, but not really Corton-Charlemagne at all. (This is probably the one wine that is not negoc.)

1988 Lupé-Cholet Bâtard-Montrachet : Somewhat gold in color. Lots of gunsmoke on the nose which did not ever leave even after some hours. Nice middle with fruits and acid-based light structure. Watery finish. Evolved the structure with time into something quite pretty, almost lacey. Minerally notes weave in and out. Very good.

1988 Lupé-Cholet Montrachet : Definitely the most enigmatic and compelling wine of the tasting. Started off with a blowsy caramel and honey nose. Gold color. Peaches. Some mineral, but beeswax and sweetness. Way too light in structure to carry such flavors. Then a couple of hours had it completely shed all of the dross and reveal an incredible amalgam of tropical fruits, mineral and a real punch (not a slug, but a surgical strike.) Long finish which wove into the tongue and then emerged elsewhere. Beautiful.

Reds :

1979 Antonin Rodet Griottes-Chambertin : Light nose and color. Nice body with a tautness to it. Crisp and clear on the edges. Some tart fruit and a slightly woody finish. Quickly lost the story, found it for a brief window and then fully lost it. Not awful, not very Griottes at all either.

1979 Antonin Rodet Chambertin-Clos-de-Bèze : (first bottle had insectcide-y nose and we pitched) Slightly old nose and like texture to start. Good light color. Prune and power - not integrating. Then a nice tenderness with better fruit, iron and soil. Oscillated back and forth between those places for the rest of the evening. At peaks, very solid, even Bèze-y with a good power and some sweetness. Certainly a fascinating wine and overall good experience.

1981 Antonin Rodet Le Musigny : Darker than the other two, though not really dark. Gorgeous sweet nose like mincemeat pie with meat, spice, dried fruits. Suave and silky with a great push. Balanced. Not a lot power, but the most complete wine of the tasting and the best dry-down with harmonies. Lovely stuff.


what a fun tasting. I would have loved it. Thanks for posting.

This looks like a blast. When we go to Bern’s as a group, we try to do a night like this. (Recently we have been defeated by the Bordeaux lovers) Old negociant wines only. Major fun. Cheers.

1989 Corton Charlemagnes had a problem with oxidation…prematurely, too…and way before the phenomenon was labeled. I made one producer taste some of his 1989s there, in 2001…and he finally acknowledged the issue, after opening two bottles with us…his '95s were all oxidized, too. And, he candidly told me that '99 was too highly cropped in both colors to be a great vintage; he said to watch out, through the hype…of course, he is talking about an “accross the board” criterion.

Thanks. It was pretty cool. There was some question as to number of available bottles, but I am hopefully going to get some of the Montrachet, Beze, Musigny and Batard.

@Stuart - My immediate thought on the Corton was oxidized but the color showed absolutely no sign of it. Maybe the extraction of color was so low, there was nothing to oxidize in that regard (while flavor compounds did oxidize.) It was odd and your information confirms my intention to not waste any more time/money on it.