Seven of us got together a while back to have dinner together and drink some white Burgundy, as has become our custom at least once a year. We didn’t particularly pre-plan any flights or anything, but the wines pretty naturally fell into logical flights.
2009 Domaine Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. This presents an airy, chalk-laden nose that features light and lilting aromas of lemon, grapefruit, green apple, seashells and limestone, along with some pretty white flower overtones. It’s sleek and spherical in the mouth, with more limpid weight that one might expect based on the aromatic profile. The overall mouthfeel and texture are excellent and the flavors of yellow apple, pear, melon and tangy lemon leave a nice impression.
2009 Domain Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. This one is a bit more grounded on the nose, with clean aromas of spiced pears, apples, chalk dust, fresh herbs and graphite leading the way. On the palate, it’s a tad more luscious and concentrated than its flight-mate, with a fanned-out fruit profile of melon, pear, apple and mixed citrus. The acidity is a bit squinchy at the end, leaving a clean juicy final note but perhaps suggesting that a tad more cellar time wouldn’t be a bad thing. On the whole, this was my favorite in the flight, with a bit more body and flavor intensity.
2000 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc. Jud put this fascinating flight together for us from his cellar, and in many ways it was the centerpiece of the evening. We started with the 2000, which features appealing leesy undertones on the nose that provide a lovely base to the core aromas of butterscotch, hazelnut, spiced pear and baked apple wafting up out of the glass in fine layers. In the mouth, it displays poised balance, great tension and a modestly languid texture all working together quite nicely with the flavors of lemon ball, apple, pear, nutmeg and baking spices. I wish it was a bit longer on the finish, but the finishing kick of butterscotch and fine spice notes makes up for any deficiency there. This is a lovely wine all around, though I tend to think it’s time to drink up fairly soon to get full enjoyment from it. For me, it was my second-favorite of the flight.
2002 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc. Here one finds aromas of butterscotch, baked apples, herbs and lots of fun barrel spices to consider. It’s not quite as complex or layered as the 2000 but it hits many pretty notes that invite the taster right in. On the palate, I find it softer and more open-knit than the 2000, without quite the same energy level. However, it’s generously full-flavored and pleasingly fanned out across the mid-palate with rich spiced pear, apple and hazelnut flavors that taste quite nice. Everything is in its proper place here, and the wine is drinking very nicely now, but I just didn’t find as much excitement factor here as I did elsewhere in the flight.
2005 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc. This wine is very generous and giving on the nose, with really nice aromas of vanilla bean, yellow apple, yellow tropical fruit, hard nougat and frangelico coating the nostrils. In the mouth, it has a fun exotic streak to it, delivering ripe and lusciously expressive flavors of vanilla paste, chopped nut, yellow tropical fruit and fresh-shaved nutmeg. There’s a great sense of roundness to the wine and though it is pretty full-scale with fruit, it also displays a great mineral streak and sneaky acidic cut down deep. This was my wine of the flight.
2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc. The last wine in the flight is decidedly paler in color when compared to the previous 3 selections. It’s much tighter on the nose, too, with some orange blossom, apple, alpine meadow, graphite and cold butter aromas that are tense, taut and still fairly tightly-coiled inward. In the mouth, though, it is extremely tasty and showing more of itself than on the nose. It’s more purely apple and pear-fruited, without quite so much nut and spice tones as one finds in the older wines. It has classy texture and weight to it, with creamy flavors already showing some cascading effect. There’s nice character here, good internal tension, and loads of concentrated flavor. As soon as the nose catches up to the palate, this will be really excellent.
2002 Domaine Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot. This wine comes across as younger than it is, I think, starting with the crisp and controlled bouquet of lemon candy, steel, chalk, graphite, seashell and dark oily nuts. In the mouth, it’s still rather toothy and tacky-textured, with a gripping and serious feel to it. It has a decidedly mineral core, with tangy pear and melon filling in more around the edges. It’s cool and restrained by nature, but still very finely-flavored. I like it, but would like to see it come out of its shell a bit more in the coming years.
2011 Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle Domaine du Duc de Magenta. The bouquet of this wine is absolutely loaded with gunflint, graphite, barrel char, struck match and iron filing sorts of aromas surrounding a core of apple, pear, melon, crushed shell and white flower scents. It’s wonderfully vibrant, tense and alive, and I really find myself coming back time and again to sniff it. On the palate, it’s super-fleshy, beautifully contoured and fully-flavored, with great tang and tickle around the edges. Those smoky, intensely mineral-laden notes are out in full force, nicely offsetting the richer apple, pear, vanilla bean and tropical citrus flavors. It’s full of life, full of flavor, still rather young, but delivering a great drinking experience.
2011 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Sadly, I snoozed on this and it was all gone by the time I turned my attention to it.