Burgundy

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J.M. Boillot Volnay 2008. Smooth as a Volnay, yet tight and in need of air as expected from a young ’08.  A silky perfume of mushrooms, violets, red currants. As it opens, you get more of those nice, penetrating, liquored aromatics. The taste is still a bit astringent but very satisfying, oddly like pencil lead – sure, I’ve seen that written elsewhere, but here it is! The flavors are still unfolding in this wine, but the acidity and fruit provide a nice combination for enjoyment. The flavors are forrest pathways with spicy green undertones and a pleasant finish. As the wine breathes, spicy wood notes emerge. There is something earthy and a bit sexy about a village wine from Volnay, my favorite location for grabbing a bottle of wine, some cheese and a baguette and having a meal overlooking the Cote de Beaune.

Arlaud “Clos de la Roche”  Grand Cru 2000. This top level Clos displays a beautiful luminescent slightly transpar

ent color reflecting it’s age at 12 years old. A very elegant bouquet of classic dark raspberry, rhubarb, wild cherry, wet wood and very light oak. The flavor at first is a melange of berries and earth with a silky freshness and a riverbed of tart cherries, red raspberry and spice. There is great depth and complexity underneath the full, not overly ripe fruit, and the tartness invites one glass after the next. There is a hint of blueberry and mint on the finish as the tartness of the fruit and tannins return. Superb Burgundy, would age still further, yet delicious at this moment, another benefit of having a personal cellar – who saved 2000’s?  96 June 2010.

Vincent Girardin Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux Saint-Jaques 2001.  Ah, the benefit of having a cellar, aging wines and enjoying them years later! This Gevrey is a beautiful brick-toned red color with nice signs of age at the edges. High notes of violets, cherries and dark plum with a punchy edge. A modern, clean style, tight, almost lean and rustic at first. Good earth tones, a leafy quality, a bit of sausage, forrest berry, it opens to a long finish. Very grounded yet deceptively complex. Many years ago I visited the village of Chambertin in the Cote d’Orjust south of Dijon.

Château de Gevrey-Chambertin, Gevrey-Chamberti...

Château de Gevrey-Chambertin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte-d’Or, Bourgogne, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With my Acadian girlfiend whose family name was Bertin, we pondered a possible distant relationship while tasting the wines in this beautiful town just below the woods on Jurassic era limestone hills. It’s my favorite spot to drink a bottle of wine w/ cheese, saucisson and a baguette, looking out across the plain below. Chambertin wines are best with a little time in the bottle to reveal more depth and smoothness. This bottle was even better the 2nd day. At the end, with fine sediments, the liquored fruit was more pronounced, the finish longer. The tannins sustain the flavors across the tongue in a joyous harmony of earth and fruit! 95. 5/2012

Michel Magnien Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru 2004. Intense smoky aromas of dark raspberry and blackberry, damp wood. This is a brooding wine, fine stuff, a pedigree Bourgone and fine example of the “clos” vineyards of the village of Morey-Saint-Denis. The “clos” were enclosed, walled vineyards (some still exist) once tended by monks. Sumptuous flavors, soft tannins, forward fruit, crisp and flavorful, then a finish of dried fruit and tobacco. I cannot remember a wine so perfect, so equally full of structure and fruit, it’s seductive charm and finesse are simply grand! 95. 4/2012
Alain Hudelot – Noellat Bourgogne 2005. Noellat’s property is located in Chambolle-Musigny, Cote-d’Or – an excellent address in Burgundy! There’s very nice color and fruit concentration in this Bourgogne, typical of the other 2005’s I have tasted recently. This bottle comes from my cellar as have the others, and my only question is, why don’t I have more?! Well, they were soooo good and easy to drink, how could I resist? I hid this one away, and it’s even better now, which simply means you should  buy 2009 if you can and you’ll be well rewarded in 3-4 years. The nose is fresh and open, tightly focused red raspberry aromas are prominent with a touch of wild flower and light herbs coming after. The taste is equally refreshing, the tartness and delicious red fruit creating a harmonious blend, making you want another glass. It’s bright and crisp and all things good that come Bourgogne, and not in any danger of going over the hill just yet. I always love Noellat and the ’05 deserves a higher rating if only for matching and surpassing the usual expectations from a very affordable Burgundy. I haven’t tried the ’09 yet so I’m looking for some now….  90  Jan. 2012

Santenay 1er Cru La Comme 2003 Vincent Girardin . Beautiful dark garnet color with a luminescent pinot edge. The nose offers luscious aged fruits of currants, blackberries, plums and floral scents with very lightly spiced notes. The ripe, round, supple and appropriately age-developed liquored fruit excites the palette with dark cherry and plum, even a hint of blueberry – plump and ripe as a hot year like ’03 typically produced but not overly developed or too far forward. Add a good acidic backbone and dry edge to the medium length finish that maintains a beautiful balance between sweet and dry and you have a very enjoyable Burgundy at an affordable price. With good depth of complexity, there’s nothing overplayed in any one area of this lovely wine. I’m happy to have two more bottles in the cellar. Drinking well now, it should hold 2-3 more years, even though it doesn’t suggest further development. 94. Jan. 2012

Geatntet-Pansiot Bourgogne “Pinot Fin” 2009. The ’05 vintage is described as “ideal” by Vincent Geantet whose Domaine lies in the village of Gevrey Chambertin. The grapes were harvested by hand on September 21st.  Vincent claims that very little sorting was necessary as all the bunches were clean and in excellent condition, allowing them to pick quickly. Vinification lasted for 20 to 30 days with normal malolactic acid, left unfiltered, then aged 12-13 months in 30% new oak barrels. Beautiful ruby color. The aromas take an hour to fully bloom, then rise to greet you with a pleasantly pronounced and  fragrant bouquet of sightly under ripe raspberry and strawberry. This is a traditional Burgundian style with round, ripe tannins thanks to the ’05 vintage, excellent acidity to balance the not-too-forward fruit. This Bourgogne is already enjoyable but should age well for several more years. It is perfect to drink with food or alone – a very enjoyable and pleasant wine. 89 pts   1/2012   average price $34

Faiveley 2005 Mercurey Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet. Faiveley’s Mercury is my house pinot noir, one that I buy in every vintage because it never disappoints and the price remains constant, which translates into a bargain for the 2005!  Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet is a heart warming Burgundy from a renowned producer whose wines can reach heights of grandeur, yet this is one you can afford at around $20-25 per btl. This is what I might call a “village wine” from the Cote Chalonaise, not a Premier or Grand Cru by any means, but it’s immensely pleasing for its complex flavors, easy drinkability and good acidity. When young, it displays a tightness that is best paired with food, but when you meet a great vintage like 2005 after aging for 6 years, well it’s time to write home about it! Fresh, earthy aromas of moss, violets and mint, the taste is clean with rugged edges, sweet and sour cherries with a bit of spice, it’s lip-smaking good and the tartness is so well balanced with friut, it makes your tongue stick to your upper palette, going “click, click, click” as you savor the atractive flavors and medium length finish over and over. The enjoyment of this fabulous Mercury make me want to give it a rating of 90+…   11/2011

Pernand Vergelesses Premier Grand Cru Ile Des Vergelesse 2004 Domaine Chandon de Briailles The tiny village of Pernand Vergelesses is situated off the main route between Dijon and Beaune. It’s known more for white wine, being home to many Grand Crus from Corton Charlemagne, but its red wines are good values. I really like the producer Delarche who makes a regular bottling and a Reserve, or Premier Cru Pernand Vergelesses (white). I highly recommend a side trip to this town with lunch at Le Charlemagne, a small restaurant at the foothills of the famous vineyards. I read a review about this restaurant in the International Herald Tribune and stopped by for a wonderful meal and a bottle of Delarche.  The chef is French and worked several years in Japan. The serving dishes are creatively oriental while the food is a welcome modern interpretation of Burgundian dishes, plus they have a Michelin star.

Pernand Vergelesses’ excellent red wines are pinot noir of course, and Ile Des Vergelesse is the finest of the Premier Crus from this appellation. The IDV is a medium light red color, actually quite translucent, and the powerful aromas that literally jump out of the glass are deceiving, given its’ light color. While 2004 is not a top year, many good producers made a fantastically drinkable wine and this ’04 is no exception. The bouquet starts off as slightly musky and earthy, not quite refined but with plenty of herbs, red currants, raspberries, wild plum and mint. As it opens, more elegance and floral notes appear. The flavors take a while to fall into harmony because of the intense acidity, however that’s good news for the longevity of this wine – there is enough delicious fruit here to leave a bottle in the cellar see how it evolves. With good tannins and minerality, tart red berry and dark cherry fruit, after a few hours it evolves into a most delicious and very drinkable wine. 91 pts.    10/2011

  Pernand Vergelesses – Clos de la Croix de Pierre, Louis Jadot 2006. This is close to the ’04 Domaine Chandon de Brialles, perhaps a bit lighter in weight, but an excellent Pinot Noir. The nose is very attractive, with mushroom earthiness, wet leaves and floral accents. The flavors are tightly focused with a mixture of raspberry and sour cherry. I love the tart freshness of the fruit. Not much complexity, but plenty to keep you coming back for more, the ’06 Jadot will make you a fan of this affordable appellation. Between $27-35 a bottle, I’m going back for the last bottle (the ’09 is out now). 89 pts. 12/2011

Louis Jadot 2005 Marsannay  With the cold weather testing our nerves for winter (it’s too early to be this cold and who ever thinks about snow in October?) and with Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away, it’s time to fire up the wood stove and open a Pinot Noir! I went down to the cellar a spotted an overlooked bottle 2005 Marsannay from Louis Jadot. The town of Marsannay is just outside Dijon, ancient capital of the Burgundy Dukes. When leaving Dijon on the main road headed south into the Cotes de Nuits towards the Cote D’Or, I love that intense feeling of anticipation at the wonders of innumerable Grand Cru Burgundy wines which lie ahead. One of the first villages you encounter is Marsannay, not a Grand Cru area, but a village appellation which produces quite pleasant and easy to drink, earthy tasting pinot noir. Jadot’s 2005 Marsannay doesn’t disappoint with it’s translucent ruby color and plenty of raspberry fruit in the nose backed by wet wood, moss and a bit of mushroom aromas – a truly pleasant greeting for a first step into Bourgogne. The persistent and lovely bouquet is balanced by appealing flavors, good acidity and a silky feel on the tongue, the tart yet rich fruit smacking up against the palette. For a medium bodied wine, it has a surprisingly long finish supported by very solid but unobtrusive tannins. Really sexy wine, it’s the fabulous ’05 vintage which holds this all together so exceedingly well. I wish I had more. No danger of fading, this wine is vibrant and fun! As a cold weather pinot noir lover, I give it a 90+ imho, with extra points for such sheer enjoyment at a price of $25.  11/2011

2004 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Estournelles-St.-Jacques Cotes de Nuits.

Deep color and multi-dimensional aromatics of cedar wood, mature fruit and earthy mustiness that softens into floral and herbal scents. At first opening it’s slightly vegetal and bitter yet pleasant, a bit scarce on flavor. The wine was decanted and poured back and forth several times. Still, it took hours to open. Then it began a slow march towards the greatness of Gevrey. The characteristic earthiness and wooden spices are supported by fresh fruit, mostly cherry currants and strawberry, with violet and sage in the nose.  Very good structure and solid tannins are spread over a soft texture, while the finish blends raspberry, rhubarb and strawberry fruit into solid drinkability, elegance and earthy harmony. Superb!  95pts 10/12

Domaine Roblet-Monnot Bourgone Vieilles Vignes 2005. Dark color for Pinot Noir and equally dark, rich aromas of plum, mint, violet and earth.  It takes time to open and soften the strong tartness while the rustic flavors find a balance, then it intrigues and invites. Unfiltered, it captures the earthy quality of a good Bourgogne on the palette while the bouquet throws off bright aromatics and wafting fruit. A nice, fresh, tart finish, this wine id not done evolving. 88 9/12

roche de belleneMaison Roche de Bellene Savigny-les-Beaune Vieilles Vignes 2010. What a discovery! Nicholas Potel whose wines I truly enjoyed, changed company and now runs this new domaine. Here is a bottle of Pinot Noir from 35+ year old vines (vieilles vignes) that shows an abundance of fresh, earthy and lively berry aromas. The flavors are modern: crisp, sweet and enticing, it keeps you coming back with a good balance of acidity and fruit you only find in more mature or expensive wines. Aged 15 months in oak (very subtle) and released in 2012, it’s ready to drink but will mature several years. The finish is rewarding and lasts just long enough before you want to take another sip. Hard to put the glass down with this wine. recommended at $29! 89+ 1/13

chambolle-musigny-etiquette ’05 Bruno Clair Chambolle Musigny ‘Les Veroilles’ Succulent raspberry/starwberry, earthy minerality, tart tannins, like a tenor saxophone. Aromas of berries with floral and spices, clove a ndsage on top. Very good body, a classy and elegant wine with a stoney mineral quality characteristic of a great village wine from Chambolle. The tartness makes you hold onto a sip and enjoy the feeling of it spreading across your palette, sinking into and lightly smacking the senses – in other words it doesn’t just roll off your tongue! Better on day, still, the tannins persist. Beautiful 91. Feb. 2013

643142005 Morey Saint Denis En la Rue de Vergy: Domaine Lignier-Michelot . Nice dark color. Perfumed earthy nose of mushrooms, blackberries, violets and wet wood – classic village wine from Burgundy. On the palette, it’s velvety, silky, wholly satisfying without pretension. That’s exactly what to look for in a village wine from Morey – one of my favorites. Towards the finish, it shows very fine tannins, barely noticeable yet they hold the structure of the wine together in a transparent way that makes the fruit so enjoyable. 2005 – what a GREAT year. I couldn’t afford the Grand Cru’s so I bought village wines and Bourgogne. Am I happy? You bet, and the price makes me wish I could have foreseen the future and bought more. Then again, “drink today and smile” is a good motto to follow. 92 March 2013

Tremblay2005 Vosne Romanee Domaine Cecile Tremblay, Vielles Vignes. Medium dark with a very penetrating bouquet of ripe berries, and lots of floral scents. The flavor features up front fruit and acidity. Could benefit from more time perhaps,  but tastes fantatstic now.  Some darker woodsy undertones come through. The fleshy softness combined with a nice nose puts  it in the voluptuous category! 91   8/2013

Vosne-Romanee is a small commune in the Cotes de Nuits  district of Burgundy. Originally called Vosne, the village took the suffix Romanee in 1866 in honor of its most-prized vineyard, La Romanee. The village has made great wines for more than a thousand years, since the arrival of the monks of the Saint-Vivant monastery

Volnay 1

2005 Comte Armand Volnay. Rich medium dark color. Sensuous subtle aromas of dark raspberries, blackberries, wildflowers and violets. The taste is sumptuously tart and delicious. The fruit easily coats the palate, then: wow! the fine tannins create a full-bodied voluptuous finish. Sheer silk in a bottle. I love this town of Volnay and have enjoyed many a fine afternoon looking out over this peaceful village from the hilltop above. 95 10/12

volnay-photo1

Narbantons'052005 Savigny Premier Cru Les Narbantons, Domaine R. DuBois. Appellation Savigny Premier Cru . Fresh and inviting, (even penetrating in an empty glass) aromas of dark raspberry, sage, mint, floral scents and oak- a real forrestral blend of herbs.  Even better on day 2. Slightly tight but lovely and delicious flavor of crisp and tart raspberry and dark sour cherry fruit. Super friendly and easy to drink, it never faded, only got better. Finish is elegant and refined if not opulent. Good example of Bourgogne style of balanced complexity and ease of drink ability. Nothing out of place here. The bouquet just stays and stays, refusing to weaken its scent in a long empty glass!! That pungent stone fruit-evergreen aroma is amazing. 91


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