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A mostly Morey St-Denis affair

May 30, 2010

The Burgundy group met again, upon the re-visit of YW, on 27 May at Imperial Treasure Super Duck at Paragon, a venue that hasn’t been entirely convincing as a flgship restaurant: service tends to be slow and indifferent (although it picked up as dinner wore on), and the Peking duck isn’t especially compeling to be self-recommending. When I learnt of the Morey St-Denis theme, set by KG as usual to his lofty standards (he doesn’t need to mention the words Grand Cru…it’s understood), I knew I was in trouble.

We drank in two flights, beginning with a 2004 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru (courtesy of See Lim). Classic pinot tint. Absolutely fragrant on the nose, reminding me of sancha, hinting at wonderful depth, although the initial impression on the palate was disappointing – medium-bodied, undifferentiated, lacking in appreciable depth with a discernible alcoholic tone. Things were completely different 90 minutes later, the wine gaining in weight and intensity, becoming denser, developing a sharp attack on the mid-palate and finishing with flavours of apricot and sweet-sour plums. A couple of guys with olfactory malfunction (I suspect) loudly declared the presence of ginseng (terribly embarrasing), which I disagree. Rather, it was a more linear and focused expression of the pinot noir in relation to its terroir, richer with greater intensity and a trace of minerality. And so it remained until the end of dinner.

 The 2004 Domaine Georges Lignier et Fils Clos St-Denis Grand Cru (courtesy of See Lim), drunk alongside the above, was immediately lighter, possessing a high-toned sweetness (from KG; I agree). More feline with broader aromatics. Could easily be mistaken as “thinness”, but actually it possesses a more complex nose than the Lambrays, eventually developing greater weight and color. But the beauty of this wine lay in its great purity of expression of the pinot fruit, deeply layered yet superbly transparent. Full of delicacy and finesse. However, it became less remarkable on the palate after a couple of hours, although its bouquet remained absolutely seductive.

The second flight consisted of the 2000 Domaine Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (courtesy of KG). Dusty red, a dense, medium-bodied wine coated with sacharine, rather short on the finish. It became more open upon further airing with some of the density dissipating, becoming more generous with red fruits and sweet plums and some complexity emerging. It continued to evolve as the evening wore on, producing a myraid of flavours. Not the last word in complexity, but very pleasurable, nonetheless.

Not having the time nor resources to procure a Morey St-Denis, I contributed instead a 2003 Domaine Armand Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, the only wine to be decanted. With the pleasures of an exquisite 2003 Le Chambertin (courtesy Kieron; see “Perfect Dinner @ Iggy’s”, Dec 2009) from this same domaine still lingering in my mind, I knew this Charmes-Chambertin from the same vintage would definitely be drinking well. The deepest pinot color of the evening, with a lovely bouquet promising rich red fruits coated with sweet vanilla, at just the right dgree of ripeness in spite of the unforgivingly hot growing season. Light-medium. Elegant and delicate, yet finely layered with wonderful depth and richness and concentration in the middle, a hallmark of top burgundies. Superbly balanced and crafted without excess, bathing the connoiseur in an infinte cerebral glow long after its finish.

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