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Le Musigny: 1990 Jacques Prieur & 1997 Comte Georges de Vogue

October 22, 2010

I met up with KG again for dinner on 18 Oct 2010. There was never any question what we’d be drinking – for sure it’d be Burgundy – the question was which? I suggested aloud that we should try Le Musigny Grand Cru, and the next thing I knew, KG emailed to say he’d procured the above two wines for just SGD1,000. That, surely, must be quite a bargain, considering the vintage and the producers we’re drinking. The choice of Jade Palace as our dinner venue was deliberate – I can’t think of another restaurant where superb Cantonese cuisine and impeccable wine service, inclusive of free corkage, go hand-in-hand. Even Imperial Treasure takes some beating. While waiting for the reds to be decanted, we began with a Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose NV from the restaurant list, dull rose-gold in color with a light-medium body that gained weight with time. There was some toasty oak and roast, seemingly promising on the nose but rather one-dimensional, straightforward and slightly flat initially on the palate, finishing short. Things changed an hour later, the wine developing a liquered complex finish, followed by a weightier and more complex body of green fruits amidst lively acidity, with more nutty and biscuity notes. Quite excellent.

Both reds were tasted simultaneously after about 45 minutes of decanting. The 1990 Domaine Jacques Prieur Musigny Grand Cru, an opague red with a brownish tint, almost murky, had the more fabulous nose of red fruits and cherries, absolutely fragrant and wonderfully rose-scented. On the palate, the wine was medium-bodied, soft and rounded on the entry, less intense than anticipated from the bouquet, but there was no mistaking the layering and complexity in the mid-body that was immediately apparent. It developed a characteristic salty note with time, gelling together into a broader, more homogenous wine with focused depth and complexity all the way to the finish.

In contrast, the 1997 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru, displaying a beautiful clear ruby red, was less developed on the nose initially, much lighter in tone with notes of raspberries and mulberries, lightly rose-scented, almost feminine, which is not something normally associated with Comte de Vogue’s Musigny. However, compared to the Jacques Prieur, the latter is more expansive on the palate, yet lighter in concentration and milder in intensity, probably a reflection of the growing difficulties of 1997. Very refined and focused, the usual mid-body thickness of Comte de Vogue only coming though an hour later as the wine gained in weight, even developing a bit of biting intensity, yet retaining its lovely purity and elegance, just lacking in real depth, finishing with a bit of a stern demeanour. One gets the impression that this is an expertly crafted wine in a difficult vintage without resorting to gimmickry. Quite superb.

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