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1999 Bonneau du Martray, 2001 Anne Gros Clos Vougeot, 1999 Faiveley Latricieres, 1995 Taupenot-Memre Combe D’Orveau…

October 30, 2012

The alumni of ex-colleagues have been too busy of late. As such, it was nothing short of a miracle that we managed to meet up for a sumptious dinner at Jade Palace, 23 Oct 2012. The wine theme was supposed to be a traversal of the north of Burgundy, from Fixin down to Nuits Saint-Georges. Again, knowing how little most of the group know about this region, it was quite miraculous that everyone actually brought a burg.

As a preliminary, however, we began with a customary champagne, the 2003 Dom Perignon (courtesy David) which exuded a powerful earthy pungency that blew off after a few minutes, coupled with a high-toned minerality, a wine that was still rather bold, finishing on a slightly steely and austere note amidst other notes of pomelo and a trace of bitter citrus. Of course, we’d drunk it too early. I’d leave it alone for the next 5 years, at least.

Next, we moved on to two whites. The 2010 Fernand & Laurent Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet “Morgeot” 1erCru (courtesy Kieron), presented with a moderately creamy texture combined with notes of sweet melons and almonds, fairly intense, leaning towards some greenness towards the finish that eventually led to notes of bitter citrus before finally showing off its true Burgundian colors as it took on a more creamy sheen. This is excellent, and I can’t imagine how it’d be with further bottle age. As good as that was, the 1999 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (courtesy PS)  that followed was even better. Aired in bottle for 3 hours prior, this wine contained all the hallmarks of this famous estate’s Corton-Charlemagne: rich, creamy, deeply layered, laced with the sweetness of apples and coconuts, imbued with excellent intensity bursting through to the long finish. I had initial misgivings that this wine would be corked or oxidised based on my previous experiences with this particular vintage of BdM, but this bottle certainly inspires confidence.

KP, not surprisingly, brought a 2001 Jean Grivot Nuits St-Georges “Les Lavieres”, one of the occasional single vineyard village wines. Off-theme, of course, but does it matter when the bouquet is so lovely and enticing, suggesting a deep luxurious wine? It turned out to be rather even on the palate, a rose-scented medium-bodied proposition displaying red fruits and a good level of minerality, though lacking in layering and opulence. But it is, nonetheless, a perfectly good wine, proving the dictum that producers matter most when selecting good burgundy.

Having got that misfit out of the way, we moved from north to south, starting with a 2002 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Cazetiers” 1er Cru (courtesy Kieron). It dawned on me that I’ve never tasted any wine from this plot from any producer before. It was certainly a shade darker and heavier than the village above, perhaps a reflection of the outstanding vintage, displaying highly lifted aromatics consistent with excellent concentration of red and dark fruits on the palate, with just a tad of spiciness along the edges, eventually settling down into a homogenous wine with more of salty minerality coming through. Not far away in geographical location, the 1999 Faiveley Latriceres-Chambertin Grand Cru, in turn, was another shade darker and heavier than the preceding Jadot, predictably more dense with some lifted notes of fresh red berries at the edges, lightening up considerably after some time, becoming even more aromatic and rosy. This bottle is a lot better than a previous one tasted 3 years ago where it had seemed in danger of drying out.

Moving down further south was the 1995 Taupenot-Merme Chambolle-Musigny “La Combe D’Orveau” 1er Cru (courtesy Hiok). True to the wines of Musigny, this was immeasurably complex right from the first pour, noticeably bigger in style and laced with glycerin,  multi-dimensional, deeply layered yet seamless, displaying wonderful definition and delineation. A wine of great purity and, for me, the wine of the night. Outstanding. One would normally approach a Clos Vougeot with some trepidation as this oversized grand cru plot can be so varied and disappointing at times, but the 2001 Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Le Maupertui Grand Cru (courtesy Edward) measured up easily, an equally big pinot with plenty of warmth, depth and layering, warm, highly aromatic and complex and very well defined, rather atypical for the vintage but then, one expects nothing but greatness from Anne Gros and this estate never fails to deliver. A superb pair. 

We ended dinner with a half-bottle of the 2001 Ch Lafaurie-Peyreguet (courtesy Kieron) from the restaurant list, at this stage slightly understated, nutty with notes of apricot underscored by nectarine, somewhat lowish in acidity but approachable now, given the stellar vintage for Sauternes. Quite an outstanding evening, and my thanks to everyone for their contribution.

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