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Vosne-Romanee Aux Malconsorts 1er & Vosne-Romanee Les Gaudichots 1er & Montille 1er Christiane 2005, 2006, 2014

May 28, 2018

KG and Dr Ngoi hit upon the great theme centring on Les Gaudichots 1er  for dinner at Yan, National Gallery Singapore, on 17 May 2018. While most people would salivate uncontrollably if given the chance to taste the great monopole of La Tache, how would Les Gaudichots 1er fare at just a fraction of the price, given that a large part of La Tache was once Les Gaudichots? Vic was tasked to delve into the history behind this unique area of Vosne-Romanee, and I can do no better than to reproduce his short but excellent monograph in full:

In the 19th century, Les Gaudichots was a large plot of vineyard adjacent to the original La Tache vineyard (referred to as La Tache Holy de Bevy). The owners of Les Gaudichots began to use the term ‘La Tache’ to sell wines from Les Gaudichots, not only to benefit from the glamour of the ‘La Tache’ name, but also because apparently many of the original title deeds had the name ‘Tache Gaudichots’. Things came to a head in a lawsuit in 1932, where it was eventually ruled that the term ‘La Tache’ could be used for wines from Les Gaudichots. In 1933 the original La Tache Holy de Bevy vineyard was merged together with the majority of Les Gaudichots to constitute the 6-ha plot of La Tache that we know today (owned by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti). A few small plots at the periphery of the original Les Gaudichots vineyard are now owned by a small number of producers. At the north-eastern corner, a couple of small plots were absorbed into La Grand Rue (a monopole owned by Domaine Francois Lamarche, maintaining its grand cru status). The remaining north-eastern fragments are farmed by Marchand de Gramont, producing a 1er Cru wine. At the western aspect of the original Les Gaudichots vineyard, there is a small plot largely owned by Domaine Forey (producing a 1er Cru wine), and a couple of tiny plots owned by Domaine Romanee-Conti (which has not produced a Les Gaudichots wine since 1929, and may possibly be used for their Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru). On the southern side, just below the original Les Gaudichots plot, is a fragment now owned by Domaine Dujac, the production of which is used in its Aux Malconsort 1er Cru wine. (Text by Dr Victor Lim)

So, in short, most of what used to be Les Gaudichots is now the prohibitively priced La Tache. The original Les Gaudichots has been splintered into three disparate tiny fragments (see above the three tiny plots labelled as “2” around La Tache), meaning these wines are not easy to source. With the added intrigue that both La Grand Rue and Aux Malconsorts abut on La Tache from the north and south, respectively, we have the ingredients of a great wine theme. Everyone rose to the occasion to source for the correct wines that included, as a sub-plot (literally!), a trio of Domaine de Montille’s Aux Malconsorts 1er Christiane. Most intriguingly, Montille has a small plot of Aux Malconsorts across the small lane that lie right next to the southern border of La Tache. Does this make it as good as La Tache? On the backdrop of this tantalising theme and with Manager Shek on hand to see that the food and stemware were all up to the restaurant’s usual high standards, we were set for a most memorable evening.

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Dr Lim straddling the Aux Malconsorts of Dujac (left) and Aux Malconsorts Christiane of Montille (right)

2006 Dom Perignon, courtesy of KG. Gentle yeasty pungency, softly focused with lovely delicacy, hinting at abundant lime, clear citrus and green melons. Quite minerally with distinct ferrous elements, imparting slightly stern steely demeanour on the palate, turning more delicious over time with emergent generous green apples. Highly supple and seamless with fine acidity, displaying excellent depth and finesse.

2007 Nicolas Potel Vosne-Romanee Les Gaudichots 1er, courtesy of KG. Dusky red. There is quite a lovely bloom of cherries and raspberries on the nose, rather fleshy and medium-bodied with understated acidity and mild saline minerals on the palate, gaining a bit of weight over time with a slight medicinal trace though its finish is smooth and subdued. A lighter style of Vosne-Romanee, probably reflecting the vintage characteristic.

2008 Domaine Forey Vosne-Romanee Les Gaudichots 1er, courtesy of LF. Darker in tone and colour, hinting at reasonably good depth of delicious dark currants, somewhat narrower in spectrum of dark red fruits with a leaner definition though very cleanly focused. More introspective in character, again a good reflection of the 2008 vintage.

2009 Domaine Forey Vosne-Romanee Les Gaudichots 1er, courtesy of MH. Dark in colour with a deep bouquet, displaying delicious depth of gorgeous ripe fruits and dark currants, silky smooth with velvety tannins marked by a distinct salinity, ample but subtly structured with excellent linearity. It shut down quite abruptly in the glass, becoming tightly intense before re-opening again with lovely depth and layering. Benefitting from the stellar vintage, this wine is still far from ready. Excellent.

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1998 Nicolas Potel Vosne-Romanee Aux Malconsorts 1er, courtesy of Sanjay. Dusky red, as is usual from Potel, showing some evolution though it was rather reticent with just a dash of camphor. The palate, however, is quite full and glorious, infused with abundant raspberries and ripe wild berries with plenty of raw detail. Delicious, rounded and slightly racy, fleshy and seamless with superb acidity, finishing well. Excellent.

2012 Domaine Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanee Aux Malconsorts 1er, courtesy of Hsiang Sui. This wine went through quite a bit of evolution in the glass, starting off with a peculiar funky earthy pungency with overtones of hot stones that I liked very much, definitely not corked. Darkish but subdued in tone initially, eventually developing more layering with a glycerine coat, delicious with understated intensity and supple tannins, displaying a deeper streak of dark currants. Needs a little more bottle age but probably coming out of an awkward stage.

2011 Domaine Francois Larmarche La Grande Rue Grand Cru monopole, courtesy of Vic. Deep ruby, exuding a delicious bouquet of dark cherries and currants, excellent in depth, richness and intensity, underscored with gorgeous acidity and superbly structured with exciting tannins. Excellent.

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2014 Domaine de Montille Vosne-Romanee Aux Malconsorts 1er Christiane. Showing a very correct pinot tint, this wine is quite effusive in delicate red fruits of exquisite intensity, very finely detailed on the glowing palate, structured by exciting velvety tannins. Rounded, bright and spacious, displaying good linearity all the way to its lasting finish. Highly refined and elegant. Excellent now and likely to be outstanding in time to come.

2006 Domaine de Montille Vosne-Romanee Les Malconsorts 1er Christiane, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Again very correct in pinot tint. Rather reticent and still primal on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is highly supple, tinged with tangerines at its core, still tightly coiled, gradually opening up with some lovely biting intensity, finishing with sharp focus but it took a great deal of coaxing. Best to lay down.

2005 Domaine de Montille Vosne-Romanee Les Malconsorts 1er Christiane, courtesy of CJ. Distinctly darker in tint and tone, proffering a delicious broad spectrum on the nose, highly supple and seamlessly structured with gorgeous acidity on the palate, boasting fabulous layers of rich dark cherries and blackberries, undoubtedly masculine yet understated in intensity, finishing with great persistence amidst traces of graphite.

2005 Molleux Foreau Vouvray Reserve, courtesy of LF. Deep color, exuding intense orangey flavours with overtones of aged peaches, cider and ember, tautly drawn across the palate with lovely acidity and tension whilst its sweetness remains rather understated. Excellent.

Aux Malconsorts Christiane

Image modified from http://www.thisyoungvino.com

Drinking along this theme revealed, to some extent, the subtle differences of the closely-neighbouring terroir. As KG pointed out, wines of Vosne-Romanee premiere cru higher up the Cote d’Or at the northerly aspect (eg. Cros Parantoux 1er) tend to be imbued with more power and masculinity, while Aux Malconsorts 1er at the southern end combine power with velvety textures. So is the Montille Aux Malconsorts 1er Christiane on par with D.R.C. La Tache? Not quite. Even Etienne Montille admits to that when I caught up with him in Hong Kong.  As good as the Christiane is, La Tache is more complete in itself. However, Etienne points out that, geographically, the plot of Christiane is clearly seamless with La Tache as it shares with the latter a continuous gentle southerly downslope (when viewed from the north), whereas the Aux Malconsorts of Dujac slopes upwards after the dividing line, proving there is a fault line in the land at that point. Absolutely fascinating. My thanks to everyone for their generosity.

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