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Aussie All-stars: 1994 Grant Burge Meshach, 1994 Parker Est Terra Rossa First Growth, 1993 J Barry Armagh, 1990 Penfolds Grange, 2009 Henschke Hill of Roses…

November 30, 2018

I know certain people are averse to drinking an all-Australian line-up for fear of the potential after-effects: severe myalgia and headaches. However, when Dr Wang KW invited me to partake in a dinner where a 1990 Penfolds Grange will be popped, all resistance melted. Dinner eventually took place on 10 November 2018 at the Chinese restaurant of Raffles Town Club, Singapore, with the wines (with the exception of Vasse Felix, Rockford and Henschke) being generously sponsored by Ms Jennifer Chia. The reds (except the Henschke) were mostly double-decanted many hours in advance. This was one of the rare occasions where I get to drink Australian reds aged beyond 20 years. If there is anybody who still harbours doubt about the ageing potential of Aussie reds, the evening’s line-up was solid evidence that they do age well. Not only that, they seem to age very slowly, as some still appear relatively youthful. I certainly enjoyed them. Did we suffer any after-effects? Nobody said anything but I can tell you one part of my bodily system didn’t seem to agree with the wines for several days after; I shan’t divulge any further. Nevertheless, a huge thank you, Dr and Mrs Wang, for the dinner and especially to Jennifer for sharing all these gems.

2015 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay, courtesy of George. Generous aromas of lead petroleum on the nose while the palate is layered with ample yellow citrus and lime, exuding fine acidity and controlled intensity within a very focused narrow profile, missing in inner detail and succulence.

20181110_181124.jpg2003 Rockford Black Shiraz, drunk from an identical pair that I’ve cellared since buying them direct from Rockford’s cellar door in late 2003. This famous sparkling shiraz opens with an excellent depth of dark currants, ripe blackberries, medicinal herbal tones and licorice on the nose and palate, subtly structured with smooth gentle bubbles and sweet undertones that lent a sense of understated intensity, displaying good complexity though less of its famous liquered finish. Still holding well after 15 years, the oldest Black Shiraz that I’ve ever had.

1994 Grant Burge Meshach. Deep crimson. Complex bouquet of ripe wild berries, dark currants and dark plums. Open with great concentration and excellent depth on a plummy cedary floor, gently structured with good linearity, turning more minty with a spicy glow at its finish. Not much of inner detail but sufficiently compelling and delicious. Still youthful. Excellent.

1994 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth. Still very dark in colour, proffering a delicious nose of ripe dark cherries and blackberries on an earthy palate, supported by very good concentration of fruit. Very well balanced. Still going strong. Excellent.

1993 Jim Barry Armagh. Deep garnet red with a rim of vermillion. Closed on the nose though the palate is right upfront, big and bold, imbued with an abundance of wild berries and dark fruit, very ripe with a distinct vegetal note, rounded with excellent presence and depth, exuding an open spicy intensity. Very fine, but needs plenty of time in the glass to reach its best.

2009 Henschke Hill of Roses, a bottle I’d purchased directly from Henschke’s cellar door. Single vineyard, grown from cuttings taken from the 20 best rows of Hill of Grace in the Eden Valley of the Barossa. Deep purple, exuding a generous bouquet of ripe dark plums and blackcurrants tinged with incense that hinted at wonderful depth. Full-bodied. Richly layered in fruit and earthy minerals, swathed in a luxurious sheen of svelte velvety tannins that oozed with understated sweetness. Highly sophisticated in feel and structure, superbly balanced with feminine grace, opening up with lovely deftness. Surprisingly delicate. A worthy successor to Hill of Grace. Excellent.

1990 Penfolds Grange. Impenetrably dark. Highly generous bouquet of warm ripe Barossa shiraz, beautifully nuanced with characters of dark plums, black currants and bell pepper that carried well onto the palate with lovely expanse and weight, displaying great cohesion, density and fabulous intensity of fruit, structured with great acidity and transparency with superb inner detail and complexity. Still youthful. Outstanding.

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FICOFI: Chateau Cheval Blanc 2000-2009 & Chateau d’Yquem 2007, 2013

November 29, 2018

Pierre Lurton dropped in to Singapore again on 06 November 2018 at the Four Seasons to grace a FICOFI event featuring the estates under his management, Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem. Ever the consummate promoter, Pierre waltzed about easily amongst members and guests whilst holding sway whenever he spoke about the wines. It’s always a privilege at such events to be amongst the first persons in the world to get to taste the latest vintage of Y d’Yquem. The line-up of Cheval Blanc, on the other hand, was way too young. Having experienced the full potential of cabernet franc viz. a 1975 Ch Cheval Blanc at the chateau itself and then again from a double magnum on another occasion, I maintain that Cheval Blanc should only be popped after 20 years, at the very least. In its youth, Cheval Blanc tends to be clouded by the darker fruit and weight of merlot, obfuscating the purity of cabernet franc. Even if some of the more classically structured vintages appear to be approachable, they lack true character that can only emerge with the passage of time. Nevertheless, those of us who cannot afford to drink Cheval Blanc or d’Yquem on a daily basis must remain grateful for whatever opportunity that come our way. And so merci beaucoup Pierre and to FICOFI for the organisation (the food that evening was truly outstanding).

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Pierre Lurton

2000 Dom Perignon Second Plenitude. Closed with only just some gentle yeasty tones. Took a long time to develop some sublime acidity and citrus fruit, subtle with taut intensity, finishing with some minerally glare amidst pomelo and bitter lemon. Didn’t really quite got off the ground in spite of persistent coaxing. The 1998 P2 is much preferable.

2016 Y d’Yquem. The unique dry white from Ch d’Yquem made since 1959, usually picked just before d’Yquem itself, comprising a blend of 80% sauvignon blanc with 20% semillon, slightly botrytised. Lightly coloured. Open clear grassy elements imbued with fresh early morning dew on the nose, developing further notes of yellow citrus, white peaches and dried apricots on the palate with a smooth deep gentle glow. Highly detailed and perfumed, continuing to evolve in the glass with overtones of raw nutmeg and cool climate fruit. Only 10,000 bottles. Excellent.

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2009 Ch Cheval Blanc. Deep purple, exuding dense aromas of dark cherries, black fruits and dark currants with a great sense of depth. Surprisingly deft and silky smooth on the palate where traces of licorice and enamel are still evident, finishing with good length but this wine has hardly evolved. Not ready.

2006 Ch Cheval Blanc. Dark crimson. More developed on the nose, displaying a lovely glow with a broad open expanse of dark red plums that imparted great concentration and fabulous intensity of fruit with  detailed finely-grained tannins amidst deeper tones of soy yet maintaining a lovely transparency in texture, becoming more and more approachable over time. However, knowing how wonderful Cheval Blanc can be given enough bottle age, the 2006 is far from ready although it is likely to reach its drinking window earlier than the 2009.

2004 Cheval Blanc. Poured from magnum. This wine opens with gentle red fruits, dark currants and earthy tones tinged with truffles, more open and lighter than the preceding reds. Medium-bodied, rounded and fleshy, classically structured with good definition and linearity, finishing with gentle intensity, just missing the opulence from the best years. Drinking quite well but I’d let it rest another 3-5 years.

2000 Ch Cheval Blanc. Dark crimson. There’s some early evolution and complexity on the nose, dominated by earthy tones, ripe dark berries, black fruits and soy. Highly supple, fleshy and lithe on the open palate characterised by a full plummy tone with lovely secondary nuances and good complexity, showing great transparency and balance. Developing very well but still youthful, far from its full potential.

2013 Ch d’Yquem. Lovely luminosity. Lifted in nectarine and honey. Luscious and deeply layered with dense apricots and treacle. Sweeter than usual but offset by excellent acidity, achieving great balance. Just a little stern at its lengthy finish. Excellent.

2007 Ch d’Yquem. Brilliant deep luminous molten gold. Rich complex bouquet of dense petroleum with aromas of steamed rice. Luscious, covered in sheer luxurious sheen of sublime acidity with bottomless layers of apricot and exotic tropical fruit, finishing with a rich burnished tone throughout its glorious length. My second tasting in six months, both from FICOFI, but this is even more impressive. Absolutely outstanding.

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FICOFI: Maison Joseph Drouhin

November 27, 2018

Jean-Paul Dumond, Sales Director of Maison Joseph Drouhin, laid on a generous line-up on 20 October 2018 during one of his frequent stopovers in Singapore, where there was a promenade followed by lunch at Capitol Plaza. There didn’t appear to be any particular vintage theme and, regrettably, no Montrachet nor Musigny grand cru but still there was plenty of good stuff to partake in. I tend to be partial towards the whites of Drouhin, always so very correctly poised but, on this occasion, I was also very impressed with how well the older vintages of reds were still holding up.

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2016 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er. Soft gentle bouquet of white floral fragrance. Good depth with earthy tones on the palate, matched by lovely dry intensity and lively acidity. Excellent freshness and length.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er. More relaxed on the nose with recessed tropical fruits. Dry placid palate. More developed and more minerally. Good balance.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Dry minerally glow with white floral overtones, leading to a classic Puligny signature of gravelly depth, richly detailed with very fine acidity and concentration, exuding subdued intensity. Excellent.

2013 Joseph Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Shut, just glimpses of gentle white fruits, displaying a minerally glow at the sides amidst traces of chalky minerals. Good tonal fullness. Somewhat reserved as it kept its distance. Took its time to open, revealing subtle tropical fruits layered with rich detail. A classic Corton-Charlemagne. Very fine.

2008 Joseph Drouhin Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Poured from jeroboam. Glorious color. Effusive complex floral bouquet with a rich oily tone but surprisingly shy on the palate, exuding a minerally glow with notes of nutmeg within a slim well-defined profile. Opened up with gentle opulence, displaying fine balance and elegance, more nutty with shades of almonds. Excellent.

2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er. Poured from jeroboam. Herbal medicinal glow tinged with earth. Rounded and soft, well structured with good integration and concentration. Opened up very well with food, displaying lovely opulence and fullness.

2016 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er. Good color. Deeper glow with more fruit to the fore and great acidity, lively yet subtly poised with good integration and balance, finishing with excellent linearity.

1996 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er. Good color. Generous expanse of raspberries with good levels of ripeness, positively glowing with just a touch of greenness. Good concentration and structure, turning more minerally at the finish.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er. Lovely freshness with a feminine stance. Distant cherries and raspberries. Good balance. Softly rounded. Opened up over lunch with better detail and depth, just a tad short.

2016 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er. Good color. Dominance of red fruits, ripe red cherries and camphor tinged with earth. Lovely seamless integration and acidity. Feels a bit cautious on the palate. Doesn’t possess the exuberance of Groffier.

1996 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin Champeaux 1er. Correct tint. More of tangerines, bright red fruits and camphor. Rounded with great balance and acidity. Holding up well.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Fresh enticing bouquet of red cherries and rose petals. More forward with a lovely soft feminine intensity. Rounded and fleshy. Great integration, balance and acidity. Very correct.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Lovely earthy pungency, offering superb complexity and more layering than the preceding reds. Medium-bodied, displaying great presence of ripe raspberries with residual overtones of camphor and paraffin. Very well balanced and integrated with lively acidity. Yet to develop.

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1999 Joseph Drouhin Hospice de Beaune Beaune. Poured from magnum. Still showing good colour. A bit more forward and accented on the nose. Ample in mature red fruits. Bright, rounded and fleshy, carrying good weight and intensity without any heaviness, displaying great balance, detail and definition. Highly successful.

2011 Joseph Drouhin Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Proces 1er. Good colour. Very good in concentration and acidity with plenty of freshness on a bed of classic Nuits-Saint-Georges earthiness. Just a tad short.

1995 Joseph Drouhin Nuits-Saint-Georges Roncieres 1er. Poured from magnum. Lifted tones of bright red fruits. Very good in concentration, slightly denser than usual with classic earthy overtones. Dryish in texture, structured with fine acidity but again short. Lacks opulence.

1978 Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanee Beaumonts 1er. Dusky crimson. Still carrying an abundance of delicious mature red fruits on the nose and palate with an earthy edge. Medium-full, displaying very fine acidity with a deeper vein of dark currants and tight intensity that tapered to a long spicy finish. Still has the legs to last another decade. Excellent!

1995 Ch d’Yquem. Glow of aged chalky minerals with enticing notes of honey, nectarine and sweet citrus, showing lovely tension, acidity and structure. Jean-Paul Dumond simply cannot do without an d’Yquem, hence its inclusion in any Drouhin line-up.

 

FICOFI: Chateau Palmer 1999-2006

November 26, 2018

This tasting stems from a FICOFI function held at the Ritz-Carlton, Singapore, on 08 June 2018 in the presence of the CEO of Chateau Palmer, M. Thomas Duroux. I have never come across anyone who has anything against this excellent troisiemes cru. Since the 1980s, Ch Palmer has consistently run Chateau Margaux really close. In certain vintages, particularly in 1983, 1989 and 1999, I’d say that Ch Palmer may even be the better wine, especially when one factors in the price differential. Of course, Ch Palmer is more expensive now than before, but it has consistently pushed the boundaries of its quality such that the gap between itself and Ch Margaux has narrowed tremendously. In particular, it is in the so-called off vintages that Palmer represents great value. For this evening, FICOFI has showcased Ch Palmer from the best years although 2006 is probably more classic rather than outstanding. The 2010 Alter Ego de Palmer is superb but it’s a great pity we didn’t have the 2010 Ch Palmer on hand too to do a side-by-side comparison. Overall, my impression is highly consistent with a recent vertical that I’d reported in November 2017. It would be fascinating to compare Palmer versus Margaux, vintage for vintage. That would be a great wine theme to consider.

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With Thomas Duroux, CEO of Chateau Palmer

 2007 Delamotte Blancs de Blanc. Lovely bouquet of delicate citrus, wild flowers and lime of excellent density. Good presence on the palate, more minerally with characters of aged chalk. Expansive without being opulent, finishing well.

2010 Alter Ego de Palmer. Deep garnet red. Intense complex bouquet of dark plums, black berries, ripe wild berries with traces of licorice, dark chocolate and black currants. Very well replicated on the palate with a luxurious sheen of very warm ripe fruit still coated in some enamel, very well layered with excellent concentration within a delicate tannin structure though not showing much complexity. Highly pleasurable. Probably the most successful Alter Ego ever.

2006 Ch Palmer. Rich ripe bouquet of blackberries and cassis, exuding sweet aromas. Medium-full. Rounded with good presence and definition that benefitted from its transparent textures, still tannic at this stage though the wine is, surprisingly, gentle in intensity, developing more smoky tones over time. Not quite settled yet.

2005 Ch Palmer. This wine has shut down considerably though the medium-full palate is imbued with abundant ripe raspberries and mocha that imparted superb acidity and structure, taking its time to flesh out. Plenty of raw potential, a wine that’s still far from its peak. Best to lay down.

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2000 Ch Palmer. This wine exudes a dark earthy pungency amidst aromas of delicious dark currants. Very open and highly supple, richly layered with gorgeous ripe fruit with a rich core of marmalade and soy on a cedary floor within a velvety tannin structure that tapered to a long glowing persistent finish. Highly luxuriant and sophisticated in feel. Superb.

1999 Ch Palmer. Gentle aromas of soy and ripe dark berries on the nose. Medium-bodied. Rounded and feminine in character, showing good transparency but not quite as succulent as I remembered, missing a bit of stuffing. Surprisingly short as well. I’ve always felt that the 1999 Ch Palmer is better than the 2000 but this may have to change as it is beginning to show some of the shortcomings of this vintage.

2007 Ch d’Yquem. This Sauternes from a perfect growing season is fully deserving of all its accolades and more. Deep and luscious, highly lifted in apricot and nectarines with an infusion of sweet incense on a full and concentrated palate, seamlessly integrated with broad swathes of sublime acidity, showing wonderful focus, definition and delineation throughout its superb length. Still infantile but already highly precocious. Outstanding.

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Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 2008, 2007, 2006, 1998 & 1996

November 24, 2018

Champagne Philipponnat, the crown jewel of Ay, has a proud history that may be traced back to 1522. At one time, it had supplied to the court of Louis XIV as well. Today, the maison is run by Charles Philipponnat, the 16th generation direct descendent. Of the 17 hectares owned by Philipponnat, the 5.5 ha walled monopole of Clos des Goisses must surely rank as one of the most unique sites of all Champagne. Sited on a very steep slope with a 45-degree incline facing south, not unlike the steep terraces of Rhone, it is planted with both chardonnay and pinot noir in a ratio of about 40:60, subdivided into 14 lots. That’s how its name came about, as goisses means “a steep slope”. These vines are now aged about 35-40 years. Nobody really knows what prompted Philipponnat to grow pinot noir at this place, but I guess the cool northerly climate and altitude are probably important considerations. Philipponnat is truly one estate that likes to do things against the grain. Aside from fashioning its champagne with a predominance of pinot noir, the maison extracts only the very first press from ripe grapes. No new oak is used and the wine is left on lees in bottle longer than usual to enhance depth and complexity. Annual production of Clos des Goisses ranges between 6000-40,000 bottles, depending on the extent of frost damage, if any, during the growing season. Tasting a generous vertical with Philipponnat’s export director Antoine de Boysson organised by FICOFI at the Four Seasons, Singapore, on 22 November 2018, the Philipponnat Clos des Goisses is highly consistent in its display of power, delicate fine detail, structure, precision and elegance with the pinot component being so subtly integrated within the depths. This is why Philipponnat has always been my favourite champagne. The 2008 is a must-buy, while I can tell you in advance as well that the forthcoming 2010 release in a couple of years will be the lowest yield ever.

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Clos des Goisses (picture from ilovechampagne.fr)

2008 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Extra Brut. Poured from magnum. In this stellar vintage where chardonnay has been absolutely stunning, Philipponnat has wisely fashioned its 2008 Clos des Goisses with a predominance of chardonnay rather than pinot noir. The outcome is a great success. This wine opens with a fabulous bouquet, effusive in dense aromas of delicate lime, white and yellow citrus that carried seamlessly onto a palate richly layered with very fine complex flinty minerals, displaying great vigour, concentration, acidity and structure that oozed with seductive sweetness on a bed of soft gentle minerals that conferred glorious texture, linearity, stunning inner precision and detail, finishing with great persistence and dry intensity. Wonderful stuff, absolutely enthralling. Outstanding.

2007 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut. Slightly more reserved though showing good lift on the palate with classic tones of champagne underscored by darker deeper notes of cool ripe pinot amidst gentle yeasty undertones. Medium-full, displaying dry minerally textures with some dry intensity, finishing with good linearity along with gentle traces of pomelo and bitter lemon, very well balanced with fine presence.

2006 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut. Wonderful lift, noticeably more deft and agile, proffering very finely-grained honeysuckle and fig with a deeper note of currants. Rounded on the palate with lovely presence and concentration, very fresh, displaying a broad expanse of dryish fullness with delicate tones. Possesses great verve, depth and balance within a compact structure. Excellent.

1996 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses. Lifted deep aromas with a slight earthy note of aged minerals. Displays great expanse and depth on the palate with a distinct old recessed chalkiness with flavours leaning towards darker fruits, still imbued with excellent freshness, acidity and concentration, superbly integrated with superb presence and wonderful complexity, imparting exquisite intensity throughout its lasting length. Outstanding.

1998 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses. Rich bouquet of honeyed toast, exuding excellent depth with a lifted tone of apricots that led to a full palate layered with ripe dark berries and aged chalky tones underscored by a deep vein of stern minerals, finishing with superb dry intensity. Not as exuberant as the 1996 and it definitely feels older than it is.

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Ric arrives at Domaine A-F Gros

November 22, 2018

Anne-Francoise Gros is the cousin of Anne Gros, her father being Jean Gros (brother of Francois Gros). She shares the same grandfather as Anne: Louis Gros. As alluded to in my previous post, Domaine Louis Gros ceased functioning in 1963 and was split into three domaines, one of which was Domaine Jean Gros. Jean had three children (Michel, Anne-Francoise and Bernard), each of whom eventually set up their own individual domaine with holdings derived from Domaine Jean Gros, which was how Domaine Anne-Francoise Gros, based in Pommard, came about in 1988. Domaine Jean Gros itself ceased functioning in 1995. Anne-Francoise married Francois Parent, who also hails from Pommard. When we visited the domaine on the cold morning of 31 October 2018, it was their daughter Caroline Parent who welcomed us at the rather nondescript building. The domaine is now run by Caroline (looking after vinification) and her brother Mathias (management and marketing). Derived from basically the same ancestry, it is not surprising that Domaine A-F Gros has similar holdings in Vosne-Romanee as Domaine Anne Gros. Tasting the 2017s from barrel, I find a certain familial trait running through them: the wines are richly layered with lovely fruit, acidity and supple tannins, packing velvety power and regal elegance hand-in-hand. They affirm the general excellence of the 2017 reds whilst reminding us why the wines of Domaine A-F Gros are so widely revered.

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From burgundywinecompany.com

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Moulin-A-Vent. Made from gamay. Lovely color. Open fragrance of dark roses, ripe dark plums, red fruits and dark currants, showing great suppleness with lovely concentration with just a hint of undergrowth and twigs. Structured with smooth tannins, laced with fine subtle acidity and intensity. Very fine.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Bourgogne Rouge. Beautiful clear purple, proferring an elegant fragrance with a subtle minerally brightness on the palate. Noticeably leaner in structure with fruit that is set more backward. Exudes easy charm.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits. Beautiful pinot tint. Lovely gentle fragrance of cherries and raspberries. Softly rounded and supple with subtle acidity, very harmoniously integrated with a distinct feminine elegance. Excellent. Ten percent new oak.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Vosne-Romanee Clos de la Fontaine. Monopole. Unique attractive bouquet of warm ripe red fruits with overtones of dry malt and rye. Soft, supple and fleshy with a gentle rosy elegance. Very harmonious, tapering to a gentle rounded finish. Very fine.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Vosne-Romanee Les Chalandins. Attractive nose of rose petals and darker berries tinged with aromas of steamed rice. Somewhat dryish on the palate though showing good concentration and acidity with refined tannins. Highly attractive.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Vosne-Romanee Aux Reas. Very rounded lovely bouquet of gentle red fruits and rose petals reaffirmed by very fine concentration and purity of fruit on the palate amidst dryish textures of earthy minerals, displaying a natural unforced expression of pinot noir. Excellent.

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2017 Domaine A-F Gros Chambolle-Musigny. Lovely glow of ripe dark cherries and red currants on the nose and palate, displaying great seamless acidity integration and lovely intensity, just slightly dryish. Excellent.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Savigny-les-Beaune Clos des Guettes 1er. Lovely aromatic lift of gentle ripe cherries and raspberries. Highly supple and fleshy, excellent in concentration and harmony with none of the green elements that tend to shadow some of the wines from this source. Very fine.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Pommard Pezerolles 1er. Good lift of aromatic ripe red fruits and currants. More prounced and defined on the medium-bodied palate, offering superb presence, sublime acidity and depth, openly structured with great understatement. Excellent.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Pommard Arvelets 1er. Darker and bigger wine, rich in dark fruits and dark currants. Beautifully ripe, rounded and supple, displaying great balance and sophistication. Not too weighty, finishing well. Excellent

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Ezchezeaux Grand Cru. Beautiful effusive glow, ample in ripe red fruit, beautifully layered on the palate with lovely velvety richness, crisp acidity and excellent concentration with just the right degree of supporting minerals, displaying good linearity throughout its length. Delicious. Quite superb.

2017 Domaine A-F Gros Richebourg Grand Cru. Glorious colour, exuding generous aromas of ripe dark cherries and currants with a hint of malt. Openly structured with superb concentration and very beautifully proportioned with lovely depth and richness, highly subtle in acidity, oozing with gentle power and intensity. Totally harmonious. Outstanding.

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Caroline Parent

 

Ric visits Domaine Anne Gros

November 21, 2018

Mention of the Gros family of Burgundy is likely to elicit admiration for the wines as well as certain confusion as to who’s who in this famous extended family of vignerons. Madame Anne Gros is the daughter of Francois Gros whose father, in turn, was Louis Gros (1893-1951). The latter fathered Francois, Jean and Gustave. Louis ran Domaine Louis Gros, which ceased functioning in 1963 when it was split into three different domaines: Domaine Francois Gros, Domaine Jean Gros and Domaine Gros Frere et Soeur. 20181026_165624.jpgAnne Gros took over from her father in 1988 and subsequently changed the name of Domaine Francois Gros into Domaine Anne Gros in 1995. Based in Vosne-Romanee, Domaine Anne Gros manages 6.5 hectares of vines. The grapes are totally de-stemmed, elevage is limited to 12 months at most, and only up to 30% of new oak is used. When Anne’s daughter Julie took us through a tasting on the afternoon of 26 October 2018, I found the wines, particularly the grand crus, to be structured with excellent weight and concentration, yet elegant with fine acidity and tannins that are gracefully gentle, distinct feminine traits that appear to be instinctively imbued in wines made by women. Anne has also been partnering with Jean-Paul Tollot (of Domaine Tollot-Beaut in Burgundy and father of her three children) to make wines from the Minervois appellation, located within the Languedoc-Rousillon region in the south of France. Made from 35 hectares of largely century-old vines located at Cazalles at altitudes similar to that of Vosne-Romanee, these wines are varying blends of grenache and syrah. Sporting bright orange labels, these wines are big, bold, dense and weighty yet imbued with fine balance, elegance and sophistication. They certainly live up to the Burgundian spirit of Anne and Jean-Paul. Incidentally, Anne also runs a lovely guesthouse called La Colombiere in Vosne-Romanee, which was where we stayed for almost two weeks during this visit. Gazing up at the slopes of La Tache, Aux Malconsorts, Romanee-Conti and La Grande Rue every morning and evening certainly helps you to live longer and better.

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Hautes Cotes-de-Nuits Blanc. Lovely hue. Delicate nose of lime and yellow citrus. Soft, rounded and minerally, displaying fine acidity and layering. Lovely.

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Hautes Cotes-de-Nuits Rouge. Pale. Distant red fruits tinged with lemon and tangerines. Soft and fleshy with good acidity though rather straightforward.

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Bourgogne Rouge. Opague purple. Ripe raspberries on the nose. Medium-bodied. More acidic on the palate with the fruit slightly recessed, tapering to an austere minerally finish. Needs time.

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Chambolle-Musigny. Opague purple. Lovely nose of delicious ripe raspberries and cool currants. Medium-bodied, showing good weight, fine acidity and intensity, finishing well. Uncomplicated.

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Julie, daughter of Anne Gros

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Vosne-Romanee. Dark currants and dark cherries dominate on both the nose and palate. Quite fleshy, carrying good weight, concentration and fine intensity. Well structured and balanced, finshing on a mild ferrous note that imparted some sternness.

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Echezeaux Grand Cru. Lovely bloom of dark roses, dark cherries and deep currants. Well layered with excellent presence and acidity, structured with soft sweet gentle tannins that conferred subtle intensity and graceful elegance, tapering to a gentle finish. Pleasant and delicious, distinctly feminine. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Darker in colour and tone, recalling dark cherries and currants. Rather weighty and structured, displaying excellent concentration of dark fruits but its dominant acidity is unsettling, turining more minerally at the finish. Needs time to sort itself out.

2017 Domaine Anne Gros Richebourg Grand Cru. Effusive bouquet, generous tone of ripe red cherries, dark fruits and currants. Highly perfumed. Medium-full, amply structured with firm intensity, layered with a deep minerally streak. Superb.

2016 Domaine Anne Gros Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois Les Fontanilles. Heavy in colour and tone with an intense bouquet of dark fruits and black currants. Rather full and tight, drawing fine tension and acidity across the palate, structured with pliant supple finely-grained tannins, finishing with fine gentle intensity. Very well crafted with great sophistication. Comprises 40% grenache with other equal portions of syrah, carignan and cinsault.

2015 Domaine Anne Gros Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois Les Fontanilles. Dark big and bold, richly layered with opulent dark fruits that imparted a firm mouth-puckering sensation though its tannins are rounded with understated intensity. Actually approachable.

2014 Domaine Anne Gros Jean-Paul Tollot Cotes du Brian La 50/50. Largely syrah with a dash of grenache and carignan. Impenetrably dark, exuding a bold earthy pungency and thyme amidst an ample backdrop of black currants. Rounded and full, but still remarkably elegant with understated gentle intensity in spite of its density. Not jammy at all. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Anne Gros Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois La Ciaude. This wine exudes broad swathes of dark fruit and currants, highly delicious and fullish, rounded with very fine balance and open intensity, structured with sweet dark tannins. An equal blend of syrah, grenache and carignan from very old vines. Excellent.

2010 Domaine Anne Gros Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois La Ciaude. Impenetrable deep dark red, producing a bold hedonistic medicinal glow that delivered a massive palate of ripe dark plums, black fruits and dark chocolate, tightly coiled with huge tension. Not angular but  not at all settled. Needs plenty of time.

2016 Domaine Anne Gros Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois Les Carretals. From very old vines. Impenetrably dark, exuding dense dark fruits and earthy tones with a distinct savoury tone on a full palate. Very expertly crafted with sophisticated fine tannins, side-stepping any hint of heaviness.

2017 Anne Gros La Frivole Muscat de Saint-Jean de Minervois. Deep effusive bouquet of sweet nail varnish, enamel and fresh green apples, very well-controlled in its sweetness. Sufficiently open and rounded with an enticing tone of lychees, almost luscious though not cloying, tapering to a gentle linear finish. Doesn’t betray its 15.5% abv. Lots of fun in a drop. Bottled in 375 ml with screwcap.

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The view when you step out of Anne Gros’ guesthouse