Friday, July 22, 2011


Aging white Burgundy is a 'poxy' subject these days. Burgundy has the undeniable & unacceptable problem that is premature-oxidation - best known as 'pox'. It is widespread & frustratingly inconsistent. It makes buying white Burgundy both risky & speculative.

That is, if you want to age your white wines. While there are examples of 'premox' (from here on, this is what premature-oxidation will be referred to) in wines less than 5 years old, the numbers / statistics are quite small. Alarmingly, when we exceed the 5 year mark, the incidence accelarates.

Much has been written on the subject & any search on the internet will provide you with swathes of notes, experiences, references, denials, all you need. You will also find that some growers wines suffer more than others. I thought we might look at a young grower with a very high reputation for his much-rated wines; Monsieur VINCENT DANCER of Chassagne & Meursault fame.

Dancer's first wines to display 'premox' were his 1998's. The incidence was high in 1999 & 2000.

Less so in 2001, but 2002 showed an increase on 2001. From personal experience I would estimate the problem to be between 10% - 15% in 2002. This is quite high & definately unacceptable. Of course the great pity is that the unaffected 85% - 90% were somewhere between very good & brilliant. From 2003 - 2006 the incidence is probably 5-10%. No premox has manifested in 2007 - 2010.

This overall pattern is not untypical in Burgundy. Many growers have a higher incidence. Others have been more fortunate. The 'investigation' continues in Burgundy & much money, research & effort contines to flow in attempting to resolve this serious problem. Many wine lovers have understandably decided to stay away from Burgundy until this problem is solved.

More on this subject anon. For the moment I want to briefly look at the unaffected white Burgundies; specifically Vincent Dancer & the question of aging his wines (premox aside).

There are 3 questions worth addressing & they are:

1) do Dancers white wines age & if so for how long?

2) what is Dancer's own opinion on aging his wines?

3) do his wines benefit from aging & if so to what degree?

Do bear in mind that some of the following information is a compliation of my own experiences (11 years), notes extracted from the experiences of wine writers & journalists in UK & USA & finally, feedback from buyers & tasters here at home.

Question 1: Do Dancers' wines age & if so for how long?

In addressing question 1) I admit to not having aged any of his wines longer than 10 years. The wines aged longest were Chassagne 1er Cru 'La Romanée' & Chevalier-Montrachet. Other whites in the stable (excepting Meursault 1er Cru 'Perrieres') are generally not built to age this long. Meursault village wines 'Grand Charrons' & 'Corbins' are generally intended for earlier consumption. Of course some vintages bestow a structure & acid backbone that demand longer than others. 2008, 2005 & 2002 spring to mind in this regard.

At 10 years, which I would consider to be max for 'La Romanée', most have held up rather well, though a number show a 'flatness' or 'dull' character at this age. 'Perrieres' at 10 years is not dissimilar. Chevalier is the possible exception but the question of stylistic preference (as the wine changes with age) should be considered. We will look at this in a few moments.

Village Meursaults & village Chassagnes generally age well for 2-5 years & thereafter begin to loose the freshness you associate with young wine. They then 'fatten out' to a degree that is manifest in most aged white Burgundy.

It would seem that Dancers wines age as well as most growers, but not as long as those of a few other well-known addresses. Among this band of growers are Roulot, Pierre Morey, Matrot, Lafon in Meursault & Jean-Noel Gagnard, Neillon, Ramonet & Leflaive in Chassagne. Their wines are capable of (in some instances need), longevity. To my palate at least, Dancers are more mid-term drinkers. Many are best at 2-5 years.

Question 2: What is Dancer's own opinion on aging his wines?

For question 2) I made a point of raising the issue (as I have done on other occasions) with Vincent Dancer when I visited again in Feb 2011 - does he make / build wines to age?

His answer is always the same & always honest; he makes wines which have aging ability but considers they are best optimised by drinking relatively early. He makes an exception for the Chevalier, which by the way, he says 6-9 years in most vintages. Note - not more.

Dancer recommends consuming village wines between years 1-4. The premier crus from years 3-6. The grand cru 6-9 years.

This is interesting. Critics argue that his wines are exhuberent, lively & mineral in their youth, offering a racy vivacity which interplays with fresh, ripe, lemony fruit. These characteristics are best enjoyed when the wines are young. With age this zesty, citrus spark becomes a little subdued with the advent of a degree of buttery richness & some creaminess. At this point, the lime streak begins to fade into the background. Arguably this is quite normal & for many desirable. However, some critics argue that his wines have more mouth-feel & dimension when young.

"What about complexity that only age brings I asked?". Dancer quizzically retorts "the complexity is evident from the beginning. I agree age introduces some nuances of flavour, but do these nuances make the wine more complex? They change the balance of flavours but it depends on which flavours you prefer most" (Which naturally brings us to question 3)

Question 3: Do his wines benefit from aging & if so, to what degree?

The answer is of course very subjective indeed. Young white Burgundy & aged white Burgundy are different. Wines with aging potential are often unyielding in their youth (2008, 2005 & 1995 stand out) & many of the flavours can be lost if consumed too early. Does this apply to all of Dancer's wines? My personal answer is that only Dancer's top growths need a minimum of 4 years. All of his village wines are more flavoursome to my palate at 1-3 years than at 4-6 years.

Consumed early, the Chassagnes & Meursaults are nervy, vivacious, steely & with lots of acidic attack & mouthfeel. The citrus lemon/lime backbone is much more pronounced. By all means wait a bit & the wines acquire a fuller, fatter (buttery), viscous dimension & if that is the 'taste' you prefer, these wines will produce. To this scribe, the former offers greater excitement.

For 'La Romanée', 'Perrieres' & Chevalier it is a shame not to give these wines a 4-6 year rest. The 'nerviness' (youth) & the 'viscosity' (age) combine beautifully to offer up complexity, length & punch.


It is tempting to say "draw your own" because that essentially is the answer. Drink Dancers wines to suit your personal taste preferences.

It is fair to conclude, from my experiences at least, that Dancers wines are not long haul wines (8-15 years); do not shut down in their youth; are not necessarily tight in their mid-life, only blossoming at full maturity. They offer plenty of enjoyment from an early age. Indeed, at most stages in their cyclical maturation, his wines are not just approachable, they are exciting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

BUR GON YE - for 'Wise Owls'


The word 'Bourgogne' means Burgundy and is pronounced BUR GON YE.

In vinous terms it means red or white Burgundy made exclusively from Pinot Noir or Chardonnay (depending on whether it is red or white Bourgogne). The word 'Bourgogne' will be written on the label. So what does Bourgogne denote and what category or quality of wine should it be? In the hierarchy of the Burgundy quality chart, this is where it falls:
Grand Cru (e.g. Chambertin)
Premier Cru (e.g. Volnay 1er Cru 'Mitans')
Village wine (e.g. Vosne-Romanée)
Bourgogne Haute Cotes de Nuits / Beaune
Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire
We dont see much of the last category these days, though there are some decent examples. The wines of the Hautes Cotes (Nuits / Beaune) often offer good value. Hautes Cotes means 'outer slopes' and here the soils are thinner and the vines need to go deeper to reach the water table. Given the distance the vine root may have to go (bringing back essential nutrients to the grape bunches), you would imagine that it is difficult to make quality Burgundy from such vineyards? But there are plenty of good addresses in Burgundy making lovely, soft, juicy, raspberry-scented red Hautes Cotes. Likewise some mineral, citrus, buttery white Hautes Cotes. As Hugh Johnson MW says, "do not overlook!"

This brings us to Bourgogne. Generally speaking, wine labelled as Bourgogne is made from vines that fall into one of two categories. The first category is vines planted in soils / plots which the appellation controée authorities deem sub-standard to village quality Burgundy (it can be a fine line sometimes - as 'Wise Owls' know).

The second category, is young vines planted in village AC soils / plots but bottled as Bourgogne (this is where the 'Wisest Owls' shop)!

Let us consider the first category - 'sub-standard soils'. These vineyard plots, more often than not, border village AC plots. The soil may be poorer, less porous, thinner, have low clay content, too much marl, or any combination of these. In qualitative terms, the difference between these plots and village plots may be small and the resulting wine may well be close in quality to village AC wine. Furthermore, if the vines are old the gap in quality between the Bourgogne and the village AC wine may be very small indeed. This raises the question of value. You may well ask 'how does a customer know what the quality of the soil is'? Indeed, how is any consumer expected to know whether a bottle of Bourgogne might be good value? Or even potentially a disappointing bottle? Read on.

Lets consider the second category - 'young vines'. In this instance the soil has the potential to produce village AC wine but it is the vines that are the limiting factor. Young vines are planted in village AC plots but the average age of the vines might be quite young. Quality driven winemakers decide that the wine they produce is not (in their opinion) quite up to the quality of a village AC wine. They consequently label the wine as Bourgogne. This protects / enhances their reputation. However, as the vines age the gap between the two categories closes. 'Wise Owls' often know whose vines or soils produce the best Bourgognes. Admittedly, most consumers are not in the know and so the question remains, 'which, or whose Bourgogne to buy?'

Importantly, in category one, it is the appellation controlée authorities who decide that the vineyard has sub-standard soil and therefore does not have the potential to make village AC wine. In category two however (young vines), it is the winemaker who decides whether he / she will produce a wine that is village AC standard or not. Remember, the best addresses are very, very particular about what their wines say about the Domaine.

(I haven't mentioned de-classified wines in difficult vintages as they may only complicate matters - though it is another category)

For the most part, Burgundys' best examples of Bourgogne come from the second category of growers. Simply, the best addresses are by far and away the most likely source of fine Bourgogne. The labels you are viewing on this Blog are excellent examples of Burgundys' finest Bourgognes. Arnaud Mortet and Christian Serafin, both in Gevrey-Chambertin, produce different Bourgognes. Mortet's is made from village AC soil. Sérafins vines are planted in 'sub-standard' soil but the vines average 29 years and the quality is impressive. Arguably, both growers Bourgognes are not up to Gevrey village standard (you would hardly know mind), but at half the price of a bottle of Gevrey they are not half the quality. They are still not cheap but they offer value by comparison.

In fact, the best examples of Bourgogne are often as good as other growers village AC wines. This is true in both red and white wines. My advice is to stick with reputed growers in each appellation (their names are well documented). Expect to pay €15 - €30 but you can expect high standards. The caveat is, Bourgogne from some addresses may disappoint. Good wine merchants will advise.

Several years ago Burgundy Direct Wines listed two Bourgognes. Today we list nine. Unfortunately, allocations may be small and as a result the wine(s) in question may be sold out before the new vintage is produced. The six red Bourgognes featured in the photgraphs in this Blog emanate

from six of the best addresses in the region and are highly regarded. They are as follows:

Domaine Vincent Dancer - vines are planted in Pommard
Domaine Jean Grivot - vines are planted in Vosne-Romanée
Domaine Denis Mortet - vines are planted in Gevrey-Chambertin
Domaine Michel Lafarge - vines are planted in Volnay
Domaine Christian Sérafin - vines planted in Gevrey-Chambertin
Domaine Anne Gros - vines are planted in Vosne-Romanée

A bottle of each of all six wines is on offer @ €135.00

Monday, March 1, 2010

A tasting of 2004 red Burgundies

This Blog is, if you like, a sequel to my last Blog posted on 07 January 2010 'The 'taste' of 2004 Red Burgundy'.

In this last posting the problem of 'taint' in some 2004's was highlighted & discussed. The Bill Nanson report gave a good summary. I promised readers in this Blog that I would host a tasting of 2004 wines in February to assess the extent of infection in a range of 2004 wines.

The tasting was held in Ely-CHQ in the IFSC on Thursday 25th Feb. Ely-CHQ is a superb venue, ideal for wine tastings, food or just a relaxing night out. Located in the IFSC (beside AIB International House) & convenient by DART. The vaulted downstairs in this venue is simply a 'treasure trove' of the best wines in the country. I cant recommend a visit enough to any serious wine imbiber; in particular if they like matching food.

A total of 20 people (myself included) sat down to taste the following list of wines, ALL from the 2004 vintage:

Bourgogne, Anne Gros
Savigny 1er Cru 'Gravieres', Girardin
Chambolle-Musigny 'Combe d'Orveau', Anne Gros
Chambolle-Musigny, Dujuc
Chambolle-Musigny, Comte Georges de Vogué
Chambolle-Musigny, Georges Roumier
Pommard, Vougeraie
Vosne-Romanée 'Bossieres', Jean Grivot
Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru 'Fournieres', Tollot-Beaut
Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru 'Pruliers', Chevillon
Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru 'Vaucrains', Chevillon
Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru 'Cailles', Chevillon
Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru 'Murgers', Bertagne
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru 'Corbeaux', Serafin
Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru 'Beaux Monts', Jean Grivot
Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru, Jean Grivot
Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Dujuc

I must tell you at this point that many at the tasting had not previously detected / tasted this 'taint' characteristic in the 2004's. Some had. We were fortunate to have Tadg in our presence. Tadg is a biologist, has previously detected taint in some of his wines & is particularly well informed on the subject of pyrazines (chemical compound which the ladybird insects emit) which are the cause of taint in some 2004's. Tadg's briefing was fascinating & an education to us all.

The thought struck me as we started that tasters would go 'in search of' anything that remotely tasted untoward! Would confusion set in? I resolved that if a few of us had previously encountered taint, there would be no doubting the wines.

The results. I will openly admit that I was more than surprised that not one wine exhibited any trace of taint. Seventeen wines is a lot of examples & hearteningly, one could only conclude that the incidence may not be near as prevalent as some critics would have us believe. It was remarkable that those samplers who had not previously experienced this taint, went home none the wiser to it!

As an importer, seller & 'ambassador' for Burgundy wines in Ireland, I was very pleased with the outcome. The problem is there for sure, but this showing suggests we need not be too concerned for our cellared stocks of 2004. The infection rate would appear to be very low.

Finally, the tasting also highlighted the quality, complexities & pleasure to be gained from a 'moderate' vintage like 2004. The wines showed beautifully & the overall quality very high indeed. Most are drinking well now. Top first growths & certainly grand crus can do with further cellaring.

For now it seems, the 'coccinella / ladybirds' of 2004 are more nuisance than blight!
(Please feel free to post a comment)

* should anyone like to receive tasting notes on any of the wines sampled, please contact me on

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The 'taste' of 2004 red Burgundy

So many words have been used to describe it - the 'taste' in 2004 red Burgundy. To keep this essay simple, we'll describe this taste as 'taint'. That is to say, the taste has an 'element', a 'character', (that can also be found in the odour) that displeases. What is it? How did it get there? How serious is it? Three questions which need to be answered. So far, we have no scientific proof & hence the answers remain elusive. One theory leads all others however - that the culprit is 'coccinella'!!! LADYBIRDS!

First to the taste. Despite early fears (i.e Jun - Aug) of oidium & even under-ripeness, the 2004's were harvested with surprisingly high sugar levels. Little need for the addition of sugar therefore. Indeed most growers remarked that there was no need to chaptalise. Acidities were decent. The fruit displayed good levels of freshness. So far so good. By no means a classic, 2004 was a welcome sequel to the 'atypical' 2003's & a good medium-term cellar vintage. There was some rot but sorting tables (triage) eliminated virtually all of that. As usual, the better addresses in Burgundy are well equipped to deal with moderate rot levels. Rot is not the problem.

Some 6-12 months after bottling the first hints of this 'taint' manifested. Initially in the odour, increasingly in the taste. It has been described as carbolic, green, wax-resin, chemical, astringent . . . and so on. Basically it is not particularly nice. Curiously, beneath the odour & after the 'taint' flavour, the fruit is in a perfect healthy state. The freshness has not been eroded or gone away.

How did it get there? This is considered a good question. Not before or since has this flavour, this 'taint', been evident in red Burgundy wines. So what made 2004 unique? Oidium, which causes rot, is a regular visitor to Burgundy. Treatments haven't changed. Mildew is no stranger either. Growers & oenologists alike rule out the rot theory. One potential culprit is the ladybird, for which there was an abundance in 2004. Ladybirds release pyrazines; a chemical compound which can effect the odour of wine and, where abundant, evidently the taste too. I have posted a second Blog today (07 Jan 2010) from an article by Bill Nanson in his Burgundy Report in the autumn of 2008. It is interesting, detailed & plausible. It may well prove to be the 'raison d'etre' for the 2004 'taint'. However, I emphasise that the jury is still out on this matter. To read this report just scroll down this Blog until you come to my next Blog entitled Bill Nanson - The Burgundy Report.

What of the wines? Regretably the incidence is increasing (see report). My own experience is identical to others elsewhere. That is to say, inconsistent, increasing & a cause for concern. Like everyone else too, I find the 2004's otherwise healthy, fruit-driven & fresh. All generic & most village wines drink now. Others will benefit from further keeping. Will this 'taint' diminish or even disappear? Time will tell, but the evidence so far is troubling.

Who is responsible? What can be done? The wine growers are likely to tell you that the ladybirds are responsible! They are certainly not recalling the wines. They argue (& correctly so) that not all wines are affected. Many are perfect. You will find that wines from the same case do not all have this 'taint'.

Wine importers are on a hiding to nothing. Though 2005 Burgundy deflected attention from the 2004's, the reality is, this problem has only manifested itself in the past 12 months. Both 2006 & 2007 Burgundy have been victimised I fear. This is a great pity as both vintages have plenty to offer. The 2006's in particular are proving to be of very high quality.

I will hold a tasting of 2004's in February & a full report will follow on the results. In the meantime, any feedback / comments / experiences etc would be welcomed.

Scroll down to next Blog for additional info.

Bill Nanson - The Burgundy Report

"I think I was possibly the first to publicly raise & discuss the 'vintage character' of 2004 reds. Early on I had empirically estimated that about 30% of cuvées had a strange aromatic profile, elevated levels of which also affected the taste. I accepted to a large but limited extent to (lets call it for now . . . .) the 'taint' and one which would hopefully subside, but in Oct 2008 lunch with a few fellow enthusiasts that focused on 2004's left me questioning that perspective.

It was only by chance that I mentioned my experience of grape-baskets often with dozens of ladybirds (ladybugs or coccinella depending on your location) at harvest-time, but quick as a flash, Don Cornwall found a potential link - pyrazines.

But first let us take a step back. As the wines matured in their barrels, the 2004 reds were better than many had expected. The wines showed ripe fruit coupled to a nice freshness. At en-primeur tastings all was fine & for the first 2-3 months in bottle they repaid my confidence, but less than 6 months after bottling there was an obvious 'odour' problem.

The 'character' of the vintage

The closest for me was a peculiarly old English thing - the smell of Wrights Coal Tar soap - an almost mineral, chemical smell - I would describe it as similar to a cedar / sandalwood mix. Others say 'mirepoix' or vey simply 'green', which implies under-ripe - but 2004's were far from under-ripe. In fact, in my opinion, 'green' does not describe very well the character of 2004's.

Who is affected?

Close to everyone. Bottles opened by me between Sept 2006 & Jun 2007 indicated about a 30% level of 'infection'. A more recent but small sampling, had a majority showing the effect. The issue was that in the early months after bottling, the producer was not an indicator - find two cuvees whose elevage were side by side & in many cases only one wine would show taint. You could find it on a low level in DRC wines, but here's the interesting thing: at many low levels, its just another small note of complexity & its actually rather nice - e.g. Fourrier's Morey Clos Salon tasted in Oct - increase the concentration & its nasty. A much bigger concern to me is that some bottles I opened 2 years ago, bottles that were fine, now show an 'issue', so the 'infection rate' certainly hasn't peaked yet.

What is it?

Well chemically, a number of more technically oriented wine-makers have told me that the smell is of pyrazines. If so, thaty doesn't bode well for a slow reduction over time - pyrazine odours can often get worse with time. Ladybirds (coccinella) use pyrazines (methoxy-pyrazines) as sexual attractants. They are also used as a defence alert - pick one up & the yellow colour that leach onto your fingers also contains pyrazines.

How did it get there?

The link could be these coccinella. Some people pooh-pooh the idea - 'you expect me to believe that every vineyard was infested with these things'? Actually NO, though it can happen. The vineyard is in many respects a red herring: 2004 was a year with an over-abundance of coccinella. The following year the cuveries were full of fruit-flies. The year after that the grapes were full of earwigs.. In 2008 the grapes were almost fauna-free as they were so cold. There are natural cycles & some insects dominate for a year & are seen less the following year. Its not about how many coccinella were in the vineyard, its about how many were in the cap of the fermenters or on the triage (sorting) table. That coccinella can taint a wine has been empirically demonstrated by a number of authorities.

Of course, there is another possibility - Coccinella are not involved in the 2004 'vintage character' at all!


I've 'hypothesised' coccinella as a plausible reason for the malaise that affects so many 2004 reds. Many winemakers accept that possibility whilst others remain unsure. I fully accept that coccinella may not be THE reason - but thus far no-one can tell you otherwise & there is certainly no alternate & 'viable' theory yet proposed. I expect that no wineries will be sponsoring research to find a 'root-cause' as they have to concentrate on selling recent vintages.

Other than to 'keep my hand in' I have all but stopped opening 2004's as I dont like the 'taint', whatever its source. So the vast majority of my bottles will stay in cellar a good few more years to see whether MP's (methoxy-pyrazines) really do diminish with time - and thats a shame as the vintage had much early charm.

So what isn't it?

1. Its not a smell of rot

2. It is not the smell of stems

3. It is not anything to do with unripe fruit (few winemakers added sugar in this vintage because the natural sugars were high enough. It is a rare wine the truly unripe 2004)

So it is a conundrum for two reasons:

1. Wines tasted from barrel showed this only to a minor, let us say 'normal' extent; yet it has developed / amplified since bottling

2. Different wines from the same cellar (so same viticulture, ripeness & vinification) are not the same. Some show it & others dont!"


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Burgundy 2007 - Red & White - Landed Oct 2009

Anne Gros says her 2007 Richebourg can be drunk straightaway!!! Bertand Chevillon recommends all his wonderful 2007 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Crus for consummation as soon as they land. The usual, slow to develop, range of Volnay wines from Michel & Frederic Lafarge, can be drunk as soon as bottled! Only Arnuad Mortet said wait - until 2010!!
I cannot remember a vintage which has the capacity to be drunk as soon as 'the white flag is raised' (i.e. bottled). Good thing or bad thing?

(We'll address the whites shortly).

Bordeaux produced three successive vintages in 1991, 1992 & 1993 which the public largely chose to overlook. "Average vintages for quick consummation". "Not much to get excited about". But some people bought. I did. They weren't blockbusters; nor were they exciting. But they gave much pleasure & gave it quickly. Not much cellaring required. Suited me. As it was, I was still waiting on my trio of '88, '89 & 1990. As an interim solution they fitted perfectly. All the hallmarks of fine Bordeaux, if somewhat on the light side. To use slang - 'so what' if they were on the light side. The fact is, they gave much pleasure & I enjoyed them.

Pinot Noir 2007 from Burgundy are equally 'light', forward & pleasing. If that sounds almost patronising, consider this; what is it about Pinot Noir from Burgundy that you like? The 'terroir' character? The cherry scented, crushed raspberry aromatics? The elegant, effeminate, silky profile of the grape? The elusive, almost haunting ethereality? Maybe just the very simple flavours that are Pinot? They are all there in 2007. They may not be big on volume but they are true to style. Remember this (& this is critical to good wine), they reached alcohol potential of 12 to 12.5 oC naturally. In other words, little or no chaptalization (& this is a very healthy aspect to these wines).

So what are they like to drink? Beautifully fresh, airy, vivid, with very pure Pinot flavours. They are also transparent because of these qualities; that is to say, where there was rot, the wines show this up. Where there was virtually no rot (the better addresses will always drop berries which exhibit some rot), the wines have a pure, expressive style. They are highly aromatic, with a preponderance of red berry fruit on the nose. You get clearly defined appellation flavours. In a nutshell, the style is classic Pinot Noir.

Can the wines last / age? Of course, because they have not been sugared. Do not expect them to develop much though. What you taste now is largely what you will taste in one or three years time. In my book, its great to have a vintage like this - no decanting, ceremony or cellaring. Just lovely Pinot expression. What's wrong with that?

And the Whites?

Burgundy produced racehorses!! Full of nervous tension. It's the bracing acidity, citrus lime & pent up energy that almost knocks you down. Like sprint horses. As with their red counterparts, they are strikingly FRESH. Airy, pure, wonderfully aromatic & neither bloated nor viscous.

Similar to the classic 2004's, which are mineral, racy & full of stony, chalky, overtones!!
Far less buxom & blowsy than the super-ripe 2006's. Much more revealing than the 2005's. Definately first cousins of the 2004's. This is my favourite style of Burgundian Chardonnay. Most are lovely to drink early, though many of the premier crus need a year or two (possibly more) I guess. We'll see how they get on.

To boot; vintages like 2004 & 2007 produced wines which are particularly terroir-driven. Put simply - the Meursaults, Pulignys & Chassagnes have clearly defined village traits & the wines are true-to-type. Appellations are well delineated. Blind tastings are less daunting in these vintages!

Ignore 2007 Burgundy if you choose. Somehow I think you're missing something though!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Von Romanees

The Von Romanées
Vosne-Romanée is arguably the most illustrious wine village in Burgundy. After all, there are more Grand Crus in this appellation than any other. The wines produced are some of the most sumptuous, celestial & beautifully perfumed in the wine world. As in any Burgundian appellation of note, there are a number of addresses whose wines are much sought-after, vintage after vintage. Equally, there are 'lesser-known' addresses which are capable of producing silky, rich, wonderfully elegant Pinot Noir. Of course, pricing reflects the different reputations. In order to have a balance in this regard, Burgundy Direct Wines buys from the most reputed & the most under-rated domaines. In fact, we import from three addresses, which I call the Von Romanées. Domaine Anne Gros, Domaine Jean Grivot & Domaine Francois Gerbet. Interestingly, all three, in addition to making grand crus, premier crus & village Vosne-Romanée (see pics), also produce generic, regional wines. And here you can find real value.
Have a look:
Bourgogne - Anne Gros
Bourgogne - Jean Grivot
Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits - Anne Gros
Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits 'Vieilles Vignes' - Francois Gerbet
Both Anne Gros's & Etienne Grivot's Bourgogne are made from young vines planted in the village of Vosne-Romanée itself. The Hautes Cotes (meaning 'outer slopes') from Anne Gros & Francois Gerbet are planted on the higher slopes above the village near the escarpment. All of these wines are expertly crafted, are the source of good value & are worth your attention.

64 Wines in Glasthule & McCabes Off-Licence in Blackrock & Foxrock carry some of these wines.
Also available in the three Elys - Ely Place, Ely-HQ & Ely-CHQ in the IFSC. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud lists Anne Gros & Jean Grivot