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

1 comment:

noel said...

Not only was there no "taint", but I though all the wines were drinking very well, with the exception of the two Grand Cru wines that need more time(surprise surprise). Overall it was a very interesting night,and it was a great privilege to be there.