Location: 176 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. (310) 385-0880
Date: February 5, 2013
Rating: Mind Blowing
Faithful readers know that I love Burgundy. There is no wine area in the world, red or white, that is so focused. More, or less, this glacial valley in Eastern France only grows two grapes: red Pinot Noir and white Chardonnay. It does so in a minimalist manner that emphasizes the exact geographic and micro-climate conditions of small named parcels of land – and people here have been doing exactly this for well over a 1,000 years.
In the last year I’ve been trying to up my Burgundy game. I’m taking a Burgundy Master (Sommelier) class and really trying to become much more knowledgable about this challenging area. Most casual wine drinkers probably don’t realize how complex it is. You could invest decades of full time study in this one region and still not know all there is to know.
Which brings me to tonight, where I was lucky enough to attend the first of three dinners that explore the white wines of Burgundy in a manner so focused its worthy of the . I’m mostly a pinot guy (red) but this series focuses only on white 2005s (all Chardonnay) and this particular dinner on Chablis, Meursault, and Corton-Charlemagne. All of the wines here were provided by the participants and were in impeccable condition.
While tasting 30 Chardonnay’s from just three regions all together is a bit of a buttery blitzkrieg, there is no better way to get a sense of the specific flavor profiles of the different vineyards. By sampling across several great 2005 Chablis, you can get a real grasp on what IS Chablis and hence what is Corton-Charlemagne.
Tonight’s venue is the (new) original Spago in Beverly Hills.
And we were set up in a private room, which given the nature of this exacting tasting was essential.
Tonight’s wines and the menu. The four large flights are each paired with a course. The food was great, although personally, I would have matched perhaps three small courses to each flight, but I’ve become ridiculously spoiled and find anything less than 8-10 courses anemic :-). World’s smallest violin, I know.
This dinner was ALOT of work for the Sommelier. We tasted each flight blind, knowing the wines (5-8) in the flight but not which was which (they had numbers). The Somm had to organize a legion of glasses, label them, and pour and serve!
The whole blind/not-blind thing is a bit of a debate. I can understand why it’s very useful to try the wines stripped of their identity so as not to be colored, but at my stage in my own personal learning curve, I get more out of knowing what I’m tasting as I taste it. I’m still trying to build mental flavor profiles for specific vineyards and associate them analytically with descriptors and various qualities. I had printed out individual tasting sheets for each wine, but I had made the mistake of labeling them by the wine. Next dinner I’ll just put numbers on them and fill in the wine later.
The amuse section was accompanied by the 1996 Egry-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes. A very nice dry champagne that’s reached that stately level of maturity.
Steak Tartar. On a toast, with black truffle. I love good steak tartar!
Spago falafel. With creme fraiche.
Buttery pastry filled with bacon. Very yummy.
Puck’s Jewish Pizza. Creme fraiche, chives, dill, red onion and nova lox. This is always SO good. I make it myself at home too, pretty successfully.
Flight 1: Chablis
2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses
(from a 1 ha parcel planted in 1970)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2007: Good pale yellow. Knockout nose combines peche de vigne and gingery spices, plus the same violety high note I found in the 2006. Rich, broad and tactile, with terrific energy and intensity to the slightly exotic flavors of orange, lemon peel, flowers and licorice. As silky as this is, it conveys an outstanding lightness of touch. Best today on the explosive, rocky, palate-staining finish, which offers a real whiplash of iodine, warm stone and citrus peel flavors. This vineyard was the least affected by botrytis in 2005, according to Dauvissat; the wine is the lowest in alcohol, but still a full 13.5%. 94(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 28, Oct. 1, 2007: Here the restrained nose is bright, elegant and classy, offering an unmistakable step up in distinction and refinement with very subtle background notes of botrytis that can also be found on the textured, supple and pure medium full flavors that are sweet, complex and utterly palate drenching on the hugely long and intense finish. Indeed, this is so intense that I had to stall for time to allow my palate to recover before moving on to the Les Clos. Trust me, this is a “wow” wine. 94
2005 Domaine Raveneau Chablis Les Clos
(from a .54 ha parcel dead center in the vineyard)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2007: Pale yellow. Ineffable nose combines fresh pineapple, grapefruit, crushed stone and menthol. Pure, taut, extremely backward wine that’s like sucking on a mouthful of rocks today. Like a richer and even more austere version of the Montee de Tonnerre. With no obvious sweetness showing today, this is revealing more than it’s showing. Finishes very long and very dry, with a purity of mineral expression that’s rare for this vintage. Less likable today than the Valmur but even denser. This will require at least a decade of cellaring. 95(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 28, Oct. 1, 2007: An incredibly pure but also incredibly backward ultra high-toned ripe floral and white pear and peach nose nuanced by subtle spice and brioche notes complements perfectly the round, intense, delineated and stony flavors that are like drinking liquefied rock, all wrapped in a textured, palate staining, austere and almost painfully intense and chewy finish. This is a bit more reserved at present than the Valmur, which is interesting because normally it’s the other way around. Either way, this has flat out great potential. 95
This wine was unusual in the Chablis flight for being SO intensely mineral with a hint of sulfur. Now, Chablis is a very mineral wine, but this was the oddball of the group.
2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos
(from a 1.7 ha parcel of 47 year old vines)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2007: Bright, pale yellow. Classic, soil- inflected aromas of citrus fruits, clove, wet stone and iodine. Suave on entry, then quite high- pitched in the middle, with superb purity to the flavors of grapefruit, lemon and minerals. At once fine-grained and taut, with captivating floral lift. Like the Preuses, this is most impressive today on the highly complex, uncommonly long finish, which throws off notes of sexy brown spices, juniper and white pepper, along with an intriguing saline quality. 95
Allen Meadows, Burghound Database, tasted Nov 17. 2011: This terrific effort only seems to be getting better and better with each passing year with its spicy white flower aromas that introduce sophisticated, pure and gorgeously intense flavors that explode on the strikingly long and chewy finish. The depth here is just terrific and the hallmark minerality is present in spades. And, as is always the casee with this wine, the driving and penetrating finish just lasts and lasts and this is without question truly a stunner of a wine. I have upgraded my rating slightly as this is still on the way up but is drinking so well right now that it would not be complete infanticide to drink a bottle now. 95
2005 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Les Preuses
(from two parcels of vines that total 2.55 ha, or 22% of the entire appellation)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2007: Good pale color with green highlights. Elegant nose hints at gunflinty silex, with pineapple emerging with aeration. Very rich and suave; in a rounder, fatter style than the Cote Bouguerots but with a bit less clarity and lift. Shows a more exotic peach quality in the middle palate. Finishes subtle, smooth and long. 92
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 28, Oct. 1, 2007: This is the second year running where the Preuses really distinguishes itself with an incredibly complex nose of brioche, spice, green fruit, shell fish, algae and sea breeze notes that merge into wonderfully elegant yet generous, full, forward and strikingly classy flavors that are dense, balanced and unbelievably persistent plus they display more minerality than usual. The acid spine is firm and ripe but not aggressive and should easily see this through at least a decade of cellar time. I normally have a real weakness for the Valmur at this address but the Preuses is really something in 2005. A “wow” wine. 94
2005 Domaine Raveneau Chablis Montee de Tonnerre
(from a huge parcel of 2.5 ha though this figure includes the surface area in Chapelot which is bottled separately)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2007: Bright, pale yellow. Pure but reticent aromas of citrus peel, hazelnut, clove and minerals; even more strict today than the Butteaux. Powerful but almost painfully closed, dominated today by citric and mineral cut and a flavor of wet stone. A very rich but austere wine that’s presently hard to taste. Finishes broad, layered and quite dry, with a ripe, honeyed quality. This will almost certainly be for drinking after the ’06. 92+
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 28, Oct. 1, 2007: This is a mild step up in overall class and elegance with a gorgeously perfumed white flower fruit nose introducing linear, precise, intense and powerful medium full flavors that remain splendidly focused on the stunningly long finish that drenches the palate in dry extract. This is a striking 1er and one to buy as it easily delivers grand cru quality. 94
This was our only Premier Cru of the flight but was one of my favorite wines. It was a bit more expressive than many of the Grand Crus and had a wonderful complexity.
2005 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Les Clos
(from 4 separate parcels totaling 4.11 ha, 3 of which are all at the top of the slope)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2007: Pale green color. Pure but subdued aromas of lemon-lime and crushed stone. Intensely flavored and youthfully tight, offering sharply delineated citrus fruit, white peach and crushed stone elements. In a cooler style for the vintage, with just the slightest exotic hint to show that it’s from a very warm year. The very long, rising finish displays uncommon precision for the vintage. But the young 2006 appears to be even longer and more minerally. 94(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 28, Oct. 1, 2007: In contrast to the relative expressiveness of most of this group, the Les Clos is backward, reserved and very tight, revealing only glimpses of white flower, oyster shell and an airy marine influence that can also be found on the intense, pure and astonishingly precise flavors that possess another dimension relative to all of the other ’05s with the exception of the Preuses. Class in a glass as they say and while presently tighter than a drum with an exceptionally dry finish, this has the material and balance to age for years. 94
2005 Domaine Raveneau Chablis Valmur
(from a .75 ha parcel)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2007: Pale yellow. Brisk, pure aromas of citrus skin, powdered stone, quinine and iodine. Juicy and citric on entry, then supple and rich in the middle, but with superb energy giving shape and grip to the lemon-lime, citrus, stone and floral flavors. Conveys an impression of sucrosite but also comes across as wonderfully fresh and taut. Pure, palate-dusting, rising finish boasts terrific lift and aromatic perfume. Valmur is favored in hot years, notes Raveneau. “The vines here run north-south, which enables them to resist the mid-day sun and retain freshness.” 95
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 28, Oct. 1, 2007: This is more expressive than usual, featuring a hint of wood spice and the usual gorgeously elegant cool green fruit, oyster shell and saline notes that introduce unusually big and powerful flavors that are naturally sweet, intense and like the majority of these ’05s, possesses buckets of dry extract. The finish just oozes with minerality and the intensity is almost painful as it really stains the palate. I noted last year that there was marvelous quality here and there was so much material that it could be even better than my range suggested. Well, I agree with my initial prediction as the Valmur is indeed better in bottle than it was from cask and a flat out magnificent wine. 95
“Chirashi Sushi”. Blue Fin Tuna, Hamachi, Salmon Pearls, Sea Urchin. Very yummy, and unusual to get something so faithfully Japanese in a non-Japanese restaurant.
Flight 2: Meursault
Colin-Morey Meursault Genevrieres
Stephen Tanzer: not reviewed
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: A completely different nose is present here with seductive, spicy and slightly exotic fruit aromas marry into intense, delineated and explosive medium plus weight flavors, all wrapped in a vibrant and terrifically long finish that is picture-perfect Meursault in character. There is also a touch of wood on the backend but it’s subtle and will be absorbed in time. 92
Mikulski Meursault Genevrieres
Stephen Tanzer: not reviewed
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 31, July 1, 2008: A subtly spicy and wonderfully seductive nose features notes of citrus, pear and green fruit that precede the racy, gorgeously intense and seriously pure flavors that are textured, sweet and mouth coating on the energetic and penetrating finish. This is one of those ‘wow’ wines that really grabs your attention with its effortless grace. This bears more than a passing resemblance to the ’06 version except this is more concentrated and slightly more powerful. Either way, it’s most impressive as well. 93
Henri Boillot Meursault Charmes
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Cool aromas of citrus fruits and stone. Dense, concentrated and sappy, with sweet citrus and mineral flavors firmed by surprisingly sound acidity. A classic Charmes with terrific inner-mouth energy. Finishes long and brisk, with excellent cut. 93(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: An extremely subtle touch of pain grillé works well with the ripe peach, apricot, floral and lemon rind aromas that introduce rich, pure and generous flavors that coat the mouth with sappy extract and there is a lovely minerality that surfaces on the highly complex and impressively long finish. This combines most of the power of the Poruzots with most of the elegance of the Les Cras to create a more complete effort. Note that there was a bit of CO2 on the finish and I would suggest decanting this for 20 minutes first. In a word, gorgeous. 93
Lafon Meursault Charmes
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Aromas of peach and vanilla. Rich, fat and classically dry, with compelling purity to the lemon, crushed stone and mineral flavors. Perfectly integrated acidity extends the palate-staining, layered finish. With a blend of 15-, 45- and 75-year-old vines in his 1.7-hectares holding in Charmes, Lafon has the flexibility each year to make one of Burgundy’s top Meursault bottlings. 93-95
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 31, July 1, 2008: Here the reserved and tight nose is less spicy but no less complex with high-toned aromas of white peach and pear nuanced by subtle notes of hazelnut and orange blossom that give way to rich, full and mouth coating flavors that evidence a silky mouth feel and culminate in a focused, linear and intensely mineral finish that offers both class and finesse. This really expands on the borderline tannic and almost painfully intense finish and it seems like an even bigger wine than it is. As good an example of Lafon Charmes as I have seen in a while. 94
2005 Roulot Meursault Charmes
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Reticent, pure aromas of lemon and crushed stone, with a hint of vanillin oak; a more exotic mango note emerged with aeration. Rich, dense and young but with a distinct sweetness in the middle palate, in part a function of the wine’s vanillin oak component. This is fat and sweet but doesn’t quite come alive today. Roulot finds this a bit anonymous, “in the warm style of 2005.” 91
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: A moderately exotic nose of honeysuckle, mango and apricot trimmed in discreet brioche notes leads to delicious, round and sweet flavors that are generous and nicely harmonious if not as intense and persistent as the best in the range. Still, this is really quite lovely as it has already found its center. 91
Domaine Henri Boillot Meursault Genevrieres
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Aromas of soft citrus fruits, pear and crushed stone. Wonderfully dense and sweet but with great precision and juicy cut to the fruit and mineral flavors. Finishes impressively long and pure, with superb cut. An outstanding Genevrieres in the making. 94
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: The first wine to display any real wood influence, which in this case manifests itself with touches of pain grillé and vanilla that highlight the naturally spicy and equally seductive aromas where the spiciness continues onto the round, rich, concentrated and impressively powerful flavors blessed with huge dry extract levels that lend an almost chewy quality to the hugely long finish. This is not quite as elegant or racy as the Pucelles but it’s close. 93
“Uova da Raviolo”. Ricotta Cream, Parmesan, Black Truffle. This was yum, yum, yum as it’s filled with poached egg (complete with runny yolk). A great buttery rich dish that paired brilliantly with the Burgs.
Flight 3: Meursault Perrieres
Matrot Meursault Perrieres
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Good pale color. Classic aromas of pineapple, citrus fruits and wet stone; this reminded me of a Riesling Schlossberg. Wonderfully dense and intense, with terrific cut and acidity giving sharp definition to the mineral and citrus flavors. Thick but uncompromisingly dry wine that finishes with great verve and a stony whiplash of flavor. This needs a decade of bottle aging. 92+
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: A superbly elegant nose of green apple, spiced dried rose petal and orange and lemon citrus nuances merge into almost aggressively mineral suffused medium-bodied flavors that are classic Perrières in character, all wrapped in very tight, linear and gorgeously detailed finish. This is a seriously impressive effort but one that will need plenty of cellar time. Terrific. 94
Colin-Morey Meursault Perrieres
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Classy aromas of superripe peach and crushed stone. Rich, broad and full, offering most of the Perrieres food groups: peach, apricot, oatmeal, minerals, hazelnut, vanilla. Finishes extremely broad and long, with the wine’s very ripe apricotty fruit not yet in harmony with its powerful minerality. A great wine in the making but this will need five or six years of cellaring. 94(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: A very deft touch of wood frames ripe and strikingly elegant white flower aromas that are somewhat higher-toned and airier than those of the Genevrières while introducing rich and full yet finely detailed medium-bodied flavors that also positively exude an almost pungent minerality on the gorgeously persistent finish. This is built on a base of minerality and it lends a completely different textural impact to the wine, particularly on the finale. 93
Le Moine Meursault Perrieres
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: (sugar fermentation finished, malo almost complete) Nose dominated by crushed stone and lemon; precise and vineyard-typical for 2005. Dense and fat with fruit, showing the sweetness of the vintage in spades. Very promising but can’t quite match the 2004 for precision or length. 90-92
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: A stunning nose of subtly spiced white flower and green apple is trimmed in background hints of pain grillé that merge into sophisticated, pure and strikingly textured medium-bodied flavors oozing with both minerality and dry extract that really coats and stains the palate on the wonderfully precise and moderately strict finish. This will require a few years to really unfold and blossom but the material to do so is here. 92-94
2005 Roulot Meursault Perrieres
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Vibrant aromas of orange, minerals and crushed stone. Juicy, sexy, taut wine with terrific energy to its flavors of orange and stone. This has the clarity and breed that the Charmes is not showing today. Wonderfully minerally and long on the aftertaste. Almost deceptively accessible today, this is built for extended cellaring. 94
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 31, July 1, 2008: A strikingly pure nose of white flower and spice aromas complements perfectly the delicious, intense and stony flavors that are wonderfully vibrant and gorgeously detailed on the transparent and equally pure finish that explodes with more minerality. This is beautifully balanced and understated with a Zen-like sense of calm. I very much like this and it’s very Perrières in character. In a word, brilliant. 94
Don Cornwell, from a dinner with Jean Marc Roulot on Feb 21, 2012: Medium yellow color; quite forward floral and pear aromas; this was bigger and clearly richer than the 2000. It had more body and more alcohol – but it lacked the minerality and grip of the 2000. This was a wine of greater weight and higher alcohol – a thicker style of MP. 93
Lafon Meursault Perrieres
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Explosively ripe fruit aromas of apricot and pineapple currently dominate underlying minerality on the nose. Silky, rich and powerful, with the pineapple and peach flavors framed by harmonious ripe acidity. A wine with superb stuffing and back-end breadth, finishing with palate-saturating mineral and dusty stone flavors. This boasts impressive aging potential, but the Charmes is at least as impressive in the context of the year. Just 10 barrels of this wine were produced, compared to 18 in 2004. 94(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 31, July 1, 2008: Once again the Perrières is the class of these 1ers with its cool and reserved nose of white flower and green apple that complements to perfection the textured, pure and stylish flavors that possess excellent volume but also wonderful detail and punch and the intensely mineral finish that is refined, pure and long with plenty of underlying tension. A ‘wow’ wine. 95
Flight 4: Corton-Charlemagne
Black Bass. Crispy Scale, Littleneck Clams, Herb Coulis, Garlic Purée. The sauce was wow tasty.
Jadot Corton Charlemagne
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: A strikingly complex nose of green apple fruit, pear and a distinct floral note complements perfectly the hugely powerful flavors brimming with dry extract and built on a base of solid minerality. This is a borderline massive wine that is textured, concentrated and sleekly muscled yet it remains precise, pure and balanced with positively huge length. A very impressive wine that could actually surprise to the upside as the underlying material here is as good as any 2005 Corton-Charlemagne. 95
Bouchard Corton Charlemagne
(3.65 ha of east-facing vineyards in Ladoix-Serrigny-climats; vine age presently unknown)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Pungent stone fruits, cold steel, marzipan and charred oak on the nose. Large-scaled, tactile and quite powerful, with captivating, utterly pure flavors of pineapple, wet stone and minerals. Wonderfully sweet and smooth on the back end, with a lovely light touch, but the dusty, tactile aftertaste is stony and uncompromising. I’d forget about this extremely backward wine for a good decade. 95(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: An expressive and highly interesting nose of cool and fresh green apple surrounded by freshly baked brioche aromas leads to big, rich and sleekly muscled flavors that are quite ripe yet there is a very firm acid backbone that maintains outstanding focus on the almost painfully intense mineral-infused finish. This is a ‘wow’ wine that cedes nothing to the Montrachet in terms of power and weight. 95
Don Cornwell, notes from a tasting on January 24, 2008: Very light yellow gold; pear, citrus and some S02 (though a bit less than the second wine); bright, sweet pear/green apple flavors with the best acidity of the flight; this demonstrates some power, some minerality, and some elegance and minerality in the finish. Some of the guys thought this was Chevalier. My clear favorite of the first flight. 94+
Girardin Corton Quintessence
(from 0.30 ha of 70+ year-old vineyards located in En Charlemagne and Le Charlemagne, with southwest exposures)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Smoky aromas of flinty silex and chicken broth; in an awkward stage. Then sweeter than the basic Corton-Charlemagne bottling, at once more opulent and more closed. Can’t match the ’06 for grip or class but this boasts superb richness and smoky depth. Today I find this less pristine and less vibrant than the regular bottling, but it’s also extremely unevolved, and longer and more powerful on the back end. 93(+?)
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: Here the wood is a background nuance if not invisible, highlighting spicy, pure and wonderfully expressive green fruit aromas that are really quite classy while merging into rich, round and stylish medium full flavors brimming with huge amounts of dry extract and an explosive, driving and persistent finish where the wood resurfaces. This is a serious effort but one that is generous and beautifully balanced, which will permit it to age well. 92-95
Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne
(9.5 ha contiguous plot of southwest-facing vineyards planted from 1950 to 1994 with an average age of 47 years; 4.52 ha is located in En Charlemagne and just under 5.0 ha in Le Charlemagne.)
Stephen Tanzer: not reviewed
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 31, July 1, 2008: A ripe and classic nose of distinctly discreet and reserved green fruit and floral aromas that are airy, pure and lightly spiced merge into intense, precise and penetrating medium full flavors blessed with terrific acid/fruit balance and huge length. This is really a lovely wine that is presently a tightly coiled spring and in need of extended bottle aging to really put on display the superb potential here. An understated stunner of a wine as well as ultra refined and one of the best examples of this appellation in 2005. 95
Le Moine Corton Charlemagne
(Negociant wine; produced from two plots in En Charlemagne with a western exposure; the larger plot is 40 year old vines and the smaller one is 18 year old vines)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: (Bottled in March of ’07) Very fresh aromas of cold steel and menthol; distinctly medicinal in the context of the year. Then wonderfully full but with superb energy, combining flavors of lemon, lime, ginger and crushed rock. The minerality here is almost painful. A compellingly taut wine with great palate-staining length and cut. 95
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: As one would reasonably expect, this is much more elegant and refined with moderate wood highlighting the fresh and stony green fruit aromas that offer real depth and leads to precise, minerally and exceptionally powerful flavors that positively drench the palate in dry extract on the hugely long finish. This is still sorting itself out but the quality of the raw materials is impeccable and it possesses impressive potential. 92-94
Boillot Corton Charlemagne
(beginning with 2005, the Boillot Corton was sourced from a different vineyard located in Aloxe-Corton [I believe it is Le Corton] which has a “full south facing” exposure)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2007: Wonderfully ripe, deep aromas of lime, minerals and crushed stone. An incredible mouthful of stones and minerals, with uncanny intensity, juiciness and lift. At this point in my marathon tasting with Boillot, my handwriting was degenerating and I was using exclamation marks rather than adjectives. Flat-out great white Burgundy. Incidentally, Boillot changed his supplier of Corton-Charlemagne as of this vintage; he now works with vines in Aloxe-Corton that face full south. 98(+?)?
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: Here the nose is completely different with pungent and almost aggressively intense green apple aromas infused with an underlying sense of wet stone that is in keeping with the character of the pure, chiseled and fantastically intense full-bodied and muscular flavors that possess serious punch and verve on the equally explosive and very fresh finish. This also has that ‘wow’ sensation because of the beautiful sense of tension that is like a tightly coiled spring. Terrific. 95
Montille Corton Charlemagne
(1.04 ha of south-facing vineyards located in Pougets; these were old Corton (rouge) vines grafted over to chardonnay beginning with 2004 vintage)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2006: Perfumed aromas of apple and nutmeg. Large-scaled, tactile and wonderfully ripe, with rich apple and peach flavors. Very sweet and broad for young Corton-Charlemagne, combining impressive volume and lovely finesse of texture. This was acidified, but one would never know it. Finishes rich, sweet and very long, without the austerity so often shown by this grand cru. There’s just a single barrel of this juice from the family’s new half-hectare holding on 25-year-old roots. (This is actually a south- facing parcel in Corton Pougets that was grafted over to chardonnay two years ago.) 90-93
Allen Meadows, Burghound, Issue No. 27, July 1, 2007: While the entire parcel eligible to be declared as Corton-Charlemagne measures 1.05 ha, it was originally planted to pinot noir and was grafted over to chardonnay in 2004. As a result, the net production was only about 15% of what it will eventually be in 2010 and the vines produced a total of one barrel. An expressive nose of discreetly toasty oak, green apple and spicy pear aromas gives way to rich, full and impressively intense big-bodied flavors that possess excellent volume and a fresh, vibrant and pure finish that just goes on and on. If 2005 is indeed representative of what we can expect going forward, room will need to be made among the very best producers of this appellation to welcome a new member as this is extremely impressive. 93-95
Colin-Morey Corton Charlemagne
(Negociant wine; half comes from 25 year-old vines En Charlemagne vines with a southwest exposure and half comes from 45 year-old vines in Le Charlemagne with a south/southwest exposure; both parcels are usually picked the same day and vinified together)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 2006: First cuvee, from Aloxe (fermentation finished): Aromas of apple, spices and liquid stone, with the metallic aspect often shown by young examples from this grand cru. Then wonderfully concentrated and precise, with uncanny sucrosite for a dry wine (this has just 1.3 grams of r.s.). Rock-solid yet supple and ripe, with captivating ginger apple flavor. Finishes with outstanding persistence. A great sample. Second cuvee, from Pernand: Ginger, apple and crushed stone on the nose; just a hint of malic acidity remaining. Then thoroughly ripe and sappy, with a dominant crushed stone character suggesting cool soil. Offers the combination of density, strong acidity and length that normally points to a very long evolution in bottle. These two lots, both from purchased grapes, will be assembled into a single wine, which is likely to be extraordinary. 93-97
Allen Meadows, Burghound Database. Tasted Dec 4. 2011: There are still noticeable toast elements coupled with overtly ripe and complex green fruit, white apple and pear aromas that merge into big, textured and notably big-boned flavors that feel almost opulent as the texture and mid-palate fat render the acidity almost invisible. This is a big and very rich wine that is impressive through its sheer size and weight and as such will most please those who enjoy power white burgundy as it’s here in spades. For my taste, this has arrived at its apogee and while it will certainly continue to hold for many years to come, I don’t foresee any additional upside development. 93
Don Cornwell, notes from a tasting on January 24, 2008: Light yellow-green color; brilliant citrus and green apple aromas; bright citrus and pear flavors yet fatter than virtually all 2004’s I’ve had; some minerality in the back half of the mid-palate; long fruit and effect finish. 92+
By round four the glass explosion was nearly overwhelming! This is even AFTER some had been cleared.
Trio of Veal Loin, Cheek, Tongue, Oven Roasted Maitake Mushrooms, Apple-Celery-Vanilla Purée, Confit Lemon. Very tasty reduction.
2001 Chateau de Fargues
Wine Advocate: Still in barrel, this Chateau d’Yquem look-alike exhibits powerful creme brulee characteristics along with some volatile acidity, huge, full-bodied, unctuously textured flavors, ample intensity as well as purity, and caramelized tropical fruits. This brawny heavyweight requires 5-6 years of bottle age, and should evolve for three decades. 94-96
Passion, Pineapple, Mango. Rum Baba Boules. Passion Fruit Frozen Kumo. Oven Roasted Pineapples. Paired brilliantly too.
This was a stunning dinner. The food was really spot on and Wolfgang himself popped in to say hi. He really gets around as I’ve seen him a large percentage of the time when I eat at ANY of his places. There was plenty of food too, although my food snob preferences would have been for more dishes, but each one was extremely well executed, some memorable even (like the Ravioli).
What can you say about the wines? Those of you who only know Chardonnay through its pathetic internationalized and manipulated variants are really missing something. White Burgundy, which I find many (less serious) wine drinkers aren’t really aware of, is in a rarefied class by itself and this was a hyper focused peak into a slice of the best of the best. Now, I still prefer great red Burgundy — nothing really matches the brilliance of an awesome Bonnes-Mares, Richebourg or the like — but it was great to really delve into a comparison of the different vineyards. One of my take aways was invest in more Meursault Perrieres because it’s a really sexy wine, and not quite as pricey as some of the grand crus.
I eagerly await night 2, which will focus on the “hyphenated” Montrachet’s like (Batard-Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet) and will be hosted at Valentinos. I’ve learned some things about how to taste at these events and will be better prepared to do it a different way. I would like to reach the point where I can write up a competent professional report myself, but I still have a way to go with whites (and to a lesser extent with reds).
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