Saturday, January 21, 2006

Big Gun Burgundy from 2002 and 2003
First Third Thursday Tasting for 2006 at Vintage Wines of San Diego. Held on January 19th, 2006 6:30pm.

These tastings are conducted using a single blind format with the wines poured several hours before. My tasting notes are in the order the wines were served

1) 2002 Charlopin, Cote de Nuits ($NA USD)
Light cherry red with a faint tinge of orange/brown (lightest colored wine in the group). Nice clean Pinot Noir character, with spices and just a touch of ripe banana. A light bodied, pleasant wine with nice balance across the palate, finishing with considerable acidity. 2, 2, 4.2, 9.6 = 17.8/20, 89/100.

2) 2002 Guy Dufouleur, Nuits St Georges Clos des Perrieres ($44.99USD)
Light cherry with a faint tinge of orange/brown. Initially closed with only faint note of spices, opening to dried earth, leather, and ripe banana. Light body (almost thin) with sharp acidity and mouth drying tannins. Leather and rotten apple flavors on the palate. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.6 = 17.4/20, 87.

3) 2003 Louis Jadot, Gevrey Chambertin Les Petite Chapelle ($61.99USD)
Light cherry red with pink edge. Smells of earth, dusty oak, violets and spice. Additional aromas of pepper, smoke and tea developed during the tasting. Medium weight with excellent balance and very firm tannins. Very appealing. 2, 2, 4.0, 10.3 = 18.3/20, 92/100.

4) 2002 Joseph Roty, Gevrey Chambertin Les Fontenys ($77.99USD)
Light cherry red with pink edge. Very open with excellent ripe Pinot characters. Soft entry with great presence of flavors on the palate; although the occasional hint of a vegetal character was a bit worrying.. Very well balanced with attractive juicy acidity and excellent length to the finish. 2, 2, 4.2, 10.4 = 18.4/20, 92/100.

5) 2003 Louis Jadot, Latricieres-Chambertin ($129.99USD)
Light cherry fed with pink edge. Slightly closed with spices and pepper and then dried tea leaves. Medium weight. Soft and supple with excellent balance and nice length to the finish. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.3 = 18.4/, 92/100.

6) 2003 Frederic Esmonin, Chambertin Clos de Beze ($89.99USD)
Light cherry red with a faint tinge of orange/brown to the edge. Nice Pinot Noir aromas. Very earthy and spicy. Medium weight with a soft and supple entry and firm tannins. Beautifully balanced with wonderful mouthfeel. Excellent carry of flavors onto the palate. Although the aromas tended to close down with time, this is a very, very nice wine. 2, 2, 4.2, 19.5 = 18.7/20, 94/100.

7) 2002 Xavier Liger-Belair, Clos Vougeot ($89.99USD)
Light cherry red with pink edge. Slightly closed, giving up smells of dusty oak, earth and mushrooms. Medium weight with a super soft (elegant) caress on the palate backed up by attractive juicy acidity. Nicely structured, well balance wine. 2, 2, 3.9, 10.1 = 18.0/20, 90/100.

8) 2002 Xavier Liger-Belair, Richebourg ($174.99USD)
Light cherry red with faint brownish tinge to the edge. Graphite, licorice and ripe banana turning to spices. Medium weight with soft entry followed by moth drying astringency and bright acidity. Well balanced with nice expression of flavors across the palate. 2, 2, 4.0, 10.2 = 18.2/20, 91/100.

9) 2003 Faiveley, Corton Clos des Corton ($119.99USD)
Dark cherry red with red edge, clearly the most extracted color of allthe wines. Uncharacteristic of Pinot Noir with rich, deep aromas of cocoa, plumb and smoke turning to fruit cake and coconut. This is powerful stuff. Full bodied with overwhelming astringency on the palate and nice bright acidity just struggling to the surface on a finish that fades. Almost too aggressive to assess, and will need decades to soften. 2, 2, 4.2, 9.6 = 17.8/20, 89/100.

Before the identities were revealed votes for the top three wines were taken. The top scoring wine was the 2003 Louis Jadot, Latricieres-Chambertin, followed by the 2002 Joseph Roty, Gevrey Chambertin Les Fontenys, and then came the 2002 Xavier Liger-Belair, Clos Vougeot. I scored the 2003 Frederic Esmonin, Chambertin Clos de Beze as the top wine followed by the 2003 Louis Jadot, Latricieres-Chambertin and then the 2002 Joseph Roty, Gevrey Chambertin Les Fontenys.

After a couple of hours of nursing the wines (and stealing pours from glasses at seats that were unoccupied) the Esmonin began to shut down. So I may have been a bit too generous in scoring it, but it has a wonderful mouthfeel that completely seduced me. I thought it the surprise of the night. Well at least a pleasant surprise, the real surprise was the Faiveley. I’ve never had one before and I’m certainly only ever likely to taste them in the future under this format as I’m pretty sure they have more longevity than I do. The one staff member at Vintage Wines who has experience with more mature examples is of the opinion that you really shouldn’t look at the wine for between one to decades.

Given my recent experiences its reasonable to ask how these wines compare with Pinot from the Mornington Peninsula of Victoria, Australia. Once I’ve put up the notes on all those wines you will probably be able to decide for yourself. And it would certainly be instructive to taste them side-by-side because the differences should be obvious. The Aussies tend to be more forward and appealing in their spicy aromas but usually lack the depth and complexity of the Burgundies on the palate. I’d certainly prefer the Aussies (something like The Moorooduc) with a few years of bottle age, but they are unlikely to last the distance of decades. Although, as we will see Yabby Lake might be something to wait on.

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