An Evening of Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne-Romanee, and one Gevrey-Chambertin
I was very lucky to be Roland’s guest when he recently hosted his wine tasting group. As always, the host picks the wines which are tasted blind, as well as cooks dinner. We gathered around at first, eating charcuterie and cheese which was accompanied by an excellent 2012 Willi Schaefer, Himmelreich GG, Mosel Saar Ruwer. It had textured, somewhat ripe flavors with excellent acidity. I drained my glass before we sat down to the wines. We eventually learned the wines were arranged in flights. The first which clearly contained the ringer, showed more tart and tannic than the second excellent flight. There were some guesses of Italy but the group quickly spiraled towards Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Phil thought hard, swirling his glass, eventually announcing Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée. Roland confirmed the guess and added that they were all of the 2005 vintage. Suitably impressed I rapidly smiled because I had never drunk a wine from Vosne-Romanée.
In the first flight I thought both the 2005 Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru and the 2005 Serafin Pere & Fils, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes were not giving up much. The noses were tight, reduced, and the flavors came across as locked in structure. They had breathed for almost three hours and though they did improve some with additional air, this pair should be left in the cellar for several more years. The 2005 Louis Jadot, Domaine Gagey, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes showed the best of the three. I was particularly attracted to the earthy component. It came across as more mature with a touch of softness. I would recommend the 2010 Cristom, Pinot Noir, Sommers Reserve, Willamette Valley for its nose alone. Tasted blind it was “easy” to work out it was from Oregon. Roland commented that other vintages of the Sommers Reserve has appeared in previous blind tasting and even come out on top.
2005 Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru –
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. The nose had a touch of sulphur, eventually revealing smoky aromas of black-red fruit and toast. In the mouth the black and red fruit was integrated with acidity and very fine tannins. The flavors became a bit tart and red but the wine did not reveal much and remained tannic. Cellar further.
2005 Serafin Pere & Fils, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes –
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. The nose was a little earthy. In the mouth were tart red fruit flavors, a little more complexity, some minerals, and touch more acidity. The finish was attractive with grippy tannins. Showing young.
2005 Louis Jadot, Domaine Gagey, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes –
Imported by Kobrand Corp. Alcohol 13.5%. The nose was more open with an earthy touch, sweeter fruit, and meat. In the mouth the slightly riper red fruit morphed into black fruit. The flavors came across as more mature. The wine became rounder with air, had some density and a touch of softness in the finish.
2010 Cristom, Pinot Noir, Sommers Reserve, Willamette Valley –
Alcohol 13.5%. This was highly aromatic. In the mouth were more clean Pinot Noir flavors, approachable red and black fruit and minerals. The mouth clearly followed the nose. There was a cinnamon note, ripe tannins, and some ripeness in the finish.
In the 19th century the wines of Vosne-Romanée were medically noted for their increased percentage of alcohol, almost complete absence of sugar, and low proportion of tannins. As such they were recommended for “diabetic patients who can afford so expensive a luxury, these high-class red Burgundies appear to be especially well fitted.” After tasting through he Vosne-Romanée flight I cannot help but wonder how much wine was leftover for drinking after The Lancet Commission on the Medical Use of Wine finished their laboratory work. This was a great flight, the wines not only showed more open than the Chambolle-Musigny but they were more rounded and complex. The 2005 Frederic Magnien, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Brulees has a lot going on right now but seems perfectly balanced with stuffing for continued development in the bottle. I think the 2005 Domaine Gros Frère et Sœur, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Chaumes was the weakest of the flight despite its aromatic nose. The 2005 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Beaux Monts had a great combination of vintage perfume and meaty fruit on the nose followed by attractive grip in the mouth. It was the perfect prelude to the 2005 Domaine Francois Lamarche, Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru Monopole La Grande Rue. It clearly had good depth and an attractive mix of maturity, wood notes, and fruit. Not knowing anything about the monopole La Grande Rue I was instructed to look at the back label of the bottle. It was surrounded by legendary names I have only read about.
In 1793 Duncan M’Bride wrote in his General Instructions for the Choice of Wines and Spirituous Liquors (1793) that “of all the wines of Burgundy, that called Romanée is most valued.” Our bottle of 2005 Domaine Francois Lamarche, Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru Monopole La Grande Rue was made from fruit sourced at La Grande Rue. This 1.65 ha strip of vineyard is sandwiched between La Tâche on the west and both Romanée and Romanée Conti on the east. The land was a wedding gift given to Henri Lamarche in 1933. When the area was classified in the 1930s, Henri Lamarche believed nothing was to be gained through the grand cru status but more taxes. So this strip of premier cru vineyard was surrounded by grand cru vineyards until it was reclassified in 1992. This reclassification was based on the geology and exposition.
2005 Frederic Magnien, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Brulées –
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. The nose was a little stinky with perhaps some tobacco notes. There were tart blue flavors, minerals, good acidity, and some attractive grip. The flavors were drier and had a citric lift. The flavors showed some maturity that mixed well with the wood and tobacco flavors. This wine was good now but setup for strong development.
2005 Domaine Gros Frère et Sœur, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Chaumes –
Imported by Wine Cellar LTD. Acquired from a private collection. This was very aromatic with fresh, floral aromas stepping out of the glass. The nose followed the mouth where there were red, citric flavors. The acidity was there along with a very fine, gentle ripeness, a spicy hint in the finish, and a fresh aftertaste. Overall this came across as riper.
2005 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Beaux Monts –
Imported by Kobrand Corp. Alcohol 13.5%. The meaty nose was followed by ripe flavors of vintage perfume, meaty red fruit and some black fruit. The wine was compact and became younger with air. There was grip and attractive red cranberry flavors in the finish.
2005 Domaine Francois Lamarche, Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru Monopole La Grande Rue –
This was young on the nose showing more grip on the aromas. In the mouth the flavors mixed with nice cedar notes, some tart fruit, and good depth. There was a subtleness roundness as well as lift. Good flavors.
With the blind tasting complete it was only natural to drink more wine. Roland poured the 1997 Claude Dugat, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Lavaux St Jacques into his giant wine glass shaped decanter. Claude Dugat typically makes two premier cru wines from Gevrey-Chambertin. Lavaux St Jacque is produced from a 0.3 ha parcel of vines planted in 1980. After Roland swirled the wine for quite some time our bottle revealed itself to be aromatic with perfume. In the mouth were excellent flavors of blood and minerals. With the bottle finished the evening was complete.
1997 Claude Dugat, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Lavaux St Jacques –
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections. This had an aromatic, attractive perfume to the blue fruit. In the mouth the vintage perfume continued as lovely flavors of blood and minerals came out. There was good grip to the tart, black graphite finish. A lovely wine.