Friday, February 24, 2006

February 24, 2006. A Burgundy "Terroir" tasting

This was a tasting of 2002 Burgundies ( both red and white). The idea was to assemble wines from the same vintage, winemaker, area and just different "terroir".

On the whites we had the following:

2002 Etienne Sauzet Chassagne Monrachet - Village wine
Nice mineral and granite overtones. Good acidity and citrus flavors. Good finish. Slightly thin and watery but not much more can be expected at this level. ~87pts

2002 Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Monrachet - 1er Cru Clos St. Jean
The beginning nice soft, elegant, fruity/citrus nose with slight hint of mineral/rocks. Much more in the wine than the Sauzet Village wine. In the mouth rounded and elegant. With time, the minerality came forward and acidity (higher than le grand Montaigne) seem to come forward as well as everything else. This wine did not show itself of compared to Le Grand Montagne initially but closed the gap within 1-1.5 hours and was more "complete" at the end. ~91pts

2002 Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Monrachet - 1er Cru Le Grand Montaigne

Faboulous explosive nose of granite/rocks. Citrus, lemony and punchy. With time this tamed down while the Clos St. Jean kept getting better. I would give the Clos St. Jean marginally better points on it being "rounder" at this point. However, we ran out of time and its possible this wine still had a 2nd wind ( it was immobile which is a good indication that it can last). ~91+pts

On the reds:

2002 J.F. Mugnier Chambolle Musigny
Nice nose immediately on opening. Soft, elegant and easily the better drinking of the pair at this point. Decent palate .. cherrys, strawberries ~ 87 pts.

2002 J.F. Mugnier Chambolle Musigny - 1er Cru Le Fuees
On the nose no contest Le Fuees wins in terms of complexity and depth. In the mouth a bit more tannic, closed and astringent at this point in time but defintely a superior wine ( just takes more time). After 1 hour, it unfolded while the village Chambolle collapsed. At this point the village Chambolle tasted watery and insipid alongside the 1er cru. ~90pts.

Very interesting to taste these wines. It defintely shows that simple village wines do not necessarily taste inferior... at least initially. There is wisdom in drinking the lower class wines earlier and saving the 1er and Grand crus for later. At the same time, the taste of "terroir" really becomes evident as the number of variables ( vintage, winemaker, area) were all controlled as much as possible. People relatively unfamiliar with Burgundy were able to discern the difference after a few tries. Well done !!

February 21, 2006 Vega Sicilia Tasting

Bodegas Vega Sicilia was back in town and the winehunter was lucky enough to try some of their new offerings.

Pintia 2003. Cherry's, very young and astringent. Good acidity, rough tannins however. Suspect a 2 hour decant would even things out. Probably needs 3-5 years to be "drinkable". ~88pts

Alion 2002. Very pure aromas of Tempranillo Tinto Fino. Very concentrated more so than the '03 Pintia. Cherry & black fruits. Good length with finer tannins. ~91-92 pts

Valbuena 2001. On the nose more refined and a step up from the Alion - on the nose that is. Seems to be high keyed and brighter than usual for a young and just opened Valbuena ( high acidity?). Short finish There was however, some hint of greenish/herbaceousness indicating possibly sub-par phenolic ripeness in grapes or stems. There was no '01 Unico as the Winemaker indicated that frost was a problem and did not live up to Unico standards. Reading between the lines... this may have also effected Valbuenas ripeness ultimately too. ( vs. Alion). ~89+ points

Vega Sicilia Unico 1995. Elegant, fine tannins, excellent finish and aftertaste. A bit of infanticide for my taste at this moment. Needs more time to develop more complex aromas (10-15yrs?). This the opposite of the '94 Unico which was a blockbuster fruit bomb. The '95 is elegant, refined and perhaps more delicate. ~93+pts possibly 95 later.

My favorite at the tasting was the Alion '02 despite the Valbuena being a more "expensive" wine. The Pintia was a little to "hairy" for me while the Unico is without doubt the best wine there (also most expensive). However, the elegant Unico needs more time to gain complexity as its not a fruit bomb like the '94 - too early for drinking at this point (imho). With food, this might be a bit different story.