Saturday, July 22, 2006

July 21, 2006. Assorted wines

2001 - Balthasar Ress. Hattenheimer Nussbrunner - Auslesse.

Center stage of primary fruit aromas starting to move back a little to reveal petrol and slight flinty. Viscous, with lively acidity, perhaps doesn't have the concentration in the back end and finish to put it up there with the best of the best. However, it's more than adequate as an enjoyable summer drink. Alright this may be a bit sacreligious but why not. Wish I had some langoustines and scallops on the grill. 92(+)pts. Perhaps in a few more years ( 5-10) it may deserve a slightly higher rating.

1997 Henri Gouge - Nuit st. George - "Le Saint George"
On the nose promising notes of red fruits and typical pinot noir aromas. That was the best part. In the mouth it was angular, sand-paperishly tannic and well "unrefined". Okay no problem you would say we can give it more airtime to smooth things out. Well that would be nice if it had some concentration and this being 1997. It was not to be. 84pts.

2003- Boyd Cantenac - Margaux

Upon opening promising and enticing aromas of black/stewed fruits. Had an aroma of toffee and slightly burnt butter ( that 2003 type aroma again). The nose was very promising. Bottle decanted for about 45mins. In the mouth, it was well - a little disappointing. The tannins were very noticeable and the wine didn't seem to have enough viscositiy and "fat" to smooth this out. In fact the wine seemed a bit thin in mid palate and at the back end - lacking a bit of concentration. Not so optimistic on this one... 86-87pts.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 14, 2006. 2002 Corton Charlemagne

2002 Bonneau du Martray - Corton Charlemagne.
Impenetrable upon opening. Keep cool and air for at least 3 hours. Massive, elegant acidity - citrus notes, power and concentration without the weight. This will need 10 years to show its stuff. 93 points

2002 Louis Jadot - Corton Charlemagne
Lively acidity upon opening - powerful. Like the BdM needs air time to open up ( ~4 hours in bottle). As mentioned before acidity is high keyed, nice "punch" and like the other CC should not be served freezing cold ( please folks this is not a Chablis - even some Chablis shouldn't be served that way). Probably one of the better vintages in recent times but.... just doesn't seem to have as much going as the BdM above (to me less concentrated) - just a guess but possibly harvested at higher yields? 91 points.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

July 8, 2006. Heritiers Des Comte Lafon, value for money white Burgundies

In this day and age we all lament at how expensive wines have become. The days where one can easily find "good and
cheap" wines are gone. Back not too long ago, it was "show me what you've got and then I'll decide how much it's worth" - the consumer was boss. The tables have now turned Ladies and gentlemen. Nowadays its "pay first and then let's see...." Too often we pay up and don't see anything. As long as we can't turn back the clock - the only other way is to be better informed.

Comte Lafon of Mersault rightfully deserves its place in the highest ranks of white Burgundy makers. Some of their usual offerings have become frightfully expensive in the last few years. Well here's the scoop - there is a cheaper Lafon.

Since 1999 Lafon has conducted an operation in Macon delivering high quality and good value white wines
called Heritiers Des Comte Lafon. Situated in the Macon , the property covers around 35 acres and produces 6 or 7 white wines. The viticulture has now gone organic and harvest is done by hand. The wines sees a combination of tank, wooden tuns and barrels. Light filtration is performed.

There is 1 generic and 2 village Macons :

Then 4 "climat" wines :
Macon-Bussieres "Les Mansard"
Macon-Uchizy "Les Maranches"
Macon-Chardonnay "Clos de la Crochette"
Macon-Milly-Lamartine "Clos du Four"

The typical price of these wines are USD$20-$30 with the "climat" bottlings being a bit more. The last 2 cuvees are a bit of a step up from the village wines ( Clos de la Crochette and Clos du Four). I would challenge fellow readers to find a $20-30 bottle of similiar quality to "Clos du Four" or "Clos de la Crochette"- not impossible but not so easy I would wager. IMHO, there is too much swill in this price category.

From memory, the 2003 vintage was very good. The "La Maranches"
was more immediately forward, pretty and soft. The "Clos de la Crochette" being superbly balanced with fruit and minerality and more wound up power waiting to be released - the wine needed about 30-45mins to open up. The most current vintage is 2004 (bottles have been secured tasting notes to follow soon) and is one area in Burgundy which supposedly faired better than it's neighbors on the Cote d'Or. If you ever get the chance to try it, you may be pleasently surprised. Bear in mind that Cloudy bay (Chardonnay) from New Zealand is about the same price or slightly more expensive ( to me this is quite funny or sad depending how you look at things). Bravo Dominique Lafon.

2004 Macon Milly Lamartine. Forward, flowers, hazelnuts, lively acidity and a bit of sweetness. Open it for 20 minutes. Went very well with raw fish and sea urchin. Great Summer drinking. 87-88 pts.

2004 Macon Chardonnay - Clos de la Crochette
Much tighter, nutter, more power and with slight bitter/nutty tinge. Needs 45-1 hour after opening up to get some "balance". Marginally better than the Milly Lamartine 88pts.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

July 1, 2006. Burgundy Dinner (Mostly)

We got to try the following wines on the weekend.

Missing at dinner was the '61 DRC Richebourg which was opened ahead of the weekend. In it's place was '94 Bouchard La Romanee

1994 La Romanee ( Bouchard). Yuch - corked!.
Bad bottle - just not pleasant.

First up :
1969 Leroy Mersault Charmes.
For a 37 year old wine it had amazing livelyness and acidity. Charming however a bit short on the finish and aftertaste. 89 points

1996 Jacques Prieur Mersault Perrieres. For a 10 year old wine surprisingly advanced for its age - color was starting to come on golden, nuts and slight truffel & honied smells coming through. Fine condition with admirable acidity. It had just a few more elements than the Leroy Charmes, bit more power, longer aftertaste. Suspect it needs 1.5 hours to open and can age a few more years ( 3-5) but is drinking well now. 91 points

1999 Comte Lafon Mersault Charmes Just a baby. Very high and lively acidity belies the power and concentration underneath. This is nowhere near ready and probably needs a good 5-7 years more. A longer finish. 91 points.

1996 Leroy Corton Charlemagne. Minerals, acidity, truffled nuances and more. Not a blockbuster in terms of power but the aftertaste lingers on your palate and throat for a long time. The previous wines seems like watered down bottles in comparison. Could use 5-7 more years as complexity is just coming out ( it needs 6 hours of air time). 94-95 points.

1972 Clos de Tart. Truffles and red fruits on the nose. In the mouth the mid-palate just lacks stuffing. 88 points.

1969 Leroy Echezeaux. Red fruits, stewed plums on the nose. Wide and expansive on the palate with a decent finish. Opened for 6 hours and probably needs 1-2 more. 93 points.

2001 Emmanuel Rouget Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Cros Parantoux
Massive nose of rose petals, earth and violets(??). In the mouth hard and angular tannins (this needs more time. However, the wine seemed to go downhill quickly (to me)- suspect this was slightly heat dmaged. 91 points