Burgundy 2009 five years on
The cry of “vintage of the decade”, even “vintage of the century” isn’t uncommon in the world of wine; already in the 21st century these plaudits have been heaped on 2005, 2009 and 2010. There has been a lot of recent discussion about the usefulness of vintage charts – how much does a score out of 10,20 or 100 for the tell you about what’s in your glass? After all, what it more important; the quality of the vintage or the quality of the winemaker?
I am a total geek when it comes to numbers and statistics so I do like to have a look. In fact, I like to commit the scores to memory! I’m forever on the lookout for Southern Rhones from 2007 and Northern Rhones from 2010, but also I love red Burgundy from 2011, which often score as low as 5 or 6 out of 10. I can’t give an answer, even a consistent point of view on the usefulness of vintage charts, but what I can do is take advantage of opportunities when they come my way to have a taste or two from these exalted vintages.
West London Wine School recently put on a tasting of 2009 Burgundy. I love Burgundy and the wine industry went mad for 2009; sounded like a winner to me! Most wine commentators believe that 2009 was a better vintage for reds than white with a large crop of Pinot Noir, which was able to ripen fully during a long, warm summer, delivered a vintage that offered both quantity and quality. The wines are described as attractive, graceful and harmonious… lets have a taste.
The tasting was originally designed as a red wine event but Jimmy decided to throw in a couple of whites and what a decision that proved to be:
Domaine Laroche Les Blanchots Grand Cru, Chablis 2007 (Slurp £49.95)
The keen-eyed amongst you will have noticed this is from 2007 – unfortunately the 09 was corked so Jimmy rescued the situation with the 07. It didn’t give away much on the nose immediately, but after Jimmy’s 30 minutes intro (!!) there was plenty of ripe almost tropical fruit with a toastyness and notes of almonds and bruised apple – quite new world I thought. The palate was bracing and tense with good acidity, lots of tart apple and citrus fruit with a hint of nut and a very clean, mineral finish. The nose and the palate were like two totally different wines but overall very racy and still ever so fresh 7b years on. 92 points
Mischief & Mayhem 1er Cru Sous les Puits, Puligny-Montrachet 2009 (Chelsea Vintners £58.00)
What a powerful nose! Toast and delicious nutty butter combine beautifully with ripe peaches, crisp apples and just a hint of juicy tropical fruit; this is a wine that screams DRINK ME! Rich peachy fruit and delicious acidity opens the door to a truly wonderful palate. It is so fresh with lots of soft ripe fruit and nutty undertones, with a delicate and considerable finish. The nose suggest its going to beat you around the head but there is wonderful, precise balance at play here; beautifully made – ready to drink but will continue to improve over the next few years. 95 points
Now it was time for the reds and we started with three wines from some less talked about AOCs:
Jean-Jaques Girard 1er Cru Les Fishots, Pernard Vergelesses 2009 (Waitrose Cellar £19.99)
Bright and fresh aromas of red berries and currant pave the way for some darker cherry notes and just a touch of exotic, sweet spice. On the palate the fruit is bright and breezy but then there is hole in the middle with not enough acidity to bring it all together (a donut wine as Frankie C would say!). The balance just isn’t there and a slightly warm finish leaves me, well cold. 86 points
Jean-Marc & Anne-MarieVincent 1er Cru Passetemps, Santenay 2009 (The Wine Society £24.00)
A lovely combination of red and black fruit invites you in with bright raspberry and luscious plums. The fruit is nicely supported with a touch of spice and a hint of forest floor you get from good Burgundy after a few years in bottle. On the palate the fruit has a creaminess that covers the mouth with a luxurious and silky texture. The acid is bright and there is a whole punnet of summer fruit and a lovely touch of sour cherries. Deliciously drinkable right now with good concentration and fine elegance. Very good value for money (for Burgundy anyway!) 92 points
Louis Jadot 1er Cru Vergelesses, Savigny-le-Beaune 2009 (The Wine Society £24.00)
Not the most generous wine on the nose but when you do it there are pretty red fruit notes with a dash of smoky spice, even a touch of roasted meat. This is quite an austere wine with lots of minerality, some nice red fruit, a good acidic kick… but not much else if truth be told. I have always struggled a little with wines from Savigny and this wine hasn’t done too much to change that thinking. Fair but doesn’t excite. 88 points
The next two wines came from the excellent Domaine de Bellene, which was created in 2005 by Nicolas Potel:
Domaine de Bellene Vieilles Vignes, Nuits St Georges 2009 (The Wine Society £29.00)
You can tell we’ve move to the Cote de Nuits as the fruit is darker with aromas of black cherry and ripe black plums. I also detect a delicious gaminess and some baking spices giving the nose a delicious complexity. The wine has a delicious freshness on the attack with good acidity and bright red fruit making way for the darker fruit and warm spicy notes. This wine is still a baby but all of the pieces are falling nicely into place; the tannins are a touch aggressive but will mellow with a few more years of patience. Brilliant quality for a village wine. 93 points
Domaine de Bellene 1er Cru Terons, Beaune 2009 (The Wine Society £32.00)
The nose opens up with beautiful notes of fragrant wild strawberries and red currants. There is some quality oak at play here too with some smoky notes as well as touches of clove and cinnamon, and just a hint of earthy forest floor development. Wonderful acidity clears the way for the soft fruit and smoky undertones; the texture is silky-smooth and the secondary notes of the wild are starting to poke through. This is a beautifully made wine that is drinking well but I feel another year or two will round it off even further. 92+ points
The final two wines are both only classified as village wines but some with 1er Cru prices for a reason…
Domaine Maume en Pallud, Gevrey Chambertin 2009 (The Wine Society £42.00)
If you like your Burgundy with personality and confidence then give Domaine Maume a try – they are never backward in coming forward! The aromas here have real grunt – ripe plums and cherries and even a touch of kirsch coming through. It is spicy, meaty and just full-on funky! Huge concentration on the palate with concentrated fruit and a luscious lick of acidity… in fact it’s a full on snog! The secondary earthy and gamy are starting to come forward and there really is a lot going on. Fruit, smoke and spice, all in wonderful harmony, enveloped in a silky texture. Get in there. 94 points
Domaine Dujac, Morey-Saint-Denis 2009 (The Wine Society £55.00)
I love Dujac wines and have had this one a couple of time before but there is something unfamiliar about the nose this evening. There is a gaminess, smokiness and spice but I’m struggling to find the usual luscious fruit. The fruit makes an appearance on the palate but what you really take away are the aggressive tannins – don’t worry there is plenty of acid to bring it all together but I would keep this locked away for a while yet. All of the pieces of the puzzle are present but this is more a wine for 10+ than 5+. 93+ points
A really enjoyable tasting that demonstrated some of the quality available from the 2009 vintage. The wines from the bigger names are still to come out of their slumber but there is a lot to like about these elegant and complex wines; it looks like the critics may have got this one right… just don’t ignore the whites!