Sunday, 8 February 2015

Two wonderful days...

A third post from the biennial meeting of the DRC agents...the two previous ones are
first - the 2012's and then second - the tasting of a lifetime. This is a summary of a few other wines tasted or drunk at meals. It was a brilliant two days, really quite humbling the wines were all served immaculately and humbly. Never is there a feeling that these wines are priceless and too precious, they are wines to be drunk and enjoyed, just exceptionally good ones! 

The first lunch we had was at Le Bistrot du bord de L’eau in the Hostellerie de Levernois, a lovely spot outside Beaune.

Le Pot au feu de Queue de Boeuf au Foie gras, Consomme au sel de Celeri

Le Tournedos de Volaille fermiere, Champignons et Gnocchi, sauce au Vin Jaune

La Selection de Fromages Frais and Affines

L’ille Flottante et Crème Vanille

We had two wines:

Batard-Montrachet 2000
This small parcel was bought at the same time as the Domaines Montrachet holding. It is never sold and is used by the Domaine for "family" use. The style is delicious, quite opulent but always with a cleansing salinity. 
A little mocha and almost coffee but very mellow, saline, very good balance, lovely fruit that stops short of being tropical. Rich and quite savoury but with an easiness and sweet fruited element. There are notes of dry botrytis. Finish with a clean note of toffee on the outside of a toffee apple.

Vosnee-Romanee 1er Cru Duvaut Blochet
Given the name of this blog it is always a pleasure to drink this wine.
Slightly bruised red fruit, some iodine and a little subtly minty eucalyptus, a nicely dry edge that is very “2008” and good length. Interestingly the fruit freshened up with air and became “cleaner” and redder.

Later the same day:

A Gala dinner at Domaine de la Romanee Conti

The food was cooked by Chef Thomas Collomb who has two restaurants:
La Rotisserie du Chambertin in Gevrey-Chambertin and La Maison des Cariatides in Dijon

Vol au Vent de Cuisine Bourgeoise

Pintade de la Ruchotte, puree a la truffe noire

Assortiment de fromages

Tartelette aux chataignes de L’Ardeche, sorbet au gingembre

The wines served were:

Corton 2009 (from magnum) which we tasted just before being told what it was. This is a really easy wine to drink, taste, enjoy, lovely sweetness, not so much a Corton, quite bold with sweet black cherry and good acidity but always an easy 2009ness about it.

The following three wines were then served blind!

Romanee Conti 2011 – this stumped me completely it had such pure red fruited elegance that I thought it may well be 2010 Romanee-Saint-Vivant, it had a seriousness as well to the structure which made me think of 2010. There is a slight graphite minerality and massive amounts of pure character. I think this is a wine for the serious long term not because it is a blockbuster but because there will be very serious layers of elegance to come.

Romanee Conti 1961 – I don’t think I ever imagined I would taste or drink this wine twice in one day. This bottle was a lovely middle-aged colour, a little red but mainly tawny. The nose was multifaceted and immediately difficult to pin down to decade let alone a year. There was a little funk and an sweet animal edge. A warm year such is the high-toned elements. Heady and rich but not heavy may be bold is a better word. Of the wines earlier in the day it reminded me of a sweeter 1971. Magnificent and only improving and dancing in the glass.

Le Montrachet 1983 Methusalem (6L)
The oldest Montrachet from the Domaine that I have tasted. Butterscotch and crème brulee, toffee notes, lots of botrytis but none of this made it too heavy. Some briney notes on the palate and finish give this lift and also make the slightly rancio full-on nose not cloy. Honey with a dash of lemon. Dry and intense yet with a sweet fruit character. Amazing. If you want mature, intense Montrachet…this is it.

Chateau de Fargues 2005
Good, rich but not over the top, a lot of warm fruit and an unctuous density with just enough density.

I was lucky to sit next to the engaging and energetic Nicolas Jacob, vineyard manager (chef de culture) and therefore asked him a few questions:

The hardest vineyard to work? Certainly RSV, the soils have more clay.
And the easiest? The top section of La Tache simply it is lighter.
How big is his permanent team in the vineyards? 20 people are exclusively for the Domaine.

The following day we had one last meal again at the Domaine. Cooked by the team member – Claude Menetrier - you can well see why the team here must be happy during harvest if Claude is in the kitchen. Very classical Burgundian food but deliciously so.

Jambon Persille

Poulet Gaston Gerard

Mont d’Or


The wines were both served blind after having had the Domaine’s Champagne Method Rose (100% Pinot Noir). I had never been aware it existed and it is made off site.

It was then time for Blind wines again.

White: This was absolutely stunning. A shade reduced, in perfect balance, some richness and white fruits but also a little botrytis if kept in perfect check by the acidity. It is wonderfully moreish and hedonistic at the same time. So we got to having to have a go at the wine…on our table I was quick out of the blocks with Montrachet 1999, others then followed with 2000, 2001, 1995 etc…and it was actually Batard-Montrachet 2005. A stunning wine.

And then it was time for a red…sadly I turned round at just the wrong moment and caught the “LT 07” on the bottle out of the corner of my eye. Nobody noticed I had seen this but in the interests of wine karma I immediately declared it and counted myself "out". The La Tache 2007 was just lovely, in fact "lovely" is damming with feint praise and that is wrong…it is open and ready to be enjoyed, not that it will not see decades more, it will. It has a quite primary nose with the full spread of dark red fruit with a dash of spice, there is a lovely “shells on the beach” minerality. I love a lot of the 2007’s and this is the best I have had…gracefully gorgeous.

With a train to catch from Dijon back to Paris then London it was always going to be tight to see if we could taste the 2013's but fortunately we could:

Tasted from Barrel at "pace" after lunch, hosted by Bertrand de Villaine. I made very few notes. As with 2012 there will be no "Duvault Blochet"...

A nice darker fruit character, not overly hard but with structure, a little puppy fat, cherries and freshness.

A lovely spicey density here, very “grown-up”, pure as well.

Grands Echezeaux
Broad and quite bold, long, some fresh fruit but not too red, density but poise is the lasting impression.

A little bit more savoury than usual but this may be to do with the slight reduction, serious, especially for R-S-V.

Very pure and lifted, exceptional fruit. Good structure also.

La Tache
Superb nose here, very hard to describe, power and sweetness but not at the expense of the complexity, really very fine.

Sustained red fruit, really brooding. There is a really elegant power to this wine, it has depth and power and structure too, it is hidden by the gorgeous fruit.

And that was the end of two amazing days in Burgundy.

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