Saturday, 31 May 2014

Monfortino Magnum Monday!! 1970-2006 (A Vinous event)

This was a very memorable dinner and tasting. It was several months of work to get it organised. The drive to do it came from Anthonio Galloni and his team at Vinous with special mention to James Forsyth. The magnums all came from one cellar. Roberto (Conterno) had never himself done this tasting in magnum. 26 people sat down, I tasted separately in amongst the service and afterwards. It was a unique opportunity. The reason for the choice of vintages is that these were the ones where magnums were made. There were other Monfortinos made between 1970 and 1982 but just none in magnum.

The wines, after an aperitif of Salon 2002, were all served with food in flights by style…a nice touch as the old to young or young to old is never the best way…The menu was specially done for the dinner as you would expect. My scoring in places is a little mean but the important thing I feel is to show the differences that I felt between these individual magnums.

If Monfortino is new to you see other articles here...

First Flight: To start…

Quite brooding, a little closed, very good deep fruit, some beef stock. Does have that slightly dry 1988 thing about it (see it in Bordeaux and Burgundy if not Champagne). Quite a hard masculine vintage slightly lacking in charm, there is though an almost floral edge hiding. 17pts

Lovely, a really lifted, aromatic wine with a good sweet tea side and a pure oxidation. Very clean and pure, very complete and quite feminine, one of the biggest pleasant surprises. Lovely! 18.5pts

Very classical Barolo, warmth and tar but very refined. Roses balance the tar. The youth shows with a good bit of acidity on the palate, there is an openness, this is quite extrovert, very good. 18pts

Second Flight: The warm vintages…

A little bit of strawberry, a looser wine, again extrovert but also hard to define. Has quite a serious dose of dryness which does detract a little. It does have a little warmth. I just don’t think this was a good magnum. 17(?)pts

A little chlorine, then new leather and tar, has a degraded opulence, quite an easy wine, hedonistic and approachable. Darker fruit and tea-like tannin. Ready to roll now. I wonder if a vintage like 1997 would now be made by Roberto as a Monfortino. 17.5pts

With pressure of the service etc I skipped the 1998 because I knew I would be having it the following day from magnum at the C&B dinner at Zucca (LINK). I will include my note here. It is quite developed and there is a marked acidity to the wine that sits slightly over it. I like it and it is decent but there is a lack of balance. 16.5(?)pts

Quite rounded and opulent, open also. The fruit is both dark and primary, amazingly so for a wine that is 14…not really out of the traps yet. Needs a lot of time. The only vintage that I can draw parallels with in terms of fruit profile is 2000 which is odd because they are very different vintages. 17.5-18pts          

Third Flight: The Cooler Shades…

In the same bracket as the 1993 as a great surprise. I have had it from bottle before (LINK) and liked it then but from magnum it is another step up. There is an easy structure and a lovely saline edge. It is in a tertiary phase with the bruised sweetness you need. 18pts

As you might expect this is masculine and definite in as much as it is uncompromising. There is some dryness. The score may be conservative but that all depends on the fruit continuing past the structure. 17.25pts

In 2002 there was no Cascina Francia only Monfortino from the vineyard, a first. There was though a savage amount of selection in the vineyard, be it green harvest or later on in several sweeps through the vines. This wine is so primary but at the same time very aromatic with herbs to the fore. Very fruit focussed with real depth. 18pts

Bold fruit on the nose then quite taut on the plate, all in check, a keeper. An “insider’s vintage. I really like the balance here and the potential is obvious. A tightly wound spring right now. Very proper and likely to outperform the score. 17.75-18.25pts

Fourth Flight: The epic vintages…

Oh how I would love to know where the fruit for this came from as it is the only pre Cascina Francia Monfortino on show. There is a really decadent yet fresh texture to this. Lots of layers as well. It is refined but at the same time has a bit of muscle. The colour is a more saturated deep almost black. There is a tertiary edge as well. A really special wine. 19.5pts

Very gentle developed, savoury notes with a little red fruit freshness. Quite feminine and elegant. Very refreshing and lovely now, slightly in the shadow of the 1970 but a lovely wine and one for drinking now along with the 1987 and 1993. 18.25pts

Saline and newish leather, very good persistent nose with poise, power, some iodine. Very classical and one to start drinking but in no rush, a little like the 1982 with more backbone.

Airy, savoury lift also, this is serious. Taut and very foursquare, muscular shoulders but not clumsily so, quite stern and uncompromising. Very great potential, like m any 1999’s patience is the thing. 18pts

Fifth Flight: Modern day classics…

Perfumed, very red fruit but with a tongue-attacking tannic structure. A wine I am sure will be elegant in time but with backbone and grit now. May be a 1985 of the future but leave this for quite sometime now. 18pts

Perfection for me, having had this several times from barrel and then bottle and now magnum I think this is a spectacular wine with such charm now but a definite if perfectly balanced structure behind. Like many great wines I see no obvious reason why this will shut down (as the 1999, 2001 & 2006 have/will). It cries at you to “drink me”. Profound. 19.75-20pts

I love the uncompromisingly “Barolo” nature of this wine, so very classical, it has everything that you could want from a wine that will be at it’s very best in the secondary and tertiary stages of its life. There is tar and treacle as well as some wonderfully textured tannins. 19pts

And that as they say is that…as if prove were ever needed of how can Monfortino is and that this fact is not going to be changing!

Olivier Leflaive 2013's with Olivier and Franck Grux...

Friday before last we had Olivier Leflaive and Franck Grux in town to show the unfinished, but about to be released, 2013's. The 2013 vintage is "small again", not as much work as the  2012's possibly but a poor spring and then a long growing season. For the first time since 1984 Franck said a fair amount of the harvest was in October. Franck said he "prefers the acidity of the 2013 to the 2012"

So to the wines:

Bourgogne Aligote 2013
From mostly the Puligny side. Very low yield. Pear fruit, open, grapey palate but not sharp, decent length, pleasant and poised...15

Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles 2013 named after Olivier's Garden) 66% from "Puligny" and 34% "Meursault". Nice balanced nose not as youthful as sometimes, 70% barrel fermented (old mostly). Almost a bit of kiwi fruit, green but ripe fruit…15.5

Montagny 1er Cru Bonneveaux 2013
A little bit of richness and more opulence, a dash of spritz, southern exposure t the vineyard means more rounded. A little of white fruit. 100% barrel ferment (10-15% tank will be added)...16

Auxey-Duresses La Macabre 2013
Quite like the Montagny but less warmth, more minerality and a dash of Islay peat with a touch of Saline. A high-toned apple freshness on palate. Quite serious…16.5

St.Aubin 1er Cru Dents de Chien 2013
Delicious nose, has a lot of class. A dash of reduction, lovely opulence within a framework, is generous and expressive, nice work...17-17.5

Meursault Clos de Cromin 2013
(Not racked yet) Tiny bit of almost licorice on the nose that goes with any air. Has an austere nose, then a generous palate of roundness and a good dose of yellow fruits, a dash of sweetness on the finish…16.5

Puligny-Montrachet Les Meix 2013
Two thirds owned by Olivier Leflaive and situated just below Les Pucelles. A nervous and classy freshness, citrus concentration, lemon and a good dollop of lime, impressive…17.5

Chassagne-Montrachet Blanchots 2013
Near to Granc Cru "Criots". Ripe green fruit character, a dash of spice, nice and so different to Les I can remember from here…17.5

Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 2013
Most northerly of the Puligny 1er Crus. Classy nose, nice generous expression, a little warmth, hard to really judge as a little closed…17-17.75

Meursault 1er Cru Poruzots 2013
Good, quite generous and open, lemon but not tart, good length...I like this. 17.75

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeots 2013
Very complete, may be a shade muted on palate, very ive indeed, balanced, has good potential...not may be showing the most just now. 18.

A very good tasting, it'll be great to do the same in time with the finished wines. Always great to see Olivier and Franck!