Sunday, 16 October 2016

Roulot...a good look...

From the moment this was inked in the diary, and thanks to MS for organising, I had been looking forward to it. The format was a tried and tested one...bring a bottle of a producers wine, Roulot in this case, and we can taste and discuss the wines before breaking for a glass of Champagne then drink the wines with dinner. A few of us had taken a red so that we could  move to those bottles once our "work was done".

The whole show was orchestrated in the upstairs of Medlar which as these posts show is a spot I am somewhat familiar with. I just wish it could be nearer work (Tower Bridge) or home (Muswell Hill) but it is worth travelling for.

Those assembled are an experienced and satisfactorily opinionated bunch from the trade. Many of them where at a few of the below tastings, done over the last few years:

A fun crowd to be amongst, if demanding of wines. I am probably more easily pleased than a few but then that's just one of those things. We tasted the wines in six pairs. Squabbling as we went.

Roulot is not a producer I am overly well versed in. I know of it well, and of it's reputation, I have probably had six or seven of their wines but never done anything like this or visited. The Domaine is actually named Domaine Guy Roulot. Guy died in 1982 and Jean-Marc Roulot took over fully from 1989. This estate was, as far back as the 1970s, the main driving force behind bottling lieux-dits (non classified but specific plots) by themselves rather than everything that was not a 1er cru going into a generic Meursault Village as was the habit at the time. I have listed the Meursault holdings below. This seemed the most conclusive listing I could find, size, site, year of planting:

0.26ha  1er Cru Perrieres (1964)

0.16ha  1er Cru Boucheres (1980)
0.28ha  1er Cru Charmes (1942)
0.25ha  1er Cru Porusots (1959)
0.85ha  Tesson Clos Mon Plaisir (1961)
0.49ha  Tillets (1974)
0.26ha  Narvaux (1960)
1.03ha  Luchets (1948,'61,'74,'76)
0.95ha  Meix Chavaux (1929,'47,'57,'75,'83,'96))
0.67ha  Vireuls (1956)
Other holdings: Monthelie 1er Cru Champs Fuillots 0.19ha (1989), Bourgogne Aligote 0.77ha (1922,'96), Bourgogne Blanc 2.64h (1955,'88,'90,'92,'96,'99).

So on with the wines, which I have chosen to score out of 25, just to help set some sort of pecking order:

Meursault Meix Chavaux 2010 - Deliciously complete nose, very focussed and dynamic but with breadth too. Waxy, textured, white flowers, dashes of both spice and reduction but so complete, so moreish, slightly saline, very fine, long, excellent. 23+

Meursault Meix Chavaux 2011 - Very closed, almost muted nose then much broader and more extrovert on the plate, slightly apple fruit (not bruised apples!). The acidity and finish don't really match the nose. A couple of people wondered if this was a perfect bottle, certainly it wasn't corked. It struggled against the 2010 but I'd give it 18 on its own and on this showing.

Meursault Tillets 2009 - Salty, spicy, delicious, rich, quite decadent, generous green (ripe green) and white fruits...almost like a warm vintage but high class Chablis. Impressive. 20-21

Meursault Tesson Clos Mon Plaisir 2009, En Magnum - Lovely lovely wine, easy to enjoy, oily, waxy, long and persistent, a wine to make you smile, ripeness and just a hint of gold and sun. 21-22

Meursault Tesson Clos Mon Plaisir 2006 - Butter and lardons, a little lactic and creamy, nuts on the finish, very 2006, gourmande and generous. With the right food this could be a lot of fun, Drink soon though. 18

Meursault 1er Porusot 2009 - Clearly this domaine did very well in 2009. Citrus and zesty energy, lemon rather than lime. Still quite primary and I think there is more to come here. Be excited to own this. 20-21

Meursault Vireuls 2008 - This was very much an '08 to my mind, that dry honey character, old school style, lanolin and wax, cheesecloth, moreish though and my overriding impression was that I could have drunk a lot of it...always a good sign. 20

Meursault Tesson Clos Mon Plaisir 2008 - Toffee'd notes, rich, quite broad, slightly over-dry on the palate, good but more evolved. A little rancio character. Drink. 19-20

Meursault Vireuls 2007 - Zip, inviting and very '07 in character, nice focussed length, very pure, some citrus, a little muted. More to come. 20

Meursault Tillets 2007 - Apple acidity, lovely palate has an even more '07 crispness to this. An intense wine, may be tense is actually a better word for this. Serious, grown up. Long-lived for sure. 21

Meursault 1er Porusot 2011 - Good crisp drive to this, citrus and then some toastiness but all very restrained from its youth. Generous in flavour on the palate, a little green spice, lovely now but clearly quite some future to this. Very good. 22

Meursault Boucheres 2011 - Just a level behind the Poursots but that's no real criticism, moreishness to the fore, adjectives were clearly used up by now but this was a good to very good wine. 20-21

There was one last Roulot and that started dinner after a glass of good Champagne, the name of which I stupidly did not take down, and that was Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru 2013, this was a pure, open Pinot with red fruit to the fore, pretty but not with great depth, simple would be too harsh.

Conclusions: The Roulot tasting was fascinating. There were only two wines that I felt disappointed a little and those were Meix Chavaux 2011 and Tesson Clos Mon Plaisir 2006 neither of which were bad and drunk in insolation with food would have been decent bottles but this was not that format. Two out of ten in white Burgundy at the current time, reasons for which I am not getting into now, is a good showing. The general consensus post-tasting was that there weren't quite the highs people had hoped for. I can see this argument and the wines are expensive (we're in the £100-200 a bottle range) but two or three things hit me. Firstly, these are drinkers wines rather than show off wines, very little reduction and new oak so youth is not necessarily going to show them at their very best where age will add layers to the undoubted purity and drive that exists as a real strength. With food I loved them a notch more. Secondly, the one 2010 - Meix Chavaux 2010 - we had was stunning. Thirdly, the 2009s way outperformed the general perception of the vintage. Both these points are interesting in my view. 2010 is seen as an exceptional vintage with only a few 2005s, some 2012s and then 2014 rivalling it in my view (comments please). The 2009 "victory" is something that more and more producers seem to have done, those that picked early and made sure the winemaking was understated have clearly excelled in a vintage many perceive as three or four star for the whites. Anyway, I now feel I know what to expect and that Roulot is very much worth ageing. The finest white Burgundy producer not to have Grand Cru? If you look back to the 2004 post mentioned at the start then you'll see the note below which I hope helps my point about maturity and time:

2004 Meursault Tessons Clos de Mon Plaisir, G. Roulot
A little bit of brine on the nose, a tight and taut wine. I expected more of the 2004 whites to be like this. Very impressive. There was a grapefruit core with a long finish that had a very classical “proper” profile. Some people were less excited but I thought this had real class. 18.25 (out of 20 then)

Time now for the food and having gone off piste last time I was at Medlar I made sure to return to the straight and narrow and had the Crab Ravoli with several of the whites, it was absolutely perfect with the Meursault Tesson Clos Mon Plaisir 2009 which was convenient as that was the only magnum!.
The Medlar signature - Crab Ravoli
I then pretty much insisted on a blind red which was Contrada Porcaria 2012, Tenuta di Passopisciaro. 100% Nerello Mascalese from on Etna it seemed to go down pretty well. I almost hoped there would be more divided opinion but may be we were tired from squabbling over the whites. Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux 2006, Comte Armand followed which was sturdy, in a proper way, a little funk from youth, some spice, a wine to leave a few more years but a good one. Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots 2010, Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg is one of the very best NSGs I have ever had and certainly shows the vintage, simply delicious, if you don't like this sort of wine then red Burgundy is not for you. Purity combined with density, delicious. Echezeaux Grand Cru 2012, Domaine Coquard Loison-Fleurot was lovely too, sadly my note only extends about that far. More intense and tight now being a 2012, a vintage it'll be fascinating to follow, good good wine. Finally Flor de Pingus 2009, this might seem like an odd choice but it fitted in well at the end. I think the quality and structure of Flor means that other than at age 2-4 years it is best left for ten years, certainly the 2006 is a beauty now. The 2009 showed class in a slightly muted way.
A cracking evening all round, generous bottles and a lot of fun...what next for this group?

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