France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
Second bottle in a short span of time, and although this had been opened overnight and was perhaps a tad weaker than the last bottle, it was still a really accomplished Puligny. It had a nice, pretty nose, with little aromas of sweet cream and chalk, along with subtle white fruit, sweeter red apple aromas and flowery perfume. Gently expressive and very inviting. The palate was as beautiful poised and balanced as I remembered it, with the same bright freshness to its delicious flavours of slightly sweet green apples and ripe lemons with a little dollop of creme fraiche. The finish was micely lined with a nice stony minerality and crowned by a halo of white flowers, all nicely integrated and held with a beautiful sense of focus and balance. A delicious, but also a really subtle one - it was so easy to drink and such a pleasure that it would be easy to miss just how well put together the whole package was.
France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
I thought this was beautiful. Potel made a wonderful quartet of Vosne 1er Crus in 2010 and, while hard to pick the best out of them, this was as good as any of its siblings. It was still showing very youthfully in spite of being opened the night before, but there was a lovely complexity for something so young, with a beautiful nose of wood spice and earth and mushrooms, ripe black cherries and plums, floral perfume and tons of limestoney minerality melding together with just a touch of new oak. Very compelling. This was not quite as earthily masculine as the Suchots, as deep as the Malconsorts, or as perfumed as the Petit Monts on the bouquet, but it drew a bit from each wine and added a touch of its own fineness and clarity to make for a beautiful nose. The palate was equally lovely. It had delicious freshness to it, opening with a wonderfully bright and juicy attack with lively orangey accents dancing around sappy but ever so pure flavours of black cherries with some plummy inflection. There was a solid sense of depth and presence on the midpalate, but this too was streaked with that wonderfully fresh stream of acidity that kept the wine. beautiful balanced and poised. Such a classy wine. It had a really nice finish too, ending with a lick of silkily fine tannins upon which rode a little stream of stony minerality and a fragrant floral perfume. This was a wine of great finesse. While a lovely drink after a lengthy aeration even now, it really does deserve a place in the cellar. At the moment, I liked this a bit better than the Malconsorts and a bit less than the Petit Monts - but that would be nitpicking. All three are lovely wines, as was the Suchots, and it is difficult to predict which of these will be better in the longer term.
France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
Truly excellent. I was very glad to have a chance to try this again in a more relaxed setting. While it has not developed much from the last time I tried it, this bottle more or less confirmed just how good this wine was. It had a deep, masculine nose, almost more like a Le Chambertin than a Bèze, with a savoury meat and earth and very minerally undercurrant to its subtle dark cherry notes. There was a lot of depth to that bouquet, but it was just too tightly wound-up to make up much more even though this bottle had the benefit of being opened overnight. I found that the palate too seemed rather tighter than when we tried it shortly after release last year, but the quality was clear as day. There was a tremendous depth and purity with the fruit, with sappy cherry and blueberry notes spreading from the attack into the midpalate, where they absolutely filled the mouth along with a violet flower perfume that wafted like a beautiful halo around the fruity core. Depth is easy to find in 2009 Grand Crus, in fact this so muscularly powerful here that it was once more almost like a Chambertin rather than a a Bèze, but the purity on the wine was something I really appreciated. In spite of the ripe fleshiness and sheer size of the vintage, it had this lovely balance, with juicy, mouthwatering acidity lifting it beautifully into a superbly long finish where a streak of mineral and spice took forecourt along with a sprinkle of coffee grounds at the edges. Rather too noticeably tight at times to be fully enjoyed until coaxed out with a nice morsel of beef, this may be on the verge of falling into sleep. If so, it will need a lot of time and patience, easily a decade and more, but it should be a superb Clos de Bèze when it reawakens from its slumber. Solid stuff.
I have come to see 1994 as one of the "off-vintages" that can yield very pleasurable left-banks for a fraction of the cost of more heralded years. This bottle was a fine example of that. Nothing profound or really special, but just a nice wine drinking perfectly as it approached its 18th year. It had a classic nose Médocain nose of cassis, tobacco and tea leaves. Very nice. The palate had resolved into soft, velvety texture, with fresh but surprisingly supple acidity wrapped around nice, plush flavours of cassis and black cherries sprinkled with a nice touch of spice at the decent finish. Not tremendously complex, but very yummy indeed. I enjoyed this wine.