Burgundies - 2004, 2007 and other "Off" vintages

Giant Garoupa Restaurant
Tasted Friday, November 16, 2012 by Paul S with 326 views


The gang gathered at our usual hangout over an unusual them this time - blind Burgundies from off-years - 2007, 2004 and the like. While "off" may be subjective, especially when 2004 and 2007 produced some really nice white, this was a good chance to see how wines from less than heralded vintages have developed, especially with the "green meanies" of 2004.

We all knew that 2004 is a vintage that offers lot of pleasures - ripe, sappy fruit, soft tannins, good balancing acidity - if not for that pesky greenness. And, to my great surprise, both of the 2004 wines on the night, both of which were far greener upon release, showed no more than a touch of the meanies. On the evidence of these and other recent bottles, it may well be that the vintage is finally be shedding its ugly duckling image. I am going to be sitting on my remaining bottles for a couple of years after this, in good hope that the green will slowly recede.

Flight 1 - WHITES (4 Notes)

  • 2008 Kumeu River Chardonnay Village 88 Points

    New Zealand, North Island, Auckland, Kumeu

    A decent entry level Chardonnay from Kumeu, but really quite a step down from their single vineyard wines. If one were to keep to the Burgundian monikers of the wines, calling this a "regional" would probably be more accurate. The nose was rather telltale new world, with notes of sweet apples, pineapples and a touch of tropical fruit backed up with a touch of nectar and honey, some chalk and a rather distracting smoky scents. Pretty pleasant though. It was the palate that confused some on the table. While there was more of the ripe, fleshy fruit suggested on the nose in its flavours of sweet apples, pineapple and even peach, there was also a good amount of juicy acidity that was more reminiscent of Burgundy than New Zealand. The finish brought it back to its modern origins thhough - here the ripe fruit was kissed by honeyed notes and sweet, oaky vanilla accents of the the type that so very antipodean. All in all, a pretty decent wine that could actually have done with a year or two more in the bottle. Nothing to shout about though.

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  • 2007 Domaine Emilian Gillet (Thévenet) Viré-Clessé Quintaine 91 Points

    France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Viré-Clessé

    A nice little Macon - this was the group's favourite amongst the whites. On the nose, this showed all the ripe fruitiness you would expect from the Mâconnais, with pineapples and pear aromas, some honeyed tones and a little whiff of smokiness at the edges. If anything, the palate was even more bright and tropical than the nose, with really pure pineapple flavours on the attack leading into a midpalate where some honeyed tones and a nice, buttery fleshiness layered the mouth. Quite weighty, but also kept nicely balanced by fresh acidity, it was on a touch of heat at the very finish that marred the overall experience. Otherwise, this was a yummy, well-crafted wine, ripe for drinking even at this young age.

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  • 2007 Mischief and Mayhem St. Romain 90 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, St. Romain

    Last bottle. Still a good wine but, sadly, probably the weakest of the three I had. Still though, this represents good value and is a wine that transcended its lowly terroir. Once again, I really liked the nose here, with lots of smoke, gunflint and salty mineral aromas surrounding a core of white fruit, apples and honeyed tones. This bottle, if anything, was even tighter and younger tasting that the other two - with really bright acidity streaking across the palate, lending the wine a really nice sense of focus and definition to otherwise fleshy notes of white fruit and green apple with a little buttery underlayer. I really liked the sense of grip and extract on this as well, especially as it moved off into a fresh finish were more of the slaty minerality picked up on the nose emerged alongside a hint of vanilla oak notes. Impressive for what it is, great with the seafood, but perhaps a bit too young to consume. Wish I had more - would probably have kept it back a couple of years if I did.

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  • 2004 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 92 Points

    France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru

    My personal favourite from amongst the white, but this may have been going through an awkward stage, because it severely underperformed for what it is. While certainly good, even very good, it did not come across as a Grand Cru from one of Chablis' better producers, let alone one that has been highly rated by almost every professional writer. The nose for one was very tight, with subtle notes of white fruit and cream swathed in a light cloak of smokey flint and a bit of a rubbery accent. Not quite the flinty, seashelly nose that a Les Clos of equivalent age should start to show. I thought the palate was somewhat better. It was still super youthful, but there was a lovely freshness here, with lively, tingly acidity running through full white-fruited flavours topped with a dollop of of cream. This married a nice sense of depth with absolute precision. However, it was also simple and underdeveloped, coming across with little or no complexity, at least until some rather more Chablisienne notes of flinty mineral and seashell started peeking out on the long finish after some 15 minutes in the glass. I have no doubt this has the bones to make a very good wine, but it just lacks the interest and compexity to be one at the moment. At the moment, it was a nice wine that paired beautifully with our seafood, but I really would have either decanted this for some time or, preferably, let it aged for another 3-4 years.

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Flight 2 - REDS (7 Notes)

  • 2003 Nicolas Potel Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes 91 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny

    Blinded, this was about as clear a 2003 as you can imagine, but it was nevertheless a pretty good wine. The nose showed all the signs of a hot vintage, with lots of cooked red-fruit aromas, from roasted cherries to stewed plums, along with a curl of smoke and a hint of dried flowers aromas. Quite a nice nose, but rather more masculine and less perfumed than I would have imagine from a Chambolle. The palate too bore the marks of the vintage, with a rich attack showing sappy flavours of cooked cherries and plums, but it was also laced with surprising amount of acidity and a supple structure. Very enjoyable actually, if just a little rough and ripe around the edges for a Chambolle. It had a good, strong finish too, with a touch of cherry liquer, and more masculine notes of meat and spice. Altogether a pretty nice wine, and I do think it will continue to improve with a few more years in the bottle.

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  • 2007 Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos des Épenots 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru

    This was seriously good, and surprisingly friendly for young Pommard - voted the red wine of the night by a large majority of the table. It had such a lovely nose, full of red cherries and berries, lots of dried flower, almost Chamomile-like scents - more Volnay or even Chambolle than Pommard on that count - along with more masculine aromas of meat and spice, dried earth and mineral. Beautiful on the palate too, with a lovely balance and purity to its primary flavours of dark cherries and blackberries backed-up by more of those savoury tones picked on the nose - mineral, meat, spice et al. It was so balanced and well-intergrated with really fine tannins and juicy acidity that the wine was easy and yummy to drink in spite of having quite a bit of supple muscle and structure under its elegant skin. Still very young though - this is one 2007 that will age beautifully. A wine to lay aside and try again in 10 years time, and boy, is it ever a good argument for elevating Clos des Épenots to GC level.

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  • 2000 Domaine Amiot-Servelle Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 91 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

    Talk about bottle variation - this bottle was good, but a world away from the beautiful showing we had with another blinded bottle earlier in the year. The nose was pretty nice, but I would gently attractive rather than perfumed, with lots of mineral and peppery spice notes, some toasted earth and smoke, then black cherries and just a hint of dried flowers. Already so different from the previous bottle that I did not even guess this was a Chambolle. I thought the palate was a bit better. Nicely fresh and pure for a 2000, this had a good amount of clear acidity punctuating its mid-weighted flavours of black cherries, berries, seasoned once again with a touch of toasty earth and more pronounced floral accents as the wine pulled away into a very minerally finish. Actually a pretty nice wine, nothing much can be faulted, it just missed a the x-factor that the last bottle had. Good for drinking now though, with the flavours having integrated nicely and tannins mellowed into a nice plush softeness.

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  • 1998 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Morey St. Denis 1er Cru La Riotte 91 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Morey St. Denis 1er Cru

    I liked this. It was a rather solid 1er Cru, with an inviting nose of cherries and blueberry scents topped by a touch of earth and hints of herb and spice; and then a more masculine palate, where meat and earth took centre-stage on the attack, followed by sappy notes of cherries and blueberries, with more of that Morey spicey, herbiness at the finish. The tannins were just a bit on the powdery, teeth-coating side for me, something that told of the vintage, but otherwise, this was a pretty good wine with plenty of character. Drinking well now.

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  • 2004 Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanée 92 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée

    A great little village - this was as good, or better than the majority of the (already pretty good) 1er Crus that we tasted alongside. It had a great nose, showing rather more red-fruit aromas than I would expect, with sweet raspberries, dried cherries and red dates sprinkled with autumnal accents of dried leaves and fruit tea, meat and sweet spices - really attractive, with not a hint of green on it. I liked the palate too, with its ripe dark cherries and blackberries on the attack and lots of fragrant wood spices on the midpalate, all couched in super-soft, almost powdery tannins and juicy acidity moving into a long finish with a final lingering kiss of dark cherry and spice. A delicious wine, drinking wonderfully now. I was really taken by this.

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  • 2004 Domaine René Engel Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Brulees 92 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

    The last bottling of Domaine René Engel's Brulees, and the last of our Burgundies on the night, and a fitting end too - this was a lovely wine that belied its vintage. It had a nose that was pure Brulees, with black cherries on a layer of dried earth, sprinkled with a liberal amount of Vosne spice and topped of with just a touch of roasted toastiness at the edges of the bouquet. I really liked that. Great palate too, with lovely flavours of ripe black cherries and blackberries, earth and spice laced with a nice bit of juicy acidity. It had a good, sappy finish too, where black fruit notes were fringed with more of the roasted accents pick up on the nose. The only hint of 2004 green meanies that I got here was a touch of smoky stemminess at the very tail of wine, that apart, this was lovely. In fact, I think it may even shed that last vestige of green given a couple more years in the bottle. There is absolutely no need to wait that long though - this was such a pleasure on the night.

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  • 2010 Pressing Matters Pinot Noir 89 Points

    Australia, Tasmania, Coal River

    This was actually a pretty decent new world Pinot, but it came as a bit of a shock to the system after a string of nice Burgundies. The nose was a telltale sign, with sweet notes of berries and cherries, and then some floral accents, all somehow carrying the touch of something candied on them. The palate was rather simple, but nicely balanced, with attractive flavours of sweet berries and light touches of spice. It was ever so slightly stemmy on the finish, but that aside, this was a pretty pleasant drink. Bottled under screwcap, this should get better after 2-3 years as well.

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