France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
This has to be one of the best Burgundies I have had. The light rusty colour suggested it was too ancient, but far from it. Aromatic nose. Very pure and intense, but delicate, secondary flavours. Very impressive long and totally delicious finish. exc
How do you approach tasting a legend? Imagine the anti-climax if it was corked or simply average. Thankfully, as soon as you put your nose into the glass you knew this was, indeed, a remarkable wine. The room fell silent in contemplation. I took no notes, believing the evening was about enjoying the moment, not writing. It was still youthful in appearance. The nose was beautifully rich and complex. A wine in perfect balance and harmony, displaying the meatiness of a great Hermitage, a subtle melange of spices, rich ripe fruit, and all with perfect class and finesse. While certainly mature, it was in no way old, and you felt from its colour and fruit that it could continue to develop for decades. We were privileged to enjoy a pristine bottle of a truly great wine. It’s now a memory, and not just a legend.
Another glass, another legend. I was totally seduced by the ’61, but if I was forced to choose between these wines, I think I would choose the ’78. Heresy? It was incredibly youthful in appearance, a fine ruby colour with no hint of its 30 years. I agree with Phil that it might have benefitted from earlier decanting, and it certainly likes air. Slower to emerge than the ’61, it soon showed the same great mature Syrah flavours, with power, harmony and balance. It also had something I love in a Hermitage; beautiful ripe tannins, giving it great length. With this much tannin and acidity and fruit, it surely has the structure for a very long life. Another pristine bottle.
This gave rise to an intense debate between those who insisted it was slightly corked, and those who could find no flaw. Eventually the Cork Party was out-voted and conceded that the unusual and transient qualities of the wine might have caused some temporary vineous terminological imprecision. As Charles pondered to me, “I wonder why it is that more women don’t come to these things?” I think this will be up there with the ’78 and the ’61 when it reaches the same stage in its evolution. Right now, while it is perfectly delicious, it is very tight, in spite of a long decant. Powerful, brooding, intense and muscular.