2004 Red Burgundies


Tasted August 23, 2010 by Keith Levenberg with 1,923 views

Flight 1 (2 notes)

2004 Domaine Jean-Marc Morey Beaune 1er Cru Grèves France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru
86 points
Already shows some savory tertiary aromatics. Rich on the palate with fairly concentrated fruit sweetened up by some chocolate oak-barrel sweetness - actually, this is probably the only wine in the lineup that I think showed too much oak. Even so, it's remarkable tender and supple on the palate, without really any noticeable tannin at all to coarsen it (something I found myself noting here but which also turned out to be true of almost every wine to come).
2004 François Gaunoux Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru
89 points
Shier and dustier aromatics than the Beaune, initially seeming kind of taciturn but sort of subtly suggesting some crushed concrete stoniness like a good Pommard ought to do. Tastes of restrained pale red fruit and again I find myself remarking on the suppleness of the wine (and here it's even more civilized than the Beaune) since it's elegant and streamlined without any tannic obstruction.

Flight 2 (2 notes)

2004 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny
67 points
Instantly more grippy and bigger in scale than the Cote de Beaunes, and the first wine to show any 2004 greenness with a snap on the back end worryingly reminiscent of raw asparagus. Even so it doesn't seem to have the aggressive bitterness of many wines with this characteristic so I write down that it isn't a disaster. Of course disaster strikes within ten minutes and the wine just gets worse and worse the longer it sits. The green contagion infects both aroma and palate and also has this strange (and kind of revolting) nuttiness to it that seems kind of like what peanut butter might taste like if you made it with green, raw peanuts, and the structure turns more scratchy and shrill too.
2004 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny
87 points
Noticeably more supple in texture than the Barthod and also shows a little bit of oakspice - not obvious at all except in the comparison, to be fair, and it eventually seems to melt into the wine, which probably benefits from the extra dash of sweetness. An elegant wine but not terribly expressive, kind of like an awkward date that doesn't say much of anything all night long but is pretty enough to look at. . . .

Flight 3 (1 note)

2004 Sylvie Esmonin (Michel et Fille) Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Vieilles Vignes France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
93 points
Pretty impressive right out of the gate with a powerful scent that's really more of a stench than an aroma. OK, some say it's from sulfur but there's also a hell of a lot of other things there. It's a bit awkward at first, fairly large-scaled and grippy with a slightly stinging spice to it that's not so much a seasoning type of spice but actually more like the heat - could be the oak working in combination with some spiky alcohol and/or the stems, maybe. But even at this point it's impressive for it's dimension and positively buzzes with complexity. And it composes itself pretty impressively as it sits in the glass, and by the time I take my last sip I find myself practically floored by its amazingly enveloping mouthfeel, which practically has the breadth of a grand cru.

Flight 4 (2 notes)

2004 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Vieille Vigne France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
88 points
Smells a little stemmy and nutty but tastes just fine. Oddly, I was expecting Fourrier's lighter style to stand out after a series of (presumably) heavier wines, and while this might be further on the red-fruit side of the spectrum, it doesn't really come across as having a substantially lighter touch. It has a bit of sharpness probably owing to the usual Fourrier CO2 but shows its purity on the back end. This is a fairly satisfying drink and initially I found it more elegant than the Cherbaudes and preferred it for that reason, but eventually the greater distinction of the premier cru became apparent.
2004 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes Vieille Vigne France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
89 points
Again there is something a little stemmy (?) to the aromatics, not a green ugliness but just something that suggests a shade of under-ripeness, and it doesn't seem to affect the taste. There's also a kind of woody scent not like regular oakiness but more like a creaky old cabinet. It's initially pretty hard to get a read on the wine because it flicks with quite a bit of CO2 spritziness and I couldn't discern much through all that static. So I was surprised to hear someone else remark on its strong stony earthiness - something I didn't see at first but it became apparent when the spritz began to mellow, giving the wine not only a stony taste but also a presence suggesting real solidity.

Flight 5 (2 notes)

2004 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
81 points
This is the second wine I thought noticeably damaged by the green condition, again in the form of that unusual raw/green peanut butter scent, although in much better shape than the Barthod since it moderated with air rather than getting worse. A nicely sappy wine with a natural fruit sweetness to it although it does show its bones and was probably one of the less characterful wines in the lineup.
2004 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
92 points
A very interesting comparison with Chevillon's rendition - interesting in the sense that the two had absolutely nothing in common. This is seriously impressive with a grand cru-like caress, expansive on the palate and essentially seamless, with a saturating finish. That said, there is something about the flavor which is a little jarring, and I understood some people's reasons for not liking it - this was probably the only wine in the lineup with an obvious blackishness to the fruit complexion, and in addition to that it does seem to oscillate with a little bit of oak. Still, I thought it was an excellent wine and among the highlights of the evening albeit in a richer, deeper style.

Flight 6 (2 notes)

2004 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
89 points
A little unfair to the Pruliers to serve it next to the Les Saint Georges, which of course outclassed not only the Pruliers but most of the other wines of the night, but amazingly this managed to acquit itself pretty well. Of course it's more angular and bony than the LSG without that wine's perfect ripeness, but it has really finessed tannin and the spiky structure is smoothed out a bit by a little oak-barrel molasses. Seems taut on the back suggesting there might be more to be uncoiled here.
2004 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
95 points
A remarkable aromatic contrast with the other 1er crus and indeed with most of the rest of the lineup; just from the sweet-and-savory fruit-sauce aroma you can tell that this has perfect, flawless ripeness and plenty else to offer. Hey, it's probably the first wine so far actually to smell of fruit! And it tastes rich but also weightless and silken, and it envelops and caresses the palate like a true grand cru. Couldn't spit one drop of this.
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Flight 7 (1 note)

2004 Sylvain Cathiard Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Aux Murgers France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
91 points
Very impressive. A strong stony scent, then sweet and sappy on the palate, and enveloping too. Has a bit of an acidic (?) snap to it and a woodiness sort of reminiscent of cedar and old cabinetry. An intense style but a complete wine - in retrospect this probably would have been a more natural partner to the Mugneret-Gibourg Chaignots than the Chevillon Chaignots was.

Flight 8 (2 notes)

2004 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaumonts France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
83 points
OK, these might have been at a fundamental disadvantage as palate fatigue sets in, but both the Beaux Monts and Suchots just seemed lacking. Ultimately both wines were passable but neither of them showed any terroir or Vosne character and both seemed a notch underripe. The Beaux Monts starts off linear and kind of crunchy and lighter than the Suchots, but eventually this fleshes out while the Suchots seems to turn a little sparser and they switch positions with this one being the more complete of the two.
2004 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
84 points
Initially shows more depth with a darker complexion than the Beaux Monts, but like the Beaux Monts there is something about it that isn't quite vegetal but isn't quite ripe either. As it sits it seems to become more diffuse and lighter and actually manages to switch positions with the Beaux Monts now seeming the fuller of the two. Strange.

Flight 9 (1 note)

2004 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Romanée St. Vivant France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
94 points
Well, this does exactly what RSV is supposed to do, creeping into every area of the palate like a silken version of Spiderman's alien costume (except not evil). It's rosy and floral and while it does have a slight stalky (?) kick to it, it comes across fully ripe and round. Much more harmonious than my last experience with this wine (no bacon-like oak, for starters) and definitely one of the highlights of the lineup today. Interestingly, I went back to my other favorite, the Chevillon LSG, after tasting this, and the LSG, which was so elegant at that point in the lineup, was like a fruit bomb in comparison to this, really driving the point home how RSV can deliver so much and hit all the sensory buttons out of physical material that's almost impossibly light and ethereal.
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