What did I do to get invited to this joint? Doesn’t Leo know I only drink flabby white Rhones?! Well I’ve got a bit of a bad rap regarding my relationship w/ Burgundy, which I assume stems from one or more of these possible sources:
1) I post on far too much Chateauneuf du Pape and it blurs the fact that I dig lots of wine, in general.
2) I don’t buy Burgundy (because I’m a practical wine buyer), but hell, that doesn’t mean I don’t drink it!
3) I like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from places like New Zealand, Oregon, California and..yikes, Australia. That type of palate simply can't comply w/ Burgundy.
4) I call Burgundy Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Dude, I grew up in a varietal-based system! Terroir is fascinating and all, but I’m not semantically addicted.
5) I have spiky hair.
6) I like the New York Giants and don’t like Star Trek.
7) I like listing things too much.
Ahhh who knows, but either way, I usually get the ‘didn't know you drank Burgundy?’ comments thrown my way from various sources, so I figured I’d just air that one out for you. Leo, the Croatian sensation that he is, knows that I like wine, period, but I was still shocked that he shared some of his most treasured Jadot’s (from a parcel that is arguably his finest source of White Burgundy) w/ me and not some Dr. Spock rapping Klingon that pays homage to Burgundy…but hey, live long and prosper- I owe y’all some tasting notes!
We began w/ the instant icon, the Salon ’96, a Champagne that needs about as much introduction as Robert Parker does in a geek convention. To those that haven’t tasted it yet, this particular showing struck me as an exceptionally thick, atypically powerful bubbly that was more along the Clos des Goisses lines than that of, say a leaner, more elegant vintage from Dom Perignon. The rich mousse revealed opulent characteristics, reminiscent of hazelnut oil, jellied quince and glazed doughnut flavors that pumped along a severely intense, ‘malic-acid on steroids’ frame. After the wine left the palate the flavors took off like a rocket, resonating for what must have been two minutes! I usually only notice finishes that ridiculous in Sauternes, but this is undoubtedly a different breed of Champagne. Quite the spectacular showing folks & the I'm sure the best is yet to come w/ age, 96+ points.
On to the line up from Jadot’s Chevalier Montrachets Les Demoiselles:
While the first wine of a vertical tasting tends to be the sacrificial lamb of sorts, this was the rare occasion that number one was just that, the best of the bunch. The most provocative, savory bouquet I’ve ever been in contact w/ propelled its way from the stem, weaving notions of tapioca pudding, honey glazed mushrooms, warm fig sauce, melon and hot stones through the air. The fat entry turns expansive on the midpalate, but then, as if activated by a switch, shifts its minerality into high gear, electrifying w/ a crushed rock-grip that ripples through the finish. As the wine sat in the glass and continued to evolve, the fabulous purity and sweetness of fruit really shone through its savage elements. The stuff dreams are made of, 98 points.
This was as different from the ’95 as one could imagine, striking a kinky, ethereal chord in its sultry perfume of cinnamon stick, pumpkin spice, poached pears and warm apple pie crust that smelled so tantalizing that I honestly had a difficult time keeping my nose out of the glass. The attack was lilting and spry in the mouth, with medium weight and almost hypnotic charms that would beckon poetry in almost any wine connoisseur. That said, its seduction still played second fiddle to the otherwordly ’95, 96 points.
Poor guy, the ’97 just didn’t know what it was up against this night and it got creamed. Perhaps the most primary, painfully backward wines of the evening in its nose of toasted brioche, oyster shells, honeysuckle and fig fruit that I probably would have pegged as an ’02 if it were served to me blindly. There is an abundance of glycerin in the palate, yet its ripeness stays clean, focused and balanced along the compact finish. There are years and years for this baby to go until it is firing on all cylinders, 92++ points. Perhaps Leo’s storage was too good for the ’97?!
The wine I’d most like to own for cellaring purposes had to be the ’99, as it demonstrated the ‘97s sense of infancy, but in a much more endowed, gorgeous package. The bouquet set the nostrils ablaze w/ golden flowers, eggnog and nutmeg spices that had possessed an ocean breeze sense of life and vivacity. The wine is large scaled and exceptionally intense, building incrementally in the mouth w/ superb definition, allowing the ripe fruit to cut a broad swath over a still emerging bed of minerals, sailing on throughout the potent finish. This vintage is loaded w/ monster stuffing, poise and potential, which may or may not exceed the heights that the ’95 has reached, 97 points.
On to the reds….
Dujac, Clos de la Roche, 1996
Easily my favorite red of the evening, by a lo
ng shot (does that always happen w/ red Burgs?), demonstrating an effusively fruity, ripe personality of pine resin, rose petals, spice box and fresh raspberry fruit in the nose. The entry was super-silky, allowing the juicy, red berry flesh to glide over the palate like a cashmere sweater, turning a black pepper, spicy chord on the backend, echoing fabulous purity and grace through its mineral-driven finish, 94 points.
Dujac, Clos St. Denis, 2004
As I made reference to in the ’96 Dujac note, the rest of the red Burgs couldn’t hold a candle to it, and this ’04 was no different. An herbal, sage inflicted nose kicks off a shy, almost chunky palate of cherry, sandalwood and shades of under-ripe fruit in the palate. There is a slightly unpleasant green-streak that keeps the profile in an austere category, but at the end of the day, deft winemaking pulled this '04 together, 83 points.
Dujac, Clos St. Denis, 1999
I have by no means had an exhaustive sampling of ’99 Red Burgs, but it sure seems like everyone I’ve tasted over the past year has been tight, tight and TIGHT! A suggestive window of licorice snap, raspberry glaze, black tea and cardamom scents peek through the nose, but the palate was far too compact and quelled in its dimensions to reveal much of anything by way of flavors. That said, the structure is fabulous and the acidity, albeit a bit crunchy, is as mouthwatering and inviting as I could hope for, but this baby needs time, likely another decade if not more, 90+ points.
Girardin, Clos St. Denis, 1999
Again, haven’t had a lot of Girardin’s wines but is it just me or is there some sort of painful banality about them? Either way, the nose had brett, which I dug, to accompany the scents of violet, iron and dried beef notes that shifted to an even more savory gear in the palate. Medium in weight and modest in dimension, the mouthful of meaty, red cherry inflicted flavors were underscored by a fizzy snap of acidity, 87+ points. Sure, she’s very solid, but where’s the excitement?
Fevre Les Clos, 2004
I followed this over a couple days (we had a few sips for dessert and I packed it away in the fridge for few nights) and this was just as I hoped, painfully precise. A focused, coiled perfume of white flowers, crushed stones, wheat grain, hay and citrus zest shoots from the glass. The zesty acidic lift in the palate reminds me of Sauvignon Blanc a bit, almost bundling its intensity along its driven, gossamer frame. Upon re-tasting, the aromas became much more delineated and complex, w/ sweet green fruits filling out its even more minerally spine, 93+ points.