Spotlight on Red Burgundy: Dominique Laurent Vosne Romanée 1er Cru “Les Suchots” 2008

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To engage with Vosne Romanée demands humility. Reputationally Vosne is undoubtedly one of the greatest wine villages in the world. Pinot Noir knows no equal. Its history and gradations of complexity that make up its distinctiveness and terroir lie hidden in the collective memory and knowledge of its many growers. Its complexity explains why Allen Meadows, one of the world’s leading Burgundy experts, spent 10 years researching his book on the village.

The Heart of Burgundy

Vosne lies within the heart of Burgundy, both physically and historically. Its history extends back to the 6th century AD (i.e. 1500 years ago). Its fame begins in the medieval period when its vineyards were held by the priory of Saint-Vivant. Aristocrats entered the scene in the 18th century, but were soon upended by the French revolution, which brought division and redistribution of the vineyards away from the church and aristocracy. It’s pretty much the same tried and true story of all Burgundy’s great vineyards, but with Vosne you feel you can taste it in the wine, especially since it has been highly revered for centuries.

Vosne’s Grand Crus are, of course, renowned, and it is home to Domaine de la Romanée Conti – perhaps the world’s most vaunted producer. However, such wines are accessible only to the elite and sell for incredible prices. The 1er crus of Vosne offer some of the greatest Pinot Noir in the world for prices that are a splurge for most, but not completely inaccessible for all but the world’s wealthiest.

Les Suchots is one of the best 1er cru vineyards in Vosne. Of Vosne’s 14, it is considered to be in the 4-5 best and is known for wines of perfume but slight rusticity.

An Intellectual’s Pinot

This wine is a bit shy at first, and elides its ripe cherry fruit with potent savory dryness on the palate. At first this seems quite firm and even slightly austere – ‘in need of more age’ you might write. With contemplation you notice Laurent’s modernism isn’t simply explained by new oak, but also by his extremely old vines which give wines of this level impressive structure and intensity, with a long, full palate.

As the night rolls on, you discover an unusual and highly intricate Pinot Noir. Green tea tannins give way to elemental elegance, derived from material more than technique – detail that will articulate with time. And turning to me you ask for an impression: “it is the first wine I’ve tasted in the Cote de Nuits that truly bears no resemblance to the Cote de Beaune. An intellectual’s Pinot.”

Excellent to Excellent+
$126 at Marquis Wine Cellars

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