Spotlight on Red Burgundy: Anne Gros Chambolle Musigny “La Combe d’Orveau” 2005

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Chambolle may be the most difficult village in Burgundy to pin down and understand. It doesn’t have the potent fruit and good value of Nuits St. Georges, the easy to appreciate elegance of Volnay, or the structure and deep fruit of Vosne. Chambolle’s reputation and fame is for finesse, but that word in itself does not explain the wines.

This lack of obviousness in Chambolle can make the wines disappear before you decide whether they are great. Their finesse can, for some, come across as lightness. Most do not have the opportunity to taste the famed Musigny Grand Cru and thereby appreciate the apex of Chambolle’s finesse and yet underlying intensity.

A Soft Early Drinking Chambolle

I thought perhaps that one of Burgundy’s top producers (Anne Gros) and best vintages in decades (2005) would provide the answers I was seeking. La Combe d’Orveau even abuts the Les Petits Musigny Grand Cru. Unfortunately, I left just as befuddled as before the bottle was uncorked. Certainly the elegance and lightness of the wine belied its vintage, known for structure and dense fruit.

Anne Gros is known for Vosne Romanee, with this wine being her sole effort in Chambolle. The winery describes this as a medium term ager only, to be consumed within 2-10 years from the vintage. The wine presents cola, cherry, and earth and is relatively low in acidity. This makes the wine quite pliable and soft in texture. The tannins support the wine but are perfectly hidden within the fruit. Pleasurable rather than intellectual Pinot Noir. The palate is delicious with 2005 fruit but very elegant, broad flavours. My biggest complaint is that this wine lacks the length of finish and mid-palate structure you would want at this price point. Ultimately, this is supremely elegant with fascinating fruit and flavour layering. Ready to go and delicious.

I’m not sure what to conclude about Chambolle from this wine other than to say that Burgundy, even with considerable knowledge, remains an unpredictable and somewhat unknowable entity. It is expensive to play here, but the rewards can be immeasurable.

Very Good+ to Excellent
$160 at Liner and Elsen, Portland


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