Reflections on Mid-2000’s Burgundy

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The inimitable Pinot Noirs of Burgundy require regular revisiting. The typical comments about Burgundy’s unevenness misconstrue why the region is always among the best in the world for terroir-driven wine. Value is somewhat irrelevant in a region that can reach a certain apex. Producer is all, but when you stick to the best the incongruities greatly dissipate. So, in this context, I hosted a dinner a couple months ago of mostly mid-2000’s premier crus and above. The wines were consistently outstanding, with particular insight that the 2006s are turning out to be truly great wines and the 2005s still needing more time and a bit more uncertain how they will resolve. As expected, the 2004s are all-around stinkers regardless of producer (see the de Montille).

Another insight is that Comte Lafon’s 2014s are absolutely profound, with a magnum of his village Meursault offering unparalelled quality superior to many grand cru bottlings from lesser producers. The 2008 Bonneau du Martray, by contrast, showed early maturity, reminding that this producer’s bottlings can be truly great but are also plagued with premox and cork taint such that you can only count on 1 in 2 bottlings with more than about 3-4 years of age.

As for the 2005’s, Henri Boillot’s Volnay Les Fremiets continued the data points that confirm the greatness (and great value) of this particular premier cru bottling from Boillot. It was open, perfumed, and singing.

A pair of Anne Parent Pommard Les Epenots showed greatness from that vineyard. The 2006 was a nearly perfect bottle of Burgundy – silky, expressive, developed, but fruity, and fresh. The 2005 was more backward and needed another 5 years, but had great density. My only concern with the 2005 was that its tannins may never resolve completely with the fruit.

Perhaps the best wine of the evening was Jean Grivot’s 2006 Les Rouges 1er Cru Vosne Romanee. More complex than the Parent and more resolved than both 2005s, this wine was pure Vosne, perfectly resolved: structure, power, but sophisticated, complex, and perfumed (from resolution rather than primary fruit). A truly great wine.

La Forge de Tarte’s 2007 proved itself over-oaked and uninteresting in comparison to the 2005 and 2006s on offer. Understandably this is a completely different animal from the Clos de Tarte grand cru

A forgettable 2005 Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru from Lucien Le Moine that paled in comparison to all other wines other than the La Forge proved producer is all.

In conclusion, find your producers, don’t restrict yourself to the ‘top’ vintages, but avoid the very bad. Village and premier cru wines from these producers will over-deliver. Burgundy rules all.

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