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ALONG THE BURGUNDY TRAIL – VINTAGE 2009

John Tilson • 1/25/11        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

Background And Table Of Contents

I started going to Burgundy in 1981. In the early days, I was accompanied by Geoffrey Troy and Edward Lazarus and occasionally John Brincko. Later Geoffrey and I continued to visit Burgundy and we were joined by Ted Swinnerton. In recent years, John Brincko rejoined Geoffrey and me. Our most recent visit was last November. During this period, I missed tasting in several of the years in the late 90s and early 2000s due to business demands. But, in total, beginning with the 1983 vintage, I have done comprehensive tastings from barrel of some two dozen Burgundy vintages.

Here is an updated article (including notes mostly from barrel on the extraordinary 2009 vintage) based on some thirty years of experience. It is composed of the following segments in order of presentation:

1) A simple explanation of Burgundy

2) How Burgundy is tasted and evaluated from barrel

3) Recent Burgundy vintages (2007-2010)

4) Tasting notes, ratings, and background information on domaines and negociants. Mostly 2009s tasted from barrel and some from bottle as well as some 2008s and older wines from bottle.

5) Additional Burgundy Producer Recommendations.

A Simple Explanation of Burgundy

Over all of these years, the question I am most often asked is “Why is Burgundy so complicated?” The answer is, in fact, a bit complicated in the details. But, for the big picture it is really quite simple. Let me explain. Burgundy is an area in France. It is divided into two parts. The northern part, called Cote de Nuits, produces red wine with only a tiny amount of white wine produced. The southern part, called Cote de Beaune, produces both red and white wine, but is mostly known for its white wines. To be called Burgundy all red wine must be made from Pinot Noir and all white wine must be made from Chardonnay.

Within Burgundy, the greatest vineyard within each town gives its name to the town. For instance, in the Cotes de Nuits, the wine from the town of Gevrey is called Gevrey-Chambertin — Gevrey for the town and Chambertin for its greatest vineyard. Likewise in Chambolle, the area is Chambolle-Musigny – Chambolle for the town and Musigny for its greatest vineyard. And, so it goes for Morey-St-Denis, Vosne-Romanee, etc. The history of Burgundy goes back to Roman times and the establishment of the greatest vineyard sites are centuries old. The greatest vineyards Chambertin, Musigny, Romanee-Conti, etc., are designated Grand Crus and only the Grand Cru name is on the label. The next highest rated vineyards are Premier Crus and the name appears on the label with the name of the area and the notation Premier Cru. Examples being Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses Premier Cru, Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots Premier Cru, etc. Occasionally, other non-rated vineyard names will appear on the label with the area name but they will not be noted as Premier Crus. These are quite rare since most of the wines from non-rated vineyards are blended into a wine of the designated area — Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle- Musigny, etc. These are called village wines. Lastly, wine from anywhere in the greater Burgundy region is called Bourgogne.

The same is true in the Cote de Beaune. Here the name of the greatest vineyard, Montrachet, was affixed to two villages as Montrachet lies on the border with a part in each village. So here we have the villages of Puligny and Chassagne, both using Montrachet to designate the area – Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet. And the same rules apply here for Grand Cru vineyards, aside from Montrachet, all the other Grand Crus have Montrachet attached to their names -Chevalier-Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet, Criots-Batard-Montrachet, etc., and only bear the name of the vineyard, while Premier Crus have the name of the area and the vineyard name with the designation Premier Cru. Examples would be Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Premier Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanee Premier Cru, etc. And, again sometimes wine is made from non-rated vineyards so it would appear the name of the vineyard without the designation Premier Cru. Everything else appears as village wine and appears as Chassagne-Montrachet or Puligny-Montrachet. Interestingly, many years ago most of the area of Chassagne and Puligny was planted to Pinot Noir. Today most of that has been replaced or grafted to Chardonnay and only a small amount of red wine is now produced.

In the Cote de Beaune there are many different areas — Meursault, Volnay and Pommard have no Grand Crus. Hence, every thing here is either Premier Cru – Meursault Les Perrieres Premier Cru, Volnay Les Caillerets Premier Cru, Pommard Rugiens Premier Cru, etc. Occasionally there are wines bottled for vineyards not rated Premier Cru and they are bottled with the vineyard name, but without Premier Cru designation. These are quite rare. Everything else for the areas appears as Pommard, Meursault, Volnay, etc. The wine from Meursault is mostly white. The wine from Volnay and Pommard is mostly red.

Another area in the Cote de Beaune, however is a bit more complicated. It’s Corton, the largest Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy, where red and white wines are made. Corton-Charlemagne is the vineyard that makes only white wine. Corton is mostly red wine with a very small amount of white. The wines are Corton, Corton Bressandes, Corton Clos du Roi, etc.

Other areas of the Cote de Beaune include Beaune (with a large number of Premier Cru vineyards), Santenay, Saint Aubin, Ladoix-Serrigny, Aloxe-Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Chorey-Les-Beaune, Monthelie, Auxey-Duresses and Saint-Romain. In these areas there are some Premier Cru vineyards, but most of the production is village wine. The wines tend to be elegant and finesseful and many of the best values in Burgundy are found here.

OK, that is a simple explanation on the areas of Burgundy. Next comes the matter of ownership and producers of Burgundy. Historically, vineyard areas sold all or a large portion of their grapes and/or wine to negociants who handle winemaking (in the case of purchased grapes), and elevation (take care of the wine in barrels before bottling), bottling and marketing. Some of the most well-known negociants include Bouchard Pere & Fils, Louis Jadot and Joseph Drouhin, but there are also dozens of other, such as Remoissenet Pere & Fils, Louis Latour, etc.

Most of these negociants also own vineyards and make and bottle these wines as domaine bottlings versus the wine made from purchased grapes or wine which is negociant bottled. Vineyard owners also make wine and the percentage of domaine bottled wine has been increasing since the 1920s and 1930s when a handful of producers began to bottle their own wine. Some tend their own vineyards, some contract the work out, but the main point is ownership of the vineyard. These owners usually make, bottle and market the wine. Most vineyards in Burgundy have more than one owner. Hence there can be many producers of wine for the same vineyard in any given year. Clos Vougeot, for example, has more than 80 owners producing many different bottlings from different producers as well as wine and grapes sold to negociants which have their own bottlings. It is very important to know the producers as all producers are not created equal. There are differences including age of the vines, vine types, vineyard practices, situation within the vineyard, winemaking, etc. Over the years we have learned the wines we like the best and also the producers whom we feel produce the most consistently high quality wine despite the vintage. Those we have been visiting for nearly 30 years. Occasionally a new one appears. One of the most recent being Pierre Yves Colin-Morey in Chassagne. And occasionally an old one disappears. An example is Henri Jayer, whose wines we discovered in the 1978 vintage. His last vintage was 2001 and he passed away in 2006. His vineyards are now tended by his nephew, Emmanuel Rouget, who makes wine under his label.

So there it is in a nutshell. And, yes there are a few more small details and a few more minor exceptions. But this explains very simply the wines of Burgundy. In our tasting notes we will include the negociants and producers that we believe make the best and most consistent wines. Then it is up to you to try some and decide for yourself which you like the best. But in buying and drinking Burgundies, I never buy just the vintage. The highly touted vintages tend to be ones with ripe to very ripe grapes and more extraction, but the other vintages also can make wonderful, and many times as good or better wines in the hands of the right producers. So, I buy wines from the producers I like every year and in some other years, try wines from different producers. For me, the producer often wins over the vintage.

How Burgundy Is Tasted And Evaluated From Barrel

I find it interesting that wines now are most often sold with numbers, but no description of the wine. To me, an accurate (i.e devoid of hype) description is what I am looking for. Numbers are just one person’s opinion which do not correspond to everyone’s taste. And, the numbers do not say when or how the wine was tasted – before or after bottling, with hundreds of other wines, or alone. Most people who use numbers now use a range of numbers for wines tasted from barrel, but once again there is no indication of when the wine was tasted. Tasting wine from barrel is very different than tasting wine after bottling. And the earlier it is tasted the more difficult it is to evaluate the wine. Tasting after the wine has been in barrel for a year or so is easier than tasting it earlier. Generally the easiest time to taste is in the barrel or in the holding tanks just before bottling. Here you can get the best idea of what the bottled wine is likely to become.

When tasting wine from the barrel, there is the matter of barrel variation and not tasting the final blend. Hence, I find very precise notes on wines tasted at this stage of evolution to be at best an educated guess and at worst not accurate.

So we try not to make excuses for wines that are in a stage where they do not show their real potential. For instance, we do not taste wine very early. Usually it is a year of so after the vintage before we taste individual wines. The harvest information can give you a good idea of the ripeness and the health of the grapes at harvest and hence can be useful to determine the potential for a particular vintage. But it cannot tell you about individual wines. The wine produced by a small group of very consistent producers may be predictable but a lot of other wines are not until they are ready for bottling.

Also, when tasting from barrel in Burgundy, you go from location to location. In Burgundy, to the best of my knowledge, there are no drive by sip and spit tastings whereby a few hundred wines are sent to an off site location for a big numbers guy to come in and appoint his chosen wines (see my Underground Wine Line article on this in the archives). The tastings on site follow a particular order – the village wines first, then the Premier Crus and finally the Grand Crus. Moreover, the latter wines are usually presented in the order preferred by the producer with what are thought to be the best wines presented last. Most people doing the tastings produce notes that follow this sequence. To taste the wines blind (that is not knowing what they are) would likely produce very different results. But to taste and rate village wines and Premier Crus with lower scores and Grand Crus with higher scores is easy. However, to be fair, it is mostly true that all things being equal, most producers’ Grand Crus will be better in a given year than Premier Crus and Premier Crus better than village wines. But, however the results are tallied, it is extremely important to know that notes of wines before bottling are often made based on guesstimates as to how the wine will evolve and are subject to a wide divergence.

We have always used a relatively narrow range for scoring barrel samples. All are based on potential. They are Very Good Potential, Outstanding Potential, Extraordinary Potential. When we feel a wine may be slightly better than its category we use a plus. The reason so many tasting notes on Burgundies are from barrel is based on a number of factors. First, quantities are sometimes as few as one barrel or 25 cases up to 10-20 barrels or several hundred cases. Compared with Bordeaux where quantities are usually in the thousands to tens of thousands of cases, the quantity is very small. The scarcity and cost of individual bottles makes it difficult for the producers to do a lot of tasting of the wines after bottling. Besides, the wines are usually sold quite quickly. So in order to be able to taste and evaluate the wines, it is necessary to taste from barrel. But one must always keep in mind the limitations of doing so and recognize that wines evaluated in this way are not finished wines.

Recent Burgundy Vintages

The last few vintages of Burgundy really tell a story. For, in Burgundy, it is almost never the case that any two vintages are the same. This is due to the fickle nature of the weather. Sun, rain, frost, freezes, hail, and wind can all have a positive or negative effect on the harvest depending on when they occur. And many times the crop is impacted negatively or positively by changes in the weather in the last few days or weeks before harvest. This accounts for the variability of Burgundy versus wines from warmer New World areas where the weather is almost always warm with little variability around the time of harvest (in California 2010 was a rare exception to the rule with cool weather and some rain in many areas around normal harvest times). In Burgundy, there have been two recent “miracle” vintages, 2007 and 2008, which were saved by a late warm spell. This too is rare that consecutive vintages have similar weather patterns.

Below is a brief commentary on recent Burgundy vintages:

2010

For me, it is way too early to taste and try to evaluate wines from this vintage. We will taste them next year and make an assessment. So these notes are based on the opinions of growers that I respect, weather conditions, and the condition of the grapes at harvest. And, like most years in Burgundy, the one word that can be said about 2010 is “variable.” An early freeze affected many vines in parts of Burgundy and some vines were lost. Spring came late, but warm weather followed until June when the weather cooled. July warmed up again, but August was variable with many cool days and some rain. By September the weather warmed up again and the harvest began. But, after a few days, there was rain which produced rot in some areas. The results will depend on the same factor as always. That is the quality of the grapes that went into the vat. Yields were generally down and, in some cases, significantly from 2009. So for those who had small quantities of healthy ripe grapes their wines should be closer to 2009 than 2007 or 2008. For the whites it also looks like there will be some very fine wines, but it is too early for an evaluation.

2009

This is the real story of recent years for Red Burgundy. Here it looks to be a great vintage. The 2009 vintage is by far the best since 2005 and one of the three best vintages, the others being 1990 and 2005, that I have ever tasted from barrel. Whether it turns out to be as good as 2005 or 1990 remains to be seen. But, it is a vintage that has tremendous fruit and suppleness. The 2009 whites are also attractive. But, for me, maybe not up to the 2007 and 2008 vintages which are two of my favorite White Burgundy vintages, particularly 2007. But time will tell. Interestingly, it is just the opposite for Red Burgundy. The weather conditions at harvest were ideal. Warm sunny days began in August and continued well into the fall. But, it was not always easy even in 2009 as April, May, June, and July were subject to rains which necessitated protecting the vines from mildew. However, with the warm weather beginning in August the vines produced a crop of excellent fruit which some growers compare to the best they have ever seen. However, for some who picked late there may be some over ripeness. However, the general consensus for recent vintage comparisons seems to be 1999 and 2005 for both for quality and quantity. This is very high praise indeed. And, I think Aubert de Villaine said it best when he summed up 2009 by saying “We would like to make wines like 2009 every year. But, if we did, we would not be in Burgundy!”

2008

This year was characterized by difficult weather conditions throughout the year. June, July, and August had frequent rains. In September the rains let up, but came back the second week of September. Botrytis set in very quickly and had the rain continued, the harvest would have been a disaster. But there was a “Burgundian miracle” as the rain stopped, a north wind set in to dry the grapes, and the weather warmed to promote ripening and intensify sugar and acidity. In that regard, the vintage can be compared to 1996. It is a successful year for 2008 reds, but most will require patience. For me, the whites are better. They are wines that can be compared to a blend of 2006 (rich and rounded) and 2007 (racy and mineral driven with breed and backbone to give them a long life).

2007

The year 2007 was not unlike 2008 in that it was saved by a late warming trend in the latter part of August and September. In the spring, it looked like it would be a warm summer and an early harvest. Some were thinking of 2003. But the rains came in May and continued until the end of August. The harvest produced Pinot Noir grapes that were fully ripe, but also some bunches with unripe grapes and botrytis. Many top growers were able to deal with these problems in the vineyard and others resorted to sorting after the harvest. So, while it was possible to produce lovely balanced red wines with great early appeal that are somewhat like the 2000s, it was also possible to produce wines that are rather thin and uninteresting. Selection here is the key. The opposite is true for the whites. The white wines are more consistent and are racy, mineral driven, and very pure. The year 2007 is my favorite of recent White Burgundy vintages followed by 2008.

Red Burgundy Notes – Introduction

Our annual barrel tasting in Burgundy was done in late October – early November of last year and was concentrated on the 2009 red wines of some of the best domaines in the Cote de Nuits. We also tasted at most of the better negociants (both reds and whites) and only touched on the Cote de Beaune and the white wines. Listed below is my commentary on each Cote de Nuits producer we visited and notes on the wines tasted as well as commentary on Domaine Frédéric Esmonin and notes on his 2009s which were tasted out of bottle here in January.

COTE DE NUITS

DOMAINE ARNOUX-LACHAUX

Pascal Lachaux

For five generations the Arnoux family has been making wine in the Cote de Nuits. This domaine in Vosne Romanee began in 1858 and there still exist old bottles from here dating back to the 19th century. Today the domaine consists of over 30 acres. For many years the name of the domaine was Robert Arnoux. Robert died in 1995. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, Pascal Lachaux, who began making the wine here in 1985. The 1990 vintage was the first where he had full responsibility. In 2008 the name of the domaine was changed to Arnoux-Lachaux. The Grand Cru wines receive 100% new oak, the Premier Crus 40-60% and the village wines 30%. The wonderful 2009 fruit seemed very well integrated with the oak in all the wines at the time of our tasting. Pascal compares 2009 to a blend of 1978 and 1999 which were both very successful here.

2009 Red Wines Tasted and Scores:

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Bourgogne – Recommended Plus. 1-n-half-yellow-stars

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Chambolle Musigny — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne Romanee Hautes Maizieres — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits St. Georges Les Proces 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits St. Georges Clos des Corvees Pagets 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne Romanee Les Chaumes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne Romanee Les Reignots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Clos de Vougeot — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Echezeaux — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Latricieres Chambertin — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Arnoux-Lachaux Romanee St Vivant — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Red Wine Tasting Notes:

Bourgogne. This Bourgogne was bottled in September. It is lovely with very nice supple fruit and balance and should be attractively priced.

Vosne Romanee. This is a lovely wine with lots of supple floral and spice-tinged fruit and a nice finish.

Chambolle Musigny. Very lush and fruity, this is a real charmer with complexity and impressive length. This is a sleeper.

Vosne Romanee Hautes Maizieres. This is another sleeper that should be a very good value. It is impressively supple and fruity with complexity and balance.

Nuits St Georges Les Proces 1er Cru. Well-structured with nice fruit, there is a faint spiciness and some underlying tannin in this wine.

Nuits St Georges Clos des Corvees Pagets 1er Cru. This is a very tasty wine with lots of spice-tinged fruit and a nice balance.

Vosne Romanee Les Chaumes 1er Cru. This is delicious wine with floral- tinged berry fruit and a spicy nuance. It has great balance and impressive length.

Vosne Romanee Les Reignots 1er Cru. A bit restrained, but this wine has lots of fruit and a nice spiciness.

Clos de Vougeot. This wine is brimming with complex floral-tinged berry fruit. It is rich and rounded with wonderful flavors and a nice underlying spiciness.

Echezeaux. Impressively rich and balanced with a great perfume, this Echezeaux has complex spice-tinged flavors.

Vosne Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru. This is a great Premier Cru. It is brimming with cassis and blackberry fruit and is complex with spice tinges. The balance is lovely and it has impressive length.

Latricieres Chambertin. This is a new addition with the first wine being 2008. The vines here are 50 years old. This 2009 is stunning with lots of fruit, depth, and structure and impressive richness and balance.

Romanee St Vivant. There is lots of richness and depth here with a great perfume and a seamless structure. The spiciness is subdued and the wine has very impressive length on the palate. This is simply gorgeous!

The two older wines tasted on this visit were delicious and wonderfully balanced:

1999 Robert Arnoux Vosne Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru. The Les Suchots vineyard is one the great Premier Crus of Vosne Romanee. The domaine’s parcel of Les Suchots lies at the top in an area that used to be called Hautes-Suchots. This domaine has made consistently wonderful wines from this vineyard including this 1999. It has great fruit with a faintly smoky, spicy nuance and is round and flavorful with soft underlying tannins and a long finish. Like many 1999s it seems to have closed down a bit, but patience should prove rewarding – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2005 Robert Arnoux Romanee St Vivant. This is a terrific 2005 with great fruit, flavor, and balance. It has length and depth with a faint exotic spice nuance and should make a magnificent bottle with more age – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

CLOS DE TART

This historic domaine was founded in 1141 by Cistercian nuns, the Bernardines de Tart. Since that time there have only been two other owners. And since 1932 it has been owned by the Mommessin family. The vineyard is nearly 19 acres in size and is the largest grand cru monopole in Burgundy.

Red Wine Tasted And Score:

2009 Mommessin Clos de Tart — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

Red Wine Tasting Note:

Clos de Tart. This wine is harvested and vinified into six separate lots. At the time of our visit, the final blend had not been made, but we tasted a sample of a representative blend. It was lovely with spice, cherry fruit and beautiful balance with a rounded, supple texture. It is especially difficult to make an assessment at this time, but the wine seems to have the fruit, balance, and structure to make an outstanding Clos de Tart.

DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE CONTI

Aubert de Villaine

The individual vineyards that comprise the Domaine de la Romanee Conti date back to Roman times. The present domaine has it origins dating to 1869 when Monsieur Duvault-Blochet acquired the vineyard of Romanee-Conti. He subsequently acquired holdings in Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, and Richebourg. Edmond, the grandfather of the current domaine co-director, Aubert de Villaine, became the Director in 1911. And in 1933 the domaine acquired the vineyard of La Tache from the Liger-Belair family. The domaine already owned a large portion of the adjacent Les Gaudichots vineyard and in 1936 this was combined with La Tache to create the Grand Cru monopole of La Tache. In 1942, Henri Leroy became a co-owner of the Domaine and in 1950 Aubert’s father, Henri, succeeded Edmond. Aubert grew up at the domaine and became co-director in 1974. In 1966, Domaine de la Romanee Conti took over management of the holdings of the Marey-Monge family in Romanee St. Vivant and in 1988 purchased the parcel. In 1963, 1965, and 1980 portions of Montrachet were acquired. And late in 2008 some 4½ acres were acquired in Corton consisting of approximately one-half Bressandes and one-half nearly equally divided between Clos du Roi and Renardes. In each vineyard there are sections of 60 year old vines with the balance 15-25 years. The first vintage from Corton is 2009.

Aubert says the differences between individual wines in a single vintage are the differences attributable to terroir and the age of the vines. The wines made at the Domaine de la Romanee Conti are unquestionably the greatest and most consistent in Burgundy with an unparalleled track record. The wines are very long lived and do not show their full potential until many years after bottling. For nearly 30 years I have been tasting wines here from barrel. The two best years from the domaine that I have tasted from barrel are 1990 and 2009. The 1990s are still evolving. The 2009s should be more accessible young, and may drink very well in the early years, but they too seem destined for a very long life. When we were finishing the tasting of the 2009s with the Romanee Conti, I asked Aubert which vintage he thought was most like the 2009. He replied 1959. And, almost immediately, one of the other wine writers who was tasting with us replied that it was more like a combination of the 1929 and 1934! We were all left wondering how it was possible to taste the 1929 and 1934 wines from barrel. You would now have to be over 100 years of age and this person did not look that old! And, further speaking of the 2009 vintage, Aubert said, “We would like to make wines like 2009 every year. But, if we did, we would not be in Burgundy.” And, that, my friends, says it all!

Aubert de Villaine, co-director, and Bernard Noblet, cellarmaster

2009 Red Wines Tasted and Scores:

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Climats Du Coeur — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Corton — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Echezeaux — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Grands Echezeaux — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee Saint Vivant — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Richebourg — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache — Exceptional Potential Plus. 3n-half-barrels

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee Conti— Exceptional Potential Plus. 3n-half-barrels

John Brincko, Aubert de Villaine, Bernard Noblet, Yours Truly, and Geoffrey Troy

2008 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Vosne Romanee 1er Cru – Highly Recommended Plus. 2-n-half-yellow-stars

2009 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Echezeaux – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Grands Echezeaux – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Richebourg – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee St. Vivant – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee Conti – Extraordinary. 4-yellow-stars

2009 Red Wine Tasting Notes:

Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Climats du Coeur. This wine, which is being made for charity, is lovely. Some 20% of the grapes for this cuvee came from Domaine de la Romanee Conti and the rest of the grapes came from 10 different growers. The wine will be bottled in magnums and sold in 4 packs, along with the other Premier Crus (Gevrey-Chambertin from Dujac, Puligny-Montrachet from Leflaive, and Meursault from Roulot) at auction on the internet. It is a lush, balanced, harmonious wine with lovely flavor.

Corton. This is the first year for the Corton. Many decisions had to be made regarding what grapes to use in the final cuvee, but in the end it was a blend of old vines and younger vines from the three separate vineyards. It was very interesting to see the differences between this wine and the others from Vosne-Romanee. Aubert commented that it was made exactly the same as the other wines. It shows great fruit and finesse. It is not as opulent or expressive at this point as the other wines, but it is very pure and flavorful.

Echezeaux. This is a really excellent Echezeaux. It is gorgeous with floral notes, great elegance, and lush supple fruit. The balance here is impeccable and the wine has impressive depth.

Grands Echezeaux. This is a gorgeous Grands Echezeaux that shows exotic spice and great fruit with faint floral notes. It has great elegance, lively complex supple fruit and a very long finish.

Romanee St. Vivant. This is a stunning Romanee St. Vivant to be sure with exotic spice perfume and a supple lush texture. It has intense fruit and complex flavors with great finesse and a very long finish.

Richebourg. This is a profound Richebourg that shows the classic “iron fist in a velvet glove” character. The perfume is complex with black fruit and exotic spice nuances. It is deep, rich, and complex with extraordinary balance and a very long finish.

La Tache. This is a monumental La Tache that should join the ranks of such vintages as 1949, 1978, and 1990 and become a classic. It is just stunning with a great perfume and deep, rich, intense fruit and complex flavors. Already lush, it should have early appeal, but it certainly will have a very long life ahead.

Romanee Conti. The 2009 Romanee Conti is a monumental wine. Already it is near perfection with an intense complex perfume of exotic spices and a myriad of fruits. It is virtually seamless with a lush, elegant, supple texture and layers of flavors that go on and on. Surely this will be one of the all time greats.

2008 Red Wine Tasting Notes:

Vosne-Romanee Cuvee Duvault-Blochet 1er Cru. This is the 6 th vintage since 1999 that this wine has been made. It is named for Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet who purchased the Romanee Conti Vineyard in 1869 and went on to purchase holdings in Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, and Richebourg that are the origins of the domaine that exists today. The grapes that go into this cuvee are from the second picking of the Grand Crus. The wine has a nice color and a lovely perfume with an exotic nuance. It has a lovely flavor and very nice fruit with complexity and balance.

Echezeaux. With a very nice color, this wine has a lovely perfume with hints of raspberry fruit and spice. It has lovely fruit and is supple and balanced with a nice finish.

Grands Echezeaux. This is a lovely Grands Echezeaux. It has a very nice color and a lovely, complex perfume with hints of coconut and spice. On the palate it is elegant, but with good backbone. It has lovely spice tinged flavors that show impressive length.

Richebourg. With a very nice color, this Richebourg has a lovely perfume with hints of cherry fruit and an exotic nuance. It is flavorful and has richness and complexity with a great backbone and a long finish.

Romanee St. Vivant. This Romanee St. Vivant is lovely and very expressive. It has a very nice color and a lovely perfume with floral, exotic spice nuances. On the palate it has spice tinged fruit and a lovely flavor and balance.

La Tache. This is a La Tache that will require many years of age to show its true potential. Just now it has a very nice color and a complex perfume that is faintly smoky with a hint of mint and exotic spice. It has richness and depth with good backbone and impressive length.

Romanee Conti. This is simply gorgeous! It is clearly the best balanced and most complex of all the 2008 DRC red wines. The color is deep and the perfume is very complex with floral, plummy, exotic spice nuances. The flavors are exquisite and complex with a myriad of fruits and floral, plummy, exotic spice accents. There is structure underneath and a very long finish.

White Wine Tasted And Score:

2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Montrachet — Extraordinary Plus. 4-n-half-yellow-stars

2008 White Wine Tasting Note:

Montrachet. Wow! What can be said about the great 2008 DRC Montrachet? It is without question one of the greatest young Montrachets I have ever tasted. Since the first vintage in 1965, there have been many, many great DRC Montrachets, but this, for me, ranks with the very best vintages such as 1968, 1970, 1971, 1978, 1985, and 1990. I have tasted all of these very early and over the years since. They are all memorable, but each vintage is a bit different. And each wine has its greatness expressed in a slightly different way. The remarkable thing about this 2008 is that the opulence is backed with great acidity and focus. It is an ultimate expression of yin and yang. There is a great honied, tropical fruit, spice, citrus, and mineral tinged perfume. The wine is very pure, lush, and rounded with honied, tropical fruit nuances. Then comes the citrus kick on the finish that balances the richness. Very long on the palate, this is simply stunning and should, in time, represent perfection.

DOMAINE DUJAC

Jacques Seysses

I first became acquainted with these wines in the early 1970s when I acquired some bottles of a “new” Burgundy by the name of Domaine Dujac. They were from the 1969 vintage, and I was tremendously impressed by the style of the wines which I felt most closely resembled the wines of Domaine Romanee Conti more than any others that I had tasted at that time. I still have 1969 Bonnes-Mares and, although I have not opened a bottle for many years, the last one was superb and I am sure the wine is great today. Eventually, this experience and subsequent vintages such as 1976 and 1978 led me to taste at the Domaine starting in the early 1980s. Since then there have been many wonderful wines produced here.

Jacques Seysses, a former investment banker, acquired the 10 acre Domaine Graillet in 1967 ( a very good year indeed as it was the year Laurie and I were married). The first vintage was 1968 which was one of the worst Burgundy vintages of that era. Thankfully, it was followed by the very good 1969 vintage. In the last few years, the domaine has transitioned to the new generation. Jacques’ son, Jeremy, and his wife, Diana, are in charge vineyard management and winemaking. Another of Jacques’ sons, Alec, takes an active part in all aspects of the domaine and oversees the administrative side. Rosalind, Jacques’ wife, is in charge of public relations. Jacques is “retired,” but is still very much involved with the domaine and is an invaluable counselor and adviser. Recent vintages have been variable –- 2005 was great and 2006 was very successful. In 2007 there was a lapse, with 2008 showing improvement. And now comes 2009 which looks to be on a par with other great vintages such as 1969, 1978, 1985, 1990, 1999, and 2005. Jacques compares the 2009s here with the 1999s.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Dujac Morey Saint Denis — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Climats du Coeur — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Dujac Chambolle-Musigny — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combettes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Dujac Chambolle-Musigny Les Gruenchers 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Dujac Echezeaux — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Dujac Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Dujac Vosne-Romanee Les Malconsorts 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Dujac Vosne-Romanee Les Beaumonts 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Dujac Charmes Chambertin — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Dujac Clos Saint Denis — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Dujac Clos de la Roche — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Dujac Bonnes-Mares — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

Domaine Dujac also makes a very small amount of Chambertin and Romanee Saint Vivant (under an arrangement with the owners whereby the production is divided in return for Domaine Dujac taking care of the vineyards and making and bottling the wine). We did not taste these this year.

In 2009 there is also a Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru being made by Domaine Dujac called Climats du Coeur. Domaine Dujac is one of four producers making the Climats du Coeur wines (the others being Domaine Romanee Conti, Domaine Leflaive, and Domaine Roulot). The grapes are donated by growers from four Premier Cru appellations (2 red – Gevrey -Chambetin and 2 white – Meaursault and Puligny-Montrachet).

Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanee and 2 white – Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet). There will be 1,000 cases consisting of four magnums (one from each appellation) that will be sold at auction over the internet. The proceeds will be donated to charity.

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Morey Saint Denis. This is a very nice village wine with a lovely perfume, lots of fruit, and a nice balance.

Chambolle Musigny. This too is a lovely village wine showing a bit more complexity at this stage than the Morey Saint Denis. It has blackberry fruit on the nose and palate with floral and spice tinges and very nice balance.

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Climats du Coeur. This wine has a lovely perfume with cherry fruit and a tinge of spice. It has lots of fruit and is supple and flavorful with a long finish.

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combettes 1er Cru. This is a gorgeous Premier Cru with a great perfume, lots of ripe supple fruit and impressive balance and length. This is one to look for.

Chambolle Musigny Les Gruenchers 1er Cru. This is a lovely wine with a very nice floral tinged perfume and lots of supple fruit with floral and spice nuances on the palate. It has elegance and is nicely balanced.

Echezeaux. The vines here are 28 years old. The wine has complexity and depth and is well structured. There is a lot of fruit, but also a bit of underlying tannin which will take some time to resolve.

Morey Saint Denis Premier Cru. This wine is made from four Premier Cru parcels, 80% of which is from a vineyard under Clos de Tart. It has a lovely spice tinged cherry perfume and is supple, lush, round, and balanced.

Vosne-Romanee Les Malconsorts 1er Cru. This vineyard was purchased in 2005 and Domaine Dujac is now the largest owner. The production in 2009 totaled some 800 cases. It is stunning with a gorgeous perfume, complex flavors with floral and spice nuances, and great elegance and style. The wine is also beautifully balanced with impressive length on the palate. This is another wine to look for as the production is relatively large and it should be easier to obtain.

Vosne-Romanee Les Beaumonts 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely spice tinged perfume. It has richness, but is also finesseful and elegant with a very nice balance and a long finish.

Charmes Chambertin. It is amazing how often that wine from this vineyard lives up to the name. This is no exception. The wine is precocious with great charm. It has cassis and blackberry fruit showing a spicy nuance and is rich and rounded with lovely balance and impressive length..

Clos Saint Denis. The crop here was reduced due to hail just before flowering. At the time of our tasting the nose was subdued, but the wine has impressive concentration and lots of rich supple fruit.

Clos de la Roche. This looks to be one of the greatest Clos de la Roche’s ever made by Domaine Dujac with tremendous fruit and depth, there is an exotic nuance that gives the wine added complexity. Underneath the richness there is a balanced structure that gives this Clos de la Roche a certain elegance as well as power. Don’t miss this one!

Bonnes-Mares. This is a stunning Bonnes-Mares. The wine has a deep spice tinged berry perfume and lots of fruit. It has richness, great structure and is balanced with impressive length.

We also tasted a 1999 to make the comparison that Jacques suggested – 2009 being like 1999. Based on this 1999 it seems like a valid comparison:

1999 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combettes 1er Cru. This is a delicious wine with a gorgeous, faintly exotic perfume, lovely, supple, round complex flavors and a long finish. At just over 10 years of age it is showing beautifully – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

DOMAINE FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN

This small domaine in Les Estournelles, Gevrey-Chambertin has approximately 10 acres of vineyards. Most of their holdings have very old vines. Prior to 1987 the wines were sold to negociants such as Leroy and Jadot. In the very early years the wines seemed to lack consistency. But, for many years now they have been at a very high level of quality, but still seem to be under the radar. The 2009s at this domaine are remarkable for their great purity of fruit, elegance, flavor and balance. They were bottled in November 2010 and have recently arrived in the U.S. where I tasted them. The wines are impressive across the entire range. They represent very good value in Burgundy and are wines to buy. The wines of Frédéric Esmonin are imported by Atherton Wine Imports San Jose, California.

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits. This is a lovely Bourgogne. It has a nice color with a faint amber edge and exhibits a perfume tinged with raspberry fruit and a hit of spice. The wine is vibrant and is elegant and finesseful with a crisp finish – Recommended. 1-yellow-star $24

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin. This village wine is produced from several different vineyards. It is lovely with a nice color and perfume. The wine has gorgeous fruit and is elegant and supple with very nice balance and a crisp finish – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars $32

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur. The vines in Clos Prieur are 50-60 years old. This is a relatively unknown wine with more class and breed than anyone would suspect. It is capable of aging for a very long time (I have a few bottles from 1949 that are lovely). It is a real sleeper and a great value. This 2009 has a deep color and a lovely berry perfume with just a tinge of spice. It has wonderfully pure fruit and lots of flavor, yet it also elegant and vibrant with gorgeous balance and a long finish. The 2009 production totaled 275 cases – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars Best Buy $36

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jouises Vieilles Vignes. This is a lovely wine with a very nice color and a lovely perfume. It has lots of supple fruit and is balanced and elegant with a very nice finish. The 2009 production totaled 300 cases – Highly Recommended Plus. 2-n-half-yellow-stars $42

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champonnets 1er Cru. The vines here are 55 years old. This is a gorgeous wine with a lovely color, just amber at the edge. It has a gorgeous perfume and great fruit and structure on the palate. There is a faint spiciness accenting the cherry fruit and the finish is long and crisp. The 2009 production totaled 125 cases – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars $54

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Estournelles St. Jacques 1er Cru. The vines here are 45 years old. This is a terrific wine that is open and very enticing. It has a deep color and a complex perfume with exotic nuances, cherry fruit, and a tinge of spice. On the palate there is lots of rich supple fruit with an exotic accent. The wine is balanced and lush with a long finish. The 2009 production totaled 300 cases – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars $57

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques 1er Cru. The vines here are 45 years old. This is a delicious wine with a deep color and a gorgeous berry fruit, spice tinged perfume. It is elegant and rounded with great fruit and flavor and has a long finish. The 2009 production totaled 100 cases – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars $57

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Mazy-Chambertin. This Mazy is produced from a very small plot of vines that are 50-60 years old. It is stunning! The wine has a dark color and a gorgeous perfume with a faint tinge of vanilla. It has great concentration and is rich, rounded, and supple with gorgeous balance and a very long finish. The 2009 production totaled only 75 cases – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars $111

2009 Frédéric Esmonin Ruchottes-Chambertin. This Ruchottes is produced from a plot of vines that are 50-60 years old. It is great! The color is dark and there is a gorgeous perfume of blackberry perfume laced with a faint hint of spice and smoke. The wine has very pure fruit and great flavor and structure. It is impressively rich and concentrated, but not at all heavy. It is seamless with impeccable balance and a very long finish. The 2009 production totaled 200 cases – Extraordinary. 4-yellow-stars $111

DOMAINE ANNE GROS

Ann Gros inherited this domaine from her father Francois. She has been in charge for over 20 years. We began tasting here in the 1980s when the domaine was known as Francois Gros. From 1988 it was Domaine Anne & Francois Gros. And since 1995 it has been Domaine Anne Gros. The domaine has old vines in most of their vineyards. The wines produced here consistently show great purity and elegance.

Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Anne Gros Bourgogne Rouge — Not Rated.

2009 Anne Gros Haut Cote de Nuits Rouge — Not Rated.

2009 Anne Gros Chambolle Musigny Les Combes Orveaux — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Anne Gros Vosne Romanee Les Barreaux — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Anne Gros Echezeaux — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Les Grand Maupertuis — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Anne Gros Richebourg — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Haut Cote de Nuits Rouge. Made from 20 year old vines this is a nice fruity wine with good backbone.

Bourgogne Rouge. Made from 35-40 year old vines, this has a lovely perfume and very nice fruit. Rounded and very pleasant this should be quite affordable.

Chambolle Musigny Les Combes Orveaux. The vines here are 40-45 years old. The wine has a lovely perfume and is rounded and supple with floral tinged fruit. It is balanced and very tasty with early appeal.

Vosne Romanee Les Barreaux. This vineyard is located at the top of the hill above Cros Parantoux. The vines here are 80-85 years old. The wine has a great complex perfume and floral tinged, faintly spicy blackberry fruit on the palate. It is supple and balanced with richness and has early appeal.

Echezeaux. The first vintage for this wine was 2007. The vines here are 25 years old. The wine is very elegant, but also quite rich with a lot of fruit and complex flavors.

Clos Vougeot Les Grand Maupertuis. This wine comes from vines within the Clos Vougeot vineyard at a prime section at the top just below Grands Echezeaux which is known as Les Grand Maupertuis. This 2009 is gorgeous. It has a great perfume with exotic nuances and is rich, rounded and packed with layers of fruit, yet it maintains great elegance and is beautifully balanced. Just over 400 cases were produced in 2009.

Richebourg. The vines here are 80 years old. Production in 2009 was just under 300 cases. This Richebourg shows tremendous fruit and concentrated flavors that are very pure. There is a faint spiciness that accents the fruit and the wine is supple and lush with a very long finish.

White Wine Tasted and Score:

2009 Anne Gros Cote de Nuits Blanc Cuvee Marine — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

White Wine Tasting Notes:

Cote de Nuits Blanc Cuvee Marine. Generally I prefer the Cote de Nuits white wines over the reds. This wine was aged in 50% large new oak barrels. It is lovely and should be a very good value. It has a very nice perfume with an exotic nuance and faint hints of spice and citrus. It is balanced and finesseful with a tinge of citrus and a nice exotic accent. The finish is crisp with a bit of citrus which is a lovely complement to the elegance of the wine.

DOMAINE HUDELOT-NOELLAT

Some 50 years ago Alain Hudelot began acquiring vineyards including part of his father’s holdings in Clos Vougeot. In 1963 he married the granddaughter of Charles Noellat and, after much legal maneuvering, the domaine was expanded. Alain’s grandson, Charles, returned to take over the domaine in 2008 assisted by Vincent Mugnier who has been there since 2005. This domaine has holdings in some of the best vineyards and recent vintages have been consistently at a high level. The 2009s show the elegance and fruit that is characteristic here, but also have the lushness that is the signature of the vintage.

2009 Red Wines Tasted and Scores:

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne — Not Rated.

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle Musigny — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Vosne Romanee — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Nuits Saint Georges Bas du Combe — Not Rated.

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Vougeot Les Petits Vougeots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Nuits Saint Georges Aux Murgers 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Vosne Romanee Les Suchots Premier Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Vosne Romanee Les Beaumonts Premier Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Vosne Romanee Les Malconsorts Premier Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Clos Vougeot — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Romanee Saint Vivant — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Hudelot-Noellat Richebourg — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Bourgogne. This is a nice Bourgogne with good fruit and balance.

Chambolle Musigny. This is a lovely Chambolle with floral tinged spicy fruit. It is supple and rounded with a nice finish.

Vosne Romanee. Yet another lovely village wine with a nice round supple texture, cherry fruit with a spicy tinge and a very nice finish.

Nuits Saint Georges Bas du Combe. This is more restrained with good fruit and backbone, but lacking a bit in depth.

Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes. This is delicious. It has a gorgeous perfume and lovely fruit with a floral, spice complexity. On the palate it has alush, supple texture with impressive depth.

Vougeot Les Petits Vougeots. This is very nice with lots of fruit showing, just a tinge of spice and lovely balance.

Nuits Saint Georges Aux Murgers. This wine shows a faint smokiness in the nose. There is fruit underneath and it is flavorful, but a bit restrained.

Vosne Romanee Les Suchots. This is a lovely lush sappy wine. It has a gorgeous perfume with floral spice notes and is rounded and very flavorful with great balance and a lovely finish.

Vosne Romanee Les Beaumonts. This is an elegant wine with a lovely floral tinged perfume and supple fruit flavors accented by a touch of spice.

Vosne Romanee Les Malconsorts. This is quite rich with a gorgeous perfume and lots of fruit. It is supple, lush and very flavorful with great balance and a long finish.

Clos Vougeot. This is stunning. The wine has a gorgeous floral tinged perfume and great fruit with a faint floral nuance and a hint of spice. It is supple, rich and rounded with layers of flavor and a long finish. Because of the very large number owners of Clos Vougeot and quality that can be very variable, the best wines from Clos Vougeot can be some of the best buys of all the Grand Crus. Look for this one. It should be a great value.

Romanee St. Vivant. This wine is brimming with cassis like fruit showing floral and spice nuances. It is elegant and balanced with lots of flavor, great fruit, and impressive length. Just over 200 cases were produced.

Richebourg. There are only 125 cases of this wine. It is just a bit restrained, but has tremendous fruit and a seamless texture. There is great underlying structure and the finish is very long. Patience is required here but it should be well rewarded.

DOMAINE LIGER-BELAIR

The reappearance of this domaine began in 2000 when Louis Michel Liger-Belair took back family-owned vineyards in Vosne-Romanee. But the beginning of the Domaine dates back to 1815. In the next 116 years the members of the Liger-Belair family expanded the vineyard holdings to include some of the most prestigious in Burgundy –- La Romanee, La Tache, and La Grand Rue, as well as portions of Malconsorts, Chaumes, Reignots, and Suchots in Vosne-Romanee, Les St. Georges and and Vaucrains in Nuits Saint Georges, Clos Vougeot in Vougeot, and Chambertin in Gevrey-Chambertin as well as others.

In 1933 a death in the family forced a sale of the properties to comply with French inheritance laws. This resulted in the loss of La Tache and La Grand Rue as well as other vineyards. However, two members of the family were able to purchase La Romanee, Reignots and Les Chaumes and a few other parcels. Since there were no family members to manage the estate, the vineyards were turned over to local vignerons and sales to negociants. The primary ownership of La Romanee and Vosne-Romanee Les Reignots were marketed at various times by Leroy, Bichot, and Bouchard Pere & Fils. The last of these arrangements (with Bouchard Pere & Fils) ended in 2005 when Louis-Michel took back all of La Romanee and a parcel of Vosne-Romanee Les Reignots. In 2006 he added more holdings through rental of several more parcels.

In this period since 2000, the wines of Liger-Belair have been very consistent and it is now one of the top domaines in Vosne-Romanee. The 2008s here are very successful and the 2009s look to be even better.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Les Columbieres — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne Romanee Clos du Chateau — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Les Charmes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Les Petits Monts 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Nuits Saint Georges Aux Cras 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Mazis-Chambertin Hospices de Beaune Cuvee Madame Collignon — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Les Brulees 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Aux Reignots 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Liger-Belair Echezeaux — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Ligier-Belair La Romanee — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2008 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2008 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Clos du Chateau – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2008 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Le Petits Monts 1er Cru – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2008 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee Aux Reignots 1er Cru – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2008 Liger-Belair Echezeaux – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2008 Liger-Belair La Romanee – Extraordinary. 4-yellow-stars

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

The 2009s from Domaine Liger-Belair are gorgeous across the entire range from Vosne-Romanee village to La Romanee.

Vosne-Romanee. This wine has a very nice balance and a lovely nose and is round and supple with lush, spice tinged fruit.

Vosne-Romanee Les Columbieres. This wine has a gorgeous perfume and is supple with vibrant flavor. It is very elegant with impressive length.

Vosne-Romanee Clos du Chateau. This wine always seems to show an exotic nuance and this 2009 is true to form. It has a gorgeous perfume with exotic, floral nuances and is balanced with great complex fruit and impressive length. This is delicious!

Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 1er Cru. Very elegant with a lovely floral tinged perfume, this wine is beautifully balanced with lots of fruit and a very nice finish.

Vosne-Romanee Les Petits Monts 1er Cru. This vineyard is situated above Richebourg between Reignots and Cros Parantoux. This wine is really lovely, but there are only 50 cases. It is gorgeous with great perfume, fruit, complexity and structure.

Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru. There are 100 cases of this wine. It is a very impressive Les Suchots. It has a deep perfume and lots of concentrated flavor and complexity with a long finish.

Nuits Saint Georges Aux Cras 1er Cru. This is a lovely, balanced Nuits Saint Georges. It has lots of blackberry fruit, a touch of spice and balanced tannins.

Mazis-Chambertin Hospices de Beaune Cuvee Madame Collignon. This should be a terrific Mazis. Just now the wood is a bit prominent, but Jean-Louis changed the barrels when they arrived from the Hospices and the wine is rounding out nicely with lots of underlying fruit. The wine has a deep perfume with a myriad of fruit flavors and there is a lot of concentration and depth. This has great promise.

Vosne-Romanee Les Brulees 1er Cru. There are only 25 cases of this wine and it is only sold at charity auctions. It is a deep, rich wine with a stunning perfume and layers of flavors and lovely fruit.

Vosne-Romanee Aux Reignots 1er Cru. This vineyard is situated just above La Romanee. The wines have wonderful complexity and this is a great example. It has a glorious perfume with floral, blackberry and spice notes. There are similar flavors on the palate with a faint exotic tinge and there is lots of depth and wonderful balance. 275 cases produced.

Echezeaux. This is a terrific Echezeaux. It has lots of rich supple fruit and great underlying structure with impressive length. 225 cases produced.

La Romanee. This is a great wine in the making. It has great complex, exotic fruit perfume with a floral and spice tinge. On the palate it is rich and concentrated with great purity and complex flavors of black cherry and exotic spice with floral undertones. The flavors and texture of this wine are simply fabulous! 350 cases produced. . .

2008 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

The 2008s here are very successful across the entire spectrum.

Vosne-Romanee Clos du Chateau. This wine again displays a gorgeous exotic complexity. It has nice color and a lovely floral, faintly exotic perfume. Elegant and lush with exotic tinged fruit and a very nice crisp finish, this is delicious.

Vosne-Romanee Les Petits Monts 1er Cru. With a deep color and a gorgeous berry perfume, this wine has beautiful balance and lots of complex fruit with impressive length.

Vosne-Romanee Aux Reignots 1er Cru. Deeply colored, this wine has a gorgeous perfume with a faint exotic tinge. It has lots of rich fruit and is well structured and balanced with a long finish.

Echezeaux. This is a lovely Echezeaux. It has a deep color and a gorgeous spice tinged berry fruit perfume with a floral undertone. The flavors show lots of fruit with just a touch of spice and are complex and harmonious.

La Romanee. This is a great wine and one of the best wines of the vintage. It has a great perfume with floral, cherry, and exotic nuances. Elegant with gorgeous flavors and balance, La Romanee is a wine that develops and gains complexity over a long period of time and this 2008 should be no exception. Just now there is a faint exotic nuance and lots of fruit that is very pure and refined. With a long life ahead, this will be stunning!

DOMAINE MEO-CAMUZET

Jean-Nicolas Meo

Jean Meo, a career petroleum engineer, inherited the estate from his uncle, Etienne Camuzet in 1959. From 1949 to 1988, Henri Jayer cared for some of the vineyards and in return received half of the grapes from which he crafted superb wines. For this period, the remaining production was mostly sold to negociants. At the end of the 1980s, Jean Meo’s son, Jean-Nicolas, assumed control. There are many great vineyards in this domaine and the wines can be stunning. And although the vintages of 2007 and 2008 were difficult, the 2009s are gorgeous.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Meo-Camuzet Vosne Romanee — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Nuits St. Georges Les Perrieres 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Meo-Camuzet Chambolle-Musigny Les Feusselottes 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Meo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Clos Vougeot — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Corton — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Echezeaux — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Vosne Romanee Aux Clos Parantoux 1er Cru — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Vosne Romanee Aux Brulees 1er Cru — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Richebourg — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Hospices de Beaune Volnay Santenots 1er Cru Cuvee Jehan de Massol — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Hospices de Beaune Pommard Cuvee Billardet — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Meo-Camuzet Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Cuvee Madame Collignon — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Meo-Camuzet Hospices de Beaune Nuits St. Georges Les Didiers Cuvee Jacques Duvet — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Vosne-Romanee. This is a lovely village wine with great fruit, complexity, and balance.

Nuits Saint Georges Les Perrieres 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely plumy, spice tinged perfume and lots of supple fruit with balanced tannins.

Chambolle Musigny Les Feusselottes 1er Cru. With a lovely floral perfume showing just a hint of spice, this is a lovely wine with lots of fruit and very nice balance.

Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 1er Cru. This is delicious. It has a complex perfume with cherry fruit accented by floral, spice notes. It is elegant and very lush with gorgeous floral tinged fruit and a long finish.

Clos Vougeot. The Clos Vougeot here is consistently at a high level and this 2009 is stunning. Showing a great perfume, the wine has tremendous fruit and lots of rich flavors with an elegant silkiness and impressive length.

Corton. This is a lovely Corton. It shows a gorgeous perfume and lots of rich blackberry fruit. It is rich and flavorful with well integrated tannins and a long finish.

Echezeaux. This is gorgeous Echezeaux. It has a deep perfume showing lots of fruit with a faint smoky nuance. It is loaded with rich blackberry fruit and is sappy, lush, and rounded with a long finish.

Vosne-Romanee Aux Cros Parantoux 1er Cru. This Cros Parantoux as well as the Brulees are always at the top. They are among the best Premier Crus and often are a match for Grand Crus. In 2009 they are just awesome. The Cros Parantoux at this stage shows just a bit more wood, but there is plenty of material to carry it. It has a deep complex perfume with a myriad of fruits and a faintly smoky tinge. On the palate it is stunning with great intense fruit and layers of complex flavors. It is lush but retains an elegance and shows impressive depth.

Vosne-Romanee Aux Brulees 1er Cru. What a choice! Choosing between the Cros Parantoux and Brulees in 2009 is an exercise in futility. Both are great. The Brulees has a great blackberry perfume with a floral spice tinge. It is rich with layers of supple complex fruit and impeccable balance with a long, lingering finish.

Richebourg. This Richebourg seems destined to be one of the finest ever from this domaine. It is a phenomenal wine. The perfume is intense and shows tremendous fruit with just a touch of spice. The wine is very rich and complex with layers of fruit and flavors. And, despite the intensity, there is a vibrancy to it which contributes to the balance and gives it structure. Wow!

This year there are also several different cuvees of wines from the Hospices de Beaune that are being elevated and bottled by Domaine Meo Camuzet. They are lovely wines, especially the Mazis-Chambertin.

Hospices de Beaune Volnay Santenots 1er Cru. This wine has a deep plummy perfume. It is balanced and lush with lots of fruit with just a tinge of spice and has a long finish.

Hospices de Beaune Pommard Cuvee Billardet. This is a lovely Pommard. It has a very nice floral tinged perfume and is rounded with lots of fruit and very nice balance.

Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Cuvee Madame Collignon. This is a fabulous Mazis-Chambertin. It has a gorgeous cherry fruit perfume with a tinge of spice. On the palate the wine has great fruit and intensity with a faint spiciness and a very long finish.

Hospices de Beaune Nuits Saint Georges Les Didiers Cuvee Jacques Duret. This is a delicious Nuits Saint Georges with lots of supple fruit. It has a deep floral tinged perfume and lots of flavor and gorgeous balance.

DOMAINE JACQUES-FREDERIC MUGNIER

Frederic Mugnier

The origins of this domaine begin with Francois Mugnier who was also known as Frederic. In 1856 he established a liqueur business in Dijon. Later he bought several vineyard parcels from the Marey-Monge family and in 1899 purchased the Chateau de Chambolle Musigny from them. The succession passed to Frederic’s son and grandson and then to a nephew, Jacques-Frederic, in 1944. The liqueur business was sold (if you like art deco advertising posters, and I do, there are several great ones from Mugnier) and the vineyard holdings were divided among several members of the family. Those were rented to a negociant under long term contracts. The vineyards were under varying arrangements for many years. Then in 1985, Frederic Mugnier, the son of Jacques-Frederic, changed professions and took over winemaking and management of the domaine. At that time, there were some nine acres of vines all situated in Chambolle-Musigny, including over two acres in Musigny which represent the second largest holding after Comte Georges de Vogue.

After tasting the 1985s, we began our visits which have continued each year since. Over the years we have tasted many fabulous wines here. Because the grapes had mostly gone to negociants, there were virtually no old wines at the estate when Frederic arrived. I had a few bottles of 1949 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Clos Vougeot. One year I took a bottle to Frederic as a gift. He generously said he would keep the wine until Geoffrey Troy and I could join him for dinner. The next year Geoffrey and I had dinner with Frederic and his wife, Josceline, at the Chateau. It was a fabulous evening. The 1949 Clos Vougeot was magical. Like many great old Burgundies, the color was very pale. But that simply does not matter. The perfume was stunning and the wine was like silk with incredible flavors. Frederic and Josceline were thrilled and a bit emotional. They had never tasted the wine. The Clos Vougeot parcel had been sold shortly after this wine was made. Frederic commented that the parcel was poorly located at the bottom of the slope and that perhaps some Musigny had been added! No matter. The wine was ethereal. Frederic then left for a few minutes and returned with two old bottles. They were 1945 Musigny Blanc from the domaine, two of the very few bottles that remained. One had a very low fill, but the wine was great. The low fill bottle even being a bit better than the other. Interestingly, they both had a little petillance which undoubtedly contributed to the freshness of the wines. They were simply amazing and among the greatest White Burgundies I have ever tasted.

Frederic is a humble man with great talent . He believes that all vineyards should be treated the same. And that while vineyards are different, his responsibility is to let nature do its job and make every vintage in virtually the same way. He recently told us that he is less interested in trying to make great wine every year, but wants to make good wine every year. This is in harmony with the nature of Burgundy where weather variations make virtually every vintage different.

Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Bonnes-Mares — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Marechale 1erCru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Musigny — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

The 2009 wines have the highest sugar levels of any harvest since Frederic has been here. And, while this is an estate that normally expresses a combination of finesse and power, in this vintage power has the upper hand. The wines are very rich and concentrated and different than previous vintages. That being said, it is an expression of the 2009 vintage. It will be interesting to watch the evolution of these wines. Frederic says they will take a long time to mature, but by that time he will be dead! That being the case, I guess that could be said for a lot of us!

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Chambolle-Musigny. This is a very nice village wine with a floral, berry tinged perfume and nice supple fruit.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er Cru. This is a very lovely wine. It has a nice perfume and vibrant cherry fruit with a slight tropical nuance.

Bonne-Mares. This is a rich Bonnes-Mares with a perfume that hints of exotic fruit. It is full and concentrated with lots of intense fruit and well integrated tannins.

Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Marechale 1er Cru. Under the ownership of the Mugnier family since 1902, this vineyard had been rented out under a long term lease that expired in 2003 after 53 years. With a surface of some 21 acres, it is the largest single owner vineyard (monopole) in Burgundy. The average age of the vines here is 46 years. This 2009 retains its characteristic suppleness. It is rich with lots of fruit and a hint of spice that balance the underlying tannins.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru. This Amoureuses has a gorgeous perfume with lots of fruit and a floral, spice tinge. It is supple and lush with lots of rich fruit and concentrated flavors.

Musigny. This is the largest scaled Musigny I have ever tasted here. The alcohol is over 14%, but at this stage it is not apparent. The wine is intense. It has a deep perfume and lots of concentrated blackberry fruit. There is palate coating intensity and lots of flavor with impressive depth. This will be an interesting wine to follow over the many years of its evolution. There were 350 cases of Musigny produced in 2009.

Other Red Wines Tasted and Scores:

2008 Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er Cru. This wine has a very nice color and a lovely floral perfume with a hint of strawberries. It has lovely floral tinged fruit with a good backbone which and nice finish. This should round out nicely with a few years age – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

2008 Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de Marechale 1er Cru. With a deep color, this wine has a nice berry tinged perfume with a hint of spice. It has very nice fruit and a faint spicy nuance. The tannins are nicely balanced and this should make a very nice bottle with several years age – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

2004 Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er Cru. This is a nice wine, but quite different than the 08. It has a nice color and a perfume that suggests 2004 with a faint herbal nuance. It has a good back bone and nice fruit that should soften with a few years bottle age – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

2004 Musigny. This is a lovely Musigny. It has a lovely perfume with a touch of spice and exotic fruit. It is rounded with very pure fruit and lots of flavor. It is approachable now, but should be even softer and more complex as the years go on – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

2009 White Wine Tasted And Score:

2009 Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Marechale Blanc 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 White Wine Tasting Note:

Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Marechale Blanc 1er Cru. True confessions: I love white wines from Nuits-Saint-Georges particularly the ones from this domaine and those from Domaine Robert Chevillon. The only problem is that there is so little produced. Which has inspired the question which I have had for years – Why not graft over more vines to make more white wine? This 2009 is terrific. It has a gorgeous perfume with floral, citrus notes and a hint of exotic fruit and spice. It has great floral, citrus tinged fruit on the palate and is balanced with a long, crisp finish.

DOMAINE PONSOT

Laurent Ponsot

The origin of this domaine began in 1872 when William Ponsot purchased vineyards in Morey Saint Denis, including a parcel of Clos de la Roche. In 1920, his nephew, Hippolyte Ponsot, succeeded him and was joined by his brother Henri. During this period additions were made in Clos de la Roche and in 1934 the decision was made to bottle the entire harvest at the estate. This was a very uncommon practice at this time since most growers sold their grapes or wine to negociants who would do the bottling and marketing. A few years later, Hippolyte Ponsot was one of the leaders of the AOC certification for wines in Burgundy. In 1942, Jean-Marie joined his father Hippolyte who retired in 1957. Jean-Marie pioneered the clonal selection of vines in Burgundy in the early 1960s. During this period more vineyards were also added.

Laurent Ponsot joined the family domaine in 1981 and under his direction more vineyards have been added. Since 1982, Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes, Griottes-Chambertin, Clos Saint Denis, and Chambertin are made under an agreement with Domaine Chezeaux. Domaine Chezeaux owns the vines and Ponsot farms the vineyards and makes and bottles the wine. The production is then split between Domaine Ponsot and Domaine Chezeaux. Except for the labels, the wines are exactly the same. However, the Domaine Chezeaux wines usually cost less.

Laurent is an iconic personality! After learning that fraudulent bottles of old Ponsot wines were going to be offered at a U.S. auction, Laurent personally came to the auction and demanded that the wines be withdrawn. Since then he has been a leader in taking precautions to prevent fraud. These include labels with watermarks like bank notes, embossed bottles, seals between the glass and capsule, and a unique code on each bottle that can be matched against a list on the internet to verify the authenticity of the wine. In terms of winemaking, he is the exact opposite if those who, at the extreme, use all new oak and, in some cases, double new oak. Laurent believes in using no new oak. In fact, entering the barrel room here is like going into a senior citizens home for barrels. He jokes that his youngest barrel is 50 years old. And this is not too far off from reality. He is emphatic that Burgundy does not need new wood to achieve complexity. This is based on the theory that the nutrients in the grapes come through the roots and the wood structure of the vines and that this imparts the unique complexity of Burgundy. He also believes in old vines which produce less quantity and more concentrated wines. And the wines speak for themselves. Year after year, the wines of Domaine Ponsot are among the best in Burgundy. Tasted from barrel, they were some of the best wines in both the 2007 and 2008 vintages. And the 2009s are simply stunning!

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Bourgogne Cuvee de Pinson — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee de L’Abeille — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Morey Saint Denis Cuvee des Alouettes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Corton Cuvee de Bourdon — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Corton-Bressandes — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Griottes-Chambertin — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Chapelle-Chambertin — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Clos St. Denis Tres Vieilles Vignes — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Chambertin — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

In 2009 Laurent Ponsot has added wines from Corton-Charlemagne, Corton, and Corton-Bressandes. The entire range of wines here is at a very high level of quality.

Bourgogne Cuvee de Pinson. Pinson is French for Finch. This is a very nice Bourgogne. It has a lovely berry perfume and is fruity and rounded with lots of charm.

Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee de L’Abeille. L’Abeille is French for Bee. The wine is a bit closed, but it has a nice perfume and is well structured with very nice fruit.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru. This is a delicious wine. It has a deep color and a lovely perfume. With lots of berry fruit on the palate, it is rounded and lush with a nice floral complexity.

Morey Saint Denis Cuvee Les Alouettes. Les Alouettes is French for Lark. This is a gorgeous wine. With a deep perfume showing floral and berry complexity, it has layers of supple fruit with a floral tinge and is balanced with impressive length.

Corton Cuvee de Bourdon. Bourdon is French for Bumblebee. This is an impressive Corton. With a deep perfume, it is rich, full, and rounded on the palate. There is lots of concentration and the wine is balanced with a long finish.

Corton-Bressandes. This is bit different from the Corton Cuvee de Bourdon, but equally fine. It has a gorgeous perfume hinting of cassis and blackberries with a floral accent. It is elegant, yet structured, and very flavorful with lovely fruit and impressive length.

Griottes-Chambertin. WOW! What a gorgeous wine. This Griottes has a deep perfume of black cherry fruit with just a hint of spice. There is great fruit on the palate and lots of intensity, yet the wine is vibrant and very pure and the balance is impeccable.

Chapelle-Chambertin. This is another WOW wine. This Chapelle has a deep perfume and cassis with just a kiss of vanilla. It has great fruit and flavor and is concentrated and soft and rounded with a long lingering finish. The 2009 production totals only 200 cases.

Clos Saint Denis Tres Vieilles Vignes. The vines here are 105 years old. This wine is fabulous. WOW again. It has a deep perfume with layers of intense fruit and flavor. It is a great combination of elegance and intensity. The balance is impeccable and the finish is very long and lingering. The 2009 production is only 100 cases.

Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes. Domaine Ponsot is the largest owner of vines in Clos de la Roche. The first parcel was purchased in 1872 and the first estate bottling was 1934. The holdings total about 7½ acres of old vines. About 6½ acres are from the original Grand Cru plot of some 9 acres. Later the vineyard was expanded by adding portions of adjacent vineyards. In the 2009 Domaine Ponsot red wine line up is the Clos de la Roche the best? Possibly, but time will tell the full story. It too is another WOW wine. But, the great thing about the Clos de la Roche is that unlike the other Grand Crus which are produced in relatively small quantities, production here is relatively large. In fact, Laurent jokes that he is considering making an allocation whereby you need to buy one pallet of Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes in order to purchase one case of the Bourgogne (the Bourgogne has a much smaller production)! The wine has a deep perfume of blackberry fruit with just a tinge of spice. It has great fruit, flavor, and intensity. Yet the wine maintains a degree of elegance that is not often found. With great balance and length on the palate, it is delicious now, but should have a very long life ahead. Bravo!

Chambertin. This Chambertin has a deep perfume and lovely fruit. It is harmonious with lovely balance and purity and has a long finish. The elegance here is a focal point. It will be interesting to follow the evolution of this wine, but that will be a challenge since production totaled only 50 cases.

2009 White Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Morey Saint Denis Blanc Clos Monts Luisants 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Corton Charlemagne — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 White Wines Tasting Notes:

Like the red wines, the white wines are aged exclusively in old barrels.

Morey Saint Denis Clos Monts Luisants 1er Cru. The Morey Saint Denis Clos Monts Luisants is a rare wine made from 100% Aligote vines planted in 1911. It is consistently a wine of amazing complexity with the ability to age for decades. Before the vine disease phylloxera ravaged Burgundy, the predominant white grape in Burgundy was Aligote. Very little remains today as the law now states that to be called White Burgundy, the grapes must be Chardonnay. Therefore a plot like Morey Saint Denis Clos Mont Luisants is unique. This 2009 is beautiful with great minerality, herbal, floral nuances and lush fruit backed by firm acidity. Laurent thinks this wine always requires a minimum of 10 years of bottle age to show its full potential.

Corton-Charlemagne. Corton Charlemagne is a new wine from Domaine Ponsot in 2009. It is gorgeous with tropical pineapple tinged fruit backed by mineral and citrus nuances and is long crisp finish. Laurent says this Corton-Charlemagne has 35% old vines Aligote mixed with the Chardonnay. This is a result of the fact that Corton Charlemagne still has some plots of old vines Aligote mixed with the newer plantings of Chardonnay.

DOMAINE GEORGES ROUMIER

Christophe Roumier

George Roumier founded this domaine and began producing wine in 1924. The first domaine wine was bottled here in 1945. On George’s retirement in 1961, the estate was divided among George’s children. After George’s death in 1965, Jean-Marie ran the domaine and made the wine. In 1981 Christophe Roumier started working with his father and took charge of technical matters in 1982. In 1990 Christophe took full control of the domaine and in 1992 bought out his uncles. Christophe’s reign has established this domaine as one of the best, and most consistent, in all of Burgundy. Christophe prefers old vines and low yields and very traditional vinification methods.

I began tasting from barrel here in the early 1980s and in the years since have consistently found this domaine’s wines to be among the best of each respective vintage. This is true again in 2009 as the purity of fruit and balance in these wines is remarkable.

Christophe believes the fruit in the 2009 vintage is like 1990. The production in 2009 was the average of the production for the last 10 years and the same as 2005.

2009 Red Wines Tasted and Scores:

2009 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Georges Roumier Morey Saint Denis Clos de a Bussiere 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Christophe Roumier Charmes Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Christophe Roumier Ruchottes-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Georges Roumier Bonnes-Mares — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

There is also a small quantity of Musigny. In 2009 there was just over one barrel produced. This was the first year that we did not taste it from barrel, but based on the quality of the other 2009s and the track record of this wine over the years, it should be stunning (if you are lucky enough to find any and can afford it!).

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Chambolle-Musigny. This is a stunning village wine with lots of perfume, fruit, and flavor and gorgeous balance.

Morey Saint Denis Clos de la Bussiere 1er Cru. This vineyard is solely owned by the domaine and it is, therefore, designated a monopole. It is consistently a lovely wine. This 2009 has richness, lots of berry fruit and flavor with beautiful balance.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Combettes 1er Cru. This is a relatively new addition. The first vintage was 2005. It is gorgeous with a subdued nose but has great supple fruit and lovely balance. It is very pure, elegant, and harmonious with a long finish.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru. This wine has a gorgeous perfume with floral cherry notes and great floral-tinged fruit. It is elegant and balanced with a long finish.

Charmes Chambertin. This is located in the Mazoyeres section and is owned by Michel Bonnefond. Christophe cares for the vineyard and makes the wine in return for one-half of the production. So there are two bottlings which are identical: the Christophe bottling and the bottles with the Bonnefond label. The latter usually sells at a significant discount despite there being no difference in the wines except the labels. It is lush and rounded with lovely fruit showing a tinge of spiciness. It is complex with floral tinges and flavor and has a long finish.

Ruchottes-Chambertin. This is also owned by Michel Bonnefond. It is farmed and vinified under the same arrangement as the Charmes Chambertin. It has intense fruit with plummy, exotic nuances. The wine is supple and rich with great balance and flavor and a long finish.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru. This is a textbook example of Les Amoureuses. It has a stunning perfume with cherry fruit and floral nuances. The wine is lush and supple with very pure fruit, great balance and complexity and a long finish. In a word, delicious! Production in 2009 totals just over 150 cases.

Bonnes Mares. Wow! This Bonnes Mares is great. It exhibits a great intense perfume and tremendous fruit with layers of flavors. Rich and full with great structure, this is a mouthful. Not to be missed. Production in 2009 totals around 525 cases.

White Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Georges Roumier Corton Charlemagne — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2008 Georges Roumier Corton Charlemagne – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

White Wines Tasting Notes:

2009 Corton Charlemagne. Domaine Roumier has a small parcel of Corton Charlemagne on the west facing side of the slope. And, although this is not considered the best part of the vineyard, the wine is consistently very fine. The 2009 from barrel exhibits a complex perfume and flavor with hints of pineapple. Very lush and rounded, but with backbone, it is a lovely, elegant wine.

2008 Corton Charlemagne. The 2008 from bottle is more restrained with a light yellow color and a great complex perfume hinting of citrus with mineral, citrus, and floral nuances. There is lots of fruit and flavor with a faint honied nuance and the wine has finesse and backbone.

2008 and 2007 Red Wines Tasted From Bottle:

Tasted from barrel, this domaine made outstanding wines in 2007 and 2008. We tasted two 2008s and one 2007 that confirm our earlier judgment.

2008 Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras. With a deep color, this Chambolle has a lovely floral tinged perfume and lots of berry fruit on the palate. There is a faint tinge of spice and the wine is harmonious and balanced with a nice crispness – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2008 Bonnes-Mares. This is a gorgeous wine with balance and complexity. It has great fruit with hints of cherries, plums and berries and floral and spice nuances. With lots of structure and complex flavors, this Bonnes-Mares has a long life ahead – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

2007 Chambolle Musigny Les Cras. This wine has a different fruit than the 2008 and has great early appeal. It has a plummy quality on the nose and palate and is rounded and flavorful with complexity and beautiful balance – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

DOMAINE ARMAND ROUSSEAU

Charles Rousseau

This domaine had its origin at the beginning of the 20th century when Armand Rousseau inherited some vineyard land in Gevery-Chambertin. In 1909 his marriage resulted in the expansion of the vineyard holdings and the acquisition of the present domaine premises. Over the years Armand continued to increase his vineyard holdings and sell the wine to negociants to do the marketing. This was the common practice at that time. In the 1930s he decided to bottle and sell the wine from the domaine. Thus Domaine Armand Rousseau was one of the first in Burgundy to begin the practice of domaine bottling. Charles joined his father in 1945. After his father’s tragic death in 1959, Charles took over and continued the tradition. His son, Eric, joined in 1982 and is now head of the domaine and in charge of the vineyards and winemaking. Brigitte, Charle’s youngest daughter, and Frederic Robert are in charge of the commercial aspects of the domaine.

For as long as I have been involved in wine, this has been one of the most consistent producers of outstanding Burgundy. And, for me, Domaine Armand Rousseau produces the best wines from Gevrey-Chambertin. Unlike some wines from Gevrey-Chambertin that can be rustic and a bit harsh, and more recently some that are over-extracted and dense, the wines of Domaine Rousseau have the elegance and power that is the essence of Burgundy. The 2009s are brilliant, which is no less than what we have come to expect. In this vintage less wood was used and the wines showed superbly at the time of our tasting. At the domaine, the 2009s are compared to the 1985s (and the 1985s here were a great success).

Frédéric Robert

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint Jacques 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Mazis-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Ruchotte-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Les Clos Saint Jacques 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Armand Rousseau Chambertin — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Red WinesTasting Notes:

Gevrey-Chambertin. This is a lovely village wine with elegance and lush fruit.

Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint Jacques 1er Cru. This is a lovely wine with nice perfume and lots of supple berry fruit. It is balanced with a tinge of spice and has nice length.

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru. This wine is a bit subdued, but has a nice spice tinged perfume, lovely fruit and flavor and very nice balance.

Charmes-Chambertin. This is a really lovely Charmes-Chambertin. The wine has a nice perfume and gorgeous fruit that is lush and rounded. It is balanced with impressive length.

Mazis-Chambertin. This is a very rounded Mazis-Chambertin. It has a gorgeous perfume and is quite lush and balanced with lots of fruit and a long finish.

Clos de la Roche. This Clos de la Roche was aged exclusively in old barrels. Reflecting the great purity of fruit, it is lush and delicious with lots of fruit and great balance.

Ruchottes-Chambertin. The Ruchottes-Chambertin was also aged exclusively in old barrels. The wine is terrific and certainly one of the best Ruchottes-Chambertins I have ever tasted here from barrel. It has an intense perfume and great fruit, balance, and length.

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Clos Saint Jacques 1er Cru. Many (including Charles Rousseau) believe that Les Clos Saint Jacques should be a Grand Cru. At this domaine that is certainly true. It is consistently outstanding. In 2009 it was aged 50% in new wood vs. 70-80% normally. It is a deep, rich supple, wine with lots of fruit and impressive length.

Chambertin Clos de Beze. This Chambertin Clos de Beze is stunning. Maybe just a touch less intensity than the Chambertin, but, oh my, what great complexity, balance, and length. It should be one of the best wines of the 2009 vintage.

Chambertin. This Chambertin also promises to be one of the very greatest wines of the 2009 vintage. Just less than one acre was added here last year with a purchase from Roger Belin. The holding in Chambertin now totals over 5 ½ acres and in 2009 40 barrels (1000 cases) were produced. It is magnificent with great fruit, structure, and intensity. Very rich, yet harmonious, and long on the palate, this wine should drink beautifully from the beginning and last for decades.

DOMAINE COMTE GEORGES DE VOGUE

This domaine was established in 1450 by Jean Moisson. In 1766, a descendant of Moisson married a Vogue and it has been in the same family every since. Georges died in 1986 and the current winemaker, Francois Millet, arrived the same year. Jean-Luc Pepin is the estate manager and Eric Bourgogne is in charge of the vineyards. After a lapse in the 70s and 80s, the estate has been consistently producing gorgeous wines. The domaine owns about 80% (16 acres) of the great Musigny vineyard. The average age of the vines is 40 years and the old vine sections are labeled Vieilles Vignes. The harvest from younger vines goes into the Chambolle Musigny Premier Cru. Tasted from barrel, the wines from 2007 and 2008 vintages were very successful here, but the 2009s are simply magnificent and again look to be some of the best wines of the vintage.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Comte Georges de Vogue Bonnes Mares — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

The domaine also makes a small amount of Musigny Blanc which comes from vineyards at the top of Musigny. The vines were replaced in the 80s and 90s and in recent years have been bottled as Bourgogne Blanc. We did not taste the wine this year, but it has been lovely in recent vintages. It will be bottled as Musigny Blanc at some time in the future when Francois believes it has the intensity of a Grand Cru.

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

The 2009 Comte Georges de Vogues are simply mind boggling. There is a creaminess that coats the fruit and covers the underlying tannin and acid. This is a characteristic of the best 2009s and it is very much in evidence here from the Chambolle village wine to the phenomenal Musigny Vieilles Vignes.

Chambolle-Musigny. This village wine is delicious with a great perfume, supple fruit and is elegant and balanced with a nice underlying complexity.

Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru. This wine is made from young Musigny vines. It has an intense perfume with floral and spice nuances. On the palate there is lots of floral and spice tinged fruit that is supple and lush with impressive length.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru. This is a textbook example of Les Amoureuses. The perfume is stunning with floral, raspberry, and exotic nuances. There is tremendous fruit, but without heaviness. The wine is elegant with a vibrancy that carries through to the very long finish. The flavors are complex with floral, mineral, raspberry, and exotic nuances. Only 175 cases of this fabulous wine were produced, but it is worth a search to find.

Bonnes-Mares. This Bonnes Mares is very rich and the best Bonnes-Mares I can remember tasting here. There is a deep, complex black cherry, floral and spice perfume and intense flavors showing a similar complexity. Again the wine has a seamless texture and is supple and lush with a long finish.

Musigny Vieilles Vignes. This is yet another fabulous wine. There are layers of fruit and spice tinged blackberry flavors, accented by a floral nuance. The wine is very long on the palate with mind boggling complexity. This looks to be one of the really great Comte Georges de Vogue Musignys and one of the greatest wines of the vintage. All of the 2009 Domaine Comtes Georges de Vogue wines are not to be missed.

White Burgundy Introduction

My exposure to White Burgundy began with a bottle of 1969 Puligny-Montrachet some 40 years ago. I don’t remember too much about it, but I was impressed enough to be on a quest to try more White Burgundies. In a short time I was hooked. And on a visit to Corti Brothers in Sacramento, Darrell convinced me to buy a bottle of 1965 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Montrachet (the first vintage) and a bottle of 1970 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet. These were my epiphany wines! I didn’t really know it at the time, but at this very early stage in my wine drinking life I had somehow managed to get to the top. What a start! Thanks Darrell.

I managed to buy a case of the 1970 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet and over a period of 20 some years we drank it. Every bottle was superb. It was a bittersweet moment when we finished the last bottle for it was still at a peak of perfection with many years of life ahead. Later I purchased two other white Burgundies that served to form my opinion that 1) white Burgundy can be very long lived (that is before the recent phenomenon premature oxidation, or premox, where many producers have sought to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but more on this at a later date), and 2) that it is important not to get totally consumed in the rush to buy only certain “great” vintages.

You see, our son, Jeff, was born in 1977. I wanted to buy wines from his birth year. The vintage was proclaimed awful except for California Cabernet Sauvignons and Vintage Port. So these were the obvious choices, but I wanted to buy other wines as well. So besides a lot of different California Cabernet Sauvignons and Vintage Ports, I carefully selected many other wines to buy despite the proclamations that they were not worth buying. From the wines I bought, we have never had a bad bottle to this day and that includes a wide range of wines from France, Germany, California, and Australia as well as Portugal. Two of the real stand-outs have been White Burgundies: 1977 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard Montrachet and 1977 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche. We drank the last bottle of the 1977 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet a number of years ago when it was nearly 30 years old. Every bottle was superb and, like the 1970 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet, the last bottle was at a peak with no signs of decline. The 1977 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche has been consistently great. Most recently, we drank a bottle last year and there are still a few bottles left. It is a fantastic Montrachet with great complexity and flavor, great balance, and a very long finish. Honeyed and rich, but with great elegance, it is, quite simply, near perfection. So here we have two White Burgundies from the 1977 vintage that are great. Following is a sample comment of what you will find if you look up 1977 White Burgundy on a vintage chart: “A poor year. Long since dead. Ignore.” Forget vintage charts! I rest my case!

COTE DE BEAUNE

DOMAINE LEFLAIVE

The Leflaive family has been in Burgundy for more than 400 years. The expansion of the domaine began in 1905 when Joseph Leflaive inherited five acres of vines. Phylloxera and odium diseases plagued Burgundy in the late 19th century and many owners sold their land. This provided an opportunity for Joseph and by 1926 he had increased the domaine to 50 acres. In 1953, Vincent and his brother, Jo, took over the domaine after their father’s death. Vincent was instrumental in advancing the quality of the wines and expanding the domaine. In 1991, he acquired a very small parcel of Montrachet (0.2 acres). Vincent passed away on the eve of the 1993 harvest. Subsequently, Vincent’s daughter, Ann-Claude, assumed control. In 1990 she began biodynamic principles in the vineyards and by 1997 the entire domaine was converted. She is passionate in the pursuit of quality and has reinforced the reputation of Domaine Leflaive as the greatest white wine estate in Burgundy.

2009 White Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Leflaive Puligny Montrachet — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Leflaive Meursault Sous le Dos D’Ane 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Le Clavoillon — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Leflaive Les Folatieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Leflaive Batard Montrachet — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 White Wines Tasting Notes:

Bourgogne Blanc. The Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Leflaive is consistently a lovely wine and on a par with most village wines. This year the wine has a great perfume and balance with bright fruit. There is a nice complexity and a nice crisp finish.

Puligny Montrachet. This wine has lovely balance and a very nice flavor with a tinge of spice. There is richness, lovely flavor, and a nice crisp finish.

Meursault le Dos d’Ane 1er Cru. This is from young vines in a vineyard just above Perrieres. It exhibits a pineapple tinged perfume and lovely fruit with a nice crisp finish.

Puligny Montrachet Le Clavoillon 1er Cru. This is a lovely wine with complexity and balance. It exhibits a nice roundness with lovely fruit and a long crisp finish.

Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres. This is a wine of great elegance and flavors with a mineral driven complexity. There is lots of fruit and the flavor is impressively long with citrus tinges.

Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru. This is an elegant balanced wine with complexity and depth. It has a gorgeous floral and spice tinged perfume and lovely fruit with a long, crisp finish. .

Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er Cru. This is absolutely gorgeous. The perfume is complex with floral, spice, and citrus notes. The wine has richness and is rounded, yet it has good underlying acidity and citrus-tinged fruit with a faint mineral nuance. The finish is long and crisp.

Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet. This wine comes from very old vines and usually exhibits the highest acidity of all the Leflaive wines. This year the acidity is masked by the richness of the fruit. It has great perfume and gorgeous balance with complex flavors and a long crisp finish.

Batard-Montrachet. This is a stunning Batard that exhibits great depth and flavor, yet with an underlying elegance. The perfume is gorgeous and the complex flavors coat the palate. With a long finish, this is superb!

Chevalier Montrachet. This is a fabulous Chevalier Montrachet that has a great complexity that is faintly honeyed with hints of hazelnuts. There is lovely citrus, mineral tinged fruit and the wine is impeccably balanced with great finesse and a long finish.

2008 White Wine Tasted and Score:

The Leflaive 08s were superb when tasted last year from barrel. They were bottled quite late in May of 2010. We tasted the 2008 Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres and it was stunning. Based on this bottle it certainly appears that all the 2008s here will live up to their impressive showing from barrel.

2008 White Wine Tasting Note:

Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er Cru. With a light yellow color, this wine has a gorgeous complex perfume with floral and spice-tinged, hazelnut nuances. It has lots of fruit and complex flavors with citrus, floral, mineral, spice accents. The wine is superbly crafted with a long finish – Outstanding Plus. 3-n-half-yellow-stars

NEGOCIANTS

OLIVIER BERNSTEIN

Olivier Bernstein started his negociant business with the 2007 vintage. He has purchased grapes from the same growers each year. All the wines are aged in 60% new oak barrels and 40% one year old barrels. The result is a distinct spiciness in some of the wines, but all the 2009s seem to be very well integrated. All have lots of color, concentration, and flavor. The total production has gradually been increased to a maximum of 90 barrels (2250 cases) to maintain the quality level. This is the first time we have tasted any of Oliver Bernstein’s wines. The 2009s are impressive out of barrel and we look forward to following their evolution.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Olivier Bernstein Gevrey Chambertin — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Olivier Bernstein Chambolle Musigny Les Lavrottes 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Olivier Bernstein Gevrey Chambertin Chapeaux 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Olivier Bernstein Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Charmes-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Clos Vougeot — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Clos de la Roche — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Bonnes-Mares — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Mazis-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Chambertin Clos de Beze — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Gevrey-Chambertin. This is quite a rich village wine. It has a nice perfume with spicy, plummy nuances and is rounded with plummy, spicy flavor and a tannic finish.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Lavrottes 1er Cru. This wine has a gorgeous perfume and is supple and rounded with lots of fruit and some tannins on the finish.

Gevrey-Chambertin Chapeaux 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely perfume of blackberry fruit with a spicy nuance. It is rich and round with nice flavors.

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers Cru. With a deep perfume, this wine is rich and round with lots of fruit and flavor. There is lots of fruit with nuances of spice and the wine is balanced with a long finish.

Charmes-Chambertin. This wine has a deep blackberry perfume with a floral, spicy nuance. It is rich and supple with lots of fruit. Well structured and balanced with a long finish, this is lovely. The production is 150 cases.

Clos Vougeot. This is a gorgeous Clos Vougeot. It has a deep berry, spice perfume and has gorgeous, supple fruit. The flavors have floral spicy nuance and the wine has impressive length. The production is 150 cases.

Clos de la Roche. This is a rich wine with a deep perfume of blackberry fruit and spice. It is rounded with lots of fruit and flavors and impressive length. The production is 175 cases.

Bonnes-Mares. With a lovely perfume, this wine has lots of fruit with a spicy nuance. It is well structured and has a long finish. The production is 175 cases.

Mazis-Chambertin. This Mazis is deep and rich. It has a nice berry perfume tinged with spice and has lots of plummy fruit. Very flavorful and with well integrated tannins, this wine will require some patience. The production is 200 cases.

Chambertin Clos de Beze. This was the first vintage for this wine and what a debut! It looks to be the best of the 09s here. Unfortunately, the production is only 100 cases. It has a very intense, perfume of cassis with faint hints of vanilla and spice. There is lots of fruit and layers of flavor with a gorgeous balance and a very long finish.

White Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Olivier Bernstein Meursault Charmes 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Les Champs Gains 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Olivier Bernstein Corton Charlemagne — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 White Wines Tasting Notes:

Meursault Charmes 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely perfume with a spicy nuance. It is rounded and supple with lovely pineapple tinged fruit and a nice finish.

Puligny-Montrachet Les Champs Gains 1er Cru. This is a very nice wine. It has a lovely perfume with a hint of spice and very nice citrus tinged fruit with a crisp finish.

Corton-Charlemagne. This is a lovely Corton-Charlemagne. The wine has a gorgeous spice tinged perfume with floral nuances. It is flavorful and rounded with lovely balance and a long finish.

BOUCHARD PERE & FILS

The history of this negociant dates back to 1731. In 1995 Champagne Joseph Henriot acquired the property consisting of an extensive inventory of old bottled wines, nearly 300 acres of vineyards in the Cote d’ Or (Bouchard is the largest owner of vineyard properties in the Cote d’ Or), the buildings and winery, and the name and brands. This looks to have been one of the greatest acquisitions in the long history of Burgundy.

Bouchard historically has had three types of bottlings, each with different labels and capsules: 1) Negociant – primarily buying grapes rather than juice or completed wines; 2) Exclusive – where they do not own the land, but handle the wine including bottling and marketing; 3) Domaine bottled from their own vineyards.

The wines here can be excellent and, in recent years, have been very consistent (with the exception of some recent white wine vintages which have been plagued by pre mature oxidation or Premox). Most of the wines tasted this year were domaine bottlings.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

Domaine

2009 Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Lavieres 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Beaune Clos De La Mousse 1er Cru — Not Rated.

2009 Beaune Marconnets 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvee Carnot 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Le Corton — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Clos Vougeot — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Beaune Greves De L’Enfant Jesus 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

Negociant

2009 Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Chambertin-Clos-De-Beze — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 White Wines Tasted and Scores:

Domaine

2009 Meursault Les Clous 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Beaune Clos Saint-Landry 1er Cru – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

2009 Meursault Genevieres 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Chevalier-Montrachet — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Montrachet — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

Domaine William Fevre

2009 Chablis Vaillions 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Chablis Vaulorent 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Chablis Bougros Cotes de Bouguerots Grand Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Red Wine Tasting Notes:

Domaine

Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Lavieres 1er Cru. This is a lovely wine with a very nice perfume and lots of plummy fruit. It is rounded and lush with a nice finish.

Beaune Clos De La Mousse 1er Cru. This vineyard is a monopole (meaning solely owned by Bouchard). This wine is a bit closed with a smoky nuance. There is nice fruit, but seems a bit austere especially for this vintage. This will need to be tasted after bottling.

Beaune Marconnets 1er Cru. This is a lovely wine. It has a gorgeous cherry fruit perfume with a touch of spice. The wine is elegant and flavorful with very nice flavors and a nice finish.

Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvee Carnot 1er Cru. This, along with the Beaune Greves Vigne De L’Enfant Jesus, are almost always my favorite Bouchard Premier Crus. It has a gorgeous berry perfume with a hint of spice. It has great fruit, flavors and structure, and a long finish.

Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er Cru. This is a delicious wine. It has a gorgeous perfume of berry fruit with an exotic, faintly spicy nuance. There is lovely fruit and flavor with great balance and a long finish.

Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru. This wine has a very nice berry perfume with floral nuances. It has richness and depth with very nice fruit. Well structured with balanced tannins, this wine is, at this point, just a bit restrained.

Le Corton. This wine is consistently excellent here and a very good relative value for a Grand Cru. It has a gorgeous floral, berry, spice perfume. On the palate there is lots of fruit and flavor with great finesse and a long finish.

Nuits Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er Cru. This is a large scaled wine with a lovely berry, spice, mineral tinged perfume. It has very good fruit and a long finish with some tannin yet to be resolved.

Clos Vougeot. Bouchard consistently does a really good job with this wine and it is a very good relative value for a Grand Cru. With a lovely perfume showing floral, exotic nuances, it has richness and depth with lots of spice tinged fruit and a long finish.

Beaune Greves Vigne De L’Enfant Jesus 1er Cru. This is a great Premier Cru monopole (solely owned by a single owner). Bouchard has owned this vineyard since the 1700s. The wines from here acquire an exquisite velvety texture and great complexity with age. They are Burgundies of great elegance and style and can be very long lived (a 1959 which I drank a number of years ago was delicious). This wine is gorgeous with supple floral tinged fruit accented by a faint smokiness. It is flavorful and rounded with great structure underneath and has a long finish.

Negociant

Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely floral, berry perfume. It has gorgeous spice tinged fruit and a very nice finish.

Chambertin Clos-De-Beze. This Clos de Beze seems more finesse than power. It has a gorgeous perfume with cherry fruit and spice. It has lovely fruit on the palate and very good depth with a long finish.

2009 White Wines Tasted:

Domaine

Meursault Les Clous 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely, faintly exotic perfume with a touch of citrus. It is elegant with lovely fruit and great flavor and has a nice, crisp finish.

Beaune Clos Saint Landry 1er Cru. Tasted from bottle, this is a lovely wine with a very nice floral tinged perfume accented by hints of mineral and citrus. It is elegant and has great fruit with peach, citrus nuance and a very nice crisp finish.

Meursault Genevrieres 1er Cru. This is a very nice with a subtle perfume showing floral and spice nuances. It is lovely and finesseful with very nice fruit showing hints of pineapple with citrus and mineral accents and has a very nice finish.

Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru. This is really lovely. The wine has a citrus tinged perfume with a hint of pineapple and a faint mineral nuance. The flavors are complex with citrus and pineapple accented by a mineral tinge and there is impressive depth.

Chevalier-Montrachet. Bouchard owns about one-third of the great Grand Cru. The first parcel was purchased in 1838. The wine has a lovely perfume with peach and citrus accented by a very faint honeyed and mineral nuance. It is elegant and luscious with great fruit and a long, crisp finish.

Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte. This is a wine made from vines in Chevalier-Montrachet that are an exact extension of Montrachet and was, at one time, classified as Montrachet. It bears the name of La Cabotte or small house with sits in the vineyard. It has a gorgeous perfume of peach and citrus with faintly honeyed nuances. The wine has great style, flavor and finesse, and a long, lingering finish.

Montrachet. This is a wine with a great perfume showing honeyed faintly spicy nuances. It has lots of flavor and is beautifully balanced with a long finish.

Corton-Charlemagne. From the northern most White Grand Cru in the Cote de Beaune, this Corton-Charlemagne has a gorgeous pineapple tinged perfume with hints of mineral and citrus. It has lovely fruit showing hints of pineapple and citrus and a long finish.

Domaine William Fevre

Chablis Vaillons 1er Cru. This is a lovely, finesseful Chablis with a mineral, citrus tinged perfume and nice fruit with a crisp, mineral tinged finish.

Chablis Vaulorent 1er Cru. This is an elegant Chablis with a lovely citrus mineral tinged perfume and lovely fruit with a crisp, mineral tinged fruit.

Chablis Bougros Cote Bouguerots Grand Cru. This is a Chablis with richness, yet it also maintains a nice crispness. It is rounded with a mineral tinge and has lovely fruit and a very nice, crisp finish.

Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru. This is a lovely Chablis with very nice structure and very nice fruit. It is finesseful with a lovely perfume and citrus, mineral tinged fruit on the palate followed by a long, crisp finish.

Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru. Les Clos usually shows more roundness and it is again a characteristic here. It has a nice complexity with floral, citrus, mineral nuances and a long, crisp finish.

JOSEPH DROUHIN

Joseph Drouhin founded his wine business in Beaune in 1880 at the age of 22. His son, Maurice, succeeded him and began to purchase vineyards and land in such appellations as Clos de Mouches and Clos Vougeot. Robert Drouhin succeeded Maurice in 1957 and acquired many more vineyards. Robert was one of the first people in Burgundy to do away with chemicals and pesticides and built an enology laboratory. Today Philippe, Veronique, Laurent, and Frederick represent the fourth generation of the Drouhin family.

The wines here are about evenly divided between negociant (purchased grapes and/or wine) and domaine (wines made from vineyards owned by Drouhin). This house is one of the best in Burgundy. The white wines show great finesse and style and the red wines are very pure and balanced. Both the red and white wines are very consistent vintage to vintage and are very age worthy (except for some recent White Burgundy vintages that have been plagued by pre mature oxidation or Premox). In recent years, I have drunk several bottles of 1977 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche that are sensational. Also I have had many bottles of the1982 Joseph Drouhin Musigny that were simply fabulous. And these two wines are from the “lesser” years. In short, the Joseph Drouhin name is a sign of quality. Joseph Drouhin also continues to innovate. They are introducing a back label on their wines that has a code that can be photographed with an iphone to access a website that has all the information on the wines.

2009 Red Wines Tasted and Scores:

2009 Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Joseph Drouhin Savigny-les-Beaune Clos des Godeaux – Outstanding. 3-yellow-stars

2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Nuits-St.-Georges Les Proces 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Musigny — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Red WineTasting Notes:

Chorey-les-Beaune. This is a lovely wine with a fruity, spice-tinged perfume and gorgeous, supple fruit. It is balanced and very tasty.

Savigny-les-Beaune Clos des Godeaux. Tasted from bottle, this is delicious and a great sleeper. The wine has a gorgeous perfume, berry fruit with floral, spice, and mint nuances. It has lots of fruit with hints of spice and is balanced, supple and creamy with a long finish. Look for it. It should be a very good value.

Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er Cru. This is a really gorgeous wine. It has a complex perfume with faintly smoky nuances. There is lots of plummy, cassis fruit on the palate with a faint spiciness. It is balanced and very flavorful with a long finish. This wine has early appeal, but no doubt will also have a long life ahead.

Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru. This is a terrific wine. It has a great blackberry perfume with floral, spice nuances and a faint spiciness on the palate. The wine has lots of supple spice tinged fruit and impressive length.

Nuits Saint Georges Les Proces 1er Cru. This is a really gorgeous Nuits Saint Georges that is lush and supple. It has a deep cassis and blackberry perfume with a hint of spice. On the palate there is a lot of fruit with deep flavors and impressive depth and length.

Gevrey-Chambertin. This wine has a deep spice tinged blackberry perfume and lots of lush rounded fruit on the palate. With lovely balance and impressive depth, this is a great village wine. It should be a very good value.

Griotte-Chambertin. This is a superb wine with a gorgeous perfume showing a myriad of cherry, berry fruit and floral spice tinges. It is lush and rounded, with great fruit and depth. The balance and length are really impressive.

Musigny. This is just a stunning wine and a great Musigny. It has a gorgeous floral perfume with just a tinge of spice. The fruit is very concentrated and pure, and the wine has finesse and depth with a lush, supple texture. It is creamy and delicious with a long, lingering finish.

2009 White Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Joseph Drouhin St. Veran Blanc – Recommended 1-yellow-star

2009 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Vaudon Propriete – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

2009 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Sechets 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Rully Blanc – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

2009 Joseph Drouhin Meursault — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Corton Charlemagne — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

White Wine Tasting Notes:

St. Veran Blanc. This is a nice wine with a light yellow color and a floral tinged perfume. It his rounded with a hint of citrus and a long and crisp finish – Recommended 1-yellow-star

Chablis Vaudon Propriete. This is a very nice Chablis with a faintly steely, citrus tinged perfume. It has very nice rounded citrus tinged fruit with a faint steeliness and a crisp finish.

Chablis Sechets 1er Cru. This Chablis has faint floral notes along with citrus, mineral nuance. It is crisp with lovely flavors and a nice, crisp finish.

Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru. This is a Chablis with great charm and complexity. It has a gorgeous perfume with floral, citrus, steely nuances. There is great finesse, but also lots of fruit, flavors, and complexity. Floral, citrus, apple, and mineral notes are followed by a long, citrus tinged finish.

Meursault. This is a very nice Meursault. It has a lovely perfume with hints of hazelnuts and citrus. There are similar flavors on the palate and this wine is rounded with a crisp finish.

Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er Cru. This is a really gorgeous wine. It has a lovely perfume with hints of pineapple and floral, citrus, spice tinged nuances. There is lots of fruit with a nice richness and balance and a long crisp finish.

Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru. This Clos de Mouches Blanc has superb balance and finesse. The perfume has floral, spice, and citrus nuances. On the palate, there are floral, peach, spice, and citrus flavors with impressive length.

Corton Charlemagne. This wine is very elegant, yet has depth and structure. There is a floral, spice, citrus tinged perfume and gorgeous fruit with similar complexity on the palate.

Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche. This is a gorgeous Montrachet that is already open and showing beautifully. The perfume has honeyed nuances with faint hints of citrus and spice. The wine is rich, but with elegance and finesse. There is a gorgeous honeyed complexity to the lush fruit and great flavor which is long and lingering on the finish.

LUCIEN LE MOINE

Lucien Le Moine was set up in 1999 by the Lebanese Mounir Saouma and his Israeli wife Roten Brakin. They deal only in Premier Cru and Grand Cru brought in as fruit. The quantities of each wine are very small rarely exceeding a few barrels. They use 50% new oak, long macerations, and no racking, fining, or filtration. The wines are bottled with high levels of carbon dioxide.

Mounir is a very colorful man with very strong opinions. He believes (as I do) that in Burgundy color doesn’t matter. That is, the wines are not better because they are darker. In fact, the opposite is most often true.

The wines tasted here from barrel in 2007 and 2008 were very successful. In 2009 Mounir says it was the first year since he has been in Burgundy that the grapes were pleasant to eat. He says the quality of the grape skins was perfect in 2009 and that everything was in balance. He characterizes the vintage as exceptional with the characteristics of having very pure, sweet fruit.

Our barrel tastings here are always challenging. The barrel room is very tight. Each time our tastings have been with large groups. Mounir believes in efficiency as very small amounts of each wine are put into the glass and the tasting proceeds in rapid fire fashion with a minute or so to taste each wine. This year there were many young ladies, all of whom drank all the wine (the customary thing when tasting wine is to spit). By the end of the tasting they were feeling no pain! All in all, it was a very quick and crowded tasting. So my notes here are abbreviated and I have less conviction about my assessments of the individual wines. What I can say is that I do agree about the quality of the fruit here and the balance of the wines. A more precise evaluation will have to await the tasting of the wines after they are bottled (an unlikely event given the miniscule quantities produced). But I definitely believe the best wines here are worth investigating.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Grand Epenots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Santenots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Morey Saint Denis Clos des Avins 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Morey Saint Denis Les Genevrieres Premier Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Saint Georges 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Haut Doix 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Clos Saint Denis — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Clos de la Roche — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Charmes-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Mazis-Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Chambertin-Clos-de-Beze — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Echezeaux — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes-Mares — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

This year we tasted 18 red wines. Last year we tasted 23 red wines. But there are other red wines in the cellar besides these wines which we did not taste – such as Vosne-Romanee Les Gaudichots Premier Cru

2009 Red Wines Tasting Notes:

Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru. Nice floral, tropical perfume. Plummy, and balanced.

Pommard Les Grands Epenots 1er Cru. Lovely perfume. Lovely cherry fruit. Good backbone. Balanced tannin.

Volnay Santenots 1er Cru. Nice perfume. Faintly smoky. Very nice fruit. Rounded. Balanced.

Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru. Mounir believes this is the best vineyard in Beaune. It is subdued on the nose, but has lovely fruit. Very sappy and rounded.

Morey Saint Denis Cos des Arms 1er Cru. Subdued nose. Fruity with a tinge of spice. Vibrant fruit. Spicy tinge.

Morey Saint Denis Les Genevrieres 1er Cru. This vineyard is located at the top of Clos de la Roche. Nice spicy perfume. Lots of rich supple, cherry fruit. Good backbone. Vibrant. Lovely flavor and balance.

Nuits Saint Georges Les Vaucrains 1er Cru. Lovely perfume. Rounded. Very good fruit and balance.

Nuits Saint Georges Les Saint Georges 1er Cru. Very nice perfume. Lots of fruit and flavor, tinge of spice. Soft tannin.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru. Lovely perfume. Floral, berry, spice nuances. Supple. Lush. Lots of fruit. Tinge of spice. Lovely. .

Chambolle-Musigny Haut Doix 1er Cru. Subdued nose. Very nice fruit. Rounded. Nice balance.

Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru. Gorgeous perfume. Floral, cherry and spice nuances. Lost of supple fruit. Lush, rounded, and gorgeous.

Clos Saint Denis. Nice perfume. Faintly smoky. Lots of rich supple fruit. Rounded, complex, tinge of spice. Long finish.

Clos de la Roche. Deep perfume. Plums and cassis. Tinge of spice. Lots of rich cassis and blackberry fruit. Spicy nuance. Balanced. Lovely finish.

Charmes-Chambertin. Lovely cherry tinged perfume. Hint of spice. Lots of spicy cherry fruit. Rich and rounded.

Mazis-Chambertin. Subdued nose. Faintly smoky. Very good fruit. Plum and blackberries. Rich, round, and supple. Faint spice. Good finish.

Chambertin Clos de Beze. Lovely perfume. Berry fruit. Faintly floral. Rich and supple. Lots of fruit and flavor. Spicy nuances, long finish.

Echezeaux. Lovely perfume. Faintly floral. Spicy nuance. Lovely supple fruit. Tinge of spice, very well balanced.

Bonnes-Mares. Subdued nose. Faint perfume deep flavors. Lots of sweet fruit. Berries and cherries. Balanced. Long finish.

2009 White Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne Montrachet Grandes Ruchettes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Les Caillerets 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Meursault Charmes 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet Les Ensignieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet Le Folatieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Terres Blanc — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Lucien Le Moine Corton Blanc — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Corton Charlemaagne — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Bienvenues Batard Montrachet — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Montrachet (Chassagne side) — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Lucien Le Moine Montrachet (Puligny side) — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

Last year we tasted 13 white wines here. This year we tasted 14 white wines and there are several others that we did not taste.

2009 White Wines Tasting Notes:

Chassagne-Montrachet Grandes Ruchottes 1er Cru. Lovely perfume. Faintly honeyed. Mineral and spice tinges. Lovely fruit, but with great underlying acidity. Long finish. Lovely.

Chassagne Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru. Gorgeous perfume. Peachy citrus, and mineral nuances. Lovely supple fruit. Candied with a mineral and citrus tinge. Gorgeous.

Meursault Charmes 1er Cru. Lovely perfume. Tinge of pineapple. Very nice balance and flavor.

Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru. Subdued nose. Great fruit, flavor and balance. Faintly honeyed. Citrus tinge. Lovely

Puligny-Montrachet Les Ensignieres 1er Cru. Lovely perfume. Floral, peach, citrus nuances. Lovely supple, citrus tinged fruit. Rich with good backbone. Lovely.

Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er Cru. Lovely perfume. Hint of peach and citrus. Lovely fruit. Supple, lush. Long crisp finish.

Nuits Saint Georges Les Terres Blanc 1er Cru. Subdued nose. Smoky nuance. Lots of fruit. Elegant. Nice flavors.

Corton Blanc. Made from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Blanc. Lovely perfume. Hints of mint and citrus. Lovely fruit. Candied nuance. Citrus undertones. Long finish. Gorgeous.

Corton Charlemagne. Deep perfume. Hints of citrus and spice. Lovely fruit. Supple, rounded. Hints of vanilla. Long crisp finish.

Bienvenues Batard Montrachet. Lovely perfume. Floral with a tinge of citrus. Lots of supple fruit. Great flavor and finesse. Lovely.

Batard Montrachet. Perfumed nose. Hints of citrus and mineral. Very backward. Citrus and mineral nuances.

Montrachet (Chassagne side). This wine is made from grapes harvested on the Chassagne side of the vineyard and is designated with a “C” on the label. It has a deep perfume with honeyed, pineapple nuances. There are complex flavors and lots of fruit with a long crisp finish.

Montrachet (Puligny side). This wine is made from grapes harvested on the Puligny side of the vineyard and is designated with a “P” on the label. It has a lovely mineral tinged perfume with honied citrus nuances. There is a mineral nuance in the flavor with citrus, honeyed, and spice tinges and a long finish.

PIERRE YVES COLIN-MOREY

Pierre Yves is the eldest son of Marc Colin. He was the winemaker at his father’s domaine from 2001 to 2005 and set up a negociant business with his wife Caroline Morey in 2001. In 2006 he left his father’s domaine and now concentrates on white wines both as a negociant and grower. The domaine has some 10 acres of vineyard located in St. Aubin and Chassagne Montrachet. Pierre Yves does not differentiate between wines made from purchased grapes or barrels and estate grown grapes. All the wines are treated the same. In a very short time, he has established a reputation for making some of the best white wines in Burgundy. His wines are very pure and have great elegance and breed. Pierre Yves believes the 09 white wines are like 85 or 89. The vintage was quite ripe, but the wines have very good underlying structure and Pierre Yves says it is rare to have this balance. His favorite recent white Burgundy vintages are 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

2009 White Wines Tasted From Barrel and Scores:

2009 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet Ensignieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet Les Chenevottes 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Meursault Genevrieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Corton Charlemagne — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chevalier Montrachet — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Montrachet — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 White Wines Barrel Tasting Notes:

Chassagne Montrachet Ensigniers 1er Cru. The vines here are 85 years old. The wine has great concentration and depth, yet is racy. The nose has a lovely floral, citrus and mineral tinge, and these flavors carry through on the palate, with a lovely, crisp fruit.

Chassagne Montrachet Les Chenevottes 1er Cru. This wine has a stunning perfume and lots of fruit and flavor. It is balanced and complex with mineral and citrus tinges and a long, crisp finish.

Chassagne Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru.The vines here are two-thirds 60 years old, and one-third 20 years old. The wine is very elegant and flavorful. It has a gorgeous perfume with hints of peach and floral, citrus notes. On the palate it has lots of fruit accented by floral, mineral, spice, citrus notes and a long, lingering finish.

Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru. This wine has elegance, but also a firm structure with lots of flavor. It has a lovely perfume with faint citrus, mineral, and pineapple notes and lovely fruit on the palate with a long, crisp, lingering finish.

Corton Charlemagne. With a deep perfume hinting of citrus, spice and pineapple, this wine exhibits a gorgeous balance and impressive length.

Chevalier-Montrachet. Wow! This is a gorgeous wine. It exhibits a deep complex perfume and great fruit that is exquisitely balanced. The flavors coat the palate and the finish is very long with a faint citrus tinge.

Montrachet. Unfortunately there is only one barrel (25 cases) of this Montrachet, but it is stunning! The perfume is intense with faint mineral and citrus nuances. With great depth, the flavors are complex with honied fruit and hints of citrus and a very long finish, this is the real deal.

2009 White Wines Tasted From Bottle:

These wines from Saint-Aubin near Chassagne-Montrachet are lovely with great finesse and style. They should be attractively priced.

Saint Aubin Les Champlots 1er Cru. This wine is very elegant with a lovely perfume showing floral, citrus, mineral tinges. It has lovely supple fruit with a nice crisp finish – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

Saint Aubin La Chateniere 1er Cru. This is a lovely wine with smoky, mineral nuances. It is elegant with very nice citrus tinged fruit and a crisp finish – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

Saint Aubin En Remilly 1er Cru. This wine has lovely fruit and is rounded with citrus tinges and a faint smoky nuance. It is crisp and well balanced with a nice finish – Highly Recommended. 2-yellow-stars

REMOISSENET PERE & FILS

This firm was founded in 1877 and was headed by Roland Remoissenet for some 30 years. In 2005 he retired and sold the firm to New York financiers, Edward and Howard Milstein with minority interests held by Maison Louis Jadot and Toronto based Halpern Enterprises. Included in the sale was a very large inventory of reportedly over a million bottles. Bernard Repolt, most recently President of Louis Jadot, is now the director. Under the new regime things are on the upswing. The white wines are consistently very fine and the red wines are steadily improving with some lovely 2009s. This is a house to watch.

2009 Red Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Beaune Greves 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Beaune Marconnets 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Volnay Robardelles 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Pommard Arvelets 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Nuits Saint Georges — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Vosne-Romanee — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Corton Renardes — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chambolle-Musigny Echanges 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru — Very Good Potential Plus. 1n-half-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin Poissenots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Clos Vougeot — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Charmes Chambertin — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chambertin Clos de Beze — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Red Wine Tasting Notes:

Beaune Greves 1er Cru. This is a lovely fruit driven wine. Nice spicy blackberry fruit is laced with hints of spice and the tannins are well integrated.

Beaune Marconnets 1er Cru. This is a very nice wine with supple spice tinged fruit. It is balanced and very tasty.

Volnay Robardelles 1er Cru. This is lovely with cherry fruit and flavor and a spice tinge. The wine is flavorful and very well balanced.

Pommard Arvelets 1er Cru. This is a really nice Pommard with great fruit and gorgeous balance. It has complexity and a long finish.

Gevrey-Chambertin. With spice tinged fruit, this is a lovely village wine. It is balanced and rounded with a nice finish.

Nuits Saint Georges. This village wine has a lovely perfume. It is very well balanced with lots of fruit and an underlying softness that makes it very appealing.

Vosne-Romanee. This is a terrific village wine. The perfume is intense with floral, cherry notes. The floral, cherry flavors follow through on the palate This wine is elegant, rounded, and very tasty.

Corton Renardes. This has a nice perfume and sappy spice tinged fruit. It is flavorful and quite rich.

Chambolle Musigny Echanges 1er Cru. With a lovely spice tinged perfume, this wine has lovely rounded, supple fruit and very nice balance.

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru. Quite flavorful, this wine has richness and depth with nice spice tinged fruit and a very nice finish.

Gevrey-Chambertin Poissenots 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely perfume with cherry fruit and a faint spiciness. It has lovely fruit and balance with a very nice finish.

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru. This wine has an exotic dimension. It has a deep perfume and great fruit with just a tinge of spice. The wine has lots of balanced fruit and impressive length. This should represent very great value.

Clos Vougeot. This is really lovely. There is an intense floral tinged perfume and lots of fruit. The wine has elegance, supple fruit, and is rounded and flavorful with impressive depth.

Charmes Chambertin. This is a wine of elegance and finesse. There is a lovely spice tinged berry perfume and lots of fruit on the palate with great balance and impressive length.

Chambertin Clos de Beze. This wine is loaded with fruit. It is impressively rich and has great balance, and depth. This is a wine that holds great promise for the future.

2009 White Wines Tasted And Scores:

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Pernand Vergelesses Blanc — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Meursault Poruzots 1er Cru — Very Good Potential. 1-barrel

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Meursault Genevieres Premier Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Puligny Montrachet Les Champs Gains 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chassagne Montrachet Maltroye 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Puligny Montrachet Sous Les Puits — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Puligny Montrachet Chalumeaux — Outstanding Potential. 2-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Corton Charlemagne — Outstanding Potential Plus. 2n-half-barrels

2009 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Montrachet — Exceptional Potential. 3-barrels

2009 White Wine Tasting Notes:

Pernard Vergelesses Blanc. This has elegance and style. There is a lovely perfume and nice fruit with a balanced underlying crispness and a faint citrus, mineral tinge.

Meursault Poruzot 1er Cru. This is a lovely Meursault with a nice perfume and rounded, supple flavors.

Meursault Charmes 1er Cru. This is a gorgeous Meursault with a deep perfume and great fruit and flavor. It is balanced with a long crisp finish. Delicious.

Meursault Genevrieres. Another gorgeous Meursault with an intense perfume and great lush, supple fruit with a long crisp citrus tinged finish.

Puligny Montrachet Les Champs Gains 1er Cru. This is a stunning wine. It has a great perfume with nuances of peach and citrus and a touch of spice. The wine is racy with great intensity and vibrant fruit. With impressive length this should be a great value.

Chassagne Montrachet Maltroye 1er Cru. This wine has a lovely perfume of peach and citrus with a faint mineral nuance. It has finesse and style with lovely honeyed fruit. .

Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru. With a lovely perfume, this wine is elegant and finesseful. It has lovely citrus tinged fruit and a long finish.

Puligny Montrachet Sous Les Puits Premier Cru. This wine has a lovely floral citrus tinged perfume. It has great fruit with floral citrus notes and a long finish.

Puligny Montrachet Chalumeaux 1er Cru. This wine has a deep complex perfume with a hints of coconut and spice and is rounded and lush with a long citrus tinged finish.

Corton Charlemagne. With a lovely spice tinged perfume, this Corton-Charlemagne has lovely flavors, lots of fruit accentuated by spice, citrus, and tropical nuances and a long, crisp finish.

Montrachet. This Montrachet comes from the Baron Thenard parcel although this will not appear on the label. It is a great Montrachet with depth and flavor, but also with great elegance. It has a deep honeyed perfume and lots of complex flavors with honied, citrus, spice nuances and a long, lingering finish.

Additional Recommendations

In all of our years of visiting Burgundy, there are other producers that are worth investigating (all of whom we have visited over the years). At the top of the list would be Coche-Dury in Meursault and Raveneau in Chablis. In my opinion, these are two of the very best domaines in Burgundy. My list includes them and others as follows:

Red Wines

Cote de Nuits

Bertheau

Bruno-Clair

Robert Chevillon

Drouhin-Laroze

Forey

Fourrier

Jean Grivot

Robert Groffier

AF Gros

Gros Frere et Soeur

Michel Gros

Leroy

George Lignier

Hubert Lignier

Maume

Mugneret-Gibourg

Joseph Roty

E. Rouget

Jean Tardy

Cote de Beaune

Marquis d’Angerville

Comte Armand

Simon Bize

DeMontille

Lafarge

White Wines

Cote de Nuits

Robert Chevillon

Cote de Beaune

Ballot-Millot (white and red)

Jean Boillot

Carillon

Coche-Dury (white and red)

Marc Colin

Colin-Deleger

Blain Gagnard

Fontaine Gagnard

Antoine Jobard (formerly Francois Jobard)

Comtes Lafon (white and red)

Michel Neillon

Paul Pernot

Paul Pillot

Ramonet (white and red)

Roulot

Etienne Sauzet

Tollot-Beaut (white and red)

Chablis

Dauvissat

Raveneau

Negociants (red and white)

Faiveley

Jadot

Olivier Leflaive (white)

Laurent

Leroy

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  1. John, Thanks for explaining the difference between Northern & Southern Burgundy as well as the naming convention. I have heard you tell it many times, but it’s nice to have a reference to show others.

    Posted by Jason | January 27, 2011, 11:46 am
  2. Hi Jason,
    Thanks. At first it seems complicated, but it is really not that complicated once you break it down. It should be helpful to those who are not so familiar with Burgundy and the notes should benefit those who are. At least that was my intention. Please circulate.
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | January 31, 2011, 2:58 pm
  3. john, great article. can i have in pdf form? i want to transfer the whole thing to my ibooks app so i can refer back to it at my leisure and as needed. thanks, wes jennison.

    Posted by Wesley Jennison | July 27, 2011, 8:01 am
  4. Hi Wes,
    Thanks for the nice words. The pdf is on the way.
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | July 28, 2011, 11:07 am
  5. Enjoying the back ground information to wines and Family winemakers with all the fun of great wines and great company’
    I did vintage in 2010 in Burgundy and attended the wine course Odyse In Beaune, wonderful time and great insite into how Burgundy ticks.

    Posted by Richard Saleeba | January 7, 2012, 10:50 pm
  6. Thanks Richard,
    I am glad you are enjoying the Underground. And learning on your own is the best course. My goal is for the Underground to be of help in showing the way to develop wine knowledge and confidence. Please pass the Underground along to your friends!
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | January 18, 2012, 10:01 pm
  7. John,
    I read that you are keeping well and keeping the Underground Wine Jrl on track too.

    Peter Lewis wrote a book, Dead in the Dregs about a murder mystery between Napa & Burgundy. Peter owned and created La Campagne Restaurant in Seattle before recently selling.

    He presented the book and his take on the industry to our wine group, and we got to talking about you guys.

    Love your writing and always will.

    U da best. Miss ya,
    Ed

    Posted by Ed Schlich | April 16, 2012, 3:54 pm
  8. Thanks Ed. It’s great to hear from you. It is ages ago since we used to pal around in Burgundy. Your group up there in Seattle, did they follow the old Underground? Please spread the word that the Underground is back!
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | April 21, 2012, 2:06 pm