Saturday, April 12, 2008

A First Look at Some 2005 Red Burgundies

Our casual little tasting was meant to take a first look at a few red Burgundies, most of which were previously unknown to me, from the much hyped 2005 vintage. However, it’s always nice to start things off with a wake-up wine, something bright and refreshing to call the old taste buds into action.

Vouvray Brut, Domaine François Pinon NV
Given that there was no Crémant de Bourgogne around to fit the evening’s theme, what better starting point than a sparkling Vouvray? Pinon is an excellent producer whose wines I get to drink far less often than I’d like. While his best wines can approach the profound end of the Vouvray experience spectrum, this bubbly, like his basic vin tendre “Cuvée Tradition, slot into the category of simply delightful. Pale, golden color and a medium bead lead into a dry but generously round palate attack. Baked golden delicious apples, cinnamon and honeysuckle aromas are followed by intensified flavors of apple and peach butters. $21. 12% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Louis/Dressner Selections, New York, NY.

Moulin-à-Vent “Clos de Rochegrès,” Château des Jacques / Louis Jadot 2005
Extending Burgundy to include the Beaujolais, we kicked into red gear with what turned out to be the biggest, brawniest wine of the lineup. I have a strong tendency – one I think I share with many of my fellow old world-centric bloggers – to write-off the wines from major négociants like Maison Jadot. At their base levels, I think the wines justify that treatment; however, there’s the occasional exception as evidenced by this seriously structured, single vineyard Moulin-à-Vent. Dark red robe, with a deep nose hinting at pine forest, raspberry confit and a subtle barrel influence. Closed and brooding. Dark loamy fruit with black pepper and clove are finished up with substantial grip. This needs time. Definitely a candidate for cellaring. $30ish (prices vary widely). 13% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Kobrand.

Savigny-les-Beaune “Vieilles Vignes,” Domaine Philippe Girard 2005
Sweet-tart cherry fruit hit right up front and quickly trailed off into a sour, green olive twinge. With air, this developed a rubbery, stinkfoot meets bologna aroma, which matched right up to the taste of hot dog water that dominated its mid-palate and finish. Sound like reduction? It wasn’t; it’s just not well made wine. Don’t bother. $30. 13% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Cellar Door Selections, Columbia, MD.

Chorey-les-Beaune “Château de Chorey,” Domaine du Château Chorey 2005
This was more like it. Rose petals and wild cherry aromas wafted from the glass. Medium color and medium bodied, with lean, taut texture. Red apple skins and tangy, prickly fruit on the palate. Good wine and a solid value for village level Burgundy, particularly given 2005 pricing trends. Benoit Germain converted his estate to organic farming practices in 2001. $28. 12.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Simon ‘n’ Cellars, Charlottesville, VA.

Chambolle-Musigny, Domaine Hudelot-Baillet 2005
The sexiest wine of the night. Surprisingly pale for Chambolle, again surprising given the vintage characteristics. The color was deceptive though, in stark contrast to the wine’s much richer aromas of creamy, cherry vanilla. Richness and structure followed on the palate, with well-rounded grip. A gravelly, cherry pit character kicked in on the persistent finish, along with a well-integrated wood influence. Already awfully tasty, this should provide rewarding results given a few years in the cellar. $50. 13% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Cellar Door Selections, Columbia, MD.

Monthelie, Thierry & Pascale Matrot 2005
As tasty as the Chambolle was, the wine I’d most like to drink on a regular basis (if only I could afford to) was this, the Monthelie from Thierry and Pascale Matrot. Monthelie, one of the lesser-known communes of the Côte de Beaune, is one of the villages with which I’d really like to get better acquainted. The wines I’ve enjoyed thus far, including this one, have shared a jagged edge of wild fruit and minerality running right through the middle of the wine that I find extremely compelling. Tasted in its second day open, this was showing just great, with a core of dark wild cherry fruit and light twigginess. Right on for a crispy skinned roast chicken stuffed with fresh herbs. $35. 13% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL.


RougeAndBlanc said...

Thanks for confirmation on Château Chorey Chorey-les-Beaune. I have had their '03 &'04 and glad to know that the '05 is still affordable. Not particular outstanding, but for a village wine, we can't expect too much, right?

Edward said...


I thought Jadot had moved to Diam, instead of taint affected cork :)

David McDuff said...

I actually expect a lot from basic Bourgogne. I'm just as disappointed in the producer when their basic wine doesn't deliver; I'm just not quite as upset about the economics of the situation as I am when a village level wine doesn't pass muster. That may change, though, as a lot of "better" producers have started to charge as much for their Bourgognes Rouges as other estates do for their village wines.

That's entirely possible, though I can assure you that this bottle was sealed with a regular old-fashioned hunk of tree bark.

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