Wine Monopole

2004 Burgundy – a very comfortable vintage to drink now

Two weekends ago, we had an interesting lineup for a blind tasting of Burgundy Premier and Grand Cru from 2004, including all the major appellations in Cote de Nuits.

Wine of the night…
This turns out to be a very close tie between Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot, Lambrays Clos des Lambrays and Louis Jadot Vosne Romanee Les Beaux Monts.

Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot is drinking very beautifully now. Clos de Vougeot is a very large grand cru, with wide degree of quality among the grand cru vineyards. Vougeraie does not possess the top tier one based on its location, but the wine came out certainly no less than any wines from other top producers at the dinner. The nose was very floral, with a smooth and silky palate, and good complexity and solid length. A very good value for money for such quality.

Clos des Lambrays is almost (98%) a monopole owned by Domaine des Lambrays. His flagship wine is no stranger to many wine lovers in the world. Very classy and graceful. Palate is soft, medium weighted with nice long finish. It doesn’t have the greenness expected of the 2004 vintage. All guests were asking whether we have got more stock for this wine, unfortunately, all sold out.

Louis Jadot Vosne Romanee Les Beaux Monts “wowed” us with its freshness and elegance. It offers moderate structure and a great length. Fruit forward with balanced acidity. As a premier cru, it had a surprisingly strong showing at the night.

What about the super star – Comte Georges de Vogue?
All the wines were opened at 7pm and allowed to breathe in bottle. This is not enough, not even close enough for this lovely Chambolle Musigny Premier Cru to open up. The nose was tight and the flavors were not expressive. This wine comes from younger vines (older than 10 years, but less than 25 years old) from Le Musigny Grand Cru of Comte Georges de Vogue. In hindsight, we should have treated it like a sturdy Grand Cru. We could have done this wine more justice by decanting it or open even few more hours earlier. Sorry… =(

Dujac and Mugnier – classic showing of Gevrey and NSG
Both wines did a fabulous job for its respective level. Dujac’s Charmes was a bit reserved at the beginning, but opened up better with 2 hours in the open bottle. It was relatively more powerful and forward than the others. Mugnier’s Monopole from NSG always showcases how great wine can indeed be coming from Nuits-Saint-Georges. This is not a heavy weight; rather soft and velvety. A good balance of fruit and structure, with decent length while less complexity than other wines at the dinner.

All guests agreed that the 2004 Burgundy is very comfortable to drink now, including many of the grand crus. There was bit of greenness in the wines when first released, but as proven, the perceived greenie is largely gone or acceptable now.

Allow yourself a long dinner, and enjoy the wines to open up throughout. =)

Written by Wine Monopole — October 30, 2015

20-year-old Brunello, from the rising star of Montalcino

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 1996

Excellent wine with years to come…

Few weekends ago, we blind-tasted this wine and asked a few friends to guess its identity. First guess: Bordeaux… a mature, elegant, right-bank with great finesse and texture. Nope.

As the wine opens up further, it also presented some meatiness, charcoal and savory spice on the palate. Second guess: Bordeaux-blend super Tuscan. Nope.

Finally, somebody got it correct and guessed Brunello. However, we couldn’t believe how lively the bottle is with its coming from almost 20 years ago.

Brunello = Sangiovese

Brunello di Montalcino is a red Italian wine produced in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino located about 120 km south of Florence in the Tuscany. For centuries, Brunello was a name given locally to what was believed to be an individual grape variety grown in Montalcino. In 1879, it was proven that “Brunello” and Sangiovese were indeed the same grape varietal. Over time, the name “Brunello” evolved into the designation of the wine produced with 100% Sangiovese in Montalcino.

Casanova di Neri – young star of Montalcino

While Casanova di Neri was only founded 1971, it has quickly risen to become one of the top Brunello, if not top Italian wine. This family-run cellar owes its success to a solid track record of powerful, luxuriant Brunellos and to the exclusive crus, Tenuta Nuova and Cerretalto (the crown-jewel of the estate).

In 2006, Wine Spectator declared its Tenuta Nuova 2010 as “The Best Wine in the World”. The Tenuta Nuova 2010 was given a perfect 100-point by Robert Parker. The wine pretty much reflects Giacomo Neri’s personality: powerful, but never hard, coherent and skilled, and above all very pleasant.

Its top of the line comes from Cerretalto, a single vineyard carrying the estate’s best grapes. Cerretalto is only produced in the years when the grapes are off the best quality. The wine is kept in the winery for six years before releasing to the market it can last many more years in your cellar.

1996 is a rare vintage to be found anywhere in the public market. Give this wine a try and you will have a different perspective of Brunello!

Written by Wine Monopole — September 14, 2015

Vertical tasting of Pichon Baron

Few nights ago, we had a vertical blind-tasting of Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron across five vintages: 1975, 1983, 1986, 1988 and 1995. The result was quite unexpected.

To begin with, let’s see Robert Parker’s rating on Pauillac


Robert Parker’s rating

Our wine dinner results


89 points



86 points

2nd Place!


94 points

3rd Place!


87 points



92 points



Parker’s rating is a fairly good presentation of the quality of each of these vintages and how most Bordeaux lovers like us think and remember about Bordeaux vintages. Therefore, for the wine of the night, almost all guests expected it to be the 1986.

But the winner is… 1988! Surprisingly, the second most favorite wine of the night was 1983! Both 1988 and 1983 were more ready and pretty much at their prime drinking window. While both wines had excellent structure and balanced palate, 1988 was more expressive and continued to evolve throughout the night with its aroma; this helped secure its place as WOTN.

While the 1986 possesses the structure and underlying fruit, it seems more restrained tonight. This wine could benefit few more years in cellar before showing its true potential.

Pretty much everybody was able to identify the 1995 and 1975. 1995 was still a bit youthful relatively as indicated by its color and tannin level. For 1975, if you are an old Bordeaux lover, you will like this wine. In fact, two of our guests enjoyed this oldie very much and found it improve a bit towards the end of the dinner.

Of course, this selection of the five vintages does not yet represent the best quality that Pichon Baron has to offer. 1990, 2000 or even 2009/2010 should offer an even better experience and understanding of how great this Super Second could be. We will try these in future.

Actually, at the dinner, we kicked off with a white wine from Alsace - Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Heimbourg 1996 and finished off with a dessert wine - Chateau Climens 1988. Both had excellent showing at the dinner and were at their prime. The Pinot Gris Heimbourg went very well with the pan-fried foie gras we had for appertizer. The Climens did not pair too well with the dessert we had; maybe pairing with a light cheese would have been better.

It was a fun evening. Thanks to the friends and guests who joined the dinner. Please stay tuned for our future event.

Written by Wine Monopole — September 08, 2015

William Fevre Chablis Bougros Grand Cru 2007

We blind-tasted William Fevre Chablis Bougros Grand Cru 2007 last week. It was very hard to guess its origin given the wine nicely balanced elegance, ripeness and structure. Is this a Puligny-Montrachet? A Meursault? Could it be a Corton Charlemagne? Everybody was puzzled by this quality wine. Nobody at the dinner imagined this coming from Chablis. A truly amazing terrior coupled with fine wine making skills.

To Chablis’ fans, William Fevre would not need much introduction. It is one of Chablis’ greatest wine domaines, with a family history dating back 250 years in Chablis. His father was already a great winemaker after WWII. William successfully built up the domaine (and to a large extent, the reputation of the entire Chablis region) between 1957 and his retirement in 1998. He began with just 7 hectares and had soon increased this to 48ha, planting widely in the best of the premier and grand crus.

In 1998, he sold the domaine to Champagne House Joseph Henriot, which also owns one of the largest negociant in Burgundy, Bouchard. As such, The quality of the wine from the domaine moved up to another higher level.

William Fevre cares most about the true expression of the terroir with careful viticulture. While 95% Chablis' grapes are machine-harvested, at William Fevre, it is all done by hand and with sorting tables for 1ers Crus and Grands Crus, with 6 to 8 people per table. Moreover, unlike other domaines in the region, William Fevre does not use any new wood, even for its premier and grand cru.

This decision was made in 1998 under the new leadership, largely due to the climate changes observed in the late 80's. Typically, in the 70's & 80's, maturity was hard to reach for Chardonnay in this region. The adapted approach then was to harvest late and use new wood to get to compensate. But from 1989 , which turned out to the a pivotal year for the climate, harvest time changed abruptly, from Sept 5-15 in the 70's to Sept 20-25 then. In 1998, the new leadership under Bouchard decided not to use any new wood any more.

The 1er cru wines are vinified in 40-50% oak, the grands crus receiving 70-80%, but none using new wood. Instead, they brought in high-quality one-year old casks from Bouchard. The barrel and vat components are blended together after four to six months, for bottling before the end of the year.

To this day, Domaine William Fevre still enjoys a very good reputation as a defender of historically renowned terroirs and amazing wines at great value. No wonder Burghound gave this wine a rating of 92-95 and considered it a “Don’t Miss!”

You should give it a try too.

Written by Wine Monopole — August 31, 2015

Jacquesson: 220-year-old Pioneer in Champagne

Jacquesson was founded in 1798. Not only it was born before Krug, in fact, it gave birth to Krug when Johann-Joseph Krug left Jacquesson to form his own house in 1843.

Despite its centuries of history, Jacquesson never ceases to innovate.

What matters most - consistency or quality?

In wine making, vintage variations are a fact of nature. Producers in Champagne, through its non-vintage releases, try to smoothen out the differences by blending across vintages and produce a consistent “house style.”

Over time, this becomes boring. This becomes a tradeoff between consistency and quality, and in Champagne, most houses have opted for consistency.

Jacquesson chooses the otherwise. So rather than making a consistent wine every year, they set out to make the best possible blend each vintage. They chose expression over consistency.

With the 2000 vintage, Jacquesson retired its 150-year-old non-vintage label (Perfection Brut) with a numbered, vintage-based cuvee (the first being ‘728’). Each year, a new-subsequently numbered- cuvee is released, with cuvee No. 734 based on the 2006 vintage, Cuvée No. 733 on the 2005 vintage, etc.

Cuvee No. 736 is based on the 2008 vintage, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from its Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards. The winemaking is no different from its other top cuvees: vinification in large old oak barrels, on the lees, with weekly batonnage, minimal dosage and no filtration. In each cuvee, there is also a certain percentage of reserve wine.

So committed is Jacquesson to this idea that it has decided, beginning with the 2009 harvest, to no longer make its vintage-dated prestige cuvee. Jacquesson explains the decision in the form of a question: how can we call the 700 Series as the true expression of Jacquesson’s vineyards if we withhold some of the best fruit? This is a real devotion to quality that is seldom seen in Champagne (or many other wine regions) today.

Terrior expression – single-vineyard Champagne

Alongside the esteemed 700 Series, the house produces tiny quantities of its wines, with each from a unique parcel of vines. These Champagnes showcase some of the region’s finest vineyards.

The lieu-dit (single-vineyard) lineup includes: Champ Caïn, 100% Avize Chardonnay; Corne Bautray, 100% Dizy Chardonnay; Vauzelle Terme, 100% Ay Pinot Noir; and a saignee rose, Terres Rouge, which, from 2007 onwards, will be produced entirely from Pinot Noir.

For example, for our featured wine, Jacquesson Dizy Corne Bautray 'Non Dose' 2000 was harvested in 2000, from a lieu-dit (usually refers to a single vineyard) called Corne Bautray located in Dizy, Champagne. The wines spent 8 years on the less before disgorgement in 2009, with no dosage treatment. Only 5000 bottles of this wine were produced from this 1-hectare vineyard with Chardonnay vines planted in 1960.

If you haven’t already become fans of Jacquesson, you will likely be converted after trying these wines. =)

Written by Wine Monopole — August 21, 2015

Leroy Tasting Report

We had a Leroy wine dinner this past weekend. The lineup was a combination of wines from Domaine Leroy, Maison Leroy and Domaine D’Auvenay. As always, Mdm. Leroy has proven her insurmountable abilities to make extraordinary wines out of “ordinary” vineyards with her caring and magician skills.

Maison Leroy Bourgogne Blanc Fleur de Vignes vs. Domaine D'Auvenay Auxey Duresses Blanc Les Boutonniers

“Fleur de Vignes” is a non-vintage Bourgogne Blanc. Genius Mdm Leroy decided to make this special edition by blending juice made from 3 great vintages: 2009, 2010 and 2011.

D’Auvenay has been making white wines from its own vineyards in Auxey Duresses, with Les Boutonniers (a village Auxey Duresses) being a prime example.

Comparing the two, Fleur de Vignes came off with a captivating and fresh aroma. Les Boutonniers was relatively shy on the nose, but presented a better balanced structure with depth and a longer finish. Both were excellent representations of how Mdm. Leroy could push the boundary to make superb wines from “regular vineyards”.

Maison Leroy Bourgogne Rouge 2000 vs. Domaine Leroy-D’Auvenay Bougogne Rouge 1985

While the Bourgogne Rouge 2000 was a good wine at its level, the Bourgogne Rouge from 30 years ago made by Domaine Leroy-D’Auvenay in 1985 simply blew us away. We were all expecting this to have died, considering it is only a Bourgogne. This wine showed the complete contrary. Still few years of life left in this wine, and it opened up nicely in the glass over an hour or so. It came off with solid red fruit on the nose, with some spice and little bit leathery on the palate. We would have guessed this to be a village, if not premier cru, wine from the early 90s. Very interesting indeed.

Maison Leroy Cote de Beaune 1990 vs. Maison Leroy Gevrey Chambertin 2003

The Gevrey Chambertin was certainly the winner in this case. We were worried that the wine could be overripe or too sweet considering the unusually hot weather in 2003. It turned out to have a well-balanced of tannis and fruit on the palate. The wine took 30 minutes plus to develop in the glass; but once opened, it came off with a lovely floral and slightly spicy aroma. This wine would benefit few more years in cellar.

Domaine Leroy Nuits-St-Georges Les Boudots 1er Cru 1997 vs. Domaine Leroy Pommard Les Vignots 2007

As expected, both wines were neck-to-neck in competing for wine-of-the-night and the winner is Pommard Les Vignots. Given 10 years apart in age, Les Boudots 1997 surprised us for its freshness, with ample of fruit on the palate. The only minor shortcoming was that the wine was a little too sweet. This reflected exactly the profile from the 1997 vintage, as many grapes suffered from heat stress during the extraordinary hot August. Nonetheless, this was a lovely showing from probably the best premier cru in Nuits-St-Georges and an example of how Mdm. Leroy could cope with almost any weather conditions.
On opening, while both wines immediately filled the glass with the unique Domaine Leroy aroma, Pommard Les Vignots 2007 had a more striking aroma. This wine is unusual as a Pommard. Rather than being rustic, the wine was refreshing and pure, with very approachable middle weight flavors and a smooth mouth feel. The vintage started off with the warmest April in 50 years, but followed by a cool and dreary condition from May to August. Mdm. Leroy and her team were one of the earliest to harvest (Aug 28th), but they stilled achieved fully ripe grapes and managed to put magic into the wine with very low yield for her production. An exceptional effort from this challenging vintage and a village Pommard.

Written by Wine Monopole — August 14, 2015

Tour around Chambolle Musigny

We had our Chambolle Musigny wine tasting last weekend. The red wines that were featured include:

  • Louis Jadot Chambolle Musigny 2004
  • Robert Groffier Chambolle Musigny Les Sentiers 1er Cru 2001
  • Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2001
  • Pierre Bertheau Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 1981
  • Bouchard Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 1997
  • Drouhin Laroze Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2006

As usual, we had them blind tasted and asked the guests to guess their “identities” and vote on the wine of the night. All wines were opened and bottle-breathed for almost 1.5-2 hours by the time we tasted them.

“Wine of the night” – Drouhin Laroze vs. Bouchard

This turned out to be a close match between the two Bonnes-Mares: Drouhin Laroze 2006 and Bouchard 1997. It was indeed a split vote between the two. Given their age difference, Drouhin Laroze was more youthful and expressive with its lovely floral aroma whereas Bouchard appeared more rounded and ripe on its palate with balanced intensity. Both had excellent structure with seductive and long finish. This really came down to personal preference of the drinkers. As a side note, Bertheau’s Bonnes Mares was still holding up nicely at 34-year-old. Limited fruit was left, with mostly tertiary flavor and a silky palate.

2001 Premier Cru: Robert Groffier vs. Comte Georges de Vogue

Both wines could benefit more time in the cellar. Groffier’s Sentiers didn’t exhibit as much complexity as the Premier Cru of de Vogue. While one would feel much potential in Groffier’s Sentiers, it wasn’t presented in a wholesome way at the dinner. A few more years in the cellar might do this wine more justice. On the other hand, de Vogue’s premier cru pleasantly surprised few of us and was mistaken as being a grand cru. Well, this premier cru is extracted from younger vines from its Le Musigny Grand Cru, so it is sort of like a grand cru. De Vogue didn’t disappoint us!

Surprise of the night… Louis Jadot Chambolle Musigny 2004

A classic Chambolle! Most were guessing this wine to be at premier cru level given its richness and elegance. Louis Jadot uses the same label for its wide range of offerings, whether it is a Chablis at < $100 or its Le Musigny at >$3000. Many often think of Maison Louis Jadot producing only table wines. In fact, they apply the same meticulous approach in wine making for all level of wines, and they always offer the surprisingly higher quality for the price it charges. Some premier cru juice did go into this village wine.

Written by Wine Monopole — July 10, 2015

Charming Vintage Bordeaux

We hosted a vintage Bordeaux wine dinner last week. It was designed it such that our guests could “travel” through five decades (1960s-2000s) and “visit” six appellations from this most important wine region of the world.

To kick off ad pair the appetizers, we had a classic Pauillac white and Sauternes dessert wine.

Blanc de Lynch Bages 2001 (Pauillac) was creamy, lightly honeyed and medium-bodied; reminded us of a nice Burgundy white. This was certainly a pleasant surprise as some would have thought the wine to have way passed its peak. Remember to serve this chilled and let it breathe in glass for 15-30 minutes.

La Tour Blanche 1988 (Sauternes) was opened earlier to go with the foie gros appetizer. The wine had developed very well but probably passed its peak as it lacked a bit of the acidity to balance the overall structure. It did go well with the foie gras and the chesse cake dessert at the end of dinner.

For the six red wines, we didn’t use any decanter. Ducru Beaucaillou 1966 was opened at 6pm and remaining ones were opened at 630pm. Very luck for us is that the conditions of all the wines were simply excellent. They all further evolved throughout the dinner and lasted well past 1030pm.

Brane Cantenac 1975 (Margaux) really captured the crowd with its floral and earthy aroma, which lasted till end of the dinner. It was elegant and smooth as one would have expected from the Margaux appellation.

Domaine de Chevalier 1978 (Passac-Leognan) delivered a classic Graves – light tobacco, smoke and cedar on the aroma with generous fruit and concentrated palate. This was another lovely example from from our favorite vintage from 70s - great quality but reasonably priced.

Leoville-Las-Cases 1983 (St. Julien) delivered a wholesome experience for St. Julien lover. Honestly, this is a wine that you can hold on for few more years or allow it even more time to enjoy. This would be our pick of the vintage from early 1980s (who could afford to drink 1982 all the time…)

Clerc Milon 1986 (Pauillac) was “surprisingly young”. The tannins were already well-resolved with a solid structure and plenty of fruit on the palate. With no doubt, this would definitely be a great cellar candidate.

Ducru-Beaucaillou 1966 (St. Julien) could easily “pretend” to be a wine from late 70s/early 80s. It was very well-balanced on all dimensions, thanks largely to the excellent storage condition all along. The wine continued to develop and no sign of downhill even till the end of the dinner!

Le Fleur Petrus 1970 (Pomerol), similar to the 1966, demonstrated the true potential of this 45-year-old wine with its impeccable condition. The flavors were subtle with attractive nose and mid palate. We just wish there were more of this wine for everybody to taste.

Which was wine-of-the-night? Well, Ducru 1966, La Fleur Petrus 1970 and Las-Cases 1983 would probably be up there. All wines pleasantly surprised everybody at the dinner for their conditions and longevity. Nobody would dispute the fact that Bordeaux oldies are truly amazing and charming!

Written by Wine Monopole — February 04, 2015

Great wines to enjoy during the winter season

Over the holiday season, like many of you, we drank many (maybe too many) wines. We highlighted four below which showcase the uniqueness of their respective wine region. They are all relatively affordable, at their prime drinking wine and ready for you to pop-and-drink. Great wines to enjoy during the winter season.

Guigal Hermitage Rouge 2000 - What a powerful and concentrated wine.

Guigal produces a wide array of wines, from the most affordable table wines to the most expensive “la-la-la”. Each label that it produces consistently delivers value above the price you pay.

For this wine, simply let it sit in glass for 45 minutes and enjoy it throughout the rest of the evening. Hermitage is the appellation producing some of the most sought after Rhone wines. This is a 100% Syrah from vines at ~30 years old. It spent 38 months in oak barrels, with 50% being new ones. This is a classic Hermitage – rich, full-bodied, structured and concentrated. It went very well with the red meat and cheese we had at the dinner.

Torbreck The Steading Red 1998 - Smooth, silky, soft and kind.

While there is some bias in the wine community against new world wines, most would agree that some producers do such a fabulous job that their wines are just so hard to resist. Torbreck is one of them.

Torbreck considers this the most important wine within its portfolio as it best exemplifies Torbreck’s philosophy. It is sourced from vines that survived the vine-pull scheme in the early 1980s, cultivated on their own roots that were unaffected by phylloxera. Some withered ancient vines are well over a century old and have been carefully nurtured back to life. This is probably the reason why you feel the kindness in the wine. A classic GSM with a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Shiraz and 20% Mourvedre.

Jean Boillot Puligny Montrachet les Perrieres 1er Cru 1999 - Elegant, floral, and pure.

Currently known as Domaine Henri Boillot, the Boillot family has been farming in Burgundy since 1885 and producing some of the most impressive Puligny Montrachet white wines.

Remember to let the wine breathe in bottle for 45 minutes and serve chilled. It was easily the favorite wine for all guests at our New Year ’s Eve dinner. It was medium-bodied with excellent depth and concentration. The floral aroma turned everybody into its fans immediately. Domaine Boillot holds some of the best premier crus in Puligny, and Les Perrieres is certainly a prime example -very close to grand cru quality but at a fraction of price.

Zind-Humbrecht Riesling "Brand" Grand Cru 1994 - Well-balanced, vibrant and intense.

While Burgundy uses Chardonnay to bring out the best of its terrior, winemakers in Alsace create something extraordinary wine with Riesling, and Zind-Humbrecht is certainly considered the best.

When you pull out the cork, you would notice many little and pretty crystals condensed at the bottom. While the wine has some residual sugar in it (11 gram / litre), this is a rather dry wine. It goes particularly well with fine cheeses. The fine acidity and its full-body help bring out the amazing honey and fruitiness. Pop-and-drink with no problem. This prestigious “Brand” Riesling Grand Cru vineyard is ideally situated and selected exclusively to only plant Riesling, a prime reason of this wine’s excellency.

Happy New Year everybody!

Written by Wine Monopole — January 19, 2015

Burgundy Grand Cru Sampler – Corton Charlemagne, Batard-Montrachet, Bonnes-Mares, Clos Vougeot, Chambertin, Grands-Echezeaux. And the wine of the night goes to……

We held our first official wine dinner this past week with nine members joining us for the event. The theme was Burgundy Grand Cru Sampler and it was held at Chez Moi in Causeway Bay.


Leroy Bourgogne Blanc 'Fleurs de Vignes' – a pleasant surprise from a Bourgogne

To kick off, we had a Non-Vintage Bourgogne Blanc from Maison Leroy. This is a very unique offering from Mdm. Leroy. Released in 2012, this Bourgogne Blanc is a blend of her white wines produced in 2009, 2010 and the 2011 vintages. This wine possesses some serious density to the medium-bodied flavors; certainly rare to see this kind of concentration in a Bourgogne. While the flavor is not refined and finish is a bit too acidic, it is certainly impressive. A lovely wine to start off the dinner.


1992 Tollot-Beaut Corton Charlemagne vs. 2002 Vincent Girardin Batard Montrachet

The 1992 Corton Charlemagne from Tollot-Beaut offers lovely complexity on the nose with a touch of honey, butter, and toasted oak. It has a well-balanced acidity with finely detailed minerals on the palate. While there is a persistent finish, this is not a powerful wine and it does not last too long in the glass or further evolve during the dinner.

As a contrast, 2002 Batard-Montrachet from Vincent Girardin is a full-bodied and rich wine. Dense, chewy and powerful. The flavors are concentrated and supported by firm acidity. The wine continues to improve and open in the glass. Too bad that we have to finish up to make glass available for subsequent red wines. Definitely this is a very solid wine that will age well in more years to come.


1980 Pierre Bertheau Bonnes-Mares vs. 1988 Jean Raphet Clos Vougeot

Pierre made traditional Burgundy, to an extent that he only used 10% new oak for barrel aging. His 1980 Bonnes-Mares certainly reflected it. We had this wine at 1.5 hour after bottle breathing. As expected, very silky and smooth on the palate with lovely aroma. We felt that it was lacking a bit of intensity. Interestingly, I re-tried the leftover wine in the bottle almost 3 hours after opening, the wine actually developed further with more flavor. Will this wine further evolve if we had given it more time?

For direct comparison, we had the 1988 Clos Vougeot from Jean Raphet. Jean Raphet (now the domaine has been taken over by his son, Gerard) was also a traditionalist. While the nose of the wine is more limited, it has a smooth, more complex and substantial fruit on the palate. The finish was also more persistent.


1999 Charlopin Chambertin vs. 2000 Dominique Laurent Grands-Echezeaux

If one were to pick “wine of the night”, the 1999 Charlopin Chambertin would be the natural choice. Even just on the profile (excellent vintage from a star producer with vines from one of the best vineyards in all of Burgundy), this wine would stand out. It certainly didn’t disappoint us. Captivating aromas of ripe fruit and earth. Velvety tannins with flavors of plums and blackberry. Persistent and long finish. This wine will continue to age well with no doubt. Unfortunately, we only had 1 bottle of this wine in our portfolio.

2000 was a weak vintage in Burgundy. It is almost only safe to go with top producer for any wines from this year. Dominique Laurent certainly delivered it. Explosive nose of red fruit, rose and coffee. Palate offers uncanny sweetness and depth of fruit. It is pure and delineated. This certainly carries Laurent’s classic 100% (maybe even “200%”) oak treatment, which helps provide the backbone for the wine. A superb effort from this challenging year.


2001 Faiveley Corton Clos des Corton a wine that needs another 5 years to truly enjoy

I was hoping this could be the red wine from Cote de Beaune to “compete” with Chambertin and Grands-Echezeaux. This wine was closed, almost throughout the dinner, even after 2.5 hour of bottle breathing and 45 minutes in glass. Maybe we should have even decanted this wine. One can sense the serious and intense flavors on both the nose and palate. It has the power, structure and acidity. We unfortunately didn’t have the patience. I look forward to try this wine again in 5 years.


Written by Wine Monopole — October 14, 2014


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