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.