The birthday boy’s choice for this month’s themed Bring a Bottle club was Burgundy (good choice!), with a stipulation for more reds than whites. That is in fact how it worked out but not always for the best of reasons.
Even if the wine is off it can serve some photographic purpose. Sadly two of the five whites were either very oxidised (Chablis 2000, Emanuel Dampt) or just oxidised, the latter a real loss: Meursault, Les Forges Dessus, Domaine Prieur-Brunet 1996. The photograph too was a mistake but a rather happier slip of the hand.
Petit Chablis, Cuvée Special Juliette Anaïs, Patrick Piuze, 2010 was in much ruder health: obviously young and fresh, tart apple and lemon sherbet, we all agreed that it is a remarkably good wine for its humble appellation. The Puize label now has quite a following in this part of north Hampshire courtesy of Caviste. The second bottle is also available locally: Macon-Cruzilles, Clos des Vignes du Mayne, Aragonite, 2009. Some of us had tasted this before as it is supplied by Grape Expectations and very good it is too. On this bottle the oak was not as evident as a few months ago, rather it was showing attractive stewed apple notes, some creaminess and mild oak. The final white was a class act with honeyed, gooseberry and even some exotic fruit aromas, good oak and mineral notes, complex, fine and long. On this occasion the appellation lived up to its name: Puligny-Montrachet, Moret-Nominé, 2006.
The evening’s reds were an excellent line-up and some quite venerable:
Nuits-Saint-Georges, Mommessin, 1993
Hospices de Beaune, Premier Cru Guigone de Salins, 2002
Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Les Cazetiers, Vallet Frères, 2000
Chambolle-Musigny, La Combe d’Orveaux, Jean Grivot, 2005
Aloxe-Corton, Premier Cru Les Chaillots, Louis Latour, 1996
Auxey-Duresses, Terre des Velle, 2009
The 1993 was doing pretty well, managing to combine a blue cheese or germolene aroma with pure raspberry fruit, but it was rather drying out and tough on the palate. The 2002 was a beautifully velvet Pinot Noir, with some ageing notes and some weight, probably at its peak. There was further development on the 2000, the best of the older wines, with lovely old fruit and that velvet texture again. The 1996 started off in dusty and wet cardboard mode but then recovered itself, with some fruit but it was fading with noticeable drying tannins. Of the younger wines, the 2005 shone with its lively raspberry and strawberry flavours, subtle and perfumed if still structured and tannic. And the 2009 was young and fruity as it should be with a whiff of gun powder and toasty oak, even marzipan. Evidently there were far more highs than lows in the red wines.
Burgundy not being noted for its sweet wines, the final offering was an excellent Vin Doux Naturels but far out of the region: Grand Reserve, Rivesaltes, Les Vignerons de Terrats, 1974 – not quite the year we were celebrating but a good approximation! And the wine was charming and subtle as the celebrant: sweet caramel, raisins, orange peel and a fine sweetness with smooth alcohol. Special birthdays are something to celebrate!