Some wines are so outstanding that they demand a piece to be written about them … even when one is supposed to be revising for ridiculously demanding exams in a week’s time. Corton-Renardes, Grand Cru, Domaine Michel Voarick, Burgundy, 2005 was the only wine served blind at the end of a tasting of the most important red Burgundy vintages that are currently in the market: 2005 to 2012. The vintage review was very instructive: at village level a 2006 was markedly more autumnal and developed than the positively youthful 2005, while the 2011 from a top village (Morey-Saint-Denis) was in a different league in terms of seriousness to a delightful if simple Chorey-les-Beaune. But I digress.
The Corton was considerably deeper in colour than the admittedly pale Vosne which was also from the great 2005 vintage, the first hint to quality. The nose is taut and rich, a subtle combination of quite deep red-berried fruit, smoke and spice and an ethereal first beginnings of those autumnal, under brush notes of great Burgundy. But what really marked it out was the richness and velvet texture of the palate, so much weightier than most Burgundy while being elegant and restrained at the same time. In his 2008 tome on Burgundy Clive Coates commented that Voarick is determinedly old school, producing ‘big, brutal wines’ with no destemming, lots of work to extract the tannins and no new wood. But he does add that ‘the wines are proportionately better in the best vintages’ which of course 2005 is. This does have considerable heft but also already shows a lot of finesse too and will no doubt develop over the next two decades. Moment of admiration over … back to revision, but now rembering why it is all worth it.