It felt like a nightmare – but in reality, a rendition of “God Save The Queen”, played hesitatingly (and very loudly) on some sort of pump organ in the style Captain Pugwash at 7.30 in the morning (to an Englishman it was 6.30) was just David Bennett’s way of making sure that we (and the neighbours) were awake. Thursday could only get better.
We had arrived at David’s house in the medieval southern Burgundy village of Saint Gengoux Le Nacional at around 7.45 pm on Wednesday evening – pretty much bang on schedule, and with a busy day to look forward to on Thursday. An early start saw us on the road by 8.30 am, heading north for a 10 am appointment with Domaine des Lambrays in Morey Saint-Denis. I forgot my notepad for this one, so didn't take any notes as such. I'll try and put together a report based on others' notes soon. Meanwhile………………
After a long walk around the vineyards behind Morey, we found a cool spot in the shade of the forest, half way up the hill, for a picnic lunch. Then it was off to Vosne-Romanée, for our 2.30 pm appointment at Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg. I have to say that the wines of this estate were – for me – the highlight of the 2 days so far. We tasted 7 wines, all from the brilliant 2009 vintage. Following various degrees of oak ageing, all of the cuvées are currently lying in stainless steel tanks, ready for bottling in around 2 weeks’ time. These are my notes;
Red fruit aromas and a hint of black fruit and some older wood notes. Pure, bright flavours of fresh and crystallised fruits, with fine tannins. A nice start.
Chambolle-Musigny 2009 1er Cru Les Feusselottes
This is more serious – more oak, more fruit, more soft spice (I noted fenugreek in particular). The palate shows a touch of austerity, with a combination of healthy acidity, soft tannins and moderate fruit. Another very nice wine.
Nuits-Saint-Georges 2009 1er Cru Les Chaignots
Fenugreek again. A lovely mix of crystallised fruits, wild strawberries, cherries and classy oak. Cracking structure – fruit, acidity and tannins in perfect harmony. Very long, and with a nice lingering vanilla note on the finish. Undoubtedly firm, but very fine, like an iron fist in a velvet glove, and very lovely to drink, even at this early stage. That said, this has real potential. A lovely wine – and if Mr Bennett gets on with sending a confirmatory email, we may be lucky enough to buy 3 bottles each of this wine. It will cost us around 30 quid a go, but will be worth every penny.
This one takes a while to come out of its shell. Serious, complex wine, with hints of apples and red capsicum lurking behind the super-ripe strawberry fruit, with soft spices, polished wood and marked stone/mineral. I even got some apple pie notes on the palate, amongst the ripe strawberry. This is very elegant and very long. A fabulous wine.
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru 2009
This is a “jeune vignes”, from a vineyard which actually qualifies as Griottes Grand Cru – which, once the vines are more established, it will actually be. But for now, it is labelled as 1er Cru. High toned ,then becoming perfumed and herby, with notes of oregano, cloves, bay and spearmint – a very sexy nose. The palate is quite simple in comparison, whilst being intensely fruity and rich. The finish is a touch tannic and even austere. Needs time.
Ruchottes-Chambertin 2009 Grand Cru
This is wonderful. It smells like an old church pew, with a combination of incense, exotic spices and polished wood, smeared with ripe wild strawberries. The palate is incredibly complex and structured, and amazingly fleet of foot. This is already soft and sexy and very feminine. Spicy, woody, fruity, elegant – just wonderful. My note can’t really do it justice. At somewhat in excess of £100 a bottle, I doubt that I will get to drink too much of this, but it was a real privilege to taste. A profound wine.
Clos Vougeot 2009 Grand Cru
Savoury, meaty, rich. Then the spices and incense notes begin to emerge. And cherries, redcurrants, violets and a hint of bitter chocolate. This is masculine and dense – there’s almost something of the Languedoc about it. Ripe redcurrants, with good acidity, but not tart in fact, very ripe, almost opulent. This is currently a sleeper, but will surely be fabulous, given time.
Madame Mugneret listens intently, as David Bennett explains exactly how to make great Burgundy
That's it for now. More tomorrow.