Older Burgundies straight from the producers’ cellars isn’t something that I’ve been drinking too much, but it is definitely something that I’m always willing to drink when someone needs a helping mouth. A Swedish importer with some Burgundy producers in their range, Tryffelsvinet (the name actually means “The Truffle Pig”, and they do sign some of their emails with the Swedish equivalent of “Oink!”), recently invited to a tasting of some back vintages that they had been able to secure from three of their producers, and where they had a limited number of bottles for sale. A very nice initiative, because some of these wines would probably sell themselves without any tasting. We were treated to a rather quick “walkabout” tasting of a small amount of each wine. I found it particularly fascinating to be able to taste four Comte Georges de Vogüé wines from the excellent 1999 vintage. I’m fond of good red Burgundies in general, and I don’t mind wines that are both powerful and very elegant, but if I have to choose, I take elegance before power. This means that I have a tender spot for good wines from Chambolle-Musigny, which is the Cote de Nuits village that produces the most elegant wine. The wines from de Vogüé must be the high-end Chambolle-Musigny wines that I’ve tasted the most.
Another pleasant tradition chez Tryffelsvinet is the annual tasting of the new vintage of wines from Bonneau du Martray and Comte Georges de Vogüé, where a few older wines are usually thrown in for good measure. In the fall of 2013 we tasted wines of the 2011 vintage plus some older references, and two of those 2011s returned in this tasting, since they are still available for purchase.
White wines from Bonneau du Martray
The range of wines produced by Bonneau du Martray is very simple: one white and one red, both grand crus from the Corton hill. The red is produced in smaller quantities and is more rarely encountered (I’ve actually never tasted it), and the white is one of the better Corton-Charlemagnes, and one that goes in a “steely” direction compared to other grand crus of Côte de Beaune, a sort of intermediate style between the grand cru neighbours of Montrachet and a grand cru Chablis.
Nose with ripe yellow apple and some green apple, some citrus, a hint of honey and marzipan, slightly perfumed. Medium bodied+, palate with yellow apple, high acidity, and a powerful mineral note. Rather young but approachable now, good balance. 92+ p
On one hand the white 2011 Burgundies tend to be rather accessible already, but on the other hand the style of Bonneau du Martrays goes in the firm direction, so the final result is something that can be uncorked now by those who like their wines firm, but that can also be cellared.
Nose with dominating menthol and mineral notes, yellow fruit in the background, peach, some flowers and aromatic oils; an elegant nose. Medium bodied++, palate with quite a lot of mineral notes, high and good acidity; elegant. Some development, but can take a lot more cellaring. 94 p
Compared to the 2011, the 2005 is more firm but still more full-bodied. A really good vintage!
Nose with yellow apple and some notes of winter apples, spice, mineral; slightly developed in character. Medium bodied+, mineral and mint, yellow apples and white peach, citrus, high acidity; a vigorous palate. 93 p
Better than expected, mostly because I didn’t really have much an opinion on this vintage on the white side. I now see that Decanter rates the white 01s as four stars out of five.
Nose with yellow apples, winter apples with some oxidation notes, some oak and spice. Medium bodied+, yellow apples, winter apples, spice, and mineral in the aftertaste. Has kept well, but is not quite at the same level as the rest. 91 p
It is clear that this producer has switched to a more firm and elegant style in the 2000s, and that the 1994 belongs to an older era.
Red wines from Comte Georges de Vogüé
2011 Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru
Young vines (under 25 years of age) from Musigny, i.e., a grand cru declassified to a premier cru.
Nose with cherries, violets, flowers, mineral, a hint of herbaceous and green notes; an elegant nose. The palate is medium bodied(+) with cherries, noticeable acidity, a tart berry note somewhat “hard” impression, powerful mineral note, and medium tannins. A well-built wine, but somewhat tough at present. Young, 91(+) p.
After having tasted many 2011s and 2012s in Burgundy in November, I dare say that this is a style that I’ve found in most red 2011s. The wines of this vintage aren’t at all as charming and easy to drink as 2009 and 2010 was at the same age, despite 2010 also being a high-acid vintage.
Nose with ripe strawberries, developed notes with some warm earth and undergrowth, spice, some flowery notes and some oak. The palate is medium bodied(+) with ripe strawberries, tart cherries, good acidity, and spice. Premier cru-styled with good power and elegance. Rather fully developed, but still youthful. 90 p.
1999 Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru
Young vines (under 25 years of age) from Musigny, i.e., a grand cru declassified to a premier cru.
Nose with ripe strawberries, cherries, mineral, and flowers; a noticeable elegance. The palate is medium bodied+ with cherries, ripe strawberries, noticeable minerality, definitely good acidity, some tannins, and a long and mineral-packed aftertaste. This wine is clearly of grand cru class! The wine shows development but still comes across as rather young, 93 p.
This wine has a more youthful nose and shows more mineral both in the nose and on the palate than the 1999 village wine. The nose is approximately at the same level as the 1999 Musigny VV, although it comes across as less ripe.
1999 Musigny Vieilles Vignes
This wine is called “vieilles vignes” (old vines) since it is sourced from Musigny vines of 25 years or more, while the wine from younger ones is declassified as premier cru. The average age of the vines used for Musigny VV tends to be about 40 years, as I recall.
A big nose with ripe strawberries, good concentration of aromas, flowery notes and elegance, some “aromatic oils”, mineral, and well integrated oak barrel note. Full-bodied, palate with ripe strawberries, powerful minerality, high acidity, medium(+) tannins of a velvety character, and a long aftertaste with mineral, sweet fruit and tannin. Still young, 96 p.
This is a very powerful Musigny that is more or less perfect on the palate and “seamless” in its elegant build and velvety character, and that at just under 15 years of age still comes across as youthful. (An even more complex nose and my score would have landed even closer to 100.) Compared to the sibling wine from younger vines – the premier cru – this wine shows more more sweetness of fruit in the nose and more concentration on the palate, and unsurprisingly comes across as less developed, i.e., it still needs a number of years to truly peak.
1999 Bonnes Mares
Rather powerful nose with ripe cherries, spice, and some animal notes. Full-bodied, palate with ripe cherries, some sweetness of fruit, good acidity, spice, mineral, medium(+) tannins. A wine with good power and fine development, 94 p.
Darker fruit and more spice notes than the rest. This is a wine that is both polished and powerful, but that isn’t as velvety as the two preceding ones, so the difference in style compared to the Musigny is as expected. As usual, Bonnes Mares shows more of a “standard style” of a high class Côte de Nuits grand cru.
It was quite marvelous to be able to taste through this quartet of 1999s. To bad that it wasn’t possible to sit down with them for a longer period of time, as several of them would have made excellent companions. This was a very good start to my Burgundy-tasting year and I hope it continues equally good. 🙂
Red wines from Trapet Père & Fils
2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Ostrea
Nose with ripe strawberries and light red cherries, mineral, spice with a hint of oak and some development. The palate is medum bodied(+) with ripe strawberries, good concentration, mineral, medium tannins, good acidity, and a slightly tart impression. This wine is rather ready to drink but could probably develop more. 89 p
As usual, Ostrea (the name isn’t a vineyard name but has been chose because of the presence of oyster shells in the soil) is a really good village-level wine. It’s obvious that it is a wine from a good vintage, and it actually feels more ready to drink than I had expected from a 2005, since this is clearly a vintage for extended cellaring. Good village-level Burgundies from such vintages needs more time to mature than many think.
2006 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Prieur
Nose with cherries, mineral, slightly flowery, with a hint of herbs in the background; a serious and complex nose. The palate is medium bodied+ with cherries and red berries, rather high acidity, mineral, medium tannins, and a fine balance. Rather approachable, could develop more. 90 p
This is a notch up from the previous wine, but in about the same phase when it comes to drinkability. When it comes to wines at the same level, the trio 2005-2006-2007 should probably be drunk in the reverse order, since 2007 is a fast maturing vintage and 2006 is a normal good vintage.
2004 Chambertin Grand Cru
Nose with cherries, spice, smoke, animal notes, some herbaceous and green notes with undergrowth. The palate is medium bodied+ with spice, mineral, strawberries and cherries, somewhat too present tannins, and a slightly angular impression. The nose is better than the palate. 89 p
This was definitely a good 2004, but it still shows quite a lot of the 2004 character on the palate. On the red side, 2004 is a Burgundy vintage that generally shows noticeable green character, hard acidity, and in most cases a lack of the fruit concentration needed to achieve a balanced impression. (In most line-ups a Chambertin should have come across as more powerful and with more generous fruit than several of the wines from Musigny/Chambolle-Musigny.) Some of the wines from this vintage may perhaps come across as more pleasing when they have become really mature, at 15+ years of age or so. Or at least I hope that the hard and angular character can be filed down by the tooth of time without the fruit vanishing completely. In the period 1995-2013, 2004 is without doubt the worst vintage for red Burgundy. If you taste a wine that you like, you should of course buy it even if it is a 2004 red Burgundy, but buying this vintage blind is too much of a gamble. White 2004 Burgundies are definitely better, because high acidity and a somewhat lean character doesn’t disturb in the same way in white wines, and contrary to the reds, there is no reason to avoid them as a general rule.
Swedish version here.