I’ve been given some wine; lucky I was given it as I am broke from ringing up winemakers in France on my mobile, fool that I am, I’ve got Skype. The wine is [link2post id=”1142″]de Courcel Pommard Premier Cru Rugiens 2003[/link2post]. As you can tell by the note, I think this is a really top wine. Indeed, I’d go as far as saying it is the second best Burgundy 2003 I’ve had.
Yves Confuron who makes the wines at de Courcel turned up late when we visited to try the 03s. He was miserable as sin for the first fifteen minutes of the tasting before our incredible enthusiasm for his wines got the better of him and he became almost charming. As you may recall, 2003 was a really hot year, and most of the Burgundy I’ve tried from this vintage suffers from this heat. Yves harvested late (!) and didn’t acidify his wines (!!) and yet they are completely brilliant. They may be big, almost monstrous, but they have a wonderful harmony and balance which is simply superb. The depth of fruit and tannic structure of them are utterly beguiling, and the complexity and style are without fault. Great wines, by any definition of the word.
Now, I have three bottles of this Rugiens and I am really tempted to open another, so much do I love them. However, this wine will be even better in another ten years, so I must wait. My friends will have a lot of fun when I am old and knackered in 2018 (I’ll be forty-five that year, hell’s bells) and have three bottles of this nectar to pop. I cannot recommend highly enough that if you see any de Courcel 2003s you snap them up. Ideally then give them to me, but I’ll understand if you keep them as they are freaking tits. The Rugiens is undoubtedly the best, but the Grand Clos des Epenots is not far behind. Even the more minor wines are brilliant and worth paying for; we were surprised by the downright decadence of even the village Pommard. Buy them, if you can, and if you cannot make friends with someone who has them.
So what was the best 2003 I’ve tried? Clos des Lambrays 2003 (sorry Jeremy). In this difficult vintage they landed not only on their feet but were also passed a glass of something good to drink as they hit the ground. This wine really is the cat’s arse. The good thing about Clos des Lambrays is it is quite a big Grand Cru which is (largely) in one estate’s hands, so they always have plenty to sell and it is not too difficult to find on the market. They also charge very reasonable prices for what is usually very good wine, and what was buttock-spankingly good in 2003. So this goes down as a top recommendation as to how to blow your pennies as well.
Apart from these two (and a few Dujac’s that I will write up when I get around to trying them again; the Clos St. Denis was damned good, but Clos St. Denis for heroes. Beautiful heroes, though) you can largely skip 2003 Burgundy.