A few chums and I decided to have some wine. I feel the bottles I opened were most instructive.
Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Vergers 2002, Domaine Ramonet
This is a beautiful nose of wonderfully defined aromas and power-up-complexity-action. It has the Chassagne ‘flat Champagne aroma’ as well and really pure lemon fruit and a highly sophisticated minerality. This smells like a charm-mongous bottle of Chassagne. It also smells very like Ramonet wines in general: terrior is (to some extent) in the winery… The palate is really concentrated and just keeps on yielding new flavours to enjoy. The acidity is just bright and it is finely balanced with fruit, acidity, minerality and a subtle oak seasoning making this a truly harmonious wine. A top bottle of Chassagne which re-affirms my love for Ramonet. I’ve had some 2000 Ramonet wines recently which have suffered from premature oxidation. In view of this, I’d be tempted to drink the 02s soon just to be on the safe side. They are lovely to drink now, anyway!
Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Pucelles 2002, Domaine Paul Pernot
This wine seems less evolved and less giving than the Ramonet, even though it clearly has a lot to give: a linear but highly adorned steel rod I suppose is how I’d describe this nose. There is an expensive oak treatment showing on the nose, with good lemon and mineral-creaminess. It is very refined with a good Puligny personality. The palate is similarly understated, but the complexity and harmony of this wine show through. Yum, this is good alright. Because Pernot wines are more reductive in style than many white Burgundy producers I feel you are safe keeping this for a few more years.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Vaucrains 1999, Robert Chevillon
The nose of this wine speaks to me. “Drink me and smile”, it says. I’ll smell it and smile first. The cherry fruit on the nose is very attractive and it is really rather earthy. This wine reeks of fine Burgundy (and fine Nuits at that, if I may be so bold) from a top producer in a good year. A nose totally without problems at completely at ease with its own brilliance. The palate is surprisingly elegant. Sure, there are some big tannins and rich earthiness, but this gives the impression of just dancing across your palate, only caressing you when it has another dose of flavour to deliver. The fruit is very refined and sexy. I couldn’t really ask much more from a bottle of Nuits, this is seriously fine wine.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru les Saint-Georges 1999, Robert Chevillon
And just a few meters down the slope we have this offering from Nuits… The nose is quite masculine. There is a lot of fruit, but it is dark, brooding fruit. Highly complex mineral and earth aromas are there. It is quite a biggie, alright. The palate has plenty of dark fruit, a sophisticated, but big, tannic structure and wonderful persistence of flavour. If we may compare the Vaucrains was more elegant and ethereal (as far as Nuits goes) whilst this is bigger, more structured and dense. I preferred the Vaucrains, the other four tasters preferred this.
Chateauneuf-du-Papes 1998, Chateau de Beaucastel
This is really rather aromatic. There is grilled meat, dark fruit and the merest hint of sheep shit. There is a strong suggestion of wild herbs as well. It is very complex and the scented, aromatic character of it is really appealing. Once you get over the mouthfilling flavour and ripeness the overall impression is that it is quite an elegant Chateauneuf. Its fruit and earthy richness are both really pleasing. Very long, too. Yeah, this is how I like my Chateauneuf.
Bandol ‘La Tourtine’ 1998, Domaine Tempier
Wow. Seriously, wow. If the Beaucastel was scented then this must be the Platonic ideal of ‘aromatic’. Such lovely fruit, amazingly earthy with just enough of that dirty sweat character that amusing wine tasters describe as ‘arseholey’. It is incredibly complex and deeply expressive. With every sniff this wine teases me to discover new layers of loveliness. I am moved. So, it tastes very fruity, with a mouth filling power but such are the ripeness of the tannins it just seems silky and svelte. This is a totalling beguiling wine experience, I love it. Lewdly. If the Bandol vineyards were ever going to be ripped up to make space for holiday homes I would be the first in line to burn the local mayor’s office.