Some 2008 red Burgundy recommendations

I was at the Howard Ripley 2008 Burgundy tasting last night. It was most interesting, many thanks to Sebastian Thomas for squeezing me in at the last minute.

Generally, the vintage seems quite successful. The best wines have a pronounced sense of place, with nice fruit, pleasing acidity and good structure. These are perhaps not wines for forgetting in your cellar for decades, but in the medium term they will develop well. The very best wines will age well.

Shock of the tasting was a Jean Grivot wine that actually had charm as well as tannin. I was surprised, and even more surprised that it was a Clos de Vougeot which are normally on the tough side. It had real Grand Cru presence and lots of class. If you ever want to buy a flash Grivot that won’t leave you thinking “Why oh why did I buy that?”, now might be your chance.

The other Clos de Vougeot on show was from Hudelot-Noellat. This was was even more charming with a real nervous energy to match its power. Good value for the quality. I thought. There was a Vosne-Romanee 1er cru les Suchots from them on show as well and this impressed me no end. It is also keenly priced for a Vosne 1er, snap this and his Beaumonts up.

I enjoyed the Fourrier wines I tried. The basic Gevrey-Chambertin seemed like it has some future ahead of it and it was quite serious for a village wine. Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru les Gruenchers was a tiny bit on the tannic side for a Chambolle but I liked its acid/fruit/tannin interplay enough to order three magnums. I think it’ll charm more after a bit of age. Gevrey-Chambertin 1er cru Clos Saint Jacques was quite delicious; structured and fruity with great length.

The final two wines from the tasting which really stood out came from Comte Armand. The Auxey-Duresses 1er cru was impressively complex and engaging considering its lowly status and bargain price. I’m buying some. More expensive, but clearly one of the best wines of the tasting, was Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux. This was really expressive with a great Pommard character. The fruit was perfectly integrated with its impressive, but not harsh, tannic structure.

Of course, I would also recommend the 2008s from the producers I visited last summer. These were: [link2post id=”632″]Domaine Dujac[/link2post], [link2post id=”624″]Domaine Arlaud[/link2post], [link2post id=”621″]Mugnier[/link2post] and [link2post id=”622″]Roumier[/link2post]. Eagle-eyed readers will note I tasted at [link2post id=”630″]Domaine des Lambrays[/link2post] when I was in Burgundy. The cask sample of 2008 I had there was a bit difficult to judge, as were the samples at the Howard Ripley tasting, so I find it hard to recommend outright. Moreover, much as I’ve loved many of their wines I’ve had in the past (I own a reasonable amount), I feel they are getting a bit pricy.

There are some impressive and lovely red Burgundies from 2008 which are well-worth buying. Don’t let the promise of flasher 2009s put you off from buying some 08s; you will enjoy them.

  • Jeremy

    No wines from Mugneret-Gibourg, Domaine de l’Arlot, Burguet or Bachelet that impressed you? Or were they not being poured? I’m a bit of a fan of these producers, personally, though have not tried the 2008s.

  • David Strange

    The only Mugneret-Gibourg wine I tried was a Vosne village which was pretty good but I feel the Fourrier villages were better value. Generally speaking, I like Mugneret-Gibourg and always feel safe when I buy their wine.

    I didn’t try the l’Arlot wines. I’m not really sure why I skipped them as they are another producer I feel safe with. Apologies for not reporting on them.

    Burguet’s ‘Mes Favourites’ was certainly very good, but what with the weakness of the pound (and the ever-present price creep) it just seemed a touch on the expensive side. There are things I’d rather recommend (and own) for the money.

    If there were any Bachelet wines there I was too vacant to notice them.

  • David Strange

    I could add that the reason we didn’t try everything was that the tasting venue was absolutely heaving. A busy room where you have to fight to get a minuscule taste of something which you then only have seconds to assess does not lend itself to giving the wines the attention and respect they deserve. Moreover, the partner and I are not at our best in crowds. We thought we’d be selective and try to pay a bit more attention to the wines of which we have a better understanding and more experience.

    There was a Fils et Pere Morey village on offer which was showing far from its best. This can often happen with cask samples which makes a tasting like this a bit of a hit and miss affair and rather challenging, even for experienced tasters, to get a proper impression of the wines. I really don’t believe the final bottling of Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru or their Morey 1er les Loups will smell as much of cat piss as the cask samples did. Note: I said ‘smell’, I cannot comment on the taste of cat piss.

  • Jeremy

    Cat’s piss is indicative of reduction. Not necessarily permanent, but understandably alarming.

    The F&P wine is a final bottling, but very recent and probably high in SO2, like many of the wines no doubt. Makes them seem a little drier and less fruit driven than they will be later in life.

  • Peter S

    I was there earlier on David – sorry to have missed you both ! The bottle of Dujac F&P that I tried was really good – showed very good density and class for a village wine – and I am sure it will turn out well as Jeremy says 🙂

    Agree on the Hudelots – they showed well from top to bottom, I even preferred their village Vosne to the M-G (albeit in a lighter, purer, style). The Arlot wines were good but very atypical in colour and density – they were really deep compared not just to what they normally are, but even next to Fourrier ! Sebastian ascribed this to substantial destemming this year, because the young vine stems were affected by rot. The Foret was really very good, though ultimately I preferred Mugnier’s Marechale for its elegance.

    I also thought that the Clavelier wines showed well (especially the Brulees) and the Roulot BB has tremendous class for its price.

    Finally I can confirm you didn’t miss out – there was no Bachelet on tasting.

  • David Strange

    Sulphur was indeed making the F&P difficult to taste as was the case with some other wines. I wonder how many people can see past that; it would be a real shame if opinions about a producer or vintage were set in stone after tasting wines in this quaquaversal state.

    I do worry about the Lambrays wines, far to reminiscent of Kisu’s litter tray after I’ve been locked up in the loony bin for too long. As I mentioned, I think the Lambrays wines are now a bit too expensive, even direct, for us to consider buying a case. However, I have such happy memories of drinking lovely Lambrays I might buy myself an experimental bottle of the 2008 when it makes it into Caveau des Vigneronnes.

    Peter, pleased you also liked the Hudelot’s. Great value, eh? Thanks for filling in the l’Arlot gap. I am quite happy to be buying Mugnier’s Marechale every year. Yes, that Roulot Bourgogne Blanc was a super wine at a very pleasing price-point; a baby Meursault and very Roulot in style. I like Roulot a lot.

  • James

    I went to the HHC tasting on Monday. Again, a number of the wines were cask samples at awkward stages of their development and somewhat difficult to gauge. The 2 Mugneret-Gibourg reds (Vosne village and a Nuits 1er Cru) were very pretty with lovely texture; in white, the Sauzet wines, which in my limited experience have sometimes lacked character, were very charming and the Chablis (Dampt and Christian Moreau) suggested this could be a delicious year there.

  • David Strange

    There were only really three whites at the Howard Ripley tasting that did it for me. Roulot’s Bourgogne Blanc was, as ever, quite the stunner; a total bargain for a wine which will provide so much pleasure. The Louis Michel Chablis 1er Vaillons was also a bargain. At that price I found it to be impressively expressive and charming. Alain Chavy’s Puligny 1er Clavoillons had real complexity and a good minerality which tickled my fancy. I thought that for a Puligny 1er of that quality you would be churlish to think the price was anything other than keen. I do feel that these are not really wines for keeping, but enjoying when they are young and expressive.