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.