Sometimes you feel inordinately privileged to taste a wine – this happened with two bottles last night. Prum’s Spatlese may not have been from his top vineyard but its class was evident from the very first sniff. I quite like German Riesling from less ripe vintages, if you can manage a bit of pain with your pleasure the acid/fruit balance in them can be totally thrilling. Certainly no shortage of excitement with this bottle. Lafarge’s Volnay was a stunning demonstration of red Burgundy’s supremacy in the realm of red wine; I haven’t had as good a bottle of red since [link2post id=”4773″]Clark Foyster’s Cathiard gustatory orgy[/link2post]. I didn’t get these on release, they had the inflated prices of the secondary market, but what bargains they turned out to be.
Both wines still had long and pleasure-giving futures ahead of them, but drinking them when so charged with life and energy was hilariously enjoyable. We drink wine in the hope of having bottles as bitchingly beezer as these.
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Riesling Spatlese Graacher Himmelreich 2004, Joh Jos Prum
I’ll admit this bothers me less than it does some people, but I do not find the sulphury swimming-pool character on the nose to be of concern. What is consuming my mind is the brilliantly pure lime fruit and intricate slate minerality that just throb with vivacity. The spritely exuberance suffusing its stellar set of aromas has me grinning with unabashed gratification, its sophistication is manifest. Elegance and refinement inspirit the palate, but its harmony is galvanising my mind with hoopy joy. Yes, there is one hell of a lot of acid, but as it makes my stomach smart all I can think of is how wonderfully it is balanced by fruit and sweetness. In these times of riper and riper vintages it is far from the sweetest spatlese you’ll ever taste, but that harmony, oh that harmony. And the animation. And the complexity. ‘Shouting’ Manfred Prum excelled himself with this wine. Pop yours in 5-10 years if you can keep your mitts off it that long.
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Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes 1999, Michel Lafarge
Cripes! The heavenly charm that infuses this nose is impressively seductive. Even the most jejune taster would be delighted by the ripe and accessible fruit, but its poised and sculpted elegance delivers so much more than simple fruitiness – for the lover of fine things there is plenty to engage. I love its svelte minerality. No silliness with new oak or booze-tastic burns here, just aromas of unbridled finesse. It is breathtaking. So is the palate with its silky tannins, fine acidity, alluring fruit and god-damned lovely earthiness. These are synergistically intertwined to deliver a unified whole of ambrosial delectation. Again there is no farting around with anything excessive apart from jouissance – its the cat’s freaking arse, man. It has some mature softness but I’d feel very safe keeping my remaining bottle for many years. I could not ask for a more transparent, or totally bewitching, example of wine from this village; it is the zenith of Volnay and a profoundly memorable experience to have wallowed in.