When you pop a few bottles with your chums just for random drinking you don’t always expect them all to deliver superior, serious drinking value. I did very well tonight with those I opened. Indeed, some of them dished out quality of such coruscating brilliance I don’t think I’ll be able to experience them in such a state again; maybe older, maybe more mature, but not energetic fun quite like this.
Whilst the two Nuits were amazing, throbbing with brilliant chortle points, the things that did it for me in high-value spades were the Chambolle and white Hermitage. People are normally surprised when one serves white Hermitage – let us be honest it is a fairly rare wine. Yet, this one delivered a hilarious amount of japes and larks, and promised so many more in another ten or so years. Every time you see a white Hermitage from an approved vintage and producer you really should buy it. If you have the cellar ability it’ll deliver more interest than you are prepared to imagine and even if you don’t have the cellar ability just think what a foxy blind tasting wine it’ll make for your vinous chums! Buy it, I say.
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White Hermitage 2006, Domaine du Colombier
The fruit on the nose is incredibly powerful with the most pronounced pear character I’ve experienced outside of the ripe Williams’ pears from the tree in the garden I was lucky enough to scale as a youth. It has such density and definition it really engages the faculties, and yet the fruit is really fresh and compelling. All of the experience of a young, vibrant wine is here with this set of aromas, and yet (based on my reasonably broad experience of white Hermitage, which is to say I’ve had about 35 in my entire life) I can see this is only going to grow in personality and enjoyment value. The palate is quite a mouthful, big and structured, with enough acidity and mineral excitement to keep it lithe and edgy. The density of fruit is amazing. It is clearly a baby, but oh, oh yeah, how I love this. In all seriousness you want to come back in ten or more years, I am really rather taken with this bottle, though.
Chambolle-Musigny 2008, Domaine Georges Roumier
You know, sometimes the clarity of expression of a wine makes you remember why you courted winemakers for years just so you could share that fun experience with your friends – this is a focussed beauty of the most transparent clarity I’ve had for a while. The fruit is clearly ripe but has poise of the very loveliest loveli-tmesis-ness. It is very, very Chambolle. Very, very attractive Chambolle. This is where it is at with village wine. The structure has a bit of youthful vigour and the acidity has thrilling energy. It’s ravishingly fruity without getting tarty. This does it for me in so many ways, some of which are gratuitously biological. I get so happy when drinking stuff like this. It’ll live until it is 10-15 with ease.
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Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de Fourches 2007, Domaine J-F Mugnier
This has the correct rugged fruitiness I’d like from Nuits, and seems really accessible for a wine so young. Indeed, I think this accessibility is quite charming and distinctly lithe in character. This is a stunningly pretty Nuits at the village level. It seems so lubricious for a young Nuits, I drool at the thought of sniffing the real Clos de Le Marachale 07. The palate has enough tannin and solid structure to be a good example of the village but the pretty, floral fruit screams with fun-value; dare I say this is Nuits de chez Chambolle?. The acidity is fresh and keeps the fruit lively. It is delicious, you know? Really, really lovely, in a restrained, intellectual and clearly winning character. It will not leave you tired, it will not break the bank, and best of all you could not help but love it.
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Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Les Vignes-Rondes 2006, Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot
Based on my previous experiences with the curmudgeon Confuron’s wines I expected seriously impressed by the stuffing of this wine, what I did not expect was the distinctly pleasurable value it throbbed with – there is a lot to love here on the nose. The fruit is ripe and charged with Nuits power, it has a depth of complexity and utterly beguiling minerality. This is the kind of Nuits nose one hopes they all express; we would be happy if they did. The tannic structure of the palate is very grown-up, needs at least a decade if I am honest, but there is enough fruit to keep it sapid and a good thrill of acid to give it energy. The balance is just fine. Yves Confuron does like to do that ‘powerful wine with layers of intense flavour’-thing, this wine also shows he can do beauty with more than a hint of panache. Yeah, Nuits, it maybe the affordable wine of the Cote de Nuits but those of us who like the goods Pinot can deliver should not feel bad if this is the kind of thing we can afford. But yes, come back in a decade.