I visit Christophe Roumier every year – he is one of the great producers of Chambolle-Musigny. However, after I have tasted from cask most of the wines I buy go straight into the cellar. Consequently, it was a real treat to try two Chambolle villages at a relatively early stage of development. They provided very different experiences.
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The 2009 was provided by Peter Sidebotham of Hand-Picked Burgundy, pictured here, who is always a generous and charming dinner guest. He also provided a Rhys Family Farm Vineyard Pinot 2009 which I’ll briefly comment on after the Chambolles. Lovely to see you, Peter, and many thanks!
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Chambolle-Musigny 2007, Domaine G. Roumier
This nose is the Platonic ideal of ‘lovely’ – if you wanted to sell the idea that Burgundy is scrummy to a neophyte you’d let them sniff this and they’d instantly be smitten. The fruit is absolutely charming and attractive: ripe and pretty with no hint of excess, over-ripeness or heaviness. Super-Chambolle fruit; just elegant and refined. The alcohol is in perfect balance and there’s no silliness with loads of new oak either. It’s just a nose of complete joy which is making me grin my new unforced, fundamentally jolly grin each time I stick my hooter in. The palate is not short of delight either. It’s silky smooth with refined tannins and a totally pretty fruitiness. I like its hint of creamy earthiness too and it has enough acidity to keep it balanced. Pretty long as well. Let’s not fart around, this is a deeply pleasurable wine to drink, it’s making us all happy and you could ask for little more from a village Chambolle. I think I’ve got more in my long-term cellar and I am breaking the bleeders out next time I visit – this is just tits now. Just goes to show that if you buy from the right people there is no reason to be sniffy about so called lesser vintages. My arse has been charmed off me.
Chambolle-Musigny 2009, Domaine G. Roumier
Editor Daniel and I were told this was Roumier Chambolle village with the instruction to spot the vintage – when I first smelled it I thought it was some much more powerful vineyard, the words Bonnes-Mares drifted through my mind. However, further sniffing and tasting showed it simply to be really ripe – we got the vintage right first guess. The fruit is very ripe indeed, almost fruit-cakey, and super-charged with a big whack of booze. Peter and I thought this could well be over 14%. There is something attractive, if more lubricious than winsome, about this nose, but at the moment it is just a bit of a belter; it’ll be better after a lot more time in the cellar. But there is nothing really wrong with it, though, it is just a big job. Some of us can manage lubricious big jobs with ease. There is complexity and minerality, and again no silliness with new oak, just one hell of a lot of very ripe fruit and quite a lot of booze. The palate shows this richness of fruit and alcohol very strongly. There’s no booze burn, but as I’m enthusiastically drinking it I feel a warm glow coming to my being. There is earthy complexity and about enough acidity, but the balance comes more from the fruit/tannin structure rather than Pinot’s more normal fruit/acid interplay. It’s quite tannic although the tannins are very, very ripe. I do like it, I just don’t think it is really showing hilariously well at the moment. This is a bit of an odd thing to say about a village wine, but I think this is one for serious cellar time and it’ll make intriguing old bones. Keep yours, I’ll keep mine a long time, and drink your bum-bitingly fun 2007s now.
Fascinating comparison. I loved the 2009s from cask but didn’t remember them being quite such wines of heroism. I feel part of this expression is simply a character of its developmental stage, though. I bet if I popped one of my 2009 Bonnes-Mares now I’d be wowed, powed and zapped. Finally:
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Family Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009, Rhys
The nose here is one of expensive Pinot Noir. It’s not heavy or dense, but round and well-upholstered. The alcohol is in good balance and there is some minerality to it, but it just seems a little on the… erm… plump side to totally charm me. I think it’s good, but I think it’s good from someone I’m not the biggest fan of. The palate is lovely and fruity, with reasonable earthiness and a good acidity that keeps it lively, but it is just a shade rich and I think it could do with being a tad more expressive of its complexity. I was presented this blind and I thought it was good Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru from a producer who doesn’t really tickle my fancy. Once all was revealed I could see why it was not Burgundy and I think I liked it more for being ‘not Burgundy’. It’s pretty damned expensive stuff over here in Blighty but if this is the kind of thing you like then this will be precisely the kind of thing you like. I think, as far as US Pinot goes, the Brooks Janus 2007 I had after recently did it for me more in the elegant and restrained style I like when I’m not feeling excessively lewd and obsessed with doing it with caliphyigian beauties.
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Purely for the sake of whining, two of the other bottles we opened were corked: A Maximin Grunhaus Abtsberg Auslese 2001 and a Clusel-Roch Cote-Rotie 2001. I’m still severely vexed, I don’t mind telling you.