After opening some Hermitage that Peter Sidebotham, of Hand-Picked Burgundy, was a bit sniffy about I promised to open some good stuff. Chave, Jaboulet and Sorrel 1995s seemed like good stuff, so we got him around to drink them.
Peter was quite impressed by this line-up and so brought along one of the most stunning bottles of white Burgundy we’ve tried in ages: Batard-Montrachet 2007 from Domaine Leflaive. It needed a lot of air, but by arse it was bum bitingly good. Let’s get on with the notes:
Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2007, Domaine Leflaive
Do I look moved? I certainly was! The wine was quite dumb when we first opened it but a vigorous swirl in a decanter had it blossoming into a complex entity of amazing loveliness. There was density, there was intensity, but it remained ethereal and poised. So much complexity on the nose with stony fruit, play dough and hints of baby vomit. You could smell this for hours and, as I kept some in my glass, I did; it kept developing for about 90 minutes. The most amazing thing about the palate, for all its density, fat, weight, fruit and stoniness, was the incredible acidity. It burnt and scorched my stomach but I loved it in the extreme. No problems with balance with such a combination of compatible components and the flavours went on and on. A supreme bottle of white Burgundy. If you are opening it now then stick it in a decanter for half an hour before drinking. You can keep it, though, and it’ll improve for quite a while. I’ve got a bottle of 2000 in the wine fridge and I bet that’s the raccoon’s rude bits!
Hermitage Le Greal 1995, Marc Sorrel
Corked! Damn and blast!
Hermitage La Chapelle 1995, Paul Jaboulet Aine
A lovely nose of rich, round, polished fruit. Good density and weight to it. It is showing a reasonable degree of maturity and just from smelling it I am not sure it’ll improve for terribly much longer, but it will certainly hang around for a very long time. It smells complex, masculine and classy, but maybe lacking a little bit of the explosive excitement one might hope for from a top 1995 Hermitage. The palate is very round and has quite a lot of power. There is plenty of fruit showing and it is certainly long and complex. I like it a lot, but based on previous bottles of this wine I would have expected a tiny bit more in the way of olfactory fireworks from a Lash 1995. Good, very good, but not sex on a stick.
Hermitage 1995, J-L Chave
Bugger me! This has the fireworks, the sex and the stick. It’s supremely elegant and polished but has the masculine intensity one wants from a bottle of really super Hermitage. It smells simply awe-inspiring and I feel damned pleased that one of my wines is up to the standard of Peter’s fulgurating Batard. The complexity is truly amazing. There’s even more of that on the palate and by bums does it gratify and it swirls around your mouth, titillating every taste bud. There is a great balance between ripe fruit, acidity and silky tannins and those flavours really persist. There’s no Brett to speak of either, it’s clean despite its earthy characters. It’s a real mouthful of manliness, but he’s had a bath and combed every hair on his body into sleek smartness. An excessive joy to drink now but will keep and keep. The complete Hermitage experience, I don’t think anyone makes them remotely as good as this anymore.