I would like to start by thanking the good Mister Keith Levenberg for this wonderful gift of a stunning red Chassagne Premier Cru to help top up the diminutive tasting stack in the bath.
“Stunning red Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru? The nutter has lost it!”, I hear you think, and I really do hear it because (as you think so stridently) I am a nutter. Well, ye of little knowledge, Chassagne has historically been a producer of red wine – it was really only in the last hundred years they have decided that they can make more money with white wine and ripped up most of their Pinot. However, red Chassagne has now become one of the real bargain wines of Burgundy and they can generally be most winsome.
Furthermore, once I tell you that the Premier Cru in question is Clos Saint Jean I expect to hear deeply apologetic thoughts (thank you, very polite), because as you well know this is one of Burgundy’s most celebrated vineyards.
Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St Jean has been recognised as a privileged vineyard for at least a thousand years – various religious institutions have claimed it as their own over the centuries. I imagine that there was a lot of giggling going on over every meal at these institutions because the wine is just the cat’s furnishings. It is wonderful, wonderful stuff that you should buy whenever you see it. Some people have Chardonnay in this Pinot paradise and I haven’t had one in a decade or two, but the defilers deserve a jolly good smacked bottom.
I used to sell Jean-Marc Pillot’s wines so I am acquainted with this. Some people would be a bit sniffy about Clos St Jean not made by Ramonet – they can join the queue for a smacked bottom as this is generally a superb example of the vineyard.
Jean-Marc Pillot manages replacement of vines in his excellent plot of Clos St Jean very carefully so that he can brag that the average age of his vines there is over one hundred years’ old. Some of his vines must be producing three grapes each year… but I have wittered on enough, to the note!
Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge Premier Cru Clos Saint Jean 2009, Jean-Marc Pillot
This wine loves me! Its nose cossets, cradles and caresses me! Shitting fuck it is just so very appealing, I am totally smitten!
Clos St Jean is known for its wines of harmony and balance with a pure, focussed set of complex fruit aromas. It has all that but, by arse, the gloriously warm weather in 2009 has given this wine luxuriant, angelically charming dimensions of sweet, sweet love. I am delighted to be drinking such a happy, adorable wine with The Editor.
When I say ‘luxuriant’ I definitely do not mean over-ripe, jammy and not the slightest bit slattern-like, all of the love and passion on this wine’s nose is framed with a totally perfect elegance and refinement for which this vineyard is justly lauded. It is a correct example of the vineyard – is it not amazing how the 2009s are turning out to be so pleasurable? Only the occasional example seems to have gone too far down the wanton hussy-road.
So there is lovely, gorgeous, alluring red fruit of precise focus and glorious complexity – think strawberries of perfect ripeness that you picked a second ago from plant that has managed to spread from the side of your house to the very best corner of your garden. This is a 2009 and the fruit is so fresh and vibrant it is positively thrilling. And it does love me in the purest, least smutty manner possible – it will love you too if you score some from your Burgundy dealer.
Oddly, the earth aromas on the nose remind me of the hard precision of Champagne minerality. I suppose I often associate white Chassagne with Champagne aromas, so I should not find this odd. This nose is charged with both love and focus of coruscating intensity.
Good grief, if the nose loves me the palate loves me so much it wants to adopt me and make me happy and love me as its own forever! I am not sure this wine will last quite forever, but it has the balance, structure and depth of flavour to last and improve for far longer than I will be around as its loving son.
Once again, the fruit has a delightful fresh, ripe, precise and lovingly captivating character. It is what Clos St Jean does so well, delightful bright red fruit (they can taste fresh as a daisy when they are decades old), yet it has poise and is so refined F1 racing fuel producers would hang their heads in shame. It is far more attractive than a stunningly beautiful seventeen-year-old yet unlike a seventeen-year-old has a lot of intelligent, engaging and witty things to say.
The tannins are what you would really hope for in a top 2009 Cote de Beaune – well-defined and supportive and not descending into some Australian foulness of soupy character. Again, the Clos St Jean character is one of focus and precision, the vineyard does it so well. The acidity is pleasingly present and standing up proudly for attention. I would expect nothing less.
No problems with bastard loads of new oak or lighter fuel levels of alcohol. You may have noticed by now these are things that deeply distract me from the act of pleasuring myself with wine. I suppose I should only really mention them when they are vexing me.
Technically, this is a top example of all one wants from Clos St Jean: bright fruit, freshness, precision and polydimensional complexity of effulgent intensity. If you live mindfully in the moment of drinking this, it loves you so much it feels like you are a four-year-old little boy/girl who is being tickled and cuddled by a devoted parent who wants you to only ever experience love and happiness; it is all giggles, big, wide smiles and a terrific sense of well-being. I must get more!