We are trying these wines blind and then coming back to drink them (if they are fit to be drank, that is). These notes are written as we try the wines for the first time.
Chassagne-Montrachet 2007, Vincent Dancer
A nice, refreshing nose of lemony fruit and play-dough minerality. This smells reasonably charming, but is nothing flashy. I do like the restraint of it, which is not something I would normally expect from Dancer. The palate has good fruit and lovely acidity, it is bright and fresh. There is some length to it as well. This is a fun and accessible wine that is providing more than enough pleasure now. Drink, don’t keep.
Hermitage ‘Monier de la Sizeranne’ 1990, M. Chapoutier
I’d hope that an impeccably well-stored 1990 Hermitage would be in better condition than this, even from the unspeakable swine Chapoutier*, but this is just totally knackered. Past it. Gone. Pushing up the daisies. Just dusty, dry and beyond decrepit. There is nothing here to even rant about, it is just a dead wine. Bit of a shame really as I really fancied letting rip with a torrent of invective about how Chapoutier make over-priced, atypical wines that are often faulty but never have any harmony, beauty or charm. A dead Hermitage (Hermitage of all things!) from the great 1990 vintage says it all about there perhaps being issues in the vineyards and winery.
Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru Millandes 2001, Domaine Pierre Amiot et Files
The fruit on the nose is really quite attractive, this is a lovely example of Morey.** It has a good earthy character and there is a reasonable amount of complexity there. I do like this, quite a lot, in fact. The fruit is good on the palate too, with a good backbone of acidity and a soft and charming tannic structure. A good, and very enjoyable bottle of Burgundy. Drinking well now, but no real rush; chose an occasion when you need a loveliness injection more than anything else. My chum Peter raised the question of price and it turns out that this sells for about the same price as Morey villages from Dujac. Good, really quite good, as this wine is I’d buy the Dujac in a picosecond every time.
*’Poo’ being the operative syllable.
**Peter asks me to expand on what I think is the character of Morey-Saint-Denis, so here goes: I think Morey fruit has the charm of Chambolle but the darker power of Gevrey. I admit it is a bit of a cop-out to describe it relatively; relativism is absolutely false, after all. When I smell good Morey I expect a harmonious blend of charm and power, loveliness and boldness. A really good Morey it is like finding someone devastatingly attractive and after doing the business you find out that they are a witty, fascinating and charming conversationalist as well.
Glad you liked the Amiot. 2001 was still the beginning of their upswing and I think they are probably doing even better now. They are one of the really good value producers of Morey with wines that are readily approachable in their youth. On the other hand, I’m not sure that they are making wines that are really built for the super long term.
Perhaps a “problem” here is untangling what Morey is from its best producer’s style. Dujac defines Morey, at least in the sense of their wines being more typical of the land than anyone else’s. So. Detract the qualites that are to be admired in terms of Dujac qua Dujac and then imagine Morey. If possible. This doesn’t get much further than defining Morey in terms of what it’s not. Oh well.
One of the difficulties is that every wine writer out there inevitably defines Morey in terms of Gevrey-ness or Chambolle-ness when it is neither and for that matter, is much more consistent than Gevrey or Chambolle, which are much larger appellations. There is less in common between Musigny and Bonnes Mares or between Chambolle 1er Cru Charmes and Sentiers than between the different vineyards of Morey.
I certainly agree that there is more consistency across Morey (even though, as we know from tasting Cyprien’s 1er crus, there are more Chambolle-y or more Gevrey-y Morey wines). I think Edward may have hit the nail on the head in that I think a lot in terms of Dujac, Arlaud and Lambrays when it comes to Morey. I rarely drink Morey from other producers, so if I think a wine is a bit like one of them I will guess it as Morey. I have a pretty good hit-rate at identifying Morey blind, even vineyards from some producers, so I must be doing something right.
What is for sure is that Morey makes some of the most wonderful, spell-binding wines on the Cote. Just think of that last bottle of Clos Saint Denis, Clos de la Roche or Lambrays you tried: wasn’t it great?
No! No! No! They are not more Gevrey-y or Chambolle-y! They are softer or harder, more structured or less, more perfumed, more floral, more earthy, etc. Enough of your relativism already! When did you last describe a Chambolle as Morey-y? And yet they exist surely. Same with Gevrey. It is the result of years of lazy critic work that have resulted in Morey being the bastard stuck between the two famous names of Chambolle and Gevrey and being described as having more or less the character of village that has little unity of “type”.
Not you, David, not you. You can be better than that and describe Morey as Morey-y.
OK, you make several good points. Morey is indeed Morey-y. Given how much I love Morey I shouldn’t be stooping to such relativistic inanities.