The gossip is that Nuits-Saint-Georges is currently providing the bargain wines out of the serious villages of the Cote d’Or. With its lack of Grand Crus and slightly unpronounceable moniker the fashionable Burgundy set are not set aflame by wines from Nuits. It suits me for people to be sniffy about these wines, I welcome anything which makes Burgundy more in the reach of we hard of income. Moreover, there are enough good producers making quality kit worth snapping up so you should not get tired buying the same stuff all the time.
That being said, there is a slight downside to buying Nuits: you have to cellar the grown-up examples for a serious amount of time. One of the Gouges 1999s we opened was, whilst obviously being nipple-nibblingly quality kit, really rather backward and tough. I still loved it; I see a place for drinking such bottles when they are in a stage of evolution which gives you a good pummelling. For those tuned to less bruisingly intense experiences definitely age them – lots of age, don’t hold back. Or rather do hold back, restrain your urges to drink lovely Burgundy.
Our final wine was a break from the Burgundy theme, a svelte Hermitage kindly supplied by Guy. I rather like Hermitage and this, whilst not a Chave or Jaboulet of old, was a delightfully masculine presence on the palate.[image image_id=”4006″ align=”left” size=”medium”]
Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de Fourches 2004, Domaine Mugnier
As I am smelling this for the first time it does seem reasonably pretty in terms of fruit character, but I’m getting a slightly reductive quality which is a mite varnishy and not entirely lovely. I’ll swirl it a lot. Oh good, the fruit is now fresher and the chemical aromas have gone. I’d never guess this was a Nuits from the nose. Ah I might do from the palate. It has the powerful structure of a Nuits but, as this is Nuits de chez Chambolle, it has a refined, minimalist beauty which definitely speaks about where it was vinified slightly more than where the grapes were grown. It is a perfectly enjoyable, reasonably stylish bottle of Nuits, but its not tumescent with mind-buggering complexity. Ignore what I said above, this is a wine that doesn’t need any more age. Decant it for an hour or two in advance and enjoy its lively energy.[image image_id=”4003″ size=”large” align=”center”]
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru les Saint-Georges 1999, Domaine Henri Gouges
Ooh cripes, this smells terribly lovely. Chock-full of ravishing, lewdly desirable fruit together with a rich earthiness and one hell of a lot of class. It throbs with multi-dimensional, stylish aromas which I know will make this a joy to drink. The dark fruit character and powerful soil action make this nose very Nuits in character and utterly beguiling for the lover of engaging experiences. It has a powerful structure which is a shade on the tough side, but this, together with its impeccably ripe fruit and harmonious acid levels, make it burst energy and vigour. The finish is extraordinarily long – yum, that is how I like it. Sure, it is a smidgen on the burly side but the overall impression I’m getting from this is that it is engorged with sybaritic thrills and dissolute gratification. Just beginning to show some magisterial maturity but has a very long life ahead of it so no rush to pop your bottles.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru les Saint-Georges 1999, Domaine Robert Chevillon
Pissflaps, it is bloody knackered. I love Chevillon and expected gustatory plasma storms from this but my Chevillon fix will have to wait until another time. Bugger.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Vaucrains 1999, Domaine Henri Gouges
This is a deep, brooding nose of restrained animation. Much swirling and sniffing are rewarding me with layers of powerfully ripe fruit intertwined with a commanding earthy character. I’ve got to swirl a lot, though, it is not letting its profound sensuality out from its strapping frame without a fight. This nose is complex and stylish but more than that it is definitely on the closed and youthful side. The palate is tough and unyielding too. The tannins are certainly robust, tough almost, but it does have enough fruit, acid and minerality to give it the balance required see it through this brawny phase if given more time in the cellar. Its flavours persist for an impressive period after swallowing. This is a great bottle of wine, but it really does need a lot longer for all its elements to resolve into something more enchanting.[image image_id=”4004″ align=”right” size=”medium”]
Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2008, Jean-Paul and Benoit Droin
This is incredibly estery and banana themed, smells more like Condrieu than Chablis. I don’t really like Condrieu. As I smell this I am really struggling to find any lemony fruit or gun-flint characters, it is just so young it is all primary aromas. The palate has some good acidity and reasonable weight, but again the flavours are all out of the banana essence bottle of flavouring. It is just a waste drinking Chablis when it is so quaquaversally young, when in this state they are not enjoyable or typical.[image image_id=”4005″ align=”left” size=”medium”]
Hermitage 1989, Bernard Faurie
This is a luxuriantly ripe Hermitage nose; the well-titted-out character of the vintage shines through and charges the aromas with a polished roundness. The fruit is ripe but soft in a mature style which compliments its powerful pepperiness and lavish, extravagant earthy sophistication. This is a highly attractive Hermitage nose which suggests it is in a perfect stage of accessibility. The palate is certainly ripe and accessible, but there is more than enough Hermitage manliness in terms of its bold but ripe tannic structure, sumptuous minerality and substantial spicy pepper character for this to be a reasonably serious example of the appellation. There is good, but not awe-inspiring, complexity and it is really rather long. Certainly fully mature but no real rush to drink up, Hermitage can perform for longer than a sex-starved twenty-something with a bottle of Viagra. Ultimately it is perhaps not the most utterly scintillating bottle of Hermitage, but it is a real goodie; I’m drinking this with a big grin slapped across my face. Thanks Guy!
You will probably get a more forceful message from our old friend the “Kid”, but really the Gouges does not always age gracefully. In a recent 78 comparison the Dujac Combottes was substanially the better wine. Poor old Gouges les St George seemed tired, whereas Dujac was happy to expose its bits and get dirty.