On Friday night we had a little dinner party with our friend Christian who had come all the way from Switzerland to see us (possibly). We drank many really delicious wines and one that was probably the best young red Burgundy that I have owned (and then drank).
I love Clos-Saint-Denis. It is simply gorgeous. As I am one who enjoys profoundly visceral as well as intellectual pleasures it is probably my favourite Burgundy Grand Cru. There are three producers I drink fairly regularly: Domaine Dujac, Domaine Arlaud and, more so in recent years, Domain Henri Jouan. All of them make simply gorgeous wines but I have found the wines of Jouan to be somewhat easier to obtain (as far as any Grand Cru red Burgundy can be) and slightly easier on the wallet. I do not think they lack anything in terms of quality compared to the other two, so it is nice to recommend a relative bargain when you are on a quest for the finest wines available to humanity.
Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru 2012, Domaine Henri Jouan
A snort of this beats any illicit substance. It fills your nasal cavities with gorgeously complex, intensely profound, intricate and detailed and utterly lovely aromas. There is wonderfully ripe fruit of joyous passion and involute sophistication. You just get the idea that there are layers of rich delightfulness to plunge into.
Even though I believe this is matured in 100% new oak there is no woodiness to interfere with your pleasure; it does not show at all. This is reasonably alcoholic, as you would expect from a Grand Cru in a ripe vintage. Fortunately it does not seem hot or stewed. The fruit is exotic rather than jammy.
Taken as a whole this nose is a silken entity of intricate charms and effulgent delights. It does the whole ‘charm’-thing as well as it does the whole ‘class’-thing and that rather does it for me in the ‘underpants’-department as well as the ‘intellect’-capability.
Yummy, yummy, this is richly silken and soft on the palate. There is plenty of tannin, but it is all so voluptuously ripe and charged with so much sheer loveliness that it just seems totally without any rough edges from top to drop.
There is good acidity, too. It is fresh and lithe but not sharp, harsh or hard. In a wine of this prodigious scale you need a foil for all those scrummy, yummy, in my tummy elements to stop it turning into a mere fruit smoothie.
The rich, complex, totally charming earthiness on the palate raises this above mere fruit. It is not overt, but a subtle background that adds dimension and depth to an already wonderful wine.
Now, I have mentioned fruit, but I do not think I mention it enough. There are layers upon layers of rich, sumptuous fruit that are utterly beguiling. They fill your palate and almost overwhelm your senses with beauty and style. They are not flabby or jammy, but fresh, exotic and complex. They tease and tickle you, bringing broad smiles to anyone capable of enjoying the extremes of aesthetic experience. Fuck me it is good!
Now you may want to know why I have opened a bottle of extremely fine Clos-Saint-Denis at two years old rather than aging it for years. Firstly, see the above: it was pulsingly gorgeous. Secondly, I tried this at the Clark Foyster en primeur tasting and, smitten with my little taste, I knew it would have an extremely accessible ageing profile and, as I like wines young, I thought I would pop something that would instantly convert our guest Christian to the joys of Burgundy. So I think this is so good now it is not necessary to cellar this for years.
However, it does have what it needs where it needs to age, although I question whether it will actually improve from the glorious entity of brilliance it is now. I have two more bottles of this Jouan Clos-Saint-Denis and I do not see any harm in doing the experiment with one of them and popping it around the turn of the decade. Unless you are a twisted necrophiliac you should not keep this for too long as a lot of its rapturous joy is due to all that wondrous ripe fruit and if you lose any of that you will be doing yourself and this prestigious wine a disservice.
My other bottle will get popped with the next 12 to 18 months. And what an orgasmic time I’ll have when I do so.
Nonsense. Although I admit this was at an unusually drinkable stage for a Grand Cru so young.
It’d be a good bath wine.
That sounds rather good…
David- as it happens, I’ve just bought a bottle of this to stash away for my daughter’s 21st birthday (in 2033). Do you think it’ll have the legs to last that long, albeit that it will have become a very different beast by then? Even if it makes it to 18 that would do…
I’d suspect it would last until then (GC burgundy usually seems to) but I’d be interested to know your thoughts…
All best wishes
Tom, even though I would expect many modern Burgundies to be dead at 21, I think this was practically perfect and so will probably be rather nice at 21, as you say very different to what it is now, though. I hope you give your daughter a solid training in the art of the viticulturist so she appreciates what a wonderful gesture you have made. My parents were not interested in wine so I had to wait until I was nine before I tried a properly fine wine. It was CFE 1979, my comment, “Wow, wines can taste of lots of different things!”. I must have had the wine 40-odd times since and I can confirm my initial assessment was correct!
what is the average price for this bottle?
What do I look like? Wine-Searcher?
A thorough vinous education is certainly part of the plan, though she may get there before I decide to start; just the other day I put my glass of wine out of reach (I thought) and then, from the kitchen, I heard “Yuck! Dad wine really really horrid. Not like it”. Upon inspection, I found a small puddle of pinot noir on our sitting room floor. Mind you, it was a NZ pinot – albeit a good one, I thought (Craggy Range) so maybe she had a point…
Forgive my ignorance: what does CFE stand for?
Re: Eduardo, even Wine Searcher might be misleading now; I found mine at Clark Foyster, but their published price is the en primeur one so it actually cost a bit more (on top of which they ask you to buy at least two other non-grand cru bottles to be fair with their allocation. I bought one each of the village Morey and Gevrey Chambertin).
CFE is Trimbach’s Cuvee Frederic Emile. all the recent bottles I’ve tried have prematurely oxidised.