Elitistreview – one decade on

Today marks a decade of this illustrious organ. Wow! During that time I have posted 1,431 articles, which is an average of 2.8 per week. Last year or so might have brought down that average, but never mind. 1,431 articles is still one hell of a lot of fine wine, excellent meals, ceramics and psychotic episodes reported on! I feel I have done well to have kept Elitistreview going for so long so I’ll give myself a quick pat on the back and get back to reporting on wine.

Our chums James and Katie held a little dinner party last night to celebrate the continued survival of Peter despite his habit of hanging around war zones. He was visiting during a quick break from hanging around in the terrifying parts of Eastern Ukraine. Cripes! You would not catch me anywhere near there!

He argues it is very interesting, which I suppose is one way of looking at running the risk of getting blown apart by Russian artillery fire at any moment. He brought along a marvellous bottle of Burgundy and since this blog started out ten years ago reporting on Burgundy it is only right for me to report on some ten years later.

Drinking Dujac Bonnes-Mares 2005Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2005, Domaine Dujac

This smells amazingly beautiful! It is so beguiling, but not in a buxom sort of way. Rather it is incredibly refined and restrained. A callipygian entity of style and class.

There is plenty of fruit there even though this wine is a decade old. It reminds me of cherries, with a hint of raspberry and a thread of the very best, ripest, succulent Hampshire strawberries. Something that makes me think of one of the things my wonderful home county excels at cannot be bad!

Some people complain that Dujac wines are too oaky. Nonsense! I have never had a problem with oak in Dujac wines and this one has nary a whiff of the stuff. There is no excessive alcohol either, it is just one of the things that does not even enter your mind as you sniff this. There is a hint of earth, but it is all mixed in with that lovely Chambolle beauty and the hallmark involute complexity of Dujac wines.

This was made by my chum Jeremy Seysses, I would have tasted it out of cask during its elevage, and I have been known to state that he is the best red winemaker in the world. This is not at all because I am scared of him thumping me if I do not, but rather it is because when you even just smell wines like this you are immediately transfixed by its supreme loveliness and peerless class.

To taste it is a joy! I feel I am on the Dujac balcony being plied by masses of their matchless Premier Cru raspberries. It has the power and density one expects from a top rank Grand Cru, but it delivers it in such a charming, personable manner you do not even notice things like it still being pretty tannic, unless you really apply yourself.

That lovely fruit is there in abundance on the palate, and there is a fine core of acidity to keep it perfectly balanced. With the masses of fruit, powerful but ripe tannins and fine acidity this has all the stuffing to age for further decades. Well, not this bottle, obviously, we have drank that. It still seems a young wine, with only a hint of tertiary character to it.

Another accusation sometimes leveled at Dujac wines is that they have a strong house style which hides their origin. This is utter tripe! Yes, this wine does have the smooth complexity of a Dujac wine, but I think it is first and foremost a Bonnes-Mares.

If I may quickly elaborate on this point, I think the wines are less marked by house style and much more strongly by terroir since Jeremy took over wine making duties, and I view this as an improvement in the qualities of a domain which I thought was already virtually unbeatable.

If you dismissed Dujac wines because of the thumb-print of house style when you were drinking them in the 90s and before I must inform you that your palate memory is terribly out of date as things have changed (and in my view improved, but please do not tell Jacques I said that as I worship the man as a living god). From the noughties onwards Dujac wines have reached for higher zeniths and I think they pretty reliably conquer them.

An amazing, spell-binding, effulgent wine; thank you for bringing it, Peter!