Red Burgundy Master Class

14 April 2010

The last few months have seen our Italian correspondent, Brendan Jansen, back in Perth. To assist with his Master of Wine studies, Brendan has been running a series of tastings aimed at exploring the differences that are experienced across various regions. These have included White Burgundy/Chablis and The Rhone Valley. The last tasting in this series was the Red Wines of Burgundy.

Brendan arranged a cross section of wines from various villages throughout the Cote d’Or. The challenge was to try and identify what characters were synonymous with pinot noir from Burgundy and what characters were unique to specific villages within Burgundy.

An interesting observation was that most of the wines were recommended by Ross Duke. We came to the conclusion that if Ross recommends a Burgundy, then it is most likely to be good. The only caveat would be to choose the better vintages.

Tasted (In Order)

Domaine Du Meix-Foulot – Mercury 1er Cru – Clos du Chateau de Montaigu – 2006 (16.9). Somewhat meaty characters to start, in a solid frame-work. Some lovely cherry fruit leads on the palate, with earthy characters to follow. Not complex on the finish, but very more-ish and good drinking now.

Domaine Marquis D’Angerville – Volnay – 2005 (16.7). Denser colour, and more density to the fruit on the nose. Savoury notes with spice and red (strawberry) fruits on the palate. Souring finish adds interest. Again lacks fruit weight on the finish, but there is enough structure to improve for a few years. Quite linear but not as generous as the Mercury.

Domaine Machard De Gramont – Beune 1er Cru – Aucoucherias – 2005 (17). Cold. Lighter style and quite pretty. The palate builds intensity. Some pepper and spice on the palate. A pretty, even floral, wine that gets better with time. This really improved over the evening.

Albert Morot – Beaune – Cent Vignes 1er Cru – 2004 (17.2). More of the earthy/meaty characters on the nose, but really interesting and succulent. Fruit is more to the plum spectrum with spice. Complex, spice especially cinnamon. Plums and some cedary notes on the palate. Long and savoury finish, but with plenty of grip. Sweet plum fruit. This was delicious with dinner the next night.

Domaine Follin-Arbelet – Aloxe Corton 1er Cru – les Vercots – 2006 (17.4). Quite dumb to start. The palate is fresh and vibrant, silky yet with plenty of structure. The fruit and oak tannins are very fine and tight, but get powdery on the close. This needs quite a few years to open up.

Rapet Pere et Fils – Pernand Verglesses – 2005 (16.5). Fruit tending to the cherry spectrum, with a touch of menthol and medicinal aromas. These continue on the palate. Opens with time, but not my style. (Received stronger support from others.)

Domaine Digioia-Royer – Chambolle Musigny – 2005. (17.5). Earthy, complex nose with dark fruit. The palate is dense, and quite powerful, with good fruit weight. This wine is all about fruit, with minimal new oak influence. Chewy and long, an impressive village wine. Pretty and quite feminine. A mid weight wine.

Earl Domaine Castagnie – Gervrey Chambertin – 2004 (17.3). More developed than the Royer, perhaps reflecting the vintage. Plumy fruit with some cedary oak characters. There is some cooler fruit character on the nose, but this does not detract. Good line and very good length. Does evolve and build spice. Drink in the next few years. (If this has a touch of Volatile Acidity, then it adds complexity).

Domaine Bart – Marsannay – Les Echezois – 2005 (17.8). Balanced and complex nose. This is seductive and ripe. Silky and enticing palate with fruit in the cherry spectrum . Denser fruit than all so far, this is textured and rich. Surprising quality for a village wine, and will improve further.

Bruno Desaunay-Bissey – Vosne Romanee – Villes Vignes 2005. (16). A somewhat meaty wine that is plump and ripe, but perhaps a bit flat. An almost sea-water flavour on the finish. Opens and improves. Firm tannins.

J Cacheux – Vosne Romanee 1er Cru – Les Chalandins – 2006 (18.2). A pretty wine. Feminine and floral, but with spine. Wow, lovely wine with very floral fruit. There is rose water and gentle cinnamon as well as strawberry fruit characters. Very silky, but still with structure. Superior. Interesting to see a fresh sea-water character.

J Cacheux – Vosne Romanee 1er Cru – Les Chalandins – 2005 (18). More structured than the 2006. Similar fruit characters, (i.e. pretty fruit), but more structured and a touch of pepper. The tannins are palpable on the finish. Smart, but will need more time to start drinking well. More masculine, and will score higher in time.

Caves de Pommard – Clos Vougeot – Grand Cru – 2005 (17.5). More weighty, but with poise and balance. Warmer and with some oak influence that is obvious. Dense fruit that is really long and fine. This is a powerful wine but not as identifiably burgundian. Some unusual, almost cooked characters. I was the only one that did not rate this very highly.

Scorpo – Pinot Noir – 2005 (17.9). Has the same spectrum of characters as the burgundies, but everything is turbo charged. Meaty/earthy characters dominate the nose. The palate is a flood of ripe fruit in the cherry spectrum. This is really long and really dense. The ripeness and density of the fruit is reflected in the (slightly) higher alcohol. One for lovers of shiraz, but very good all the same. Tangy acid to close. Interestingly, this evolved into a more feminine wine with airing.

Carrick – Pinot Noir – 2006 (18). Much closer in style to the burgundies, but still with new world fruit characters. Very nice wine with cherries and gentle spice. This is delicate but long and fine. Good length.