Red Burgundy

Reviewed: 30 November 2011

When I was asked to help out at a Burgundy tasting hosted by Loren White, I was happy to oblige. The fact that I was in Adelaide on the morning of the tasting when I was asked was a minor hurdle, but I made sure that I was back in time. Loren is one of the true intellects of wine. Not only does he have a superb palate, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Burgundy (and wine in general). I would go as far as to say that he is probably the best that I know.

The wines were good to excellent, though ultimately burgundy is never cheap.

Reviewed (in order tasted)

Marchand & Burch – Pinot Noir – Bourgogne – 2009 (17). Plum, cherry, and hints of tar to what is a surprisingly structured nose. The palate is dense, quite structured and long, with chewy tannins to close. Better than the Bourgogne status would indicate.

Louis Latour – Pinot Noir – Bourgogne – 2008 (16.5). Open and round, with simple, sweet fruit. A straightforward wine that is juicy and easy to drink.

Hudelot-Noellat – Pinot Noir – Bourgogne – 2009 (17.2). Fragrant, ripe and seductive, with forward fruit balanced by silky tannins and a touch of oak. Good length and reasonable texture make this an attractive drink.

Marchand & Burch – Pinot Noir – Gevrey Chambertin – 2009 (16.8). Nice nose here that is fragrant and ripe. Not that concentrated, but well made.

Philippe Livera – Pinot Noir – Gevrey Chambertin – Clos Village – 2009 (17.3) This has plenty of up-front fruit, though it is a more muscular style. The palate is firm yet silky, with impressive length. Again, not that dense, but enjoyable.

Jean Marc Millot – Pinot Noir – Cote de Nuits Vilages – 2009 (17.2). A taut and closed wine that will need a year or two to open up.

Domaine De La Vougeraie – Pinot Noir – Gevrey Chambertin – 2009 (17.5+). A more traditional nose that has hints of medicinal notes and a touch of stalkiness that does not detract. The palate leads off with sour cherry fruit and really builds with air. Very good length and texture. Old fashioned? Sure, but this is an enjoyable Burgundy.

Jean Marc Millot – Pinot Noir – Vosne Romanee – 1er Cru – Les Suchots – 2009 (18). A lovely wine that is both complex and seductive. The nose is redolent of cherry, spice, tar and forest floor notes, all over bright red fruit. The palate is chewy and dense, while the fruit is quite closed. I like this.

Louis Latour – Pinot Noir – Nuits-St George – 1er Cru – Les Murgers – 2009 (NR). A bad bottle.

Hudelot-Noellat – Pinot Noir – Nuits-St George – 1er Cru – Les Damodes – 2009 (18+). Another lovely nose here that is seductive and surprisingly feminine. Fresh fruit abounds on a vibrant palate that has lovely souring acidity to complement the cherry fruit. Great length and persistence.

Humbert Freres – Pinot Noir – Gevrey Chambertin – 1er Cru – Poissenots – 2009 (17.5). A wine in two parts. The nose is perfumed and fresh, with cherry, tar and berry notes. The palate is long, though it is quite lean and angular at present. Like many wines from this commune, this should flesh out with time and score higher points when it does.

Marchand & Burch – Pinot Noir – Gevrey Chambertin – 1er Cru – Fonteny – 2009 (18). The nose on this is very closed and hints at earthy notes. The palate however is a revelation. The fruit is fine and refined, though the plentiful (ripe) tannins completely shut down the finish. Needs years to show its best, but may well be a star.

Louis Latour – Pinot Noir – Corton Grancey – Grand Cru – 2009 (18.5). A powerful wine that retains its elegance. Although structured and closed, this is silky, supple and very long. The palate is all about potential. The finish is near seamless, and there is the first signs of the fruit fanning out on a very fine finish.

Jean Marc Millot – Pinot Noir – Echezeaux – Grand Cru – 2009 (18.5). There is a richness to the fruit here that has real appeal. This is very powerful, though there is a freshness to the fruit that imbues life into the wine. Whilst the palate is very closed, the quality is obvious. More delicate than the other two Grand Crus, this is also more delicious now.

Marchand & Burch – Pinot Noir – Chambertin Clos de Beze – Grand Cru – 2009 (18/18.5+). Fruit, oak, winemaking… everything about this wine speaks quality but the wine has not come together yet. Really closed and tight, this may well be the best wine here. It will, however, take 20 years to find out. (I will never know, as this is frightfully expensive).