Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Burgundy, Day Two

Some weeks are better than others. This week has started off exceptionally well. I’ve got a shiny new MacBook Pro to blog with. Arsenal went to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea 2-1. And I spent the day yesterday tasting wines at the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, J-F Mugnier and Georges Roumier, followed by a lovely dinner with David Croix and Mary Taylor at the Domaine des Croix.

I’m here in Burgundy with my friends Jean-Baptiste and brooklynguy, which should immediately raise all sorts of alarms. It’s always a pleasure to come to the Côte d’Or, and it’s certainly a pleasure to taste Grand Things. Burgundy, after all, is full of them. But it’s equally as delightful to be surprised a little.

I suppose one of the biggest surprises is how well the 2007s are tasting, close to the end of their élevage in barrel. It’s a vintage that isn’t likely to get much attention among either consumers or the press, but it’s one that aligns very much with my personal aesthetic sensibilities. If Burgundy vintages such as 2005, 1999 or 1990 are what turn you on, you’ll likely pass over the 2007s. However, if you value elegance, clarity and a precisely detailed expression of terroir, the best 2007s will be wines to seek out. I love the clear, crystalline distinctions between different crus in this vintage, and I also love the clean, unencumbered purity of fruit. They aren’t rich wines, and I don’t want them to be. The fruit is ripe but not flamboyant, and rather than being overly concerned with itself, it seems to constantly refer back to elements of soil. It’s a perfect vintage for the terroir-obsessed.


This morning with Pierre Morey in Meursault, among the many, many wines that we tasted were two beautiful 2007 reds that perfectly illustrated the idea of terroir: a Meursault rouge from Les Durots and a Volnay Santenots. I loved the Meursault for its ample breadth and supple texture—you don’t often taste many red wines labeled as Meursault, and this seemed to echo the classic breadth and generosity of Meursault blanc, only translated into pinot noir. The Santenots, on the other hand, was typical Santenots: minerally, focused and racy, with a feeling of structure and tension. The two vineyards are actually right next to each other, but Morey says that the subsoil of Durots contains more clay, while Santenots is highly calcareous, which is clearly felt in the wine. Morey’s parcel of Santenots lies in the lieu-dit of Les Plures, and he told me that the Meursault Désirée of Comtes Lafon comes from the same vineyard—if it were a red wine, it would be called Volnay Santenots. He would know, after all, as he made the Lafon wines under a sharecropping agreement prior to 1988. I love these little tidbits of information.

3 comments:

EuroMattsons said...

Glad you're enjoying your trip! Say "hi" to Tista for me. Lisa Mattson

David said...

Hello Peter,

You have already done some great visits!
Pierre Morey is a really lovely man and I am always fascinated when I discuss with him. I learned a lot by spending time in his cellar tasting the wines.
He was 'métayer' from the domaine des Comtes Lafon until early the 1990s (1992). However the process of giving back the parcels started in 1987.
By the way I believe Dominique Lafon ripped out all the Meursault Désirée vines after the 2005 harvest. This is one of the best village parcels.

Best regards.
David

peter said...

I'm so glad you guys got to hook up with Mary and David. Needless to say I've been well-marinated in jealousy all week. Sounds like a hell of a trip.