Some weeks just work out to be that bit special in terms of the wines one gets to experience. The week just gone was a case in point:
First up, lunch in the office with some guests who are not from either Burgundy or Piedmont (or Italy for that matter) so a couple of magnums were called for.
Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014, Domaine Leflaive, Magnum – quickly tasted in the morning and then not decanted and served in Zalto universals – the wine had a lovely whiff of gentle reduction to start (I like reduction) then a focused intensity of white fruits and just a little bit of yellow citrus pushing through. This is almost the model I would like to base all white Burgundy on. Fresh, intensity, rich but elegant – there’s a lot to come for sure but it is absolutely no waste to drink it now – belting!
Monfortino Barolo Riserva 2005, Giacomo Conterno, Magnum – I double decanted this about 2 hours in advance to give it a little air but also so that it could be served from the bottle. It is at a stage, lets call it adolescence, where I can imagine it taste different every time. This was super, a little bit of gentle structure supporting a lovely Nebbiolo fruit character – red and dark fruits, all with a tangy of saltiness. The body is just about medium weight the persistence is special. The drinkability is addictively moreish and welcoming.
Both wines are on the early side in a classical way of thinking but, my obvious bias aside, they are both special now and exciting in their “drink-me-ness” which after all is what it should be about – IMHO.
Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2008 – not served too cool, this is (overused cliché alert) more a sparkling nutty focused Meursault than it is a Champagne, light on its feet but with depth, just a delicious bottle – now or in 15 years. I wish I owned some.
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2010, Bonneau du Martray – I only really notice it now as I’ve just done the Monfortino note above but the same thing makes me love both wines – the moreishness of salinity – there is a salty tangy to the white fruits in this most noble of Burgundies. What I have most loved about Bonneau is the confidence it shows. It is the guest at a dinner who by the end of the night you just can’t wait to see again – not necessarily high octane, not showy just, frankly, absolutely delicious.
And so to the “Grand P”…
Petrus 2012 – this is an absolute “puppy”, it can’t contain its excitement – the raw materials are awesome but the time is not now, the density of fruit is scarily intense. Mocha and dark chocolate with a little spice. the weight is good but not overly heavy – it is almost intimidating in the sense of presence it has. Leave for 10 years or more- everything is there.
Petrus 1999 – wafts of truffle to the nose this is a joyously easy to understand as the 2012 is awesomely tight. The palate is a delight, elegant, mid weight and fruited but in a lovely almost degraded way – this far surpassed what I expected. It will hold, for sure, but now it is a super balancing energy, freshness and maturity – lovely!
The following day I was over the water (in Bordeaux Speak) and at a tasting of Duhart-Milon that was followed by a Paulee:
Duhart-Milon Vertical – the warmer vintages:
2019 – not long bottled, showing a good intensity of texture, nose not that showy just yet. Feels good if muted.
2018 – proper, loved this and thought it an archetypal Pauillac – dark fruit and a shade of graphite – much fun to be had in the future, a balanced richness.
2016 – energetic with a rich freshness, redder notes appearing (not elsewhere). Vibrant.
2015 – loved this, may be less Pauillac in character, had a certain brightness and confidence.
2009 – some cigar box just arriving – not as primary for the first time in the tasting, supple but not light, a lot to like here, eminently drinkable in quantity. Relaxed but no lounge lizard, might just drink for a long time.
2005 – just what I was hoping it’d be, serious but just approachable enough to lure you in. Every taste makes you wonder if it’s a bit strict but it isn’t.
and with that it was Paulee time…
“P” for Paulee – the rules of engagement were that the wine had to have a link to a “P”, either commune or producer or wine name etc – a degree of this decision being the guest of honour, all the away from Pauillac, was Jean-Guillaume Prats…all served Blind while we made fools of ourselves….
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 2011 En Magnum – one of very few 2011s released in Champagne and deliciously elegant for a 100% Pinot Noir, this was a properly lovely start.
Condrieu Coteau du Chery 2014, Andre Perret – Even I got this as a Condrieu, the gregariousness of the fruit was there but not sickly. I like the outgoing nature and it was retaining fruit well.
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne 2010, Maison Leroy – This was a quirky one, there was a lactic element to the texture but a good sense of character if hard to define.
Sancerre Rouge Vendanges Entieres, Vincent Pinard – Not a producer I know but clearly one I should know from everyone else’s reaction. 100% Pinot Noir. I didn’t note the vintage and can’t see it on any of the pics. The character was a confident red fruit with backbone. The texture was neither lush nor nervous and yet both at the same time. Exploring to do!
Pingus 2008, Dominio de Pingus Peter Sisseck – This was my bottle. Double decanted about 3 hours before serving. The guesses were very interesting, mainly in the direction of “Bordeaux?” then a few people asked “Italy?” more because it was me that anything. But the overall opinion was of quality and in many cases this was people’s first Pingus – I felt a little smug…it is a wine just starting to strut its stuff.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Lieu-dit Pignan 2012, Pierre Henri Morel En Magnum – A few Ps here. Arguably the surprise of the night. Liked by all but not seen to be CNDP in style, there was a lush freshness that certainly wasn’t En Vogue back in the 1990s and 2000s when the commune became a play thing for Parker points. Succulent elegance.
La Pialade 2012 – this is what Grenache can offer as elegance, wild strawberry and grey pepper, just super delicious. What’s not to like, punchy persistent elegance.
Barolo Riserva “Vigna San Giuseppe” Bricco Boschis 2001, Cavallotto – having had a disappointing 2011 of the very same wine only 2 weeks ago I was delighted to see how elegant and truly Nebbiolo this was, a little bit of frazzle, that ferrous nervousness and moreish acidity. In a great place now.
Duhart-Milon 1990, Pauillac – this was a youthful expression but oh so lovely, just degrading but in an optimal way…the sort of wine you want a magnum of, enticing.
Lafite 1959, Pauillac – From the Chateau recently, I wonder how? This was one of the least pretentiously great wines I can remember, almost too balanced, too effortless! Understatedly aristocratic. Glorious.
Poujeaux 1965, Moulis – A certain “NM” bought this because P for Poujeaux and also who’s had a 1965? (well except for this) – it is a fair point of sorts. The wine was clinging on but then it is 10 years older than me.
Grand-Puy-Lacoste 1982, Pauillac – This was yet another Pauillac gem and as a neighbour of Duhart-Milon a somewhat savvy choice. I have stated how good I feel GPL has been in the 2014-2020 run and this just backs that up (indirectly) it was a wine of lovely ease and yet proper proportions. Impossible not to like…
Taylors 1970 Very Old Single Harvest Port – I spent a couple of minutes trying to workout where on earth there was a P in Madeira – grape or producer etc before I remembered I often do this and of course it was vintage Tawny Port instead. Why this isn’t a Colheita (or may be it is but doesn’t say so) I don’t know but it was properly good. Dates and mellow degraded fruit and a good acidity (I tell myself that this why I thought Madeira). Crazy to think anything this clean and super nice is 50 years old…
Week done…what a gem!