Last month saw two of Burgundy’s greatest producers join us in Hong Kong, and in case you aren’t sure if the market results spoke for themselves, let my palate speak to you instead. Time always seems to move faster when in HK, but thanks to the wines of Dujac and Roulot, time stood still on many occasions throughout the week.
The first night was at Yung Kee, a must-dining experience when in HK, don’t forget to try the goose. It was a private dinner with The Chairman, although he was a bit under the weather, so we proceeded without him, but with two of his top Generals to report back. Jean-Marc Roulot was a day behind us, but he made sure to start us off right with a 2009 Roulot Meursault Boucheres.
Road Map Madness
There was pure, crystallized fruit and great citrus dust to this clean wine. There was big character here, and sweet white fruit flavors along with light pats of butter and minerals. There would be two words that kept recurring in my descriptors of Roulot’s wines throughout the week – delicious and drinkable. The Boucheres performed accordingly (93).
We sampled a few oldies that were also goodies next, beginning with a 1959 Carruades de Lafite, which had a great nose. It was still fresh despite some cobwebs to its cedar. Quite meaty and gamey, its nose rounded out with touches of candle wax. The palate was elegant and understated, ripe without any hard edges. Vanilla flavors were first, then jasmine tea ones developed with time. It lasted longingly in the glass (94).
A 1961 Talbot lived up to the hype of the vintage. Aromas of caramel, curds and whey framed its inviting and pleasant fruit. Carob was everywhere to be found, and while its palate was soft, tender and mature, it still had nice acid, and this was still an excellent wine (93).
1961 Talbot Showing Well
The next wine blew the roof off the mother, and rightfully so, since it was a 1961 Haut Brion. It is always great when theory and practice come together, which is what happened in this glorious bottle of HB. All these old wines came from our featured collection in the Jan HK auction; those that bought from it will be very happy. The nose was so deep, possessing ‘an emotional dimension’ per Jeremy Seysses, Mr. Dujac himself. There was an enormous amount of purple and black fruit in this young and expanding wine. The fruit had a return address from chocolate city, and while fresh, it showed sex appeal with its mature, forward and fleshy qualities. The palate was rich, sumptuous and flat-out spectacular. Chunky and long, the HB also had delectable caramel and salt flavors on its finish. The 1961 Haut Brion showed the difference between good and great (98).
Move Over Talbot
I recently wrote up the 1988 Dujac Clos de la Roche; this was actually the first of two bottles that I had during the week. I need to travel with Jeremy more often! The nose was fabulous, ‘so much fruit for an ’88,’ I wrote. Jennie noted, ‘honeydew’ in its sweet nose, and Jeremy admired its ‘perfume and elegance.’ There was great spice from this ‘high acid vintage,’ and its tender palate had flesh, but its finish showed ’88 muscle. There were touches of broth and citrus to this wine, which was ‘pure pleasure’ per Sebastien and ‘sexiness with character’ per another. I gave it one point more than the second bottle sampled a couple of days later. That fact can be summed up by the three C’s: context, circumstance and competition (94).
The 1978 Dujac Clos de la Roche was a wine that made me think about greatness, as it always has. And when I started to think about greatness, I thought about three of Burgundy’s greatest vintages – 1978, 1985 and 1990. And then I thought about combining those three vintages into one entity, and asking myself who would be considered the best of the best. For me, the answer is clear, Dujac, and this 1978 reminded me why. There was a minty complexity to its crazy aromatics. So oily, so sexy and so wow, the ’78 had aromas of cherry, rose and cigar box without the cigar. This was a smoky fire pit of a wine, and autumnal flavors decorated by mint and tang provided just the right color commentary. This was polished and still fresh, again showing mature flavors but in no need of rushing. That’s what well-stored bottles of great wine do (97).
We also had a 1999 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee St. Vivant after the Dujacs, but either I was done, or the Dujacs took me away to a magical place where I could not taste anything else. It is not always easy to recalibrate to young after drinking old. 1999 and DRC is usually an undefeatable combination.
The next night we welcomed Jean-Marc Roulot, as well as magnums of three of his very special wines. But first, we had a bottle of bub, a 1996 Roederer Cristal magnum, to be exact. This has always been a pet Cristal of mine, perhaps the last great one they have made? Its sweet, buttery and kinky personality were what great Cris is all about, and it was approachable despite its intensity and zippy acidity (96M).
The first magnum of Roulot was a 2004 Roulot Meursault Charmes. Jean-Marc shared with us that he was a sixth generation winemaker, and 1989 was his first, official vintage where he was in charge. 2004 was a ‘challenging vintage’ per Jean-Marc, but the end result was ‘energy and high acidity.’ The Old Dirty Bastard found the ’04 beautiful, or perhaps he was commenting on the young waitress that just passed by. The Charmes did have a fantastic nose, very aromatic with its butter, spice, minerals and smoke. It was so ’04, so complex, so delicious and so easy to drink. There was a ‘seamlessness of flavors,’ a ‘form of polish’ and a purity here that was bordering on divine. My only question about the wine is whether it will ever get better; that goes for ’04 whites in general (95M).
Sweaty and Ready Roulots
The next white took it up a notch, it being a magnum of 1999 Roulot Meursault Perrieres. It had a deeper nose with enticing smokiness and nuttiness, and more minerality. There was this cavernous quality to the nose, and while the palate wasn’t quite as fat as the nose, but it had more length and acidity. The palate was also flintier and smokier than the nose. The ODB found the Perrieres ‘more reserved,’ and while leaner than the average ’99, it was also longer and more austere. This was a serious and substantial white that got stronger, fatter, longer, better. 1999 was ‘a classic vintage’ per Jean-Marc, ‘what we wish for every vintage.’ It reminded him of 1979, high praise, indeed (96M).
The 1985 Roulot Meursault Perrieres was ‘pungent’ and ‘aggressive’ per the ODB. There was also corn in this buttery, gamey and stalky nose. It had a touch of awkward vegetable in the nose with some wet alley there, but its flavors shook shook that mango tree. Buttery and creamy, the ’85 had sexy, candy corn flavors in an open and glazed way. It was so exotic, and it got better. There was an intensity to the flesh of the 1985, in a ‘street girl’ way. The ’04 was the Russian, the ’99 was the wife, and the ’85 was the street girl, per the only man who could come up with such an analogy. The Old Dirty Bastard still lives, and he likes it rawwwwwww (95M).
Two Handsome Gentlemen
We bid adieu to the wines of Jean-Marc, and welcomed those of Jeremy. Jeremy’s father started in the abysmal 1968 vintage, which saw an unheard 45 straight days of rain. Perhaps that was good fortune, because ‘it will never be worse than ’68,’ per papa Jacques, and so far, he has been right. The Domaine’s name actually comes from ‘Du Jacques,’ ie, of Jacques. Jeremy told us he is waiting for the right time to change the Domaine’s name to Dujeremy lol.
We started with a rare bottle of 1993 Dujac Chambolle Musigny Gruenchers, of which only 900 bottles were made. The ODB was cooing early, finding the wine ‘delicious,’ and he was right. Jeremy noted how in 1993 the grapes were at the lower end of ripeness, alluding that ripeness does not always mean greatness in Burgundy. The Gruenchers had a fabulous nose, stalky and stemmy like a good ’93 should be, along with perfume and oily fruit. I never had that epiphany moment that many have when it comes to great wine, but this ’93 Gruenchers definitely felt like the first time. There was fruit, substance and wow to this drinkable and thinkable red (95).
The 1997 Dujac Bonnes Mares had the rubber, citrus and stew of 1997, benevolently green with bamboo to support. The palate was soft, plush and some kind of wonderful; it was a very pure wine. Jeremy shared that his father had an ‘affinity and affection’ for 1997, which happened to be the vintage where Jeremy first put his feet in the grapes, so to speak. Although he didn’t fully take over until 2005, Jeremy modestly shared that he started to have influence in 2001, as much as that would be possible with a father around who had done things his way for the last thirty years lol. I know that feeling! Jeremy felt that it wasn’t the ‘greatest vintage but to my taste and very Dujac.’ Traces of cinnamon were present in this vibrant red. ‘Fifteen years is a good age to drink Grand Cru Burgundy,’ especially from the average to good years (ie too soon for the great ones still!) (93).
The 1990 Dujac Echezeaux just came in and dunked on the two previous wines at the same time. Remember the statement about ’78, ’85 and ’90? Here was the case for the 1990. This was a high-pitched wine whose nose was meaty, oily and minty. The fruit was what 1990 should be, I wrote, meaning not the stewed perplexity from this vintage that many wines have attained. There was an exotic, limey edge that made things on my body stand up. This was a rich, noble wine with soda, grape and bamboo flavors (96).
Here was the case for 1985 Dujacs, argued brilliantly by a magnum of 1985 Dujac Clos St. Denis. Its nose was sexy silky sweet without the comma, along with perfumed. There was both richness and elegance here, with flashes of Red Light District and a drop of exotic Hamas oil. Imagine that lol, but that’s what it was, and the 1985 immediately took my palate hostage. The palate was incredibly tasty, with autumnal flavors that blended in between tea and wet sex. Wet, hot sex. This wine was so great; it was saucy without being heavy, and it had the ODB with both hands under the table. He thumped on that the 1985 was ‘immortal and perpetual like a great bond.’ Yes, the ODB is also a banker lol (97M).
Could it be possible? A 1978 Dujac Clos de la Roche on consecutive nights? This feat reduced my bucket list by one. There was even more richness here than the 1985. I wrote, ‘so complicated, see last night’s notes.’ There was a honeyed richness to it on this night, along with a minerality that sung zippedy doo dah. Someone remarked how the 1985 was ‘soulful and weightless’ while the ’78 was ‘earthy and rustic.’ Jeremy reminded us how the Grand Crus only represent 2% of the production in Burgundy. Top of the pyramid, for sure (97+).
There was one more night before showtime, and the wines from both Domaines were ready for another sneak preview performance. The 2009 Roulot Meursault Tillets was stunningly delicious, and the third 2009 Meursault from Roulot to show extremely well this week. There was no doubt about its pleasure and drinkability, but it was still cut and classic with nice minerals and toast. It was pretty yet serious, but it was so good to drink, arguably as good as it will get. While most Burgundy white lovers are already in the 2010 camp over 2009s, there is no doubting Jean-Marc made fabulous nines (93+).
A Lineup to Love
The 2008 Roulot Meursault Tessons, Clos de Mon Plaisir had great aromas of dust, citrus and spice. There was a lemony goodness to its nose, and a desert-like complexity with its warm, sunny fruit. There was more body and power here in the ’08, yet this was another delicious Roulot. It’s as if he has a trademark on deliciousness! Tangy citrus flavors and firm acidity highlighted the Tessons (93).
The 2006 Roulot Meursault Tessons, Clos de Mon Plaisir was fresh, sweet and divine. It was in an even better spot with a couple more years of bottle age, and its smoky, fleshy palate drank so well, it felt as if it had been sprinkled with fairy dust. Yet another delicious Roulot (94).
The second flight continued the trending with a 2007 Roulot Meursault Porusot, which was deep and reserved by comparison. There were some complex pheromones in its nose, along with snowcapped, citrus ice flavors. The 2007 was ‘one of my favorite vintages,’ Jean-Marc told us. This was a big and brooding wine with a long, lingering and sexy finish. 2007 whites do rock. This is the vintage that Roulot considers the first ‘real 100% Roulot Porusot’ since it is when they began to do all the vineyard work, also keeping the entire harvest (94+).
Jean-Marc on the Mic
Next up was a 2004 Roulot Meursault Boucheres, a wine that Roulot no longer makes. RIP, 1996-2010. Now, he has the monopole vineyard of Clos de Boucheres, whose first vintage will be 2011, and Jean-Marc is very excited to work with this even better terroir. The Boucheres still stood on its own, as this was a ‘precise’ wine per one, possessing ‘lemon sorbet’ per another. There were aromas and flavors of sweet citrus, mountain snow and minerals to go with its long finish. There was more structure here, but a touch of squareness to match. This was a powerhouse which got smokier in the glass (94).
It was time to say goodbye to Roulot, but what a goodbye it was. The 1996 Roulot Meursault Charmes had this unusual burnt plastic meets talcum powder thing going on, but somehow in a great way. This was baby bottoms up, with more open fruit and lots of honey to go with its signature lemon. The acid still longed to go on, and its flavors had this unusual yet exciting new car meets fireplace action, as in the new car got you in front of the fireplace, you know what comes next. The 1996 Charmes was incredibly and unusually complex, and on the money (95M).
Enter Sandman, I mean Dujac, with a pair of Captain Grunchers, 1998 meets 1997. The 1998 Dujac Chambolle Musigny Gruenchers was tight and serious in the nose, still perfumed but its zip, intensity and structure were clearly in the front seat. The palate was long and near outstanding, with rose and cherry red flavors, along with a leathery finish that also had ‘shroom, earth and cedar flavors. Great juice (94).
The 1997 Dujac Chambolle Musigny Gruenchers was delicious and forward, tasty and ripe with green tannins and an open and giving personality. Many preferred the open style of the 1997. One gentleman who shall certainly remain nameless likened the 1998 to the wife, and the 1997 to the girlfriend. This made me content with preferring the 1998 (93).
Jeremy ‘Biggie’ Seysses
A pair of 1996s had me clearly in one camp again. The 1996 Dujac Clos St. Denis had acid in its nose in that usual 1996 screechy way. There were also aromas of bamboo, green fruit, citrus and lemon in this clean and vibrant red (93).
The 1996 Dujac Clos de la Roche had a deeper nose and possessed more fruit; there was a volume here unmatched by any red on this night. There was power, acid and more flesh on the palate, which had purple and vitamin flavors and a thick finish (95).
The last flight was a pair of magnums, beginning with the 2000 Dujac Clos de la Roche. This was another wine that instantly felt special, and particularly clean, fine and dusty in its aromatic profile. This came across as a very drinkable vintage, with chocolaty aromas and sweet, fruit salad flavors. This was pretty yet still serious (93M).
A Different Perspective
The 2000 Dujac Bonnes Mares had a deeper nose with this Bordeaux edge to it. I can’t make out most of the rest of my note, although thick and foresty remained legible. It was a good thing this was the last wine of the night (92M).
It was a memorable week, thanks to two of Burgundy’s most memorable producers. It was amazing to me how delicious everything was, and I mean everything. Every great cellar will always remain incomplete without wines from Dujac and Roulot.
One Eye Always Open After Dinner
In Vino Veritas,