There’s a lot of great wine lovers that live north of the border, eh? Without question, one of Canada’s finest would be a gentleman named Frank. For those of you that know Frank, you would know that you might find him at Barberian’s, Canada’s finest steakhouse. And of course, Frank would be drinking Burgundy, as that is his passion, so Burgundy we all brought.
We began with a quartet of Faiveley Corton Charlemagne, starting with the 1996. It was smoky and toasty on the full-bodied side with minty twists and ice and citrus aromas. There was nice length to its palate and a touch of minerals on its finish. It lingered nicely, became perfumed but also developed a touch of awkward potpourri (93).The 1995 was gamier and darker with more honey and white smoke. Its palate was round and deceptively rich but flabby in the middle and waxy on its finish. Someone remarked on its ‘coppertone doldrums of mid-nineties white Burgs.’ This was definitely an educated crowd (89).The 1992 was an improvement, more open as expected with some guava, honey and melon soup aromas. Its palate was more serious than expected, but it was hampered by a morning mouth finish at first. It became more tropical and caramel-y, benefitting from air (90).The last of this foursome was the 1989, which was quite lean and austere, possessing paint thinner in its nose, along with a lot of Rocky Mountain High. It was clean, long and elegant with some cat pee flavors (92).
First Things First
The first flight was interesting but not thrilling, and the last Chardonnay of this night stole the show white, so to speak, at least for now. The 1999 JN Gagnard Batard Montrachet had a white chocolate nose with wheat and smoke aromas. It was big and rich with a muscular, meaty finish. The terroir of Batard stood out, and this ’99 had more body, more flavors and more balance. It was mo’ better. Honeysuckle and a hint of brown spices rounded out this impressive white (94).
Ice Ice Baby
A pair of 1996s dueled to our first red finish. The 1996 DRC Echezeaux drew first, but it wasn’t standing last. The screech of 1996 stood out immediately, and aromas of rose, earth, chocolate, spice, cedar and mahogany made up its complex nose, and its fruit was just starting to fly, as with many ’96 Grand Crus. It was tighter on the palate, a bit lean and quite dry. Citrus, garden and weed flavors rounded out this very good, but not great red (92).
The 1996 Dujac Clos de la Roche was beautifully perfumed and aromatic with great, sexy fruit and musky, sweet, catnippy spice. Its palate was citrusy and benevolently acidic. It was fresh and clean with long, long acid. My only question was whether its taut yet seductive fruit would ever catch up (94)?
Two by Two
We moved to the next duel, a pair of 2002s. When it comes to the conversation of great vintages of the past fifteen years, this vintage tends to get overlooked, but it belongs in the conversation. The first shot was fired by the 2002 Drouhin Musigny, which had a great 2002 nose. There was pure red fruit, along with great clove and tobacco notes and a pinch of Mary Jane. This was a mmm, mmm good wine with a twist of lime rounding out its nose. Its rich, saucy and meaty palate was heavy yet agile. ‘Great tannins’ and ‘soaring’ came from the crowd. The only negative was that it shut down with some time in the glass (95+).
The 2002 Mugnier Bonnes Mares that followed had nice perfume along with winter and matchbox to its flinty, stony nose. It showed some skin, just enough to keep it interesting, and it was beautiful, long and smooth. The moral of the story of the last two flights was that 2002 is greater than 1996 (93).
The next flight unfortunately saw two corked wines, one being a 1991 M. Dugat Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques (DQ) and the other being a 1990 Confuron Romanee St. Vivant (DQ).The 1993 Faiveley Latricieres Chambertin in between them had a deep, earthy and heavy nose with pleasant gas and vitamin aromas. Its palate was more on the black fruit side in a dark and danky way. This was rich and hearty but lacking an extra dimension (92).
A 1959 Leroy Grands Echezeaux had deep brown sugar aromas with honey, oats and black cherry in tow. Someone ‘loved the barnyard’ in this polished and smooth wine. More oats accompanied its palate, but I wanted more out of this ancient wonder (92).
1 Out of 3 is Only Good in Baseball
The 1983 Ponsot Clos de la Roche V.V. was an open and lovely wine with lots of nut aromas. Someone noted, ‘dirty old barrels,’ and another added, ‘before the clean era.’ There was a backbone of both violet fruit and underarm. The palate was round, balanced and elegant, quite tasty with its rose, hibiscus and tea flavors. I have always liked 1983s for drinking and still do to this day (94).
It was only appropriate that the 1993 DRC La Tache was last. I have had this wine many times, and it has often been thrilling, but also often been square and unyielding. Fortunately, this bottle was the former. Cedar and mahogany took center stage as they are prone to do with ’93 DRCs, but there was also rich, make that wealthy, fruit with red rose and some touches of tomato. This was a long and balanced wine that had proper portions of fruit and finish. Citrus, cigar and vegetable goodness rounded out the palate. The wine got better and better and better (96+).
We plundered the list for a phenomenal bottle of 1993 Roulot Meursault Perrieres. Not too many places you can do that in the world, even in France! The Roulot quickly established itself as one of the wines of the night with its awesome aromas of bread soaked in oil, white fruits, light cream. It was ‘punching above his weight,’ per Aaron The Barberian, and its acid was still ever so slightly ascending. ‘Kumquat,’ ‘citrus’ and ‘ginger beer’ came from the crowd (96).
Last But Not Least
It is always nice to see great wine camaraderie amongst new faces in new places, and thanks to Frank, I made a few more amis on this fun, magical evening. All lovers of Burgundy are friends of mine.
I Cant Believe I Drank the Whole Thing
In Vino Veritas,