A recent purchase of a case of 1971 Roumier Bonnes Mares brought together one of the finest cartels of Burgundy collectors known to man this past Tuesday at Montrachet in New York City. I say cartel in good fun, as Doug likes to remind me that it’s only a group of friends.. The lawyer in him knows the difference! There was one unfortunate absence due to a cold, but a friend of one of the group’s filled in, making it six of us, or seven if you count the omnipresent Daniel Johnnes, omnipresent at least when it comes to great Burgundy events.
We warmed up with a couple of interesting whites, a 1993 Roumier Corton Charlemagne and a 1988 Ramonet Chassagne Montrachet Caillerets.. The Roumier was very toasty and perfumed in the nose with good butter, kernel and mineral aromas. The nose was fresh and had light citrus edges, a splash of anise and a healthy dose of vanilla. Daniel brought up the previous evening’s 1993 Marc Colin Montrachet as a fabulous example of the vintage, as Doug was there the prior night as well, proving the age-old adage that there is no such thing as too much Montrachet. The Corton Charlemagne was a pretty wine, round and plateau-ing, with a medium body. Its citrus flavors were starting to sour a little, and there were traces of light minerals and yeast on the finish. With time, its finish got toastier and smokier, and the wine did gain in the glass, flirting with a very good score but ultimately falling a hair short (89). The Ramonet’s nose seemed very mature with a lot of bread and caramel, a pinch of mint and an overall yeasty character. I was remarking how much good luck I have had with the 1988 whites in general as of late, and Doug 2 (there were two Dougs there) concurred, calling many superb.. Unfortunately, this wasn.t one of them! There was a medicinal edge that blended into this wild, waxy and foresty wine. The flavors were much more disjointed, and Ben called it very dry and more apple cider.. The palate was a severe letdown from the nose and showed tart and musty flavors (84).
Next up was a 1995 Roumier Musigny. Ahhhhhhhhh. The nose was very complex as there was a lot happening in it, but it was a little chaotic as it was moving in so many directions at once. There was a (positive) stemmy, stalky and almost bready edge to the wine with a splash of wild cherry liqueur. The wine had gamy tendencies and a pinch of medicine blurring into its olive aromas. There was an exotic and fleshy character that was also stewed with some benevolent vegetable edges. The palate was absolutely fabulous with flavors of bloody mary (see Truly), taut cherry, earth and mineral. The wine was smooth and long with a good, fine finish. The 1995 was delicious at this stage, but I could see its shyness at the same time, that innocence of youth. A lot of iodine came out on the palate in the glass (94). Ben had a funny line that wasn.t related to the Musigny, but I figured I would share it anyway: Owning a vineyard in California’s become like owning an airplane..
We had two wines in the next flight. The first was a very rare 1966 Gouges Nuits St. Georges Les St. Georges.. It had a dark, deep nose full of meaty, gamy fruit, bacon, earth and some back of the barnyard. Jim commented that he felt like I’m out in the forest scampering about being chased down by some truffle-seeking pigs.. It was actually a great analogy! The wine was indubitably dirty and stinky, but many Burg lovers like that. The palate was rich, meaty and long with lots of alcohol and dirt on the finish, a bit too much earth and dirt for me, though. Dwight found just a pinch of maderization that others were less sensitive too (90). The Gouges was accompanied by a gorgeous bottle of 1972 Ponsot Clos de la Roche. Ben started off sharing a comment that was shared with him by the current Ponsot, which was that when the father was making the wine, which he was for 1972, he drank seven bottles of Cremant de Bourgogne a day! Hiccup. The nose showed more youth than age, with the alcohol sneaking to the foreground in a subtle manner, accompanied by beautiful leather and black cherry aromas. The palate was rich and saucy with a touch of Tabasco to its heat. It was a beautiful and sturdy palate, at full maturity but still not fading, holding and with excellence. It had the stems, spice, minerals and a touch of benevolent tomato (93).
We started with a 1978 H. Jayer Vosne Romanee Les Brulees. with two other wines to accompany the entrée. The nose was fabulous and incredibly youthful. Dwight accurately observed how the 78 smelled like Grand Cru but tastes like Premier Cru.. The fruit in the nose was creamy, rich and full of purple and black fruits, vanilla wafer, and white meat, with great earth and a sprinkle of chocolate. The tannins and alcohol were still vigorously buried. The palate was initially meaty, rich and long, far from light. as Dwight said, but I definitely saw the less filling. factor of the Premier Cru sandwiched in between the two Grand Crus. It did not expand in the glass, either, all combining for excellence but short of outstanding (94). The 1971 Roumier Bonnes Mares, the reason we were all together in the first place, finally made an appearance. Doug 2 called it nice and raunchy.. The nose was exotic, gamy, earthy and horsy. There was still sweet fruit there, a brown sugared sweetness. There were also nice rose and vitamin aromas, with a pinch of citric tension. The palate had nice richness, meat and a long, fine finish but was still gamy and horsy and got more confused in the glass. The alcohol held, and the citrus factor crept up the ladder, as did the game. Someone likened it to Macon bacon.. (94) The 1969 Faiveley Musigny had a sugared nose with oat, hay, nutmeg and a gingerbread sweet quality to its fruit, which I found atypical of the rustic 69 vintage. There was also a locker room quality to its nose, yes locker room. Both the nose and palate had a lot of character, but the palate was more about the earth, band-aid, tomato and worchestshire. The wine gained in the glass a little without elevating and started to fade sooner rather than later (91).
At this point, things were starting to digress a bit as the topic started changing to our second favorite topic, but there were still two wines left, the first being a 1953 Leroy La Romanee, a recently re-released one. It was consistent with the bottle I had prior. The nose was sweet and baked, with crushed grape, plum, nut, vanilla, tea and Asian spice. The fruit was mature, and the palate had good leather, was long and fine. There was lots of brown sweetness there (93+). The 1945 Noellat Richebourg was completely maderized (DQ). See you next week.