We tasted 13 Grand Crus in 5 flights over a dinner in the basement at Cru. This was masterfully planned and orchestrated by David Hamburg from Acker, who also was the guide through the evening. The group of people were generally serious Burgundy lovers and many have been at this much, much longer than me. Air was not a friend to most of these wines and for some of them the first minute was the best, while for others they improved over time, but most of them faded over 2 hours or so. These should be popped and drunk. The provenance of these wines were unquestioned, having been bought at release by a single collector and there were no storage problems. Only one bottle was a clunker. The fills were high, often top neck, at worst high shoulder/low neck and the color was good on all the wines.
The first flight started with the Joseph Faively Corton - Clos des Corton. Faively has the reputation of making wines to last (or if you are cynical, that are perpetually too young. The Corton stll has good color, slightly turning tawny. Strong and powerful typical Corton nose but not as powerful in the mouth. Still fresh, but not big. nice, but unexceptional. I enjoy the 1990 much more. 90.
The next wine was the Robert Arnoux Clos de Vougeot. This was very much the opposite of its pairing. lighter on the nose, it was powerful, earthy and spicy in the mouth with a rich finish. Delicious. surprisingly after a minute, the wine began to thin out. Over an hour it got thinner. It was still nice, but if you get a bottle, it needs to be drunk quite quickly. 91
The second flight started with a big hitter, the Vogue Musigny Vielles Vignes. Since I had bought this at auction, I was nervous. I was shocked by a big, huge animal nose that I did not expect. In the mouth it was powerful, earthy, spicy and a little floral (in a nice way). Lots of action and complexity in the finish. This is a wine of great structure, completely integrated with wonderful balance. It has it all. After an hour it was only getting bigger and stronger and it started to fade at 2 hours. 95
Next was the Mommessin Clos de Tart. Allen Meadows gave this wine an 85 and in the bottle it looked brownish. In glass it looked fresh. Big Spicy nose. Typical CDT in the mouth but more so, rich, earthy, dried tea and white pepper and almost creamy in texture. Very full and deep. Strong at an hour, faded at 2. There was a lot of debate with a minority believing this was the wine of the flight. no question excellent and the best CDT I have had. Definitely outperformed the lovely 1990 we had in August. 94
The final wine of the flight was the Giroud Charmes Chambertin. At opening this wine was somewhat simple and monolithic. After a few minutes, it was fruity and very nice. In other company, it would be considered quite fine, but in this flight it could not stand up. After 2 hours it developed more complexity and I upgraded my score from 90 to 91
Flight 3 began with the Dr. Georges Mugneret Ruchottes Chambertin. This was a controversial wine, with some feeling that it was the true expression of it s terroir, but the company it was in made it tough. it is a very fine wine with a rich , dark cherry nose. In the mouth, it had more earth and less fruit with strong acidity and tannins present and plenty of life left. This wine stood up well until finished and improved over the 2 hours it was open. 92
Next was the Maison Joseph Drouhin Chambertin. Wow. Knockout richness, strong fruit and power with great elegance. Definitely a candidate for wine of the night. This wine was everything it was trying to be and it is a pleasure. 96.
The last wine of the flight was the Clos de Beze and for several people, it was their favorite. Complex, spicy, real staying power and had the most going on in the flight. a beautiful wine. (One of the people said the spice was a pappidam pepper). 94
The fourth flight was the weakest flight of the night. It began with Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux which one person thought was the best expression they had experienced, but to me it had a spicy nose, aromatic complexity and was a little astringent on the finish (high alchohol?). it was a nice Echezeaux, but did not compare to the 99 Dujac we had a few weeks ago. 91
Next was the Engel Grand Echezeaux and it started stronger, rich and creamy and my first note was gorgeous, which I crossed out on the second taste as it faded quickly. 91
The Charles Noellat Richebourg was the dud of the evening. Flat and funky. 80
The final flight was a knockout. We started with the DRC Romanee St. Vivant. Unbelievably rich, perfumed, elegant nose. In the mouth, POP, dense, rich, round, integrated, fruity and elegant. This is best RSV I have had. It faded over an hour, but was still beautiful. 96
We finished with the Leroy Mazis Chambertin and this wine was all it as meant to be, truly revealing the terroir with a barnyardy, intense nose. In the mouth it is pure power, wild and yet elegant at the same time. This wine had the most stuffing of the night and was getting better and better as it was finished after an hour. 96
The Vogue, Clos de Tart, Clos de Beze, Drouhin, DRC and Leroy were outstanding experiences and i would buy any of these (money not being an issue) and drink again. This was a great reference point for me with these wines. A true delight.