The idea of this dinner was to compare the various styles of White and Red Burgundy wines across various sub-regions. Except for a slight hiccup with the white wines, the night was very succesful and interesting.
The dinner was held at Restaurant Sojourn in Balmain. After two visits I’m certain that Sojourn is my new second-favourite restaurant in Sydney (behind only Tetsuya’s). The attention to detail and presentation of the food are brilliant. Plus it is outstanding value for money, we had 10 courses, extra bread, bottles of mineral water, corkage and tip for $135 AUD a head.
1998 Pol Roger Champagne Brut
Vigorous bead. A really nice nose showing lemon, yeast, smoke and a lifted floral character. The palate is nicely balanced – smooth and creamy with delicate flavour and a lingering sweetness. Open and really enjoyable now, I don’t think it is one to hold onto.
2002 Gérard Chavy & Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières
2000 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne
Corked … two in a row :\
2002 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 1er Cru Gouttes d’Or
A tight nose with fleeting aromas of peach, light caramel, florals and cashew. The palate is the highlight of this wine, with the oak, acid and fruit working together seamlessly to create something special. Subtle and light on its feet, finishing long and delicious.
2002 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne
A last minute callup after the initial disaster with the first two wines. Matchsticks are the dominant character on the nose as well as sesame, melon, honey and sea spray. Very approachable on the palate, despite the obvious youth and potential to improve. There is a richness of flavour that nicely balances the woven acid structure. Very classy and impeccable length.
2001 Henri Germain Beaune 1er Cru Les Bressandes
Nose of dark cherry, smoke and a touch of spicy oak. Palate is very soft and straightforward. Finishes a little bit short and bitter. Nice enough to drink, but nothing really grabbed me about this wine.
2002 La Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru Clos d’Audignac
An expressive, pure nose wafts out of the glass with musk, spice, candied florals and cherry. Palate lives up to the promise of the nose, with good flavour from restrained sweet fruit and balanced with soft tannins lending structure. Medium length and very hard to not enjoy greatly.
2000 J. Confuron-Cotetidot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
A very herbal and rustic nose that I have to say didn’t really appeal to me with tomato leaf, basil, broccoli and tobacco. The palate is better than the nose and is loaded with white pepper and savory spice. The tannins are looking for attention, but are of good quality. Was looking a bit awkward overall.
1999 Domaine Bruno Clavelier Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts
A bit of rubber/reductive character at the forefront of the nose, but if you could look past that, it was really lovely with rhubarb, raspberry, chocolate, iodine and a slate like note to it. Palate is really superbly structured with fine tannins and very good length. Could use another 5 years to develop at least.
1999 Domaine Bart Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
Deeply coloured. Powerful, brooding nose of violet, smoked meat and cherry. Palate also shows power and depth but it is well balanced with the delicate texture not overwhelmed. Tannins are very fine and don’t get in the way of the line and great length of the wine at all. Totally delicious to drink, with plenty of room to improve and gain extra complexity.
1995 Faiveley Corton-Clos des Cortons Grand Cru
Even denser in colour. Nose shows anise, fennel and plenty of spicy oak. One person compared the puckering tannins to Barolo, another to sucking on a teabag – both were apt descriptions. Massive, chewy and dense. Cries out for food, but even the food struggled to tame this wine. Has potential if the tannins soften, but I have to wonder if they will. Check back in 5 years.
1999 Domaine Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
Very closed and reticent on the nose with some cherry and spices peeking through. The tannins were also at the forefront of the huge palate on this wine, but the underlying fruit seemed deeper and the structure as a whole better as well. Very good length. More approachable than the Faiveley, but still needs another 10 years to show its potential I think.
1988 Château Climens
Nose is light but lovely with honey, quince, spice and ginger. An elegant sweetness, with a long core of acid cleansing and elevating the palate. Good texture and complexity, long and focused. This is excellent now and should improve for the next 10 years and continue to drink very well for many years afterward.