2002: first impressions
was my first encounter with Burgundy 2002, a much celebrated
vintage already. The event was a growers lunch and tasting
courtesy of Berry Bros & Rudd, held at the Vintners Hall in
the City. I thought I’d add these thoughts now, and then develop
them with full notes as time permits.
Lunch was tasty – a delicious beef daube washed down with
a spicy Barbera and finished off with a rather good tawny Port.
It’s unusual to lunch like this before a tasting, but not
unpleasant, and I only had a small glass of wine. Sitting on one
side of me were internet buddies Tom Cannavan and Neal Martin; on
the other, Jasper Morris of M&V, recently purchased by BBR.
What are my first impressions of the 2002 vintage? These
are going to be generalizations, based on relatively few
datapoints, and from wines that are not yet bottled. And this is
also only my third year tasting Burgundy en primeur. This taken
into account, I think it is a very successful vintage, combining
ripeness with structure in wines of great balance. The whites and
reds I tasted were both lovely.
As well as the usual variations in quality between
producer, the key variable is one of style. What is your favourite
style of red Burgundy? Riper, fuller and bigger, or more classic
and backward? There was wide variation in style among the wines
My top picks? I had a good chat with Claire Forestier,
winemaker at Domaine Bertagna (although I don’t know if
Clare thought it was good – far too many questions). She’s
young and switched on, and is making lovely, alluring ripe red
wines. The Vougeot Clos de la Perrière (92/100) is my pick of the
bunch at £312 case in bond. Very ripe, dense and forward, but
still respecting terroir. The Clos de Vougeot (93/100) is even
better, but this is £512 per case, alas.
Sylvain Cathiard has excelled in 2002. His Nuits St
Georges (91/100) is brilliant for a village wine with nice meaty
complexity, yours for £215 per case. But his two 1er Cru Vosne
Romanées are in a different league (Les Suchots, 95/100 £366 per
case and En Orveaux, 95/100 £426 per case). Both are stunningly
intense and complex without losing the elegance that makes Pinot
Noir so special.
Nicolas Potel’s reds are very impressive. I spent
some time chatting with him and tasting his wines. From the tasty
Vieilles Vignes Volnay (90/100 £144 per case) to the exquisite
Charmes Chambertin and Clos de la Roche Grand Crus, both 94/100
and £432/420 case respectively), I found something to like about
all of them, with their purity of fruit.
Of the whites, Javiller and Sauzet both
excelled, and Jean-Marc Boillot was also very good. For bargain
hunters, the three Macon wines from the Bret Brothers are full of
character and interest (£114-150 per case, scoring 90/91).
January 8th 2004
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