(A journey of discovery in the present tense.)
This is a surprising wine.
Upon removal of the capsule, part of which seems stuck to the top of the cork, I see some worrying green encrustation.
“Uh oh, ” I think to myself.
It doesn’t smell though. Gingerly, I plunge the corkscrew in and remove the cork. Intact. A good sign.
A quick smell check reveals a slightly closed nose. I know that a decant would be good; however, I decide to just pour a little into a large Spiegelau glass (free courtesy of Petaluma when I bought half a dozen from their White Label range) and let it breath.
Colour check: deep ruby reddish purple; no signs of oxidation. The nose very slowly but surely opens up to reveal slightly sweet aromas of succulent ripe berries. No sign of TCA whatsoever. I smile with relief and anticipation.
A quick sip later, I am thrown aback by the palate sensations. It fills my mouth with depth and richness. This, only after about ten minutes in the glass. A touch of dryness. Smooth and silky yet there’s power, restrained by subtle refinement. It is still opening up as flavours of cassis, blackcurrant, very slight hints of chocolate, clove and anise, as well as a touch of oakiness reveal themselves.
Half an hour later, everything seems to be in perfect harmony and balance. I am quite simply flabbergasted. The last truly great red Burgundy I had was in 2000. Leroy’s 1994 Richebourg, my favourite wine of all time. I have had several Grand Crus since then, and this (Premier Cru) is actually better than many of them. Of course not nearly as good as a Richebourg; however, at only a tiny fraction of its cost it is extremely great value. Easily on par with many “better” Grand Crus and comparable with top vintages of Bass Phillip’s Premium Pinot Noir.
This wine is great now, and I suspect it will continue to evolve for at least five years. It depends on storage and how the cork holds up. I am still reeling in profound amazement at the power and finesse in this 13-year old wine. Suddenly, I am reminded of that famous line from Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates…” So is a bottle of aged wine.
I might go see if I can find more…