Friday, August 10, 2007

Domaine De La Vougeraie Tasting At Hinawi (Aug. 8, 2007)

The latest in a series of Bourgogne tastings, hosted at the Hinawi Wine & More Tel Aviv store, the wines pulled from Tomer Gal's catalog.

If you're a Bourgogne lover, then what you want to know about the following wines is how much they reflect their terroirs, how much they reflect the vintage and whether Vougeraie's Pascal Marchand managed to overcome the vintage's faults.

I know Burgundy well enough to recognize that the wines we tasted were very much Bourgogne, in an elegant, succulent style. I do not, however, know the specific terroirs well enough to tell how typical they are, so I'll have to take Tomer's word for it that they are.

These wines are all very young, so often the acidity would overshadow the fruit but for all that, they had the best structure and fullest stuffing of the few 2004's I've tasted. Even the sole sample from the 2003 is probably the best I've tasted from that vintage. Naturally, I suppose, the Grand Crus are very closed aromatically yet the better ones (the Close de Vougeot and the Bonnes Mares) have great presence and hint at future aromatic complexity.

As for how good these wines are, since I don't score, you'll have to read between the lines. I think, though, it's quite obvious which were my favorites but just in case: the Bonnes Mares, the Clos de Vougeout and the Bel Air.

Bourgogne, "Terres de Famille", 2004

If you don't know Burgundy, this is a good place to start. This is so much better than most generic Bourgognes that you can get almost village level quality at half the price. It has typical Burgundy red fruit with an earthy overlay on the nose, while the palate right now is a bit off-balance, with the fruit overwhelmed by acidity.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Evocelles, 2004

A very focused, detailed nose; spicy, minerally, animalistic, so open and typical it's almost a Bourgogne-slut. Probably the best nose of the evening, maybe because it's only a village so it's readier than the other wines. The body is a step up from the "Terres de Famille", very long and also, despite the acidity, quite elegant.

Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, Bel Air, 2004

This is an interesting contrast. The nose is more withdrawn than the Evocelles, yet it drops enough animalistic hints to entice and comes off as reserved rather than simply closed and suggests a greater depth. The palate is a class act, powerful and long. A very good value.

Corton, Clos du Rois, 2004

Weak for a grand cru, in my opinion. A very weird nose that after some thought I decided to characterize as hints of lemon drops over red fruit. The palate starts out watery and takes its time to develop body and some interest, but, at the end of the day, is still one-dimensional.

Mazoyeres-Chambertin, 2003

Perhaps the best 2003 I've tasted. That's probably not saying much because I still found it ripe, aggressive and a bit one-dimensional. On the other hand, the ripeness isn't over the top and the great length suggests to me that it will likely improve as it ages.

Mazoyeres-Chambertin, 2004

Oddly similar to the 2003, almost as though they came from different, yet similar vintages, whereas 2004 is very much the opposite of 2003. Its greater finesse implies it's the better wine, though. Takes time to open as it slowly releases miserly hints of spices.

Clos de Vougeot, 2004

Foremost, this a is a very silky wine, yet juicy as well, with a slightly spicy finish. A very elegant wine that is so closed aromatically that it's hard for me to write a lot about it but there is obvious depth there. Like the better wines of the tasting, it doesn't make any obvious statements, it suggests.

Bonnes Mares, 2004

A superlative wine. Very complex, very elegant. A chimera of a nose, rather more open than the Close de Vougeot. I really hate to get carried away so all I'll say is this wine is borderline moving. Because, like the Clos de Vougeot, I can sense buried secrets within the exquisitely balanced structure.

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