And Now Puligny-Montrachet (Oct. 21, 2007)

The latest in Tomer Gal's series of Burgundy tastings found us tasting the wines of, well, Puligny-Montrachet. Just a little town no one's ever heard of...

On the downside, the wine list was too short to be very educational; we only got a glimpse of the producers and vineyards. And of course Burgundy is a minefield if you want to do any shopping. Really expensive wines, the entry price for an exciting wine is over 300 NIS (70 USD). Granted, I splurge it up every now and then but I have to swallow the receipt and smuggle the bottle home late at night.

On the plus side, we tasted at least four very serious wines to cellar and drool over.

A few technical comments. First of all, I'm going to revert back to scoring just this once, to put the quality of the wines in context. Against one another anyway. Also, I'm listing the discount price of the tasting because let's face it, without the discount, even the cheaper wines are barely affordable. (1 USD ~ 4 NIS)

Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Bourgogne Close du Chateau, 2004

Delicate lemon aromas complemented by chalk powder. Nice acidity with mellow bitterness on the finish. I'm going to call it a fun wine if it's understood that it's not a simple quaffer. This has come a long way since I last tasted it, in June. 88. 120 NIS.

Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet, 2004

Much more of a presence though I'm tempted to chalk it up to more oak. Not that it's an oak bomb by any means just that it has more oak to soak up. Lemons again, flint, and an overlay of greeness, of a herbal character more than a Sauvignon Blanc/ cut-grass greeness. The palate exhibits youthful incohesion right now. I'll open my bottle of the 2002 in a year and decide when to drink the 2004 based on that. 89. 280 NIS.

Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Chalumeaux, 2004

A joyful leap upwards in quality. Cut from the same cloth as the village, but to extend the metaphor, the tailor used better threads and took his time. The nose shows lemon and flint again and adds honey, baked apples and grain wheat to the mix. The palate is even more minerally, with the acidity lending greater grip and structure. 90. 340 NIS.

Sauzet, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, La Garenne, 2004

This is the first wine that showed terroir-y personality. Very flowery, crispy, austere, even ephemeral at times, though I'm not sure if that isn't too much of a good thing. La Garenne is a high, cold vineyard so I'd be interested in tasting the 2005, which was a hotter vintage. I think just a bit more ripeness would have given it an extra dimension while still remaining faithful to that endearing austerity. 91. 340 NIS.

Sauzet, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Champs Canet, 2004

A very austere nose that hints at complexity as it opens. The real story is on the palate, whose great length and even greater structure, laced with gripping acidity, will surely serve as a fine foundation for its future development. Even now, it tells an exciting story to my taste-buds. 92+. 410 NIS.

Montille, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Cailleret, 2004

Cailleret is a direct extension of the Montrachet vineyard and it shows. A head-turning, gorgeous nose, rich and complex, with flinty minerals compactly integrated with the fruit. The palate is not quite as complex right now and I prefer Champ Canet's palate because I think it had a better structure and greater length but the Cailleret is the better wine overall right now. 93-94. 590 NIS.

Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, 2004

A flowery nose with notes of apple pie. Closed, even non-descript on the palate but has appealing purity. Longer than the Cailleret but unrefined in a way that casts doubts. I'm not sure whether this is an extremely young wine or simply not living up to the Grand Cru tag. 91. 1100 NIS.

Auvenay, Puligny-Montrachet En La Richarde, 2000

Madame Leroy makes expensive wines, for God's sake, and the price isn't a typo. This wine not only has to justify the hefty price but also prove that it merits it without being even a Premier Cru. Talk about having to live up to expectations.

A mature wine at last. The nose is a fascinating oddball, with the usual minerals but sea salt and mushrooms as well. The palate has restrained power and length, but the structure is frayed compared to the Champs Canet and the Cailleret. 91-92. 1600 NIS.