Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meursault Tasting On Bastille Day (July 14, 2009)

This tasting took place at the Alkalai Wine Bar in the Bazel Street neighborhood and was hosted by Tomer Gal, who imports these wines as well other wines by celebrated domaines from Burgundy. It was worth all of the 350 NIS that it cost, if only for purely educational reasons; and it surely didn't hurt that a good portion of these wines were quite tasty.

The fruit in the 2006 vintage seems to be on the mellow side, which is always nice, but right now, this same fruit has receeded in many of the 2006's we tasted, which accentuates every bit of green-ness and every touch of oak, even in the case of wines where the winemakes swears to practice a light-handed barrel regime.

Prices quoted are tasting prices, lower than the catalog prices.

Francois Jobard, En La Barre, 2006

The nose attacks with pungent notes of sour citrus fruits as well as a Chablis-like minerality. The wood makes its presence felt on the palate, lightly at first, then more obviously with air. Tomer says 2006 was not a vintage blessed with any remarkable acidity but Jobard is renowned for the explosive acidity of his wines in any vintage and here it just crackled on the finish. At 260 NIS, I've bought a bottle or two of this wine regularly over the last four years, but I think there were other wines in this tasting I find a better buy (relative to Burgundy, anyway).

Roulot, Luchets, 2006

If hazelnuts are the aromatic signature of Meursault, then it is with this wine that they make their entrance, and they are complemented by flint and fruit that leans towards apples. This is not a fruity wine on the palate - none of the wines tasted are - instead, the flint is echoed on the palate as are the hazelnuts. The acidity here is less marked than in the En La Barre but it is still well proportioned. it costs 320 NIS, and some of the difference in price is due to the marquee name, while, admittedly, a not insignifcant portion is due to a higher degree of interest it presents.

Deux Montille, Tessons, 2006

This is a wine of contradictions. The nose feels cool and is much fruiter than the previous wines, but when aired, the fruit retreats in favor of minerals. The palate is very tight, highlighting every bit of the 10% new oak the was elevated in, but despite that, there is an appealing elegance about it. I quite liked it, and at 250 NIS, it is the village Meursault of my choice this evening.

Roulot, Narvaux, 2006

The most impressive and most interesting nose of any of the village wines, all sea air and fossils. The Chablis impersonation continues on the palate, which is is as shut down as a Chablis Grand Cru of similar age. And yes, I know that at 320 NIS you can actually buy a Grand Cru, but if you want or need or lust for a Roulot, this is the one to buy.

Chateau du Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru Poruzots, 2006

The nose is elegant enough to confirm we're in Premier Cru territory now (though there's also a wildness to it that Tomer says is typical of Poruzots), but the brawny palate is somewhat of a letdown. If the previous wines strummed an acoustic guitar, this one plays electric, but it doesn't mean it's a better player. At 290 NIS, this should have been a bargain Premier Cru, but I just don't go for it as much the Narvaux.

Deux Montille, Premier Cru Poruzots, 2006

This proves once and for all that it's Alix who is the talented maker of white wines in the Montille household. This lovely wine has the same wildness on the nose as the Chateau du Puligny-Montrachet (made by brother Etienne Montille) but a sleight of hand makes it more elegant, more finessed, and it develops so neatly in the glass, growing more nuanced, and is especially precious for a streak of flint. The palate is inviting and alluring without being slutty. I think this is just the kind of savouriness people think of when someone mentions white Burgundy, and, at 380 NIS, I think it's worth a try.

Francois Jobard, Premier Cru Poruzots, 2006

For the ten-fifteen minutes it sat in my glass, I couldn't make up my mind whether it was opening up at all or whether I was just imagining it. But the despite that, the palate projects a steady pulse of power. Let me put it this way, if the Chateau du Puligny-Montrachet is a very blunt instrument, this is power backed up by mystique. And that makes all the difference. 380 NIS. I might go for it, except I'll reserve my shekels for the Deux Montille Poruzots.

Chateau du Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru Poruzots, 2004

I'm sorry, but I just can't develop a taste for this domaine. The nose shows an intriguing minerality for a few minutes until it shuts down. The palate is approachable with air but is just not very interesting. 280 NIS is a good price for a Premier Cru I suppose, I just wish I'd liked this specific Premier Cru more.

Auvenay, Narvaux, 2003

Holy cow, this is what people mean when they say a nose bowls them over. Some people at the tasting were put off by the reductive nose, but I almost giggled when I got a whiff of all the sulphur, flint and mildew this wine has to offer. An extravagant nose in the best sense of the word. The palate is very lush, yet remains structured and elegant and is surely the best 2003 I've tasted (although for what it's worth, I've admittedly shyed away from the vintage). If it had sported the complexity of the best of the Premier Crus, it might have justified the 660 NIS price tag. Though I suspect in that case, Madame Lalou Bize would have marked up the price.

Francois Jobard, Premier Cru Genevrieres, 1998

An explosive nose with, once again, flint, but the experience of aging almost a decade in bottle allows it to veer off in a different direction than most of the previous wines: flowers, sea breeze, funk. The palate is a a good example of an iron fist in a velvet glove and was even more impressive for oviously being a few years before its peak. While the question of reduction might have made the Auvenay controversial, this was plainly irresistable to all and 400 NIS sounds like a good price for an almost mature Burgundy of this level of quality.

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