Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nuits-St.-Georges Tasting (Aug. 12, 2009)

I've been to quite a few of Tomer Gal's tastings and this one, rather unexpectedly I must say, was one of the best. Forget any preconceptions you might have of Nuits-St.-Georges, some excellent wines are made there and the wines tasted showed both typicity and individuality. None took sturdiness to any extreme, except for the Leroy Aux Allots perhaps, and all highlighted Pinot fruit with decent elegance and often more. All were easy to write notes for, which means they displayed a certain transparency, this without in any way detracting from their quality or mystique.

Henry Gouges, Nuits-St.-Georges, 2006

From vineyards in central Nuits. The nose has a certain candied tingle which I find in many young Burgundies and gets it just right, being fruity and subtly spicy. The attack is quite soft and silky, but there is an acid backbone which delivers a big kick on the finish. Quite long for a village, although the tannins are not very finessed. I am quite intrigued by its character, and, as I was to find out later, I seem to have an affinity for the Gouges style. Excellent value at 190 NIS.

Meo-Camuzet, Nuits-St.-Georges, 2006

Sourced from the Bas de Combe vineyard in north Nuits, bordering Vosne. Everything about the wine is darker, from the color to the palate. Which is true for all three Meo-Camuzet wines tasted, although to my taste they are still very much Pinot and very much Bourgogne. The nose is riper and more forward than the Gouges, although I find the Gouges aromatics are more captivating from a stylistic point of view. Even though the wine had been open for several hours, it kept improving in the glass. At first, I found it shorter than the Gouges, and heavier, but it kept growing more harmonic and elegant. Although, at 280 NIS, it costs more than what I'd like you to pay for a Villages, it is certainly right at the top of its classification.

Jean Grivot, Nuits-St.-Georges Charmois, 2005

From central Nuits again. This is even better. What a lovely nose, utterly Bourgogne, with a sultry smokiness I also found in the Gouges, as well as hints of chocolate and loads of style. The palate is also reminiscent of the Gouges, what with its brainy angularity, but it's much more monolithic. It's another case of an iron fist in a velvet glove, still kicking within its elegant envelope, with terrific acidity complemented with precise ripeness. Between the Meo-Camuzet and the Grivot Villages, this is the one I'd actually pay 280 NIS for.

Domaine Leroy, Nuits-St.-Georges, Aux Allots, 2005

North Nuit. I'm not quite sure how to swallow a 1300 NIS Villages, especially one as closed as this one is. Sorry, maybe I shouldn't joke about wines as expensive as this one... At first, the fruit is so shut down, all I can get on the nose is barrel-induced spices and only tannins on the palate, albeit very fine tannins. This is obviously more about Leroy than about Nuits.

Henry Gouges, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Clos des Porrets St. Georges, 2006

Central Nuits. This is a very pretty wine and although it is no less closed than the Leroy, it is more about fruit and is in a very good place, even now. It is aromatically cut from the same cloth as the Gouges Villages, although the fruit is subtler and it adds some chocolate notes as well as light, welcome hints of sweat and barnyard. At first, the tannins seem to choke the fruit, but even then, you can sense the power and focus the wine holds. Then the wine opens a bit and lets out more hints of its quality, complexity and, again, focus. This delicious wine seems a bargain at 280 NIS for a Premier Cru.

Meo-Camuzet, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Perrieres, 2006

From a vineyard located just over Clos des Porrets. My written notes repeat the phrase "what a lovely nose" so I guess I must have liked it. Yes, the nose is so alluring and sensual that the word "whore" was bandied around the table, although I think "geisha" nails it better, as the wine presents an intellectual facet as well as a sensual one. The nose, then, is earthy and smokey over all that sexy fruit while the palate has a brainy mineral/tannic finish. Over my budget at 490 NIS but I can still dream, can't I?

De Montille, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Thorey, 2006

North Nuits. I think this wine's place in the tasting was problematic. I think wines age by one of two routes. They either mellow out with age or build up in bottle. And the ones that build up and gain weight with maturity, as this wine seems to be, just don't show well against the other type. Having said that, this is lightly colored and has a highly perfumed nose, very delicate and feminine. The palate is more of the same, with the sensuality of a woman who doesn't put anything out to hang but rather saves it all for the bedroom. And a lightly minerally finish caps off a very charming package. Good value at 300 NIS.

Chateau du Puligny-Montrachet, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Clos des Grandes Vignes, 2006

From south Nuits and the same winemaker, Etienne Montille, as the Thorey. The nose is very de Montille, with gunsmoke, earth and a light meatiness draping over a very solid background of red fruit. The palate has good length and is drinking well, but as a total experience, offers less than the other wines of the evening.

290 NIS.

Meo-Camuzet, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Murgers, 2005

North Nuits. The nose starts out very closed but develops radically, offering earth and hints of coffee. This kind of nose could spoil me rotten, but, even at its most hedonistic, there is a captivating sense of it elegantly holding back. It has the finest tannins of all the wines of the tasting, offering a light bitterness without pinching the fruit. Elegant and silky, it has a great future as well as a terrific present. Wine of the night.

Okay, I guess I like Meo-Camuzet a lot, too, even if he doesn't exactly fit my budget. 580 NIS.

Jean Grivot, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Roncieres, 2000

Central Nuits. What I like about mature Burgundies is how that candied fruit of their youth becomes a mellow sweetness that comes totally from the fruit and not the alcohol or residual sugar. Thus, this is a very good drop with its well-evolved purity. However, most of its breed is in its nose - which is much better than the palate - where the red fruit is just the background for the Old World lovers' favorite players: sweat, saddle leather and the sewers of Paris.

490 NIS.

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