The evening's special treat was tasting the 2008's, which are not even available yet (hence I've quoted 2007 prices). While I can't get a really good feel about how the wine world has received the 2008 vintage in Burgundy, my personal take based on the wines we tasted is that, beneath an intellectually pleasing structure, there lurks supple, soft, juicy, almost hedonistic fruit that comes as something of a surprise. And I love a good surprise. I find that one of my greatest thrills in food and wine is finding a nice Easter egg at the center of a bite or at the end of sip. So for me, 2008 at Meo-Camuzet is a very good vintage that thankfully seems to have avoided a lot of hype and the high prices that attend such hype. It's also a very good thing for me that Europe is in financial turmoil.
All the wines were opened eight hours before the start of the tasting.
Typical Bourgogne aromatics - perfumed, if not especially opulent or compelling, with lovely spicy red fruit and hints of sweat. It's decently balanced on the palate, although not especially well tuned: the fresh acidity deftly highlights the fruit, but the raspy tannins leave a bitter aftertaste. This won't knock you out, but it's a very good introduction to the region and I'd enjoy having it around the house on occasion. 170 NIS.
This wine is more my style, with swagger and virility and a touch of minerality. The fruit here is blacker and tougher than what the Fixin offers, but it's still soft and fruity. I am learning as I go along that Meo-Camuzet's Nuits really hit my sweet spot. Sourced from the Aux Bas de Combe vineyard neard the Vosne border. 280 NIS.
Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Chaumes, 2008
Apparently, this wine was born only 100 meters away from the previous wine; apparently, once again distance is revealed as deceiving in the Cote d'Or. A very impressive nose at an altogether higher level, one that is delineated by evocatively exotic spices. The palate really nails what I said earlier about the Meo's 2008's, as it boasts a lovely hidden treasure of gorgeous fruit beneath the lithe tannins and juicy acidity. Having said that, even with ten hours of airing, the palate is not yet as expressive as the nose. No price as the 2007 has sold out and I didn't get a quote from Tomer Gal.
Clos de Vogeout Grand Cru, 2008
Now this is an interesting duel: a Premier Cru from the greatest village in the Cote versus a mid-tier Grand Cru. For my money, the Vosne wins, although the Clos de Vogeout justifies its Grand Cru status. The aromatics are similar in makeup, although the CdV is more subdued and brooding. The palate is softer and rounded, growing spicier and longer in glass. In that sense it is more approachable now than the Chaumes, but also somewhat less interesting. 800 NIS.
The nose is very nice, even coming, as it does, after two much more profound wines, and has an appealing animalistic streak. But the palate is light fare, no doubt about it, and I had a hard time enjoying it. 160 NIS.
Fixin Premier Cru, Clos du Chapitre, 2007
It's odd how this one wine, out of the entire lineup, starts out as the most shut down aromatically. Thankfully, it manages to catch up with the Marsannay, at the very least, and show even more complexity. The palate is better as well, but there's an angularity there that is off-putting, and that's a lot coming from me, as I'm a great fan of angular wines. Maybe the leanness of these low-key 2007's is not an easy match for the 2008's; I suspect that in the right mood and with the right food, I'd enjoy them more but the 2008's simply spoiled me. 220 NIS.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru, Murgers, 2007
My first impression of this wine was this: how can it possible be related to the previous two wines of the same vintage? The exotic spices on the nose are cut from the same cloth as the Vosnees while the palate hints at the soft lushness of the 2008's, yet it also retains the angularity of the 2007's, so there's a nice contrast and balance here. A very complex wine with aromatics that simply grow wowier as it opens. 530 NIS.
Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Brulees, 2007
The nose is even finer than the Murgers. Let's just face it, the village does have a better terroir. The palate is softer, sweeter and arguably simpler, although not at at the cost of structure, and exudes opulent yet mellow self-confidence. I do prefer the Murgers and am not experienced enough to gleam whether time will change my opinion, with all due respect to terroir. 1000 NIS.
Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Chaumes, 1999 (Magnum)
A sullen and powerful wine, seemingly still lost in slumber, at the same time this and the Brulees both have a sweetness that make me wonder whether the Vosnes might not be too much of as good thing for me. Maybe the Nuits' have a rusty edge to them that grounds them and, depriving them of a certain gloss, makes them more appealing to me personally. No denying, though, that there are plenty of fine tannins here, as well as a lot of packed, dense fruit. And man, oh man, what a nose! 1350 NIS.