A pretty epic collection of wines from our trip to stay with my father in Burgundy (thanks to the hosts!). Note to self: come down here just before the Lenten fast a bit more often :-)
2004 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Grandes Ruchottes Bernard Moreau
Relatively light, fresh citrusy fruit with some pear and light oaking. Palate is light and not hugely distinctive, finishes comparatively short. Village-level wine at best, poor for the appelation.
2004 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Grandes Ruchottes Chateau de Maltroye
Altogether a different beast to the above. Initially rather closed (was at best 24 hours after opening), palate is clearly richer but it's quite tight and not giving much away in terms of specific flavours. Once it finally opens up, there's a rich, classy oaking giving a lots of toast and hazelnuts as well as some very rich peachy fruit. Very long, very classy.
1996 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru Geantet-Pansiot
First impressions were very positive - really nice bright morello cherry and almond nose, clean fresh and rich. Was a trifle cold when first tasted so it was hard to judge the palate, but it seemed a little disappointing - not as much body as one would hope for and slightly short. Unfortunately this impression didn't go away with time open/warmth. Although the flavours were nice enough and there were no hard tannins, it had a slightly sharp and angular character without the expected roundness. Based on previous notes this would seem to have been a slightly faulty bottle.
1976 Richebourg Gros Frere et Soeur
Rich red fruit merging into complex undergrowth smells - classic old burgundy nose. Palate still fresh with noticeable tannin but plenty of sweet fruit to cover it. Absolutely delicious.
1989 Chateau Suidiraut
Complex caramelised nose. Not hugely sweet now, quite elegant, plenty of bright acidity. Slightly overwhelmed by pudding - this is not really a dessert wine at this point. Lovely if not the richest.
2006 House Plonk Rouge
Stunning dark cherry fruit with quite modern, mocha oaking overlaid. Rich palate with some quite chunky tannins which are nonetheless more than balanced by the fruit. Slightly "sweet" character to it, along with a touch of chalky minerality. Apart from the slightly rustic edge, this could easily be mistaken for something quite posh from Cote de Nuits.
2007 House Plonk 1er Cru Blanc
Strong peardrop character, medium oaking. Palate has a peardrop sweetness to it, medium weight, nice balanced acidity, certain amount of minerality on the finish. Decent Cote Chalonnaise 1er Cru.
2003 Beaune Domaine Henry Delaby
Flowers and almonds, some toastyness. Surprisingly fresh and delicate for a 2003 at this age, decent acidity, but now soft and very easy to drink.
1975 Vieux Chateau Certan
Old red fruit nose. Stones + dry leaves. Still quite a lot of tannin, and still bright and quite fresh. Relatively light palate with a medium finish. Very pleasant old claret.
Volatile strawberry + chocolate. Some truffley perfume, a little capsicum. Rich and complex nose. Palate is sweet and rich with quite a lot of tannin nicely integrated with the rest of the palate. Very delicious indeed.
1976 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Beerenauslese Heinrich Spindler
Caramelised brown sugar, slightly sherried. Orange and lemon notes. Redolent of an old dark-stained table. Medium-sweet palate, still quite rich, nice bright acidity, still very much alive. Old botrytised wine, not particularly specific to its origins but delicious and interesting to drink nonetheless.
2007 Morgon Vielles Vignes "Climat Cote du Py" Domaine Pierre Savoye
Deliciously rich, sweet Beaujolais with some decent structure to back it up. Very good.
1999 Pipers Brook Vineyard Chardonnay
Still just about alive - old Mersault style - rich, butter and sweet but still in balance. Perhaps a bit elderly for some tastes but very enjoyable, especially at €3.75 a bottle!
2001 Ninth Island Riesling
Old German Riesling nose - golden colour with oil, minerals and honeyed fruit on the nose. Palate has the sense of being very slightly off-dry (but probably isn't) with a hint of confection. Low alcohol and nice balancing acidity. Very good especially at the bargain-basement price.
NV Bulls Gamay fine bulles de Corcells
Sweet sparkling Beaujolais! Almost opaque, very silly but extremely quaffable. Would be amazing with a black forest gateau or similar.
2004 Chateau de Chamirey 1er Cru "La Mission"
Golden colour, old white burgundy nose, china tea and nuts and melon but relatively gentle. Palate is medium weight, beginning to fade slightly but still alive. Strangely a lot less rich than the 2000 is at the moment.
1991 Cote Rotie Cote Blonde Rene Rostaing
Still relatively young in flavour - plenty of fruit still and a fair amount of tannin. Classy structure and some interesting secondary flavours without having gone hugely farmyardy. Very enjoyable old Rhone if not particularly exceptional.
1991 Fetzer Petite Sirah Eagle Point Vineyards (Mendocino)
Serious farmyard - chicken shit, leather, all sorts of animal nonsense over a chocolatey dark fruit and a little bit of pepper. Fascinating. Palate is quite soft and slightly limp (at least for the first few hours) but still rich and sweet and very enjoyable. The next day it is miraculously still going and actually seems to have improved in structure - tannins showing a bit more providing more backbone to the palate without any real loss to the sweetness of the fruit. Lovely, probably my favourite of the three 91s we tried.
1991 House Plonk Cuvee "SP"
Some debate about this but 3 of us thought that it was probably very slightly corked. Nonetheless the nose still had an impressive chocolatey, spicy richness to it with lots of slightly stewed dark fruit. Palate is very big and sweet still with a decent amount of tannin giving it structure still. Remarkably good as always, particularly considering that this was probably a faulty bottle.