2001 Burgundy Dinner

Published: 29-03-2016

2001 Burgundy Dinner

The start of March saw Stannary St Wine Co. hosting its third Burgundy dinner, with 2001 being the theme of the night.  Previously, we have hosted small, intimate dinners for private clients based on the 1999 and 2002 vintages.  Both vintages are powerhouses in style, so it was great to explore 2001, a vintage more classic in style and defined by the acidity and purity of fruit.

In the lead up to the event, Anja Breit and Chef Francis Percival put their heads together to decide on wine flights and a four-course menu to match the quality of the wines.    

The wines shown on the evening were like an Oscars’ red carpet of the Burgundy wine world: Roumier, DRC, Rousseau, Fourrier, Ponsot, Sauzet, Leflaive.  All present and accounted for.  Would they live up to the expectations?

Overall impressions of 2001 can best be described with words such as elegance, finesse, perfumed, purity and defining acidity.  They are wines with structure and balance and I have always found them delicious, while maintaining complexity.

 
 

The evening started off with an extremely refreshing and zippy 2001 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese Joh.Jos. Prüm.  I cannot recall ever having a bad wine from Prüm and this wine is yet another example on why Prüm is one of the top German producers.  This was served up with some duck taco canapés as people stood around waiting everyone to arrive.

The first flight, matched with halibut and clams, was a flight of whites.  Personally, this was the flight that I was most interested in tasting.  It was my morbid curiosity to see if these wines had escaped the dreaded ‘premox’.  I was particularly interested as Sauzet and Leflaive have been known to have some problems.  I was excited to see that all wines were as fresh as a daisy, but for me the Remi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Charmes was the winner of this flight.  Not because it was the best wine, but because it was seriously punching above its weight, up against the magnum of Chevalier-Montrachet Sauzet (en Magnum) and Bâtard-Montrachet Domaine Leflaive.  The Charmes was everything that you would want in a white Burgundy, without being over the top.  It is amazing that this wine is still continuing to stand strong.  The Bâtard, although extremely good, wasn’t great.  I've had many 2001 Leflaive wines in the past and this one was in very good shape, but if I were to taste it blind, I’m not sure if I would put it in a Grand Cru category.

 
Moving onto the first red flight of the evening, there were many expectations.  Within this flight was a magnum of Echézeaux DRC, what could possibly compete with this?  Luckily this was joined by Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots Robert Arnoux (en magnum); Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Malconsorts Sylvain Cathiard; and Clos de Tart Mommessin. Although all wines showed well, the clear winners were the Cathiard and DRC.  It is hard to deny the sumptuous and seductive style of Malconsorts, oozing with flavours of black fruits, soy sauce and spices. The Echézeaux displayed great energy and clarity with soft red berried fruits, some sweet spices and a refreshing long finish.  Although great, this is a wine that needs more time to show its true potential.  The Clos de Tart is one of the better vintages that I have had in a while.  Although a delicious wine, it didn’t quite stand up to the standard of wines in the rest of the flight. I found the Les Suchots absolutely delicious, but again, unfortunately it was over-shadowed by the greatness of DRC and Cathiard.  All these wines were superbly matched with squab pigeon and turnips.  

Only half way through the evening and already, some of the biggest names to grace Burgundy, and the wine world, have already been served up.  How can these be topped?  The main course of pork belly with star anise and brown tepary beans was accompanied with Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses Roumier; Bonnes-Mares Arlaud (en Magnum); Clos de la Roche Ponsot; and Chambertin Rousseau.    In 2004, Allen Meadows (Burghound.com) tasted the Roumier Les Amoureuses and gave it an extremely pitiful score of 87 points.  I have a feeling that he must have had a bad bottle, because the wine that we tasted was absolutely en pointe. In fact, it was voted ‘Wine Of The Evening’.  Personally, I found it hard pick between the Rousseau and Roumier as my favourite of the night.  Overall, this flight was definitely a clear winner.

 

Maybe due to palate fatigue, but the final flight, accompanied by the cheese course, was a bit of anti-climax.  I’m definitely not saying that the wines were bad or sub-standard, but after having so many exceptional wines, where do you go from perfection after the previous wines?  Clos St Jacques Fourrier; Lavaux St Jacques Denis Mortet; Charmes-Chambertin Taupenot-Merme and Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux Comte Armand were all absolutely stunning. Although they ticketed all the right boxes, none of them seemed to hit the highs of some of the wines served earlier in the evening.  This is definitely a case of ‘First World Problems’ and should not be read as if the wines were not of superior quality.

The evening finished off with Rhubarb shortcake and ginger with 2001 Château Rieussec.  What can I say? You certainly can’t go wrong with this wine! Everything that you’d want in a Sauternes…… and more.

Overall, this was an evening filled with great food; great wines; and great company.  Certainly a fantastic way to spend a Wednesday night.  We all came to the conclusion that anyone would be proud (and honoured) to have all, or any, of these wines in their cellar. Tasting them individually, they were all divine and worthy of the praises bestowed upon them.  We also felt that many of these are still far too young and won’t be hitting their true heights for at least another 5-10yrs.

Thanks to everyone involved and for bringing along the wines.  It was yet another amazing night filled with ‘once in a lifetime’ wines.  The problem is now, what expectations will we bring to the next dinner?

By Luke Robertson 

 






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