Stannary Dinner Club - Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanée and Meursault
Stannary Dinner Club - Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanee and Meursault
The unexpected is one of the great pleasures of these dinners, and the Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanée and Meursault dinner on Tuesday was a great illustration of this. Even those who have tasted the wines on numerous occasions cannot say for certain how they will perform on the night.
An over-performing first flight started the evening on the right footing. Two 1er Cru 2009 Meursaults from Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey showed their textbook terroir difference to perfection, with the generosity of the Charmes in contrast to the tension of the Perrières. Both wines did well to hold their own next to the two Coche-Dury bottles. The village 2009 once again left us questioning how it is possible for Coche-Dury to lift a village wine to such heights. No one seems to be able to explain what is done differently at the domaine, but the evidence of what is in the glass is hard to refute. The elusive quality of the genius. Could this elusive quality, along with a top vineyard enable the 2003 to transcend one of the weaker white Burgundy vintages in recent times? Probably not quite, but I am grateful for having had the chance to taste the Genevrières.
It was an enormously enjoyable opening, but also one that led to some interesting discussions. The change in style of Meursault from a generation ago is so apparent that the question of what defines Meursault is not a straightforward one. Coche-Dury has been central to the movement towards a more taut, reductive style, and the wines of Puligny and Meursault have never been closer. Wine fashion has encouraged more and more growers to move in that direction, and BA made the interesting point that this is reflected with trends in food in the same period. Fine dining is a lighter and more delicate beast than it has ever been. MT questioned whether this would result in wines with a lesser aging potential and only time will tell. The 2009s on show would give grounds for optimism.
A brilliant Pappardelle with rabbit dish from Francis helped to keep spirits high through the least exciting wine flight of the evening. No faulty wines, and we are in a very privileged position when we pick holes in such wines, but alas no wow with these bottles.
Things changes markedly with the arrival of Domaines Georges Noellat and Engel. Ironically, the oldest wine on show was perhaps the least ready, with PJ wishing that he had waited a further ten years before pulling the cork. This was probably also true of the 2010 Grands-Echezeaux of Maxime Cheurlin. The first wine that he had ever made, an emotional wine for many around the table and a wine of enormous potential. I hope to have more chances to taste this as it evolves. In the end there was a clear standout on the night, with the 2002 Grands-Echezeaux from Engel stealing the show. A great, great wine which will stay long in the memory.
With a good number of past Engel buyers around the table, people reflected on how domaines can move from the neglected to the eye wateringly expensive in such a short period of time. The happy days of being able to wander into Handford in South Kensington to pick up Engel at between £30 and £50 a bottle are stories from another era. In that respect the domaines of Engel and Georges Noellat share a similarity.
If there was a clear cut winner to that flight then the same was equally true of the final flight, with the 2011 Meursault Clos des Ambres from Arnaud Ente being a unanimous choice. Expectations had been higher for the two Roulot wines than they showed on the night, but that is not to take anything away from the Ente. Again a domaine that went from the obscure to the unaffordable and unfindable, so thank you for the chance to drink it.
The next meeting is set for the 20th of June so please do let me know if you would like to come. Understandably these dinners remain oversubscribed.