Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

Tasting Red & White Burgundies from Domaines Familiaux de Tradition

With The Institute of Masters of Wine  – 25/02/08

Key :

GYG : green-yellow-gold

GG : green-gold

PN : Pinot Noir

PC : Premier Cru

GC : Grand Cru



2005 is clearly a very great vintage in Burgundy and may well turn out to be the greatest of the thirty or more that I’ve sampled over the last few decades. Colours of both whites and reds are not merely limpid and intense but also nuanced, with the whites often having that chlorophyll-green tinge found in top vintages with ideal acidity, while most reds have a deep, lustrous purple colour, often with a blackish caste, only found in Pinot Noir wines of perfect ripeness and health.


Chablis – given that only four samples were shown – emerged brilliantly, with every wine showing ideal concentration and real complexity. The humbler white appellations did not, on the whole, excel, though Pierre Morey demonstrated that a plain Bourgogne Chardonnay could be stunning. The Meursaults and Pulignys were superb, likewise the Corton-Charlemagne – perhaps the greatest ever from the Bonneau estate.


Not all of the Côte de Beaune reds showed brilliantly, though I’d guess that Senard’s wines have hidden reserves; but the Monthelie from Pierre Morey punched far above its weight and the Savigny Dominode was also exceptional. Several of the Beaune Premiers Crus were excellent, too, while the de Montille and Lafon reds were glorious. The two best Cortons confirmed this Grand Cru’s equality with many of its Côte de Nuits counterparts.


On the whole, though, the Côte de Nuits really excelled itself, with a whole series of magnificent wines each of which reflected the unique nature of the Cru in question, while simultaneously demonstrating what perfectionist wine making can attain under ideal conditions. Several are probably as close to perfection as we can hope for from the aptly-named Golden slope.





05 CHABLIS PC « BUTTEAUX » (Raveneau) ***

Delicate GG. Fine aroma of greengage (reine-claude), honey, mirabelle. Quite fat, with saffron and mirabelle nuances on finish. Well-balanced. (Strangely, more concentrated, better-balanced, than a bottle of ditto drunk two weeks previously, at Restaurant Gill, Rouen). 3-4 years to open.


05 CHABLIS GC VALMONT (Raveneau) ****

Richer, more intense appearance. Fuller, more complex nose, buttery : apricot, butter, honey, mirabelle. Lovely lush flavour, with tropical fruit sweetness (some noble rot?). Long, complex aftertaste, rose-hip, honey, Grannie Smith. Very smooth and fat. 8 years, then 8 of further evolution.


05 CHABLIS GC LES CLOS (Drouhin) ***(*)

Pale, brilliant, GYG. Noble, round, concentrated aroma, orange marmalade, honey, apricot. Richly grapy, full, lush flavour, apricot, marmalade. Chalky aftertaste, still closed. VG but not in Raveneau class. 5 years to open then 8+.


05 CHABLIS GC LES CLOS (Faiveley) ****(*)

Brilliant, nuanced GYG. Full, expressive – and impressive! – nose, crystallized grapefruit peel, pineapple (noble rot), acacia honey. Intense, fat, lushly fruity flavour, with true Grand Cru weight and body. Lovely long grapefruit-and-pineapple aftertaste, with great thrust and persistence. 5-6 years then 10+.


05 BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY (Pierre Morey) ***

Noble, soaring, round aroma, blossomy but precise : crystallized grapefruit, orange blossom (fleur d’oranger), honey. Rich, intense flavour, almost PC class, pineapple, sweet grapefruit. Elegant, intense aftertaste, turning to whitecurrant with honey element. 18 months then 3-4 years.



Brilliant appearance. Full, grapy nose, grapefruit, pear, honey. Good flavour but a bit rigid on the day and ambiguous. (To re-taste).


05 RULLY PC (Suremain) **

Fine, vital nose with lift, but a bit simple. Yet full and grapy on the palate, with delicious honey and tangerine aftertaste.


05 ALOXE CORTON [Pinot Beurot] (Domaine Senard)

Fine full, round, nose, if with less finesse than above. Rose hip, wild white roses, magnesium. Good but simple (to re-taste).



Fine, but very oaky, nose of orange blossom and apricot. Full and grapy, with hints of chalk and white clay (?). Fullish, clayey flavour but a bit simple after the Chablis. 2 years +.



Rich YG (little or no green). Full, expressive nose, rich and weighty : orange, apricot, hint of marzipan. Rich if closed flavour, orange and apricot, with some woody dryness on finish. Long. Very good.



Rich complex classic GC-style GYG – lovely appearance. Noble, luscious, complex aroma, concentrated but buoyant : sweet apricot, white peach, hint of white truffle. Rich honeyed aspect; orangy too. Masterful flavour of Grand Cru depth and authority. Powerful, balanced aftertaste with sweep. 8 years to open, then 10. (Not as complex as the Charmes, see below).


05 MEURSAULT PC CHARMES (Lafon) ****(*)

Nuanced GYG, noble, strikingly subtle nose, round and voluminous : rose hip, white peach, honey, baked apple. Lovely soaring perfumes, focused and facetted. Long, compressed, mineral aftertaste, baked apple, with chalky aspect. Very long, with sweep. Chalky aspect. 8-9 years to open, then 15+. Grand Cru quality.



Brilliant GYG. Full, oxidative nose, waxy, hints of putty. White Rhône style. Heavy, earthy, oxidative flavour. (Sadly, time too short to re-taste that day). Sample clearly not typical, judgment reserved.


05 PULIGNY MONTRACHET (Leflaive) ***

Brilliant GYG. Noble, incisive nose, PC quality : tangerine, lemon balm (citronnelle), mirabelle. Lovely incisive Puligny (and Leflaive!) flavour, lemon, honey, apple, hint of fennel (fenouil). Very long. 4 years to open, then 8.


05 PULIGNY PC CLAVOILLON (Leflaive) ***(*)

Brilliant GYG, fuller, grapier nose, round yet incisive : fennel, honey apricot. Lovely elegance (how Clavoillon has progressed in recent years!) and emergent orange blossom scents. Elegant, focused, precise flavour, very intense – it takes over the palate! Fennel, honey, apricot, apple in succession. Persistent mineral finish with superb acidity. 6-7 years to open, then 12+.


05 BATARD MONTRACHET (Leflaive) ****(*)

Noble nuanced GYG. Lovely soaring aroma – acacia honey, mirabelle, grapefruit, white truffle. Supremely buoyant and full of finesse – a very Leflaive Bâtard (almost in Chevalier mode!). Sub-aromas seem to spray from the glass, as when you peel a citrus fruit. Very long honey and pineapple aftertaste with limey acidity. 10 years to open, then 15+.


05 CORTON CHARLEMAGNE (Bonneau du Martray) *****

Brilliant GYG. Noble, concentrated nose, vital and incisive, with typical GC focus and energy. Grapefruit, white rose, honey, apricot. Great aroma of fantastic authority. Strikingly mineral. Much contained power and dynamism. Both voluminous and restrained, with great discipline. Amazing flavour and aftertaste, with everything in total harmony. Sustained finish, very mineral, of phenomenal length. Refreshing and tonic. This has the presence and weight of a Montrachet. 10 years, then 20+.


This domaine has gone from strength to strength in recent years, regularly producing wines that fully merit their Grand Cru status.






Vivid purple, with fine Pinot noir and elderberry (sureau) nose. Very closed on palate with noticeable tannins. Raspberry and elderberry flavour. Seems a bit hard, even stalky, but sample probably out of sorts. Judgment suspended.


05 MONTHELIE ROUGE (Pierre Morey) ***

Lovely sweet Pinot noir nose, cassis, raspberry. Round vivid PN flavour with a dancing quality. Raspberry and cassis. Pure, lilting flavour, fresh and seductive. Delightful. Drink around 2010-13.



More evolved look : densely vinous, old-vine style aroma, blackberry and damson, with a hint of raspberry. Prune too (due to extreme ripeness of grapes). Fullish « blunt » flavour, slightly rustic and earthy. (This could well taste altogether different in a few months’ time). Judgment reserved.


05 PERNAND PC ILE DES VERGELESSES (Chandon de Briailles)

Very weak rosé colour. Charming nose : wine gums, red and purple cherries, raspberry. Bitter aftertaste, rustic. (Sample doubtless out of sorts).


05 CHOREY LES BEAUNE (Château de Chorey)

Vivid purple-red. Charming nose, cassis, raspberry. Crisp, fresh aftertaste with tannic finish. Not much substance in evidence.



Richer colour. Excellent, concentrated nose, cassis, black cherry, damson. Very good flavour, vinous and balanced, with fine good follow-through. A bit alcoholic. 2 years to open, then 4+.



Solid nuanced colour. Big vinous nose with weight and depth. Very terroir. Nuanced, balanced aroma leading into ditto flavour of blackberry, prune (pruneau). Fleshy. Full, but a bit dry, with slightly bitter finish. Lots of matière but lacks lift.


05 SAVIGNY PC LA DOMINODE (Bruno Clair) ***

Dark purple, with full, complex vieilles vignes nose, raspberry, cassis, black cherry, cinnamon (oak). Excellent aroma! Very good, concentrated, if slightly bitter flavour, black cherry, elderberry, prune. Dense, closed-up flavour with some bitterness on mineral finish. Re-taste in 2 years. 8 years to open, then 8.



Weak rosé-purple. Full, aromatic nose, sweet and a little cosmetic, raspberry and red rose, carnation (oeillet), sweet red plum. Charming, fresh, if over-acidic flavour, red cherry, red rhubarb. Too-high acidity in this sample, almost green.



Clear purple-crimson, good, very Beaune aroma of cherry and damson. Fine, classic Beaune flavour, damson, blackberry, with good ripe tannins. Long, if closed, finish with good balance. 4 years to open then 7+.


05 BEAUNE PC GREVES (de Montille) **(*)

Medium deep colour, noble, balanced nose, expressive yet restrained in classic, typical de Montille way. Lovely discreet Pinot Noir freshness. Fine, if noticeably oaky (almost soapy) flavour, cherry, damson. Long fresh finish. Very good despite the soapy oak. (However, de Montille makes wines that are very closed up in youth but age brilliantly, shedding extraneous elements in the process).


05 BEAUNE PC GREVES (Tollot-Beaut) ***

Solid PN colour, full, complex nose, lots of extract. Fine soaring aromas – cherry, raspberry, cassis, and (from oak) coconut. Very good, balanced flavour, vinous and concentrated, with excellent acidity and tannins. Mineral finish. 8 years then 12+.


05 BEAUNE PC CLOS DE L’ECUY (Faiveley) ***

Solid purple. Vital, mineral nose, with depth and density. Vinous in an almost Vougeot (the most claret-like of Burgundies) way : black cherry, smoke, damson (fruits noirs). Slightly rough aftertaste, even a bit rustic, with a faintly hollow feel on the finish. A sound, true Beaune. 4 years, then 6+.


05 BEAUNE PC TEURONS (Château de Chorey)

Only medium depth of colour and a sweaty, farmyardy smell. Uninviting. Did not explore this further.

(Beaune Teurons can give glorious, long-lived wines as witness an ’62 from Domaine Leroy).



Light purple-crimson, fine, round, soaring nose, carnation, red cherry-with-stone, raspberry, lingonberry (airelles). Lushly fruity flavour: strawberry compote, lingonberry. Longish, balanced aftertaste with sweep. All of a piece. Ideal ripe tannins. 4-5 years to start then 8+.


05 VOLNAY PC CHAMPANS (de Montille) ****

Fine cherry red. Excellent, strikingly pure nose, round and harmonious. Raspberry, wild strawberry (fraise des bois), red rose, peony (pivoine). Lovely aroma! Excellent, harmonious, velvety flavour, fine freshness and volume, yet aerial and buoyant. Sustained, lushly fruity flavour – quite simply gorgeous. Perfect acidity and tannins. Great Volnay. 3 years then 15+.


05 VOLNAY PC CLOS DES CHENES (Michel Lafarge) **

Solid colour. Broad, if somewhat simple aroma, oaky and smoky. Blackberry (mûre), oaky spice (medium toast?), black cherry, damson jam. Full vinous nose. Very good flavour, vinous and mouth-filling but with slightly strident tannins (burns a little in the mouth). Bitter finish. 5 years then 6-8.



Lustrous appearance. Dynamic, concentrated nose, a positive statement – almost a declaration! Gorgeous aroma, of Grand Cru weight and power : black cherry, damson, peony. Deep and complex. Excellent, if closed flavour, structured and packed with matière : damson, black cherry, liquorice (réglisse). Long, balanced aftertaste. Great Burgundy. 8 years to open then 15-20.



Clear purple crimson. Slightly laboured, jammy nose, plum jam, fig, cinnamon (from oak). Faintly cooked, oxidative nose. Boiled sweets. Something wrong.


05 POMMARD PC RUGIENS (M. Gaunoux) *

Weak colour. Pleasant if obvious nose, very round and with distinct Pinot Noir character, but lacks finesse. Red fruits in general, with a hint of strawberry compote. The flavour is as if « suspended » – there’s substance there but it’s not clearly defined at present. Very woody finish.


05 CORTON (Bonneau du Martray) ****

Colour not extremely dark but the nose has great nobility and depth, with Grand Cru authority, density, and subtlety, conjuring up plum jam with skin, blackberry, and prunes (from extremely ripe PN fruit). A really voluminous nose, somewhat cigarbox-like, with a briary element too. Splendidly rich, concentrated flavour, with refined earthiness, and a chocolaty hint. Long, fat, concentrated finish. Could almost take for a Bonnes Mares à l’aveugle – or a true Corton à l’ancienne!

8 years then 12+.


05 CORTON LES PAULANDS (Senard) **(*)

Weak rosé-pink. Charming nose, raspberry, pink rhubarb (actually not unlike a top old-vine Fleurie). Redcurrant and raspberry too. More convincing, serious, on palate : lovely, almost Chambolle-like delicacy and persistence. Lacy. Long, delicate raspberry and wild strawberry finish. 4 years to open then 7+.


The initial aromas were clearly superficial, transient ones. A good and true wine.



Broad, vinous, nuanced aroma, both fleshy and sinewy. Cherry, blackberry, hint of chocolate. A full and voluminous nose. Closed on the palate and seems a bit two-dimensional, with a woody finish. To judge from preceding wine (also from Senard), it may well be in closed-up phase and could show quite differently on another occasion. 4-5 years then 6+.


05 CORTON BRESSANDES (Chandon de Briailles) **(*)

Weak appearance. Slightly banal nose, which quickly opens up, however, on contact with air, gaining in depth : cherry, raspberry, strawberry jam. Good flavour, vinous and serious : strawberry jam, blackberry, and a subtle hint of morel (morille). Good dynamic flavour, very closed but with lots of briary fruit. Blackberry, bay leaf, (feuille de laurier), cocoa. The finish is a bit dry and rigid and very closed. Good material there but somewhat hidden. 5 years then 8+.


05 CORTON BRESSANDES (Tollot-Beaut) ****

Solid colour. Big, vital, concetrated nose of Grand Cru power : black cherry, smoke, damson, sweet raspberry. Vital and dynamic, with lots of depth – so concentrated it needs aeration. Almost a Vougeot solidity and vinosity. Very well balanced, long flavour with excellent tannins and acidity, with fine clay and mineral finish. A great wine and – together with the Bonneau version – the best of the Cortons.



Solid colour. Noble, weighty, vital aroma, all of a piece – as concentrated as the previous wine (a Grand Cru!). Powerful, very Côte de Nuits nose, full of energy and volume. Plum, damson, peony (very pronounced). Richly aromatic even on the palate. Almost decadently rich and spicy. Very long, rich, harmonious aftertaste of amazing quality for this humble Appellation. 4 years then 10. Great Marsannay.


05 VOSNE ROMANEE LES CHAUMES (Meo Camuzet) ***(*)

Amazingly deep, intense colour. Huge, extracted nose, Rhône-like to begin with, yet with unmistakeable PN fruit (probably old vines) : crème de framboise, damson jam, polish (from the oak). Rich, assertive, slightly « forced » nose of all-out extraction. But real Vosne character on palate; rich and dynamic, with sweep and underlying freshness (without which no wine is really good). 5-6 years then 10-12.



Concentrated deep purple. Big, noble, dense aroma, round and full of nuances, with delectable, very Vosne ripe-grape sweetness. Crème de framboise, fig, and a venison-like gaminess verging on the truffly. There’s a balsamic aspect too. Delicious, concentrated, vital flavour, with underlying Vosne freshness, with datelike density on the faintly bitter finish. Strikingly long, with sweep. The extreme ripeness of the grapes is testified to by an almost molasses-like richness on the truffly farewell. 7-8 years then 12+.



Very solid, complex black-purple. Huge concentrated old-vine nose of great authority : truffle, chocolate, raspberry, black cherry jam – the essence of Côte de Nuits depth and originality. Faboulous aroma! Glorious, almost DRC-style flavour, fat, velvety, and opulent, stippled with microscopic subsidiary flavours. Very long, full of nuances, weighty but not heavy. In Grivot’s hands, this growth allies the power and structure of Nuits with the silky intensity of Vosne (Les Boudots is close to neighbouring Vosne). 6 years then 20+.



This dark wine has a very decisive, homogeneous aroma, the quintessence of Nuits St. Georges but somehow italianate too. Black fruits dominate. The noble flavour is very closed up, conjuring up all the black fruits, underbrush, and smoke. Sinewy, with a gamey caste, it is as clenched-up as a boxer’s fist. Very long and sustained, this uncompromising wine – from an uncompromising producer – should not be touched for a decade but will then develop splendidly for a further 15+. (I still remember a glorious ’49).



This has a finer, more focused nose, still denser, of damson, smoke, and black cherry. A nose of terrific force and structure, weighty and sinewy – the quintessence of Nuits St. Georges on the Western side. The flavour is earthy in the best sense, ferruginous, and packed with black fruit flavours sustained by typical Nuits earthiness and terroir. The very long, tannic finish confirms that this should be forgotten for 10 years : it will then improve for 20 more at least.



Good colour. Excellent vital balanced aroma with core of harmonious, concentrated Pinot Noir fruit : lingonberry (airelles), cherry, crème de framboise. Very good dynamic juicy flavour, cherry and damson. Long, sustained aftertaste, fine tannins and acidity, well integrated. 8 years then 15+.



Solid colour. Gorgeous, exceptionally pure PN aroma, expressive and full of finesse : pomegranate, sweet plum jam. Superb rondeur and harmony – and depth. Wonderful nose! Almost a Chambolle finesse. Lovely (if closed) flavour, pomegranate, plum, and raspberry. Very mineral. Great. 6 years then 10+. (La Bussière is right beside Chambolle-Musigny).


05 CHAMBOLLE MUSIGNY (G. Roumier) ***(*)

Solid colour. Noble, clayey nose, pomegranate, plum, raspberry. Very buoyant, it has a floating quality yet has much substance. Lovely ripe plum and pomegranate fruit, fresh, full, yet with classic restraint. Lovely controlled fleshiness. Excellent, balanced flavour, good flesh and fruit though lacks a little complexity – but Village is Village. Beautifully vinified. 3-4 years then 5.



Vivid purple, with full, vinous nose, round and full of energy, with some old-vine depth. Damson, raspberry, something visceral. Good Village flavour, medium full, with oak/tannin aftertaste. Good balance if not very arresting at present. 5 years then 6+.


05 GEVREY CHAMBERTIN (Armand Rousseau) ***

Not very dark but has a lovely Pinot Noir nose with typical Rousseau elegance : lingonberry, pomegranate, plum, strawberry compote. Delicious flavour of similar character, with strawberry to the fore, more distinguished than most Gevrey Village. Very mineral finish. 5 years then 6+.



Nuanced purple-crimson. Noble, focused aroma, soaring and complex : lingonberry, red rose, pomegranate. Very expressive, poetic aroma, lovely grace and harmony. Delectable, intense, complex flavour, very long and inspiring, with explosion of sub-flavours on the sustained aftertaste – orange, wild strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate. Amazing wine! 8-10 years then 20+.


Everybody agrees that Clos St. Jacques is a de facto Grand Cru. One excuse given me for its Premier Cru status by a senior Burgundy figure was that (unlike all official Grands Crus) it was not contiguous with another Grand Cru. He agreed, though, that it is of G.C. Quality.



Great vinous prose after vinous poetry : somewhat darker, this has a firmly focused, vinous aroma. Fuller than Rousseau’s but less complex : black fruits, peony, dark red rose (the spicy kind). Truly, a masterful nose with sweep. In fact, gorgeous. All of a piece, with a body and force more reminscent of a Bonnes Mares than a Clos St. Jacques. Chocolaty density. Lovely long, more down-to-earth flavour (compared with preceding) with a damson and elderberry finish. 8 years then 15+. Superb.



Solid blackish blue-purple. Noble, complex, richly fruity nose, chocolaty and opulent : dark red roses, black cherry, peony, roast chestnut, truffle. Fabulous nose! Lovely fresh, concentrated, but buoyant flavour, damson, sweet black cherry, truffle, black fig. Sustained, aerial aftertaste, velvety and refined. Exceptionally long. Great Combottes! 8 years then 12+.


05 CLOS DE VOUGEOT (J. Grivot) ****

Very dark, with a great soaring, complex, very round aroma, lushly fruity and with ripe-grape sweetness, with opulence, richness, and freshness. Great unforced concentration of juicy vieilles vignes fruit, with an almost Vosne lusciousness and expressiveness. Excellent flavour, succulent yet as structured as a great claret. Ideal tannins and acidity. A great Clos de Vougeot. Outstanding. 8-9 years then 15-20. (Is Grivot’s plot close to Vosne?).


05 BONNES MARES (G. Roumier) ****(*)

Dark in colour, this has a classic, firmly closed-up aroma, very round and homogeneous, exhaling concentration, harmony, and complexity, with unmistakeable vieilles vignes depth. The structured flavour suggests pomegranate, damson, truffle, and liquorice. The aftertaste, though crammed with fruit, is very closed. But the length is phenomenal. Long, sinewy, structured. 9-10 years then 20.


05 BONNES MARES (F. Mugnier) ***(*)

Solid, noble, noticeably mineral aroma with lift and many nuances, suggesting cherry jam, damson, and lingonberry. A nose that is buoyant, solid, and all of a piece. Crammed with black fruits and berries of all kinds, it is lushly fruity if a little within its shell. There’s a touch of woody spice on the lingering, faintly chocolaty finale. 8-9 years then 10+.


05 CHAMBERTIN (Trapet) *****

Well-coloured if not as dark as some, this has a noble, full, soaring uniquely Chambertin aroma of great complexity and many nuances, with much power and great finesse: a round, poetic aroma that calls to mind plum jam, liquorice, pomegranate, and peony. The flavour, both sinewy and silky, has great roundness, and the finish, which is full of pockets of sub-flavour, shows a lovely spread of raspberry sweetness. 8-10 years then 15+.


This is surely Trapet’s greatest Chambertin since the unforgettable ’69.



© Frank Ward 2008

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