2007 Red Burgundy Tasting

A group of wine trade colleagues and customers convened for a horizontal Burgundy tasting last week at Medlar Restaurant. Following the 2011 White Burgundies (please see the previous blog post), we turned our attention to the 2007 vintage for Red Burgundy.

We expected the 2007 reds to be similar to the 2000s, but as one taster quipped the next day, ‘2007 is like 2000 but without the guts’.  I am not in total agreement as I thought the 2007s, when well made, showed lovely purity of fruit and though they were charming, they also had a lovely freshening balance. In my mind, this makes for a very good drinking Burgundy vintage. They are just entering their drinking window and I expect to enjoy them very much over the next few years.

We tasted a total of 12 wines in flights of two wines. Please find my notes below:

The first flight started with Volnay 1er Cru, Coche-Dury 2007. The nose had super-sweet red fruits and the palate was unctuous with ripe, wild fruit dominating. The group was split on this, one faction loving the pure pleasure of it and the other thinking it was almost too New World in its ripeness. I agree with the latter. It was enjoyable but not necessarily what I was looking for in a Cote de Beaune red. We then had the Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand 2007. This could not have been more different. It had ripe, modern(ish) fruit on the nose and a structured, tannic palate with red fruits. It didn’t give much pleasure on the night though it was a well made wine.

The next flight started with Morey St Denis 1er Cru Clos de la Bussiere, Georges Roumier 2007. It had easy, soft raspberry fruit on the nose and the palate had fresh, spicy red fruits with refreshing acidity that was nearly aggressive. A member of the group said he had had great bottles but they needed at least 10-15 years to show at their best so I think maybe we drank this too early. The Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Corbeaux, Denis Bachelet 2007 was the next wine and it had spicy, red fruits on the nose with some wild red fruits on the palate. However, I thought the palate was a little unripe, tasting of grape bunch stems. Not very pleasurable.

We then had Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Suchots, Sylvain Cathiard 2007 which showed heady and ripe red fruits on the nose but the palate was a little edgy and lacking stuffing. I didn’t know what to make of this. I love Sylvain Cathiard’s wines when I taste them en primeur as they show a lot of red fruit purity but this seems to have come undone at 8 years of age. The next wine, however, made up for it. The Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Malconsorts, Cuvee Christiane, de Montille 2007 was spectacular. The nose was complex and profound with ripe red fruits and herbs. The palate was gorgeous, combining breadth of fruit with incredibly fine tannins and was very long. This vineyard is situated directly next to La Tache and the exemplary terroir really came through in the wine. This is not cheap but worth seeking – a truly excellent wine.

Next we tried Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, Jean Grivot 2007. It had a very enticing nose of ripe red fruits and the palate was well-balanced though it lacked complexity and character. A good wine but hard to defend its Grand Cru status. We then moved on to the second Roumier wine of the night, Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Cras, Georges Roumier 2007. It had lovely, pure strawberry and raspberry fruit on the nose and a lifted, balanced palate with refreshing acidity. This was a very good wine which reminded why I like the purity of Chambolle Musigny so much.

We then moved to our final Roumier wine of the night, Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru aux Mazoyeres, Christophe Roumier 2007. This was gorgeous. The nose had the purity of Roumier and the complexity of a Grand Cru, showing notes of nutmeg and other spices. It had lovely, raspberry fruit on the palate and near-perfect balance, finishing long and fresh. A really great wine. The next wine was Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, Denis Bachelet 2007 which was totally different. I thought it smelled more of Northern Rhone Syrah than Red Burgundy, showing notes of bacon and grilled meats. The palate had good underlying red fruits and notes of herbs and was very well-balanced. I liked it immensely and enjoyed the comparison to the wine before, which to me showed two very different ways of making a wine. The first was an example of purity, leaving the fruit to do the talking where the Bachelet was an example of how the winemaker gives the wine its character.

The last two wines of the night were probably the most anticipated as they are from undoubtedly one of the best growers in Burgundy, Armand Rousseau. We started with Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru Clos des Ruchottes, Armand Rousseau 2007. The nose exploded with raspberry fruit with herbs and spice in the background. The palate was excellent, combining ripe fruit with fine tannins. We then finished with Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques, Armand Rousseau 2007. This is a Grand Cru in all but name and it did not disappoint on the night. The nose was fragrant and ripe with strawberry and spice emanating from the glass. It was very different on the palate than the Ruchottes, showing a much greater breadth of fruit which was all-encompassing. A great wine which was drinking well on the night and will continue to improve for years to come.

As always, thank you to all the members of the group for being so generous with their wines and knowledge and to Medlar Restaurant, who helped make the night a success.

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