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Friday, May 4, 2012

A Few Amazing Burgundies and Bordeaux

This week I got to try a few truly exciting wines that amazed me even though I was already expecting them to be extraordinary.  The majesty and complexity of a great Bordeaux and the unparalleled elegance of a beautifully made Burgundy nearly left me speechless as I tasted.
The Burgundies were from Meo-Camuzet.  We tasted through the 2009 Hospice de Nuits Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Didiers,” Grand Cru Corton Les Perrieres, and Grand Cru Echezeaux Les Rouges de Bas - pure elegance.  All three wines show a cool earthiness and plenty of clean acidity.  The Nuits-Saint-Georges showed a lot of red fruit and a bit more spice than I had anticipated, and it had more presence than I expected, so I was really pleasantly surprised.  The Corton was incredibly lovely, delicate, and elegant - the aromas are soft and the flavors and texture are smooth.  The Echezeaux truly amazed me - the balance is near impeccable and the aromas, flavors, and texture are wonderful.

Meo-Camuzet lineup

The Bordeaux were from Chateau Brane-Cantenac, a Margaux second growth from the 1855 Bordeaux Classification.  After a brief presentation on the history and winemaking of the chateau, we tasted through the 2007 Baron de Brane and 2009 Baron de Brane (second wine of the chateau), followed by the 2006 Chateau Brane-Cantenac and 2009 Chateau Brane-Cantenac.  Before I say anything else, I’ll mention that the wines from this chateau are intended for aging, and I’ll also mention that the 2009 vintage was considered extraordinary, and after tasting the two 2009s, I’m convinced.

Chateau Brane-Cantenac and Baron de Brane

The 2007 Baron de Brane shows plenty of ripe fruit and soft spice and anise, and as the wine embarks on its long finish, vanilla is the most dominant characteristic.  The 2009 showed great texture and richness and is an absolutely charming wine.  The 2006 Chateau Brane-Cantenac actually seems like it’s approaching time to drink - it’s soft and full and beautiful, and while I still think it ought to be decanted, it doesn’t drink like it needs a lot of time before enjoying it.  The 2009 Chateau Brane Cantenac stunned me and after taking my first taste, I didn’t perceive anything else in the room except for the wine - no voices, nothing else but the wine.  At that moment, I understood why the 2009 vintage is so special.  Balance, so many layers of flavor and characteristics, fruit, baking spices, dried flowers, oak, earth, coming to me one after another yet all together, with fullness, elegance, smoothness, and an expression of its identity that I like to detect in great wines - this wine stunned me.  And the last sip did not go into the spit bucket.

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