This very high quality Burgundy vintage is at its peak. From the outset this very warm vintage produced reds bursting with ripe berry flavours and velvety tannins. For the past twenty years this outstanding vintage has been seducing Burgundy aficionados. The 1999 harvest was obviously more favourable for the production of fine reds with good ripeness, character, surprising freshness, good extract and excellent aging potential. Unfortunately some are starting to decline, but the elite wines are still going strong.
Twenty years later, at Les Conseillers du Vin, we decided to revisit this 20 years old Burgundy vintage by tasting a selection of wines from reputed producers to verify the evolution of this excellent vintage. As usual a group of 16 experienced tasters analyzed seven (7) red Burgundies plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
Results: To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
Most of the participants were pleased with the style and evolution of the wines. Many agreed, the wines are at their peak, with some starting their decline. Two wines dominated the tasting: Corton Bressandes Grand Cru from La Pousse d’Or (29 pts) and Gevrey-Chambertin from Sérafin Père & Fils (28 pts). The mystery wine came in third with 16 points: Sanford 1999 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard from Santa Barbara California. Two wines surprisingly did not perform well, both were described as a bit austere: Nuits St-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains from Henri Gouges (1 pt) and Le Corton Grand Cru from Bouchard Père & Fils (2 pts).
The Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes from Louis Jadot (9 pts) was a bit of an enigma, some really enjoyed it (myself) and others disliked it for being too firm. For six participants (6), the Chambertin Grand Cru Domaine Pierre Damoy was a disappointment. The wine, while quite dense and extracted, seemed cooked and a bit oxidised. Maybe a winemaking mistake/fault? Unfortunately there was a badly corked wine that might have faired well in this tasting, the Volnay 1er Cru Robardelles from Domaine Carré-Courbin. This Volnay had good colour and extract and was still on its plateau of maturity, unfortunate! My top three wines were: 1- Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Cazetiers Louis Jadot, 2- Corton Bressandes La Pousse d’Or 3- Gevrey-Chambertin Sérafin Père & Fils. See my tasting notes below.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1-Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains Domaine Henri Gouges (Group score: 1 pt)
Deeply coloured, still youthful. The nose displays fruity (cranberry) and spicy scents. Lively acidity, with some slightly firm tannins. Good structure, medium weight, hint of bitterness and some remaining potential (3 to 5 years). My rating: 92/100
2- Chambertin Grand Cru Domaine Pierre Damoy (Group score: 4 pts)
The disappointing wine of the tasting! Six (6) participants classified it as such. Seemed over-extracted, slightly oxidised with cooked flavours. Could be attributed to winemaking miscues/decisions? Disturbing nose displaying MSG (beef broth), cooked fruit and chocolate. My rating: 88?/100
3-Gevrey-Chambertin Serafin Père et Fils (Group Score: 28 pts)
Classic Burgundy from a highly respected producer. Lovely evolved nose, still a bit of fruit. Good balance, freshness, elegant mouthfeel. Medium bodied, at its peak. Easy drinking Gevrey. Superb! My rating: 93/100
4-Corton Bressandes Grand Cru Domaine La Pousse d’Or (Group score: 29 pts)
The preferred wine of the tasting and one of my favourites. Some orange on the rim. Complex nose, still some fruit with floral and forest floor scents. Refined, elegant and well balanced. A beautiful Burgundy ready for drinking. My rating: 93+/100
5-Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Santa Barbara, Sanford 1999, California (Group score: 16 pts)
The obvious mystery wine of the tasting. Ten (10) participants identified it as the odd man out. This ripe and still juicy Pinot came in third! Some jammy fruit, ripe flavours, soft acidity and good length. Quite charming! Ready to drink. My rating: 90/100
6-Volnay 1er Cru Robardelles, Domaine Carré-Courbin (Group score : 2 pts)
Obviously corked. Great colour and very good extract. Could have been one of the best wines of the tasting! Very unfortunate. My rating: ??/100
7-Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers, Louis Jadot (Group score: 8 pts)
A bit of an enigma, this wine was either enjoyed or disliked! Typical complex nose with forest floor, floral and leather scents. Still some fruit, firm structure, should continue to evolve favourably. My rating: 94/100
8- Le Corton Grand Cru, Bouchard Père & Fils (Group score: 2 pts)
Most of the participants did not enjoy or vote for this structured red. Evolved colour: orange rim. Lovely typical nose: earthy and animal scents. A bit on the firm side with lingering bitterness. Slightly austere. My rating: 89?/100