How do 15 years old white Burgundies hold up ?
At Les Conseillers du Vin we compared two excellent white Burgundy vintages that have barely reached maturity. The 99 white Burgundies are reputed for their ripe, rich bold flavours. Barely at their peak they are known to be quite charming. The cooler 2000 harvest, produced wines with more acidity, elegance and great aging potential. Comparing these two lovely white Burgundy vintages created a heated debate. Which of 1999 or 2000 was preferred ?
A great opportunity to compare two very different vintages: the participants tasted in the usual blind tasting format a selection of 4 wines from each vintage to verify the evolution and remaining aging potential of these great white Burgundies.
Results: Five (5) wines performed extremely well! 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.
Many of you are probably aware of the problem of premature oxidation that plagued many white Burgundies from the 90’s and early 2000 vintages. The two vintages (99 & 2000) presented in this tasting were not spared. Many reasons have been attributed for this premature oxidation problem: from harvesting too ripe to not enough sulphites added, or too much batonnage (stirring of the lees) and bad corks. Most probably a combination of reasons! The majority of participants agreed that wines # 2-3 and 5 were oxidised and were disappointments. But the other five (5) wines were quite remarkable, all on their plateau of maturity with a few still offering some aging potential.
The winning wine was # 8 Chassagne 1er Cru Morgeot 2000 Michel Colin-Deléger (23 pts), followed closely by wine # 4 Chablis Vaudésir 2000 William Fèvre (20 pts). Tied for third place were two 99 Puligny 1er Crus: wine # 6 Les Champs Canet from Louis Carillon and # 7 Les Referts from Étienne Sauzet both with 19 pts. My top three wines were the same as the group. See my tasting notes below.
Because of high prices, shopping for great whites Burgundies is already stressful enough without having to deal with premature oxidation! Not having encountered any oxidised wines in recent vintages reassures me. Seems like the problem has been resolved.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1-Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chalumeaux 2000, Bouchard Père (Group score: 11 pts)
Light gold colour, not very evolved. A very nice Puligny still lively and youthful. Citrus and apple scents dominate. Lots of acidity assures good freshness and a few more years with more complexity. My rating: 90
2- Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 1999, Jean-Marc Pillot (Group score: 0 pt)
Quite evolved colour and nose. Showing some premature oxidation. Oxidised apple and fino sherry scents. The fan of very evolved, slightly over the hill style, might enjoy this white. My rating: 85
3- Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières 2000, Michel Bouzereau (Group Score: 1 pt)
Also very evolved, amber gold colour. Another victim of premature oxidation! The nose displays scents of nuts, oxidised apple and amontillado sherry. The mouthfeel remains surprisingly enjoyable. Some might appreciate. My rating: 87
4- Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2000, WilliamFèvre (Group score: 20 pts)
Typical pale Chablis colour. Quite youthful nose: citrus and mineral. Lots of refreshing acidity. An elegant, well balanced and youthful white that will satisfy the Chablis enthusiast. Try again in 3 to 5 years. My rating: 93
5- Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Maltroie 1999, Michel Colin-Deléger (Group score: 2 pts)
Premature oxidation at its best! Completely over the hill! Madeira and oxidised apple nose. Obvious bitterness on the finish. Even for the fan of very evolved whites, this Chassagne should be a tough one. My rating: 74
6- Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champs Canet 1999, Louis Carillon (Group score : 19 pts)
Probably the most complex and charming nose. Still fruity with floral and mineral scents, lovely evolution! Typical ripe 1999 flavours with some balancing acidity. Seductive mouthfeel and good length. Ready for drinking. My rating: 92+
7- Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 1999, Etienne Sauzet (Group score: 19 pts)
Also showing some lovely 1999 ripe fruit: lemon peel, apple and pear with floral and mineral hints. Soft acidity, good balance and a lingering bitterness that adds complexity. Ready for drinking but will continue to evolve favourably another 3 to 5 years. My rating: 92
8- Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 2000, Michel Colin-Deléger (Group score: 23 pts)
The highest scoring wine of the tasting with 23 points. This lovely Chassagne displays a very mineral nose with hints of citrus and apple. This refined and elegant white offers lively acidity, great length, and lots of remaining potential (5 to 8 years). Superb! My rating: 94