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Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Joel D Parker » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:24 am

Pardon me if someone else was planning to write this up, but I have just a few notes to share on a wonderful event.

The event was unique in several respects. It was a tasting of ten Burgundy wines, three whites and seven reds, all but one Premier Cru, and averaging about 300NIS a bottle, or roughly US 80$. It took place in the main part of the Wine Route store (for the whites to begin) and then moved down to the basement, where they store all their high-end stuff from all over the world. Those who had registered and paid the roughly 40$ for the event were given a sheet with a list of the wines and lines for comments, and a Schott-Weisel Burgundy glass (to borrow for the evening). To put in perspective the average drinker had about 2/3 of a bottle of wine by the end of the night (and more if you really wanted), coming to about 250 NIS of wine at cost, and there were other discounts on purchases if one so desired.

It was situation which capitalism can produce on rare occasions: the consumers and the sellers were all interested in having a low cost, thoroughly enjoyable evening, where people (like myself) could taste wines that they might not normally splurge on without some idea of what they're like in advance. In addition, it was a good party with lots of familiar faces, and a nice combo of serious wine lovers and serious wine drinkers without too much pretension.

The whites included:

Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault 'les Tessons' 2004 (379 NIS)
Very long finish when open, with tons of minerals, yet a certain sweetness remained on the palate...

Domaine Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 'les Caillerets' Premier Cru, 2006 (329 NIS)
Rich wine, multi-layered acid offers interesting green fruits, including kiwi on the back-end. Probably too young now.

Domaine Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 'les Vergers' Premier Cru, 2006 (299 NIS)
I caught a whiff of lovely creme brulée on the nose, followed by caressing warm tones with apples and a nice mineral-rich finish, a hint of 'cat pee on a bramble bush in the morning' there if you know what I mean. (Later Ido Lewinsohn and I discussed this wine as our mutual fav. of the whites.)

The reds included:

Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune de Chateau Premier Cru, 2006 (179 NIS)
A very strong wine, in my opinion, with a strong earthy nose and good grip on the tannic finish. Not as elegant as some to come, but certainly worth keeping in mind as half the price of many of the others. It's color was very light, but it was not a light wine at all, with 13.5% alcohol, and filling out as it opened.

Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Clos de Chateau des Ducs Premier Cru 2004 (399 NIS)
A very, very elegant wine. Nose was quiet at this stage. Almost delicate, with pure fruits on the palate, including something like rhubarb on the medium-long silky finish.

Louis Jadot Pommard 'Clos Poutures' Premier Cru 2003 (299 NIS)
Strong wet-earth nose, elegant and fine. Very nice gentle acid with a long and caressing finish. My favorite up until this point.

Bouchard Père & Fils Nuits St. George 'les Cailles' Premier Cru, 2004 (359 NIS)
The nose on this one brought me back to my early childhood when I used to take chewable Flinstones multivitamins. I know that's weird, but if you've ever had them you may remember their distinct mineral-rich smell...Still elegant though, with much more than just that. Strong fruits and a kick on the finish. I'm starting to understand why these wines are so expensive--there's just nothing to compare them to...

Domaine Christian Serafin Morey St. Denis 'les Millandes' Premier Cru, 2004 (399 NIS)
Less Flinstones, but elegant. This wine did not stand out to me as a champion of the tasting. I would drink it, but not go out of my way for it.

Domaine des Lambrays Morey St. Denis 'les Loups' Premier Cru, 2004 (399 NIS)
This wine was good too, but it doesn't stand out in my mind, given what it was sandwiched between. I don't have a good analysis for this wine.

Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 'les Cherbauds' Premier Cru, 2006 (399)
This wine was somewhat of a finalé, with so much going on, it's hard for the first-time taster (me) to put this one into words. I compared it to a Ferrari, and some of the folks I was speaking with more or less agreed--elegant and luxurious, yet powerful and racy. Well worth the money if you've got it. Probably also worth waiting for a few years to see how it develops if you've got storage and money for a case or two of this stuff.

That's pretty much all, and I have to say a big thanks to the staff of the WineRoute TA branch who were very generous and professional all around. Thanks to Raanan for SMSing me just before the event to make sure I didn't cop out, and I'm glad I didn't miss it.

Best,

Joel
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Jonathan Kalman » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:35 am

Joel,
Thank you for your notes. Much appreciated. It sounds as though it was a very good evening.
Best wishes,
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Eli R » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:21 am

Hi,

Indeed a very worthy informal tasting.

IMHO, two wines left the best impressions:

Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Clos de Chateau des Ducs Premier Cru 2004
Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 'les Cherbauds' Premier Cru, 2006

To compare, the following wine is on sale this month for under 200 NIS:
Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2006
(falls in the category of under 200 NIS)

Daniel,

I do not know if you are planning to post a full review, but if not, could you please post WTN or at least your recommended drinking window for the above three wines.

Thanks,

Eli
Last edited by Eli R on Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:00 pm

Along with several members of our forum, I also attended the tasting at Derekh HaYain last evening (Tuesday, 21 December). As is often the case at the tastings at the chain, a well-organized and fine tasting and, as is my wont, I arrived early and by the time most people had arrived, had already finished my tastings. Let it known to one and all that on the way home I stopped for (a) a good double espresso, (b) a small pizza (with double cheese and anchovies) and (c) another double espresso. Life does have its little rewards.

Following are my tasting notes for the wines, all of which are imported by and now on offer at the Derekh HaYain (Wine Route) chain of stores.

Best
Rogov


The White Wines

Domaine Pierre Morey, Meursault, Les Tessons, 2004: Light gold with green tints, medium-bodied, a mineral-rich wine opening with citrus and papaya on the nose and palate and goes on to show roasted nuts and stony minerals, all leading to a long, refreshing and complex finish. Drink now-2018. NIS 380. Score 91. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)


Domaine Fontaine Gagnard, Chassagne Montrachet, les Caillerets, 1er Cru, 2006: Deep gold, full-bodied with generous notes of white peach, pear and guava fruits, those supported nicely by notes of stony minerals and from mid-palate on, white peaches and white pepper, all coming to a long, crisp finish. Drink now-2016. NIS 330. Score 91. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

Domaine Fontaine Gagnard, Chassagne Montrachet, les Vergers, 1er Cru, 2006: Deep gold with green and orange reflections, a medium- to full-bodied white. On the nose and palate generous nectarines, citrus and peaches on a background of earthy minerals. Complex and long. Drink now-2015. NIS 300. Score 91. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

Bouchard Pere & Fils, Beaune de Chateau, 1er Cru, 2006: Deeply aromatic with strawberries and cherries on the nose, those carrying over to the palate and then pating to make way for raspberries and tropical fruits. Medium-bodied, with gently gripping tannins and plenty of good balancing acidity all leading to a long and generous finish. Drink now-2015. NIS 180. Score 89. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

The Red Wines

Domaine Michel Lafarge, Volnay, Clos de Chateau des Ducs, 1er Cru, 2004: Garnet towards brick-red, a fully biodynamic wine, showing medium- to full-bodied with somewhat chunky tannins that give the wine a somewhat sharp note on opening, so be sure at this stage to either decant or to let the wine open in the glass so that its elements come together. On first attack plums, cherries and smoky oak, those parting to make way for notes of blackcurrants. Approachable now but just coming into its own so let this one cellar until 2012 before drinking and then cellar comfortably until 2018. NIS 400. Score 91. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

Louis Jadot, Pommard, Clos Poutures, 1er Cru, 2003: A luscious wine, opening with generous earthiness, that parting to reveal an abundance of raspberries and cherries. Full-bodied and tannic enough to be thought of as chewy but showing remarkable grace. A Pinot Noir for those who enjoy their Pinot on the somewhat "tough" side. Drink now-2018. NIS 300. Score 90. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

Domaine Bouchard Pere & Fils, Nuits St. Georges, les Cailles, 1er Cru, 2004: Dark ruby with notes of brick red, full-bodied, with chewy tannins that reside slowly in the glass and make way for blackberries, raisins and licorice and, on the long finish a note of bittersweet chocolate. At its peak now but will cellar well for another 2 – 3 years. NIS 360. Score 90. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

Domaine Christian Serafin, Morey St. Denis, les Millandes, 1er Cru, 2004: On opening attack an odd array of earthiness, iodine and near puckering acidity but don't let that mislead you for this one needs a bit of time in the glass for those elements to recede and for the wine to show its charms. As the wine does open look it shows generous cherries, raspberries and red licorice, those supported by notes of black pepper , spicy oak and freshly picked herbs. A fascinating wine. Whether you will be one of those who is fascinated is much a matter of personal taste. Drink now-2016. NIS 380. Score 90. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

Domaine des Lambrays, Morey St. Denis, les Loups, 1er Cru, 2004: Garnet, with a hint of brick red, a deeply aromatic wine, showing a nose replete with crushed berries, rose petals and mahogany, those lingering nicely. On the palate appealing black fruits, the wine mature enough to show secondary aromas of earthy minerals, spices and tobacco and notes of black pepper on the long finish. Drink now-2016. NIS 400. Score 91. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)

Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey Chambertin, les Cherbauds, 1er Cru, 2006: Garnet, with a robe of royal purple, showing generous cherries and raspberries on the nose, those carrying over to the palate together with notes of red currants and stony minerals. Medium- to full-bodied, with gently caressing tannins, those and the fruits rising on a long and generous finish. Drink now-2018, perhaps longer. NIS 400. Score 92. (Tasted 21 Dec 2010)
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Joel D Parker

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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Joel D Parker » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:18 pm

Thanks for those notes Daniel,

I think I have a better appreciation for what it takes to be a 'pro' at this sort of thing. Some of those wines were quite difficult for me to describe, or really even comprehend. Although I'm sure there are more words that could be used for any wine, it is a real skill to be able to more or less accurately describe them in 50-100 words per wine.

I was pretty sure that the "Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Clos de Chateau des Ducs Premier Cru 2004" had a quiet nose because it wasn't quite ready, and you confirmed my suspicion.

The thing here that strikes me is how inadequate a score is in getting a full appreciation of these wines. Although you've always said to read the note, I realize that with some of these wines you just have to taste them to know which one you like better. Although I agree with your scores, I realize the pitfalls in making a purchase based merely on the numbers. And moreover, a 90 point Burgundy will do very different things for you than a 90 point Cabernet from California (not to offend anyone), and knowing the difference is really a matter of personal experience.

Best and good night,

Joel
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Joel D Parker » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:19 pm

p.s. when you add the commas to the titles of the wines, they start to make a lot more sense :)
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by ChaimShraga » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:34 pm

Joel D Parker wrote:Thanks for those notes Daniel,

I think I have a better appreciation for what it takes to be a 'pro' at this sort of thing. Some of those wines were quite difficult for me to describe, or really even comprehend. Although I'm sure there are more words that could be used for any wine, it is a real skill to be able to more or less accurately describe them in 50-100 words per wine.

I was pretty sure that the "Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Clos de Chateau des Ducs Premier Cru 2004" had a quiet nose because it wasn't quite ready, and you confirmed my suspicion.

The thing here that strikes me is how inadequate a score is in getting a full appreciation of these wines. Although you've always said to read the note, I realize that with some of these wines you just have to taste them to know which one you like better. Although I agree with your scores, I realize the pitfalls in making a purchase based merely on the numbers. And moreover, a 90 point Burgundy will do very different things for you than a 90 point Cabernet from California (not to offend anyone), and knowing the difference is really a matter of personal experience.

Best and good night,

Joel


Joel hi,

The WineRoute stand-up tastings are especially hard for pros and amateurs alike. There's no way of knowing whether the wine you're served has been opened for a sufficiently long time. And I for one believe that letting a small portion air in glass is not a solution. I've too often seen a wine go from closed to flat in glass with no middle ground. That's why I didn't attend, that, and too many 2004 and 2003 reds.

If you attend any of Tomer's tastings, you'll find that Burgundy wines are actually some of the easiest to understand, as with proper airing (and Tomer has a very good feel for sort of thing - not to disparage the folks at Wine Route, whom I greatly respect, but their stand-up tastings are very problematic, as I've said) they show amazing clarity and transparency. They make you concentrate and think and there's a lot of depths to discover, but I always feel they offer a very fair field of play at any age, unlike, say, the other three B's (Bordeaux, Barolo, Brunello). But that's just my opinion, I'm sure many would disagree.
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Eli R » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:51 pm

Hi,

As much as I prefer drinking from a set of proper glasses around the table, there is always the value for money side.
Untill this tasting, I chose not to attend any Premier Cru Burgundy, as uslally the cost is near 500 NIS.

Eli
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Daniel Rogov » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:54 pm

Chaim, Hi...

Agreed that what some call "stand-up" and others call "walk-about" tastings offer various challenges but with regard to the one you pose, one always has the option of inquiring into how long before pouring the bottles were opened. More than that, there is rarely a problem in requesting several additional glasses, finding a quiet nook in which to set them aside quietly and then returning to them over time as they open in the glass. That is one of the reasons why I invariably atttend such tastings with a magic-marker in my shoulder bag, that is to say in order to number my glasses and be sure to precisely which wine I am returning.

Best
Rogov
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by ChaimShraga » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:04 pm

I figure, if I have to do that much work just to save some money, I prefer to pay more and have the wines served to me just right. I never felt I learned anything at those tastings. So I pay Tomer extra and he learns me stuff.
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Joel D Parker » Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:23 am

Hi Chaim,

I didn't mean to say that I didn't get anything from the tasting, just that I would not have been able to pin down those wines as accurately as Daniel's notes. I think it is less a matter of the event being inferior as my experience with translating my palate into words at this point. You're probably right that Bourgogne wines require some experience to grasp, and given their price in Israel, I haven't really had many occasions to do so.

As to the issue of opening bottles, I think it is more serious of an issue with, as you said, the other B's besides Bourgogne. Did you mean that the 2003 and 2004 wines were not interesting to you because they were too old or because they were not good years for Bourgogne? One of the 2004 reds was actually too young, while another was really at its peak, I gather from the TNs.

Although I would probably not do as much work as Daniel in a 'stand about' tasting, I considered my 150 sheks to have been well spent on a lively atmosphere and in gaining an "impressionistic feeling" for the wines at hand. With the discounts they offered, one could always just buy a bottle or two of the wines he or she preferred and then do a serious tasting at home with the right glasses or at a nice restaurant with great food. Even taking home the most expensive bottle it would have run up a bill of around 330NIS, plus your entrance fee--still less than Tomer's (no doubt worthy) tasting events.

Best,

Joel
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by ChaimShraga » Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:56 am

Hi Joel,

It's all about the weather. 2002 and 2005 were great vintages in Burgundy because the fruit was very ripe and yet everything was very balanced, so the ripeness wasn't overdone. 2003 was too ripe. It was just too hot so a lot of growers picked before the wines could achieve phenolic ripeness (sort of like Israel) but oddly enough, the growers who were patient and waited got more balanced wines, because of late improvement in the weather. From what I've tasted, even the good wines from 2003 are not really to my taste.

2001/6/7, on the other hand, were cool vintages, but the good Burgundy domaines have been dealing with cold weather for years so you can trust them to make good, even great wines in those years. I've quite liked a lot of 2006's and 2007's. Both reds and whites.

Then you have 2004, where a lot of wines are just too green. There's a lot of material about in on the web. It seems it wasn't a matter of climate. Burgundy was hit by a pest called ladybug. Unlike weather conditions, this doesn't strike me as the kind of trouble that a good grower will have better luck dealing with then a mediocre grower, so 2004 is really a big gamble. For reds. The whites were great.

Having said all that, my major problem with the tasting was that offering 2003's and 2004's in 2010 strikes me as someone dumping unsold stocks. And from vintages I avoid. So that created enough tunnel vision for me that I couldn't be bothered to see the other wines being offered.

As far as discounts, WineRoute have so many discounts going on that I preferred to wait for another shopping opportunity.

Glad you guys like the Fontaine-Gangnard's.
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Joel D Parker » Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:53 am

Thanks for your clarification Chaim.
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Alexander F » Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:20 pm

Is it always in walk-around manner in WineRoute? I thought for 300-500NIS, it would be around table tasting.
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Re: Burgundy tasting in Tel Aviv (at WineRoute)

by Daniel Rogov » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:22 pm

Alex, Hi...

As in many places, Derekh HaYain hosts both walk-about and guided tastings at tables. As to price at either, one has to measure against the number and value of the wines. Also to be considered, the two kinds of tastings offer different social interactions and experiences.

Best
Rogov

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