A Burgundian Blind Tasting

A recent Friday evening, my coworker David invited us and a bunch of other folks over to his place for a feast of Chinese delicacies his mother-in-law whipped up, to go along with the 4 bottles of Burgundy and 1 bottle of California Pinot Noir that we tasted blind. It was fun – as we snacked on the piping hot Shanghai dumplings brimming with soupy goodness, we sipped and swirled our glasses and tried our best to fit the wines to the tasting notes David set in front of us. The winners – ultimately Y&A and I – got to bring home a bag of frozen soup dumplings each. 😀

Here are the wines and the notes that David found off the web (those in quotation marks are not my own):

1993 Grivot vosne romanee
“At first it smells a bit like wet socks, but once that blows off some bitter cherries, green tea and vegetables comes to the front. In the mouth there’s lots of acid, but also hints of sweetness and fruit.
Supple, ripe and generous with its plum and currant flavors, hinting at coffee and spice on a velvety texture. Has impressive length and well-integrated tannins.”
This was the first wine we tasted, and it was relatively easy to identify as the oldest wine because of its brown hue – very little vibrant red tones left. There was quite a bit of sediment too. Gorgeous wine though – I did pick up the coffee and green tea notes. It lasted in my glass for about 15 or so minutes and noticeably flattened out after.

1996 Perdrix – Nuits St Georges Aux Perdrix 1er Cru
“Dense, dark fruits with some oak. Maybe a touch on the modern side as this is rather polished with the oak quite noticeable. It becomes a little more integrated in the glass. Some light earthy, meaty and smoky notes. Masculine wine.
Firm structure, delicately annunciated. Deep red color, plenty of berry, jam and even a bit of tobacco at the end. Fruity, rich, gave up the goods easily”
This was the last bottle in our tasting lineup, and the one wine that I couldn’t quite place. For its age, it was still pretty red, albeit a darker, more solid red.

1998 Mysterious Cali reserve Pinot
“Displaying the most saturated ruby color, the 1998 Pinot Noir Reserve spent 14 months in new French oak, and tips the scales at 14.2% alcohol. It offers excellent plum and cherry scents along with smoky, spicy oak. Medium to full bodied, moderately tannic, pure, and nicely textured.”
This was later revealed as the Artesa Pinot from Carneros, and one of the wines I’d guessed wrongly. Gah. It was interesting though – when I first tasted it (and made my guess), it tasted hot, spicy with strong notes of tannins and tobacco. But at the end of the tasting, before the results were revealed, I went back to this bottle and oh my, it was like a completely different wine! It had become so pliant and fruity, and reminded me of those carnival cotton candy. Should have changed my mind right then about it being a Cali pinot. Heh.

2003 Heresztyn – Morey St-Denis Les Millandes 1er Cru
“This is wonderfully elegant with less earth nuances and more emphasis on fine and small red berry and cassis aromas but the precision and elegance the flavors displayed from cask are no longer present and instead, the flavors are now borderline heavy and while complex and sappy.”
Easily the favorite of the evening. My note: OMG SO SOFT! It was delicious; we returned to our glass again and again for tiny sips.

2006 Rene Leclerc – Gevrey-Chambertin Champeaux 1er Cru
“Light cherry note. After a few hours in the decanter, it really put on weight. The expressive nose shows high-toned red fruits, cotton candy, earth and a bit of orange peel. On the palate, this has fantastic acidity and the sweet red fruit is really showing well. Smooth and velvety with delicate tannins.”
My first initial reaction upon sniffing the glass was “orange peel”! Whereupon I searched the tasting notes to see if any of the noted wines had this characteristic. Badabing!


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