Nuits Saint Georges Collage!

Here are a few things about Burgundy.  It is very intimidating because it is expensive, myraid in it’s vineyards and producers, and there is such a mythical aura placed upon it by those who have become enchanted by it.  I for one am still trying to figure out what it is all about.  Since I don’t know all that much about Burgundy, and perhaps few people really do as there is SO much to know, I am really not one to say, but I am not sure I really get it.  The Nuits Saint Georges tasting was part of the Wine Workshop series put on by Acker Merrall & Condit.  Their tastings are generally serious events, featuring serious wines, and serious tasters.  So what the heck was I doing there?  Trying to figure out this thing called Burgundy.  While there were some really nice wines that we tried, only a few really stood out, most notably the 1990 Chevillon “Vauchrains”.  One thing I noticed was that there were a lot of experienced Burgundy tasters in the room and most of them seemed to not really care for most of the wines.  So what does this mean?  If you really love the mythical Burgundy that much, should there not be more to love?  Well, I think that is what they do love about Burgundy.  That it is really about finding a gem amongst more middle of the road examples.  That was certainly an impression I took away.  Unfortunately for most of us, this search is an impossibility, as Burgundy wines are very, very expensive.  Especially when you get into the Premier Crus and Grand Crus.  Sure, there are some nice village wines out there, and even though they can be a bit pricey too, they may offer a glimpse of Burgundy’s finesse without too much sticker shock.  But you better know what you are looking for when it comes to Burgundy on any level, as it will cost you if not.  That is why tastings like this, though not cheap, offer a great education and opportunity to learn something about wine.  The search for the elusive thing that is Burgundy continues.

The Nuits Saint Georges playing field as it were.

So in a nut shell, Burgundies can be broken down into three main quality levels.  The most basic level is a Village wine, which comes from a Village or specific area, but not a specific vineyard.  Then there are within the specific designated vineyards two quality levels:  Premier Cru wines and Grand Cru wines.  Grand Cru wines being the highest designation.  Interestingly, Nuits Saint Georges has more Premier Cru level wines than any other part of Burgundy, but no Grand Crus.  We tried many wines at the Village and Premier Cru levels from producers who vary widely in style.  From the modern interpretations of Leroy to the classic style of Chevillon.  All of the examples had a nice amount of bottle age as well, which only helps!

The 1990 Chevillon "Vauchrains" stood above the rest this night.

1997 Domaine Michelle et Patrice Rion – Nuits St. Georges “Les Terres Blanches” 1er Cru

This one and only white Burgundy had oxidized notes to it right off the bat.  One taster said it was more of a “sherrification” of the wine, which seems about right given the nutty truffled flavor profile.  At any rate, an interesting flavor profile but an off white Burgundy.  But then again, a lot of folks have found fault with white Burgs from the 1990′s due to a condition sometimes referred to as “premox” or premature oxidation.  This might have been one of those cases.  But it really is interesting to try and off example to have the point of comparison.  N/A

1991 Domaine Emmanuel Rouget Nuits St. Georges Villages

This was one of the best wines of the night, or should I say, one of the stand out wines of the night.  It was noticeably lite in color with a sort of strawberry hue.  It had a nice nose of floral and lite spice.  The acidity is fairly solid, but the wine remains very approachable.  One of the most easily approachable wines of the night.  RECOMMENDED

1993 Domaine Emmanuel Rouget Nuits St. Georges Villages

Medium garnet in color, the nose is fairly tight here.  There is some greenness, some acidity, and not much fruit to speak of.  PASS

1993 Robert Arnoux Nuits St. Georges “Les Poisets” Villages

Medium to darkish garnet in color.  There is a nose of lite spice and earth that is a bit closed.  The acidity is solid, and there is some dark cherry fruit and a touch of earth on the finish.  ON THE FENCE

1998 Domaine Jacques Cacheux et Fils Nuits St. Georges “Au Bas de Combe” Villages

I called this bottle as corked from the get go, so there is really nothing to say here.  N/A

1990 Domaine Robert Arnoux Nuits St. Georges “Clos des Corvées Pagets” 1er Cru

The color is light to medium garnet with some browning on the edges.  There are some nice notes of red fruit and some green peppers present.  The nose is very pretty and approachable and the wine has a nice roundness in the mouth with a lingering mintiness.  Very easy to like.  RECOMMENDED

1990 Domaine Faiveley Nuits St. Georges “Clos de la Marécale” 1er Cru

Medium to dark garnet in color, with notes of dark cherry and earth.  There is light acidity and light tannins here.  Decent but not amazing.  ON THE FENCE

1996 Maison Louis Jadot Nuits St. George “Aux Boudots” 1er Cru

Medium garnet color, with dark spiced fruit, dark chocolate, and a biggish mouth feel.  The acidity is moderate and but the slightly brooding quality lifts it all a bit along with a hint of interesting earthiness.  RECOMMENDED

1999 Domaine Leroy Nuits St. Georges “Aux Boudots” 1er Cru

Medium Garnet, with notes of spiced French Oak.  There is sweet floral spice and the wine has a biggish (for Burgundy) quality and appears as the most modern styled wine of the night?  RECOMMENDED

2001 Domaine Leroy Nuits St. Georges “Aux Vignerondes” 1er Cru

Medium Garnet in color, there dark cherries and vanilla oak spice at play here.  There is a plush sexy quality to this more modern (Leroy) Burgundy.  There is some greenness, yet caramel, on the biggish nose.  Flashy, but likable.  RECOMMENDED

1993 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges “Les Vaucrains” 1er Cru

Medium garnet in color, with a medium red cherry nose that is slightly closed.  There is lite acidity, but the wine lacks a real signature?  ON THE FENCE

1993 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges “Pruliers” 1er Cru

Medium garnet color with moderate red spiced cherries, moderate tannins, and moderate acidity.  Pretty.  ON THE FENCE

1998 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges “Les Ronciéres” 1er Cru

Medium garnet in color, with tart cherries on a classic aromatic nose.  Nice acidity and a long finish.  Classic Burgundy.  RECOMMENDED

1990 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits St. George “Les Vaucrains” 1er Cru

Considered by many to be Chevillon’s finest wine, I could not agree more.  The only standout wine of the tasting.  A true classic.  Again, medium garnet in color, but a fantastic nose of frankincense and myrrh!  There is earthy dark fruit and pepper there too.  Moderate acidity and some tannins lingering.  Love the dark nose.  As good as it gets in Nuits Saint George.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -  CLASSIC

1990 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges “Les St. Georges” 1er Cru

Medium Garnet with purple hues.  There is dark candied fruit here, and a decidedly spearmint note.  There is moderate acidity and a nice richness to the nose.  RECOMMENDED