Thursday, April 05, 2007

Reasons to love Burgundy Part 2 (Roumier and more Roumier)

Another day in Burgundy, another orgy of wines and food. And I wonder why I love the region?

The 2nd day of my stay here began with a (very) late lunch at La Regalade, on the outskirts of Beaune. While the wine list leaves a lot to be desired in terms of depth, it did have some finds. And the owners are so welcoming it makes the place quite warm and inviting. We were all somewhat exhausted from the previous night's debaucheries, but somehow we rallied and ordered a 2003 Henri Boillot Meursault Perrieres.

Not being a big fan of 2003 whites, I was surprised at the quality of this one. Of course, the vineyard helps a lot. Fat and thick, just filling the mouth, with white flowers, somewhat ripe tropical fruits buttressed by some oak and a lovely acidic finish, it had a lively aspect that belied the vintage. This is what California Chardonnay wants to be but somehow misses most of the time.This went very well with my dish of scrambled eggs with black truffles... If anything can be called a hangover cure, this is it.

Then, it was off to our first and last tasting of the day: Domaine Georges Roumier. As usual, Christophe was the essence of grace and hospitality as we arrived, spending time with us chatting before getting some glasses. He was quite happy with the development of the 2005s, and seemed content with his 2006s as well. And then we were off to taste the 2005s...

First, let me say a few generalizations, as I didn't have my notebook and "recorded" everything with what few mental faculties remain. Now, I am going to go out on a limb and say that after tasting the 2005s, I can honestly say God exists and wants us to be happy. Yes, they're that good. Let me repeat that: YES, THEY'RE THAT GOOD. All the wines had this lovely nervosite, a certain liveliness, that kept them alive in the mouth despite the tannins, most of which were quite polished and not intrusive. The fruit was sweetly ripe for Burgundy, but not as in 2003, which I'd consider over-ripe. In addition, the acidities were high but not too high, and balanced the increased size of the fruit quite well. The finishes on some of even the 1er Crus went on for what seemed like hours. And the bouquets on all the wines I've tasted, and I do mean all, are more perfumy than I've ever seen. Basically, everything's where it needs to be.

First was the Chambolle Musigny, always a lovely village wine, and this year even more so. Right from the get-go, we knew were in for a good night: crunchily fresh, with bright berries and a wonderfully fresh and minerally mouthfeel. Ready to drink now. Next Christophe poured us some Chambolle Musigny Les Cras, which was the bigger, brawnier cousin to the village wine. Riper, more vibrant than the village, with darker fruits, this also had a lovely floral bouquet and a longer finish. The Chambolle Musigny les Amoureuses was another step up, but in a more feminine direction. Oooh, softly flowery, with bright red and dark fruits and a lovely perfume, ending in a long finish. Now we hit the Morey St Denis Clos de la Bussieres and found a masculine, earthily fruity wine, which was more earthy but still lively and lovely with bright ripe red and black fruits leading to a minerally finish. To change things, Christophe decided to go rustic, tasting us on the Charmes Chambertin, which was a bit more rustic than the Chambolle, with darker red fruits backed by some serious minerality.We started heading up the food (wine?) chain, Christophe's pippette pouring the Bonnes Mares Terres Rouges, a hearty, brawnily fruity and somewhat metallic wine with big dark fruits and minerals. Next to it we found the Bonnes Mares Terres Blanches, which was much more minerally as opposed to fruity. Still, it had a nerve to it that made us think it would stand up to the Terres Rouges in the final assembly. And we were right: the Bonnes Mares final assemblage, 55% Rouge and 45% Blanche, was amazing. Absolutely stunning. At the same time brooding, dark and yet lively and exuberant, this was just about one of the best wines I've ever tasted young. Incredibly long on the finish, it filled the mouth and wouldn't let go. Now we hit the Musigny, and even though I thought I was in love with the Bonnes Mares, I dumped her and fell for this wine. Gorgeously perfumed, with a delicately big bouquet you could smell a mile away, this offered tons of light dark fruit and a wonderful mouthfeel, just seducing you with its softness. If the Bonnes Mares was the dominatrix, the Musigny was the shy woman who goes wild. We went further into the cellar, visiting some barrels that Christophe's working on for friends. The Le Corton had great aromatics and a wonderfully animale note to it but the palate was rather tight and unforgiving, just hinting at its greatness.

Christophe then asked us if we wanted to see the development of the 2004s, so how could we refuse? He pulled out two half bottles and opened the first, a 2004 Roumier Musigny. Nice, but no 2005, this had some green hints that worried me, though the somewhat tart fruit seemed to balance it out. Next he offered us a taste of the 2004 Roumier Chambolle Musigny les Amoureuses, a distinct step up and much more feminine and approachable.

Now we were off to dinner, and happily Christophe joined us . We headed over to Chez Guy, a small place in Gevrey Chambertin. The list was interesting but nothing crazy, but we were thirsty and wanted more good stuff after being teased by Christophe's wines! In the mood for white, we ordered a 2004 Coche Dury Meursault. This was the textbook definition of Meursault: fat, with an oily texture and notes of bacon-scented lemons and nuts, with a mouth-coating body that ended with a burst of acidity. Gorgeous! But things weren't going to stop there, oh no. Next, we ordered the 2001 Roumier Chambolle Musigny les Cras, a wine which to my nose had a hint of green and reduction in it. But I wasn't about to say anything to the winemaker when he was within striking distance... It had very strikingly crisp red fruits, with just a hint of syrupy aspects to it. As it sat in the glass, everything seemed to calm down, until it was showing quite well. We turned to a bottle of 2000 Trapet Chambertin, a stunningly gorgeous wine of intense perfume, taste and structure. Huge notes of earthy dark fruits, sous-bois and mushrooms filled the nose and palate, with a softly elegant moutfeel that ended with a tannic finish, everything coming together amazingly well. Still thirsty, we reached for the 1999 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques. Another stunner, filled with robust dark mushroom-covered fruits, an intense mouthfeel and amazing weight. Lovely secondary aspects came and went, teasing us with their seductive softness. Wow!

Then it was back to Beaune, dropping Christophe off as we went on our merry (and drunken) way. Someone mentioned that a night cap was needed, and feeling it would be rude, we agreed: 2002 Pierre Colin Meursault, a wine of intense liveliness, with minty, crunchy minerals coating lemon-scented almonds and a searing acidity that stripped the enamel off the teeth. Absolutely gorgeous and just what we needed to wake our palates up. At this point I began to fade and decided to listen to my body, heading to sleep at the early hour of 2:30am.

What a day.

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