Bottles Never Forgotten - Burgundy Edition

It looks like Vinous critic, Neal Martin is taking a page from the Delectable Featured User book! During his travels, Neal had one question up his sleeve that he asked every Burgundy winemaker he encountered. This question sparked conversation, brought back memories and led to long pauses that resulted in a variety of answers. Enjoy this excerpt and check out the full article on Vinous to read even more answers to this intriguing question. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “I was darting in and out of domaines up and down the Côte d’Or last autumn. You know that by now. One thing you did not know is that before commencing each tasting, I asked every winemaker one question, insisting they need not reply until I was finished. Most of us require time to flick through our Rolodex of vinous memories, though some blurted out their answer as if it were spring-loaded inside. Some replies were brief and rudimentary, yet never perfunctory. Along the way, this clichéd question was a key that unlocked wonderful anecdotes, two or three of them quite poignant. Unsurprisingly, Burgundy featured heavily, accounting for 108 out of 156 answers; Lalou Bize-Leroy and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti were cited six and 16 times, respectively. It would seem that every citizen of Chambolle-Musigny sipped from the same magical 1945, and Saint-Aubin has a penchant for Clos Ste. Hune. Acknowledging their “rival,” Bordeaux was represented by 22 wines. (I wonder if it would be the same if I carried out the exercise there.) A common thread is age, proving that bottled history moves the soul. Some are zeniths in terms of quality, others by dint of occasion, company and symbolism. Answers are organized per appellation for you to peruse at leisure. I especially recommend those of David Rebourgeon, Amélie Berthaut, Cyrielle Rousseau, Thibault Liger-Belair, Mathilde Grivot, Marie-Christine Teuillaud, Christine Gruere, Emmanuel Rouget and Hugo Bize. But what is the question? ‘What is the most memorable bottle of wine that you have drunk in your lifetime?’" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ DAVID REBOURGEON - DOMAINE REBOURGEON-MURE If there was a single story that made this entire exercise worthwhile, it was David Rebourgeon’s. “The best bottle… I don’t know if it’s the best bottle, but the most memorable was a 1938 Pommard Les Grands Epenots.” I enquired about the vintage. Did I mishear? Surely he means 1937, a reputed Burgundy vintage. Nothing good came of 1938, did it? “It was 1938 and it would have been bottled under the Domaine Rebourgeon Millotte. One day my father was pushing his wheelbarrow through the vineyard and it hit something. He found bottles of 1938 buried in the ground. My grandparents had buried them during the war. So we opened one of them to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.” AMÉLIE BERTHAUT – DOMAINE BERTHAUT-GERBET “I can tell you right now. It was a 2007 Bâtard-Montrachet from DRC. I tasted it twice. The first time was when my boyfriend and I were working at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Bernard Noblet opened it for us. We had one bottle of our own. I came back home one day and I found that my boyfriend had opened it. I was angry. It should have been for a special occasion. He poured the bottle and I found that underneath, he had attached an engagement ring, and that was when he proposed." All was forgiven. Incidentally, after Amélie told me her anecdote, I replied that I did exactly the same with a bottle of 1970 Dom Pérignon, except that my engagement ring fell off when the champagne was cooling in the fridge. ERIC AND CYRIELLE ROUSSEAU – DOMAINE ARMAND ROUSSEAU I caught Eric in the office just before his daughter Cyrielle escorted me down to the cellar to taste the 2017s. He had no hesitation. “It was a 1937 Romanée-Conti,” he said, adding that it was in the company of one Rudy Kurniawan – but would you pour a fake for someone like Eric Rousseau? The answer that Cyrielle offered during the subsequent tasting was fascinating: “A 1933 Chambertin from Rousseau that was served in a magnum,” she explained. “It was opened for my grandmother’s birthday. The thing is, the bottle was actually a champagne bottle. They did not have much glass at that time and so my great-grandfather must have used a spare champagne bottle.” There followed a funny and un-publishable conversation about the reaction it would provoke if this magnum ever appeared at auction. THIBAULT LIGER-BELAIR – DOMAINE THIBAULT LIGER-BELAIR “Before I was a winemaker, my first job was to work for FICOFI. I was in my 20s. I organized a tasting where Aubert de Villaine was invited to show the 1991 vintage of all the wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. I had never tasted them before because I had been studying up until then. Aubert said, ’Since you are the only Burgundian in the room, you have to organize the tasting with me,’ and then he told me to taste all 50 bottles of different wines, from Echézeaux to La Tâche. It was brilliant. Sometimes we say that a special moment must be shared, but on this occasion, it was special because I was on my own and I knew it would never happen again. It took one hour and I was on cloud nine. It was so interesting to see the difference. I always smile when I remember this moment.” MATHILDE AND ETIENNE GRIVOT – DOMAINE JEAN GRIVOT Mathilde pondered her choice throughout my tasting of 2017s. “One of the most memorable that I’ve tasted was a 1987 Echézeaux from Jacqueline Jayer. At that time, my father [Etienne] was doing a lot of filtration for the market in the United States. However, Jacqueline insisted upon aging the barrels in her own cold cellar and never accepted filtration. It showed me the importance of non-filtered wines in terms of how they age.” I then asked the question of Etienne Grivot himself. “Mine would be a Malvoisie Madeira from the end of the 19th century. It motivated me to continue progressing, to be rigorous and passionate. It taught me how wine could be so great.” SYLVAIN PATAILLE – DOMAINE SYLVAIN PATAILLE “It was a 1929 Volnay Champans. I was at the La Paulée de Meursault and had just come back from [working in] Bordeaux. There was no label on the bottle and so I don’t know the domaine. I remember this wine because we all thought it came from the 1960s or 1970s. The vines must have been quite young and it was not de-stemmed, certainly whole bunch with partial crushing. It was the beginning of my reflection on what is a good vinification.” MARIE-CHRISTINE TEUILLAUD – DOMAINE MUGNERET-GIBOURG “The most memorable is a 1929 Clos Vougeot. It was my father’s, Georges Mugneret’s, vintage, a famous one. He was very lucky. His grandfather gave him one barrel, a different parcel than the one we own nowadays. Back then, Clos Vougeot was not so famous. He bottled that barrel in magnums and jeroboams. In 2014 there was a family party at the restaurant Lavenois and we decided to open the final jeroboam with my mother, children and grandchildren. It was fabulous. When the sommelier opened it, we waited half an hour. I think for very old wines, Clos Vougeot was even better than Echézeaux.” CHRISTINE GRUERE – DOMAINE DUBREUIL-FONTAINE “It’s difficult to say,” Christine Gruere replied. “But 1947 Pommard Epenots from my grandfather on my mother’s side of the family is a special wine. He was a winemaker and it’s where the domaine’s Pommard holdings originate. I’ve tried it several times because he thought it was so special. In fact, we kept around 600 bottles, and I taste it every now and then. We even served it for our wedding. It would have been under the Bidot-Bourgogne label. That was a rich and hot vintage and most of the 1947s turned to vinegar because winemakers could not control the temperature. But my grandfather had this great idea. When he was picking the grapes, he sprayed water over them and left them outside overnight, putting them in the vat in the morning. It kept the grapes cool and there is no volatility in the wine.” EMMANUEL ROUGET – DOMAINE EMMANUEL ROUGET Though Rouget’s answer was perhaps predictable given that he is the nephew of Henri Jayer, the time and occasion made me chuckle. “It was a 1959 Richebourg that was opened by Henri Jayer. It was 9:30 in the morning. In those days everyone would work from very early in the morning. We were having a small picnic.” Next time you have a picnic, ask yourself if you are drinking as well as Henri and Emmanuel did that day. HUGO BIZE - DOMAINE SIMON BIZE “I don’t drink. I’ve never drunk alcohol.” Cue incredulous look from yours truly. He must be kidding, right? But Hugo was clearly telling the truth. “No. I’m only 19 years old… nearly 20. But I don’t like the taste of alcohol. I just find it bitter.” “What does you mother think about that? Is she concerned? I mean, your parents are both winemakers,” I replied. “She’s not worried. She said hopefully, one day, I’ll like the taste of wine.” And you know, Hugo has a point, because until I was in my mid-20s, I had zero interest in wine and could not really comprehend how anyone could like it. Things have changed since then. --Neal Martin, Bottles Never Forgotten - Burgundy Edition , Vinous, March 2019

Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure

Santenots Volnay 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2016

Delectable Wine
9.2

The 2016 Volnay Santenots 1er Cru has a fragrant bouquet with raspberry and red cherries. Quite floral in style, it just blossoms with aeration, gaining real intensity. The palate is fleshy and ripe with a fine bead of acidity, superb poise with an edgy, mineral-driven finish that lingers in the mouth. Recommended. (Neal Martin, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Alex liked this

Domaine Jean Grivot

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru Pinot Noir 2016

Incredible spice and depth. Still super compact. Shouldn’t be opened for 7-10 — 10 months ago

Ira, Ceccherini and 5 others liked this

Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg

Vosne-Romanée Pinot Noir 2015

Seth Morgen Long
9.3

Lovely, concentrated, brooding. Dark blue fruits and wood spice aromatics and flavors. Plenty of energy and freshness, long, elegant and fluid. Quite fetching and well integrated already. — 10 months ago

David, Steve and 17 others liked this

Simon Bize & Fils

Aux Vergelesses Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2005

Cool and pretty. In a very good place for drinking now. Placid raspberry and a dark bramble undertow. Good acid. Light and precise — 10 months ago

Bex Green
with Bex
Severn, Tom and 8 others liked this

Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet

Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Pinot Noir 2015

Solid entry level Burgundy. Lovely expression of soil, tight acidity and crunchy high-toned red fruits. Pure,
elegant, lightly perfumed with fresh roses. Expansive on the palate with loads of freshness.
— 2 years ago

Aaron and Alex liked this

Thibault Liger-Belair

Les Saint Georges Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2006

Perfumed high tones of cote de nuit cherry blackberry cherry blossom integrated acid tannin and fruit. Stunning — 2 years ago

Diana Eng
with Diana

Domaine P. Dubreuil-Fontaine Père & Fils

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonnay

Christopher Losa
9.0

in a perfect place right now. nearly orange-hued in color and lusciously velvet in the mouth. lemon meringue, coconut cream. acid backbone well intact. — a year ago

Keith, Riddley and 1 other liked this

Domaine Armand Rousseau

Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir 2010

How about one word for this wine and that is enough....... YES!!! Thank you Chris and Don!! No f’n way!!!! Can’t put this into words....... perfection??? Wow — a year ago

Chris AsayFrank Bob Miller
with Chris, Frank and 1 other
Chris, Frank and 15 others liked this
James Forsyth

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Wow. 🍷cheers!
Mike R

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You are crushing @ADAM STROMFELD
David L

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That’s the sh%#

Domaine Sylvain Pataille

Clos du Roy Marsannay Pinot Noir 2014

Alex Jones
9.0

Fresh - Dark cherry, herbs, spice. Enough acid to stand up to red sauce. Consistent over two days but will be better with time. — a year ago

Ira, Anthony and 3 others liked this

Emmanuel Rouget

Echezeaux Grand Cru Pinot Noir 2014

Never ending fruit, extremely round already for a 2014. Fabulous wine. — a year ago

Alex liked this