The Glorious 1999 Red Burgundies

“From the outset, the 1999 red Burgundies offered a rare combination of charm and power.” How are the wines tasting today? In his coverage for Vinous of Burgundy’s 1999s, Stephen Tanzer writes, “By now a majority of the wines are showing tertiary notes of earth, leather, tobacco and sweet spices, including some distinct balsamic notes of sandalwood, cedar, dried flowers or even a whiff of balsamic vinegar.” Discover a dozen of Tanzer’s top picks as he revisits the vintage, nearly two decades later.

Domaine des Lambrays

Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.6

Healthy dark red. Very sexy scents of plum, spices and cedar. Rich and silky but not a bit exotic--or even advanced, for that matter--with its seamless flavors of raspberry, spices and soil energized by salty minerality. Boasts terrific inner-mouth energy and tension, no doubt partly due to the stem element. Finishes saline and very long, with edge-free tannins and uncanny lift. At once seductively sweet and youthful, this wine should continue to evolve gracefully for another two decades. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé

Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Musigny Grand Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.7

(tasted from a 375-milliter bottle): Very bright red with ruby tones; looks like a young wine. Deep, dark red and black fruit aromas are complicated by cinnamon, black pepper, roast coffee and a hint of truffley underbrush. Wonderfully rich but classy and reserved, and not a bit heavy. Utterly silky, plush, energetic wine with a relaxed quality to its lively dark fruit and dark chocolate flavors. Finishes classically dry, with beautifully buffered tannins and captivating building sweetness. Amazingly, this 375-milliliter bottle seems still short of its peak, so I would imagine that well-stored 750s still need time. I'd guess 2022-2042 for 750s. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Joseph Drouhin

Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.1

Palish red with a brick rim. Mellow, soil-driven scents of coffee, faded rose, mocha, cedar and truffle, with red berry notes in the background; comes across as complex and mature. Quite suave but a bit peppery and lean on first pour, showing moderate flesh but surprising energy thanks to its firm acidity and minerality. Initially seemed a bit lacking in intensity (perhaps from the vintage's generally high yields) but gained in suppleness and volume with aeration. Finishes with a firm spine of dusty tannins that avoid dryness. I find this quite sexy now with some aeration and would certainly want to drink it within the next several years. Incidentally, Jérôme Faure-Brac did not start vinifying at Drouhin until 2005. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Domaine Trapet Père & Fils

Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.7

Dark, youthful red. Classic, somewhat sauvagearomas of black raspberry, game and roast coffee, plus a hint of menthol. Utterly silky but energetic wine with superb concentration for this high-yielding vintage. Flavors of plum, dark berries, spices and menthol convey lovely subtle intensity and terrific definition. Really vibrates on the long, rising finish, with ripe tannins saturating the entire mouth. This wine still has a long life ahead of it; in fact, I'd hold it for a couple more years. Jean-Louis Trapet told me that 1999 was his tenth vintage and that at the time he was vinifying "with only a tiny bit of whole clusters." And he noted that it took until the following harvest for this wine to finish its malolactic fermentation. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC)

La Tâche Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.6

Good dark red; not crystal-clear. Very ripe, musky, multidimensional nose combines blackberry, raspberry, violet, earth, game, black pepper and herbs, plus a positive vegetal nuance. Plush, silky and very ripe but not particularly sweet, with concentrated dark fruit, spice and pepper flavors complicated by a hint of prune. ("More fruit ripeness than the '15," noted Aubert de Villaine just moments after we had tasted the '15 La Tâche) Finishes with substantial dusty tannins and a note of licorice. Not particularly high in acidity but this extremely complex wine is still just short of its peak drinking window. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Alain Hudelot-Noellat

Richebourg Grand Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.3

(aged in about 40% new oak, a bit less than in recent vintages): Medium red with modest saturation. Aromas of black raspberry, leather and earth are less pristine than those of today's wines. Creamy-sweet and spicy in the mouth, with a slightly high-toned quality to its fat flavors of red berries, red cherry, underbrush and leather. Can't match the punch of today's Hudelot-Noëllat wines but finishes spicy and very long, with a suggestion of rusticity and slightly edgy tannins that eventually turn a bit dry. Charles van Canneyt, who did not begin vinifying until 2009, following the retirement of his grandfather Alain Hudelot-Noëllat the previous year, noted that the estate's grapes were totally destemmed back in '99, then crushed and pumped back into cuves, an approach that he said could extract bitter tannins if the seeds were green. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Domaine Michel Magnien

Les Chaffots Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.1

(mostly destemmed and aged in about 80% new oak; Magnien noted that this vintage was aged in Domaine Dujac's cellar): Very fresh medium red. Reticent but remarkably lively aromas of red berries, smoky minerality and clove. Fat, rich, plush and full, showing good energy but much more oaky than today's Michel Magnien's wines, with the wood element more obvious than precision of terroir. Finishes with broad, dusty, well-integrated tannins. This rather full wine is not the last word in complexity but is impressive nevertheless. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Domaine Marquis d'Angerville

Champans Volnay 1er Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.4

Deep red with ruby highlights, but Guillaume d'Angerville noted that this premier cru is typically softly extracted and light in color. Compelling, vibrant aromas of blueberry pastille, violet, licorice and spicecake. Incredibly primary and sweet, with its density leavened by harmonious acidity. Pliant dark berry flavors are complicated by hints of flowers and spices. This very pure wine has to be one of the most youthful 1999s I tasted this winter. Finishes with utterly suave tannins and outstanding length. This infant is just beginning to open and should enjoy a long plateau of maturity. D'Angerville described 1999 as "a magical vintage," noting that the yield here was at least 40 hectoliters per hectare. His father Jacques actually held back 4,000 bottles of wine in '99 but Guillaume has released most of these bottles by now to loyal clients of the domain. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Domaine Dujac

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.8

(the yield here was 45 hectoliters per hectare): Good full red. Knockout explosive nose combines raspberry, brown spices, underbrush, mustard seed and roast coffee. Very rich and sweet but with terrific energy and minerality lifting the wine's red fruit flavors. This grand cru is evolving at a snail's pace and seemed to grow even fresher as it opened in the glass. Finishes with firm but suave tannins and outstanding slowly rising length, with an unexpected piquant note of blood orange. This incredible Clos de la Roche is just approaching its peak. The most amazing thing of all: I tasted it from a 375-milliliter bottle. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg

Echezeaux Grand Cru Pinot Noir 1999

Delectable Wine
9.4

Full red with virtually no amber. Inviting aromas of strawberry, woodsmoke, tobacco and earth, plus a cedary balsamic note. Large-scaled, thick wine with sappy pungency to its flavors of redcurrant, tobacco and saline minerality. The wine's fatness is perfectly cut by brisk acidity. Shows sexy notes of evolution but this grand cru finishes with remarkable energy--in fact even a bit clenched. Fans of fully mature Burgundies might want to wait another six to eight years before pulling the cork. Incidentally, Marie-Christine Mugneret singled out 1999 as the year when the estate's wines began to change, as their vineyard work through the '90s bore fruit. The year also witnessed the estate's longest fermentations to that point, due mostly to very high grape sugars. This wine was de-cuved with ten grams of sugar, and the fermentation finished slowly in barrels. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2018) — 10 months ago

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