An aside on the three bottles: it’s interesting who does and who doesn’t reply to letters, electronic or otherwise. I can understand Americans not even replying, but Englishmen? What?
There are nonetheless some serious candidates in the pipe, though. In the meantime my three bottles of the year. What they have in common is not just that they are all from Burgundy, it is that I was able to taste them on account of someone else’s generosity. The supplier of one of them is the only paying subscriber to this drabble, but that is by the bye. Maybe I’m a freeloader; what always impresses me about those that genuinely love wine is that they like to share it. Thank you, gentlemen.
My three best wines of the year:
2004 Meursault 1er cru, La Goutte d’Or, Domaine d’Auvenay
A humdinger of a wine that lit up what was, for me, a disappointing tasting in terms of the content as opposed to the company. My note:
“Comedy popcorn nose. Almost a caricature of itself. “Screams Leroy” says Boy Wonder. Very, very appealing. This makes me smile and I want to jump in. Very, very intense. And more again in mouth. This is a firecracker. Bounce. Rich. Weight. Meat. And that butter popcorn nose. Grand Vin. The nose is still doing the same thing. Fresh. And I want to drink, drink, drink this. Possibly the best white I’ve had in the past twelve months. Stunningly good. Can-can dancers. This is the show, the full shebang. Brilliant.”
2007 La Romanee, Domaine du Vicomte Liger-Belair
FMD is my UFB. A few old boy brokers and, FWIW, James Suckling can translate this: essentially it means mind-blowingly good wine. I didn’t take notes, just regretted that I couldn’t finish the bottle. The 2002 vintage of this wine was the first wine that took me closer to God; something only two other wines have done since (2005 Margaux and 2009 Latour, for what it’s worth).
Perfection in wine is rare. What do I look for? Purity, balance, a sense of place. A completeness. This had it all. FMD or, as I said at the time: I could drink a lot of this. My impeccable host topped me up. Brilliant.
1929 Le Musigny, Remoissenet
A tricky one this. I don’t really do scores but the two previous wines are touching three figures. Blind, this one would have been in the mid-nineties. Or would it? Not sure.
This wine was harvested when my grandparents were a similar age to my son. He’s three. No planes in the skies. Few cars. No telly. And Le Musigny probably looked more or less exactly as it does today, and did the same job: a telephone line to something I can’t put my finger on, let alone describe. Soil, sunshine, grapes, vines. A press. Some barrels. All pretty simple stuff. And, in September/October 1929, some men harvested some grapes, crushed them, fermented them, put the juice in a barrel and bottled the end product. Eighty-five years later, Nice Guy Eddie and I drink it in the company of one particularly pleasant Frenchman, a couple of reasonable Frenchmen and three or four frog tossers. Interestingly enough, the frog tossers aim their Anglophobia as much at Nice Guy Eddie as they do me. The point here is the moment. An experience. Maybe the guys who picked it would have hated the English too…