I am a fan of the 2002 white Burgundy vintage. These wines are classics, I thought, when I tasted them from barrel. But with all these premox (premature oxidation) worries, I needed an update. All the wines came from my cellar. I bought them on release. I was willing to bet anything that they would all be clean, pure, fresh and young. And… I lost my bet. We had one, possibly two premoxed wines and one corked. A few wines were merely disappointing, some were good and some were fantastic. White Burgundy remains a minefield, but when the wines are good, they are the best white wines you can imagine. And Domaine Leflaive rocks, but you already knew that.
We did the tasting blind in flights of two wines. As said before, all the wines were from 2002.
1. Chablis Blanchot from Raveneau and Chablis Preuses from Dauvissat
Two beautiful young wines. The first one more linear, mineral and pure. The second one fuller, creamier and slightly more complex . Of course, we all thought the first wine was Dauvissat and the other Raveneau… it was the opposite. I’d score these wines respectively 93+ and 94+. These wines cost me less than 35 euros a bottle. They remain the best values of white wine in my world.
2. Domaine Leflaive Puligny M. Les Pucelles and Sauzet Puligny Combettes
The Domaine Leflaive Pucelles was just outrageously good: a very rich wine with flowers and hazelnut, on the young side. I would wait another 3 years to start drinking your case. A 95+ wine . The Sauzet had slightly more wood on the nose, but was also full-bodied and very long. No worries about premox here… A 93/100 wine for sure.
3. Domaine des Lambrays Puligny Montrachet Clos des Caillerets and Chassagne Montrachet Les Chaumees from Niellon
The Domaine des Lambrays Caillerets was fully ready to drink with citrus and spices on the nose. Lovely wine . The Niellon Chaumees was chalky, fresh, with a long finish. Most around the table preferred the Niellon. Not me, but both wines were excellent. 94 and 92 respectively.
4. Meursault Charmes from Remi Jobard and from Henri Germain
The Jobard Charmes was a bit tight at first, but opened up nicely. The Germain Charmes was very pure, mineral, elegant… I did not know this producer well… but his style is for lovers of pure, mineral, precise wines. It was J. F. Coche who told me many years ago that I should check out this producer: a humble father and son domaine and you can buy direct from his cellar at very reasonable prices…
5. Meursault Charmes from Comte Lafon and Henri Boillot
This turned out to be the first disappointing flight. The Boillot Chames was sadly corked and the Lafon Charmes was a bizarre wine: acids dominated the palate with not much else going on. I had a way better bottle of this wine once.
6. Meursault Perrieres from Henri Germain and the Clos des Perrieres from Albert Grivaud
The Germain Perrieres was again very pure, elegant and mineral. The Clos was golden in color, with some worrying signs of premox (biscuit nose). A borderline wine. I opened another one to see what is going on. Yep, very golden color, borderline oxidized… tasted exactly the same as the one the previous evening…
7. Meursault Perrieres from Coche-Dury and Bouchard
The Coche Perrieres was magnificent and held up to its reputation. Just a great wine. The Bouchard had a combination of a biscuit nose and Sherry flavors. Yep, it was oxidized. I openend another the following night. Same thing: While not completely shot, it had a distinct biscuit taste, golden color, yeasty flavors and loss of freshness. Not undrinkable, but clearly premoxed. I’ll shoot the remaining ten wines all the way back to Beaune.
8. Corton Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martay and Bouchard
Go figure: this CC from Bouchard was the favorite wine of the night for most attendees. It is still very young but has a lot of potential to age effortlessly for another 10 years. The BdM is a great wine for current drinking. Interestingly, I would have thought the opposite.
So, there were two premoxed wines (Grivaud Clos des Perrieres and Bouchard Perrieres) that seem to be completely shot. But most wines were just great: the two Chablis, the Leflaive, Niellon, Sauzet, Lambrays, the two Germains, the Coche and the CC from Bouchard. I would start drinking the Sauzet Combettes and the Niellon now. These are still fresh wines, but I don’t think you should take chances… The Chablis are still too young, but these wines are build to last 30 years … they open up beautifully after 10 minutes in the glass.