A friend who planning a simple dinner with 6bottles of 98s Chambolle turned out to have 8bottles with a young vine Musigny from Vogue and a Musigny from Drouhin. Food was consistently great in Imperial Super Peking Duck @ Paragon, Orchard with excellent stemware. While the Chambolles were really great, the 2005 Henri Boillot Montrachet no doubt stole the show, what a night!
Let’s talk about vintage 1998 in Burgundy (Extracted from various reports):
This is a good vintage, but a difficult one, a winemaker vintage! The vintage started off cold and suffered from frost in April that delayed the vegetation circle, particularly the 1er Cru of Meursault and Puligny (more on lower slope). Followed by hail that limited the yield at this point but also contributed to the chance for better concentration and sugar level. Everything seemed pretty alright in May but the weather turned a bit out of control in July (cool, dry) and August (grapes could be burnt due to the very hot weather) and early September (Rains that left a high chance for rotting).
However, the weather in late September was ideal throughout the harvesting period with north wind that concentrated the grapes and rescued the vintage! The best reds are well structured, intense with good purity of red fruits, volume and fine tannin. The lesser wines could be harsh as the tannin could be very aggressive. White in this vintage is delicate, fresh and crisp but doesn’t have the intensity, acid backbone for the long term.
Clive Coates rated the red 16pts (very good) and white 14.5pts (quite good – good) with the following comment: The red wines are quite tannic but they are balance and thoroughly satisfactory. Chambolle Musigny to Volnay are consistent and not so for Gevrey Chambertin.
The whites are fruity, attractive when young but you shouldn’t hold on to them for the long term as they tend to evolve rapidly.
I pretty much agree with Clive that the quality of red wines from Chambolle Musigny in this vintage is very consistent, at least from what I tasted today. All are delicious wines with admirable concentration, volume and aroma.
Chambolle Musigny: the most seductive wines in Burgundy?
Chambolle Musigny probably produces the most seductive red wines in Burgundy, or perhaps in the world. The best wines are highly aromatic with seductive red fruits, floral and forest floor and the intensity is incredible yet the wines are so weightless. The seductive inner perfume that wrapped in an elegance, feminine package with velvety texture offers great sense of finesse and grace. The 2005 Joseph Drouhin Musigny Grand Cru, 2002 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Musigny Grand Cru & Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru, 1995 Domaine Georges Roumier Bonnes Mares are few of the best Burgundy I have ever tasted. Musigny from Georges Roumier is one of the very few dream wines that I wanted to taste!
Flight 1: Chambolle Musigny Les Fuees 1er Cru
Les Fuees, located just southward of the Bonnes Mares slope and produces wines with good concentration of fruits, firm backbone but yet lacking no elegance.
Barthod produces good Fuees and Mugnier produces great ones.
1998 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Alcohol :: 13%
Light ruby red, brown hue. Very expressive and high tone: sweet raspberry, red plum, caramel, brown sugar, forest floor, that wrapped up with attractive floral scents. This is quite powerful on the palate with very good concentration of sweet dark and red cherry fruits that cloaked in a feminine package and showing a little bit of finesse. Though a bit rough on the tannin, it lends better grip to the palate and leads to the very sappy, slight rubbery finish that lingers with sweet strawberry and a touch of fresh wood, with a slight bitterness. Despite the lack of a bit of lift, this is still a delicious juice. (87 pts.)
1998 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Alcohol :: 13%
Wow! Such a seductive nose, so fragrant and complex, still very very young but showing great potential and class. Vibrant medium ruby red, so lively! Only very light brown hue. This has intense core of sweet raspberry, strawberry fruits with mint, mild spices, chalky and touch of caramel, very pure and the underlying power is perfectly integrated into the perfume aromatic profile. Very pure and polished, lots of uderlying power but the grace is there. Fresh, concentrated, elegantly structured with oustanding vibrancy and underlying fine, mouth watering acidity for a soft but solid backbone, that leads to the very chalky, juicy detail and complex finish. A great wine! (91pts)
Flight 2: Chambolle Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru
Les Cras, also located just southward of the Bonne Mares slope, along with Les Fuees is the top 1er Cru vineyard in Chambolle Musigny, just second to the great Les Amoureuses. Cras is no doubt the best wine of Barthod, a close fight against the great Roumier Cras.
1998 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Alcohol :: 13%
Lighter in ruby, with touch if brownish. Highly expressive and complex on the nose: star anise, Asian spices surrounded beautifully with perfume lavender, violet as well as mint, red cherry fruits and orange, Wow! Really silky, elegant, seamless and complex on the palate showing great finesse, purity and energy. Very intense, sappy yet so weightless and the tannin is so fine! This is a truly delicious wine. Still frightfully young but the harmony is absolutely gorgeous. Very long finish with great persistence. From nose, entry-mid-finish, everything was perfect but I noticed there is a little bitterness at the very end which created a little distraction as well as took a bit of finesse and purity away. Nevertheless, this is still a breathtaking wine. (91pts)
1998 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Alcohol :: 13%
Vibrant medium ruby red, much livelier than the Fuees. Intense and even more high tone than the Fuees, but also darker with blackberry, blackcurrant as well as violet and touch of perfume roses, little spices, peppermint, forest floor, very complex and seductive! Rich, vibrant and well defined, though not as lifted as mugnier, this is easily a step up of the Fuees. Very tasty with raspberry, blackberry and touch of plum that move on to the very intense and sappy mid palate, with ripe acid as well as chalky, refreshing mineral for the backbone. There is this inner perfume floral scent that I really like. Long, tasty finish that is mouthful mouthful and layer of good focus and precision. This gets better and better in the glass: juicier sweeter, more seductive, and almost seamless only if the acid is a little bit more lively for better lift to be outstanding. (89pts)
Flight 3: Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru
The 9.53ha Les Charmes is the largest 1er Cru vineyard in Chambolle Musigny, therefore this is relatively easier to find on the shelf from many different growers but it also means that the quality would be more variable. While this doesn’t possess the intensity of Amoureuses and structured of Les Fuees or Cras, the top example is charming with it’s softer structured with generous of fruits and elegant texture.
1998 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Alcohol : 13%
Slightly cloudy medium garnet. As with previous 2 Barthod’s wines, this too has very attractive sweet core of strawberry, red cherry as well as raspberry, perhaps a little bit more spicy along with forest floor and mineral that is a little bit more lifted and showy with hint of brown sugar like sweetness. Very seamless, sweet and seductive, with touch of tannin that bring out the light rubbery grip, but with excellent chalky liquid mineral that flow on elegantly toward the very fine finish that is real juicy and sappy. While this is slightly smaller scale than the Cras, this actually offer better sense of Chambolle feminine character. (88pts)
Flight 4: Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru
Les Amoureuses (The lover, romantic eh?!), located just down the slope of Musigny Grand Cru is the best 1er Cru in Chambolle Musigny and along with Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St-Jacques, Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Cros Parantoux are the best 1er Cru in Burgundy. The best Amoureuses offer Grand Cru quality and harmony with finesse, intensity but never come across as muscular.
1998 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Alcohol :: 13%
Vibrant medium ruby, brick rim. My 2nd Amoureuses (1st bottle was a 2002) from Drouhin this year. While the 2002 is really stubborn that refuse to show herself, the 1998 is almost naked in front of you, oh, so seductive with it’s nearly perfect body! Soft, fragrance, elegance, with deep spices, forest floor, blackberry, red cherry and assortment of mineral, sea shell, chalk, very complex and intense with super focus. A little bit acidic at the entry, but quickly rounded up with soft, sweet mineral that introduce to the very refreshing, very very deep and intense mid palate that goes on with blackberry and red cherry sweetness that underpinned by the really fine acidity all culminate to the long and lovely finish that filled with intense inner perfume. This is still a teenager and with the potential, she will surely turn to be a gorgeous lady. 91-93 (91pts)
Flight 5: Musigny Grand Cru and young vines Musigny
Musigny Grand Cru, one of the most prestigious vineyards in Burgundy and share this fame together with Romanee Conti, La Tache, Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Beze. The seductive, sexy aromas is highly perfume, gorgeous and complex. With immense intensity on the palate that is pure and elegance. The finish is nothing short of brilliant that is full of finesse and grace. Quoted from Clive Coates: A great Musigny is heaven in the glass!
1998 Joseph Drouhin Musigny – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru
Alcohol :: 13%
The youngest showing today, still tight and restraint. While this is not as expressive as the Amoureuses but one can sense the underlying complexity and depth, quite similar but perhaps with better intensity and broader with darker fruits profile. Structured, big scale and almost mouth coating intensity on the palate. Again, this is rather tight but beautifully delineated and balance. Very juicy as well as spicy with huge sweet tannin grip. Seamless with endless finish that show off it’s class, finesse and grace with bitter sweet cocoa aftertaste. While this is overwhelmed by the Vogue and Amoureuses today, this will eventually be a better wine with another 10yrs of age as this possess better substance for the long term. 92-94 (92pts)
1998 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Alcohol :: 13.5%
This vibrant, youthful ruby red juice offer absolutely stunning seductive bouquet that is airy, high tone, focus with super breadth and depth: blueberry, black and red cherry with sense of underlying ripeness that distinct herself from the rest of the wines tonight. All of this sweet tones intermixed perfectly with violet, rose petal with mineral and spice that added better depth. This is real showy, firework! I had some wines from Vogue but never got myself impressed, as their wines are always highly extracted that seems a bit too heavy for such delicate grape. However, this stunning juice had me said that, and I hate to say so, this is my red WOTN after my very 1st sip. Power and grace is what I had in mind. Seamless, impeccable balance, highly complex and pure mouth feel with incredible intensity that just keep expanding gracefully and gorgeously on the palate along with super inner perfume that immediately fill in the mouth and lasted for mins. Long long lingering finish that is sweet and succulent, with mineral, orange and red cherry aftertaste. WOW! (93pts)
Flight 6: The great Montrachet Grand Cru
Montrachet, the best white wine in Burgundy or simply the best white wine in the world. While Batard Montrachet Grand Cru offer immense power, richness and more openly exotic but sometime lacks of the elegance of a great Chevalier that offer stunning depth but not necessary power and have this restraint and coldness that I really love.
Montrachet is the only wine that possess the intensity, richness and underlying power of a Batard and at the same time the elegance and depth of the Chevalier, try to imagine it, eh? A complete wine! Red wine of the night is unquestionably the 1998 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru but without any debate that the overall wine of the night is clearly the 2005 Henri Boillot Montrachet, enough said (well, maybe this is unfair as 2005 is the legendary vintage for Burgundy, but, who care? this is a great great wine!)
2005 Henri Boillot Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
Alcohol :: 14%
Light golden, very soft but complex elegantly formed aromas of ginger spice, mint, honey, liquid mineralite, sea shell, almond, wow, so complex and layers. This classy juice continues to evolve for the night that showed lemon custard, melon, pear as well as brown sugar and touch of caramel. A 6yrs old Montrachet, expected to be very tight and structured up front. Indeed, very young but this has the prefect balance of each element that allow us to access even at this young age. Super silky, gorgeously texture, so elegance with great sense of harmonious, it flowed through the palate gracefully with intensive care and go on to the mid palate with better intensity and depth, yet so seamless and graceful. The finish is explosive, yet so quiet and calm, with super complex flavors that just sail on and on forever with the soft, juicy sweet mineral aftertaste….. I’m floored…. 95-96+ (95 pts.)