Côte de Nuits
Vintage 1998 - by Becky Wasserman-Hone
A tempest of controversy which is still boiling away. A prominent wine critic decried the vintage and only found fifty-odd likeable red Burgundies. Another critic lauds the vintage and rightfully praises the winemakers for their mastery in a year when the weather was truly temperatmental. The C?te d' Or suffered all the indignities: including a devastating April frost, a damp, cool July, a broiling-hot August, and rainy spells that encouraged rot in precise parts (not all parts) of certain vineyard parcels. There were small pockets of 'o?dium' in some (not all) vineyards HOWEVER: Burgundy's best and brightest cut away all inferior grapes and with the grapes that were left made wines that have both fruit and structure.
Vintage 2004 - by Becky Wasserman
Much has now been written about the 2004 vintage. Certain publications wrote obituaries very prematurely and are now publishing retractions BECAUSE the best 2004s, both red and white, have turned out to be very beautiful wines. It is sad to think that the thirst for headlines has begun to color viticultural reporting, sadder still to judge a vintage well before the grapes begin their transformation into wine. Yes, there was some hail in 2004 but it did not destroy ! In 1979, the hail was violent in both Nuits St. Georges and Vosne ; when we went to see the damage it was as though a giant had taken an axe to many of the vines. Yet, we still drink certain wines from those two appellations with great pleasure. In a region such as Burgundy, the very arrangement of the vineyards renders all generalizations simply stupid. White Burgundies are excellent, their minerality and energy a relief after the opulent and dramatic 2003s. Pulignys are crystalline and elegant, Chassagnes display their stony riches, and Meursaults of all persuasions are three star. I suspect that this is definitely the year for Corton Charlemagnes if one has the patience to cellar. It is truly not a myth that certain grand crus only reveal their true identity after a certain number of years have gone by. The red Burgundies from our growers are decidedly grapey, lively, and with a freshness that makes me want to inhale deeply. The Lafarges find a hint of 1979 in their Volnays, Alain Burguet’s Gevreys are magnificent, ditto the Giroud Chambertin and the Mugnier Musigny. We have also put aside a few bottles of the cult Charmes-Chambertin from Denis Bachelet. The weather here has changed and it has been a long time since we have experienced consistently poor weather for the entire growing season. Viticultural practices too have changed. Few vintages in the last thirty years have not merited bottling. At the risk of being an old repetitive bore, I must insist that early evaluation of a specific vintage can be very mistaken. It takes a few years for a vintage to reveal its personality once out of cask and safely in bottle. The best to you. Santé,