2009 vs 2010 Burgundy (White and Red)
I attended a very exciting tasting and dinner last week at Zucca restaurant on Bermondsey Street. The theme was comparing 2009 and 2010 white and red Burgundy, which is particularly interesting as the two vintages have produced many wines which are lauded by just about everyone, though for very different reasons. Ripeness and generosity have always been the hallmarks of the 2009 vintage while purity and complexity have been those of the 2010 vintage. However, these are generalities and it was great to be able to taste 3 pairs of white Burgundies and 6 pairs of red Burgundies to gain a better understanding of the two vintages.
We did not score the wines but instead the group (10 of us) decided that we should each show a preference for one of the wines in every pair. We were keen to let each wine stand on its own merits as they would most probably be incomparable in style, but only the tasting would tell….
Meursault 1er Cru Porouzots, deux Montille 2009
Muted nose. Honeyed, rich, open palate. Lacking a bit of zing.
Meursault 1er Cru Porouzots, deux Montille 2010
Classic citrus fruits on the nose. A little confected but interesting nonetheless. Lime and chalk dominate the palate. Fresh and long. Very good though maybe lacks a little complexity. Still the group’s favourite.
Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres, Boisson-Vadot 2009
Classic Boisson aromas of honeyed oak with hints of various nuts in the background. Very good. The palate is ripe and waxy with good acidity for the vintage. The domaine must have picked early. Great to drink now.
Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres, Boisson-Vadot 2010
The nose is fresh and fragrant and still showing quite a lot of spicy oak but gets better and better in the glass. The palate is nothing short of excellent with mouth-watering, limey fruit. Very long and finishes with precision. Fantastic. Unanimously the group’s favourite.
Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres, Coche-Dury 2009
This is a great comparison to Boisson-Vadot as they make their wines in a very similar way to Coche. Incredible nose of spicy oak, burnt match (not in a bad way) and mineral fruit. The palate is extraordinary with lovely acidity and freshness combined with a chalky grip. Didn’t think we would see a wine like this from 2009. Lovely.
Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres, Coche-Dury 2010
After the 2009, I was very excited to try the 2010. Unfortunately, this bottle was not right and the wine showed aromas of bruised apple and the palate was disjointed and not very pleasant. A great shame.
Volnay 1er Cru Champans, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 2009
Rich, chocolatey fruit on the nose with mint in the background. My first thought was that it smelt like Coonawarra Cabernet. Not a criticism in itself as there are some very good wines from Coonawarra, but I would prefer my Red Burgundy to 1) smell and taste like Burgundy and 2) smell and taste like Pinot Noir! The palate was liquoricy and meaty and lacking balance.
Volnay 1er Cru Champans, Domaine des Comtes Lafon 2010
The nose on this was much more typical of Red Burgundy than the 2009, showing notes of cherries and smoke. It would still be hard to place it in Volnay but the palate had good breadth and structure and showed some good fruit character. Probably needs time so will be interesting to try in a few years. Pips the 2009 to the post for the group’s favourite.
Volnay 1er Cru Champans, Marquis d’Angerville 2009
Lovely, ripe red cherry fruit on the nose with hints of liquorice. Very easy to drink now with rich and open fruit on the palate. Delicious now and over the next few years.
Volnay 1er Cru Champans, Marquis d’Angerville 2010
Pure nose with notes of blackberries and raspberries. A hint of liquorice like the 2009. Lovely balance and texture with edgier, cooler fruit than the 2009, really showing the difference in the vintages. The group liked both wines very much but the 2010 was marginally the favourite.
Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand 2009
Very ripe, very dark cherry fruit and lashings of new oak on the nose. Not to everyone’s taste but I think it is very enticing. The palate is a little disjointed and jammy but the acidity is OK. Needs time to resolve the oak and fruit on the palate.
Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand 2010
Pure, fresh, dark fruit nose with hints of herbs and smoky oak. Very good palate with fine tannins and lovely texture. Needs a lot of time. Will be very, very good one day. The group’s favourite.
Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru, Rousseau 2009
Dark raspberry fruit dominates the nose with a sprinkle of herbs giving complexity. A very deep nose with good intensity. The fruit on the palate coats the mouth and texturally this is great. Very well balanced. Rousseau does it again. Fabulous.
Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru, Rousseau 2010
Black fruit on the nose with hints of star anise and other Asian spices. Enthralling. The palate is more linear than the 2009 with a lovely freshness that carries the fruit through the extremely long finish. This is the only pair of wines which divided the group equally. Still not sure which one I liked more but I can say with confidence that they were both outstanding.
Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques, Fourrier 2009
The nose is full of ripe fruit and savoury notes. Meaty. I was looking forward to tasting this but the palate was odd and weirdly cloying. Maybe a problem with the bottle?
Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques, Fourrier 2010
Very pure strawberry and raspberry nose. The palate is fresher than the 2009 but almost too fresh, showing notes of tangerine and citrus fruits. Lacking depth. Pretty popular in the group and might improve with time but I think it might never blossom. The group’s favourite.
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2009
Some purity on the nose with raspberries dominating. Ripe fruit on the palate with good balance and structure. A serious wine though not that exciting.
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2010
A linear, lifted nose of dark fruits and spice. There is a hint of rusticity which shouldn’t really be present in a Grand Cru. The palate is very serious with lots of structure, maybe too much. A little too extracted for the vintage maybe? The group’s favourite nonetheless.
Though the sample size is quite small (only 3 pairs), I have tried quite a few 2009s over the past few years and they can be great drinkers over the short to medium term provided they were made from grapes which were picked early (such as the Boisson-Vadot above). Unfortunately, there are some growers who waited too long to pick and the wines are lacking acidity and verve. The 2010s, on the other hand, generally have better acidity, are more for the medium to long term and can have an incredible energy only found in the better vintages in the Cote de Beaune.
It is harder to make a conclusion on the reds as 2009 and 2010 are so very different. As you will have read above, the group pretty much chose the 2010s over the 2009s but I am not convinced this is the best time to drink the 2009s (i.e. some of them will get better) and I think in isolation, many of the 2009s would have been universally appreciated by the group for their lovely richness of fruit and sheer drinkability. However, the 2010s had more élan and the higher acidity levels and purity of fruit make them pretty special. It is certainly one of the best vintages ever produced and it will be great to drink them over the years.
A final note on the restaurant, Zucca, which as usual came up trumps on food and service. It has been a mainstay on the London restaurant scene for many years now and we were all dismayed to hear it is closing down at the end of the year. If you love proper Italian cuisine cooked well, I would try and get a table before it closes in December!