Wednesday 28 December 2011

Past Glory´s - Tasting Dinner with a vertical of Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand

This tasting dinner was held in the spring of 2010. I had been buying vintages of this monople since I tasted the 2004 a few years back. A difficult year, but the result was stellar, and I had to find out how earlier vintages have been. I wounded up with 11 vintages, a perfect number to arrange a tasting dinner around.
(All pictures courtsey of Miran Kegl - thanks!)

We started things of with a foie gras and appel cappucino and a bottle of
1976 Raunthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese, Langwerth von Simmern
A fine, deep, mature nose with notes of dried tropical fruits, wet earth, some gasolin and sweet minerals. Very good. Has a lovely semi sweet mature nose.
The taste is round, semi sweet and long with beautiful dried yellow fruits, sugar water and earthy notes. The acidity is fresh and clean and makes the finish seems almost dry. Veery, very good.
90p   (tasted 2010/03)

For starter I had seared scallops and served them on oven baked salsify with a carrot vinaigrette and a truffled Jerusalem artichoke cream. With that starter we had three vintages of Cuvee Frederick Emile, a perennial favourite of mine.

1983 Cuvee Frederick Emile, Trimbach
A fine, racy, elegant nose with notes of green apples, lemons, minerals and a beautiful after-the-rain note. A touch of sweetness. Very deep and fine.
The taste is tight, fresh and pure with lots of sweet lemons, yellow apples and minerals. The acidity is very fresh. A long, balanced finish. Some maturity but feels younger than the vintage.
91p   (tasted 2010/03)

1988 Cuvee Frederick Emile, Trimbach
A deep, complex, intense nose with notes of sweet lemons, warm grass and almond paste. A fine, flinty note. Very deep. Dispalys a touch of maturity but this baby is still young.
The taste is tight, focused and very pure with lots of lemons, limes, star fruits and wet stones. The acicidy is ultra fresh and intense. A long, fresh, elegant finish. The structure is gorgeous. Still needs another 5-8 years, at least.
93p   (tasted 2010/03)

1993 Cuvee Frederick Emile, Trimbach
A pure, young, fresh nose with notes of grass, gun powder smoke and lemons. This feels a touch sweter in the fruit then the other, but at the same time more withdrawn. Very young.
The taste is young, fresh and tight with lemons, grape, and lots of sweet minerals. The finish is medium long and ends very dry. Fine, young acidity. A touch foursquare, but I guess its because of its relative youth.
88p   (tasted 2010/03)

It was time for the Clos des Epeneaux´s - 11 vintages of that heralded monopol in Pommard. Its 5,25 ha and the Epeneaux vineyards, with some of the Rugiens, are the best parts of Pommard. Clive Coates have noted that he would like this monopole to be a grand cru.
The wines we tasted have been made my three different wine makers. In 1984 the then 23 year old Pascal Marchand took over and held that position until 1999, when another 23 year old, Benjamin Leroux took over, and that was his first vintage. Who made the 1983 I don´t know.
These Pommard, and often in generel, are more sturdy, big wines, than other parts of Burgundy. To get black fruits instead of red on the nose and in the taste is frequent. The tannin structure can from times be a little to big shoulderd for its own good, but in these first class wines, that was not a problem.
All wines were decanted 1 hour before the first sip.

For the first flight we had a quail terrine with a confit of the quail legs. Finger licking good!

Flight I
1999 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
This beauty has a lovely, deep, sweet nose with notes of black cherries, sweet pipe tobacco, wet earth and, after a while, some very ripe strawberries emerge. Gets more and more complex with air. Layer upon layer of red and black fruit. Very deep and good.
The taste is tight, powerful and multi layered with some stunning fruit - black cherries, rasberries and sweet lingonberries. The tannins are big but very well polished. A long, intense finish. Still very young, but this is going places... Gorgeous!
93p   (tasted 2010/03)

1998 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A warm, open, fine nose with notes of autumn leaves, pipe tobacco, red and black cherries and a touch of oak. Good but more single layered than the 99.
The taste is racy, tight and fresh with nice blueberry fruit, some chocolate and a tad dry tannins. Still young but I have problems seeing this evolve to a really beautiful swan. But it has qualitys, and not surpricingly, it went very well with the food.
85p   (tasted 2010/03)

1997 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
This is even more primary than the 99, and a touch leaner, but with fine notes of black cherries, blueberries, warm earth, fresh tobacco and a touch of oak. Deep and fine.
The taste is very tight and intense with fresh blueberry fruit and notes of new leather, forest floor and some oak. The tannins are young and strappy but not as sweet as those in the 99. But very, very good all the same.
90p   (tasted 2010/03)

1996 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A gorgoeus, deep, fine nose with touches of maturity and notes of blueberries, chcocolate covered orange peels, warm spices and a lovely perfumed note. This is the first that display some mature Pinot notes, and it does it in a lovely way.
The taste is tight, broad and somewhat mature with intense, sweet red and black fruit, autumn leaves, leather and some smoky notes. A long, fresh and complex finish. It has just entered its maturity plateau. Stunning!
94p   (tasted 2010/03)

For main course we had oven roasted Bresse chickens with roasted root vegetables and a creamy carlic sauce.

Flight II
1983 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A big, mature, nice nose with notes of wet undergrowth, red meat, sugared lingonberries and balsamic vinegar. A nice maturity - sweet and gamey. Very good.
The taste is mature, big and rounded with medium sweet red fruit, old leather, forest floor and some old wood notes. Its fresher on the nose than the taste. Very good though. Perfectly mature.
89p   (tasted 2010/03)

1989 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A warm, concentrated, big nose with notes of strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar, forest floor, cooked vegetables and sweet pipe tobacco. Big and brawny and very, very good.
The taste is also big with lovely sweet rasberries, red and black currants, chocolate and autumn leaves. Some maturity but this is still on the young side. A very long, intense finish. Beautiful!
92p   (tasted 2010/03)

1990 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A stunner! When you put the nose in the glas you are welcomed by intense, pure, hedonistic scents of blueberries, rasberries, dark chocolate, expensive new leather, freshly grounded coffee and a perfect walk in a autumn forest. Just breathtakingly beautiful. It has depth, complexity and sexiness at the same time.
The taste is very concentrated, high strung, with sweet, deep fruit - red and black cherries, rasberries - a still primary oak touch, and a minute long finish that leaves you wanting more. Still young and this could get a few points better with 5+ years. This is a gorgeous creature!
96p   (tasted 2010/03)

For the last flight we digested some great cheeses!

Flight III
2005 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A deep, tight, young and very concentrated nose with notes of sweet blueberries, dark chocolate, licorice, some oak vanilla and new leather. Very deep and powerful. Very primary. Intense. This has a lot of styffing but it is very closed at the moment.
The taste is massive, deep and tight with a young, meaty character and with lovely blueberry and rasberry fruit. This needs a lot of time. The tannins are well polished but a bit beastly for now, especially in the end of the finish. This is going to be great in due course, say 8-10 years.
93p   (tasted 2010/03)

2001 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A decadently deep and sweet nose with notes of warm spices, blueberry pie, sweet pipe tobacco and chocolate covered strawberries. Very intense. Touch of maturity. Some touch of oak. Very multi layered. Its like these times you would like to get the whole head in the wine glass... Brilliant!
The taste is fine, elegant and a touch mature with creamy, sweet black and red fruit. Touch of chocolate and vanilla oak. Very, very long, with lovely, sweet fruit all the way. The tannins are lurking somewhere but they just hold the fruit up, and don´t take over. This is so sweet, harmoniuos and complex!
96p   (tasted 2010/03)

2002 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
A tight, somehwat closed nose with notes of cool red fruit, earth, some wood notes and candied orange peel. Even with some heavy swirling iy doesn´t really come forward. Still very primary. Needs time. Even after some hours in the glass, the scents hasn´t become much bigger or sweeter.
The taste is on the other hand more open for business, with lots of cherry candy, tobacco, forest floor and leather. Intense and elegant. Very, very good. Has a very nice balance and structure. A fine tannin structure. The nose just has to open up a bit, give it another 5-7 years.
92p   (tasted 2010/03)

2004 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte de Armand
The vintage that started it all - how is it today? Very well is the answer. The nose is deep, cool and fresh with sweet lingonberries, cranberries, leather and some fine smoky notes. Not that expressive, but very poised and elegant.
The taste is tight, concentrated and fine with cool red fruit, the same smoky notes as on the nose, leather and dry tobacco. Medium long, cool finish med nice, cleansing acidity. Very good. Will never become sweet and hedonistic as some of the other vintages, but very good in its more restrained way.
91p   (tasted 2010/03)

For dessert we had an assortment of chocolate truffels and a bottle of old port - a perfection combination!

1927 Dow´s Vintage Port
A soft, deep, intense and just hedonistic nose with nose of dark fudge, pan fried nuts, smoke, band aid and dry raisins. Very complex, in the way only old wines can get, if they, and we, are lucky enough to have survived the years gone by. Very, very good.
The taste is big, tight and intense with lots of muscovado sugar, raisins, chocolate mousse and lots of figs. The finish is long and ends semi dry. A little burnt character with air. Very, very good. Just yummy!
92p   (tasted 2010/03)

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