Sunday 1 April 2012

Past Glory´s - A Dinner With Old Pommards 1921 - 1969

arranged this dinner a couple of years back. I had been buying some old Pommards from bin ends at auctions and from merchants all over Europe. Unfortunately some of my friends couldn´t make it due to colds so we were four brave tasters to take on 14 bottles over dinner…

I had a couple of bottles put aside as backup, since bottles with this age can be a hit or miss. But we didn´t have to open a single backup bottle! To our surprise, and a nice one at that, not one bottle was DOA, everyone was alive and offered different interesting characters, although some were a lot better than others. A very fascinating insight to old Burgundy (but not all were all 100% Pinot, or…?).

I uncorked all bottles around 2 p.m. and we started pouring the first flight around 7 p.m. The ones that smelled good I corked with a fresh cork, the ones that smelled somewhat musky or restrained I left open. I note the fill in cm in the tasting notes below.
We started things of with three different tartars of scallops, tuna and salmon. Very tasty with a bottle of

1959 Raunthaler Wülfen Riesling Auslese Cabinet, Staatsweingut Eltville Kloster Eberbach
A beautiful golden amber color. The nose is fresh as a dasiy with lots of petrol, dried fruits – pear and pineapple – and honey. Very deep. Perfectly mature. Some flowery notes. Just a lovely nose.
The taste is as fresh, with semidry fruit, perfect acidity and a long, elegant, very balanced finish. Lots of dried fruits. Beautiful!
94p   (tasted 2009/01)
Before the Pommards arrived at the table we had a lobster gratin with two bottles of white Burgundy.

1993 Meursault Charmes, Comte Lafon
A deep, sweet, complex and young nose with notes of tofée, butter and lovely sweet yellow fruit. Deep. A very nice citrus-note, almost like lemoncello. Still young. Very, very good.
The taste is fine, elegant and long with lots of sweet citrus fruits and fresh acidity. Very nice finish. This surely is at its best right now but will keep.
93p   (tasted 2009/01)

1983 Meursault Charmes, Comte Lafon
This is fatter than its younger sibling, both on the nose and on the palate. A deep nose with some overripe yellow fruit, wet earth and some oak. Massive.
The taste is big, mature and somewhat fiery with sweet lemoncello and earthy notes. Some sherry notes on the finish. Not as fresh as the 93 but very good in its own way. Went perfectly with the lobster gratin.
90p   (tasted 2009/01)

Then it was time for the first flight of Pommards. With this flight we had Veal sweetbreads with black morels and spinach (the recipe is from Wine Spectator Dec 31 1998 issue, and called for a mature Volnay or Pommard – and that we had!)

1969 Pommard Les Jarolliéres, Henri Boillot
2 cm. A soft, mature, elegant nose with notes of dry strawberries, warm earth and assorted spice. Very elegant. Lots of wild strawberries after a while. Ethereal and just lovely.
The taste is fine, mature and cool with tight red fruit, nice acidity, a long dry finish and a aristocratic feel about it. Doesn´t show of, but instead has an understated elegance. Very, very good.
93p   (tasted 2009/01)

1959 Pommard, Moillard-Grivot
2 cm. The first of the Grenache / Pinot wines we had…? This can´t be all Pinot? The nose opens up with notes of beef broth, coffee, and some rubbery/plastic notes. Underneath there is a sweet red fruit popping up but the other attributes above doesn´t give the fruit much of a change.
The taste is tight, dry and somewhat angular with notes of asphalt, broth and hot red, dry fruit. A long and warm finish. Not my cup of tea.
80p   (tasted 2009/01)

1953 Pommard, Piat & Co
3 cm. A deep, warm, lovely sweet nose with lots and lots of strawberries and rasberrys with milk and honey! A beautiful note of fresh roses. Sweet undergrowth. This is just great. Has a nose of a perfect autumn forest walk!
The taste is big, mature and concentrated with lovely sweet red fruit. The finish goes on for over a minute and ends with just that perfect dry twist. Very elegant but at the same time it has power. Perfectly mature. The sweetbreads and this wine created perfect harmony!
96p   (tasted 2009/01)

The 69 and the 53 was great examples of mature Burgundy with, still, lots of fruit but also with that extra nuance which only bottle maturity can achieve. The 53 was more Pommard than the 69, which more leaned to a Volnay structure. The 59 was just odd, but the fill was excellent and the cork also. I usually quite like mature wines from Moillard-Grivot, but not this one.

For the next flight we had pigeon with truffled Jerusalem artichokes and a rasberry sauce (made from the pigeon carcasses). With this course we went backwards in time…

1921 Pommard Epenots
6 cm. An unknown producer, the label just stated 1921 Pommard Epenots and a negociant name out of Brussel. The nose is dark and sweet with lots of muscovado sugar, overripe strawberries, soya and licorice. Very dark, as is the color… This can´t be all Pinot, really? But it is good in its own way. Very sweet.
The taste is big and concentrated with notes of sweet broth, dark red fruit, alcohol and some resin – can someone say Châteauneuf-du-Pape? But sweet and nice all the same, but without complexity.
86p   (tasted 2009/01)

1923 Pommard, Hanappier
4 cm. The next two bottles came from the same Bordeaux negociant, Hanappier, and this is the real stuff. They should have focused on Burgundy if these two bottles is representative of their work there!
A warm, deep, elegant nose with notes of forest floor, dried rasberry fruit, hints of tobacco and lovely mushroom flavor. Very seductive. Deep nose. Unbelievable fresh.
The taste is warm, elegant and perfectly mature with cool, sweet red fruit, nice acidity and a long, creamy finish. Just a lovely mouthful of mature Burgundy! Great!
96p   (tasted 2009/01)

1928 Pommard, Hanappier
4 cm. A deep, tight, and complex nose with sweet red fruit, some spice and mushroom/undergrowth. Lively fruit. Deep and with a touch of cold coffee. Very, very nice. Very fresh.
A very deep, long and balanced taste with dark red fruit, perfectly mature tannins and refreshing acidity. Very, very long. Brilliant taste!
The 23 have the better nose but the 28´s taste is incredible. Both is fresh as daisies – phenomenal!
95p   (tasted 2009/01)

1929 Pommard, Leon Violland
5 cm. The nose is deep and somewhat brawny with dark red/black fruit, some rubbery notes, burnt leaves and a touch of resin. Here is a very different notes than the Hanappier wines above. Just Pinot? But the nose is, again, nice on its one.
The taste is tight, broad and somewhat dry with notes of muscovado sugar, overripe dark fruit, same rubbery notes as in the nose and a touch of resin. A long and warm finish. A good wine but I wouldn´t have guessed Pinot in a million years…
88p   (tasted 2009/01)

This was a very interesting flight – two wines with an undisputable Burgundy feel and they were great, and then two wines that was nice on their own, but were they authentic Burgundy? It didn´t felt that way, but I couldn´t say for sure, I, regrettably doesn´t taste enough old Burgundy to be sure.

With the third flight we had some cheese – Gruyere, a goat cheese from Burgundy that I have forgotten the name of and a Poisson.

1949 Pommard, Gabriel Lafon
7 cm. The nose is warm with notes of dry licorice, somewhat cooked dry red fruit and a touch of pipe tobacco. Has a lot of warmth, probably from the vintage. Not that deep but nice anyway.
The taste is better with a tight grip of sweet red fruit, warm undergrowth and long finish with a nice dry twist. Long and fine. Very nice taste. Keeping up well.
88p   (tasted 2009/01)

1949 Pommard, J. Boulaigre (magnum)
5 cm. This was an impressing bottle and with a 49 Burgundy from magnum you should have high hopes, and this fore filled it somewhat. The nose was initially somewhat foursquare (although it was Aoudouzed for about 6 hours) but turned, with some time in the glass, into a big, brawny wine with lots of sweet red fruit, a lot of sweet, wet undergrowth, old leather and some barnyard notes. This wear its heart on its sleeves.
The taste is tight, dry and big with very nice, sweet, dry red/black fruit. This still have some tannins in the finish. Long and warm. This must have been very impressive 20 years ago, but still manage to make a statement.
90p   (tasted 2009/01)

1945 Pommard, Nooruenbos
5 cm. This is what dreams are made of – a haunting nose of sweet/sour red fruits – wild strawberries, rasberrys and red cherries. A beautiful touch of milk chocolate. Very, very deep. Just a lovely nose. A lovely earthy note. This is breathtakingly beautiful!
The taste is concentrated, rich, and sweet with beautiful texture and lovely sweetness. Long, long and…long. This is just great!
97p   (tasted 2009/01)

And with the Pommards finished we had some rasberry chocolate truffles. With these we had a bottle of old Port.

1900 da Silva Vintage Port
This is sweet, and then with some more sweetness with lots of chocolate, sugar and sweet flowers. Very nice, but haven´t got that much complexity. But very sweet and nice.
The taste is big, sweet and fun. Taste like a great chocolate mousse. Not that complex but very yummy!
90p   (tasted 2009/01)

A great evening of wine, food and laughter. The day after was somewhat heavy…but the taste of the 53, 23, 28 and 45 lingered on.

And the next Pommard dinner is in the planning process...


  1. Sounds like a great evening, to say the least.


  2. It was! I had expected to open both one and two of the extra, much younger, bottles. Amazing that village wines can both hold and be soo good for such a long time!