I just visited Domaine Leroy in Burgundy, one of the highlights of my trip so far. Naturally, I had high expectations of the 2005s there—and I wasn't disappointed. “C’est magnifique,” said Lalou Bize-Leroy of the vintage. “It’s very consistent, with good acidity and good balance.”
It may seem cliché, but balance is the hallmark of the 2005s, and the quality is consistent across appellations. As a result, the wines have precision and intensity, without being too tannic or sharp. In short, they possess a beauty and harmony that all vintages seek, but only few attain.
I tasted 23 wines, all bottled in late December. Here are the highlights:
The Vosne-Romanée Aux Genaivrières has sappy fruit that coats the mouth, like eating perfectly ripe grapes from the vine. It’s spicy and harmonious, with a long finish. The Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Narbantons shows just how good this appellation gets in 2005. It’s sleek and refined, with cherry, floral and mineral notes.
I like the finesse and length of the Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts, a complex young wine featuring red and black cherry, floral, spice and mineral elements. The Corton Renardes impresses with its tension between wild and refined, with more intensity as we moved up the hierarchy to grand cru.
All the grands crus are amazing young wines. For me, two stood out above the rest. The Musigny is refined and intense, offering complex floral, black currant and mineral expressions, with a fabulous finish. The Chambertin is grand and aristocratic, exhibiting concentration but also grace. The flavors evoke black cherry, tobacco, and spice now, with dense, ripe tannins for support.
Domaine Leroy’s wines are expensive, but at about 18 hectoliters per hectare (a little more than 1 ton per acre), no expense is spared to make them.
I also tasted a range from Maison Leroy’s 2007 collection. The Bourgogne Blanc 1997, at 10 years, is fresh and firm, with ripe peach flavor. The Meursault Goutte d’Or 1997 is still tightly wound, hinting at honey, hazelnut and mineral notes.
The Nuits-St.-Georges Les Chaboeufs 1967 is beautiful to drink now, with sweet fruit such as macerated cherries and fine balance. The Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1957, from a forgotten vintage, exudes sous-bois, tobacco and a core of sweet fruit. It doesn’t have the overall intensity and harmony of the Les Chaboeufs, yet there’s sweetness on the midpalate and a lingering finish.
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