I sampled a few reds from the Côte de Nuits on my visits to Domaine de Montille and to Domaine Simon Bize, both in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune. My next trip, however, was to Domaine Taupenot-Merme, which makes wine primarily from the northern half of the Côte d'Or, where Pinot Noir dominates. Based in the Côte de Nuits' Morey-St.-Denis commune, its 32 acres of holdings stretch from Gevrey-Chambertin to St.-Romain and Auxey-Duresses.
All the 2008s were racked and blended four to five weeks ago and will be bottled beginning in January 2010. The movement from barrel to tank and addition of sulfur dioxide tightened up the wines.
" was a miracle vintage from every aspect," exclaimed Romain Taupenot. "I thought we had too much acidity, but because the malic acid was so high, in the end we had a lot less acidity." Taupenot was referring to the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid, which was an important step in the maturation of the wines and in shaping their character.
For Taupenot, the key in 2008 was extracting the tannins to provide structure for the reds. "The tannins were extracted [all at once] in the last few days, as opposed to gradually over a normal curve," he explained.
The grapes achieved good natural ripeness and it was only necessary to chaptalize a few cuvées in the cellar. The yields are roughly 10 percent lower than in 2007 for the reds. There was coulure during the flowering and then, after the harvest, sorting to remove any rotten or unripe fruit further reduced yields. Compared with the average harvest, quantity is down 20 to 25 percent.
Taupenot describes the style of his '08s as "… a combination of '06 and '07, with nice tannins but perhaps not the purity of 2007."
For the first time, I tasted Taupenot-Merme's Corton Rognets. Purchased in 2000, it was under a rental agreement until 2005, when the domaine took control of the vineyard. The 2008 was the third vinification from this site. It was ripe, rich and fleshy, with good structure and length.
The three village wines, from Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-St.-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin offer a good introduction to the different profiles of these communes. The Chambolle is elegant, the Morey rich and fleshy and the Gevrey dense and meaty. The Morey-St.-Denis was showing the best of the three at the moment.
The Chambolle-Musigny La Combe d'Orveau, from vines 63 years old, revealed floral, kirsch, black currant and spice aromas and flavors on an elegant, harmonious frame. The Morey-St.-Denis La Riotte comes from vines that average 52 years of age—the oldest were planted in 1937. It tasted more like macerated cherries, with fine density and concentration.
Gevrey-Chambertin Bel-Air sits high on the slope, above Clos de Bèze and just below the forest. It offered a hint of chocolate, density tempered by finesse, with very firm tannins. It's fresh, but will need time. The Nuits-St.-Georges Les Pruliers was also tight and dense, displaying blackberry, chocolate and animal notes, bright acidity and a long finish.
The two Gevrey grands crus in the cellar, Charmes-Chambertin and Mazoyères-Chambertin show excellent potential. The Charmes exhibited its usual fleshy, sweet cherry fruit and bordered on opulent for the vintage. It had good structure underneath. The Mazoyères was really showing well, with blackberry, black currant fruit and a salty, mineral finish.
Taupenot-Merme also exploits a few rows of Clos des Lambrays (one-tenth of an acre). It had an ethereal nose of flowers, very elegant and complex, light yet intense, with an expression of mineral.
Dan Ellzey — Columbia, SC — November 21, 2009 11:04am ET
Horacio Campana / Butler Me — Monterrey, Mexico — November 21, 2009 11:45am ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — November 21, 2009 4:58pm ET
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