Jean-Nicolas Méo took over the management of his family's estate, Domaine Méo-Camuzet, in 1989. For several decades, the vineyards had been rented, including some to the late Henri Jayer. Méo celebrated the 20th anniversary of his tenure with a tasting of 30 wines and a dinner at the Château du Clos de Vougeot. (Etienne Camuzet, founder of the domaine, was the last sole owner of Clos de Vougeot.) This event was another reason for my trip to Burgundy.
We tasted at least one wine from every vintage with the exception of 1991. We began with a flight of 2008s drawn from barrel, followed by flights of seven of Domaine Meo-Camuzet's top sites, each representing a selection of vintages.
The 2008s show promise, particularly the ripe Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées, the firmly structured Clos de Vougeot, with its expression of red and black fruits, and the pure, aristocratic Richebourg. The '08 harvest began Sept. 27, and Méo noted that the grapes had "a correct maturity," with natural potential alcohol of 12.5, which was chaptalized up to 13.0 or slightly higher.
The Nuits-St.-Georges Aux Murgers flight consisted of the 2006, 1998 (from magnum), 1997 (magnum) and 1989. The '98 was the big surprise for me and the best of this group. The nose was slightly cheesy, but there was deep, enticing fruit transitioning from fresh blackberry and black currant to more dried fruit, leather and spice. It was very supple and long (93 points, non-blind). The 1997 was more mature, showing leather, dried cherry and blackberry and spice notes, but less density and flesh than the '98 (90 points, non-blind). The 1989 revealed a lovely bouquet of leather, spice and burnished wood, turning a bit rustic and dry on the palate (90 points, non-blind).
A flight of Clos de Vougeot followed, encompassing the 2005, 1999, 1996 and 1995 vintages. This was a very consistent group of wines, with the two younger years standing out. The 2005 was fresh and focused, exhibiting ripe, succulent red and black fruit flavors tinged with spice and fine length (95 points, non-blind). Yet, the '99 was even better, with macerated fruit, a dense, muscular profile, ripe tannins and loads of energy (96 points, non-blind).
Next up was the Corton Clos Rognet. Méo chose to pour 2004, 2001 and 1990. This flight was less consistent, in part due to the challenges in 2004, but the 1990 was disappointing. I found it still oaky, hard and lacking charm (88 points, non-blind). The 2001 evoked aromas mingling both fruit and spice, with a hint of animal. It was well-balanced, long and should really hit its peak in about three to five years (92 points, non-blind).
The Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées 1990 did not disappoint. It was the oldest in a flight that included the 2002 and a 1994 from magnum. It showed an exotic bouquet of ripe plum, black cherry, spice and leather. Complex and full of sweet fruit, it was concentrated, with a long, sweet aftertaste tinged with leather and smoke (93 points, non-blind).
Only Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts separates Aux Brûlées from Méo's Echézeaux Les Rouges du Bas, yet the latter has a more linear, tensile, even racy style. The flight of three was very consistent. My favorite was the fresh, black cherry and bilberry-flavored 2002 (93 points, non-blind), which had a slight edge on the vibrant 2007 and elegant 2001 with its dried fruit notes.
The Vosne-Romanée Au Cros Parantoux 2007 opened the next series, with very classy black cherry, black currant and violet aromas and flavors (94 points, non-blind). As good as the 2000 and 1992 were, the 2003 stole the flight, revealing bacon fat, smoke, cassis and gingerbread notes allied to a fresh, powerful frame (95 points, non-blind).
The tasting finished aptly enough with Méo-Camuzet's Richebourg. Though the 2001 was not showing well, the racy, black currant-infused 1996 (95 points, non-blind) and sweet, dried berry, game and leather notes of the refined 1993 (97 points, non-blind) proved the pedigree of this fine grand cru.
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