Mature white Burgundies
I began tasting and collecting Burgundies in the early 1990s when vintages like 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992 came on the market.
These vintages were, according to many tasters, great white vintages – and seen from a 30-year-retrospective viewpoint, this is probably true.
These are exciting wines from a different era, from vintages preceding any significant impact from global warming and, perhaps even more importantly, before the devastating impact of premature oxidation.
Times have changed. But I still adore the complexity and vivid notes of a mature white Burgundy with 30 years of cellar age.
Call me old fashioned … please!
Memories of Roulot, Coche and Lafon
In the early 1990s I was at a tasting with young wines from Lafon and Coche-Dury. Some of my first sips of these delightful wines were from the 1992 vintage – a delightful, relatively light red vintage, but a refined and delicate vintage for the best whites.
I will, sadly, never be able to replicate this tasting (one can always hope!), as the wines are now very rare and expensive. Yet a tasting this week just gave me a blessing from the past.
Domaine Roulot Meursault Meix Chavaux 1992
The grace of ’92
The 1992 vintage has at its best an elegance and refinement that few other vintages since has equalled.
To be sure, there have been subsequent great white vintages. But presumably the fact that 1992 predated the egregious impact of global warming gave it a gorgeous balance and a delicate level of maturity that give the wines an unrivalled drinkability and hedonistic joy.
The Meix Chavaux had an otherworldly, effortless balance and a delicacy and refinement rarely seen. It was spectacular, and a vin d’émotion to its core.
It’s a fact that yields were higher in 1992. And while it is difficult to discuss in a short article, I feel that some of the lightness and delicacy of the past were sacrificed on the altar of low yields. Low yields and concentration are not necessarily the road to great whites, in my view!
Old-school white Burgundies are a rare breed, and those made from the pre-premox years (before 1994) are now almost 30 years old and are rapidly becoming extinct.
The 1989 vintage is tiring somewhat. The 1988s remain fresher, it seems, while the 1990s are mighty and some will still keep. But the truly stellar 1992s are rarer and rarer, it seems.
The Roulot Meix Chavaux 1992 is a reminder – still fresh and a truly delightful treat – that reinstates one’s faith in mature white Burgundies.
Thanks to Philip and Morten of Rufus Vin for a memorable afternoon.
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