The focus on points and ratings often stands in the way of appreciating and understanding mature Burgundies from “lesser” years.
We tend to collect the big, bold, “great” vintages, and that stream of velvet pinot almost washes away the delicate enjoyment of mature wines from lesser years.
The lesser years are clearly not as attractive to collectors as the big, top-rated vintages. The lesser years are furthermore – like the bigger vintages – often consumed way too early, while still only showing primary characteristics.
Occasionally, the lesser years are our only true chance to taste the delicacy of a mature wine from a big terroir, as we sometimes don’t have the life expectancy remaining to us to enjoy the big wines from the great years at a fully mature stage.
It appears that many of us have largely given up, and take the attitude: “We drink them young and we drink them bold and powerful with no remorse and the expectation of tasting the full complexity of maturity.”
This is understandable perhaps, as waiting for the full maturity of a great wine from Roumier, Rousseau or de Vogue can take 30 years or more.
The lesser years – often overlooked and forgotten – can, however, start to reveal tremendous maturing complexity when they reach the age of 15, although most wine lovers don’t give these wines the benefit of time.
So: Store and age the lesser years – and beauty will find your palate and your mind.
The delightful and mysterious Amoureuses 2004
The greatness of Roumier is well known and recognized, but few have actually tasted a fully mature top wine from Roumier. A lot of Bonnes Mares is drunk terribly, tragically young.
I have tasted many Roumier wines, but I have so far not tasted a fully mature Bonnes Mares. And I have followed the estate since 1995.
To taste a top Roumier with mature notes is a truly rare treat. And the Roumier Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 2004 is such a wine.
The bouquet starts out with a discrete mocca note that transforms into truffle and forest floor: airy and precise, yet just floating and flowing with complexity. The palate is vivid and remarkably intense, with delicate cool acidity free from the green notes that were common in some 2004s in their adolescence. Not a big and dense wine like the previouly tasted Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche 1999, but a wine with tremendous depth and lively complexity and whose impressions change constantly during the first 30 minutes in the glass. What complexity; what delicacy; and it will continue to evolve and blossom over the next 10 years.
This is why we cellar and mature Burgundies.
The case of the 1992 Amoureuses
The mature complexity of the Amoureuses above reminded me of another Amoureuses from a little year: the de Vogue Les Amoureuses 1992 tasted a bit more than 10 years ago.
It was at the time even more developed than the 2004 above, and is still to this day one of the most delicate and complex Burgundies I have tasted.
So admire the less-exalted vintages. Often they have a coolness and refinement that will blow your mind – and your senses.