Saturday, October 27, 2012

Some old wine tasting notes starting with Vincent Girardin Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus Blanc 2009

Some old wine tasting notes starting with 
Vincent Girardin Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus Blanc 2009

Although my new job is an interesting turn in my wine career, (I changed my position 3 months ago), I'm not a Wine Buyer anymore (after more than 20 years of buying wines for retails and restaurants), and therefore do not get to taste as much as I used to. 

I need to admit that sometimes I miss the rapport that I used to have with my customers, but also the suppliers and more especially wineries and producers. Moreover, I felt more up-to-date with the wine market as I used to taste and average of 28-32 wines a day from all around the world, and that 6 days a week for at least the past 15 years.... that is a lot of wine. It seems a lot when you calculate it, but it is a regular thing for most dedicated wine buyers and frankly nothing compared to other wine professionals like famous wine critics that are surely tasting twice as much.

However, I'm still and always will be a Sommelier and part of my current job, that has to do with wine obviously (as I wouldn't leave the wine bubble for anything else in the world), allows me to occasionally taste some extraordinaire old vintages of hugely coveted classic producers, wineries and Chateaux from various French appellations, more specifically Burgundy and Bordeaux (Hong Kong oblige).

In short, I swapped quantity for quality, which is not bad I must say, especially when it comes to very rare wines and vintages that I will never been able to afford or even hope to taste.

Between my new job and my family life with my wife and kids, I have been slacking off on my writings and did not update this blog or even my website as often as I should. Shame because I love writing in both French and English, especially about wine.

So, searching in my back pockets where I always keep a pen and a little note book (a bit old fashion, I know, but it always comes handy and I prefer it to a voice recorder), I found a few old notes about some wines, including some tasted and drank in the last few events and dinners I participated to since I started in this new company.

Here is the first one of a long overdue list of wines that I should have posted on my blog over the past year and a half, since I came in Hong Kong.

Located in Santenay until recently, now based in Meursault, Vincent Girardin produces wines from Santenay, Maranges, Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault, Pommard, Beaune, and Savigny-les-Beaunes.

Vincent Girardin crafts refine structured wines characterized by their distinct crisp acidity, texture and minerality. Some people may found them lean or not ripe enough, I will say that they are refreshing, vibrant, concentrated and well balanced rather than too opulent. The rich fruit and fragrant toasted notes harmoniously complement each other, creating elegant and complex Burgundies with long ageing potential.

While some Meursault can be fat, almost oily with a lot of oak influence, the ones from Girardin (Vieilles Vignes, Les Tillets, Les Narvaux Blanc, Le Poruzots Dessus, Les Genevrieres Blanc, Les Perrieres Blanc and Les Charmes Dessus) are usually more refreshing and rather discreet (or well integrated) on the wood scents and flavors.

Production represents roughly 80% white wine, with approximately 300,000 bottles produced per year from the Côte d’Or. They also produce about 200,000 bottles per year in their Beaujolais estate.

After gradually diminishing their use of herbicides and pesticides, from 1997 onwards, they implemented more natural methods, tending towards Organic, and, as a result of their continuous efforts, were certified Biodynamic in 2007. Yet, in 2010 they gave up their certification and adopted the "Lutte Raisonnée"method, a more flexible approach of vineyard management enabling them, for example, the use of systemic treatment when really needed and giving them the choice to treat each parcel or/and vineyard individually depending on the situation.

Often compared to 1999, 2009 is a great vintage in Burgundy. Maybe my "Law of the Decacdes in Wine Vintages", once again works (see my previous post at Resulting from the ideal warm weather and overall climate during the ripening period, the grapes presented such good degrees of ripeness and complexity bringing rapidly the alcohol level between 12.5 and 13.5%, that Girardin's team decided to harvest earlier than expected to preserve the freshness and zestyness, rather than waiting to obtain sweeter, riper wines with less vibrancy. Moreover, atop of new methods, they decreased their use of new oak to favor the quality and expression of the fruit and Terroir, thus avoiding masking the true personality and character of the wines.

The fact that they become more attentive to the vineyard management, employing more natural methods and using less oak treatment, does not mean that they fell to get an interest on the technical part. On the contrary, starting with the 2009 vintage, the team used for the first time their ‘Vistalys’ optical grape-sorting machine. State of the art machinery in the cellar and natural methods in the vineyards have proven an excellent combination to elaborate stunning gems.

Since February this year, following to an official press release, it seems that the Domaine daily operation and management of the company has passed from the hands of Veronique and Vincent Girardin to those of Jean-Pierre Nié, a well-known professional in Burgundy who is also Chairman of "Compagnie des Vins d’Autrefois" in Beaune as well as being a commercial partner of Vincent Girardin for several years now. Eric Germain, Vincent Girardin’s right-hand man and house oenologist for the past ten years will keep his position to perpetuate the high quality of the company's wines.

2009 Vincent Girardin Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes-Dessus Blanc Cote d'Or Burgundy

Very light, pale yellow color with bright reflects. Rather discreet (the wine was a bit cold even just after decantation), the charming nose exhibited beautiful, delicate, floral, mineral, almost fragile notes of white zesty fruits and more mineral on a concentrated way, but rather feminine, elegant and once again discreet not restraint (still a bit cold but it was more distinct after a few minutes in the glass). Although rich and complex with very subtile oak nuances, the palate presented the same profile (as the nose) and feminine silhouette, very discreet, elegant and very mineral. Light and refreshing, with flavors of white peach, citrus, touches of apple, lychee and green almond mingling with mineral and gently toasted, buttery notes. Endowed with really good balance and overall harmony, the structured and vibrant mid-palate developed nicely in power and complexity to reach the slightly spicy-peppery mineral finish. I loved it and couldn't get enough of it. This classic Meursault is still a bit young and deserves to be decanted, yet it is already delightful and was so easy to drink. 


LeDom du Vin 

PS: to be continued soon with more wines from my back pocket note book (books should I say as I have more than one and always take notes of everything I taste....just not enough time to write them all on this blog... ).    

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