Wiser men than I say that pinot noir is the most fickle of the noble grapes. When handled in just the right fashion, it can soar to amazing heights, but when not handled right, or in off years, it can seem thin, fruitless and disappointingly acidic. The greatest pinot noirs of Burgundy (red Burgundies are 100% pinot noir) can thrill you like no other wine can with their combination of power and delicacy, but it has sometimes been too much of a hit-and-miss experience for me not to be wary, especially with the latest rounds of price increases.

Beaujolais, technically a part of Burgundy but with winemaking traditions of its own, is mostly known for the fruit-punchy Nouveau that comes out every Thanksgiving. Yet the wines of the Beaujolais Crus (Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent, Regnie, Morgon, Julienas, etc.) can produce serious, long-lived wines from the gamay grape.

Domaine Amiot-Servelle Bourgogne 1998(Asylum): Bright and tart, with crisp acidity, but a bit weightier than the Brun pinot, with a darker tone to the cherry fruit and some lingering tarriness on the surprisingly tannic finish. Pleasant, racy and decent, without a lot of follow-through. (9/8/00)

Robert Ampeau Bourgogne 1976 ($33.99): Decanted for an hour or so (there was much floating debris); rich medium-light ruby color, fading to brownish around the rim; soft, light nose of faded cherry, cloves, and especially tea--aromatically light, but layered and pleasant. In the mouth, fuller than the nose would indicate, lightly tangy muted cherry/cola/earth flavors, seems only slightly faded, still plenty of nice fruit in evidence. Nice medium-crisp acidity, not a bit shrill, with a faint shadow of tannins. Not terrifically complex, but a very smooth, interesting wine that had a lot of character for a generic red Bourgogne, a nice blend of delicacy and strength. Solved the surf/turf dilemma pretty well. (6/13/99)

Robert Ampeau Auxey-Duresses 1991 ($55) (Cape Mayhem): Smells pleasantly of sour cherries and bricky earth. Tastes weathered, advanced beyond its years, with tart earthy-cherry fruit feathering out at the edges. Smells nice, but tastes lean and underfruited, earthy in the fashion of many of Ampeau's wines, but more pallid than most. (5/25/01)

Marquis d'Angerville Volnay Champans 1987 (Peach Tree Vines): Medium ruby color, browning slightly at the rim. Warm, earthy nose--leather and tree bark, muted red cherry fruit, crushed brick and a dash of horehound, smells lovely and layered. A sip, and it's crisp and resolved but lovingly loose and easygoing. The red bricky fruit holds through the middle, then fades and lets a spicy cinnamon and old burnished-wood flavor carry the finish. I have to just sit back and enjoy this for a while and think deep thoughts... (4/03)

Marquis d'Angerville Volnay Champans 1990(NEVER Say 'Spit'): What a contrast to the '87 that we had last week with Florida Jim, Jersey Bob and Midtown Jay. Where that cooed EARTH DIRT LEATHER, this yodels CHERRIES CHERRIES CHERRIES. Black cherries, specifically, although with about an hour of air some interesting tree-barky notes start to assert themselves. Tastes ripe, young and silky, finishing tarry and tannic. Rather monolithically fruity now, needs time. We discuss the limitations of 1990 red Burgundy and wonder if these wines will ever come around. Will the earthiness outlast the offputting ripeness, or are these doomed to remain shiny happyfruity wines? (4/03)

Marquis d'Angerville Volnay Taillepieds 1993 (Lou Turns the Worm): Wait, where's the Drouhin? We've been gypped! Light ruby color, smells of soft cherry and earth, cola. Tastes equally light, a vague little Volnay that slips gently past my tongue without leaving much of a mouthprint. Decent. (10/05)

Domaine de L'Arlot Nuits Saint George Clos de Forêts St. George 1990 ($50) (Bastille Day): A beauty, a wonderful feast of smells--dark cherry limned with beet, gravelly earth, horehound and forest floor hints dance and play in the terrarium-sized bowl of the big glass. With just a bit of air darker truffley-mushroomy tones emerge and fill out the initially light nose. Satiny and layered in the gob, there is enough development for complexity and warmth, enough youth for liveliness. Ripe and striking. (6/16/01)

Robert Arnoux Nuits-St.-George 2000 ($33) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill 2): Easygoing aromatics, light earthy black cherry, toast, wet rocks. Tastes tangy and crisp but rather diffuse, lacking focus. Glassily tannic finish, but basically a loose drink-me-now kind of wine, decent and vague. (3/06)

Robert Arnoux Nuits-St.-George Les Corvées Pagets 1999 ($42) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill 2): Firm cherry-beet aromatics, dark truffliness underneath. With air a forest floor mossiness begins to manifest, nice. But it tastes hard, glossy and well stuffed, but not giving much in the way of flavorosity, and the finish has a charred, slightly bitter note. Seems to have a lot of potential in the bottle, maybe needs some real time to come together? I come back to it the next day, it's gotten much silkier, the rough note on the finish has turned towards clovey-spiciness, the hardness now seems more like litheness. Tangy and taut but velvet-skinned and gently intense, real nice stuff after a while. (3/06)

Robert Arnoux Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1990 ($70) (VS Eats at Joe's): Nice rich translucent red color, turning slightly orangy at the rim. Another vivid nose--velvety muted cherryfruit, clovey-mushroom earthiness and a beguiling hint of burnt orange. Medium-light in body, but surprisingly richly flavored and intense. Lots of rich muted pinot fruit, my kind of brash rich Burg, a pleasure to drink. (11/7/99)

Domaine Bachelet Pommard Les Chanlins 1997 (Motor Oil): Medium to medium-dark garnet color. Smells quietly ripe, plum-cherry, hints of earth and smoky tarriness. Tastes ripe as well, rich and rounded, purply-smoky and a bit fat. Seems rather plain to me, with the fruit a bit too pillowy for the light acidity to carry along; bits of it keep bulging out where you least expect it. Decent enough, but unremarkable. (6/29/00)

Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny Les Baudes 1999 (Misplaced Weekend II): Quite effusive, puppyish and ripe, smells of dark raspberry and peppery spiciness. Tastes of raspberries and toast, loosely wrapped and fleshy-meaty, some rather stern tannins. (5/9/04)

Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1996 (Fisting Punts): Smells dark and rather intense, boiled beets and raspberry suffused with tree bark and fresh lava (for those unhappy few of you who have never smelled fresh lava, it's sort of a hot black rocky kind of thing--a darkly pungent, borderline acrid stoniness). Tastes tight and concentrated, a substantial wine with fine weight and balance, but shut down and aggressively tannic now. Keep away, this wine needs its space. Several of us attempt to pronounce 'Ghislaine,' but suffer tongue-related injuries. Don't try it at home. (10/13/02)

Domaine Philippe Batacchi Morey-Saint-Denis 1990 (Viva Mexico!): Muddy medium ruby. Smells nice, clove high notes over a soft cherry-raspberry base. Tastes sour, though--tartness and too much acidity put the wine out of balance and overwhelm the fruit, making my face all puckery, not its most flattering expression. Not very pleasurable. (3/01)

Bitouzet-Prieur Volnay Taillepieds 1993 ($42): Medium translucent ruby, darker than I'd expected, seems deeply colored for a Burgundy; rich, velvety nose, slight barnyness, light plum/cherry/cola notes, a hint of mint; in the mouth mmmm, smooth, silky & crisp, beautiful pinot, rich and balanced--some slightly aggressive tannins, but even they are very fine & smooth. Nice concentration of flavors, more density than I'd expect from a Volnay; gonna be a beauty with a little more age behind it. Delicious, subtle and strong. Big yum. (7/16/99)

Bitouzet-Prieure Volnay Taillepieds 1993 ($42) (Stupid Fizzies): Quiet, quiet aromatics, muted redfruit, minerals, a touch of cinnamon, all light and flickery in my nose. Tastes tight and hard, not giving up much at all. Where has this wine gone? Either to an early grave or to Barbados for the winter: hold, hold, hold and hope, hope, hope. (9/14/03)

Lucien Boillot Bourgogne 2002 (Doghead All Grown Up): Well hello, this is a friendly little wine. Uncomplicated and happily fruity, a smooth and puppyish little pinot that slaps you on the back and pumps your hand vigorously, hail wino well met! Loose, simple and pleasant, with year or two bottle age this might gamutate to the level of a decent Fleurie or Moulin-á-Vent. (11/04)

Bouchard Pere & Fils Chambolle-Musigny 1999 ($40) (Miller Time): Sweetly cherried and darkly spicy-toasty-smelling, lightly candied red fruit limned with smoke and horehound. A large wine, clumsily disjointed in its youth but with a lot of rich, interesting components. The ingredients bang around in my mouth, then grind to a halt with charred notes and fine stern tannins. Desperately in need of time to mellow and compose itself. (1/12/02)

Bouchard Pere & Fils Chambolle-Musigny Charmes 1972 (Sedate Evening): Medium ruby color, bricking to amber well in from the rim. Ooh, smells nice, earthy-spicy, cumin and cinnamon over muted dusty cherry. With air a leathery streak comes to the fore, lots of happy spiciness here. A sip, and it's light bodied and a bit faded, brown-earthy and honeyed. A light wine, hanging in there like the cat on the poster. "Like an old velvet bathrobe" observes Jennifer. (6/05)

Brocot Marsannay "Les Echezeaux" 1993 ($23.99), was the source of a controversy. Lisa thought it was bitter to the point of being spoiled, I thought it was a bit sour, but I thought it had some nice, subtle, plummy burgundy flavors as well, which, although not entirely in balance with the undertaste of bitterness, were not entirely swamped by it. Maybe I should have let this one breathe or decanted it, but we were having my special spinach-and-feta-stuffed chicken, so it wasn't really an option to just sit and stare at a bottle for forty-five minutes while our food grew stone cold. I kept sipping at it, trying to see if I was as bothered by the sour taste, but it didn't seem so bad to me. Not really a go-back-and-buy-more kind of wine, but not too bad either. In comparison to the almost fruitless Joblot (see below), it seemed positively friendly. (7/18/98)

Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin 1993 ($30)(Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium garnet. Another clove-scented nose, with hints of nutmeg & menthol as well in the light plum-cherry base. Plummier, purpler and meatier in the mouth than the others, rich and meaty, if a bit chunky in texture, with hints of caramel in the midpalate and a truffley-dark finish that fades into unbalanced acidity a bit too quickly. (3/19/00)

Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 1997 ($40) (Walt Begs for Mercy): A surprisingly ripe noseful of ripe cherry-plumskin-clove hints mixed with two scoops of generously toasted oak. The flavors are velvety and rich but also rather ripely generic, and there's just too much unintegrated oakiness. The finish is short, tight and tannic. I'm not sure about this one--I dislike it quickly for its bumptiousness, but with air some beguiling gravelly notes emerge underneath the overt fruit that make me reconsider a quick writeoff. It's got some stuff going on and could be interesting down the road if the oakiness calms down and some secondary flavors develop, but it seems mostly overfruited, overwooded and out of balance at the moment. (5/01)

Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 1998 ($45) (The Return of Marty & Jill): This seems to be a red wine. A medium-dark garnet one, in fact, that smells slightly funky, dark sod-infused candy cherry ripeness, hints of toast. Tastes smooth and broad-shouldered, a slightly bumptious young Burgundy that has enough guts to match well with tonight's shortribs. Very tannic, but very creamy-ripe as well, with enough firm acidity to support the flesh. Not exactly elegant, but rich and likeable. (2/06)

Domaine Caillot Volnay Clos des Chênes 1998 ($45) (15 Fox Place): Smells like pinot shiraz. Plum and clove, smoke and toast. My first thought upon tasting this: "Wow, it's a Kane Volnay!" Big, jammy and blowsy, a real West Coast Lovers pinot. Fairly low acidity, big vagueness in the middle, seems a pleasant little wine injected with Human Growth Hormone. I attempt to force some on Kane to see if he likes it, but can't really recall if I succeeded or not. Not really objectionable unless one objects to unfocused and steroided garden-hose-inflated Volnay. (3/22/04)

Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts 1988 (Misplaced Weekend II): Medium ruby color, bricking slightly at the rim. There's some weird mushroomy bottle funk at first that mostly blows off, leaving behind muted sandalwoody-cherry aromatics, hints of truffle mingled with the funk. It's a thin, rather severe wine, dryingly tannic and prickly. There's some taut red fruit, but it's not giving much. Dressner suggests it's just in a difficult stage, but it seems to me to be just drying out and slipslidin' away. He thinks about it for a moment: "Well, it's not in the British Isles yet, but it's certainly in the Commonwealth." (5/9/04)

Francois Charles Beaune Les Epenottes 2002 (Steamed Steaks): Medium purply-garnet. Smells ripe and clovey-spicy, black cherry and red plum, light mineral streak underneath. Soft and plush tasting, medium-light bodied, velvety-soft pinot. Actually pretty nice if you're not looking for classic Burgundy. Puppyish redfruit, low acidity, a pointy-tribe kind of Burg. I've brought this as sort of a sop to Kane, a ripe, soft Burgundy that I thought he might go for. After all, he likes gamay when it's overripe and acid-deficient, right? He makes a squinchy face, moans "High acid, ook," and I officially throw in the towel. From now on: no quarter asked or given. (10/2/04)

Charlopin-Parizot Chambolle-Musigny 1993 ($35)(Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium garnet. Hey, here's a lush nose--dark cherry-earthy-clovey notes limned with smokiness--rich-smelling and beguiling. A sip, and the taste is equally rich and smooth, medium-crisp, rich, layered & balanced, a great package o'pinot that lingers leatherily in the mouth with a smoky spicy red hum. Plenty of rich flavors hanging on a strong flexible spine. Excellent, really excellent. (3/19/00)

Robert Chevillon Bourgogne Passetoutgrains 2003 (Pigfest): Broad, floppy-eared and goofy, a big turnaround from the crisp '02. The overall impression is of slightly gritty fruit punch. Strawberry-plum juice aromatics, short on acidity, lightbodied and plump and merry. At least the wine is rather poised, and not ponderous. Kane downs a glass, refills quickly. (1/06)

Les Chemins de Bassac VdP de Côtes de Thongue Pinot Noir 1997 ($15) (Trilateral Offline): Medium red color; light plum-cherry-clove aromas, tangy & ripe, surprisingly full-bodied. Dark tart fruit turns towards licorice and clove on the finish. Nice, supple pinot, not complex, but pleasant. (3/14/00)

Robert Chevillon Nuits St. George les Saint-Georges 1988 (Broken Rules): This too is lightly funky on first nosage, decaying treetrunk and a stange slatey streak over some ripe cherry-beet redfruit. After about an hour of air, however, it comes together nicely, the tree-trunk hints turning towards a dark mushroominess, the redfruit plumping up and filling in the cracks, the slate notes receding into a pleasant belowground minerality. The wine has fine focus, a vivid acidic core clothed with velvety flesh. Continues to turn more primary with air as the night goes on, a very beguiling performance, will it end the night as an infant monolith? (11/04)

Robert Chevillon Nuits Saint-George Les Vaucrains 1991 ($40) (Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium to medium-dark garnet. Fairly light on the nose. Tangy tasting, still seems quite young, tart & brightly tannic. Semi-closed, but there are glimpses of medium-rich fruit that come and go. Another wine that has more structure than fruit, but it gives me whispered hints that it may come around. (3/19/00)

Domaine M. Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers 2002 (Misplaced Weekend I): Smells like strawberries. Tastes ripe and soothing and insubstantial. Tart fruit, medium-low acidity, a bit diffuse but very easy to sip. A pleasantly squishy flavorful little Fleurie. (5/2/04)

Clair-Dau Bonnes Mares 1983 ($60) (Miller Time): It's a muddy medium-light ruby-brown color, smells deliciously decayed, old mushrooms, muddy underbrush and tea in a base of matte dried cherry fruit, with an ever so vague hint of nutty sherriness hinting at storage issues. Tastes crisp, lean and feathered, with well focused red bricky fruit that has a moist leaf quality at the edges but a core of still thrumming faded red fruit. It's a wine on the cusp, definitely over the top of the curve and on the long slope downwards, but I find its complexity just lovely. (1/12/02)

Clair-Dau Bonnes Mares 1984 (Magnum)(Miller Time): and it's not nearly as decayed as its older sibling but not as rich either. The wine smells quite funky right out of the bottle, more truffley-dark, the red cherry fruit younger and redder. With air the funk blows off a bit, turning sweetly fungal. Tastes crisp and balanced, but is more diffuse than the older wine, lacks the focus to give it that extra bit of zip. Still quite nice, but doesn't leave the same delightful impression. (1/12/02)

Claire-Dau Chambolle-Musigny 1983: Pale, tea colored, translucent, very light; beautiful nose of cherries, leather and earth, maybe rose petals(?). Delicate and soft, tiny tannic bite at the end--not much finish. Nice on the midpalate; fades away fast but lovely and delicate. I enjoyed smelling this more than drinking it, the nose was really exquisite. It too is perhaps past its prime, or perhaps it was simply always a delicate, fading flower. (10/19/98)

Claire-Dau Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1983 (Nonoffensive Notes): Muddy pale ruby. Good whiff of earthy, barny gaminess over faded cherry-raspberry fruit. Tangy & tart in the mouth, not as rich as it smells, with knifelike acidity dominating the faded fruit. Sharp and a bit sour to taste. Smells nice, though. (3/20/00)

Domaine du Clos du Fief Julienas 1998 ($13.99)(Swedes Invade): Medium garnet. Smells of plum-berry fruit with a rich dark earthy-graphite undercurrent. Great balance here, nice rich fruit, plenty of structure, layers of flavor. Nice full-bodied Julienas, drinking very well. You want good Cru Beajolais? Here's one. (3/24/00)

Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron Nuits St. Georges 1997 ($40) (Heat): Smells good, cherries, cloves and minerals. A sip gives a nicely tart thrust of coiled red fruit, but the upfront rush hangs in space and drops into a hollow midpalate, hard and lean. Some time and air do flesh it out marginally, but this just seems too young to drink. (6/16/01)

Domaine Christian Confuron Bonnes Mares 1996 (Fisting Punts): Smells rather simple right off the bat, cherry-clove and a light smokiness. Upon first sippage there's a tart cran-cherry bang, but the wine turns dilute in the middle and simply stops dead, leaving the acidity hanging in air like the coyote off the cliff. With air and time a funky streak emerges that might pass for earthiness, but SFJoe labels more properly as 'two-day-old burritos.' Dilute and disjointed, a shrill, mean wine. There is an awkward silence as this one moves around the table. To break the tension, I leap to my feet and accuse Jay of slipping a Baco Noir ringer into the proceedings. He hems and haws for a minute or two, then sums it up as "A decent village wine... perhaps...", but he is shouted down with cries of "Sucks! Suuuucks!" This viewpoint is soon vindicated: as the thing airs out it comes rapidly unglued, soon resembling nothing so much as turpentine with red food coloring. Glasses are quickly dumped and vigorously rinsed. It must've taken some doing to get Bonnes Mares fruit from 1996 to emerge as a wine this insipid. (10/13/02)

Confuron-Contetidot Vosne-Romanée 1991 ($34) (Motor Oil): Medium ruby color. Another quiet nose, soft clovey-cinnamon and earthy-mushroom hints hover over a softly muted cherry base, very whispery-soft at first, slowly reaching out and beguiling by gentle persuasion. Tastes crisp, light and nimble, a bit feathery at the edges with a core of earthy-leafy red cherry fruit. Small, unprepossessing, it grows on me and has won me over after about a half-hour of quiet conversation. (6/29/00)

Domaine Dalicieux Moulin-a-Vent Cuvée Jannick Noah 1995 (Manuel and Josie): Medium translucent garnet in color, this wine does indeed have the nimble grace of the former French Davis Cup and Fed Cup Captain, as well as his well-toned muscularity. Not a wine to overpower you with a blistering attack--gravelly raspberry and strawberry hints come at you from all angles like crosscourt volleys, and the mouthfeel stays neatly inside the white lines of balance, with stony-plummy-earthy flavors taking three out of four sets and jumping the net to shake your hand with some light tannins. (4/23/00)

B. Delaborde Sauvigny-Les-Beaune 1982 ($12.99): Pale ruby, lightly colored but what's there is still a decent shade of red, not showing its age at all. Light cherry-beet-clovey hints on the nose, this still has life. Tastes a bit thin and tart, with a slight bitter astringency on the finish. Not bad, but more a curiosity than a pleasure. Drink 'em yesterday if you got 'em. (1/29/00)

Derain Saint-Aubin Le Ban 1995 (Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium to medium-light garnet. More open and lush-smelling than the 98, darker, earthier notes on the nose, more acidity here. I like this one even better than its younger sister--the profile is similar, but it seems to have better balance, more spinal crispness and some nice layers of flavor that the younger version only hinted at. (3/19/00)

Derain St. Aubin Le Banc 1997 (Cape May Geeks): Medium to medium-light shade of purply-red, and it smells a bit like blue decorative bath soap, almost violetty, with a clovey-earthy-cherry background. I find the nose on this wine somewhat threatening to my masculinity, though, so I don't spend too much time with it. (6/3/00)

Derain Saint-Aubin Le Ban 1998 (Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium to medium-light garnet. Cherry, earth & underbrushy notes, spicy-smelling and light in the nasal passages. Light too in the mouth, soft and feathery, medium-low acidity, seems charmingly open and a bit round, a wine with a small amplitude, good mellow fruit and a supple style that goes down smoothly. Here's some good pinot fruit. Will it have the backbone to go for a lot of years? Dunno, but it's tasty now. (3/19/00)

Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon Côte du Py 1999 ($17) (Winterfest 2003): Dark cherry-strawberry nose underlied with warm gravelly notes. No tannins, medium acidity, a sense of lightness about the feel but doesn't lack mouthgrab, although there is an amiable sense of vagueness or distraction in the midpalate. A light wine but a poised, layered one. Dark cherry-strawberry finish. Small, honest wine with real character. (2/03)

Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon Côte du Py 2002 ($13) (Boatloads V): Lovely, pure Morgon. I don't feel like parsing it, maybe Dressner's getting to me, but it's just so nice that I can't be bothered. Ripe dark strawberry-cherry fruit, mediumweight wine with a lot of composure and a good deal of expressiveness. Charming and smooth, just enough acidity, very pure and elegant. Lovely stuff. [Buy again? Sure.] (10/05)

Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon Javernieres 1997 ($20)(Cape May Geeks): Medium garnet clolor, darkening towards purple at the core. Slightly funky-earthy nose with a rich base of gravelly berry-plum underneath, it's not giving up a whole lot, but what it's giving is rich and beguiling. A sip, and it's crisp, rich and glassily tannic, a tightly wound medium-bodied wine with dark plum-berry flavors flowing around a dark gravelly core, at least until the fine, fine tannins ease in and slow things down a bit. There's great balance and reserved, coiled strength here. This wine needs a lot of time, but there's a world of stuff going on in the glass. (6/3/00)

Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon Javernieres 2000 ($24) (Muscajeeb): Smells redder and less plummy than the Drouhin, dark cherry-berry and gravel. Tastes quieter and more focused, stony-cherry fruit turns towards red berry in the middle, then finishes with a fine tart cherry finish. Fine, supple stuff with great cohesion, a pleasure. (11/10/02)

Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches 1972 (Fear and Braising in New Jersey): Hazy medium ruby at the core, bricking out to a light amber at the rim. Smells soothingly decayed, muted mushroomy-cherry fruit with hints of sage, honey, leather and a flinty/gunpowdery note up in the high register. Tastes thin, layered and leafy, preserved cherry fruit laced with honey and underbrush, coming to a dusty-sweet finish with a light dried orange zing. Past its best days, but still quite charming and talkative. (10/04)

Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches 1993 (Rejeebus): Rather primary nose, dark powdery cherry, hints of fallen leaves and forest floor. A sip, and it's rather easygoing, lightly meaty and feathering out at the edges. Medium-light bodied, decent balance--the acidity is there, but the center of the wine is a little unfocused. Still, it's a pretty good, uncomplicated little pinot with a marginal amount of complexity. Shrug. (7/21/02)

Joseph Drouhin Beaune Greves 1996 (A New Low): Medium dead red color. Taut cherry-beet aromatics, dusted with hints of cinnamon and clove. Crisp, closed and on the hard side, it's got something going on but it's not ready to show it to me just yet. With air there's some minor movement away from the clenched fist, some flashes of poise and potential, but I have no patience to sit and listen. Snap out of it already! (7/14/03)

Joseph Drouhin Beaune Greves 2001 ($24) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill 2): Happily spicy nose, clove and truffle, forest moss and wet rocks. Tastes warm, soft and loose, gently layered and flavorful. Not a lot of focus or heft, just soothing drink-now pinot noir. (3/06)

Joseph Drouhin Bonnes Mares 1988 (Sedate Evening): Yikes, quite tight at first, young and taut and clove-horehoundy smelling. Pure and racy, takes about an hour to begin to loosen up the tight cherry-earthy core. Very precise wine, impressively focused and pure, on the lean side. (6/05)

Joseph Drouhin Chambertin 1985 (Scheduling): Mmmm, smells good: pleasantly developed cherry-beet suffused with truffle and a light plaster minerality on top. In the piehole it's a little more angular, the muted mushroomy fruit is on the lean side and seems closed, not giving up much besides a featherality at the edges. Rather tannic, there's a lot going on on a small, earthy scale, but the wine seems to be dominated by structure. Check back in a few hours. (12/8/02)

Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1995 (Fisting Punts): Aromatically reticent, shy cherry-beety redness laced with hints of forest mud and horehound. A sip, and there's a good core of meaty red fruit wrapped up tightly around a firm spine of acidity and followed by some sandy tannins. Cohesive and warm, but not very forthcoming. A quiet, thoughtful wine, it seems to have some interesting things on its mind, but now it's muttering crabbily in its sleep and wanting to be left alone. (10/13/02)

Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 1993 (Beaucoin Revisited): Light, charming aromatics, a malleable and flickery blend of cherry and earth with a touch of horehound spiciness, underbrush. Bright acidic core, on the lean side but charmingly flavorful, a nervy little Burgundy with the beginnings of development, seems to be just beginning to unfold. Happy stuff. (3/7/04)

Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 1999 (Misplaced Weekend I): The aromatics are quite shy at first, traces of truffle and sandalwood over dark cherry-earth. With a few hours of air they show signs of loosening, but the wine still tastes taut, very crisp and focused and not giving much. Still, what it's showing is promising, a well balanced young pinot that's filled with passionate intensity. With food it blooms even more; a fine match with Jay's duck. (5/2/04)

Joseph Drouhin Charmes-Chambertin 1996 (No Hook): Medium ruby color. Earthy-brick dusty nose, touch of clove, quiet aromatics. Tastes tartly cherried at first, then loses focus in the middle, dawdles a moment, then saunters sullenly to a smoky-gritty finish. Rather aggressivly uninteresting now, perhaps time will help it. (6/7/03)

Joseph Drouhin Côte de Nuits Villages 2002 ($20) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill III): Medium light garnet color. Softly earthy smellies, quiet cherry and treebark, hint of rootbeer. Tastes light and easygoing, medium crisp at the core, loose and feathery at the edges. Not profound, but quite charming. (11/06)

Joseph Drouhin Grands-Echezeaux 1983 (Bury My Heart at 360 Van Brunt): Smells of muted redfruit, crushed brick laced with tea and hints of caramel (Caramel? Uh oh.). A sip, and the wine is not well, not at all well. Yes, the bottle is damaged. Jay is sad. He stares at it balefully. "I paid a lot for you," he moans, "and this is how you repay me?" I keep going back to it, and for a moment it seems to shake off the heat damage and begin to perk up, but it's a short-lived Indian Summer and soon fades. (1/05)

Joseph Drouhin Grands-Echezeaux 1987 (Stupid Fizzies): Warm smelling, muted cherry-beet, truffle and a bit of leafiness. Tastes like it smells, a bit soft up front, rather vague in the middle, but decent and drinkable and in this company I'll take it. (9/14/03)

Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin 2002 ($22) (Rivers of Liquid Gold I): Gently spicy--sandalwood, cherry, rootbeer, whispery aromatics that take a bit of coaxing. A sip, and it's a softish little pinot with lightly buoyant acidity, a lithe wine, lean and friendly. Soothing cherry-talc flavors swirl up in the midpalate but turn diffuse until they come together again on the finish. Apart from that watery middle it's a pretty, easygoing little wine but not one that leaves a strong impression, no edges, all gentle cottony curves. (11/05)

Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin 1993 (All About the Chicken): Smells shy at first, aromatically closed, only opening slowly with air and turning gently spicy--horehound, cherry and clove hints, maybe a hint of forest floor earthiness. Comes around very marginally after an hour or so, but still shy, wiry and underwhelming. (7/05)

Joseph Drouhin Morgon 2001 (Muscajeeb): Glossy dark plum-berry smells, laced with dark earthiness. Tastes candied and somewhat inflated, the shiny fruit pumped up and stretched too thin. Not bad, but it seems manipulated beyond its ability to cover, seems too glossy-sheeny for its own good. (11/10/02)

Joseph Drouhin Musigny 1987 ($120) )(Cellar Gems): Medium-translucent, slightly muddy garnet, showing a touch of browing, just a touch. Ooh, love the funky nose, some nice pronounced barny-clove-earthy funk, over some soft cherry-earth fruit. Crisp and beguiling, the acidity is there, but the fruit seems to be spreading, to be turning muted, with just a shadow of tannins. My impression is that this is drinking very nicely now, but may not have a whole lot left, may be on the cusp. (10/14/99)

Joseph Drouhin Musigny 1992 (Lucid Jeebusing): Quite spicy in a pleasantly faded sort of way, cloves, cinnamon in a base of muted red beetiness. Light and beguilingly complex to smell, it's much less interesting to taste--wan and a bit thin at first, it fills out somewhat with air, turning easygoing and vague, a pleasant little wine without much defininition or focus that seems to be starting on the downslope. (2/02)

Joseph Drouhin Musigny 1993 ($80) (Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium to medium-dark garnet. Spicy-dark notes on the nose, hints of herbiness. Yow, this is closed tight as a fist, coiled up on itself and fiercely tannic. I'd give it five years before popping another. Jennifer is so nonplussed that she tosses her glassful onto the tablecloth in order to make some kind of statement. Not really sure what kind, though. Maybe Andrew knows. (3/19/00)

Joseph Drouhin Nuits-St.-George 1993 ($30) (Drunken Hawaiian Holidays): Medium ruby color, browning lightly at the rim. As with most older bottles bought at retail in Honolulu, storage is suspect. Good whiff of horsiness right up front, followed by cedar, light horehound and muted cherry-clove hints, with a crushed brick stoniness coming along after all the rest. It's a light, earthy wine that seems fully resolved, loose, lean and feathery-tart. Almost tanninless and fading quietly away, but still some pleasure here. Finishes on a cedary sweet note. Drink up, drink up. (5/03)

Joseph Drouhin Clos St. Denis 1993 (Fridge): Smells lightly beety, cherries and stones as well, but there is a sense of aromatic reticence. Crisp, hard, shut down, not telling much, sleeping quietly, do not disturb. (5/12/02)

Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée 1988 (Eve of Chenin/Day of Satan): Medium ruby color. Smells lightly of dustberry and horehound. Satiny, light and supple little pinot, very smooth and easygoing. Not a lot of complexity, but a very pleasing little wine. (12/31/03)

Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée les Petits Monts 1988 ($60) (VS Eats at Joe's): A bit paler in color than the Arnoux, not as lush or as sweetly showy on the nose, which shows soft earthy cherry aromas with some carroty hints. Tastes tighter, you get a slight pucker from some strong acidity, some tartness, with faint dry tannins. There is talk that this one is on the upswing, but it seems to me like it's a bit shrill for the fruit that remains. (11/7/99)

Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée les Suchots 1987 (All About the Chicken): Smells gentle, soft cola and muted redfruit. Loose, light and pleasantly faded, decent enough to drink but well past its best days. Or perhaps it's in one of those "shutdown phases" I keep hearing about and will rise like Gargamel from the ashes? Don't bet the farm, me lads, don't bet the farm. (7/05)

Georges Duboeuf Julienas 2003 ($10) (Boatloads II): Hey, this doesn't smell like banana candy. More like raspberry-strawberry candy, which is a distinct improvement from the way I remember it a while back. Actually, this is quite decent as a squishy, easygoing wine, with some oddly aggressive tannins on the finish. There's a kind of a wrung-out quality to the fruit, but it's very amiable and less candyfakey than I expected. Not much follow-through, and there's better out there, but this is something I'd drink and not bitch about. Straightforward, ripe and simple, if a bit disjointed. [Buy again? Nah.] (11/04)

Georges Duboeuf Saint-Amour Cuvée Saint-Valentin 2003 ($10) (Boatloads III): Medium garnet color. Ripe strawberry lollipop aromatics, hints of rose petals and watermelon. Tastes ripe and squishy, low acidity, rather puppyish in the middle, finishes with a bit of roughness. Jammy and grabless, simple and friendly at first, grows less so with air. [Buy again? No.] (2/05)

Bernard Dugat-Py Bourgogne 1999 ($35) (McNetta 2002): Smells big and ripe, berry-beety with a minerally understreak, but tastes downright weird--beet-raspberry reduction sauce that has been filtered through aquarium charcoal and garnished with Sour Patch Kids. No, really. Gritty-textured and angular, sour and disjointed. Thoroughly poor--an angry, rude wine that leaves me feeling pissed off. (6/02)

Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin 1999 (Fisting Punts): Hey now. This wine is strikingly darker than all the others, almost inky. At first the burst of dark candied plum-beet fruit seems amiably silly, but it soon becomes almost suffocatingly insistent ("Fruit me! FRUIT MEEEEE!" it seems to say, like Yixin's favorite over-the-hill hooker). Plus, there's too much smoky wood, a charred streak emerges with air and the whole thing turns bitter on the finish. Seems marginally monstrous in this company, a steroided Frankenburgundy, bent out of shape and suffused with toasted wood. Someone yelps "Ye gods, who slipped a Flowers pinot into this bottle?!" The response called back from the other end of the table is "It's all about the fruit--GAHHHHHCHK!" As the night goes on the glossy shiny happy fruit fades to matte and the taste of charred wood becomes more and more dominant. Ugly, peculiar Gevrey. (10/13/02)

Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche 1985 ($85) (All CNN Wines): Muddy matte ruby color, full of sediment and ambering slightly at the rim. Smells of baked bricks with a hint of baked yam that puts me in mind of a well-aged Rh™ne. Fairly low-acid, smoothly warm and velvety in the piehole. Tangy fruit wells up in the midpalate, turns more muted on the cherry-yammy finish. A fleshy wine, seems prematurely old, but still quite decent, if gobbier than I like my burgs to be. (11/11/01)

Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche 1988 ($75) (All CNN Wines): Opened alongside the '85, this hasn't the sense of development that the older bottle has. It's a similer matte ruby color, but there is no ambering at the rim. Quiet nose, many layers of aroma--earthy, leafy notes and beety dark red fruit. Much more closed on the palate than its older sibling, despite a similar low-acid fleshy quality that speaks more to texture than to the quality of fruit. Comes at you smoothly and quietly at first and seems to have great promise, then just kind of rolls over and doesn't give much away. Puzzling. Two small wax Prongs hidden under a bedsheet, then placed outside in the sun on a warm summer's day. (11/11/01)

Domaine Dujac Clos St. Denis 1980 (MartyParty): Medium ruby, ambering well out from the rim. Smells sweetly candied, a markedly cinnamonized wine, cinnamon over muted cherry fruit laced with crushed brick and forest-floor notes. Warm and soft in my nose, it's small and spicy in my mouth, muted and complex but quiet and shy as well. Perhaps a bit faded, the cinnamon note is rather distracting, some light tannins on the finish, seems like it's got some life left but would best be drunk soon. Quite a pleasant little wine with a hint of a pressed flower quality about it. (2/28/04)

Maurice Ecard Savigny-Les-Beaune Aux Serpentières Reserve 1993 ($25) (Quiz Show I): Medium-dark garnet. Lush, ripe, rich nose--clove, earth, cinnamon in a raspberry-redfruit base. Equally rich to taste, lush and forward, but beautifully balanced, crisp and full-flavored, silky and delicious in a fairly forward style. Truly delightful, layered, complex and long. This wine has a finish that won't die. (4/7/00)

Maurice Ecard Savigny-les-Beaune les Serpentières 1978 (Subdued Festivization): Medium-light ruby color, ambering well in from the rim. Pleasantly low-key aromatics: horehound, tree bark and mushroom, all dusted with a beguiling patina of decay. Smooth in the piehole, rounded and light and warmly loose. Fully resolved--no tannin remains, tart fruit provides the little support this airy wine requires. Charming little old pinot, very easy to like (unless your name is 'Brad'). (6/13/04)

F. Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Les Ruchottes 1993 (A New Low): Medium ruby color. Earthy, gamy nose ("This thing REEKS!" squeals Kane). A sip, and it's got a hard, sour-cherry entry, spreading out a little in the middle, where the redness mutes out towards brickiness, and muted red berry flavors emerge to clothe the earlier tartness. The wine finishes with a light horehound spiciness, but the overall impression is one of thinness and severity. Connell pronounces it a Gevrey-Chambertin, the rest of us figure why bother to guess? (7/14/03)

Domaine Sylvie Esmonin Bourgogne Rouge 2001 (Misplaced Weekend II): Smells of rhubarb-laced cherryness. Lean and crisp, pure and taut. Rather simple pinot; it's pleasant enough, but after the two juicy gamays it seems rather pallid and thin. (5/9/04)

Domaine Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1998 ($35) (September 15, 2001): Hits my glass in style, smelling airy and limestony-minerally over a sour cherry base, zingy in the nostrils, a bright and penetrating nose, whiplike. Tastes sharp, racy and stonily cherried, cranberry traces arise in the midpalate, fruit is hung on a spine like a steel spring, whee, coiled and crisp. Intense, lithe, impressive. (9/15/01)

Domaine Sylvie Esmonin Griotte-Chambertin 1990 (Nonoffensive Notes): Medium to medium-dark garnet. Silky-smelling, with pretty cherry-clove-truffle notes. Brightly acidic, but there's a good dose of velvety-tight cherry fruit to clothe the steel spine. Tart, tightly wrapped flavors flow into a red truffley finish. Nice now, could use a little time to loosen up. (3/20/00)

Faively Bourgogne Rouge 1996 ($15): Medium-light red, fully colored pinot, light earthy, mushroomy nose with a whiff of cranberry in there. Sharp and extremely acidic in the mouth--is there any fruit at all? Piercing acidity, maybe some light cherry, followed by gritty tannins. This is disappointing. (2/23/99)

Faively Clos de la Marechal 1987 (Football Fever!): Damn, the most important vineyard owner in Burgundy, it says so right on the label. Also on the label is some Monopoly tie-in, I guess Parker Brothers is the corporate parent? Anyway, there's a bright cinnamon streak in the muted beety-earthy-horehound nose. Tastes bright, light, lean and spicy, a small, compact wine with a good deal of layering, no heavyweight but well balanced and vivaciously crisp. The spine is what grabs me from the gitgo, then the light leafy-earthy layering tickles my tonsils, in a good place now. (1/05)

Faively Nuits-St.-George Clos de la Maréchale 1988 ($65) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill 2): Touch of sherry on the nose, slightly faded hints of tea and horehound over quiet bricky redfruit. Tastes tart and angular, a compact wine laced with brown herb and forest floor flavors. Quite crisp but lacking much in the way of flesh, this seems fairly well resolved, kept afloat by buoyant acidity. Drink up. (3/06)

Foillard Morgon Côte du Py 2001 (Pigfest): Earthy strawberry aromatics--if strawberries grew like potatoes this is what they'd smell like when you dug them up. A light, layered wine, pure and loose tasting, caressing the tongue right up until a touch of bitterness on the finish. Gentle, expressively seductive Morgon. (1/06)

Fourrier Chambolle-Musigny les Gruenchers 'Vieille Vigne' 1998 (Fisting Punts): Smells earthy--cloves, underbrush and wet dirt dominate the dark cherry fruit. Tastes dusty and dark, mostly structure at this point, hard and shut down, with some fine glassy tannins swarming in on the finish. Hold until mid-May of 2008, at which point you may drink, but only until late January of 2010, when you must stop until early March of 2012, after which you have a green light. (10/13/02)

Fourrier Chambolle-Musigny les Gruenchers 'Vieille Vigne' 1998 (Culling Me Softly): Coiled, bright and pure, a crystalline stream of cherry-earthy fruit. Surprisingly open, intense and delightful. Oohs and aahs all around. (9/03)

Fourrier Chambolle-Musigny les Gruenchers 'Vieille Vigne' 1998 (Chrid Coad Appreciation Week): Coiled up tight, gnawing on its own tail, it occasionally pokes its head above the surface and sniffs, but then sinks into ourobourean tautness once again. There are tiny cherry-beety hints, tiny spicy hints, but nothing you can sink your teeth into. HOLD HOLD HOLD. (11/04)

Fourrier Chambolle-Musigny les Gruenchers 'Vieille Vigne' 1999 (Fisting Punts): Strikingly fruitier nose, big dark red cherry laced with clove and a hint of mintiness. Sweetly fruited almost to the point of being candied, but not quite. The pillowy fruit gives the wine the impression of greater softness, plusher at the edges and more loosely knit in the middle. With air, however, it loses some of the baby fat, the high-toned acidity asserting itself as the slight glossy sheen comes off the fruit. Similar fine glassy tannins kick in on the finish. A little flashy, but fun. Drink this while waiting for the '98 to come around. (10/13/02)

Fourrier Chambolle-Musigny les Gruenchers 'Vieille Vigne' 2001 (Unclear Identities): The continual production these people get from their single old vine is mind-gobbling. Talc and cherry on the nose, pure and focused redfruit-mineral aromas. A sip, and this is a lean, sinewy wine, minerally and taut, focused and devoid of fat or excess anything. Impressively seamless and striking, if a little hard-boned at the moment. Very very young, in need of a decade or so, but quite a wine, quite a wine. Drink sometime during the week of March 3rd-10th, 2016. (8/8/04)

Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 'Vieille Vigne' 1995 (Backlash!): At first it seems rather hard and lean, tannic and ungiving, but it opens substantially after an hour or so of air, after which it seems slightly less hard and lean, maybe a bit softer around the edges, grudging complexity, a feathery, tantalizing cushion to the hard, lean core. Then it suddenly springs to life, turning vivid and quite lovely, expressive and feathery-taut, very pure pinot. Then it seems to shy away again like a skittish colt, closing in on itself and showing mostly structure. Goddamn Burgundy, won't you hold still, damnit? (9/05)

Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 'Vieille Vigne' 1999 (Fear and Braising in New Jersey): Where the Drouhin was a dry-lipped elderly gentleman, this is a strapping youngster. Light spiciness to the darkly cherried aromatics, cinnamon & horehound hints. Medium-bodied, rather loosely wrapped in an easygoing way, but the flavors are pure and expressive, finishing with a persistent cherry-plummy tang. Yes, it's kind of half closed now, but what's showing is charming and honest. With air and time the sense of looseness in the middle recedes, the wine gains focus and substance. Very nice, very nice, this is what I drink with the kal bi ribs and feta shrimp that is finally ready to serve. I let Lisa do the honors, wanting to get credit for cooking at least one dish tonight. (10/04)

Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Combe Aux Moines 'Vieille Vigne' 1995 (No Hook): See above. Another tight, slightly hostile wine. Even more aromatically closed than the Drouhin, more minerally, very light stony-cherry hints are all that I can smell. Tastes tart and hard. Closed for business: let it sleep. (6/7/03)

Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Combe aux Moines 'Vieille Vigne' 1995 (magnum) (Hot Wet Summertime Action): Quiet cherrypit/forest floor aromatics, touch of mushroom, aromatically shy but pleasant enough to sniff at. Tastes hard at first, fine focus and purity but little else. With air it relaxes a bit, but then clams up again and refuses to talk. As the night goes on, this opens and closes like a barn door in the wind, but if caught in a good moment it's a taut, well-honed wine with a gentle spiciness and fine precision. Shy and a bit puzzling, but pleasant. (6/05)

Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin 'Vieille Vigne' 2000 (A New Low): This domaine, known mostly for its campaign to remove excess Ss from wine labels, has always been a favorite. Lots of horehound-laced berry-cherry fruit, straightforward and cheerful. Flavors follow the smells in a minor key, a small, expressive mouthful of pinot, delicate on the outside but with a firm core. Nice. Unassuming. Nice. (7/14/03)

Pascal Granger Beaujolais-Villages 2005 ($12) (Boatloads VIII): Smells of cherry pits and talc, lightly juicy-minerally. Tart, almost sour, very tightly wrapped, although lightbodied and on the thin side. A vivid little gamay, but a little severe to be completely satisfying, and there's not much of a finish. [Buy again? No.] (9/06)

Pascal Granger Chénas 2004 (Island Life): Gently perfumed aromatics, cherry-raspberry with an undercurrent of gravelly stoniness, bright and fresh-smelling. Tastes crisp and a bit thin, but nicely focused and kinda chipper, a chipper little Chénas, insubstantial but perky. (5/06)

Domaine du Granit Moulin-a-Vent Cuvée Vieilles Vignes et Nouveaux Fûts du Chêne 2000 (Recluse Convention): Wow! The fabled Big-Woody Beaujolais. Medium-dark garnet laced with purple, it smells strawberry-plummy and toasty, with a hint of black shoe polish. The fruit is full and self-possessed, but it has a sense of exhaustion about it, a lack of vibrancy. Nice fleshy middle, not much of a finish. Still, not as much of a freak as the venomous wine press would have you believe. (11/22/02)

Jean Grivot Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1993 ($45) (Canadians Invade): much deeper color than the Latour; cherry & minty herbs on the nose, light hint of barnyard; rich and crisp and bright in the mouth, nice earth & cherry notes with a strong spine of crisp acidity to give it some zing. Nice young fightin' Burgundy that helps to beat back the honey-glazed pear with blue-cheese assault of my appetizer. (8/27/99)

Groffier Bonnes-Mares 1985 (Stupid Fizzies): Spicy clove-horehound smellies hover over a base of bricky nonspecific redfruit. A sip, and it's thin and tart, as angry in the piehole as it is beguiling up the nose. Not much fun; past due. (9/14/03)

Groffier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1993 ($75): Medium translucent ruby color. Smells a bit odd, bit of a caramelly note, perhaps a bit oxidized? Underneath is some earthy beety-cherry fruit, dark and quiet. Tastes nicely balanced, but not giving much, and still accented by a hint of caramel. Strange, and I don't know quite what to make of it. (6/29/00)

Domaine Louis Gros Vosne-Romanée Clos des Réas 1959 (Haut-Brion Ambush): Very pale and translucent, but still a lively red-amber color; slight hints of earthy-barniness, cloves and pale cherry fruit, hints of carrotcake. A light but surprisingly spry wine--slightly soft, perhaps a bit easygoing and simple, but a very pleasant mouthful with a nice pale dusty finish. There's some good life left here. (12/4/99)

Hudelot-Noëllat Vosne-Romanée les Suchots 2001 (Unclear Identities): Smells ripe, warm cherry-beet fruit laced with forest-floor and cinnamon toast hints. Friendly, young and broad-shouldered, hearty Burgundy with a bit of baby fat. The elements aren't all pulling together--the smoky wood sticks out a bit, there's some harshness to the tannins on the finish and a bit of blowsiness, but these seem minor quibbles in the face of an eager puppy of a wine. Fun to drink now, if I had any I'd let it rest just a little while. (8/8/04)

Domaine Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares 1985 ($90) (Miller Time): Warmly cherry-beety to smell, hints of clove, smoke and mushroom. There are hints of development but the wine seems quite young, tastes red and primary, easygoing fleshy red fruit spreads smoothly across my tongue. Hasn't the focus that I demand in my Grand Cru Burgundies, but is well constructed and friendly enough, if a bit robust. (1/12/02)

Domaine Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares 1985 ($90) (Fridge): This bottle comes off more restrained than the one at the recent Bonnes Mares diagonal, less robust. It has a lovely old-sandalwood and leather streak floating lightly over the muted earthy cherry-berry base. Tastes lithe and flavorful, still not the most focused of Bonnes Mares, but less primary than the last, more layered and spicily complex. A thoughtful wine, asking questions that I cannot answer. (5/12/02)

Domaine Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares 1988 ($50) (Miller Time): Smells and tastes much like a looser-knit version of the 1985; warm, ripe and smooth to smell, red cherry-beety fruit (Lisa has been feeding me beets lately) and dark spice. Tastes primary and velvety, smooth and lazily easygoing, a nonconfrontational wine with soft edges, finely tannic on the finish. (1/12/02)

Domaine Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares 1993 ($60) (Miller Time): Smells tighter than the last two, a more minerally version of the same darkly truffled hard cherry candy fruit. This wine is the most focused and precise, admirably grabby in the piehole. There is a stern side but it's wreathed in satin, approachable and tasty even now, a keenly balanced and strikingly cohesive young Bonnes Mares with a long future ahead of it. Lovely, my favorite of the post-'83 wines. (1/12/02)

Domaine Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares 1998 ($100) (Miller Time): The last of the Bonnes Mares, this is a squalling infant--the oak is more overt, smoky-toasty charred notes over young red berrycherry fruit. At first it seems almost brutally young, but there is a streak of babyfat to the wine that gives some instant gratification. It's a rich wine that seems well built, perhaps not as compact and structured as the 1993, but not as fleshy as the '88 either. Seems promising. Four and a half sheet-draped Prongs of indeterminate origin, set on a fine-grained walnut pedestal and sprayed lightly with lacquer.

Domaine Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares 2001 (All About the Chicken): Another shy wine, hint of flintiness lurk under a quiet cherry-beet base. Tastes taut and coiled, with big burly tannins thundering across my tongue like Humvees. There's a hint of a velvety-soft fleshiness at the very edges, but this is a wine that needs a lot of time to sleep. (7/05)

Domaine Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1993 (Fisting Punts): Another quiet, tight nose. Shy hints of medium red cran-cherry fruit, cola, clove and leaf pile. Quite tight and lean at first, with hand-carved acidity, the red core feathers out subtly over the course of an hour or so, revealing more as the evening progresses. Leave it alone. (10/13/02)

Domaine Louis Jadot Pernand-Vergelesses Clos de la Croix de Pierre 1972 (Liberation Celebration): Jay knows I have a warm place in my heart for '72 red Burgundies, and bless his heart, he keeps stoking the embers. Tastes feathery-light, earth and leaves, pondwater, brick dust, pretty aromatics, sweet and layered. Tastes lean and a bit thin, a gently faded older wine with some complexity and character. Drink up, just like we did. Mmmmm... old Burgundy... mmmmm.... (11/6/05)

Domaine Remi Jobard Volnay Santenots 1999 ($40) (Bastille Day): Big, primary cherry nose with smoky undertones, tastes young and tight at the core with a fleshy, slightly puppyfatty outer layer. Turns towards darkness on the finish, tar and toast scrapings. Very young and somewhat rough and boisterous. (6/16/01)

Domaine Joblot Givry 'Clos de la Servoisine' 1996 ($19.99). This one had a lot on the nose, very shoe-leathery, earthy, dark fruity smells coming off it, but when it hit the palate it tasted surprisingly tannic and thin to me with overt woodiness, sharp and not developed. Closed tighter than a drum. I had the feeling this might be a LOT better after a little time in the bottle, but who knows? A bit of a disappointment in that sense, but it sure smelled promising. Nose-to-tongue incongruity factor: 9.3. (6/6/98)

Henri Jouan Morey-St.-Denis Clos Sorbé 1999 ($40) (Miller Time): Has more of an leaf-puddle hint to the nose than the last Clos Sorbé, but wait, there's the same dark plaster-of-paris minerality as well coming up through the red fruit. Another pretty wine, a notch below the Legros in terms of zazz and kapow, but well built and showing nice layering for such an infant. (1/12/02)

Domaine Michel Juillot Mercurey "Clos Tonnerre" 1994 ($17.99): Light dusty ruby in the glass (pale reddish brown); light earthy nose, ghost of a cherry note. Very acidic and almost fruitless, with a sharp tannic bite and a tart aftertaste. Thin and pleasureless. Recorked and stored for a day or two, it mellowed a bit, but only a bit. Still fairly anemic and lacking anything to recommend it. (2/4/99)

Labouré-Roi Borgogne Rouge Pinot Noir Barrel Aged 'Maximum' 2004 ($10) (Boatloads IX): Smells almost inert, vague cherry-clove whispers, maybe a touch of toast and cement dust minerality. Tastes softish and vague, with aggressive tannins. Smallish in size and lightbodied, innocuous at first, then abrasive. No maximum fun, perhaps should be relabelled 'Minimum'? [Buy again? No.] (11/06)

Domaine Michel Lafarge Bourgogne Passetoutgrain 2000 ($12) (Boatloads II): Medium-light garnet. Light and soothing soft cherry fruit. The mingling of pinot and gamay has always struck me as a nice idea, remind to to carry a flask of '03 Clos Roche Blanche gamay to add to my glass at the next Drouhin tasting. Not deep, exactly, but not shallow either--a midrange wine with good composure. Just a hint of earthy complexity, a touch of friendly cherry-juiciness, I like this a lot for twelve bucks. Okay, not much of a finish, the midpalate kind of glides away shyly, but I can live with that. Silky, cherried, very pleasant, with fine balance and enough complexity to hold my interest. 'Charming' suits it well. [Buy again? Yes, I think so.] (11/04)

Lafarge Volnay Caillerets 2000 (Misplaced Weekend I): Smells pretty and fresh, light cherry-raspberry lightly dusted with horehound and clove. Crisp and on the lean side; somewhat diffuse but nonetheless a spicy, charming little Volnay. (5/2/04)

Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses La Chapelle 1999 (Muscajeeb): Cheerful beety-cherry-berry smellies, with air mushroom-truffle hints begin to creep into my nostrils, along with a plaster of Paris note that I can't quite grasp. A sip, and it's less interesting in the gob than up the nose--rather soft, dilute in the middle and with a general sense of ennui. Still, it smells happy and has a couple of decent moves. (11/10/02)

Jean et Gilles Lafouge Pommard les Chanlins 2002 (Broken Rules): Good heavens, this wine smells like buttered toast! Hmmm, check that again... yup, there's a strong toasty-buttery streak in among the young, primary redfruit. Other than that we've got a big ol' infant here--plush, slightly pillowy raspberry-cherry fruit, firm acidic spine, flurry of aggressive tannins on the finish. Lots of interesting raw material, hard to figure at the moment, a broad-beamed young Pommard that needs time, mucho time. (11/04)

Marcel Lapierre Morgon 1998 ($13.99)(Swillerific): Medium to medium-light garnet. Bit of funkiness has me wondering if there's been a visit by our old friend 2,4,6-TCA. I look in vain for my coal mine canary, but she is not yet among us. Eventually it blows off enough for me to smell a fleshy plum-strawberry nose with smoky underpinnings. A medium-bodied wine that gives the illusion of being lighter than it is because of its nimble mouthfeel, with rich earthy berry fruit hanging in for a long time and lingering nicely. No showstopper, but silky and straightforward and pleasant. (3/24/00)

Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2004 (Lies, Damned Lies, and Tail Meat): Odd smelling at first, stinky reduced notes and a bit of volatility. With air the reduction mostly blows off, leaving gentle strawberries, earth and acetone. A soft, gentle wine, ethereal almost, that has a perfumed prettiness about it. It's vague but pure, a shy little wine that almost evanesces as you drink it. (7/06)

Louis Latour Beaujolais-Villages 2003 ($10) (Boatloads III): More focus, less confected than the Dubouef, this is a decent fruity little wine with a streak of slightly spiky lemony acidity. It's puppyish and watery in the center, but it seems relatively straightforwardly so. No finish to speak of, but overall not bad, not bad. [Buy again? Probably, yes.] (2/05)

Louis Latour Château Corton Grancy 1993 (Canadians Invade): I like the color on this one--very translucent, but a rich vibrant red nonetheless; the nose is very soft--spectral notes of cherry and earth and cola haunt the bowl of the glass, on more nasal perusal light forest-floor hints emerge. When sipped, this wine surprises with its softness--it melts into your mouth and the flavors settle lightly on your palate like volcanic ash. Very low acidity, very soft and delicate, but with a streak of rich earthy fruit to hang your hat on. (8/27/99)

Lecheneaut Nuits les Cailles 1991 (Lucid Jeebusing): Pleasantly earthy to smell, with some decently decayed red beety fruit, in the piehole it seems rather tired, the fruit bundled loosely and sleepily off in the corner and the acidity hanging out under a streetlight all by itself trolling for passersby. Over the hill, drink up. (2/02)

Philippe Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1992 (Eve of Chenin/Day of Satan): Strangely shirazzy nose, plum and clove, quite ripe-smelling. Tastes soft and flavorful, with a bit of a reduced hoisin character and another wave of cloviness on the finish. Pleasant, but odd. (12/31/03)

Francois Legros Chambolle-Musigny Les Noirots 1999 ($35) (Scheduling): Young and primary, lightly gobby and monolithic. Doesn't have the impressive focus of the '99 Clos Sorbé and is so uniform that it's rather hard to figure. (12/8/02)

Francois Legros Morey-St.-Denis Clos Sorbé 1999 ($37) (Miller Time): The murmurs follow this wine around the table--"Gobs, forsooth!" "This wine is gobbed, can I get a refund?" and so on, so that when it reaches me I'm expecting pinot shiraz. Fortunately the rumors prove false, as the wine smells dancingly aromatic, earth and stone-streaked cherry-raspberry fruit, smoothly angular in the nostrils. A sip, and you get a smooth velvety rush of rich grabby fruit--I see the origin of the gob rumors now, but any thought of gobbiness is put on hold as firm acidity wells up and thrusts through the center of the wine right down your throat, leaving a red feathery hum behind. A racy, focused wine that gives the initial illusion of gobbiness, can this be the best of both worlds? Crisp and happy, a crowd-pleaser that pleases the crowd. Delightful. (1/12/02)

Francois Legros Morey-St.-Denis Clos Sorbé 2000 ($38) (Broken Rules): Smells cherry-beety, toastily wooded. Here there be gobs: tastes candied and glossy right up front, but fails to rally in the fashion of the lovely '99, turning instead towards midpalate blowsiness. The instinct towards gobbiness seems to have won out, as it's overcandified and understuffed, too broad-shouldered, undersinewed. Some unintegrated toasty-char notes rasp up in the finish. Air helps, but not very much. (11/04)

Domaine Leroy Beaune-Sizies 1985 (Quiz Show I): Medium ruby color, ambering a hint at the rim... truffley-mushroomy nose, slight caramelized hint, a touch oxidized, leafy-tea notes with leathery red-orange fruit that is feathery-loose around the edges, touch of carrotty or pumpkin spiciness, crisp, lean and earthy. (4/7/00)

Lignier Clos Saint-Denis 1996(Longest Night): Cloudy medium ruby color. Smells quite beetrooty, clove and raspberry notes. On first tasting there's a touch of petillance, then some pleasantly tart fruit emerges, nicely balanced, medium-bodied, with earthy forest-floor leafy notes emerging more with time and air. Not terribly deep or layered, but very pleasant pinot with poise and grace. (12/31/00)

Prosper Mafoux Givry Bois Gautier 1999 ($14) (Boatloads I): Smells of cherries and talc, light truffley-earthy streak underneath. A sip, and there's some sour-cherry fruit right at first, but the center dissolves into weak-kneed fruit and spiky acidity. The fruit rallies marginally as it heads into the finish, acquiring a cherry-rhubarb tartness as the acidity is herded back into the fold. Strange, disjointed Givry. [Buy again? No.] (8/04)

Maréchal Bourgogne Cuvée Gravel 1996 ($13)(New Wine Achievers): Medium-light garnet color. I take a whiff, and it's lightly green-brown herby, forest-floor leafy hints over a base of smoky, gravelly cherry fruit. Yes, it does indeed smell gravelly, with a pronounced minerally streak under the tangy red fruit. Fairly light and bright in the mouth, this wine has a crisp, nimble mouthfeel, light cherry-tinged fruit skipping about with that mineral streak laying back and keeping its feet on the ground. Nice long smoky-stony finish, what more do you want in a young, lithe little Bourgogne? (7/00)

Maréchal Bourgogne Cuvée Gravel 1999 $15)(Joey): Another pretty pinot, light and nimble but very expressive. Lithe clove-cherry-earth fruit, crisp and flexible and racy. Keen flavors, fine balance. Good. (1/6/00)

Maréchal Pommard La Chaniere 1996 ($32) (Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium-dark purply garnet. Spicy-lush clove-plum-cherry nose, just a touch medicinal smelling, but rich and velvety in the nostrils. In the mouth it's another story, as this wine is sharp, tight and tart, with some fine firm tannins swarming in on my tongue. There's a lot of potential here, but this needs some serious time to rest and loosen up. (3/19/00)

Maréchal Savigny-Les-Beaune 1999 ($25) (Foodies): The real deal. Pretty tea hints on the nose, red cherry over a base of stony minerality. Somewhat aggressively sharp upon first sippage, relaxes a little as it thrusts into the midpalate and sheds a skin of spicy red stony fruit to linger beguilingly in the finish. A deceptively lean wine with an edge, racy and coiled, with a whiplike spine. Finally a wine worthy of Corinne's salmon. Quickly wins the Thunderbird Prize. Try again in ten. (10/14/01)

Maréchal Savigny-les-Beaune Les Lavières 2002 ($39) (Rivers of Liquid Gold I): Spicy, flickery aromatics, dark cran-cherry and beet laced with horehound, cola and dark truffliness. Medium acidity, enough structure but there's a velvety fleshiness to the mouthfeel, a gentleness that I find unusual in the usually very well-honed Marechal wines. Sweetly ripe middle, spicy, layered finish. Is it short on structure? Maybe it is, but I like its combination of composed complexity and soothing juiciness. Very nice, dreamy sort of wine. (11/05)

Matrot Blagny Le Piece Sous le Bois 1998 (September 15, 2001): Cherry and cloves, very little sous-bois. Crisp, light, a small and easy wine that gives you some decent cherry-clovey fruit. Decent, not much heft. (9/15/01)

Earl Alain Michaud Brouilly 1999 (Peach Tree Vines): Smells strawberry-plummish on top, lightly earthy underneath. In the piehole the fruit seems darker, more raspberried. Light but nervy, a happy combination of crisp spine and soft flesh, flavorful and cheery, although someone claims it has "a bad hairpiece," a critique that's too abstract even for me. (4/03)

Domaine Méo-Camuzet Clos de Vougeot 1989 (Winterfest 2003): Medium ruby color, just a touch of amber at the rim. Sweetly and warmly aromatic, the first note to strike me is old cedar chest, lots of cedar. Underneath that, muted red cherry, laced with clove, freshly-spaded sod and baked yam. A sip, and there's ample acidity but the dominant impression is of a silky-soft mouthfeel, like liquid satin, spreading out in the piehole. A nice sense of almost-cohesion here, the wine is pleasantly complex but a little dilute. The finish is smoky-cedary but not long. Seems rather resolved, very little tannin remains. Elegant, sweet to smell but a little orally vague. A nicely composed wine, but not a great one. Is the fruit fading just a bit? I like its silky charm, but it lacks focus, a wine without a center. (2/03)

Prince Florent de Mérode Corton Les Bressandes 1995 ($42) (Château Joe): Medium-light garnet; rich, light but smooth pinot nose of earth, plum & carroty hints; balanced and crisp in the mouth, spicy cherry, savory/earthy notes, very fine tannins. (8/99)

Mongeard-Mugneret Grands-Echezeaux 1983 (Stupid Fizzies): Medium ruby color, ambering lightly out from the rim. Smells rather decayed, muted cherry and clove infused with brown sugar and tea hints. Tastes stern, with a touch of sourness in the middle and drying tannins on the finish. The fruit has faded into pleasing complexity but hangs tautly on the skeleton of acidity. Not bad, I suppose, but quite joyless. (9/14/03)

Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne-Romanée Les Orveaux 1997 (Summer Mishmash): Medium ruby color. Spicy horehound-cinnamon-cherry nose, interesting but rather tritonally monoaromatic. Crisp at the core, but loosely wrapped, more spiced cherry in the middle, along with undertones of English Breakfast tea. Nice unassuming burgundy, but it seems a little advanced. Perhaps not a perfectly stored bottle? (4/03)

De Montille Volnay Taillepieds 1976(Heat): An aromatically smooth wine, muted bricky fruit with a mushroomy patina. Tastes a bit faded, pleasantly forest-floorish, but rather loose and not terribly complex. Still, it's got two or three good notes and it plays them competently. (6/16/01)

De Montille Volnay Taillepieds 1997(Heat): Aromatically tight, cherry-smoky and closed. Tastes tart and red, knife-hard and tightly wrapped, not giving much up at this point. A tightwad. (6/16/01)

Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes 1990: Pale medium-light ruby color. Smells airily spicy, cinnamon and cloves over a base of truffley-earthy cherry fruit. Tastes ethereal, light and cohesive, an elegant wine with small amplitude but good intensity. Smooth, layered and self-assured, a lovely little wine, drinking very well. Remind me again why anyone plants chardonnay here? (5/12/02)

Mugnier Bonnes Mares 1988 (Broken Rules): Ooh, lovely aromatics, horehound-laced cherry-beet fruit, with air tobacco notes emerge, forest-floor hints. Yeah, this is the real thing, perhaps a bit foursquare to achieve transcendence, but striking and beautifully deep in its layered complexity--the high notes are spicy-sweet and tickly, the lows are earthy, truffle-toned and dogged. The midpalate is muted and pure, rather light but with a great deal of scope. Wonderful stuff. "Like drinking money," I observe, with perhaps a hint of ambivalence, drifting away again on a waft of Bonnes Mares-scented air. (11/04)

Henry Pellé Menetou-Salon Morogues 1996 ($20) (Scheduling): Ooh, lots of good dirt here, sod and cherry mingled with forest floor and dusted with clove and horehound. A lean, elegant pinot with whiplike strength at its leafy core, this is impressively focused and pretty, a wine with a 'no gobs need apply' sign in the window. Give me some more, please. Ahhh yeah, that scratches me in all the right places. (12/8/02)

Pernot Volnay Carelles 1992(Sitting Jeebis): Smoky, lightly barny-funky aromas, dark earthy-cherry fruit hints. Tastes lean, cranberry-cherry suffused with earth and cloves. Good acidity, quite crisp, a small, lean wine that is pleasantly layered and bright. This is the wine that Dressner said to avoid; tonight he eats his words. And, I might add, they go very well with the wine. (3/31/01)

Pernot Volnay Carelles 1995 (Yo-ho for Pinot): A lost little burgundian lamb. Medium to medium-light garnet. My nose isn't working very well after the assault by the Flowers, but there's some clovey red fruit here, muted smoky cherry, tangy & racy-tasting, a lean flavorful wine that cuts through some dead nerve cells and finishes medium-long and cherry-smoky. (3/19/00)

Pernot Volnay Carelles 1998 (Return of the Jeebi): Light, bright nose, almost sharp notes of canned beets and horehound over sour cherry fruit. Tastes quite tangy, tight and racy, with a light green herbiness or leafy forest-floor hint underneath the sharp cran-cherriness. An aggressively tart wine with a long, puckery-tangy finish, lean and hard but bright and speedy. Nice zingy crispness, and the fruit has good tensile strength, but it needs time. (10/7/00)

Perrot-Minot Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées 1999 ($40) (Miller Time): Medium-dark garnet, darkest wine of the evening. Smells of smoke, clove and black cherry, toasty and somewhat peculiarly sweet to smell. Now here's a gobby wine, toasty and pumped up, with an artificial candied quality to the fruit. A strangely rich wine that's all ahoo, not of one mind, at war with itself. Does it need time, or is it just, as someone suggests, an overmanipulated oddball? (1/12/02)

Piguet-Girardin Santenay La Comme 1er Cru 1995 ($27) (Château Joe): Medium garnet; richer cherry/cranberry/mushroomy fruit. Bit tart in the mouth, sharper than number one, rich, nice pinot, more guts than the first, more of an edge. (8/99)

Château de Pizay Morgon 2003 ($13) (Boatloads IV): Medium-light garnet color. Smells lightly of strawberry and black cherries, simply fruity. Loose, fleshy fruit combined with some oddly aggressive sweet-tart acidity. Straightforward and unexciting, out of whack. [Buy again? Nope.] (6/05)

Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin 1992 ($40)(Yo-ho for Pinot): Matte, slightly cloudy medium ruby. Sweet-smelling soft brown-red fruit tinged with a beguiling earthy-mustardy note. Tastes very crisp, tart and a bit thin through the midpalate. Smells more open and rich than it tastes. Again, perhaps time is called for, but the fruit in this one seems a tad anemic. (3/19/00)

Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Volnay Les Caillerets Clos 60 Ouvrées 1986 (MartyParty): Smells rather faded, baked brick and tea hints, horehound spice and a leafy earthiness. A sip, and it's light and leafy, faded into a quiet earthiness in the middle, a slightly raspy tea-laced finish. Really just not much there, a wine that's gone missing. 'Don't age Volnay' we're told. Well, in this case they're right, whoever they are: this should've been drunk years ago. (2/28/04)

Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Volnay En Caillerets Clos des 60 Ouvrées 1999 (Fridge): Here's a youngster, smells ripely beety-cherry-blackberried, lightly laced with clove. Easy, ripe and smooth, short on structure but pleasantly fruity-friendly. A loosely wrapped undemanding wine that finishes with light tannins, a good early drinker. (5/12/02)

Domaine Jacques Prieure Volnay-Santenots 1995($40) (Longest Night): Medium to medium-light ruby color. I am struck immediately by the ripeness of this wine, with a rich slightly candied cherry nose, hints of horehound, cola and smoke. After the last wine this comes across as very ripe, almost Californian in style and Andrew looks troubled. After twenty minutes or so he finally smiles and says "Ahhh, now it's doing what it's supposed to!" for the wine is slowly losing the candied quality and turning towards spicy earthiness. Surprising, interesting, a bit on the soft, easy-drinking side, but a smooth, velvety specimen with a vague assertion of "11% to 14% alcohol." (12/31/00)

Jacky Renard Bourgogne Côtes d'Auxerre Cépage Pinot Noir 2003 ($11) (Boatloads VIII): Plain cherryfruity aromatics, gentle stirrings of plum and dirt. Lightbodied, loose and plump, with some spiky acidity hiding in the fleshy folds and a few gritty tannins on the finish. Amiable enough, nonfreaky and decent, but out of balance. [Buy again? No.] (9/06)

Joël Rochette Brouilly Pisse-Vieilles 1998 ($19) (Cape Mayhem): Lightly aromatic, quiet tones of lightly candied strawberry and a touch of a chemical odor that I can't quite place until John sings out "New sneakers!" which hits the mole on the head. Easy to drink, a bit wan in the middle, a light wine with a touch of dilution that finishes glassily tannic. Decent enough for a summery quaffer, although I could've done without Joe's long, graphic explanation of the phrase "pisse-vieilles," complete with enthusiastic pantomime. (5/26/01)

Domaine Daniel Rion Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts 2001 (MoJoe 2004): Hey, here's a ripe little Vosne-Romannée. Plush redfruity nose, cherry candy with black raspberry piping. Tastes silky and smooth and simple, not a whole lot of focus here but some friendly blowsy-fleshy redfruit. One to drink young. (7/10/04)

Daniel Rion Vosne-Romanée Les Chaumes 1980 (Steamed Steaks): Medium ruby color, browning in from the rim. Lightly horsey nose, barny funk laced with muted cinnamon over a base of faded leafy-bricky redfruit. Quiet, light bodied and shy, but pleasantly decayed and complex at first. With air the underbrush notes come to the fore, the wine is fading but lively acidity muscles it along. Necrolicious. (10/2/04)

Clos de Roilette Fleurie 1995 ($14)(Cape Mayhem): More richly smellerific, strawberry-raspberry redfruit over a gravelly base with a plaster-of-paris streak in the treble. Deeper, richer and more flavorful than the other two, medium-bodied, humming with depth and coiled strength, this is a lovely wine that flows warmly into a redfruity-mineral finish that purrs warmly under my tongue for a little while. Best in show, a class act. (5/26/01)

Clos de Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie 1999 ($15)(Joey): Smoky cherry-strawberry fruit, dark and fruity-lush. Juicy tasting, berrily rich, well structured and with fine depth and balance. Very nice. (1/6/01)

Clos de la Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie 1995 (Island Life): Medium red color. Ripe black cherry aromas, touch of mintiness, slight balsamic hints. Tastes gently candied, cherry-strawberry flavors with an earthy patina. Soft and fruity and simple, with a blowsy thinness in the middle. The crowd's least favorite: "Tastes like a caricature of Beaujolais," says Andrew. (5/06)

Clos de la Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie 2002 ($17) (MartyParty): Strawberry fields forever. Light, fresh and charming Fleurie that just sings in the glass, although a small-amplitude wine without the depth of the Tardive. Drink this while the Tardive sleeps. (2/28/04)

Clos de la Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie 2004 ($18) (All About the Chicken): Medium-light garnet color. Light aromatics, strawberry-rhubarb laced with a quiet earthiness, not really a whole lot going on; or perhaps it's just going on very quietly. Tastes light and pleasant, there's a good acidic spine but a certain sense of dilution, the amiable looseness of the midpalate just keeps on going, never resolves itself and ends on a vague note. Not sure what's up with this usually reliable producer, but this isn't a terribly compelling wine tonight, it seems unfocused and finishes strangely wan. Dunno. (7/05)

Clos de Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie Cuvée Chrystal 1999($18)(Joey): I don't know who Chrystal is, but this is deeper, darker and smokier than the last, quite rich smelling and silky up my nose. Rich attack of deep red berry fruit, dense and structured but quite approachable, flowing juicily into a long berrylicious finish. The friendly fruit almost hides the density and depth beneath, but not quite. Very very nice. (1/6/01)

Clos de la Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 2000 ($18) (McNetta 2002): Medium garnet with purple highlights. Velvety ripe strawberry-raspberry nose, sweet and smooth smelling with a hint of sour cherry pit at the heart. The nose is fairly loose and warm but has a light rocky edge to it. Tastes darkly berryfruity and warm, loosely knit and easygoing, rich and fleshily ripe. Here's nice integration, a cohesive package. There does seem to be a little bit of a burn on the finish, although that could merely be attributed to the richly spicy smoked Spam. At any rate, a lovely match. (6/02)

Clos de Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 2002 ($20) (No Hook): Mmm, smells of warm strawberry-raspberry compote underpinned with earth, satiny-smelling, with a plush nosefeel. Tastes smooth, elegant, supple, expressive, a real beauty that seems light and easy at first, but as it moves through the midpalate the strength and depth emerges to coil around my tongue like a velvet anaconda. SFJoe announces: "This is the first wine tonight that I've written BUY MORE in my notebook about." I quickly scribble BUY SOME in my notebook, just because someday I hope to be able to hang out with the cool kids, who all look up to SFJoe. (6/7/03)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1966 (Winterfest 2003): Purply-black, very sedimenty. Muted, earthy nose, hints of plum, tar and eucalyptus. Quite richly aromatic, dark and smoky. Tastes smooth and quite resolved, plummy and crisp, a rich wine with rounded edges. Long, smoky-earthy finish. I am convinced, despite the evidence of my own eyes, that someone has pulled the old SFJoe Switcheroo and that this is an older Northern Rhône. I get the last chunky pour out of the big bottle (that damn Dressner!), and Lisa's glass smells much more typically La T‰chian, honeyed and earthy, leathered cherry fruit, faded at the edges but with a vibrantly beating heart. Why does my glass smell like old Hermitage?! Where does this eucalyptus come from? Is it in the chunky stuff? What's going on here? Taking the 'There are no great old wines, only great old bottles' theme to the next step: There are no great old bottles, only great pours from particular parts of old bottles. (2/03)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1972... ($2,250/Methusalah): The most amazing wine I had ever tasted in my non-geek days, my Oenopiphany and the reason my bank account is so light these days. The smell of earth, leather and honey predominate, with plummy pinot undertones. It had so much structure, so many elements that were distinct and yet seamlessly integrated, all I could say at the time was "My God" and "this is amazing" and "unnngh". The color of tea, with only a faint trace of purple left in it. Elegant, fragrant and delicate, yet at the same time lush, with a backbone of steel under all that other stuff. Sheesh. They were pouring this generously (it was in an Imperial--the bottle was the size of a small child), so I managed to cadge two almost full glasses of this glorious juice. Poetry in a glass, and any other cliche you can think of.... (8/24/98)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Échézeaux 1961 (Cabernet Francfest+): Pale brick, with hints of amber; oh my goodness, another great nose--honey and carrot-cake notes, soft, delicate, rich, sweet. Lisa passed me a glass of this and I immediately said "You know what this reminds me of, right?" And she did.... In the mouth tangy and a bit hollow--not as interesting as the nose. A faded beauty, with only crispness left, as well as honey and a slight metallic note. Incredible nose. (6/8/99)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Échézeaux 1969 (Lisa's Birthday): I hold my glass up to the light, and it's a muddy medium ruby color, flecked with little dark specks and ambering at the rim. I stick my sniffer in the glass and make a little involuntary bleating noise of pleasure... I'm a sucker for older, faded burgs... shake it off, shake it off... there's so much going on here, simply listing the parts won't do it justice, but what the hey: the first nosal impression is of a rich, muted red core of dark cherry-cranberry-beetroot accented fruit around which is nestled a slightly looser, red-brown penumbra of earthiness and mushroomy, orange rind and clovey-spicey hints, feathering, leathering and browning outwards. Glorious, simply glorious to drink in the the complexity and delicacy of these aromas. A sip, and it's a soft, light, earthy wine, still red at the core, with surprising strength amidst surprising delicacy. It's a bit faded, and the nose is a hard act to follow, but it's earthy, feathery and crisp, with a light finish that calls a post-holiday pomander to mind. Exquisite to smell, very nice to taste. I save a good portion of a glass and throughout the night it is passed around and smelled to the accompaniment of widened eyes, dreamy smiles and small moans. (6/13/00)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Échézeaux 1969 (The Return of Marty & Jill): Medium-light ruby color, amber-browning well in from the rim. Oh boy, this smells incredible--muted tea & cherry mingled with progressive dustings of cinnamon, yamskin, crushed bricks and dried flowers. It's not quite as interesting in the gob as it is up the nose--faded at the edges, lean and vivid at the core--but whaddaya want? Great layers of both aroma and flavor, a teasing wine that draws me closer with every sniff or sip. I haven't had this in a few years, and it seems to have neither advanced nor declined in that time. That is, while it may be just over the cusp it's showing no sign of coming unglued. (2/06)

Rossignol Volnay Les Pitures 1995 ($33) (Loirenatics): A light, tangy Volnay, seems a bit tight, some earthy clove-tinged red fruit, crisp, nice acidity, but not giving much at all. Doesn't do much for me. (11/99)

Joseph Roty Bourgogne Cuvée de Pressonier 1993 (All CNN Wines): Medium ruby color, just the beginnings of bricking at the rim. Light but layered in the noseholes, hints of tea, muted cherry-raspberry redfruit and clovey underbrush. Ethereal on the tongue, light but supple fruit wavers slightly out of focus in the middle, then rallies and finishes sweetly and earthily, albeit with a pulse of strong fine tannins. Not a lot of stuffing or great complexity, but a very pleasurable little wine that goes down easily. Five and a half parchment Prongs set on a base of woven dried reeds and dusted with commercial potting soil. I'd drink 'em up sooner rather than later. (11/11/01)

Joseph Roty Gevrey-Chambertin Les Fontenys 1998 (MoJoe 2004): Pleasantly layered nose, dark red berry fruit with an earthy-animale streak, high note of mintiness. Hey, this smells... smells... like syrah. That's odd. It doesn't taste like syrah, though; it's taut and cherry-earthy and rather intense, crisp and flavorful. With air, a bit more of a cherried quality comes over the aromatics, but that doesn't stop one of the geeks from leaping up and shouting "This Gevrey is Hermitaged!" (7/10/04)

Joseph Roty Marsannay Les Ouzeloy 1995 (Clash of the Ayatollahs): Medium red, aromatically light, although with air it takes on more nasal weight, showing some nice dark earthy-smoky cherry-berry fruit. I keep waiting on this, as it keeps showing better as the night progresses. In the mouth it seems fairly hard and unyielding, good smoky fruit is there, but it's not raising its hand and volunteering for the mission of charming some steak into my gullet. The 1997 seems more accessible to me at this point, showing more clovey spiciness on the nose and more cran-cherry-berry fruit in the midpalate. Still, it too is tight and young, and some strong fine tannins shut down the party quickly. (4/19/00)

Joseph Roty Marsannay Rosé 2000 (Culling Me Softly): Hey, where did this come from? This isn't thematic! Ah, I get it. Joe has decided to momentarily depart from the theme in order to have something decent to serve with his inimitable chow. Pale salmon color. Light earthiness, muted cherry and talc, leafy undertones. Not particulary complex up my nose, but pleasant. Tastes quiet, not giving much right now. The acidity is medium-low, not a whole lot going on, kind of boring but just the fact that it's drinkable wine is rather soothing. (9/03)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1983 ($48) (Heat): Quiet, warm nose, soft and smelling of muted cherry, cola and tree bark. Tastes a bit sweet, feathered at the edges and lightly fleshy, not a whole lot of spine. A strange package, but it rather grows on me. (6/16/01)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1989 (MoJoe 2004): Medium-pale ruby color. Quietly earthy, soft cherry fruit laced with truffliness. Light and soothing, a calm little wine that sits in the corner reading Baudelaire and smiling gently in my direction. (7/10/04)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1989 (Broken Rules): Medium-light ruby color. Hint of Band-Aid brand bandage strips up high. Under that, quiet cherry-truffle aromatics, hints of horehound and forest floor. Tastes loose and calm, medium-low acidity, fleshy-spicy redfruit, soothing and slyly languorous; it has finally finished reading Baudelaire and started in on The Thousand and One Nights. I've always been struck by how this wine manages to embody both langour and luminosity at once, a striking blend of opposites in a small package. I sit and sniff and swirl and the table and its occupants recede into the distance. Sooo nice, such a nice little wine. (11/04)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1995 ($35) (Miller Time): Another light, beguiling nose--truffles and sous-bois in a tart cherry base, sharp and bright in the noseholes. Admirably focused, although a bit on the hard side, this wine has no love handles to grab on to, and if you were to try the fine tannins would slap your hands until they stung. Young and tart and all lean, racy potential. Hold until the summer of '09, then shake, then hold again until May 2012. Then sell on E-Bay. (1/12/02)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1995 ($35) (Island Jeeb): Light, pretty aromatics--truffle, dark earth and bright cherry. Tastes tight and lean and taut, focused down to a pure pinpoint of pinot. Lovely, but needs lots of time. (3/23/03)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1999 ($60) (MoJoe): Tight dark cherry-beet, velvety red plum and clove smellies cross my nosepath, I wave cheerily as they drift past. The aromatics are smooth and bound up with one another, not up for socializing. I use the custom Riedel wheel-and-pulley arrangement to tilt the glass, and the wine tastes like a precocious youngster--seemingly easygoing at first sippage, a sinewy elegance emerging in the middle. Tangy and dark, there is something hidden at the center, at first I think it's a vagueness or almost a dilute quality, but then it eludes me and I allow the robust stony-cherry finish to sweep me downstream into an eddy of fine tannins. Another difficult wine to pin down, there's a muscular tone to the initial fruit that belies the elegance of the mouthfeel. Whatever is going on, it needs time to come together and spread out. Not Pronged at this time. (9/23/02)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1997 ($60) (Fisting Punts): Spicy, complex nose--forest floor and cola over powdery cherry, traces of mushroom. Surprisingly soft and fleshy in the piehole, good concentration while retaining a sense of elegance. The red center expands warmly in the middle, gaining a heavier red plum/red beet flush, then ebbs and turns two-toned leafy/cherry pit on the finish. A very nice ride. (10/13/02)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoreuses 1997 (MoJoe 2004): Hint of barnyard right off the bat, then cola and underbrush suffused with beety-cherryness, very prettily aromatic. A sip, and it's a bit soft and wan, the earthiness taking a moment or two to settle on my tongue, the quiet cherry-beet fruit coming over a bit diluted and watery. I keep waiting for the midpalate to flesh out and plump up in that irascible Roumier fashion, but it doesn't seem to be happening. Not sure if this is just shutting down or if it's time to drink up, but this isn't a strong showing. (7/10/04)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1997 ($55) (Jason Takes Manhattan): Translucent medium garnet; aromatically a bit ungenerous, I swirl and sniff and coax light beety-earthy-clove-cherry notes out of my glass, but it's quite tightly wrapped right off the bat. The impression of tightness and youth is reinforced when I sip for a minute or two, but there's a lot going on here, a medium-bodied and quite spry wine with plenty of dark coiled-spring cherry-earthy-spicy fruit that is a bit shy of knife-hard but promises delights down the road a ways before it segues into a dark tarry finish. Very beguiling, if not entirely pleasurable at this stage, with a reservoir of hidden strength. (5/00)

Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1997 ($55) (Bastille Day): This hasn't budged an inch since I last tasted it a year ago--still young and reserved, with a pleasantly beety-clovey-cherry-earthy nose only showing itself with some vigorous swirling. A coiled, tight wine that only speaks in whispers at the moment, but the whispers hint at deep reserves of strength and a dark inner core biding its time. Nimble and bright despite its strength, this mixes ferality and poise, a wine with smoldering eyes, Daniel Day-Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans. (6/16/01)

Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin 1992 ($90) (Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium garnet. Rich, fun-smelling slightly stinky red fruity nose, cranberry-cherry-earth edged with manure, sweet red-velvet manure. Rich in the mouth as well, leathery red forest-floor notes dusted with spicy cooked-carrot hints and mushrooms. Very flavorful, very well balanced, earthy and silky. Superb Burgundy, drinking beautifully tonight. I wish I could drink this every night. My favorite so far, edging out the Charlopin-Parizot on the basis of complexity and a truly superior level of what the scientific types would call fun-smellingness. (3/19/00)

Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Bèze 1973 (Fisting Punts): The fruit aromatics are more faded here, muted preserved-cherry and dried beet smellies play a background role, leaving a light ashtray-bay leaf streak hanging in the foreground. The acidity is assertive, but there's less flesh on the bones. Still, what's there is sweetly faded, bricky and beguilingly leathery and fruitcake-spicy. Yes, it's over the hill, but it's going downhill in style, David Niven in his later years. (10/13/02)

Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1976 ($57.50) (Fisting Punts): Sweet jumpin' jesus on a stick, this is the real deal! Strikingly layered luscious old-Burgundy aromatics waltz up my nostrils, very beety at the core, but feathering out with evanescent hints of leather, honey and truffles. A sip, and through a light patina of charmingly earthy decay you find the beety red heart still pumping, pulsing warmly into a finish like a long-ignored pile of bricks out in the woods. Beautiful. Not quite otherwordly, but a lovely old Burgundy in the prime of late life. Were I in the scoring vein I would probably give this two and a half terra cotta Prongs decorated with pieces of Roman glass inset in a circular pattern around their bases, then buried in a mossy glen until they are dug up by Parisian Carmelite nuns and donated to the Cluny Museum for all the world to see. (10/13/02)

Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques 1977 (Recluse Convention): Light ruby color, almost rosé-looking, slight browning throughout. "It's a little volatile," says Andrew, but there's also a lot of interesting decayed smellies happening here: nutmeg and baked carrot, preserved cherry and earth laced with crushed brick. A sip, and it's not as interesting in the piehole as it is up the nose--faded and thin, tart and leafy and crisp. After about an hour it has rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible, the complex aromatics reduced to smelling like flat root beer and last autumn's leaf pile. (11/22/02)

Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques 1977 (Eve of Chenin/Day of Satan): Sedimentary brown color, the same hue as homemade iced tea. I don't know if this is another badly stored bottle, or if the wine has just outlived its days on earth, but this bottle is a breeze from the crypt. Decayed earth and leaves cling to its corpse as it shambles into the night, and it seems in life to have had a preference for root beer, as there's a streak of that in the nose as well. Let it go, let it go, it has brains to eat. (12/31/03)

Domaine Savoye (á la Côte du Py) Morgon Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1995 (Island Life): Medium-dark red. More restrained aromatics, plummier and more minerally. Tastes elegant and pure, stonily flavorful, with better focus. The fruit has muted down to a stony plum-strawberry calmness, and I think I like this one the most. Another sip, and yes, I'm sure I like this one the most, it's firing on all cylinders and has plenty of room for further development. (5/06)

Pierre Savoye Morgon Vieilles Vignes 1995 ($17) (St. Andrew): Medium garnet; light nose, slight funkiness, bit o'barnyard... candy-cherry.... Tastes bigger than the nose, medium-bodied, with some good tangy, fairly tightly-wrapped berry fruit. Still, it's well-balanced and smooth and goes down easily, with a dark berryish finish. French all the way. I vote for a Cotes du Rhone. Brad, who seems to like it, says "It's good. I like it, but I don't quite love it," and Andrew demands the date and time be noted (1-15-00: 10:49:22 p.m.), then leads us all in a rousing chorus of "Braaaad liked a Beaujolais, Braaaad liked a Beaujolais..." with Mr. Kane protesting vehemently all the while "I said I didn't love it! I said I didn't love it!" to no avail. (1/15/00)

Pierre Savoye Morgon Cuvée Speciale Fût de Chêne 1996($19) (Cape Mayhem): The name makes me a little wary, but this is another lightly aromatic wine; touches of strawberry and gravelly undertones warm my nosal passages. Smoother and fuller than the Rochette, yet the flavors seem flat and somewhat tired, while in the Rochette they were brighter, more alive. There is an astringent streak that peeks out on the finish but doesn't substantially mar the wine in my book. I'm not sure those storied fûts de chêne did this wine any good. (5/26/01)

Domaine Jean-Louis Sirugue et Fils Côte de Nuits Villages Clos de la Belle Marguerite 2002 ($18) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill 2): Medium pale ruby color, smells gently horehound-laced, sour cherry and tree bark. Tastes quiet and light, softly flavorful pinot noir, loose and shyly expressive in a smallscale way. A touch of plumskin surfaces briefly in the middle, then turns tail and runs, leaving an herby-earthy finish dusted with glassyfine tannins. Medium acidity, could use more focus. There's a bit of vagueness at the heart of the wine, but in the end it's a soothing, relaxing wine, gently charming and amiable. (3/06)

Domaine de Suremain Mercurey 1990 ($22) was not at all a very fruit-forward wine, but very reserved and somewhat closed. Nevertheless, it had distict leathery, plummy pinot noir notes, verging somewhat over into pruney at times, along with earthiness and a kind of odd note that reminded me of smoked meat. Not bad, but not particularly impressive for the money. However, the next day this wine had opened up a bit, become a bit warmer and fuzzier. A lot of the delicious nose seemed to have gone away (mostly, I'm sure, because of fridge time), but the taste was more open, stronger, more plummy and tannic-seeming. Had a nice, reserved kind of appeal, not like a puppyish california pinot slobbering all over your face (which can be very nice at times as well). (7/3/98)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Cuvée l'Ancien 1999 ($7) (Joey): From 5-40 year old vines. I liked the 98, the 99 is much in the same mold, only more so. Silky, nicely balanced, cherry-strawberry fruit that settles earthily on the tongue. The impression of lightness is belied by the persistence of the flavors. (1/6/01)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvée l'Ancien 1999 ($8)(Joey): From 40-100 year old vines, 100% destemmed (the regular L'Ancienne is 30% destemmed). This seems to be a little less forward than the young vines bottling, with a shadowy dark streak that isn't present in the other. I like the hints of darkness and depth, I'll sacrifice the slighty cheerier quality of the younger vines bottling. Dogboy has said it before, but it's a sign of a world gone mad that I can buy this wine for $7.99 when Mondavi 'Coastal' Chardonnay is ten bucks. (1/6/01)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvée l'Ancien 2002 (Bastard): Smooth, utterly charming and silky, with a bright acidic core wrapped with juicy cherry-pit fruit and dusted with talc. The wine has the usual lightness and sense of lift, but there's more of a satiny quality to the tart red fruit than is usual. It's light, it's cheery and gulpable, but it's also almost ethereally pure, and it insists you keep drinking it. The loveliest young Ancien since at least '97 (the first one I tasted, back when it was l'Ancienne). If you don't like this wine you don't like wine, and you probably kick your dog and have personal hygiene issues as well. (11/23/03)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvée l'Ancien 2002 ($10) (Boatloads I): Pure strawberry-cherry fruit, light-bodied and lacy, lean and focused and rather tight at the moment. Very special, very pretty, very ageworthy. God bless M. Brun for making the best ten dollar wine in the world, even at full Manhattan retail. FAKE CORK! [Buy again? Lots, lots, lots.] (8/04)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvée l'Ancien 2002 (Broken Rules): that he's had stuck behind his radiator for 48 hours, some kind of science experiment or something, the point being to show everyone once and for all that the wine smells like a Turnpike rest stop (I'm beginning to suspect a case of mass hysteria is at play here). Anyhoo, as always the wine is quite lovely, lightly earthy and happily strawberry-cherried, light and lithe and focused. Marty is anguished, "I don't believe it!" he cries, "It was a COMPLETELY different wine two days ago! A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WINE!" We nod solemnly, which seems the best thing to do under the circumstances. (11/04)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvée l'Ancien 2003 ($11) (Boatloads III): Medium-light garnet color. Sweet strawberry/cherry-candy nose, ripe, plush smelling. Tastes similarly plush and fruity, a bit overly candied and topheavy, like wine candy. There's a watermelon-seed dark streak and a clothesline of taut acidity, but there's too much poofy fruit hanging on it like a parachute. Glossy, just a bit much. Some light tannic raspiness on the finish. Gobs in Brun? What next? [FAKE CORK!] [Buy again? Er... uh... I dunno, probably not, wait for the '04.] (2/05)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (J-P. Brun) Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes l'Ancien 2005 ($13) (Boatloads IX): Gentle bread-dough hints over dark cherryjuiciness. Tastes big and dark and juicy, an oversized Ancien with a lot of stuffing. Medium acidity, happily ripe, then a swarm of glassy mouthdrying tannins swoops in. Not for early drinking, this is a rich young Ancien that needs some time to calm down and come together. Hold until mid-June of 2009. FAKE CORK! [Buy again? Yup.] (11/06)

Domaine des Terres Dorées Pinot Noir Beaujolais 1997 ($12): Mr. Andrew Scott first fed me this one at his Geekfest event, and when I saw it for $11 I had to grab one (one was all I could carry). Medium, slightly translucent garnet; rich but muted dark plum/strawberry aromas drift up, with a darker accent lurking behind. Crisp, fruity & dusty, with a hard-to-place herb/celery note behind the more overt redfruit flavors. Light, fine tannins. Smooth, rich pinot that seems kind of plain at first, but really grows on you. I liked it the first time and I like it more now, with fire-grilled chicken and swarms of biting flies. My advice: buy it if ya see it. (8/99)

Domaine des Terres Dorées Pinot Noir Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire 1998 ($13) (Asylum): Shows a bit lean and tart at first, with light plum-tinged sour cherry fruit and a light celery note just below the surface, seeming a bit pallid tonight but still showing the nimbly crisp, slowly unfolding body that I've enjoyed before. Not quite up to previous years, but give it time and it will bloom. (9/8/00)

Domaine des Terres Dorées Pinot Noir Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire 1999 ($13) (Joey): After a '98 that I wasn't too enthusiastic about, this wine is right back to where it was in the preceding years: a pretty, smooth little pinot that woos me with its light earthy-clovey-cherry fruit, subtle juiciness and supple sense of balance. Charming. (1/6/01)

Domaine des Terres Dorées Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2003 ($14) (Boatloads VIII): Light plum-mineral aromatics. Tastes medium-lightbodied, gentle and loose, spreads languidly out on my tongue. A gentle wine, all rocks and plumstones, until some sandy tannins kick in on the finish. A bit watery, but honest and balanced enough to get by. [Buy again? I'll wait for the '04]

Tollot-Beaut Corton-Bressandes 1997 ($80) (September 15, 2001): Smells earthy and spicy, cloves and horehound over light cherried hints. Light and somewhat dilute, turning towards bitterness on the finish. (9/15/01)

Trapet Chambertin Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1988 (Broken Rules): Lightly funky aromatics at first, barnyard, flint and smoke in a muted cherry-beet base, seems rather more developed than the Mugnier. With air the funkiness modulates, but the aromatics turn muted and quiet. A sip, and it's a middleweight wine, calm and smooth, with a touch of midpalate glossiness. The finish is dulled by an initial light flurry of tannins; it tries to rally, then another, more aggressive round of tannins sweeps in to shut things down entirely. The overall impression is of a very decent wine that is at war with itself, the elements interesting but not working in sync. Curious. (11/04)

Edmond Vatan Sancerre Pinot Rouge Chavignol 1997 ($20) (Quiz Show I): Light garnet, very pale--light candy-cherry notes with a gravelly undertone. Tastes thin, tart & sharp. Fine tannins swarm over the tight tart cherry flavors. Crisp as hell, but fairly painful and pucker-inducing. (4/7/00)

Domaine des Vignes du Tremblay/Paul Janin Moulin-a-Vent 1995 (Island Life): High-toned aromatics, hint of volatility over shy cherry-strawberry and tea hints. This seems the most advanced of the three, the only one showing a bit of age. A bit sharp, firm and taut but a bit on the stern side, with drying glassy tannins on the finish. Seems correct, but really rather joyless. (5/06)

Jean Marc Vincent Santenay Les Gravieres 2001 (Misplaced Weekend I): Despite my natural suspicion of any vigneron with three first names, this is a decent enough wine. Medium-low, rather soft and simple but decently flavorful and unassuming. And, uh... um... no, I guess that's all. (5/2/04)

Domaine du Vissoux/Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais Cuvée Traditionelle Vieilles Vignes 2003 ($12) (Boatloads II): Pleasant, warmfruity strawberry-plum aromatics. Soft, lush and easygoing, plummy finish, strawberry-jam with blackfruit mixed in. Understructured, Beaujolais for the goblover. Pleasant enough, but not the equal of past vintages (or, for that matter, CRB) for more money. [Buy again? Nah.] (11/04)

Domaine du Vissoux/Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais Cuvée Traditionelle Vieilles Vignes 2004 ($12) (Boatloads VII): Medium-light garnet color, smells strawberry-stony, berries ripening in gravel. Perfectly ripe but lean and elegant, nice balance, tangy and long. Medium lightbodied, strawberry-tangy and calm, but surprisingly flavorful, a juicy little wine that seduces by whispering. Really nice smallscale stuff, very pretty Beaujolais. [Buy again? Yup.] (4/06)

Domaine du Vissoux/Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Poncié 1998($16)(Horrifying the Newbies): Smells light and silky, hints of strawberry, plum and earthiness. Medium-bodied, without the stuffing of the '99 Garants that we've been enjoying lately, it falls away a bit on the finish but is pleasant and decent and quite drinkable. (3/3/01)

Domaine du Vissoux/Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Les Garants 1999 ($17)(A Discreet Jeebus): There are whispered rumors that Jeff Connell has been trashing this wine all over the internet, ruthlessly calling it 'simple,' but frankly I don't give them any credence. Smells sweetly strawberry-plummy, with dark tarry undersmells. I taste it, and there's a good thrust of rich fruit through the midpalate, a prettily balanced wine with a dark core of silky-smooth strength and a bit of fruity babyfat. Good stuff. (11/20/00)

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares 1992 ($85) (Miller Time): An interesting hint of dark pipe tobacco amidst the stony cherry fruit. Rather watery in the midpalate, vague and unfocused. Somewhat dilute but not unpleasant, suffers in this company. (1/12/02)

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny 1997 (All About the Chicken): Gentle cement-dust-laced redfruit, spicy horehound streak down deep comes and goes. Interesting if not terribly complex aromatics. Tastes feathery-soft and gentle, an inconsequential pinot that goes down with a friendly little whimper, leaving very little mouthprint. Much like a decent generic Bourgogne from an early-drinking vintage, drinkable but quite forgettable. (7/05)

Compleat Winegeek | TN Archive | Essays | Glossary