Last month a group of Burgundy connoisseurs gathered at Michael Mina's Westin St. Francis flagship restaurant. Our host was none other than Raj Parr, Wine Director of the Mina Group and a partner at Elixir Fund.
It was a single bottle dinner featuring some of the most highly regarded, and scored, Burgundies from 2005. I think all of the lucky diners would agree that these wines shared a certain style and that is they are all massive, long distance runners. Those lucky enough to have any of the wines we tasted should tuck them away for a long time. Many were closed down even after many hours of aeration in decanter. First I will present the menu, followed by the lineup of wines.
Pork Short Rib and Foie Gras Terrine
-- Blenheim Apricot Coulis, Pickled Ramps, 'Wild Man' Mixed Greens
Carmelized Sunchoke Gratin
-- Castelmagno Cheese, Black Winter Truffles, Sunny Side up Hen Egg
Braised Monkfish Tail
-- Spring Pole Beans, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Ligurian Olive Jus
Poussin 'Coq Au Vin'
-- Applewood Smoked Bacon, Baby Carrots, Egg Noodles
Japanese Wagyu Rib Eye and Short Rib
--Green and White Asparagus, Fingerling Potatoes, Peppercress
-- Porcini Syrup, Thyme Gelee, Walnut Bread
-- Whipped Yogurt, Angel Food Cake, Garden Basil
This menu was executed flawlessly by the Mina team and the service was also completely seamless---seen and noticed only when you needed something. They simply 'get it' when it comes to fine dining...
Now for the wines...
The following lineup was poured, 3 at a time, then more, and some observations to follow:
ALL 2005 Vintage
Claude Dugat 'Charmes Chambertin'
Joseph Roty 'Mazy-Chambertin'
Denis Mortet 'Clos Vougeot'
Comte de Vogue 'Musigny' Vielles Vignes
JF Mugnier 'Bonnes Mares'
De Montille 'Corton-Pouget'
Georges Jayer 'Echezeaux'
Mogneard-Mugneret 'Grands Echezeaux'
Anne Gros 'Richebourg'
Dujac 'Romanee St. Vivant'
Domaine De La Romanee Conti 'La Tache'
Bouchard 'La Romanee'
The first three wines were extremely masculine in style. The nose on the Dugat Charmes was very expressive, and all three shared the similarity of dark brooding Pinot, with lots of leather and pepper framing black fruit. Still they seemed to show only a glimmer of their future evolution, and this was a theme throughout the tasting.
Comte de Vogue's Musigny had an explosive nose of violets that was lovely. It was so floral and feminine, an interesting contrast to the previous flight of wines. It too showed concentration on the palate as did the next wine, the Mugnier Bonnes Mares which at least one taster remarked was one of the most 'complete' examples of the evening. The De Montille seemed almost light by comparison, with lower tannin and weight on the palate.
The final flight was a stunning lineup of wines that deserve an audience, and about 20 years to revisit them. The three 'show stoppers' to my taste were the Anne Gros Richebourg, the Dujac RSV, and the DRC La Tache. The Anne Gros Richebourg was, I think, perhaps the most open wine of the evening. It really was giving up tremendous pleasure and though it has years of development yet to come, was a favorite of the evening for most. Soaring aromatics and gorgeous on the palate were words I overheard describing that wine. It was an honor to taste the Dujac RSV in the company of Wilf Yeager, who controls the vineyard with Dujac. Needless to say, it was also a titan in need of cellarage, yet it was also enjoyable that evening. A strong personality and showing.
My final note is reserved for the La Tache. I had the highest expectations for this wine and I was not disappointed. The greatness of this wine is unquestionable. It is one of the greatest young Burgundies I have ever put to my lips and anyone lucky enough to own a bottle should hold onto it for a few decades. It is marvelous not for being an open book to read and enjoy today. One must swirl and swirl to get the nuances out of such a concentrated wine, pure potential. My notes read 'So Concentrated. Unbelievable LT.' It is a tightly wound wine that will be blossoming for 50 plus years to come. I saved it for my last sip of the evening, when it was gone I was truly sad! DRC 2005 is no joke.
Final thoughts...buy lots of 2005 Burgundy from the best producers and put them to sleep. In the meantime drink some 2006 while you wait!