Weekend Vinopolpick- march 1

March 1, 2014

2008 Vintage


 “As I observed at the very beginning, the most successful 2008s are wonderfully fresh, ethereal, pure, transparent and sublimely elegant and refined burgundies that will be capable of amply rewarding short-to-mid-term cellaring out to 15 years or so.”
– Allen Meadows’ Burghound

For a vintage where vineyards had to face the wrath of Mother Nature, literally fighting to produce any wine, the ultimate success of 2008 Burgundy is all the sweeter. Producers faced multiple challenges in the vineyard in 2008. Though spring began well, with vineyards producing leaves throughout a warm May, summer in Burgundy was nothing short of disastrous. The crucial early-summer flowering in June was dragged out over three weeks with cold and rainy weather. The unfavorable conditions resulted in a natural reduction of yields due to coulure (unfertilized grapes that do not continue to mature), and millerandage (small, seedless berries that lead to uneven bunches). The next six weeks from June to July were plagued with ups and downs in weather. Several weeks of light rain and sunshine followed by long bouts of heavy rain and very little of the sun grapevines need. Though July was sunnier, a sudden hailstorm created isolated damage in Volnay, Pommard, Savigny-les-Beaune and Marsannay, as hail shredded leaves and broke open berries. By mid-July, winemakers were already battle-weary in their attempts to fend off mildew caused by the drearily inconsistent weather, spraying again and again to keep on top of things. Cool, dull weather returned mid-August and ripening was slow, with the increasing threat of mildew and grey rot creating further problems. By the end of August, all seemed to be lost, but then a miracle happened.

Things turned around in September, when the sun came out during the critical last phase of the ripening season. A wind from the North also came through, drying crops and halting any vine disease. Warm and sunny, with cool nights to lessen the threat of rot, grapes were given their last chance to fully ripen and, with the wind’s help, reach the right concentration.  With good weather all the way through, the vintage was saved, and picking got fully underway under ideal conditions in the later part of September. It was the latest harvest for many years and cool conditions during the growing season and harvest left grapes with high levels of malic acid, creating wines that would take a while to complete malo-lactic fermentation.  The Northern winds that had helped to dry the vines came as a double edged sword.  Though the dried vines helped increase sugar levels while keeping acidity high, the wind, along with a late harvest, resulted in yields around 30% lower than 2007.

2008 harvest in Chambolle- Musigny

For 2008, the true successes were made in the vineyard, not the cellar. Painstaking vine care, leaf canopy management, yield reduction and scrupulous sorting were necessary to produce top notch fruit with good concentration. Only conscientious vignerons who watched their vines managed to produce wines that have enough flesh to counterbalance 2008’s acid levels. As these winemakers ended up with fewer and smaller grapes, the resulting juice turned out to be quite concentrated. At the end, 2008’s cool weather and late drying sunshine created a good balance of bright acidity and ripeness. The wines steadily improve in quality as you head north and into the Côte de Nuits, where the vineyards were less challenged, you will find perhaps the vintage’s strongest highlights; fragrant, textured, and fairly substantial. The Côte de Beaune shows consistency, the best wines are smooth, vivacious and quite bold, with the 1er Crus a stand out. However, 2008 is a year of no rules. It is down to the individual producer, some of whom have made impressive wines for long-term keeping while many are offering delicious Burgundies that will be attractive young.

Reds and whites alike fared well. Acid levels are notably high, but provided the vines were pruned well and reached full ripeness, the highish acidities come through just enough to ensure that the wines will keep well. The whole vintage is built on its acidity, the wines are bright and lean, with fruit that is more than wonderful – dark-red and superbly pure. The average weather pattern across the Côtes was not one to endow the wines with benchmark depth, yet brightness, focus and purity are the words which will keep crossing your mind as you taste. These 2008s are nothing if not ‘fresh’. Hallmarks are the dark red colour, great purity of fruit, and a serious rather than showy character.

Five years on – with the wines having had over two years in bottle – results for 2008 Burgundy is positive. The wines have character and harmony, the best have depth and richness, and should not be neglected. It was not easy with the challenges vines had to contend with, but for those that were able to work through the trials of the vintage, the hard work has been more than worth the effort. We are delighted to be able to list a range of 2008 wines, which demonstrate classic Burgundian elegance, appealing ripeness and vibrant, yet balanced, acidity. Wines that are sure to hold on and continue to please for many years.

Stock List- 2008 Burgundy- Available Now

Bitzouet Prieur Meursalt Santenots 2008 ($79.95) $69 special 11 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “The 2008 Meursault Les Santenots is powerful yet balanced in a broad, expansive style that caresses the palate with tons of rich, honeyed fruit. Lighter, floral notes appear on the finish, adding brightness to what is otherwise a fairly masculine style of Meursault. All of the elements work nicely here. Anticipated maturity: 2013+. ”

Chevillon Nuits St Georges Cailles 2008 ($119.95) $89 special 14 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91-94 points
“Deep, bright red. Superripe, complex nose melds berries, violet, damp earth and a whiff of balsamic vinegar. Wonderfully silky and suave on entry, then spicy and pure in the middle, with a very fresh black cherry flavor dominating underlying earth and floral notes. This spreads out impressively on the back end, with broad tannins saturating the palate”

Chevillon Nuits St Georges Roncieres 2008 ($89.95) $59 special 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 89-92 points
 “Medium-deep red. Sexy aromas of raspberry, flinty minerality and smoked meat. Sweet, bright and showy, with lovely cut and definition to its dense berry flavors. Combines brisk acidity and an impression of thorough ripeness. Very pure on the aftertaste.”

Chevillon Nuits St Georges Vaucrains 2008 ($119.95) $89 special 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 91-94 points 
 “Deep, bright ruby-red. Black raspberry and chocolate aromas are complemented by sweet oak. Less refined than the Saint-Georges or Cailles but solidly built and quite powerful, with a youthfully medicinal character to the blast of dark fruit flavors. Extremely primary and impressively long. This may need the most patience of this excellent set of 2008s”

Chezeaux Clos de Vougeot 2008 ($159.95) $135 special 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points
 “The 2008 Clos de Vougeot reveals notable intensity and power in its rich, textured fruit. There is plenty of structural heft as well, but the tannins are beautifully balanced by the fruit. This is a graceful, harmonious, totally satisfying wine. Anticipated maturity: 2024-2039.”

Chezeaux Nuits St Georges Pruliers 2008 ($69.95) $59 special 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92+ points
 “The 2009 Nuits St. Georges Les Pruliers is a graceful, feminine wine laced with the essence of rose petals, crushed flowers, mint and red fruit. This is an especially elegant, refined Nuits that impresses for its superb harmony and balance. Today the Pruliers remains naturally rather cool and inward, but there is considerable sweetness in the fruit that will emerge over time. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028.”

Chezeaux Nuits St Georges Rue de Chaux 2008 ($69.95) $59 special 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 points
 “The 2009 Nuits St. Georges Rue de Chaux is somewhat ethereal at first, but then fills out nicely on the mid-palate. Crushed flowers, mint, spices and berries are among the nuances that take shape in the glass. The finish is delicate and haunting. The Rue de Chaux is an understated wine built on elegance rather than power. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028.”

Claude Dugat Gevrey Chambertin 2008 ($119.95) $89 special 9 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 89 points 
“Good red-ruby color. Dark fruits, spices, game and leather on the nose. Good density of material is currently fighting strong acidity, giving the wine a slightly tart quality and a disjointed character. Rather severe today, but the penetrating spicy acidity extends the finish. This very serious village wine will require at least a few years of bottle aging.”

Pierre Damoy Chappelle- Chambertin 2008 ($199.95) $149 special 12 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93+ points
 “The 2008 Chapelle-Chambertin is a huge wine endowed with striking purity in its rich, dark fruit. Despite its sheer richness, the Chapelle also shows great tension in structural elements. In short, it’s all there in this magnificent, compelling Burgundy. Today the oak is a bit dominant and the fruit needs to settle down, but this is shaping up to be a magnificent wine. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038.”

Drouhin Corton Bressandes 2008 ($129.95) $99 special 10 bottles available
Burghound 92 points  
“Cassis flower and hints of black cherry, stone and warm earth blend seamlessly into the rich, full and refined medium full flavors that possess a seductive texture and excellent volume on the driving finish. The tannins are relatively fine and while there is a hint of tanginess, it comes across more as vibrancy than dryness.”

Dugat-Py Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2008 ($139.95) $99 special 7 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 points
 “The 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, from vines ranging from 30-50 years of age, shows superb length in a mid-weight, mineral-driven style. With time in the glass the silkiness of the tannins emerges as the wine takes shape. Elegant and refined throughout, the Vieilles Vignes possesses captivating balance and a great sense of harmony. This is a beautiful wine from Dugat-Py, but it needs time. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2028.”

Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze 2008 ($279.95) $219 special 9 bottles available
Burghound 95 points
 “This too evidenced a hint of reduction that almost immediately dissipated. Otherwise, a background touch of wood highlights an expressive and impressively nuanced nose of red berry fruit that displays a broad range of spice and earth note. At present, this is really very backward though there is very good richness to the full-bodied and quite serious flavors that possess plenty of mid-palate extract that renders the dense but fine tannins almost invisible on the moderately austere and superbly long finish. This knockout Bèze has the balance and material to effortlessly improve over the next 12 to 15 years.”

Faiveley Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2008 ($99.95) $79 special 38 bottles available
Burghound 93 points
 “A strikingly layered nose combines ample amounts of pungent Gevrey-style earth, spice, iron notes and ripe red and dark berry fruit that meld with very serious, even brooding big-bodied flavors that are built on a base of firm minerality and finish with excellent richness and depth. This is a classic Gevrey in both style and character with excellent power and really lovely balance. In a word, terrific.”

Faiveley Latricieres Chambertin 2008 ($189.95) $159 special 10 bottles available
Burghound 94 points
 “A distinctly cool and ultra-elegant nose of restrained and exceptionally fresh mineral-infused red pinot fruit gives way to stone-inflected, tightly focused and delineated middle weight plus flavors that are beautifully tension-filled. This possesses a beguiling personality as there’s real verve and punch on the delicious but linear finish where more minerality surfaces. This strikingly persistent effort is not only classy but seriously lovely as the sense of harmony is second to none in this group. Moreover, because this is a wine of refined power, it could actually be enjoyed now though it seems a shame to waste so much upside potential.”

Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin 2008 ($249.95) $169 special 4 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 94 points 
 “Good deep red. Ineffably complex aromas of wild red fruits, menthol, white pepper, minerals and powdered stone. A wine of great nobility, a bit imploded on entry, then wonderfully complex and aromatic in the middle, with terrific sappiness and energy to the lightly saline flavors of red fruits, spices, licorice and crushed stone. The rising, endless finish titillates the taste buds. This makes the Latricieres seem dry in comparison.”

Faiveley Nuits St Georges Les St Georges 2008 ($129.95) $99 special 6+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
  “Palish medium red. Medicinal red cherry, minerals, crushed stone, violet, rose petal and white pepper on the noble nose. Wonderfully silky and pure, with ineffable flavors of red fruits, spices, flowers and minerals. This is wonderfully delicate, and not a fleshy wine, yet saturates every square millimeter of the palate with flavor. The long, sweet, rising finish offers terrific cut and floral lift. Should make a worthy successor to the outstanding 2007, which also transcends its village. Hervet says that this will be bottled by hand, without filtration.”

Fournier Marsannay Urbain 2008 ($29.95) $19 special 21 bottles available
Winery notes: 
“Juice of 30-40 year-old vines from Clos du Roy, Echezots & Longeroies lays a changing array of flowers in the aroma & gives a moody character to the red fruits of this charming cuvée. ”

Fourrier Gevrey- Chambertin Les Goulots 2008 ($139.95) $99 special 27 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 points
 “Ultra bright in dark berry fruit but without any aggressive tartness, Fourrier’s 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Goulots – from Gevrey’s highest-altitude site between Champeaux and Combes au Moines (named for ‘the gullies’ formed by forest rain run-off) – allies its formidable fruit to diverse, ineffable mineral elements for which ‘chalk,’ ‘salt,’ and ‘crushed stone’ are poor proxies – making for a resonant, vibrant interchange of finishing flavors, underlain by meat sock that promotes helpless salivation. This bundle of energy should be worth following for at least 10-12 years.”

Geantet- Pansiot Charmes Chambertin 2008 ($219.95) $179 special 12 bottles available
Burghound 93 points
 “A reserved but fresh and very pretty nose of primarily red berries cut with hints of earth and oak that complements well the rich, full-bodied and powerful broad-shouldered flavors that are supported by a firm tannic spine and excellent dry extract levels that coat the palate on the beautifully long finish. This is head and shoulders above the rest of the range but note that patience will be required.”

JJ Confuron Clos de Vougeot ($179.95) $149 special 3 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points 
“Good medium red with a hint of amber at the rim.  Complex aromas of ripe cherry, menthol and wild herbs; very Clos Vougeot.  Silky-sweet, dense and energetic; sappy, fruit-driven wine with excellent stuffing.  Rigorous and taut without being hard.  A superb vintage for this wine.  Alain Meunier told me he did a strict triage in 2008, and the selection has clearly paid off here.”

Rene Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 2008 ($49.95) $36 special 9 bottles available
 “A very fresh and rather woodsy nose of forest floor, floral and wild red berry aromas merges into relatively refined flavors that possess a detailed and earthy finish that is clean, linear and mildly austere. This is quite fine for a villages Gevrey.”

Louis Boillot Gevrey Chambertin 2008 ($49.95) $33 special 23 bottles available
Burghound 88-90 points
“Like the Fixin, this is unusually elegant with a pretty blend of upper and lower register aromas that include fresh red berry fruit with earth and underbrush nuances that also extend to the detailed, pure and very Gevrey-like medium-bodied flavors that possess both excellent depth and length on the vibrant and lingering finish. The old vine sap is in evidence and this is one to consider as it’s a fine villages.”

Lous Boillot Gevrey Chambertin Evocelles 2008 ($74.95) $49 special 10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91-92 points
 “Sweetly ripe morellos cherries such as one found in the corresponding 2006 fill the nose and mouth from Boillot’s 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles, which also evinces an especially savory if elusive meatiness and the piquancy of fruit pits. Sappy and vibrant through to its long finish, this superb evocation of an under-rated site should be worth attending to for at least a decade.”

Lous Latour Corton Grancey 2008 ($119.95) $89 special 12 bottles available
Burghound 89-92 points 
“Mild wood influence does not compromise the transparency of the fresh and earthy red pinot fruit nose that exhibits a slight sauvage character that can also be found on the energetic, detailed and tautly muscled middle weight flavors that possess good richness and more refinement than usual on the serious, long and linear finish where a touch of austerity can also be seen.”

JF Mugnier Nuits St Georges Marechale 2008 ($99.95) $89 special 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points 
“The 2008 Nuits St. Georges Clos de la Marechale offers up black cherries, sweet spices, flowers and licorice, all of which meld together beautifully in a weightless, impeccably elegant style. Floral, minty notes add complexity and nuance on the refined finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.”

Perrot Minot Gevrey Chambertin Fontenys 2008 ($159.95) $109 special 5 bottles available
Perrot Minot produces this bottling from selectively purchased grapes from the 1er Cru of Les Fontenys. The wines are  50-100% destemmed, cold macerated for a week before 12-14 months of cask aging.

Perrot Minot Morey St Denis La Riotte 2008 ($159.95) $109 special 3 bottles available
Burghound 88-91 points
 “I very much like the nose of this wine as it’s classic Morey but elegant and quite pure with moderately earthy wild red berry fruit aromas that convey a subtle sense of the sauvage that is also reflected by the relatively supple and forward middle weight flavors that evidence a discreet minerality on the lacy and refined finish where the only nit is a hint of warmth. Overall, this is beautifully balanced and if it can add depth in bottle, it should merit the upper end of my projected range.”

Perrot Minot Nuits St Georges Richemone 2008 ($199.95) $149 special 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 93 points
 “The Perrot-Minot 2008 Nuits-St.-Georges La Richemone Vieilles Vignes delivers scents and flavors of tart but ripe blackberry, Maine blueberry, machine oil, and licorice. Firmly tannic but also glycerin-rich and brightly juicy, and with low-toned suggestions of beef marrow and dark chocolate, this formidable Pinot doesn’t become too austere even when its finish turns toward crushed stone, cherry pit, and pencil lead. In fact, it’s positively vibratory in its reverberative fruit-mineral-herb interplay that will leave your mouth wrung-out. I would plan to chart this wine’s coarse fearlessly for 15 or more years, but don’t look to it for elegance or charm. (This is another site from which Perrot-Minot has on occasion bottled the oldest vines separately as an “Ultra” cuvee, but not this year.)

Jacques Prieur Chambertin 2008 ($399.95) $319 special 6 bottles available
Burghound 92-94 points
 “This cool and equally fresh and restrained nose offers notably denser and much more complex aromas of red and blue pinot fruit, violets, earth and pungent minerality that is very much in keeping with the backward and ultra primary flavors that are firm, intense and precise, all wrapped in an austere, driving and powerful finish. This has everything it needs to amply reward long-term cellaring and it will need it.”

Jacques Prieur Musigny 2008 ($479.95) $349 special 1 bottle available
Burghound 92-95 points 
“The spicy and densely fruited nose is stunningly elegant with breathtaking purity and is followed by rich, intense and powerful broad-scaled flavors that are naturally sweet and precise, all culminating in an explosive and highly persistent finish. This is by no means a really big Musigny yet it is impeccably well-balanced, fresh and complete. In sum, this is a seriously fine effort.”

Serafin Gevrey Chambertin Corbeaux 2008 ($99.95) $79 special 3 bottles available
Burghound 91 points
 “Mild reduction knocks down the nose somewhat so be sure to decant this if you’re going to try a bottle young. Otherwise, there is good freshness and vibrancy to the earthy and slightly animale middle weight flavors that possess a mildly more refined tannic spine and a superbly long finish. I very much like the overall sense of depth and this is very Corbeaux as the hallmark sauvage character is quite strong.”

Serafin Gevrey Chambertin Fontenys 2008 ($109.95) $89 special 2 bottles available
Burghound 91 points
 ‘OUTSTANDING’ “Here the nose is clean and fresh with a discreet touch of wood framing overtly earthy and attractively layered dark berry fruit aromas that possess a hint of animale that can also be discerned on the rich, full and mouth coating flavors that possess obvious volume and punch plus I like the texture of the vibrant finish that offers fine depth and length. The other aspect that I like is all of the Gevrey character this exudes. In a word, lovely.”

Violot Guillemard Beaune Clos Mouchere 2008 ($74.95) $59 special 4 bottles available
Burghound 90 points
 “Here the nose offers a small step up in overall elegance with a nicely nuanced aromatic profile of primarily red pinot fruit, minerals and a touch of underbrush that is followed by delicious, sweet and racy medium weight flavors that feature more finishing minerality and a fine sense of balance. I like the purity of expression and this is sufficiently forward that it could easily be enjoyed now.”

Violot Guillemard Pommard Derriere St Jean 2008 ($85.95) $69 special 4 bottles available
Burghound 90 points
 “This offers a noticeable step up in finesse and aromatic elegance with pretty and very pure earthy red raspberry and cherry notes that blend into naturally sweet, rich and delineated middle weight flavors that carry obvious finishing minerality and solid punch. This is really quite a nice effort as the balance is impeccable and the overall impression is a Pommard of finesse and understatement.”

Violot Guillemard Auxey- Duresses Reugnes 2008 ($49.95) $39 special 1 bottle available
Burghound 89 points
 “This is also relatively elegant for its appellation with high-toned red pinot fruit liberally laced with soft soil undertones that merge into supple, round and focused medium-bodied flavors that possess a sappy mouth feel and a mild hint of austerity on the less refined but longer finish.”