Photo: Jeff Burch and Pascal Marchand at a gathering of the Chevaliers du Tastevin, a society of Burgundy wine lovers.
Article by John Jens, wine writer and owner of Lamonts Wine Store Cottesloe.
ONE of the world’s great masters of wine once said that if you were a wine zealot and that if you went to every great tasting that you could, and that if you lived wine, that then, perhaps twice a year, you might try truly outstanding wine. Perhaps a hundred memorable wines in your lifetime. He added that, on reflection, you would realise they had all been from Bordeaux. But then he added, in that same lifetime, you could taste five unbelievably great wines that you would remember forever and that each stood head and shoulders above any other flavour, length and texture that you had been associated with. Just one wine every decade. And then he summed up: “…all five of these would be pinot noirs from Burgundy”. Wine’s Holy Grail.
The world has never seen burgundies like the 2009 vintage releases.There has been a fundamental change in the market place. Burgundy will never be the same. Better vineyard and winery practices, better oak and cork… and then chuck in an appealing and marvellous vintage and we end up with more great wines and more magic than ever.
UK Master of Wine Jancis Robinson lamented on her website about the ‘sold out’ results at wine merchants. “There's a problem with the 2009 vintage in Burgundy,” she said. “In cellar after cellar, it’s too attractive and for once this was a vintage that delivered both quality and quantity. “(Burgundy) pinot noirs were charming, bursting with ripe fruit, balanced in a very seductive, forward manner and absolutely delicious to taste."
Bruce Sanderson of the American Wine Spectator said at their best the reds would be great wines that should develop beautifully over the next 20 to 30 years. “After tasting through the almost universally soft, long, generous, textured, delicious and wonderful early drinking and brilliantly made 2009 red releases from Bouchard Pere, Louis Latour, Marchand and Burch and Jean Marc Millot and others recently, it becomes very clear that Burgundy lovers should get down to their local wine merchant for a discussion – soon,” he said.
In 1976, Penfolds produced a reasonably priced red wine, Koonunga Hill, that captured the public’s imagination. Over the years it lost a little of its lustre as production expanded. A couple of years ago chief winemaker Peter Gago instructed the Penfold winemaking team to rebuild Koonunga Hill’s battered image by matching the finest of the earlier releases. These annual and multi-trophy winning ‘Seventy-Six’ releases are the result.
The 2010 release is as crowd-pleasing as that 1976 release and the 2006 13th anniversary wine. It is crimson in colour, has serious fruit quality – it’s juicy, plump, ripe and soft. Although very young, modern winemaking techniques leave the lingering fine tannins soft, ripe and easy with a lovely finish and aftertaste. 17.8 points and available at restaurants, wine bars and pubs only.