Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trip to Europe (Bourgogne-France-Fall 2011)...Tasting at Comte Armand and Benjamin Leroux

(Day 2)
Our first full-day in Bourgogne in this trip started in the rain. But, it was not too cold, and I actually enjoyed the ambience.

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Our first appointment was with Comte Armand. My idol(?!) Benjamin Leroux welcomed us and gave us the tasting of 2010 barrel samples. I was so happy to see Benjamin again!

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2010 vintage
Bourgogne Blanc, Aligote...from 90-year-old vines in Meursault.
Bourgogne Blanc (Chardonnay + 15% Musque clone)...from Volnay sites.
Auxey-Duresses, Village
Auxey-Duresses, 1er Cru
Volnay, Village (from 4 different vineyards)
Volnay 1er Cru, "Fremiets"

Then, we tasted 4 different cuvees (from 4 different sites) of Pommard 1er Cru, "Clos des Epeneaux", which were going to be blended to become final wine to bottle.
1. from top of the vineyard (more clay)
2. from less elevation (50-year-old vine)
3. from Grands Epeneaux
4. from another plot below 1.&2 (1.2.4 are from Petits Epeneaux)

We also tasted the blended version of Clos des Epeneaux.

Then, he let us taste 2009 Clos des Epeneaux.

Benjamin said he is not a big fan of whole cruster fermentation (doesn't like the stemmy character). He said he only sometimes does a little of it for developing aromatic on the mid palate. While 2009 is generally said to be a great vintage in the recent years, Benjamin prefers 2010 for its balance and elegance. 2010 can be similar to 2008 in a sense, but 2010 has more finesse, good tannin, power, ripeness, and long finish. Most fruits achieved ripeness 2010.

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After Comte Armand, we had tasting of his own negotient label, Benjami Leroux at its location. We were there last year, and it was one of the most memorable tasting of the trip. This year, we tasted all 2010 vintage, and it was another very special experience. Here's the lineup.

2010 vintage
Volnay Village
Volnay 1er Cru, "Mitars"
Volnay 1er Cru, "Clos des la Cave de Duc" (part of Las Villages vineyard, but you can't use this vineyard name to call it 1er cru)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Village
Gevrey-Chambertin Village
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, "Champeaux"
Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, "Pux Torey"
Clos de la Roche
Clos Vougeot

Meursault Village
Meursault 1er Cru, "Poruzots"
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru, "Embrazees"
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru, "Tete de Clos"

Wow, Benjamin's wines were all magical. On top of terroir, his wines shows his natural approach and they have the finesse. I felt so lucky to have his barrel tastings two years in a row, and hope there will be many more in the future.