RIP: La Tache 1991

An evening to remember. An afternoon to forget. Conceived as a celebration of his new job, my friend, ‘Risky Business’ had declared his interest in drinking a special bottle. In fact what is widely considered to be one of THE special bottles – if you are a Burgundy nut at least: La Tache 1991. Having supplied said bottle and having read up on it, I volunteered to decant the Tache at the office (a few hours prior to dinner at The Square).

By the time I’d cut the capsule I was worried. By the time I had the corkscrew in the cork – which began to turn freely in the neck of the bottle – I knew that I, and the La Tache – was in trouble. I just about managed to withdraw a distinctly dry cork from the bottle in one piece. As I began to pour a Burgundian legend, the sensation of cold water running down my back increased. Completely brown with no hint of garnet, let alone ruby remaining. Madeira-like in aroma, but without any freshness or acidity, this bottle was completely ‘gone’. RIP La Tache 1991. (By all accounts this is not typical, clearly !)

Fortunately Risky Business is a man who knows how to prevent a crisis. One speculates that (professionally speaking) he sees the potential crises he averts as more serious than the incidence of an oxidised bottle of La Tâche; but from the wine merchant’s perspective, frankly – I doubt it. So, apparently unflustered, Risky Business took the matter in hand and, with the insouciance of a professional magician, produced another bottle to conjure with.

NB: to what extent Mme Bize-Leroy might approve of her wines being seen as “stand-ins” for the DRC is unclear……

2010 Meursault Perrieres, Roulot (96/100)

I was slightly surprised at the colour of this wine – which was a little more golden that I expected. So my suspicions were raised that we might be looking at oxidised wine number two of the evening….. Fortunately those concerns were rapidly assuaged, although without tasting a second bottle (any volunteers ?) I did initially wonder if this bottle was just fractionally more advanced than is typical. Anyway: rich, Lafon-like scent of lemon zest, candied peel, and lemon cheesecake. I wouldn’t have guessed this as Roulot I don’t think. Full bodied. Fleshy and opulent but with the freshness and acidity to balance the sheer volume of this wine. It really is very large scaled. Reminds me of the flavour of the lemon and honey cough mixture that my mother gave us as children. Which I loved: she had to hide the bottle ! Finishes stoney and bracing. Fantastic. As the evening progressed I became more and more convinced it is just a big, big Roulot Perrieres – the finish got more and more vivid and saline.

2002 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Beaux Monts, Domaine Leroy  (97/100)

Still a good bright ruby garnet colour. A huge relief and contrast to the lifeless tawny colour of the Tache 1991. Amazing fragrance. Really lifted and very, very intense. Aromas of hawthorn, briar, gravel, rose petal and peony. Turbo-charged freshness and vivacity. You’d swear this was a Grand Cru, and a great one at that, from the scent. Very, very long flavoured. Masculine, firm, savoury and dry with the lovely freshness of bright red fruit when first opened. Progressing beautifully in the glass and becoming darker and spicier. Hugely flavoursome. Later I picked up hints of tar and the proverbial ‘roasting tin’ meaty savoury aspect. A great wine and for my palate, bang on right now. No doubt it will last for ages, but why wait.

2010 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Pinot 92/100

Served after the big red and white Burgundies. Which worked for me – in fact it generally works for me – after mature flavours and aromatics I find myself craving lively fresh scents and juicy primary flavours. Bright, full ruby colour. Strawberry and cherry nose, just a touch jammy. Full bodied and flavoursome, with tons of red and black fruit. Also hints of tomato and fennel emerging as it sat in the glass. Finishes with velvety tannins and hints of slate or granite. Recognisably not Burgundy but recognisably Pinot albeit quite ripe. Really good but not absolutely top class – just slightly one dimensional. A very nice bottle nonetheless.

~ Very many thanks to Risky Businesss for his magnanimous attitude in case of vinous adversity