I recently was fortunate enough to attend a tasting comparing two vintages across four 1er cru vineyards of the acclaimed Volnay producer Marquis d’Angerville. For those of you who aren’t Burgundy fiends, Volnay is a village in the Cote de Beaune that is known for turning out reds that can be lacy and silky in texture, if perhaps a bit thinner or less accomplished than those of the more heralded villages in the Cotes de Nuits.
The vintages we tasted were 2007 and 2008, which are generally affordable vintages compared to more hyped vintages like 2005 and 2009 for burgundies. Although it seems most Burgundy critics and fans prefer the 2008 vintage generally, my impression coming into the tasting based on a small sample size was that I preferred 2007 by a bit. This was based on having had some very good 2007 village to 1er cru bottlings from producers like JF Mugnier and Henri Gouges (yes Gouges, who apparently has been making most of their bottlings in a more approachable style than they have been known for in the past) and some early tastings of 2008s that left me underhwelmed. I come out of the d’Angerville tasting, the first time I have tasted 2007s and 2008s side by side, with the opposite impression, liking the 2008 version more in most cases.
Before moving on to the d’Angerville wines specifically, a bit about the evolution of the 2008s as I have seen it. When a first tasted some sixty or so 2008s (including about 20 whites) as barrel samples, I was concerned that most of the wines were irredeemably acidic.
At that stage, I pretty much had to go to premier cru or grand cru wines to find enough quality fruit to balance the acid; bourgognes and village wines were painfully tart.
In late 2010, when I got to taste a full range of 20+ wines from Domaine d’Ardhuy in bottle, I began to feel that the 2008s were starting to come around, fleshing out a bit in bottle.
Two years later, with this d’Angerville tasting, I find the 08s to be relatively open and showing perfumed if not particularly complex fruit.
And what of the acid that concerned me so at the barrel tasting stage? Sure enough, it retains a certain stridency in most cases that is just enough to keep the 2008s from being a complete success. On their own, the 08s are enjoyable if imperfect wines that can be had at more reasonable prices than the more heralded 2009s and 2010s. Tasted side by side with 2010s, as I was able to do with a number of Daniel Rion wines recently, the shortcomings of the 2008s are more easily apparent. Still, Burgundy lovers should enjoy the vintage for what it is, where good prices can be found.
The 2007s can generally be found in the same price range as the 2008s, so tasting the d’Angerville wines in flights of two, comparing the 2007 and 2008 versions of the same wine each time, was particularly instructive for me. We tasted premier cru bottlings from Caillerets, Champans, Taillepieds and a monopole, Clos des Ducs. In all cases except one, I preferred the 2008 for (more…)