It had been many years since we compared these wines (the last was in April 2005), so the time was ripe for another visit to Burgundy, specifically the reds. Why did we wait so long? Price was a big factor, since demand for these has soared in recent years, and production remains small, especially for Premier Cru and Grand Cru versions.
Still, our winner was also the best value of the night, at a reasonable $35 (at least for Burgundy), offering outstanding balance and intensity. The podium was completed by two Premier Cru wines, separated by only one point. These were all at least very good to outstanding wines, with the exception of our last place finisher.
Note that this time we excluded basic Bourgogne bottlings, in order to focus on village level wines and above.
First Place: François Raquillet Mercurey Vieilles Vignes 2016. A little bit of funk on the nose, like a slightly used tube sock, some cola, dark earth, and milk chocolate. Not unlike a stout beer. With the nose being a bit quiet, Andy P felt that "the vapor pressure is low." Spicy in the mouth, with notions of cola, paired with great intensity and outstanding balance. Some Good & Plenty notes on the finish, along with black tea. Resa felt that "this is my breakfast blend." Received first place votes from Resa, Andy R, and David, for a total of 26 points. Andy P's bottle. About $35.
Second Place: Domaine Dublère Morey-Saint-Denis Les Blanchards Premier Cru 2015. Tasters found chalky scents, like an older lady's powder or perfume, plus red flowers, stems, rose bush, tomato leaf, white pepper, honey, and resin. Dark and inky flavors, like black cherry, blackberries, Cynar, and bitter chocolate. Darkly elegant, as well as concentrated. Sultry. Strong attack, but also stays with us. Resa decided that it was a "Valentine's Day wine." Received no top votes, but everyone gave this at least a point, with a total of 20. David's bottle. About $75.
Third Place: Domaine des Croix Beaune Les Cents Vignes Premier Cru 2013. Dark, bold nose, offering aromas of dark spices, fall forest floor, violets, green moss, mulch, leaves, cola, saw dust, and spruce. Andy P enjoyed this, saying that "my mouth doesn't resist it." Flavors of cinnamon, black tea, nutmeg, apple pie, and dried blueberries. Mouthcoating texture. Autumnal. Ali and Kristin's favorite. 19 total points. Resa's bottle. About $53.
Michel Gay et Fils Aloxe-Corton Vieilles Vignes 2014. Like gypsum on the nose, plus tarragon, black cherries, blueberries, cocoa powder, and a hint of cola and funk. Resa felt that "the tarragon just punched me in the face." Showed a fuller, richer body compared to most of the others. Flavors of cola, Dr. Pepper, vanilla, licorice, pencil shavings, and some creaminess. The oaky notes stood out here, but was well-balanced and long, with an oregano quality appearing. Andy P's favorite of the night. 14 points. Ali's bottle. About $53.
Lorenzon Mercurey Cuvée 37 2016. Bright and dusty scents, similar to clay, but also vanilla, new suede, sweet pomegranate, cranberry, tart cherry, and fresh potting soil. Interesting minerality on the palate, reminiscent of iodine. Doesn't taste like it smells, with flavors of cedar, pine, and sun tea. Mouthwatering acidity. Nice texture. 5 points. Andy R's bottle. About $37.
Louis Latour Marsannay 2016. Jumps out of the glass with a funky nose, like rubber tires, Band Aids, wet asphalt or a driveway, plus cherry scents and a chalkiness. Smells unnatural. Tastes like cologne or an animal perfume. Reminiscent of an arts and crafts project. David was reminded of "fruit juice mixed with spices and vodka", while Ali detected "Juicy Juice with a spray of cologne." Artificial. No points. Kristin's bottle. About $26.