The 2002 vintage in Burgundy is being praised as perhaps the best of the past 10 years. Burgundy producers have flaunted that it is difficult to find a poor wine in the 2002 vintage.
Navigating the wines of Burgundy can be a challenge because of the hundreds of appellations that make up the region. Generally, the more specific the source of the grapes, the more expensive the bottle. Village wines can be good values, while tiny Grand Cru vineyards can be astronomically priced. One can spend as little as $10 for a basic bottle labeled "Bourgogne", or $650 for one labeled "Richebourg" (with many in between, and beyond).
Burgundy's classification of wines was the deciding factor in this battle, with the evening's top ranked vineyard (a Premier Cru) the winner, and the most general Bourgogne getting no votes. Second place was an old vine bottling from of a venerated appellation, showing richness and distinctive flavors.
This was our first tasting exclusively from one vintage, and was an opportunity to compare tastes from different areas of Burgundy, without juggling with variations of year.
First Place: Bernard Morey et Fils Maranges "La Fussiere" Premier Cru 2002. Deep red color, and slightly cloudy. Aromas of bubble gum, dried raspberries, sweet spices (cinnamon), and grilled meat. Exhibited a thicker, riper mouth filling body. Tasters described flavors of fresh raspberries, cranberries, and orange rind. Kind of tart, but in a good way. A warming, long finish. Ali noted that it turns sweet, like raspberry coulis. Kristin announced, "I miss Andy", and everyone at the table concurred. Received 26 total points. Ali's bottle. About $27.
Second Place: Domaine Fourrier Chambolle-Musigny Vieille Vigne 2002. Ruby in color, with a nose that was more sweet than earthy, featuring bubble gum (Bazooka), black cherry, cola, oak, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Medium bodied. Tasted of dried berries, vanilla, and strawberries. Kristin detected notes of tires and "half & half", while Ali found crème brulee. The most tannic wine of the night. Distinctive. Received 20 points. Sarah's bottle. About $49.
Third Place: Louis Jadot Cote de Nuits-Villages "Le Vaucrain" 2002. Clear red. Nose was floral (lilies), with overripe cherries, and a little spiciness. Velvety texture. Bright acidity, with pepper, dried fruits, cranberries, and coffee grounds. Not as persistent as some of the others . . . ends abruptly. Kristin described this as "a tease". Received 16 points. Stephen's bottle. About $22.
Louis Jadot Pernand-Vergelesses 2002. More purple in color than the others. Aromas of celery, beef stew, tomato, wet earth and melted crayons. Medium bodied. Featured flavors of cherry, prune, plum, violets, dark spices and dried herbs. Finish sticks around. Received 3 points. David's bottle. About $20.
Bouchard Pere & Fils Bourgogne La Vignee 2002. Clear, rosy color. Very earthy on the nose, with mushrooms, rusty iron, nutmeg and pepper. Light body. Tasted thin, with hints of cherry and a metallic finish. Kristin felt it was "pleasant", but Ali derided it for smelling "fishy". The wine's body odor like smell reminded Ali of "Europe in the summer on a hot day". No points. Kristin's bottle. About $17.