I was extremely fortunate to be invited to my first ever Anne Gros Richebourg vertical on Wednesday… in fact it was my first Anne Gros vertical of anything, so was delighted to start at the top. I have been well aware of her amazing wines in a ‘reputation sense’ for many years, and have had a few bottles over that time but not enough to get a real idea of what I’ve been missing. My first experience of her Domaine was a fabulous bottle of her 1990 Richebourg that Desmond Lim kindly shared with me in Singapore in 1999. And I should have taken more notice. I was lucky enough to taste the 09s with her in the cellars in Vosne Romanée thanks to David Robert’s association with the Domaine (but he keeps most of it for his regular buyers although I did manage to scoop up a case of her Hautes Côtes de Nuits 2009 for Mrs Stopford Sackville’s cellar while he was away in Bordeaux!) This was a wonderful tasting. She is the real deal (oh and there was her 1996 in there to boot. “Oh no, not again you bore”, I hear you cry. Well you, Lotte, I know will at least read this anyway, and Mum as well, hi Mum.)
First of all our generous host didn’t tell us what we would be drinking, the invitation was a casual email suggesting I come to a dinner, bring nothing and share a few bottles from his cellar. Very understated our Desmond (not Lim this time). Desmond consistently brings great wines to all the dinners that we have had together so I knew it was going to be good. I was first to arrive and my host casually announced it was going to be an Anne Gros Richebourg vertical. Luckily I had nothing to drop. The thing that struck me about the tasting was the vintage interpretation that her wines showed. If you landed on Planet Earth from Outer Space and wanted to learn quickly about the qualities of some of Burgundy’s vintages since 1995 (well isn’t that the first thing you would want to know?!) this would be one hell of a good place to start. Also praise worthy is the purity of her wines.
But that wasn’t quite enough. Oh no… We started with a positively mind blowingly good 1982 Le Montrachet from Ramonet. If you had the fortune to pop one of these don’t let the colour put you off. It is golden, but has a lively, still fresh nose and a brilliant, hazel-nutty palate. Will last another 10 years if looked after. 29 year old white Burgundy still going strong, the likes of which we will never see again.
Then onto the Richebourgs. Im not a big scorer of wines but for some reason I decided to score these (out of 20).
2000 – Browning slightly on the rim but lovely, voluptuous fruit and those soft embracing flavours of the best of the 2000s. On the reddish fruit side but held on throughout the night and showed well late on after other bigger vintages. Brilliant start. 17.5.
1998 – Showing a bit of age on appearance and much more obviously ‘tannic’ than the 2000. Closed up but plenty of interesting notes, on the darker fruit side, just lacks a bit of ooomph. 17
2001 – Step up…stunning. Plenty of life ahead, a wine Im going to try and buy. 18.
1995 – Sous bois, but this is not as good as the 2001. A bit 1995 ish, by that I mean a bit blocky, a little hard, slightly pinched fruit, and blowing off some alcohol. Tough year right? 16+?
1996 – Brilliant – quite brilliant. Full of life, fruit, vigour and beautifully handled concentration. Vibrant and voluptuous. 18.5
1999 – I’ve written “hot, rich and hedonistic”. Very youthful, full of potential but still an adolescent. Don’t pull a cork on this until 2016. 19
2002 – I actually preferred the 2002 to the 1999 on the night, and this is rare for me as I love 1999s. Super pure, but ripe with a lovely, lively mineral edge. Long and exciting, and refreshing. Has it all. 20.