Monday our wine group met at Sette Cucina Italiana in Bernardsville for our monthly dinner. Jeff was in the queue to provide the wine and so our collective anticipation was very high. Jeff has been collecting wine longer than anyone in our group. His cellar and knowledge, especially of Burgundy, is very deep. His selections are always exciting as they were tonight. He decided on wines from Burgundy with considerable age on them. It was a multiple WOW evening.
Sette Cucina has become a regular stop for us. We tell chef/owner Allan Philip Russo what wines we will be drinking and leave the menu in his hands. He never fails to knock the ball out of the park. Tonight’s menu:
1996 Jacques Prieur Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru. This prestigious domaine is alone in owning vines in each of the five most prestigious vineyards in Burgundy; Chambertin, Musigny, Clos Vouget, Corton Charlemagne and Montrachet.
Tonight the wine drank magnificently. Not a hint of premature oxidation. It possessed a wonderful and what I would call mature bouquet that heightened expectations that were fulfilled with the first sip. The palate was deep, rich, and complex with harmonious acidity and minerality. The finish was long and elegant. One of the best Montrachet’s I have ever tasted.
For the reds, Jeff brought along three Volnays, two from the same vineyard with a gap of 42 years between youngest and oldest. The commune of Volnay is in Côte de Beaune of Burgundy. There are no Grand Cru vineyards within Volnay, but several highly regarded Premier Cru vineyards such as the three we drank. As Jeff explained, "all the wines were tasting correct for the Volnay terroir and very similar. This is why in Burgundy people always talk first about the terroir and second the winemaker."
1979 Michel Lafarge Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er Cru. The wine exhibited a translucent red hue with very little bricking. An amazing color for a wine of this age. The palate was medium-bodied with excellent fruit, purity and focus. I can only imagine what this wine was like 10 or 15 years ago. After 36 years it continues to drink with lots of soul.
1952 Potinet-Ampeau Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er Cru. I was initially blown away by the gorgeous translucent red hue. There was virtually no bricking. The fruit was very much in tact on a harmonious and focused palate. Quite and enjoyable experience.
1937 Camile Giroud Hospices de Beaune Volnay Cuvée Blondeau 1er Cru. Like the previous two bottles, the hue here was gorgeous with no bricking. The wine had quite a bit of life to it and probably will for another ten years or so I would think. The bouquet was earthy and fresh. On the palate it was full-bodied with amazing complexity and balance for its age. The oldest red Burgundy I have ever had and it was a joy to experience.