TN Maison Ilan

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Simon Grant, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. MAISON ILAN @ MEDLAR - (05/07/2018)

    • 2010 David Leclapart Champagne Cuvée l'Amateur - France, Champagne
      Curious nose of salt and vinegar crisps. Slightly balsamic vinegar. Quite rich on the palate. A little bruised apple. With a bit of air, and cooler, this has tightened up nicely. Still characterful in a slightly unruly way, but fresh and very drinkable. *** (88 pts.)
    • 2010 Maison Ilan Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Corbeaux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
      Reasonably dense mid ruby. Quite rich and bacon fat savoury on the nose. Tighter and slightly denser, less generous palate. A little pinched. And then the corkiness comes through. NR (flawed)
    • 2010 Maison Ilan Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Corbeaux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
      Vibrant. Kirschy fruit. Densely silky. Plenty of life and interest. All the positive points of the corked bottle but with extra dimension, focus and vibrancy. Very good. **** (92 pts.)
    • 2011 Maison Ilan Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Monts-Luisants - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Morey St. Denis 1er Cru
      Paler. A touch of garnet. Lighter, quite lifted nose. A touch vegetal. Relatively light on the palate and again, a touch vegetal. Good acidity. Perfectly pleasant(ish) but not in the same class as the 10. **1/2 (85 pts.)
    • 2010 Maison Ilan Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Monts-Luisants - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Morey St. Denis 1er Cru
      Similar colour to the 11. Initially served too warm, but a cooler refresh brings more focus. Quite mellow, maturing. Fragrant. Light and quite floaty. Lots of interest here if one looks for it. Deceptively light. I like this far more than do my fellow diners. **** (91 pts.)
    • 2009 Maison Ilan Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Les Chaffots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Morey St. Denis 1er Cru
      Dense ruby. Lovely nose. Good fruit, quite meaty with a touch of caramel. Darker, slightly 11 savoury on the palate. **(*1/2) Turns out to score the same as when first tasted in 2011. (90 pts.)
    • 2010 Maison Ilan Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Les Chaffots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Morey St. Denis 1er Cru
      A little lighter. Mid ruby to a touch of garnet. Floral but relatively subdued nose. Elegant. Moderately rich palate. A slightly lighter version of the 2011. ***1/2 (90 pts.)
    • 2011 Maison Ilan Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Les Chaffots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Morey St. Denis 1er Cru
      A little darker a little darker but still mid ruby with a hint of garnet. More savoury on the nose. Quite sweet-fruited. Plenty of interest. I like this. **** (91 pts.)
    • 2010 Maison Ilan Charmes-Chambertin Aux Charmes Hautes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
      Dense ruby with a touch of garnet. Quite ponky reductive initially. Rich, sweet-fruited, a touch of caramel. Relatively light and dare I say it, charming in the general context. Attractive. ***1/2 (90 pts.)
    • 2011 Maison Ilan Charmes-Chambertin Aux Charmes Hautes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
      Dense. Slightly dense ruby. Very fragrant. Rose petals. Fuller and denser on the palate. Darker and denser. A little less persistent than the Mazoyeres. **** (91 pts.)
    • 2011 Maison Ilan Mazoyères-Chambertin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru
      Slightly dense, dark ruby. Nose a little flat initially, then slightly reductive. Again quite rich on the palate but less rounded than the Charmes. A slight bite. A fine velvety density. Lots here. **** (92 pts.)
    • 2012 Maison Ilan Mazoyères-Chambertin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru
      Slightly dull, finely cloudy. A little
      Muddy on the nose. A touch of beetroot. A touch natural. Somewhat fuzzy. Wow, very rounded and sweet-fruited and open on the palate. ***1/2 (90 pts.)
    • 2011 Maison Ilan Chambertin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru
      Dark, dense ruby. A touch of lift. Very harmonious, densely silky. Attractive. A touch savoury on the nose. **** (91 pts.)
    • 2010 Maison Ilan Chambertin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru
      Bright ruby, a little lighter. Some evolution. Harmonious. Not much more substance here than the Chaffots. Nice, but that’s slightly faint praise in the context. A bit more stuffing cf the Chaffots 11 but I prefer the latter’s delicacy. ***1/2 (90 pts.)

    Very revealing. Wines show a clear signature, and an equally clear transparency from vintage to vintage and between appellations. Far more transparent at this age than, for instance, Fourrier. 09 showed quite richly, the 10s a little under-powered, the 11s a strong showing for the vintage. The grand crus showed better and more densely than the premiers. The wines have turned out pretty much in the style described/intended — a very creditable achievement. In general one could argue that each appellation isn’t as strong as it could/should be, but there are significantly worse efforts in appellation and vintage elsewhere. Wines above expectation, and with a clear, transparent and authentic signature. I might not dash out to buy more at market rates, but happy to own the wines I have, and I look forward to trying them over the next decade or so. A good result.

    Votes on the night:
    2011 Chambertin the run away winner
    2011 Charmes Chambertin in second
    and very closely behind, the 2011 Mazoyeres.
    2010 Corbeaux a way behind again and the 12 Mazoyeres a shade behind that.
    Posted from CellarTracker

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  2. Sounds good, sorry to have to withdraw. Look forward to the notes. Hope the lamb dish was good.
  3. IMG_1795.JPG IMG_1798.JPG IMG_1799.JPG IMG_1800.JPG
    I'll put some notes up later today some time, but in the meantime, having come to the Maison Ilan wines with no preconceptions, it's fair to say that they were mostly enjoyable, authentic burgundies. There was a clear sense of style that informed all the wines. The old canard put about by some - without evidence - (including by some people here on the forum) that they have been bought in from various sources as made wines just does not align with the evidence of 12 wines drunk over one evening. There has also been a bit of a tendency to damn the wines in lieu of damning Ray himself. The wines are gentle and old-fashioned in style, with the only obvious general shortcoming being that the 2009s and 2010s are for early consumption. The premier crus in particular reminded me of some burgundies made in the eighties with a slightly fuzzy profile coming from an obviously more oxidative vinification and/or elevage. The grand crus had quite a lot going for them with the Mazoyeres and Charmes outgunning the Chambertin for me. There was a significant step up from the premier crus to the grands crus (except for the Corbeaux 10 which over-performed) evidenced by more substance and greater detail. Some of the premier crus had a curiously Cote de Beaune character to them (especially aromatically), but the grands crus were unmistakably Cote de Nuits in style. All the wines were sealed with high quality corks as well. I was characterizing the wines last night as being 'second tier' (like say Louis Latour or Frederic Esmonin), but then they were made by a mercurial character with pretty well no prior experience. They are also the kind of wines that are clearly good enough to escape the 'avoid' category. I doubt that many others with such limited experience could have reliably and consistently achieved even second tier status. If you can separate these wines from the larger than life and morally compromised character who produced them, and look at them objectively, they are perfectly solid burgundies.
  4. It was bugging me, but now I remember whose wines they reminded me most of - it was eighties wines from Arnoux.
    Leon Marks likes this.
  5. Thanks all, this sounds like the outcome I was rather expecting. I'm not at all sorry not to have bought any but the one thing I've always said in Walker's favour is that he was a genuine rather than bogus burgundy enthusiast, for all his other failings.
  6. Oh please don't say that.... I would be forced to go an find some, as I have a real soft spot for the Robert Arnoux's wines before Pascal took over.
    Ben Coffman and Richard Zambuni like this.
  7. And now some notes. I missed taking any notes on the Paul Bara champagne.

    Champagne Cuvée L’Amateur David Leclapart
    A slightly cidery, salty, sea-breeze nose with as Simon G says, a hint of salt and vinegar crisps. Just a touch of unruly volatility on the nose too. This is an all-chardonnay wine, but initially it seems to have the kind of breadth that comes from pinot noir. Rich and very dry in style with a strongly acidic finish. The chardonnay character comes through with time in the glass. An uncompromising style here. ***

    Gevrey-Chambertin 1er cru Les Corbeaux Maison Ilan 2010
    The first bottle was mildly corked. The second bottle was in fine condition and quite probably the best premier cru example of the evening. There’s an attractive bright cherry nose with more savoury notes emerging after time in the glass. There’s plenty of crisp, bright red fruit here with some tightness still on the palate. There’s just the slightest sense of rusticity to the fruit, but there’s plenty here. Finishes well. Likely to age well into the mid-term. ***½

    Morey Saint-Denis 1er cru Monts Luisants Maison Ilan 2011
    A bit thin and vegetal on the nose with some brown sugar notes. Better on the palate with the under-ripe character giving a bit of lift. Overall, there’s a lack of energy here. The wine is dull. **½

    Morey Saint-Denis 1er cru Monts Luisants Maison Ilan 2010
    A bit warm and diffuse on the nose, but part of the problem is the serving temperature on this very warm and muggy evening. This has an earthy, red-fruited character that reminds me of a Beaune 1er cru. Not bad at all, but still a little dull in character. ***

    Morey Saint-Denis 1er cru Les Chaffots Maison Ilan 2010
    This is an attractive wine with freshness and good dark cherry fruit. There’s a bit of grip and freshness here. Quite Gevrey in character. Plenty of life in this and it should age well. ***½

    Morey Saint-Denis 1er cru Les Chaffots Maison Ilan 2009
    The nose shows richly with hints of kirsch and brown sugar and cooked red fruits. This has the easy-going character of a warm vintage burgundy. It is pleasant and elegant with plenty of substance, but it also lacks a little precision. ***

    Morey Saint-Denis 1er cru Les Chaffots Maison Ilan 2011
    Again this wine shows an earthy Cote de Beaune character on the nose. There’s serious substance here, good length, and savoury strawberry fruit on the palate with clear 2011 character. There’s a good finish with a sense of lift. Best of this flight of Chaffots I think. ***½

    Charmes-Chamberin Aux Charmes Hautes Maison Ilan 2010
    There’s a slightly reductive nose on this Charmes and that reductive character also runs on to to the palate. Difficult to ascertain precise flavours – the fruit is a little gummy, but this may well show better with more age. Good substance here, but not enough precision for a grand cru. ***

    Charmes-Chamberin Aux Charmes Hautes Maison Ilan 2011
    There is a nice floral nose here, but with a sense that something is still being held back. Nicely dense on the palate and good lift comes through from refreshing acidity. Not quite ready. Good. ***½

    Mazoyères-Chambertin Maison Ilan 2011
    This has a really quite sexy nose combining earthiness, something spicy and something a touch exotic as well. Understated depth here. Some freshness too. ***½/****

    Mazoyères-Chambertin Maison Ilan 2012
    Deep mulberry red. This is fragrant and savoury with dark cherry fruit, an attractive texture, and an appropriate tannic structure to balance the fruit. There’s mulberry on the palate as well. Very good indeed. ****

    Chambertin Maison Ilan 2011
    There’s a fresh savoury nose here, but there are also some less distinct, cooked notes of beetroot. Better on the palate with 2011 freshness, some soil tones, and obviously grand cru substance. A bit too broad on the mid-palate at the expense of linearity and it lacks the precision one associates with top grand crus. Has a bit of a greenish 2004 character, but no pyrazines. ***½+

    Chambertin Maison Ilan 2010
    There’s a looser nose than the 2011, plenty of strawberry/raspberry fruit but again some diffuseness. After time, there are hints of rose petals and the comfortable flavours of a well evolved wine. Enjoyable. ***½+
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  8. Nicely put Richard. I didn’t subscribe to the view around parts of the table that the earlier wines were evolved, I just don’t think they had much stuffing to start with. No bad thing though. I think I described them as ‘fine boned’ — porcelain rather than a Freud portrait. I wasn’t particularly out of the Cote de Nuits either, though the 10 Monts Luissants reminded me of a less intense version of de Montille Champans 06, but I could equally have gone to something like Arlaud’s Clos de la
    Roche 07 for familial likeness.
    Richard Zambuni likes this.
  9. Simon - I very much agree that they were elegant wines, hence my association with the old Arnoux wines which were light coloured and delicate with quite evolved flavours showing early on.
    Simon Grant likes this.
  10. And thanks again to Ben H for bringing us together.
    Simon Grant likes this.
  11. A very nice evening, thank you all and Ben especially for organising. Between Simon and Richard's notes, and my summer cold, I have very little to add. I was however struck by the relative over-performance of the 2011s, and the under-performance of the 2010s. The 2011 Charmes was lovely to my taste. The one 2012 (Mazoyeres) was very good too, so perhaps Ray was getting better as a winemaker over these few years. All the wines seemed fairly obviously made by the same person in a similar way, and I'm now happy still to own some of the GCs.
    Will Taylor likes this.
  12. I do wonder whether the room/wine temperature contributed slightly to the lack of precision on some of wines' aromas and flavour profiles. We'll never know because we can't reproduce last night's event in the late autumn or winter. The room was lightly air-conditioned and comfortable, but some of the wines might have tightened up their focus with a few more degrees of chill.
  13. Thanks Ben for putting that together, it was great to get a chance to try the wines having read so much about over the years. No formal notes from me as I think Simon and Richard have given a fairly comprehensive sense of the wines as usual. For me the big takeaways were that there is a bigger than expected gulf in class between the 1er and Grand Crus, I know Simon was quite enamored with the light, fine boned style of the 1ers, but they weren't really for me with the GCs showing an energy and concentration that was missing in the 1ers. Also that 2011 surprised to the upside across the board with, for me, the 11 being preferable to the 2010 of each cuvee for which we had the 2 vintages.

    I didn't buy the wines when released as it was a bit before my burgundy buying started and on the back of the dinner i dont think i will be changing that though had I a cellar full of 2011 Grand Crus from Masion Ilan i would definitely be looking forward to following them over the years to come.
    Paul Dellar likes this.
  14. One other thing to add is that on this showing the Chambertin was never worth almost twice the price of the Charmes, which is what was being charged.
    Will Taylor likes this.
  15. Thanks for coming and the usual generosity everyone.

    I thought the Medlar did a very good job as ever.

    It was a fascinating evening, in some ways much as I expected but with slight outperformance of the wines. There was a consistent signature across the line up, I found them to be quite old-fashioned which seems to be as the winemaker intended. I fall somewhere between Will and Simon wrt the premiers - they are low extraction and perhaps lacking a bit of drive but I think they will age fine. The Grands Crus were a clear step up and very enjoyable in the main although the 10 Charmes and Chambertin disappointed, it is interesting that the 10s didn't really work out here whereas in the main the 11s showed well.

    I think it will be great fun to see these wines slipped in blind into various line ups over the next few years.
    Will Taylor likes this.
  16. Thanks for the notes guys. Sounds like a very interesting evening. The notes suggest the wines are better than some scribes on Berserkers have implied.

    Interesting that the 2011s showed better than the 2010s, despite the latter being a supposedly much better vintage. Perhaps 2011 suited Ray Walker's style more, or perhaps he had just acquired more expertise. Or both.

    I think I'll keep my single bottles of 2009 Charmes and 2010 Monts Luisant a little longer.
  17. Thanks Ben for organising last night and to all diners contributions. Special thanks to Medlar team for lovely food and great service.
    Simon and Richard nice precise notes as always.
  18. Very interesting notes. As customer number 7 (!!!), I have a fair bit of Ray’s wines. I even visited him at the winery and helped to label some of his 2009s in the summer of 2010. The only wines I never received were the 2010s so I’m delighted by the results of your tasting!
  19. Thanks Ben and all. A really good and interesting night.

    Thanks for the notes. I’m with the group on most points. The hand of the same winemaker, the relative merits of the vintages and PC/GC - though that not as pronounced for me - and the comparative quality to other producers. I’m also with Will as not having these in my cellar and having no need to rush out and buy. Keeping it general and looking at the wines from a pleasure perspective for me, I’m a point or two down on Simon’s scoring.
    Paul Dellar likes this.
  20. Thanks to Ben for organising a great dinner and I think we had a good group mentality to discuss and look at these wines in reasonable depth.

    I'm also broadly in agreement that the wines really did show some hierarchy from top to bottom, distinct vintage variation and a consistency of wine making style - certainly more so than the myriad of labels and capsules on show!

    My top wine in an absolute sense was the Chambertin '11 - my second bottle to date - but the sweet spot for me was actually the Mazoyeres '11/12 and Charmes '11. I had these only a notch below the Chambertin but they are at half the price and did display some grand cru richness and complexity.

    Looking at others ratings I had a bit more of a spread from the Morey 1er crus marking them a little lower (I thought the '11 perked up a bit more with some air) and a nudge higher for the Chambertin/Grand cru's. The Gevrey Corbeaux '10 showed some class, even the first bottle had some tension and structure before the tca poked its head out, and was a definite notch up from the Moreys.

    It is hard to gauge how much effect the warmth had on the evening, it was a bit of a struggle, but the general style of red fruits, a soft, sweet approachability and lighter extraction did seem to come at the expense of some precision, tension and grip - this of course may have been intentional winemaking. Also, with so many wines and a full table of tasters some of the wines may have opened/evolved further with a bit of air when one remembers that Ray left most of his marbles in the barrels to make the wine in a reductive environment - I only noticed it overtly on two wines though.

    It was difficult to tell whether the '10s seemed a bit under par due to inherent quality or a phase but I was leaning towards a bit tame winemaking on the night. The '11's really did shine though.

    Overall, the wines outperformed my expectation, certainly in a consistency sense, and if the Maison Ilan story had a different outcome these wines could easily be judged as impressive efforts from a young winemaker on an upward curve. The caveat to that was our line up was really only 09/10/11 with a solo 12 and the wheels were still on the wagon at this point so wines from 13 onwards may be a different story.

    I'm going to open another before I head back to BKK and follow it over an evening at a good temperature so I will report back further!
  21. Interestingly, there has been little comment on the wines from those who weren't at the dinner. Perhaps Ray's antics and lifestyle are more entertaining than his wines :confused:.
    Leon Marks likes this.
  22. I'm planning on opening a bottle of the 10 Mont Luisants tonight for the same reason Alex, the pours were very much tasting size so sharing a bottle at a good temperature will give me a chance to make a fairer appraisal.
    Richard Zambuni and Alex Jagger like this.
  23. I’d be interested to hear what you think...
  24. Hi Richard
    I've no skin in this game, but have read much online as the story evolved. It's good to have a thread about the wines, and just about the wines.
    Mahmoud Ali and Simon Wheeler like this.
  25. I agree entirely Ian. I was just noting that the wines are obviously less titivating than the producer’s lifestyle. I certainly do not want to go over that old ground again.
    Ian Sutton likes this.

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