Red Burgundies and Sauternes from 1972

xIn March 2009 there was an extraordinary tasting of 1972 red Burgundies, organised by two regulars from wine-pages’ UK Wine Forum. Linden Wilkie is a New Zealander now living in London, and the man behind, and Keith Prothero who is a major supporter of the Pebbles Project in South Africa. Linden arranged this tasting, mostly of wines from his own cellar, as a charity fund-raising event for Pebbles. Pebbles is the official charity of wine-pages and the UK Wine Forum, where several regulars of the Forum are now involved as official volunteer workers and fund-raisers. For this dinner Linden arranged the private dining room at London’s superb The Square restaurant, and each attendee had to bid for a place at the table.

It was an absolutely fantastic evening, with the food and the wines exceeding expectations. 1972 in Burgundy was not a top-rated year like 1945 or 1961, but it was a good year. Nevertheless we had expected many of these wines to be very fragile and probably past their best, but in fact there were very pleasant surprises throughout the evening. In total the event raised over £3,500 for Pebbles, with attendees flying in from Germany, Ireland and Scotland, and travelling from all points of England to attend

My thanks to Linden for an amazing evening and one of the tasting highlights of the year so far. See stockists of 1972 Burgundy on

flight one

With ‘A Tasting of Quail’

Maison Leroy Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Serpentieres 1972
A touch leafy and brackeny, with hints of coffee and brambly fruit. There’s a lovely suggestion of woodland and truffle. There’s a touch of truffle and still some nice cherry fruit on the palate, though the acidity is marginally prominent, this is quite delicious in a lean style. 89/100. Second bottle 90.

Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets 1972
Quite a solid, truffly nose, with a touch of game and a refined fruitiness. More solid than the Savigny, but lacking a little of the ethereal charm. Quite short now on the palate, fruit a little shy, but some sweet fruit and coffeeish warmth. 89/100

Louis Latour Corton Grancey 1972
Fine nose, quite vegetal, with touches of baked, hot earth and gravel. The palate is much more complex and alive than the Jadot for me, with more of an edge, but it also dies away fairly quickly, but the lasting impression is of ground coffee and a touch of strawberryish fruit. 92/100

Louis Latour Corton clos de la Vigne au Saint 1972
Quite a subtle nose, but coffeeish warmth and a touch of raisin slowly reveals itself. The palate has lovely fruit still, with a bit of weight and velvety depth. Lacks a bit of length and drying a little. 89/100

flight two

With Fillet of Cornish Turbot with Parsley Spätzle, Parmesan and Morels

Domaine Faiveley Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1972
Quite a lot of ruby to this wine still. A touch gamy and feral, but lovely leafy, damp undergrowth, little menthol and clove hints, plenty of fruit ripeness. The palate has beautiful fruit, with that leafy and vegetal character still there, but fantastically creamy tannins and good acidity. Lovely, and best so far. 93/100

Francois Lamarche La Grande Rue 1972
The first wine that smells just a touch tired and out of condition. With not much fruit but slightly mouldy. The palate too is tired and slightly rotted, but then….there is a coffeeish richness and a bit of life to the fruit.. 88/100

Mommessin Clos de Tart 1972
Quite a rounded, full nose with a fairly solid, fat quality but not fresh and fruity, even slightly stewed. The palate has some earthy, sweet, dried blood character but becomes more involving, with firm tannins giving some structure. Lovely in the end. 93/100 Charles Noëllat Richebourg 1972
This vineyard is now the Leroy Richebourg according to David. Slightly attenuated nose, with stale aromas and the palate rather lifeless. Leafy, with an iron oxide quality, but well past its best. 84/100

flight three

With Daube of Ox Cheeks with Smoked Creamed Potato and Bacon Foam

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echézeaux 1972
Wonderfully deep and sensuous, with a swirling smokiness and lots of truffle and gamy nuances. The palate it a touch leaner than you might expect, and it doesn’t have huge complexity, but it has length and a deal of firmness into the finish. 91-92/100

Chanson Père et Fils Musigny 1972
Tight, relatively youthful nose, with coffee and even a touch of liquorice. Bold, solid palate with a touch of bloody quality. Quite foursquare in its way, an tight again in the finish but lacking a touch of charm perhaps. 90/100

Comte de Vogüé Musigny 1972
Lots of leafy character here, with a touch of stewed prune and a haunting echo of plump red fruit and a little bit of earthiness. On the palate this is a little short, although the palate maintains a sweet core. Nice supple tannins, and a sweetness persists. Maybe not so short, and a wine that works its way into your heart. 93-94/100

Comte de Vogüé Bonnes Mares 1972
Dank, oxidised and rather dirty nose, with seawater character. The palate has echoes of sweetness, but everything falls of a cliff, finishing with little fruit. 86/100

flight four

And crossing over to Bordeaux to finish with two sweet wines, also from 1972. Matched with Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake with Passionfruit and Lime

Château Climens Sauternes 1972
Lovely nose, masses of coconut and crushed almonds, nice tangerine peel. Quite waxy and firm. The palate has a real lime zest grip and focus, with touches of botrytis barley sugar richness and lovely length and finesse. 92/100

Château Coutet Sauternes 1972
Rich, warm, touches of Demerara and orange and lemon peel character. On the palate notes of sweet brown bread and butter, with a fine lemony core of fruit and gentle, but keen and decisive acidity. Lovely, though without the opulence or, in the final analysis, definition of the Climens. 90/100

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