Tasting Burgundy Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot

This tasting of six Grand Cru red Burgundies from Clos de Vougeot offered a fascinating opportunity to taste the different interpretations of the same vineyards by various producers, with all wines coming from the same vintage. That vintage was 2002, a year in which potential alcohol levels in the grapes had reached only 8% by the beginning of September, after weeks and weeks of continuous rain. Whilst the south of France saw little respite all the way through harvest, an ‘Indian summer’ of perfect weather meant tannins ripened over next three weeks, making this a miracle vintage for Burgundy.

As a rule, the wines of the Clos de Vougeot are generally austere when young, and require patience and a certain amount of understanding, often really blooming after 10 or 15 years.

The wines

Nicolas Potel Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002
Fine brambly, gently soft, brown sugar nose. Warming sense of coffee and sweet damp earth and autumn leaves. Very haunting fragrance. The mouth is filled with lovely sweet, rounded, very complex and complete fruit, with a delightful raciness of acidity, tight, fine-grained tannins and lovely elongation. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Jean Marc Millot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002
Much more closed, with tight, slightly smoky structure, that is quite meaty, and has a dense, brooding quality. On the palate very pure fruit; a lovely weight of earthy toned, gently mineral quality, that fills the mouth. Spicy and rich components emerge in the finish, with a tangy acidity and roughening edge of tannin that gives this lovely mouthfeel and weight. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Louis Jadot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002
Dramatically more dense, dark and purple colour that first two examples. A little bit animal, with a barnyardy note and a touch of plummy, dark fruit. On the palate very powerful and dense, with quite powerful and muscular tannic structure, and a fine sense of cherry-skin bittersweetness. Developing spice and chocolate. Quite expressive but needs time. 93/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Rene Engel Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002
Spices, a fine earthiness and gently vegetal quality with a hint of damp undergrowth and good minerality. Beautifully composed and structured on the palate, though there is a great deal of orangy, sour acidity that gives real savouriness, and a tightly structure background of tannins and acids, keeping fruit in check. Does it have enough fruit? Time will tell, but a lovely, elegant wine. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

JJ Confuron Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002
A tiny touch of band-aid Brett character, with a powerfully vegetal, earthy component suggesting damp leaves and undergrowth. Fine minerality. On the palate this is cool and composed, with a juicy quality to the fruit, a great deal of ripeness, and a huge streak of earthy minerality. Acidity is sour and cleansing, and the tannins are very ripe. A touch of cedar and sweet oak in the finish. 93/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Meo-Camuzet Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002
More Brett on this wine, which also has a very dark, dramatically purple colour. On the palate a sense of opulence, with a rounded, more concentrated fruit quality than some, and a fine, very elegant and well delineated sense of dark, ripe, cherryish fruit. The palate has a tightly-wound acid and tannin character, and plenty of power and structure, but is more mouthfilling, sweet and round than some. 94/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

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