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Remoissenet Père et Fils is a negociant in Beaune that has recently undergone a renaissance. The estate had a spotty reputation when it was purchased in 2005 by a group of investors lead by the Milestein brothers of New York and Todd Halpern of Toronto. The group is determined to raise the quality of the estate’s wines and recent vintages have received excellent press. Curious about the wines, I recently purchased a couple older vintages of Remoissenet from Wegmans (an upscale grocery chain in NY and NJ). The wines were imported by The Country Vintner, which is odd since the national importer is The Sorting Table. All the bottles were in excellent shape and appeared to have been bought directly from the estate’s cellars.

A 2003 Beaune, 1er Cru, Marconnets ($24.99) was roasted and unpleasant to drink. 2003 was a difficult year, so I give the estate a pass. A 1999 Savigny-les-Beaune, 1er Cru, Aux Serpentières ($24.99) had a strong nose of clove and was light in color. In the mouth, the flavors were disjointed and bizarre. I never would have guessed that the wine was from 1999, which produced dark, rich wines. The bottle appeared to be in good condition, but I have the feeling the wine was just poorly made. To make a bad wine in 1999 is quite an accomplishment. However, I did open two good bottles. A 1997 Royals Club Bourgogne Blanc ($19.99) made by Remoissenet was surprisingly still fresh and showed no signs of advanced aging (a major problem with the vintages post ’96). A 2003 Remoissenet Givry rouge ($14.99) was pleasantly ripe, showing none of the roasted flavors found in the Beaune.  Both wines were excellent for the price. Remoissenet may be producing very good wines today, but clearly their past reputation for spotty winemaking was well earned.

 

 
 
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During my recent trip to France I had the pleasure of dining with Claude de Nicolay Drouhin and her husband Frederic Drouhin at their house outside Savigny-les-Beaune. The evening started with a 2001 Corton blanc from Chandon de Briailles (Claude’s family domaine) that was served blind. Corton blancs tend to be tropical in flavor, but this wine was surprisingly mineral and restrained.  Frederic, the President of the Executive Board of Joseph Drouhin, grilled some fantastic steaks on their fireplace and they were served with a 1978 Valet Freres Gevrey-Chambertin. The bottle was purchased that afternoon at Maison Pierre Bouree in Gevrey. Valet Freres is an alternative label used by the estate, but the wines are the same as those labeled Pierre Bouree. Considering the age and modest appellation, the wine was surprisingly still alive. The nose hinted at oxidation, but that faded as the wine sat in the glass. In the mouth, the flavors were earthy and tart. Inspired by the older bottle, Frederic disappeared into the cellar and returned with a bottle wrapped in a brown bag. The color was bricking at the rim, but deep red at the core. Although obviously mature, the nose was powerful. The flavors were deep and persistent on the palate. I guessed that wine was a grand cru, possibly a Musigny from a really good vintage like 1959. It turned out to be a 1971 Joseph Drouhin Richebourg. Frederic was shocked that the wine was so good. 1971 was an extremely difficult harvest and produced few legendary wines. I believe that I was still smiling when I woke up the next morning.

 
 
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The 1999 Chambolle-Musigny, 1er cru, Aux Beaux Bruns is tight on the nose, but open on the palate. The fruit is dark and lush, and the texture silk. Although still very young, the wine is more expressive than most 1999s were just a couple years ago. Aux Beaux Bruns is located low on the slope and is partially classified as village. The quality of this wine is a testament to the vintage and ability of the winemaker. Ghislaine Barthod took over the domaine from her father, Gaston, in 1987 and the labels have shown her name since 1992. I have only tasted a handful of wines from this reputed estate, but I have been thoroughly impressed with each one.