Had a fantabulous lunch service yesterday with a table of ten drinking some really decent wines. For me the best wines of the service were the two magnums of Bonnes Mares 83. Now okay, 83 wasnt a great year in Burgundy, but as I always believe, the vintage isnt the be all and end all of the wines. A great winemaker can still make good wines in off vintages, a crap winemaker will still make crap wines in excellent vintages. It goes without saying that in excellent years, a great winemaker will (should) make stupendously great wine. And thats quite appropriate because I believe that Christophe Roumier (currently in charge at Dom G Roumier) is a great winemaker. Third generation winemaker (Georges was his grandfather), Christophe prefers to manage the domaine in an organic style, favouring harsh pruning, no chemical management of the vines, partial destemming, absolute minimal chemical intervention in the cuverie. Depending on the particular appelation of the grapes, Roumier varies the proportion of new oak to suit the grapes. The grand cru wines receiving the highest proportions (40-50%), with the premier crus only getting between 20 and 40% new oak. The wines are eventually bottles with no filtration and if possible without fining too. The result is a bold richer wine, that just blossoms with a few years of cellar age. Roumier's wines are now beginning to command some serious money on the market, and the Bonnes Mares particularly is in high demand. Lucky I've got quite a bit then eh?
1983 marks Christophes first full vintage as a partner in the domaine with his late father. It is the vintage that he started to shape the future wines of the domaine, and make his mark in Burgundy and beyond. The wine showed good fruit character upon opening, with typical burgundy earthyness and stone fruit aromas upon opening. After a few minutes the slightly more feral character started to show, with a liquorice and fur-like smell. On the palate it was very graceful, soft supple tannins caressed my gums, while the stone fruit flavours mingled with exotic winter spices and again the sense of liquorice on the tongue with a very subtle hint of coffee on the finish. A slight touch of bitterness at the end too, which actually seemed more appealing than it sounds. There wasnt a huge amount of variation in the two magnums, which was quite a surprise, but pleasant none the less. Ive got one left, and knowing my luck it will be either totally crap, or exceptionally good. My money is on the former though!!