Clos Vougeot 2009 – One Vineyard, One Vintage, seven producers.

This was a really interesting tasting to host and one I’d been especially looking forward to. Clos Vougeot (Or Clos de Vougeot) is one of the most famous Pinot Noir vineyards in the world, and the largest of the Grand Cru vineyards on the Cotes de Nuits in Burgundy. Being so large (50.96ha) and having such a long history (The wall around it was finished in the year 1336) it now is divided amongst almost 80 different producers. The goal of the evening was to try and get an idea of the vineyard style by tasting seven different cuvees from some of our top producers, all from the great 2009 vintage.


We ‘warmed up’ with a Grand Cru Chardonnay, the Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne 2009. Bonneau du Martray is one of the greatest producers from this vineyard and we have recently started importing these wines into New Zealand again after a long absence.  It didn’t disappoint with exceptional power, rich phenolics and stunning length.  Then it was on to the 2009 Clos Vougeots.  In order of tasting. Francois Lamarche, Gros Frere et Souer, Vincent Girardin, Faiveley, Michel Gros, Anne Gros, and Alex Gambal.  What came across most strongly this evening was that 2009 is a sensational vintage for Burgundy. Some of the richest and lushest fruit we have seen in many years, giving the wines a very sexy ‘New World’ appeal upfront, but with great structure behind, ensuring they will continue to improve over the long term. The next most interesting aspect for me was that there was no one wine that really stood up as significantly better than the others. The quality was extremely high across the board and it really came down to stylistic preference as to where the favourites lay. The Gros family came through well with Gros Frere and Anne Gros both being very popular. I think there were also many people pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the Girardin, a producer famed for his whites but not well known for his excellent reds.

I honestly enjoyed all of them fairly equally, but if I had to go home with just one it would have been the Alex Gambal. This is a wine that can be enjoyed now (Make sure it sees some air) but has is still aromatically restrained with such a tight core of dense fruit that it will only blossom over the years.  This deserves to be allowed time to show it’s best and I can’t wait to see what this is like in another decade or so.