1985 was a great year for Gerard Potel and red Burgundy in general. Widely considered to be front runner for vintage of the decade, ’85 was also the year that Gerard bought out the remaining shares at Domaine de la Pousse D’Or and made this stunning wine, aiding in his ascent to the top of the Burgundy wine making pyramid.
Distinctly brick in appearance with a narrow, watery, russet-tinged rim. Explosive nose of springtime Adirondack cabin – a ridiculously rich nose of forest, cold hearth, sweet wet earth, heavily perfumed antique Burgundy, a very heady nose that lingers to a light spearmint & smoke note. The palate begins with a fruit compote attack, then a touch of smoke, fresh tomato leaf and a suggestion of iron on the finish. Medium-bodied, the quality is refined and elegant with a feminine profile, all complex developed aromas and flavors. Tannins are completely resolved & indeed there is a fair amount of sediment in the remaining inch of the bottle. This is a wine where we seek balance, integrity and length, which this clearly possesses in spades. It suffices to state that yes, it is indeed delicious.
*In all honesty we struggled slightly to find the right words for the above assessment. As with each great bottle of red Burgundy we drink and opine on, the beauty in this wine was how it all came together, like great art. It feels difficult (sometimes inappropriate) to isolate specific aromatics or specific flavors. Truly great red Burgundy is more of an experience in perfect texture, balance, sound structure and generosity of fruit. Is it worth pulling apart what is a harmonious whole?
This Rheingau riesling is one of the most hedonistic wines, red or white, that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. The top of the cork was very dirty and soft to the touch but other than that portion looked and smelled healthy. The wine itself showed less age than the cork, in fact the viscous juice presented itself in a rather energetic way with a vibrant pale copper-tinged gold and lively nose. My most immediate impression of the aromatics was the obvious presence of petrol and copious amounts of ripe fruit. More specifically the nose was rather exotic showing pineapple, pear, apricot and honey mixed with subtle notes of white flowers, namely honeysuckle. While the wine charged boldly out of the bottle ready to enjoy, the air did allow for some of the more subtle complexities to develop and show themselves. Underneath the fruit were notes of caramel, brown sugar, honey comb and beeswax, which all compounded the bountiful richness and complexity of the wine.
So far so good. The only thing that could have tripped this wine up would have been a clumsy, cloying, persistent sweetness on the palate, but considering the aromatic mastery and the quality of the fruit that is required for such a focused and clearly delineated melange of scents, this was all but an impossibility. As assumed, the palate lived up to the promises that the nose made and mirrored its perfume in taste. The sweetness was delicious and complimentary to the exotic and confectionery lean of the aromatics and the acid did its delightful job melting it all away, refreshing the palate, and making the mouth water for more. Perhaps as amazing as the beauty of the wine was the freshness that it displayed. If I were in the habit of rating wines for my personal hierarchy of drinking glory this would be awarded the highest possible score. This bottle was on point and truly heavenly.
This half bottle from the Mosel was a delight. In the glass the wine had a slightly hazy appearance and the color of aged gold. One sniff of the rich juice told me that the hazy look was nothing to be concerned with, all was right and healthy. Initially the richness was delivered in a simple, nutty and slightly sweet aroma. Very quickly this aroma began to expand into much more of a complex and complete bouquet; it remained, however, anchored to this subtly sweet richness throughout its evolution. If this wine were a time and place it would be autumn at your favorite breakfast spot. The nose, mirrored by the palate, was all over the sweet side of the menu with aromas of pecan pancakes, cinnamon bread, maple syrup, and apples in every stage of ripeness. The acid was impressivly alive (M+) and did what it should do in any good German riesling, melt away any lingering sweetness, refresh the palate, and make your mouth water for another sip. Between the richness of the fruit and the remaining acid, the balance was impeccable.
I was able to control the pace of my consumption and the wine continued to grow. Where there was once apple juice, there appeared apple cider and what was initially apple sauce, became a compote-like apple pie filling. There was a signature whiff of petrol woven in but really the wine stuck with its bakery, baking spice and apple presentation. So harmonious and complete was this wine in the picture it painted that, while it lasted, I was a child, visiting a farm on a brisk fall day, eating sugar donuts and drinking cider.
While 2004 was possibly the most mediocre vintage in the last decade for red Burgundy, the whites have often impressed me. This bottle impressed me. The wine is very pale almost to the point of being clear but tinged with gold and showing a star-bright clarity. Straight out of the bottle the nose was sharpened to a point by bright aromas of lemon and concentrated minerality. The palate told the same story with bright acid dominating but not overpowering the experience. With air this tightly wound package then began to relax itself and what had been thoroughly zesty became softer and more round. Richer notes appeared on the nose with a touch of cream complimenting the lemon and a lovely nutty note adding its voice. The palate gained richness as well adding to the cream, notes of ripe stone fruit. As the bottle dwindled a subtle honeyed note appeared, bringing the wine to its final delicious incarnation before the last was consumed. The wine was very clean, highly focused and most importantly balanced. A great effort.
This bottle was purchased on re-release from the Domaine. All aspects of this wine are of an antique Burgundy. The color is russet with little variation and the aromas play almost exclusively in the tertiary end of the pool. The perfume is dominated by a sweet fruit core wrapped in an iron/metallic robe and sets the wine on a slightly plodding track, this presentation is lifted only slightly by hints of catmint and briny ocean air. The palate is smooth and sweet but lacks the lift that benefits the nose, more acid may have really lit this wine up. In this vein, the wine is reminiscent of a sweet black tea. It is tasty enough to drink but would excel with just “a squeeze of lemon” to combat and balance the dark nature of the palate. Time in glass accomplishes little other than exposing a note of game. The wine is nice but considering the vintage and Grand Cru status of the vineyard, should exhibit far more pedigree; honestly it falls short.