Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles Tasting

  Bok's Rating:

Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles Tasting
9.25 stars
2 Nov 2019


Les Pucelles is a top premier cru plot in Puligny Montrachet, bordering Bienvenues Batard Montrachet and Batard Montrachet, both Grand Cru lands, thus the significance of Pucelles. Many regarded Pucelles as a super Premier Cru that’s almost Grand Cru status, the prices also somehow reflected that. Will this tasting placed Pucelles in the Grand Cru, or they remained as a Premier Cru? I’ll guide you through what we have tasted.


Two Master of Wines (MW) attended the session, with attendees randomly contributing a bottle of Pucelles for tasting, and somebody even contributed a “pirate” bottle (i.e. not a Pucelles). All wines were tasted blind with no influence of labels.

In order to save you from all the technical chores of tasting notes, I’m not going to write detailed tasting notes for such tasting. I’ll present and reveal the wines here for your reading pleasure.
Flight 1
Vincent Girardin Pucelles 2006 *
Vincent Girardin Pucelles 2009
Henri Clerc Pucelles 1998

Flight 2
Olivier Leflaive Pucelles 2014*
Henri Boillot Pucelles 2015

Flight 3
Leflaive Pucelles 2002*
Leflaive Pucelles 2006
Leflaive Pucelles 2010


Flight 4
Paul Pernot Pucelles 2011
Henri Boillot Pucelles 2011**
Domaine Bruno Lorenzon Mercurey 1er Cru Piece 2017

Frankly, if you think the traditional producer Leflaive, who owns the largest plot of Pucelles, and with a superstar status of being the best producers, you’re in for a shocking and nasty result. Many producers like Girardin, Olivier Leflaive, Henri Boillot and Paul Pernot was not a well known producer of Pucelles, but the tasting gave them a chance to prove many audiences wrong. The battle between the classic producer Leflaive versus the new-styled producers head on show down ended up with the classic producer being phased out, while the new-styled producers winning a definitive upper hand. 32

Flight 1: Vincent Girardin 2006’s (9.25/10) opening show has already surprised all attendees. Apart from being stunningly elegant, it was smooth, round and friendly, and to an extend addictive. The acidity also improved over time. It has put the 2009 (9.0/10) to a second class citizen although the acidity was really focused for 2009. Henri Clerc’s 1998 (8.75/10) was a tad too old with loads of honeysuckle notes, apricot and barley, it’s bordering a dry sauternes style.
Flight 2: A close tie, with 6 pax voting for Olivier Leflaive 2014 versus 4 pax for Henri Boillot’s 2015. I can understand why, as most people really enjoyed the clean and good acidity of Olivier Leflaive, plus 2014 is a great white burgundy vintage. Whereas Boillot’s wine is more flavorful and classic, which is a very typical 2015 style, surely lacking in great acidity for this vintage.

Flight 3: A goliath flight of Domaine Leflaive that underperformed. The 2006 was corked and certainly pre-mox. The 2010 was a close fight against the 2002, with the 2002 an edge over the 2010, with very rich and fat fruits, loads of layers of flavor here, I’d consider 2002 as the closest to Grand Cru style. But sadly this label is overpriced and underperformed, as at this stage, most people preferred Flight 1 or 2.

 

Flight 4: Paul Pernot was sadly pre-mox as well. While the pirate Bruno Lorenzon did a good job masking as a Pucelle, although an MW sharply picked it up as a very different style. The star of the day was the Henri Boillot 2011, and almost unanimous that it was Wine of the Day; very saline and clinical bouquet, the acidity was focused and sharp, slightly burned and smoky, lovely content.
Conclusion
Is it a Grand Cru status? Sorry I don’t see how this can be a Grand Cru level wine, as it obviously lacked the X factor of charm and elegance found in many Grand Cru wines. The only Grand Cru level wine in this tasting was perhaps Leflaive Pucelles 2002, but it’s closer to Bienvenues Batard Montrachet rather than a Batard Montrachet style. However, this tasting has taught me that there are some stunning producers and new-kids-on-the-block (no, Girardin, Olivier Leflaive and Henri Boillot are not new players) from Pucelles willing to challenge the old backward classical style of Domaine Leflaive, this gave consumers a lot more choices without burning a hole in the pocket!

 

La Turque, Cote Rotie 2010

  Bok's Rating:

La Turque, Cote Rotie 2010
9.5 stars
4 Nov 2019

RP rated it 98-100, I was attracted to the score as I wanted to gauge myself whether it’s going to be a perfect bottle? La Turque was normally more powerful and structurally sounder than her siblings La Landonne and La Mouline. However, when I tasted it on my first sip, I was making up my mind that this should be a La Landone, as it was not powerful nor a big wine in anyway. It carried more finesse and elegance than the La Turque that I knew of, predominantly driven by dark fruits, quite round and still at a very adolescence stage to drink right now, as I’ll prefer to wait probably another 30 years. However, I really don’t see how this was a perfect scored wine, in fact far from my expectation of a perfect bottle, the only charm I had was my first few sips, thereafter nothing special anymore. Thus I’m afraid I’m not a fan of RP scores at all.

Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2016

  Bok's Rating:

Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2016
8.75 stars
4 Nov 2019

Heard so much about this wine, and always heard somebody said kiwi chardonnays are top end, so I ordered a bottle at a New Zealand restaurant. I wouldn’t say I was vastly disappointed, but frankly there’s not a shade of finesse in this wine and vastly below my expectation compared to white burgundies. It’s all driven by oak, a powerful and fruity styled wine, although with decent acidity, made really to please the general crowd. In addition, I don’t know how much tartaric acid have they added as I tend to give a bit of suspicion over Kiwi wines. However, it’s simply no match to the superb white burgundies. Feel free to gauge yourself, perhaps drinking it right next to a white burgundy. White burgundy may not produce such big fruity wine, but it does have a lot of finesse and complexity not found in kiwi wines.

Cos d’Estournel St Estephe 1988

  Bok's Rating:

Cos d’Estournel St Estephe 1988
9.5 stars
1 Nov 2019

For 1988 Bordeaux, there isn’t too many good wines. In my lifetime tasting, I could only recall Lafite, Latuor and Margaux as the top performing 1988 wines. Tonight I added Cos d’Estournel 88 as another top performing 88 Bordeaux. I can assure you the quality is far superb compared to Mouton Rothschild. Perhaps Cos was just a stone throw away from Lafite Rothschild, and that perhaps explained the superb quality. Not a very typical Cos to boot with, as there isn’t the typical characteristics of thick tea leaves. Instead the content was primarily dominated by red fruits, and not just typical red fruits, it was jammed packed, and with amazing concentration! Highly recommended for Bordeaux 1988 lovers!

Auguste Clape Cornas 2015

  Bok's Rating:

Auguste Clape Cornas 2015
9.5 stars
30 Oct 2019

 

This was an interesting northern rhone wine. Initially I didn’t pay much attention to the label, and then suddenly I recalled Clape’s Cornas as one of the top producer of rhone wines, and I woke up to pay attention to the content. Nose was smoky, and almost big concentrated fruits that resembled a Bordeaux wine. Content was almost Pessac Leognan alike, very earthy, a bit dirty, and with a huge amount of fruits, not loud fruits, beefy and chunky, very enjoyable. I used two Grassl glasses to compare the content; an 1855 and a Cru, after my first glass, I decided to continue to use Cru as it seemed to have given me more complexity, whereas the 1855 gave me more acidity. Thus I believe a burgundy styled glass would be more suitable for northern rhone wines.

Jean Marc Pillot Puligny Montrachet Les Noyers Bret 2015

  Bok's Rating:

Jean Marc Pillot Puligny Montrachet Les Noyers Bret 2015
9.25 stars
29 Oct 2019

Village Wine Beyond Expectation

This is a Lieu-dit classified wine (i.e. a village wine that has the naming right on the label). Quality is certainly beyond my expectation. The bouquet was with light peach and light autumn floral notes. The content was most surprisingly the acidity, the precision of the acidity was stunning, it was very rare that a village wine can produce such great acidity. The fruit was light and mainly staying in the background, while letting the acidity do most of the talking. This is a interesting village wine for sure.

Terre del Grico, Copertino 2003

  Bok's Rating:

Terre del Grico, Copertino 2003
8.75 stars
27 Oct 2019

Food Wine

Copertino is located in South-Eastern Italy, and this wine possessed very unique grape varietal of Negroamaro, which has to be 70% or more in order for them to have the right to slap the Copertino label. When I have Italian food (common & simple food, not talking about high end fine dining food), I find that I always need an Italian wine as Italian wine are usually more jammy and concentrated, and somehow it really suited the taste of the Italian food. Tonight’s home made pizza went well with this food wine, it may not have the finesse nor elegance of a high end Italian wine, but it definitely went well with the Italian cheesy styled food.

Monbousquet, St Emilion 1998

  Bok's Rating:

Monbousquet, St Emilion 1998
9.5 stars
25 Oct 2019

First Growth Quality
The owner of Grand Cru Classe A Gerard Perse bought Monbousquet in 1993, he obviously knew what he’s doing, and having a foresight of the quality that can be produced from this vineyard. I can certainly feel that the quality of Monbousquet punches way above it’s current status after drinking the excellent vintage of 1998 last night. I decanted it for 2 hours, and the nose did not soften at all; totally shut and very concentrated and congested fruity nose. Palette was a big wine by any standard, it barely opened up after 2.5 hours in the decanter. My last sip was still filled with grips. This bottle easily rivalled any left bank first growth wines like Mouton Rothschild 98 and Margaux 98, and I’m very sure no second growth can outrun this Monbousquet, not especially super second growth Leoville Las Cases.

Incidentally, our company had a BYOB tasting last night with Sassicaia 97 having a clash with Monbousquet, and many drinkers voted as Wine of The Night for Monbousquet 98. This added that I believe my bold evaluation was spot on.

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