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1999 red Burgundies from Parent and Patriarche Père

By Tom cannavan, 07/02

I tasted through a few Burgundies from the 1999 vintage on a trip to London recently. Patriarche is an old, old négociant firm which has had a very lacklustre reputation for years now. When I last visited Beaune about six years ago, Patriarche seemed to have a bit of a strangle-hold on tourist attractions like the Marché aux Vins, where pretty unspectacular old bottles of Grands Cru wines were presented for tasting to visiting tourists. I have heard rumours of a recent revival in the company however, and was keen to try the wines from a recent vintage.

Patriarche Père et Fils

Bourgogne Pinot Noir 1999
Light cherry red colour with a sweet, lightly strawberry-fruited nose overlaid with a little sweet vanilla. The palate has decent strawberry fruit and a burnt sugar note. It is a little dry and a touch short on the finish, but is good.

Pommard 1999
This has plenty of vanillin and silky, sweet fruit on the nose that is quite earthy and rich, with an undergrowthy character. Medium-bodied, it has a lovely mouth-feel, with broad, expansive acidity and a good quality of chewy fruit. Decent length, and very good.

Chambolle-Musigny 1999
This has a fragrant, quite seductive floral-edged nose, with hints of rose-hip and strawberry. On the palate a nicely textured mouth-feel again, packed with punchy raspberry fruit. Tannins are surprisingly grippy, and there's a slightly drying quality in the finish, but some elegance and charm and very good again.

Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru 1999
This has a much fuller, vanillin oak sweetness on the nose. Quite fudge-like, with a depth of lightly smoky strawberry fruit. There's a stripe of tannin at the core of this on the palate, and some real red cherryish, acidic bite. Perhaps lacks a touch of generosity, but finishes well and has good length. Very good.

Patriarche Wine Agencies, 7 Rickett Street, London SW6 1RU
Phone: 0207 381 4016. email: keith@patriarchewines.com.

Domaine Parent

My first experience of this Domaine in any depth, and really quite impressive. Lovely wines overall, with fine balance and a very good quality of fruit. I'd happily buy a few of these 1999s for drinking now and tucking away for a few years.

Corton Grand Cru Blanc 2000
Just one white, from the 200 vintage. Lovely nose with a melange of mineral, nutty, vegetal, slightly smoky notes and a background of toastiness. Very fine quality of fruit on the palate, with lots of clean, ripe pear and apple fruit layered over a tight core of minerality. Seems very good indeed, though young.

Bourgogne Rouge 2000
Rather neutral nose, with nuances of sweet, damp earth and red berried fruit. Much more positive on the palate; quite silky and decent fruit quality and lovely balance, with gentle tannins and good acidity extending the finish. Very good.

Pommard Croix Blanche Rouge 1999
Little touches of coffee bean to fine red fruit quality. Nice mouth-feel, with plenty of powerful red fruit that is deep and grippy with tannins coating the palate but all kept in check by clean acidity. Very good/very good indeed.

Ladoix 1er Cru La Corvée 1999
Mineral and earth on the nose at first, with a tight, focused, fine quality of fruit beneath. Raspberry and redcurrant, with a nutty element. Nice palate, with silky texture and a solidity about the fruit. Quite fine, though, with a perfumed hint of elegance and good length. Lovely and very good indeed.

Beaune 1er Cru Les Epenottes 1999
Quite a deep, sensuous nose. Slightly smoky, with grilled bacon fat aromas and solid red fruit. The palate has good balance with supportive tannins and acids, and a sweet, stylish concentration about the mid palate. Finishes well, and very good indeed.

Pommard 1er Cru Les Arvelets 1999
Lots of espresso-bean charry oak, woodsmoke and toasty depth. Lovely rounded sweet fruit comes through. Very attractive. Quite fat on the palate, with a weight of strawberry and raspberry fruit. Really quite a lush style, but balanced and good length. Very good indeed.

Pommard 1er Cru Les Chaponnières 1999
Much more closed, tight, mineral character with modest red fruit. Only a subtle undertow of vanilla. Nice though. Rich and powerful fruit on the palate with decent depth and plenty of stuffing. The sweetness pushes through in the finish, and this finishes well. Very good.

Pommard 1er Cru Les Epenots 1999
Tight, focused, raspberry fruit. Much more minerality again underpinning a floral, perfumed edge. Quite a "feminine" style of Pommard. Lovely palate, with bags of silkiness and ripe fruit; lots of soft, ripe, rounded red fruits and sweet, mellow tannins with enough acidity to balance. A little more oak support into the finish. Very stylish and very good indeed.

Imported by Charles Hawkins Fine Wines, 1 Hall Gardens, Uppingham LE15 9HG
Phone: 01572 823030. email: charles@charleshawkins.demon.co.uk.