Friday, February 27, 2009

2000 Michele and Patrice Rion Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras

Type: Red
Producer: Michele & Patrice Rion
Variety: Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Les Cras
Country: France
Region: Burgundy
SubRegion: Côte de Nuits
Appellation: Chambolle-Musigny
Price: $35.99
From: Chambers Street Wines

The Little Wooden Guy appreciates it when patience rewards him with wine that improves as much as this one did from one night to the next.

Night One

The color was a translucent slightly bricked red with a tint of orange just beginning at the edges.

The nose was nice, soft red fruit and some cocoa lie strewn on a barn floor. There is also a bit of fennel lingering, with an even smaller bit of sage.

Red fruit on the palate is far sharper, more acidic, than the nose lets on. It opens with tart wild strawberries, cranberries, and pomegranate. Fennel and sage are a much larger part of the palate than the nose.

This wine is rather one-dimensional, with little change other than increased tannins on the mid-palate, and a finish that collapses quickly.

Night Two

The nose on Night Two is a little darker, a little more ripe, but still deep and musty. Sage and marjoram are there, too, along with a pinch each of fennel and cardamom. the nose is far more integrated and rich than on Night One.

Again on Night Two, the palate is sharper and more acidic than on Night One. Fruits are newer, fresher, perhaps even not-quite-ripe, tart with acids. Sour cherries, tiny wild strawberries, cranberries, and the very dark red fruit of pomegranate all contribute to the fruit flavor profile. Now the wine has a real mid-palate, with smoke and crisp pork fat rubbed with leafy spices. The finish also last longer, a lot longer, than on Night One. Satiny tannins give a sense of suede, not leather, red fruits come back to the fore as the flavor first glows, then slowly fades.

Huge changes from Night One to Night Two, particularly on the mid-palate and the finish, hint of more life in the cellar, even for an off-year. The color, on the other hand, says it is nearing the end of its life. The best bet to balance the two is probably to give it another year, two at the most, then leave plenty of time for decanting before drinking.

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