Monday, December 04, 2006

A Great Tasting at Moillard Grivot

After a morning enjoying excellent wine in upstart Pernand Vergelesses, we decided that it was time for the classics, something monumental, something from Cotes de Nuits. As we had no appointment (foolish, I know, but we had appointments at several Domaines over the next few days), we decided to visit Moillard Grivot. I am not usually drawn to large negociant houses, but I read through Nikolai Vogel & Kilian Fitzpatrick's lovingly written descriptions of their Burgundy tasting trips. They recommend Moillard Grivot as a great place to taste wines from various villages and to compare, to learn something about the terroir. And you don't need an appointment.

The Moillard Grivot house in Nuits St Georges was right on the main road with easy parking. The house was literally the tip of the iceberg. When you walk in you can go downstairs to a monumental cellar and walk through aisles upon aisles of barrels and bottles. Like an airplane hangar - HUGE. And a sign said that only 10% of their wine is cellared in that facility.

After our cellar tour we entered the well-lit tasting room, decorated with maps, racks of wine bottles, and what looked like water fountains at the dentist's office, but were in fact modern spittoons. The guy behind the counter gave us rather large glasses (nice - a lot of our tasting was done with too-small glasses) and left us alone with 5 open bottles. We poured, swirled, sniffed, and tasted as we pleased. We probably could have had lunch delivered to enjoy with the wine and they might not have minded.

The Thomas family owns Moillard Grivot now and some wines are bottled under that label. I am reporting prices in Euro because the dollar's value is changing lately. I have no idea for how long these bottles were opened, by the way. Our tasting notes:

2005 Moillard Grivot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes, E29. Great nose of lemons and honey. More reserved in the mouth, with some banana and citrus, some minerality. Well balanced, young. I really liked this wine.

2002 Domaine Charles Thomas Nuits St Georges, (price info lost). Pretty nose of flowers and earth - including a smell that I don't know how to name, but that I have experienced only with better reds from Burgundy. Bright red fruit, but young and tannic, a bit thin in texture. I wonder if the palate will flesh out with age...

1999 Moillard Grivot Nuits St Georges, E24. An earthier, almost musty smell. Not revealing much fruit in the nose. Sappy sweet cooked red fruits in the mouth balanced by a pleasant bitterness at the finish. I did not like this wine upon first tasting it, but the more I smelled it and after a few more sips, the more drinkable and balanced, delicious in fact, I found it to be. BrooklynLady simply disagreed with me - she did not like this wine, found it to be past its prime and cooked.

2002 Moillard Grivot Moray St Denis 1er Cru Les Monts Luisants, E19. Fresh flowers and perfume, with cherries and earth on the nose. Tastes of sweet red fruit, with good balance of cranberry like acidity. Earthy undertones, this wine is complex and beautiful. And for E19/$25?!? I have to get some of this home somehow. Its drinking so well now, seems so well balanced that I wonder if it will improve with age...

2004 Domaine Charles Thomas Bonnes Mares, E67. Darker than the others with completely different aromatics, featuring cinnamon and some wet cement, with dark black cherries. Flavors are sweet and spicy with red and black fruits present, and earthy pine sap. Lots of tight tannins remind you how young the wine is, how much the flavors and aromas will develop over time. Okay, so I get it now. There is something to this Grand Cru business. Tasted alongside the more mature wines of lesser designation, this wine was an absolute powerhouse.

When we were done tasting we were surprised to learn that there was no charge - the tasting was free. I recommend stopping at Moillard Grivot to anyone who will be in Burgundy for more than a day or two. Such a pleasant environment, and such a great way to learn about wines of the Cotes de Nuits, tasting them at your leisure, side by side.

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