Monday, December 11, 2006

Tasting at Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge

BrooklynLady and I continued our white Burgundy education at Domaine Lafouge. We were guided by Jeanne Marie's assistant Pierre-Henri, a gentlemanly young fellow. I followed him to Auxey-Duresses in our tiny car, and he gave us the wonderful gift of driving through a maze of back roads, past famous vineyards and old picture-book houses, the morning sun's rays poking through the fog. I almost drove off the road a few times while gawking at the astonishingly gorgeous scenery.

I just used a couple of "pumped up" adjectives: astonishing and gorgeous...and I want to take this moment to tell you that I truly mean them, and that in fact there are no words to explain the sensory experience of those back roads.

We were greeted at the Domaine by the elder statesman Jean Lafouge. I think that he may have raided Paul Pernots closet when dressing for work: he had a worn pageboy cap, a blue wool sweater with another sweater, a cardigan, over the first one, and canvas workpants with a few muddy stains. He says that he now merely consults in the winemaking, and that his son Gilles really makes the wine, so maybe those stains are from years past.

I will say that Jean Lafouge was the most charming man, the most friendly and open, the most relaxed of the vignerons we visited. He graciously helped my pregnant wife at every opportunity, placing the spit bucket close to her, offering her water, generally making sure she was comfortable. His son Gilles appeared for a moment and he was charming too (and seems to have diverged from the winemaker's costume).

Jean Lafouge is a 5th generation vigneron, and his pride and respect was evident for his son as the up-and-coming sixth generation of Lafouges to make wine in Auxey-Duresses.

Here are the wines we tasted, with a few notes (05s from barrel, 04s from bottle):

Whites: (right: Jean Lafouge drawing wine from a tank for tasting)

2005 Auxey-Duresses. Big nose of vanilla and toast, full fruity palate with lots of baby fat.

2005 Meursault. Tough to coax a lot from the nose - very reserved. Prominent minerals on the palate. I had no idea about the true character of this wine. Jean Lafouge told us after tasting it that the wine was completely closed up that day (from recent racking?).

2004 Auxey-Duresses. More balanced than the 2005, with a more focused palate of fruit and toast. Still, maybe not my favorite style of white Burgundy - very big and full bodied.

2004 Meursault. Clean citrus smells, some nuttiness, some flowers. Lemons, sweet but refined fruit and nice minerality. This wine had a lithe and skinny structure to it, very elegant. Clearly the best of the bunch right now.

(above: barrels of sleeping wine in the Lafouge cave)
2005 Auxey-Duresses. Lean red fruit smell, apple peel acidity and cranberries dominant. All high notes, nothing grounding this wine in the way of earthiness.
2004 Auxey-Duresses. A bit more developed in the nose, but very reserved fruit. This wine had a crushed aspirin like flavor that reminded me of the Ladoix wine we had at La Terrace de Corton, and did not enjoy. I think I learned that Auxey-Duresses is not my favorite village in Burgundy.

2005 Pommard Les Noizons. I like the smells here, there are doark flowers and sappy dark fruit. Kind of gawky palate though, still very young. Seems to have a nice balance of fruit, spice, tannin, and acidity - seems very promising indeed.

2004 Pommard Les Noizons. Great floral aromas, and some red cherries. Finesse, feminine red fruit style, silky texture, very compelling.

We decided based on the quality of the two Pommards, and the lovely feeling we enjoyed while visiting the Domaine Lafouge, that we would order a magnum or two of the 2007 vintage wine to keep for our child, who will be born in early 07.


Dr. Debs said...

Hey, Neil! Inspired by all this Burgundian coverage, I bought a 2005 Domaine Raymond Dupont-Fahn Auxey-Duresses. What do I do now? Save it or drink it? It seems from your tasting notes here that maybe 2005 is too young and I should wait awhile?

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Doc! I am not familiar with that producer, so its hard to say. If you open it and give it plenty of air time it should be fine to drink now. no harm in letting it sleep a while either. what do you WANT to do with it?

Dr. Debs said...

Well, I want to feel like I'm in Burgundy, so it makes me want to drink it NOW! Seriously, those pictures of the Hospices in Beaune keep running through my mind at the oddest times... But I also don't want to drink it and think, ew, phooey. So, I think I'll sit it in the racks for a while and brood over it. Then, when I take it out next fall, I will have a good reason to re-read the Auxey-Duresses posts!