Sunday, December 21, 2008

Domaine Dujac Barrel Tasting

"I consider myself primarily a grape grower." - Jeremy Seysses.

This statement perfectly describes the humble way that Jeremy conducts himself. I'm not sure that I would be able to be as humble, if I were in his shoes. I like to think that by nature I am a student of the things I love, an admirer and an appreciator. I rarely covet. Spending the afternoon tasting the wines of Domaine Dujac and talking with Jeremy, and then enjoying dinner with him and his family...I will admit freely to you that I covet. Who wouldn't want what he has?

His father Jacques took over the Domaine in 1967 (Dujac = du Jacques) and became an icon as a wine maker. Now, after many years studying under his father and elsewhere, Jeremy is assuming the bulk of the wine making. He is married to Diana who is also a wine maker and wine lover, they have an adorable infant son, they live in a beautiful and cozy apartment in Nuits St. Georges. Jeremy has access to an incredible cellar loaded with wonderful wines from all over France - he can pull out whatever he likes for dinner. He is an immediately likable person, very gracious and down-to-earth. He clearly approaches his work, and wine in general, as an eager student interested in any and all information, and eager to discuss with you regardless of your (okay, my) relative lack of knowledge and experience.

And did I mention that Jeremy makes wine at Domaine Dujac - the most celebrated Domaine in Morey St. Denis and unquestionably one of the greatest in all of Burgundy? And Jeremy Seysses is not yet 35 years old. I think I basically maintained my dignity, but I definitely was emitting the "I covet" vibe.

It was in the Dujac cellar tasting those wines when I understood something fundamental about myself as a Burgundy drinker. I loved the 2007's I tasted. And I was really psyched about the 2006's out of bottle too. Not just at Dujac, but everywhere we went. Jeremy and most of the other wine makers we spoke with agreed that 2005 is a phenomenally ripe vintage that will age for a long time. But that it might not in the end offer as much pleasure for the Burgundy lover as a year like 2006. Such ripeness and structure as in 2005 doesn't always lead to a balanced and graceful drink after 15 years. And isn't that the thing that makes Burgundy red wine so special, the combination of grace and elegance, ample structure, and the subtle stamp of terroir? Maybe these things are easier to experience in a "classic" vintage as opposed to a super-ripe "vintage of the century." If I had to select either 2005 or 2006 wines to take to a dessert island, I know understand that I would take the 2006's. Although I would need a good cooling unit.

Jeremy Seysses in the cellar.

This sounds trite, I know, but it's just true - all of the 2007's were great. The real meaning of "great," these are fantastic wines. I'll share notes on a few of them:

Morey St. Denis 1er Cru - Mostly from the Ruchots vineyard that borders Clos de Tart, there are also grapes from Les Charrières, Les Millandes, and Les Sorbès. Animale and floral on the nose with a burst of fresh fruit in the mouth. Roses in the empty glass, really lovely. And here's the thing - this might be the only Dujac wine that I might actually purchase, at maybe $90. These are expensive wines, my friends, but in Dujac's case, they are fantastic even at the "lower end" of the lineup.

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Aux Combottes - Whoops, now we're at at least $200. On the nose flowers, spices, very fine and elegant. On the palate I recognized this (see what a few days of intense tasting can do?) as very Gevrey, with red fruit, orange peel, and zippy acidity, very clean and quite intense, with a zesty lingering finish. I'd love to drink an old bottle of this and see what it's like. Jeremy pulled out a 1978 for our dinner, so that's convenient.

Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts - Potent core of stones and flowers. Vibrant in the mouth with juicy dark fruit, sappy, mouth tingling acids. So nicely detailed, so delicious, so complex - these Vosne wines just roll over on themselves and show so many different personalities. I'd love to buy a bottle of this and give it to my daughter one day - she was born in 2007. At least $225, though, and that's if I can find it. And what if she she doesn't even like wine? Maybe I should drink it with her.

Échézeux - One of my favorite barrel wines of the trip. The very cleanest of sappy red fruit, flowers, and a bit of savory brown sugar on the nose. A lovely fragrance that fills the nostrils. Amazing length, so much class and breadth. Heartbreaking wine.

That's it - I'm not going to regale you with stories of Clos St. Denis, Clos de la Roche, or Bonnes Mares. They were awesome, honestly. I'm not sure what else to say. I don't want to ruin your day, anyway. This is supposed to be fun.


Anonymous said...

So now, I know I only have the Village level of this wine....but when should I be opening my 2002?? I've managed to hold it for 2 years now, huge accomplishment for me :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your trip reporting brooklynguy... we are living vicariously through you.

The Pacalet wines sound wonderful.. I haven't appear very often in the states though. Do you know who imports these?

Anonymous said...

Your readers are coveting right along with you.

peter said...

I had a 1983 Dujac Clos de la Roche last year and it didn't suck.

You're a lucky man.

RougeAndBlanc said...

I socked away an 01 Clos de la Roche for my son who was born in that year. Hopefully it will be ok when he turns 21.

Brooklynguy said...

hey Sonadora - there is no "correct" answer to your question. luckily, you can't go wrong. it's a matter of personal taste. assuming your wine is the village MSD, as you say, not the 1er cru, it's likely to drink well now if you were to open it. 2002 was an amazing vintage though, and even the Dujac website indicates that you could age this wine for 20 years if you like. what would you LIKE to do with it?

Hi Chris - thanks for the kind words. Pacalet's wines are imported on the east cost by Louis/Dressner Selections. Not sure about the middle and western US.

Hi Steve - seeing was believing, that's all i'm saying.

Peter - that's funny - the French use that expression a lot too, ce n'est pas mal, but it's not ironic there I think. It literally means "that's not bad," but is a high compliment actually. I think...i don't speak French too well.

hey Andrew - i hope it will be too, and the experience of discovering it together will be priceless.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brooklyn Guy,
Merry Christmas! Any new kids yet? Thanks for the nice post. You are invited back any time.

Hi Sonadora- That 2002 should be OK from now and for another 5 years. After that is a matter of taste and quality of storage. If you have it now, give it an hour in a decanter.

Hi R&B- that 01 should last well until your son is 18 or 21, given good storage. It's a sturdy wine and one I feel very happy with.

Merry Christmas to all!


Brooklynguy said...

Hi Jeremy - no new baby yet, which is kind of ridiculous, all things considered. We wait...thanks for stopping by here, and for the invitation, one that I will definitely take you up on. Happy holidays to you and your family - Neil