2007 Corton Charlemagne Lucien Le Moine

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Average critic rating : 94.5 points



Brakin and Saouma's two barrels of 2007 Corton-Charlemagne come from the same west-facing spot they have accessed since their first – 2001 – vintage. True to the behavior of this cru in the 2007 vintage, this is absolutely sublime as well as surprisingly winsome and approachable. Honeysuckle, apple blossom, quince, and high-toned distilled herb and floral essences combine in an aromatic charm offensive of overwhelming proportions. This it’s the palate as if shot from a hydrant and so refreshing, clear, invigorating, energized, and buoyant that it is little wonder you seem to be able to ride the finish forever. When I write "clear," I should make clear that this includes transparency to characteristics deemed mineral. And I could just as well write that the palate here is like an alpine torrent saturated with milky glacial flour, so omnipresent and tactile is the impression of chalk dust. Even the texture here is complex. Toasted hazelnuts, marzipan, vanilla, butter cream, and lanolin cover the lactic and barrel-inflected side of the flavor spectrum while integrating perfectly with the wine's striking floral perfume and pure, honeyed quince fruit. ||For more information on the unorthodox and exceptional negociant firm of Rotem Brakin and Mounir Saouma, I refer readers to my report in issue 171. The pair are involved in decisions about the wines they purchase even before the barrels change hands; elevage typically approaches two years; and there are generally only one or two barrels (50 or 100 eventual cases) of each wine, for which reason I have typically noted the relevant volume, and the suggested prices – high in comparison with most sources, but arguably not in view of quality or rarity – must be taken with an especially large grain of tartrate. Brakin and Saouma indubitably believe in the importance of patience and of taking time, in which respect they see their work partly as an attempt to turn back the clock to the practices of an earlier era. Still, this generalization applies only partly to their approach in 2007, plus it is impossible to overlook what Saouma calls "the Bastille Day event of modern Burgundian viticulture," namely vintage 2003. "I'm glad we had 2007 in 2007 and not in 1997." he says. "Because 2003 happened, we were ready mentally to adapt ourselves. I think that it was necessary to pick the 2007 reds beginning around the 25th of August, and the whites around the 3rd through the 10th. of September. And it was important to adapt" to conditions. But Saouma did everything possible to conserve grape solids and to insure that malo-lactic conversions were late and protracted, so as to lengthen total elevage and thereby fill-out and convey both richness and structure to the wines. Most malos were completed in the summer of 2008 – with bottling begun in Spring, 2009 – but one barrel of the Le Moine 2007 Montrachet was still in malo at that point!||Imported by Vintus, Pleasantville, NY; tel. (919) 769-3000 eRobertParker.com.December, 2009


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