Cs (6x75cl)
0 immediate, 7 marketplace
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Average Score 91.0

The 2013 Chambolle-Musigny les Combottes has a more earthy bouquet compared to Christophe’s other crus, though it comes armed with fine fruit intensity. The palate is well structured with good backbone: fine acidity here with a refined blackberry leaf finish that is a little reduced though of course that will blow off. This will have more to give once in bottle. ||“Christophe Roumier. Christophe Roumier. Où-est Monsieur Roumier?” Hmm…who’s this interloper? I’m just about to be served his Chambolle-Musigny les Cras? Christophe apologizes and goes to see what this stranger wants. Etiquette dictates that you don’t just wander in off the street into a winery calling the winemaker’s name and to be honest, he seems to have no inkling who Christophe Roumier is. It transpires that he is chauffeuring a minibus of Japanese Burgundy-lovers who would like Christophe to step outside for a photo session. “Fame, fame, fatal fame,” as the song goes. Who would want to be a pinup winemaker in this day and age? I guess it is the debt you pay for creating such exquisite wines in such tiny quantities year after year. Request politely refused, I suggest he signs a few signed photographs in advance.|As usual, I found Christophe to be uncommonly and refreshingly candid in his analysis of the latest vintage, at one point suggesting that the 2013s are not long-term wines because they lack the substance of say, the 2012s. |“I like the freshness, the fact they express the terroir,” he remarks. “Wine made to be drunk. They are short-term, not for long keeping.” |Having tasted them, I would not quite brush them off quite so lightly, but I know where he is coming from. They are mainly crisp, fresh and tensile wines focused upon tension and poise rather than immense structure or fruit concentration. Roumier’s wines have modest ambitions, but ambitions none the least. |“The malolactics finished the end of August and we start racking today,” he tells me, today being November 6. “I was worried about the ripeness of tannins. We knew from blooming there was a lot of millerandage. We could see how small the pips were and so the tannin potential would have to come from the skins. So the concern was to have ripe tannins. We saw that the crop was uniform and as the season went on, we could see everything was ripe in the skins with grapes bearing high malic acid. We had dry days and then rain, so the inflating and deflating of berries meant that the skins were sometimes fragile. The harvest was October 5-11. We did less pigeage and pumped over instead since there was a high skin to juice ratio and I used some whole bunch. The acidity was the same level as 2012 but there is more alcohol in that vintage and so you don’t feel it in the same way. I chaptalized between 0.8 and 1.2 degrees.”|Then with a pensive thought, Christophe made a frank comment one rarely hears…one tinged with regret… |“Looking back, I would have harvested two days earlier. The ripeness would have been the same, but there would have been less rot.” |I think he was being a bit hard on himself, because as I immediately replied, there is no sign of any rot on his barrel samples. Maybe it would have relieved some stress just prior to picking, but I suspect that it would not have made much difference to the wines. His 2013s are crisp and tensile, quite linear but fresh, not terribly fruit-driven but with just a couple of exceptions, wines of texture with biting acidity in a positive sense. Occasionally, I found them vaguely reminiscent of a red Loire from a top grower and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense. Christophe’s wines are imbued with a sense of honesty and precision, yet having tasted at this address for a number of years they do not achieve the heady heights of other vintages. Hence, my prudent scores for this “Holy Grail” domaine that might raise the hackles of those who believe such growers can do know wrong. It is not a question of “wrong," more a question of a grower who is happy to reflect the vintage, both the ups and downs. The one exception is, sadly, the same one impossible to obtain: his 1¼ barrels of Musigny, whose terroir really shone through in the silky, irresistible Grand Cru that put its head above the rest. This year it is not Christophe’s most elusive wine. No, no, no! That accolade goes to his Corton-Charlemagne, of which there are just 150 liters after poor flowering and hail. Readers should note that although it will be bottled the middle of November, the 2013 will be for private use only, or maybe to share when the next minibus or Roumier-fans turn up at his gate., 2014

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