2008 Charmes Chambertin Vieilles Vignes

Henri Perrot-Minot

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Bt (75cl)
0 immediate, 2 marketplace

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Average Score 92.0

Perrot-Minot’s 2008 Charmes-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes smells of fresh blackberry and dark cherry mingled with licorice and laced with crushed stone, carbon, and black pepper. This bottling – which Perrot-Minot likes to emphasize is from the upper reaches of its appellation, bordering Chambertin – is certainly more formidable than charming for now. Fine-grained tannins are accentuated by crushed stone and fruit pit in a slightly austere but undeniably gripping finish, and like the corresponding Chapelle-Chambertin the fruit here gained a greater sense of sweetness as the wine opened-up in the air. I would plan to give this 5-6 years in the bottle before revisiting and it will probably remain vigorous for more than twice that long. ||Christophe Perrot-Minot pursued to extremes in 2008 the fanatic selectivity on which he prides himself, though he would have been happy had that not been necessary. He claims this triage was almost entirely for the removal of under-ripe, not of botrytis-infected, berries. (And yields from these – as the labels remind us – universally old vines are always extremely low even before fruit hits the estate’s two sorting tables.) The concentrated, lavishly ripe but densely-structured style associated with this domaine is tempered by the relatively low alcohol (wines finished – after light chaptalization – in the upper 12s or low 13s) and efficacious acidity of the 2008 vintage, as well as by a relatively gentle extraction that he reports was forced on him by fruit whose virtues could easily have been spoiled by pigeage. Given the way these wines turned out, I, for one, am very glad no attempt was made to punch the musts into further extractive submission! Perrot-Minot opines that many 2008s were permanently stunted by excess sulfuring – which exacerbated the lateness of malo-lactic transformation – and by too little time between the end of malo and bottling, ending up “square” (he used the English word) and “lacking in fat. There was also a danger,” he acknowledged, “that one could end up with wines too concentrated, or that lack purity of aroma and don’t express their terroir.” And in another response to the inherent intensity but also limitations of the fruit, new wood this year was held to a maximum of 40%. Most of the 2008s had been bottled recently when I tasted them in April, but some as early as January. (For details on many of the Perrot-Minot vineyard sites and old vines, consult my reports in issues 170 and 186. I did not have time, unfortunately, to taste any of the 2007s from this estate except a very early stage.) Wine Advocate.June, 2010

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