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Average Score 93.0

Sweetly perfumed with flowers and with black fruit candies that render a confectionary impression on the palate (and Sylvain Pitiot did not demur from my description: “bonbon-like”), the 2007 Clos de Tart manages to harmoniously integrate vanilla, caramel, and resin from new wood. Even more than in the corresponding 2008, fresh juiciness of cassis and black raspberry and a saliva-stimulating salinity lend this lift and enticement so that it doesn’t become another too-familiar modern-day exercise in mere dark berry jam on a new oaken shingle. Sandalwood and black tea contribute further interest. Judgments will differ depending on the degree to which one is attracted by the style of this polished and persistent confection of Pinot Noir, but it certainly reflects what Pitiot describes as “my intention – and my taste – (namely) always to harvest just before the limiting point of over-ripeness and excess is reached.” I would anticipate this showcasing its virtues and Pitiot’s ideal over the next 7-10 years, and doubt that the 2008 will ever be able to compensate for its relatively less charm, seductiveness, or seamlessness. ||Sylvain Pitiot held off until the second week in October of 2008 to harvest what was – in contrast with the experience of most estates in this vintage – a crop at the upper range of yield among recent years. “Other than thinning in July,” insists Pitiot, “I had to do very little triage, since I rely on Pinot with few and tiny clusters of tiny berries,” implying that for these reasons neither uniform ripeness nor damp and botrytis were problematic. “2007 on the other hand,” adds Pitiot, “required greater selectivity.” When I last tasted the 2008s I was able to sample each of the usual half-dozen lots from Clos de Tart as well as a close representation to the final assemblage. The percentage of whole clusters and stems included in the fermentations varied greatly from lot to lot, but averaged-out to a bit over one third, Pitiot estimated. A 100% vendange entier lot from the best fruit and picked all across the Clos – something the estate now renders every year – displayed a depth of flavors, floral profusion, and resistance to its new oak that went beyond the other components. However, there is no intention of bottling a “prestige cuvee” and thereby impoverishing the grand vin. I can’t help but remark that the price of the wine from this 18 acre Clos has ascended dizzyingly in the course of the last three vintages, but I suppose that is simply in the nature of things at the upper-echelons of Burgundy grand cru monopoles. (I did not have opportunity, incidentally, to taste the estate’s second wine – Morey-St.-Denis 1er Cru La Forge de Tart – from 2007; and the necessary decisions about what would be bottled as 2008 La Forge had not yet been made at the time that I last tasted the components and grand vin assemblage of that vintage.) Wine Advocate.June, 2010

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