2019 has seen more historical verticals grace my palate than any other year ever. It has been a spectacular series, and I might as well start with the first one, thirty-six vintages of Roumier Bonnes Mares, the grandest event of our Grande Fete de Bourgogne in late January. Per Se was the setting, and Roumier would proceed to show us its translation of ‘The Right Stuff.’
Hamburger Behind the Scenes
On the Front Lines
The first flight saw us start with 2015 and tiptoe our way back to 2011:
|2015 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(97+)|
|2014 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93)|
|2013 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93)|
|2012 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(95+)|
|2011 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93)|
The 2015 was so much tighter than most 2015s early on, a real iron fist. It was so primary at first yet screamed potential. Dr. Doom admired its ‘Chambolle flavors’ and Say It Ain’t Joe loved its ‘sexy spiciness.’ By the time I went back to it another two or three times, it started to talk to me. There was no doubting its palate, and it was clearly the greatest wine in the flight. The 2014 was milder all the way around. There was nice perfume on the black and purple side and even a little beetroot. While there was a lot of playful minerality, the ’14 was even more closed than the ’15 and didn’t quite emerge. The 2013 was the first vintage to show a pinch of openness in its nose. There were brighter red fruits here along with great spice and more forest action. Joe found it ‘a touch green,’ but I liked its little ladybug action. The 2012 was another ‘tough’ wine, but it showed ample rust and spice. Did I mention how Roumier, probably more than ANY other Burgundy producer on Earth, needs time to develop? Fifteen to twenty years sounds about right. We would soon find out. The 2011 hinted at a bright future, as it was more open than anything else so far. 2011 is a nice vintage to drink younger for red Burgs. This was a little gamey with nice zip and a fresh, cedary finish.
Love Me Some 07s
We moved on to the next flight of five…
|2010 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(97)|
|2009 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(92?)|
|2008 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93)|
|2007 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(95)|
|2006 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(92)|
The 2010 was full of bright red cherry aromas, intertwined with lots of minerality and a deep intensity. It was so long on the finish; this was classic ’10 with its tightness and brightness. There were great strawberry elements along with citrus. It had such great pitch. ‘Spectacular with food, truffles in the glass,’ added Kass. The 2009 was a bit perplexing. It was gamey but not cooked; it had that cedary, zippy finish. It was clearly more chunky than the 2010. I wrote, ‘needs more time?’ Someone observed, ‘violet, lavender and mothball.’ There was something bacterial happening with this bottle? Up until the 2008, I had been very disciplined. ‘Starting to abandon my spit glass,’ I wrote. If one drank everything at a 35 vintage vertical, it would be two bottles total, which I can do, but try not to : ) Again some strawberry goodness came out first. The mid-palate was softer, perhaps in a shy phase. The ’08 was round, dusty and lighter than expected, and someone commented, ‘the fruit’s not there.’ ‘Just truck it in,’ Novocaine gushed about the 2007, meaning he would take lots shipped to his home! The 2007 was very delicious and drinkable, despite a bit of vim and buzz still to its backside. I continue to make googly eyes with 2007 red Burgundy; it is tough to argue with the pure pleasure most deliver right now. The Roumier had more vim than most 2007s but was still luscious and silky. The 2006 was more on the tight/acid side, not showing a lot of fruit but the ‘most beguiling’ per Kass. There was good body and an intense finish, but it seemed a bit less dimensional. Kass continued, ‘I keep wanting to stick my nose in it.’ He thought there was some buried treasure there!
|2005 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(95)|
|2004 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93)|
|2003 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(92)|
|2002 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(97+)|
|2001 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(92A)|
The 2005 was another top vintage initially erring on the side of being shut down, although some nice fruit and flesh did emerge from its nose. The palate slowly obliged as well, but this needed time. There was a wealth of raw fruit on the palate, not defined so much, but there, almost burying the finish. This was a shy guy, ‘still too young’ as someone observed aptly. The 2004 did not have ‘the same purity’ per one, and it was definitely greenish in the bamboo, cedary and/or ladybug way. The Professor joked, ‘beetlejuice,’ but Wine Daddy found it ‘delicious.’ I liked it as well; I am not a 2004 hater like many out there. I find the wines enjoyable to drink in general. Hamburger found ‘wetness’ and Say It Ain’t Joe ‘Pu-er tea.’ The 2003 had sweet, fleshy, tea leaf aromas with a creamy, honeyed, flamboyant personality, but it was simple. Wine Mommy noted ‘persimmon.’ Oh, 2002, how do I love thee? The forgotten great vintage of the last twenty years once again reminded me why it should get more attention. ‘Serious’ and ‘so intense’ started my notes. There was great balance and considerable length in this ‘great wine.’ ‘So fragrant,’ cooed one. M&M noted, ‘coiled, more Pinot fruit.’ The 2001 was a little disappointing and a little dirty. There was this tootsie pop thing happening, and I didn’t think the bottle was pure. Earthy and furry, it was an affected bottle, perhaps some brett?
As Easy as 345
Rock Star 02
Wait There’s More
|2000 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93)|
|1999 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(DQ)|
|1998 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(92)|
|1997 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(94)|
|1996 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(95+)|
The 2000 was a gamy wine that seemed to be on a faster evolutionary track than some of the other vintages. It was fleshy and round with lots of caramel flavors. It also could have been a slightly advanced bottle, but it didn’t seem cooked. The 1999 was badly corked, while the 1998 was a very dry, earthy and leathery wine. It was zippy and long, but not showing much fruit. The 1997 was in a great spot. This was a delicious and creamy Roumier that still had vigor on the backside. Was this the first vintage that was ready to drink? Kass noted ‘red fruits’ in this refreshing and balanced red. The 1996 was shut down, for sure. It was full of acid still. Shy and reserved, one could still appreciate its raw material. A bit of peacock’s tail came out much later.
|1995 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(96)|
|1994 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93)|
|1993 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(96+)|
|1991 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(97)|
The flights were getting shorter, but the wines were getting longer. The 1995 had fresh red fruits on the wow side while Dr. Feelgood noted ‘licorice.’ Many feel that Roumier made the wines of the vintage and that his 1995s are epic wines. This bottle didn’t quite get there, but it was still outstanding. The 1994 was rich and nutty with earthy and foresty flavors. It was on the dry side but solid, especially given the vintage. The 1993 had all that good rust, iron and earth, that dirt under the nails action. The ’93 was strapped in leather from head to Tokyo, and its backside was especially pronounced. There were lots of oat flavors with chocolate kisses. It was an intense wine, not quite ready but still appreciated. The 1991 was my favorite of the flight, with the most stuffing. It was really good with edges of coffee and vanilla ice cream without that dessert-like sweetness. Mint and cherry brought it altogether on the palate. Yum.
|1990 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(96)|
|1989 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(DQ)|
|1988 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(98)|
|1987 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(90)|
The 1990 had great citricity for a ’90, with round, rich and fleshy fruit to balance it out. It was a delicious ’90, fleshing out further with citrus and red fruits. ‘All the elements of a great wine are in place with no fighting,’ some unidentifiable, wise man remembered. The 1989 was badly corked (DQ), but the 1988 was spectacular. The ’88 was a deep, dark, foresty fantasy with outstanding bread, cigar and smokehouse aromas. This was a creamy red with rock star vim and vigor. ‘So good,’ appeared in my notes. ‘Power, structure, fruit and austerity,’ came from the crowd. This was clearly the best wine so far. The 1987 was no match for the ’88, showing a rainforesty, funky, mushroomy side. It was round and twangy, dirty and a touch figgy, ready to fade off into the sunset.
78/79 What a Pair
Oh What a Night
|1986 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(DQ)|
|1985 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(96)|
|1982 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(DQ)|
|1981 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(92)|
The next flight had a double corked dip with the 1986 and 1982, two vintages I had been really interested to try. Roumier made great ‘86s, probably the wines of the vintage. And I have had some killer ’82 Burgs this past year, which you don’t see that often. Oh, well. Let’s talk about the 1985. This was a dusty, citrusy and spiny Burgundy, and Special K admired its ‘gorgeous nose.’ Its citrus qualities set the tone for its palate, which was ‘singular’ per Dr. Feelgood and ‘sweet like a prison roommate,’ according to another distinguished guest. Whoa, buddy. Easy! I am assuming it was a joke and not based on personal experience, but you never know lol. The 1981 was a pleasant surprise with its pleasant fruit and veggie kisses. There was still nice acid and some funk in the trunk.
|1980 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(93A)|
|1979 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(97)|
|1978 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(98+)|
|1976 Roumier Bonnes Mares||(NA)|
It was a grand finale, even though the 1980 was slightly corked. It had a clean finish, but its palate was a bit covered up. There was some nice freshness and touches of cola still traceable. The 1979 was fantastic. This is another secretly good vintage for Red Burgundies, IMO. This was a rich and meaty Roumier, showing off battle conquests of animal, beef and blood. The perfect amount of autumn was here in this lipsmackingly great red. The 1978 was the WOTN, for sure. There was no doubt in my mind. It was love at first sip. Iron, meat, minerality, sweetness, citrus, forest, strawberry…I could go on. It was a great ending to a great vertical. It was so great I forgot to write or score the 1976. Sorry, pal.
We took votes at the end for everyone’s WOTN, and the 1978 eked out the 1990 by 6 votes to 5 ½. The 2002 had four votes and the 1993 had three. 2005, 1995, 1991 and 1985 had some votes as well.
Why, thank you, Mr. Chalet, may I have another?
There is no question that Roumier is one of the greatest Domaines in Burgundy and hence the world. Just be patient!
In Vino Veritas,