Robert Parker 89
The 2004 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru has a lucid ruby hue that belies its several years in bottle. For a 2004 it sports a mightily intense bouquet that rockets from the glass, with iodine, macerated dark cherries, incense and violets. Underneath, present and correct, are those so-called “green meanies” – not as overpowering as other 2004s but undeniably there. And that translates onto the nose. You can picture a gorgeous, sensual Charmes-Chambertin, but there in the background, like a back-row choirboy singing out of key, is that greenness. All in all, this Charmes-Chambertin is still a pleasurable wine, albeit one with a single bum note to be willingly ignored. Drink now-2020. Tasted January 2014. When tasting through Denis Bachelet’s 2012s, he invited a run through his 2011s that provided a lucid juxtaposition between the two vintages, while reaffirming the commonly held notion that Denis has an innate ability to transcend the limitations of the growing season. His 2011s are some of the best you will find in the appellation from top to bottom, though in my mind the 2012s are more crystalline and contain more matiere. Here, I have also included two mature vintages of his jewel, Charmes-Chambertin: the 1987 a little gem from a forgotten vintage and the 2004, a potentially great wine besmirched by those seemingly ubiquitous “green meanies.” Importer: A Becky Wasserman Selection, Le Serbet, various American importers, including: Martin Scott Wines, Little Neck, NY; tel. (516) 327-0808; AOC Imports, CA; tel. (415) 279-8708; Toepfer Imports LLC, CO; tel. (303) 818-7640. Also available in UK through Howard Ripley, Berry Brothers & Rudd, Wine Society and A&B Vintners.
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020
The 2004 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru is a step down from the 2002 tasted alongside, though given my lukewarm appreciation of this growing season, it is clearly one of this maligned vintage’s better wines. Comparing the two side by side, the 2004 shows more leafy character, to the point where you might deduce there is some stem addition. It is an expressive bouquet, developing scents of pressed flowers and black tea with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine acidity, quite bright and edgy with a tang of marmalade infusing the red fruit, grippy on the finish though without real persistence. It kind of wears its heart on its sleeve. Drink now and over the next 7 to 10 years. Tasted at the Gevrey-Chambertin lunch at China Tang in Hong Kong.
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2029