Question: Why is Grands-Echezeaux called “Grands”?
Answer: Like your question. Must flow out of this Monday’s Blog. Your scribe wondered about this since one region is named Grands-Echezeaux and the adjoining other one just Echezeaux. Bill Nanson in his Burgundy Report notes that: “older producers suggest that the prefix ‘Grand’ is not used as a form of one-upmanship versus Echezeaux, rather that it describes the much longer rows of vines than seen in the more ‘parcellated’ Echezeaux – so they say…” A second explanation might be that in 1937 Echezeaux expanded from a small 3.5 hectares to the present size of 37.69. So early on Grands-Echezeaux at 9.13 hectares was nearly 3 times “grander” in size than Echezeaux. You might choose your answer from those 2 alternative choices.
These days It is indeed a rare treat to taste a bottle of Grands Echezeaux from Burgundy. It was much easier in the last century at lower prices to access bottles which we fortunately did. Not any more. To drink and compare 8 examples from 7 vintages featuring 5 from DRC is truly a once in a lifetime wonderful experience. Not sure about the proper spelling as DRC uses no hyphen but you often see the hyphen more often as Grands-Echezeaux in the other 3 producers here. Probably both are correct. In the early wine education days for your scribe we all assumed Grands meant just that being smaller and grander than the neighbouring Echezeaux. Certainly for DRC Grands Echezeaux in most vintages seemed more concentrated than their Echezeaux (but perhaps not in 1986). Presently at only 9.13 hectares (DRC has 3.53 ha) it is scarce at roughly 1/4 the size of Echezeaux at 37.69 ha (DRC has 4.67 ha) which has many more producers to seek out. Though generally Echezeaux may be more variable with differing terroirs there are also “grand” examples including such as 1990 Echezeaux from Emmanuel Rouget among many others. Actually it is IMHO unfortunate wording to call one Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux and the other Grand Cru merely Echezeaux. So be it.
On July 20, 2021 at Blue Water Cafe the Vancouver Group of 8 enjoyed Grands Echezeaux with a dinner menu attached. The bookends were rather impressive too with that outstanding acidity of the 1988 vintage showing well in both Champagne and Sauternes helping keep the candied lemon zest of La Grande Dame & apricot notes of Ch. Coutet Barsac fresh at 33. Here are the eight wines with some brief comments:
2008 GRANDS-ECHEZEAUX DOMINIQUE LAURENT: Lighter paler look with brick tones. Lovely balanced fruit acidity with some oak showing in a floral style but clean in a vintage that was so variable that crop sorting became important. Rather good.
2005 GRANDS-ECHEZEAUX DOMAINE MONGEARD-MUGNERET: Comes with the baggage as that outstanding 05 vintage but holds the reputation well. Dark deep red with excellent big rich full fruit structured extract. Perhaps austere right now but will benefit from more time to develop tertiary bouquet complexity and round out. Well done. Patience.
2002 GRANDS ECHEZEAUX DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE-CONTI: DRC uses numbered bottles #06672 out of total production of 13,134 bottles. Similar lighter look as the Laurent but with a browner rim. Aromas from this are strongly vegetal and musty. Definitely some TCA corkiness there as well. Disappointing unlucky start for DRC from this usually excellent most charming vintage.
2001 GRANDS ECHEZEAUX DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE-CONTI: Bottle is #05138 out of 10,475. Brighter younger look though lighter with a watery edge. Shows the structure of stems from using whole bunch fermentation but is so clean, elegant and stylish. Wonderful balance with acidity, freshness, plus exotic spiced raspberries. Underrated vintage shows the possibility of top grape selection resulting in classic G-E terroir. Clearly showing the best of the first flight of four here matching magically with the mushrooms and cherries for the grilled lobster.
1995 GRANDS ECHEZEAUX DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE-CONTI: Bottle is #01377 out of 9,253. First of three good vintages in this second flight to go with truffled beef is exciting. Lighter again but so delicately perfumed with Asian spices and tastes of those classic almonds. Delicious now but finishing with drier tannins. On a current plateau of sublime enjoyment.
1995 GRANDS-ECHEZEAUX DOMAINE GROS FRERE ET SOEUR: Interesting comparison to same vintage of DRC. Quite different as one guest said “a Right Bank wine in a Left Bank tasting”. Avoid chaptalization here but use a controversial old procedure of a concentrating machine technique instead. Shows somewhat in the surprising more evolved unique result. Not the best “place” definition but some some smoky bacon notes. Lots of new changes taking place here in the family holdings for much improved winemaking 2018-20 and bright outlook for the next decade. Also look out for excellent G-E from Georges Noellat & Domaine d’Eugenie!
1993 GRANDS ECHEZEAUX DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE-CONTI: Bottle #01009 of 8,385. Least production and darkest by far of this flight. Dramatic impressive full powerful depth here. Shows those typical muscles of G-E. Solid gamey fruit yet seems coarser with less finesse than 2001, 1995, or 1990. Divided opinions on this wine with some of us feeling 1993 is not the most consistent year for DRC.
1990 GRANDS ECHEZEAUX DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE-CONTI: Bottle #05956 of 10,972. All DRC showed 13 abv except this one at 13.4. Oldest but also clearly the best quality of all these 8 G-E. At another much higher level for key aromatics of superb Asian-tea and exotic spices. So vibrant but still has layers of seductive velvety complexity for interest, admiration, and study. Ripe (but not baked) sweet strawberries with a tiny dip of artisan Valrhona darkest bitter chocolate. A lesson in how to age gracefully with class. Something so pure, elegant and stylish here that is impossible to describe. What a finish to a memorable evening!
Question: What is the name of that dessert Brandy from South Africa?
Answer: You must mean Jerepigo or Jerepiko. This special fortified wine can be either white or red but is produced by using grape juice without any fermentation plus added grape spirit. The result is a unique very sweet intense grape flavoured Brandy.
Last week your scribe pointed out the versatility of the abundant Summer fruits and vegetables presently in the marketplace. This week we are focusing on the availability of wild fresh salmon now in season especially Sockeye. Most of us know the 5 main species of salmon listed by me in order of my personal preference:
CHINOOK: Also called King, Spring, or Tyee. These are the biggest salmon with full rich delicious special tasting oils highest in Omega-3. They are becoming more and more difficult to find for sale in the retail market.
SOCKEYE: Most readily available species. Deepest red colour and firm flesh but rather tricky to cook so still remain moist and are not dried out. Also have lots of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Photos show the look of a deep coloured fillet and our 2.6 kg (or 5 3/4 lbs) whole Sockeye.
COHO: Called Silver and versatile fine textured use.
CHUM: More frequently being called Keta. Paler red and milder taste.
PINK: Rose quite light pink colour with a softer texture and delicate flavours. Sometimes called Humpback (develops more when spawning).
Generally the most common species used for canning is Sockeye and Pink but are seeing more Keta (Chum) produced.
This July has been a plethora of Sockeye for us prepared many different ways and with diverse wine pairings. Really enjoy the flavours of a whole side cooked on the grill or BBQ but wrote back on July 16, 2018 that the taste was more delicious cooked as a steak on the bone. Three superb wine matchings with a Sockeye steak were all quite different being a white, rose, and red: classic 2015 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon very old vines Cuvee Guy Moreau of Christian Moreau, delicious 2020 Florence Rose by Baillie-Grohman of Pinot Noir fruit from the Kootenays in BC, and 2018 Whitehaven Pinot Noir from Marlborough New Zealand. Wine selections for grilled salmon were commented on here on April 6, 2016 but seems to taste better IMHO with a fuller richer white wine like classic 2012 Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru Christian Moreau, underrated 2017 Chaberton Chardonnay with weekly lees stirring, and brilliant 2016 St.-Aubin 1er Cru Sur Gamay by Henri Prudhon & Fils. However, most Sockeye dishes will work with a variety of wines including Champagne (super value Le Mesnil) or Sparkling. Delighted in comparing Culmina’s excellent 2016 Chardonnays of rich full Dilemma style with wild yeast no malo fresh vibrant Stan’s Bench one! Also outstanding with Sockeye was an aged Bordeaux-like complex 2010 Howling Bluff Summa Quies 80% Sauvignon Blanc & 20% Semillon. Enjoyed Jean-Georges Vongerichten slow roasted recipe with capers and onions with the regular fruity 2018 CedarCreek Pinot Noir. Check out this Blog on May 4, 2016 for red wine with fish. Don’t forget to use the sweet salmon next to the bones for making your own salmon cakes one night. Went so well with a fresh dry no oak 2019 Noble Ridge Pinot Grigio Reserve. Enjoy the wild fresh salmon available and experiment with cooking methods and wine pairings. A lot of fun!