June 1, 2009

Evolution 2.5: With An Old Twist

It's time to check back in on our case of Burgundy, and just to mix it up we thought we'd combine the ongoing Evolution Experiment with our Old/New program.

So alongside the next installment of the 2001 Confuron-Cotetidot Vosne-Romanée, we are also tasting a 1988 vintage of the same.

For the 2001, this seems like a quite different wine than the one we tasted six months ago. The nose is still fresh and bright -- cherries, cinnamon and perfumed sandalwood. But the fruit on the palate (plums and currants) is beginning to give way to leathery secondary flavors and peppery spice. What's most interesting about this is that you can almost taste the architecture. It's as if the fleshy middle has faded away, so you can now sense the bones of the wine. You taste the acidity but you can't pin down its specifics; the mocha on the finish is more of a sensation than a flavor. This is a ghost's wine.

The 1988, meanwhile, drank like an old, familiar friend. The nose is musty sandalwood, stewed fruit, mushrooms and graphite. But the palate caught me completely off-guard, it is dominated by still bright fruit. There are other flavors hinted: river stones, white pepper and a coppery note on the finish, but the fruit still shines above the rest.

The fading fruit on the 2001 leaves me a little worried the 2001 isn't going to make it to the Evolution finish. But I suppose the '88 offers some cause for optimism.

Guess we'll see.

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