I think the Day 1 tasting note for the Joly wine sums it all up nicely (see yesterday's post if you're already behind):
Gun metal and rubbing alcohol with faint floral perfume.
Now I've had enough of Joly's wines to know that all is not necessarily lost at this point. The palate was sharply acidic, but still had some interesting complexity. This wine could stage a comeback. I've seen it happen.
Day 2 for the Joly: Smells like nail polish.
And Day 3: Something killed this.
There would be no come back for the Clos Sacres this time. The Villaine white Burgundy, meanwhile, was singing.
Day 1-3: Nose is an interesting mix of honey, clover, coddled cream and lemon oil. There's also a strong oak undertone of vanilla. In the mouth, more lemon with some grapefruit/lime acidity, and ripe apple and freshly cut grass.
This held up pretty well and drank consistently, and with little evolution, over the first three days. On Day 4, however, the barrel effects took over in an unappealing way. A smell like the banana flavored novocaine my dentist used in the 70s dominated and the fruit faded behind a tart acidity.
So this could have been a classic battle. The Joly tortoise versus a Burgundian hare, with the reptile closing the distance and claiming victory on the final day. It could have been exciting. Except that the tortoise was DOA from the start.
To add insult to injury, I opened a second bottle of Les Clos Sacres on day 1. It was frizzante and cloudy; some refermentation had occured in the bottle.
I get that sulfur, or more accurately, the absence of sulfur, has become a fashion in wine. And Joly has long been on the edge of that trend. But maybe using some sulfur should remain in vogue for wine that you know you're going to ship from France to America. Joly labels this wine for the North American market (it's called Les Vieux Clos in France), so perhaps he should sulfur for export as well.
When Joly's wines are good, they can be sublime. But in the past year or so, I've had more misses than hits. I really don't know if this can be chalked up to just (a reluctance to use) sulfur. But I do know buying these wines seems more and more like a roll of the dice.