Initially this was heavily reduced and required a full 45 minutes in a vigorously shaken decanter to really dissipate the funk. Like many '05s at this stage in their evolution this remains reserved and tight but the concentration and balance is seriously impressive. That said, the reserved nose, while offering glimpses of what is to come, it closed and the supporting tannins are still very, very firm. I remain highly optimistic that in time this is going to be a genuinely great Clos St. Jacques but for now it's basically infanticide, even with extended aeration. I would advise just letting this slumber away for the better part of another decade as it's going to need it but when it finally matures, we're in for a real treat! Drink: Try from 2020+
Fourrier's 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques reveals a gorgeous aroma of black fruits, rose, truffle, tea and musk, a marrowy, creamy richness of texture, and a riveting finishing complexity of fruit, meat, flowers, pungent spices and minerals. If this is not a case of progression into the territory of grand cru quality, I don't know what is. I would plan to start following this from ten years out and anticipate at least a second decade of improvement. (With a vintage-typical, yet in this instance, somehow not disruptive contrast of milky texture with tart fresh fruit, and displaying strikingly overt minerality, the 2004 rendition of this wine is also well worth a decade of cellaring.) The articulate and opinionated Jean-Marie Fourrier staunchly believes in the inclusion of uncrushed fruit (to among other things prolong fermentation and, he claims, diminish the efficiency of alcoholic conversion); leaving the young wines on their lees (with high CO2 retention) eighteen months before bottling; employing a mere 20% of new barrels for all wines; and applying only minimal doses of sulfur. That the property from which he sources is all owned outright, and is largely in vines of over fifty years age planted by his father or grandfather before the days of clones certainly helps explain the consistently excellent quality at this address.
A positively gorgeous nose of cool red, blue and violet aromas nuanced with hints of anise, stone, mild earth and crushed herb notes that continue onto the classy, refined and very pure flavors that retain a terrific sense of focus and detail on the firmly tannic and almost Zen-like finish that is a study in harmony and grace. Flat out terrific and highly recommended. Stated differently, don't miss it! Drink: 2017+
Note: from .89 ha parcel
Producer note: Jean-Marie Fourrier, who is always one of my best sources for detailed vintage analyses, told me that 2005 was a "very dry vintage with low water reserves toward the end of the growing season. However, what most people fail to realize is that we had almost excess water accumulation during the 2004 and 2005 winter which is what fed the vines during the spring and summer. Some young vines did suffer in August and September but in terms of effective ground water levels, it wasn't as dry as some have suggested. The adequate but still restricted water levels contributed to high levels of millerandage (small berries with very high solid to liquid ratios) and thick skins on the normal berries. This of course means that the musts had unusually high dry extract levels. The harvest was exceptionally clean and we essentially had no triage except to eliminate a number of insects that also found the quality of the grapes to be impressive! While the vinifications were easy, I decided not to push the extraction levels because it appeared to happen naturally because even though the phenolic ripeness levels were excellent, too tannic is still too tannic. I very much like the vintage but I'm not sure that I'm prepared to pronounce that it's genuinely great. Very good? Sure, no question. But great? Time will be the final judge of that." Not withstanding Fourrier's cautious comments on the vintage, I found his '05s to be magnificent, combining ripe and dense fruit with the elegance and purity that is the hallmark of this domaine. By contrast, I was marginally disappointed by what I found with the three 2004's that I sampled from bottle. To be sure, all 3 were good but a bit less interesting than how I found them from cask last year at this time. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, NY; there are many sources in the UK including John Armit Wines, Goedhuis & Co., Howard Ripley, Ballantynes of Cowbridge, Uncorked Ltd and Seckford Wines).Tasting note: A positively gorgeous nose of cool red, blue and violet aromas nuanced with hints of anise, stone, mild earth and crushed herb notes that continue onto the classy, refined and very pure flavors that retain a terrific sense of focus and detail on the almost Zen-like finish that is a study in harmony and grace. Flat out terrific and highly recommended.