Domaine Meo-Camuzet

Mature vintages

Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes


Vosne-Romanée, Les Brûlées

I tasted with Jean-Nicolas Meo, who is always rather reflective. We tasted in the spring 2017. This was first published in the Burgundy Briefing Vintage Report 2016.

“Les Chaumes is a terroir which is at the foot of the hill…there was a movement of the soil down the hill to the Clos des Reas – so all is premier cru here even though these premier cru are at the base of the hill. It is the same soil as at up the hill. We do not know where the name comes from Chaumes is hay, so maybe common ground either cultivated for crops or for the villagers to keep their animals at the centre of the village.”

“Another possibility, which is more scientific, relates it to Charmes and such names..often mixed up and maybe in the past too. They have there same root – calc and this became calcaire, which means stones.”

“It is a typical Vosne-Romanée. A fine wine, delicate, not necessarily a lot of structure, though more tannic structure than Chambolle. Chambolle can be so charming. In Les Chaumes the fine charming character is there, but with more structure – it looks towards Nuits-Saint-Georges.”

“For years I tried to extract a little bit more from Les Chaumes. I like the light style but found it a little less serious, but now I am moving from this idea, as the older wines I try are not lacking structure and the vineyards has more age and the vines are more serious. I should just take the wine as it is. It is very seductive. Most of the vines were planted in the late ‘70s for one part and some are a older, later 60s and a quarter was planted in the late 50s.”

“I have tried to control the yields. It’s less necessary now as the vines are older. In fact decreasing yields have become worrying. I saw that decreasing yields did not improve the wine. When you have a natural elegance you can easily slip to dilution if it’s cropped too high. I did extract more with more piegage. I have also tried with whole cluster and this improves the finish, but I discontinued this as I was uneasy. It was not a win on all counts. I improved on length and gained some tannins, but lost some charm. I need to work with the charm and seductivity. “Why am I looking for something more?” I asked myself. I tried the whole cluster on 2009 and 2010 and we will wait to see the results, but I’m not that confident.”

“When I used some whole bunch, at first I felt it gave it structure, but lost a little of the charm. I stopped it. Since 2011 I felt I did not need it anyway.”

“Les Brûlées is a serous beast. No definite explanation for the name. One is the bushes which were burnt to clear the land and the second that there is no wind in the summer and it’s very hot.”

Jean-Nicolas has a copy of Dr Jules Lavalle’s map which was published in 1861. On this Richebourg and the other grand cru are marked in pink – and this extends to include Brûlées, but not Cros Partentoux (and this is why it would be difficult to argue for the elevation of Cros Parentoux.). Brûlées was not divided by a road at the time.

“Our parcel of Brûlées is a great vineyard farmed by Henry Jayer and the vines date from the 30s. The yields are low and concentrated. We are next to Richebourg and it has the same geology and topography. It is an extension of Richebourg. Not only is it close in terms of site, but character also. It has majesty and ripeness – never heavy. An aristocratic and powerful wine. Our Richebourg is fresher than the Richebourgs from below as it’s higher on the hill. Someone told me that our Brûlées is more like a Richebourg from below. I was flattered by this.”

Tasting Notes 

Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes 

Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes 2008

This is paling a little – slight orange on the hue. There is some development on the nose, some more evolved characters, but with some red fruit. It shows its cool side. Quite up-toned and a touch leafy. The palate is more youthful than the nose. It is fresh, delicate and vibrant. There are red currents and some cranberries. There is a light crunch to the tannins which are light and do not disturb. They are nicely integrating. Although it is light it has some intensity and a bright, crisp finish, not long, but decent. You could decant this and drink it now, but of course it will evolve and over another 3 to 5 years will gain in complexity. Score 17.75
Jean-Nicolas remarks, “I used to say of the 2008. Everything is alright until the end. I found that the acidity would bite at the end, but it has integrated. It is coming together now and is drinkable.”

Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes 2006
This is certainly browning in hue, but is fruity on the nose. Red and black plums. Soft and juicy on the strike. Richer than the 2008 with balanced acidity fresh. Plump in the middle palate. The texture is smooth. About the same intensity in the mid palate as the 2008, but with a firmer, longer and more assured finish. It is a very agreeable, open and ‘sweetly’ fruity wine. A very nice 2006. You could drink this now and it should continue to age very nicely over the next 6 to 8 years. Score 18.

Jean-Meo says, “I have always liked the 2006. It is a vintage which is very ripe, but elegant and fruity and open. It is funny to see that it is less evolved than the 2008. You still see the acidity in the 2008, the effect of the north wind. The 2008 has secondary aromas whereas the 2006 has not.”

Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes 2005
Deep colour here, which is youthful and has not faded much. Slightly closed and compact on the nose, but it opens in the glass to show some savoury notes, but mainly forest fruit and some glimpses of ripe red fruit. It is very compact on the palate, but not hard. Layered and dense. Good tension. It is very fresh. The effect of the acidity on the tannins is resolving with age and the tannins are certainly integrating, becoming smooth and supple with some still to resolve on the finish. It has a certain grip. It is a straight edged and longer than the previous wine. It has drive on the finish. You can approach this wine now, but it would be better to keep it for a few years. From 2020, but should evolve over another 10. Score 18.5

Jean-Nicolas; “Very young and compact. More on the primary fruit, sweetness and wood which is less integrated. Aromas of a young wine. It is not as tight as I was expecting. Sometimes I had the impression that the vintage is not relaxing, but here not so today. Very positive. Powerful and texture..sweetness and velvet in the mouth are very characteristic of the vintage in a good way. Very impressive. Not ready to drink, but not unapproachable.
*Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes 2002
Definitely a orange hue. Rose petals on the aroma. Very expressive and seductive. The first impression on the palate is elegant and juicy. It is showing beautifully. Silky tannins. Lovely intensity and an effortless harmony. It is ripe and you feel the glow of a summer’s day in the palate. It has a notably aromatic palate…scented onto the finish, which is long, floral and fresh. Just delicious. Now is the perfect moment. Score 18.25

Jean-Nicolas “Very fine and complex nose and a fine and complex palate. I have only one or two bottles left. I am glad I sold the wine. It is ready to drink now. I have more of the 2005. The 2002 is very gorgeous right now. It is a great classic…ripeness and structure. This was a ripe vintage. The ripeness is maybe more evident in this wine. Sometimes when you put it with the 2001 some of us Burgundians and professionals prefer the 2001 with more zip.”

But what’s not to like?

Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes 1993
This has an orange hue. We tried two bottles as the first was a little corked (a problem with the Brûlées ’93 as well.) Dried rose petal and a touch of spice aroma. There is sweetness up front. It flows elegantly. The tannins are slightly firm textured and there is a crisp thread of freshness through the fruit. This is much more youthful. Spicy finish. It is still on an upward curve. Not quite ready yet. From 2018. Score 18.

Jean-Nicolas fortunately had more 1993s to try, “I kept some 93 as it was the year of my wedding and my first son.”

Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées

Bruûées takes care of itself. There is nothing to do. We follow the pattern of the others..those that have come before. I try to have a lighter hand. I pay attention to the harvest. It is generally in the first tier of harvesting, but not the first. It changes very quickly as you move into the valley. We are still in a ripe position, so it is early. As Richebourg is a bit higher up, it is later. We also have the village parcel of Barreaux which is the latest..(Barreaux is turned more towards the North as well as being further into the combe). So this area changes very rapidly.

As the tasting shows, the 2008, 2005, 2002 are much more retarded than the same vintages in Chaumes.
*Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées 2008
This has a vibrant aroma, wild berries, floral, berry-ish. Cool aroma. Strikes the palate with a sweet cassis note. Juicy jump. It is vibrant. The fruit envelops the acidity. The tannins are like fine tendons …there is a stretched feeling to them. Not particularly concentrated, but very energetic. Slim and trim with a long, elegant finish, which shows some minerality at the end and a touch of white flowers. It may not age as long as the 2006 below, but I prefer it. It is more intellectual, while 2006 is more indulgent. Each would be suited to different occasions and food. A very good 2008. It is not a wine you need to wait to long to enjoy. You could decant it now or wait another 4 or 5 years. It is lighter, but has the vibrancy to mature over another 10 years. 18.45

Jean-Niclas “This is a terroir that can take the very best of the vintage and minimise its deficiencies.”

“This is true to the vintage, more so than the 2008 Chaumes which shows more evolution than expected. The freshness, vibrance and the balance and the acidity translates to a peppery and almost fizzy element here. Very youthful. Gooseberry.”

Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées 2006
Much deeper brown hue. Rich aroma. Ripe strawberries and some evolution. Full on the front palate. Juicy, rounded and succulent in the middle with a soft texture. There is good concentration, although it is not as layered and nuanced as the better vintages. Rather, it’s impressive, full-bodied and forward. It has plenty of freshness to balance to ripeness and a full, long finish. Just at the end it is showing more savoury, umami character as it evolves. Still too young…it will gain in complexity …just beginning to show itself, so wait a good 5 years and look again. Score 18.5

“Solid maturity and ripe. Very consistent with the vintage character as with Chaumes. Sweet dense and velvety. Touch warm, Very long indeed. I found the character of the wine has a majesty. It has presence. Another 10 years for optimum age to drink this.”
*Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées 2005
So red in colour still. Silky juicy fruit on the attack. Satin rich tannins. Immediate impression is of the fabulous svelte texture. There is intensity, gravitas and layering. The finish is very persistent…many long strands, but not yet woven. There is sweetness right at the end and a sappy minerality. It is refined, but also has presence. This is coming together, but still far to young. Gorgeous texture. I would wait until 2025 or so. Score 19.25

“The 2005 has wonderful texture, always has had.”

Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées 2002
Some smoky characters. Sweet red fruit on the front palate. Juicy, but still a bit restrained mid palate. It is slim and vibrant, but the acidity seems a bit edgy. Touch tight and having an effect on the tannins which are still a bit too firm. Long peppery finish. It would need decanting for some time. Wait another 4 to 5 years and look again. Score 18.5

“Showing a bit brutal and not finished…needs time..wait for some years 5 years or decant it for some hours. I have had this with the Brûlées 99, which can still be tight…Brûlées can be a bit tense.”

Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées 1998
“Frankly this is one of my most difficult vintages,” said Jean-Nicolas.
Browning on the hue. Showing more evolved tertiary characters. Maybe a hint of nettle. The texture is smooth at first. It is lighter bodied. A slightly fragile construction, a touch lean without much fruit substance. It is fresh. The finish is medium, but a little thin..and the tannins show at the end. A bit boney. However you can drink this now with a meal. Score 17

“It is drinkable and has been for the past few years. It took time. It was more tannic and the tannins give the wine a finish. With food it will go very well. It has finally come together, but clearly a difficult vintage because of the tannin issue. It’s without the structure to support the tannins. It was an unrewarding vintage! It was sulky as we say in French.”

Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées 1996
“This is the worst year for cork – 1995 to 2000 is a very bad period. I kept a number of bottles of the ’96.” The first bottle was corked and someone went off obligingly (as this happened 3 times in total with the two ‘93s) to find another bottle from Jean-Nicolas’s small and further diminishing reserves.

This was a good bottle showing complex evolved characters with more youthful delicate flowery notes and a hint forest floor on a cool spring morning. Lovely nose. Elegant sweep onto the palate. Very fresh indeed, but with substance to balance. Good tension and intensity. The tannins have a sappy, bright note. It is a tighter, straight style. Clipped at the edges. Long straight, fine finish…showing some floral aromas at the end. I like it lot. It was always an acidic vintage, but this has come together beautifully and the acidity is not out of place. Drinking from now onwards. It feels as if it is on a plateau and will age very slowly. Score 18.95

Jean-Nicolas recalls, “It was a big crop. At the time we were still a pioneer of the selection table. It was a healthy harvest. There was nothing to sort for rot, but in terms of ripeness it needed sorting. You had the cool North wind in September. It was cold with record acidity. With no or low selection you had that sharp edge that never goes. Our wines have the structure and velvet to support it. The vibrancy is the mark of the vintage and it shows well today. I love this vintage.
Vosne-Romanée, Brûlées 1993
This is not as vibrant in colour – a little hazy.. Smoky note …woodland and more mushroomy. We tried two bottles and the second was better with some succulence on the strike up front. Good vibrance. Orange zest and a hint of smoke and dark spice. The texture is smooth. There is a touch of generosity, but its not a rich wine, but very balanced. It is elegant, composed and has a refined feel. It is mature now. Score 18.5

“Spicy rather than smoke maybe..maybe due to the oak at the time which was a bit more toasty.”

“I think there is a great benefit to age wine. To have them when they are ready. Chaumes 2002 and the Brûlées 98, 99 and 2000 and 1996 – vintages which needed time and with the 1996 is still very young. It is very rewarding to taste them now and with wines which are younger at 10 years old – some are more ready. 2006 for example is nice now. 2005 is young in Chaumes and if you opened the Brûlées you would think you had mistake. The 2007 is ready, but I have none left. The 2015 is close to grand cru and should keep it.

UK: Berry Bros & Rudd; Fields Wine Merchants; Richards Walford
USA: Boston Wine Co.; Garnet Wines; Kermit Lynch.