Sunday, July 20, 2014

Domaine Méo-Camuzet Cros Parantoux 2006: An encounter with perfection

I had but a passing knowledge of Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Cros Parantoux until I read a full-throated acclaim of its virtues in the Japanese manga series Drops of God. That encounter led to me investigate the wine further and to, eventually, acquire a bottle for a tasting we were having in Orlando on July 18th. The wine was everything I hoped it would be. And more. Before talking about this specific bottle, however, some background is in order.

Burgundy's Vosne-Romanée vineyard has been referred to as the Pearl of the Côte; and for good reason. It is home to some of the world's most famous Grand Cru sites (La Romanée, La Tâche, Richebourg, etc.) but it is also home to some well-regarded Premier Cru sites, led by the subject of this post, the 1.01-ha (2.5-acre) climat, Cros Parantoux. The site is relatively cool, sits at 285 m (940 feet) elevation, and is underpinned by shallow, limestone-rich soils. In describing the site, Henri Jayer stated thusly (Jacky Rigaux, A Tribute to the Great Wines of Burgundy):
Nested at the entrance of a small valley, this plot is exceptional. It is well sheltered, a little less exposed to the sun than "Le Richebourg," but pinot does not require a lot of sun. While the potential alcohol content is lower, the pH is always more interesting.
This plot has led a "storied life" but will forever be associated with Henri Jayer, one of the giants of Burgundian winemaking. The plot had fallen into disrepair after the phylloxera infestation of the late 19th century and was re-purposed as an artichoke farm during WWII. Jayer bought his first parcel in 1951 and, after extensive use of dynamite to clear away the rocks and artichoke roots, was able to begin planting vines in 1953. Jayer's final purchase in 1970 brought his share of the climat to .715 ha. The remaining .295 ha was owned by Jean Méo, and was farmed by Jayer until 1987 under a sharecropper agreement. When Méo's son Jean Nicolo sought to the produce wines under the Méo label, it was agreed that the contract between the two parties would not be renewed upon its expiration. A summary of the history of the climat and its wines are provided in the figure below.

The bottle purchased for the tasting was the 2006 Méo-Camuzet Cros Parantoux.

In the Jayer book, Rigaux described the 2006 Burgundy vintage as follows: "The grapes were sound and achieved a beautiful physical maturity ... Red wines were of a great sensuality, with a beautiful consistency, a silky texture, and a delicate touch from their early stages, but promised good harmonious aging." Méo-Camuzet expressed surprise at the depth and maturity of the vintage (, referring to it as a classic year with balance its most evident characteristic.

The tasting was held at the Victoria and Albert's Queen Victoria Room at Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel. There were seven people in attendance and a lot of great wines graced the table.

The Cros was of a much younger age than we typically like to drink Burgundy so we decanted it for an hour prior to its scheduled appearance. All of the other wines tasted were grouped into flights; this one stood alone under the glare of the lights and anticipatory eyes.

The initial impression upon bringing the glass to the nose was a florality. Fresh-cut violets, said Ron. Potpourri, said Andrew. Accompanying this florality were notes of cinnamon and lifted red fruits. This wine was obviously young but wore its youth like a Toga rather than with uncouth brashness. On the palate a concentration which belied its color in the glass. Balanced. Palate-pleasing acidity and weight. Drying finish. With one mighty leap this wine had ascended to the top levels of wines that I have drunk. It seems somehow relatively inconsequential to designate it the wine of the night.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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