With all the hype around 05 Burgundy and the troubles of the 04 growing season it's very easy to overlook the vintage. However if you have any regard for putting the kids through college or paying NYC rent, 2004 suddenly becomes more appealing. You have to tread carefully while exploring 04 Burgundy because many of the wines are showing poorly now and some may never come into their own. I have been disappointed with many Grand Cru wines from 04, even with the vintage's pricing considered.
So when Ian asked me if we should open this bottle I was not surprisingly jaded and cynical saying "sure" but assumed it would be another 04 that was dilute, green and out of whack. But in classic Burgundy style just when you think you understand the wines of a vintage a wine will slap you in the face and say, "You don't know me!" The wine was opened and poured into a decanter and drank over about an hour.
The nose was very perfumed and expressive right from the start. There was that 04 greenness but it was more herbal and peppercorn rather then bell pepper, which I can not stand in red Burgundy. The nose continued to open up with more spiciness and some wonderful tart red fruit and lead notes. On the palate there is no doubt that this is a Grand Cru wine as it had great weight and wonderful acidity. This was showing quite well for its age however I think in around six to twelve years the wine will be peaking. The balance is quite impressive especially when you consider that Bruno Clair commented about how difficult the summer and vintage overall was saying, "There was oidium, hail and wet, damp weather with limited luminosity. You had to be very vigilant because otherwise, you had serious problems. And you absolutely had to harvest late because if not, your levels of phenolic ripeness were just too limited to make really good wines."
After all that you would think it would be hard to produce jug wine let alone a respectable Grand Cru. Making great wine in 05 was easy, making simply good wine in 04 took sweat and tears. While I love my 05 burgundies and all their glory, I appreciate all the long days and hard work that had to be done in the vineyard to make this very good 04 Clos de Beze. Cheers Bruno!