Posted by: jmbwineblog | January 20, 2012

2010 Burgundy: Maison Lou Dumont (Tenchijin: Gevrey-Chambertin).

Maison Lou Dumont is a relatively new negociant business, that was set up originally in Nuits Saint Georges, and has since moved to Gevrey-Chambertin in 2000 by Koji Nakada and his Korean wife Jae Hwa Park. Koji Nakada was formerly a sommelier in Japan and did plenty of apprentice work with a number of famous domaines in the Cote d’Or whilst studying at the CFPPA in Beaune where is wife also studied.

The barrel room with not a huge amount of wine.

The Style

Koji Nakada likes to use traditional methods and keep them the same across vintages. This means that one may argue that the Grand Crus receive too much oak, but grading the oak according to the AOC level is common practice throughout Burgundy and the more I taste, the more I realise that the amount of toast the barrels receive is more important. Koji likes a very mild toast.

Using only natural yeasts, the ferment is allowed to occur natural, with minimal remontage (pumping over) if any, and very little piguage (punch downs). The ferments take place in steel tanks today, but there are a few wooden tanks for experimental purposes. The wines then spend 12 to 24 months depending on the cuvee in oak, of which 15% is new for regional wines, 30% for village wines, 50% for 1er Crus and 70% for the Grand Crus.

Koji is a terroirist if that is the correct word, and is very particular about finding the right plots for what he intends to produce. As an example, his Morey-Saint-Denis is a blend of two climats, one from by the Route National between Beaune and Dijon, and one from up by the forest. I tasted these wines seperately, but ultimately they will be blended in order to make a more rounded elegant wine. He also refuses to blend his Mazoyeres into his Charmes-Chambertin, and is proud that his Bonnes-Mares comes from the less highly regarded Morey section. In all a fascinating person to talk to about wine.

Due to time constraints and other appointments, we were not able to taste through the entire selection of wines that Koji had produced in 2010, but we tried some of his 09s from bottle, and whilst in Hong Kong, I found a 2007 of one of his wines, and will post a note on that here as well.

Koji digging into the barrels to find some Morey-Saint-Denis.

The Barrel Samples

2010 Marsannay: mineral, meaty, fresh, very delicate, poised and elegant. 16/20

2010 Chambolle-Musigny: round, richer, elegant, mineral, rocks, complex, but with soft structure and crisp tannins. 16.5+/20

2010 Morey-Saint-Denis [from by the RN];smoke, flint, complex, black fruits, mineral, matches, tar, crisp and bold. 16.5+/20

2010 Morey-Saint-Denis [from by the forest]; crisp, mineral, rocks, floral, subtle and appealing, very long finish. 17/20

2010 Gevrey-Chambertin “La Plattiers”; [this comes from 70 year old vines and as an experiment half was vinified in wood, and half was vinified in steel. The barrels are seperate and they will be blended together] the wood section shows more meat and bacon, the steel section more freshness, structure, minerality, strawberry and raspberry. Blended together: 16.5+/20

2010 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaut-Saint-Jacques”; meat, power, structure, mineral, lovely precision, subtle, herby, effervescent length. 17+/20

2010 Corton “Renardes”; deep, tannic, concentrated, intense fruits and rocks, good length, impressive, mouth-filling and will need plenty of time. 16+++/20

2010 Mazoyeres-Chambertin; [from right by the Route Nationale]; meaty nose, mineral, crisp, smoky bacon, a touch dilute, but elegant, long and delicate, with some nice complexity. Excellent considering where it came from. 17/20

2010 Charmes-Chambertin; [from the lieu-dit Aux Charmes Haute]; big, structured, minerals, intense, rocks, earth, spice, herbs, complex, powerful, but with soft tannins, a shy, elegant, long and intense finish. Delicate, but age will allow this to grow. 17.5+/20

2010 Bonnes-Mares; [from the Morey-Saint-Denis section of this Grand Cru]; powerful and crisp, but earthy, soil, mineral, intense but with a crisp elegance, some clay roundness, complex, unbelievably long and persistant. Excellent. Broad and mouthfilling, but with subtlety. 17.5++/20

The Bottle Samples from 2009

Tasted at Maison Lou Dumont.

2009 Bourgogne Rouge [mainly from vineyards in Nuits Saint Georges with a fair amount of lees wine]; crisp, round, bold, a touch hot, deep, powerful, red and black fruits, nice and simple, easy fruity drinking. 15.5/20

2009 Fixin; crisp, elegant, mineral but with intense fruit flavours and good length. 17/20

2009 Vosne-Romanee; structured, elegant, black fruits, power, ripe, mineral, graphite, nice length. 17+/20

2009 Meursault; round, toasty, lemon, lime, delicate, nutty, butter, long, mineral and saline, with a nice pleasant finish. 16+/20

In conclusion, one has to say that these wines are elegant and mineral in 2010, and perhaps more fruit driven in 2009. However, what is good about the 2009s, is that they are not overworked and overblown. In fact they are simply more terroir-driven and elegant than most 2009s, however, whilst the 2010s have lower scores, this has to reflect the fact that they are unfinished barrel samples and will certainly improve in bottle. The 2010s are terroir driven, poised and taste exactly as one may expect with a few subtle differences. The real key again however is the transparency and good acid levels that give the wines a perfume and lift. However, the style of these wines reflects the laid back nature and down to earth warmth of the man who makes them.

I will leave you with the tasting note of one bottle I found in Hong Kong. You will notice some charactars on the label that say “tenchijin”; which mean “heaven, earth and man”, to portray the belief in terroir being a pure combination of the weather, soil and hard labour!!

2007 Morey-Saint-Denis; roses, tree sap, strawberry, raspberry, herbs, nicely poised and elegant. Soft, spicy structure. Intriguing, inviting but deep and contemplative… Not the most complex wine but with enough interest and a haunting nature that keeps you coming back for another sip. Classic herby Burgundian fruit, a really long finish that mirrors the complexities of the palate beautifully. Herbs, grass. A wine that gives you a big hug, but if you ever met the winemaker, you would understand why. Wonderfully loveable. 18/20

2007 MSD "Tenchijin"

Next up, I will be taking you through the wonderful wines and labyrinth of cuvees that in general offer great value for money and high quality in 2010 from Maison Louis Jadot.

Until then,

Happy Drinking



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