Dinner with wine loving friends and lots of Burgundy
Market Restaurant
23 November 2007

A great evening with great company at the ever-reliable quirky* Market Restaurant in Manchester's Northern Quarter.

* it is obligatory to use the word quirky when writing about the Market Restaurant.

The menu was a bit more quirky than usual, and perhaps not the most wine-friendly. But it's always difficult at events like this when it's not a menu arranged specifically to suit the wines, plus you always get the food interrupting the wines. My gougère of smoked haddock was nicely done (though the choux pastry was just a touch on the burnt side), but had a scent and flavour that was a bit dominant. My fault for picking it, but it was that or curried parsnip soup on the hot starters, and it was definitely a night for a hot starter! My main course was lamb fillet, with mushrooms baked in filo. Well, that's how I mistakenly read the menu. What it actually was, was (lamb fillet with mushrooms) baked in filo. Lovely lamb, perfectly tender and perfectly cooked, but I was surprised that it was all in the filo. Nicely done though. The accompanying Shrewsbury sauce wasn't going to set the world on fire, but was fine and nicely wine friendly. Damson and sour cream ice cream was utterly delicious, though two scoops would have been sufficient.


Yes, there was some.

1993 Saint-Romain Sous Roche, Domaine du Fief de Montjeu, 13% Served blind.
Fresh, but quite extracted nose. Nice and lemony on the palate with a vibrant acidity. Super length. Very clean and fresh and very pleasant. Nice wine to start with. Very Good Indeed+.

2002 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros, Jean-Marc Brocard, 13%
A fullish creamy nose with a bit of oak showing, and a nice minerality. Full palate, with a hint of oxidative richness. There's a nice weight on the palate with good depth, and interesting layers of flavours. Nice wine. Very Good Indeed.

1998 Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles, Louis Michel & Fils, 13%
Quite evolved on the nose with a fairly honeyed note and golden, almost butterscotch notes. Feels older on the palate than 1998. A good wine, but it isn't really rocking my wine: it lacks interest and feels a bit dulled. Good/Very Good.

2002 Le Montrachet Grand Cru, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard, 13.5% Served blind.
A nice fresh nose with real depth. Possibly a bit of honey and oxidation on the nose. Very mature and advanced on the palate, which offers decent minerality and a huge acidity, that becomes quite searing. Very good, but ultimately a bit unsatisfying.

1995 Puligny Montrachet Monopole Close de la Garenne, Domaine du Duc de Magenta, Louis Jadot, 13.5%
And they say German wine names are long.
Worse still after writing all that out, the bloody thing is corked to buggery.

2000 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon, Domaine Leflaive, 13.5%
A very attractive nose - buttery, smoky bacon fat and a slightly lactic, cheesy note. Lovely palate. Fairly evolved but just about right. super depth. Loads of character. Very fine finish. Excellent.

1987 White Burgundy Tilly's Vineyard, Museum Release 1997, Henschke, 12%
A deepish gold. Interesting nose - deep, evolved, oxidative and buttery. Very rich palate, but also rather short. This has a real buttery oak imitation white Burgundy flavour. But it's very definitely imitation white Burgundy, and it doesn't feel like 100% chardonnay or even a majority chardonnay. Probably some semillon. Interesting, but far from being the best here tonight. Good/Very Good.
According to the Henschke website, the 2006 Tilly's Vineyard is a blend of 55% semillon, 25% chardonnay and 20% sauvignon blanc grown in the Barossa

2001 Saint-Aubin Premier Cru Les Murgers des Dents de Chien, Domaine Jean Chartron, 13.5%
Quite a herby nose with thyme flowers. But there's also an acetic acid note on the nose which combines with a certain savoury note to give an impression of chipshop chips. Light and clean on the palate. Initially, it lacks character, but it develops well given a few minutes. Nice acidity on the finish. Very Good+.

2000 Richebourg Grand Cru, Domaine Anne Gros, 13.5% Served blind.
This has a fairly young colour with a notably youthful edge. There is a lot of VA on the nose, and little else. It really feels quite Musarey on the nose. Vibrant, lively palate with a very young pinot feel to it. Some are wondering if it's new world, and I can see the point. Though to my mind, it's more likely to be a pinot noir from somewhere else in Europe. It's a bit lacking in fruit and has a bit of grip on the finish and after. Very Good.

1990 Clos Vougeot Le Grand Maupertuis Grand Cru, Domaine Anne & François Gros, 13.5%
A much deeper colour than the last wine, but only a bit more mature. Again, a vibrant nose, with a bit of VA, but nowhere near the bucketload of the last. Quite scented on the nose, with floral violets. Quite vibrant and lively on the palate, but it has a lovely attractiveness. There's some reall cherry fruit in the mouth, especially towards the finish. Very attractive and enjoyable, but only to a point. Very Good Indeed.

1993 Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la Bousse d'Or Monopole, Domaine de la Pousse d'Or, 13%
This has a lovely nose: gently ripe, gently musky, gently sous bois. It feels quite young on the palate - a direct, youngish feel with raspberry and cherry fruit to the fore, and a nice structure behind. Lovely finish. Feels much younger than 1993. Very Good Indeed.

2000 Chateau des Jacques Champ de Cour, Moulin à Vent, Louis Jadot, 13% Served blind.
A very unusual nose, with ashtrays and leather. On pinot noir?!? Corky palate. Green and unpleasant. Faulty. Probably corked, but very strangely it's not noticeable on the nose. If it's not faulty, it's Very Poor.
Looks like somebody went to the wrong offline last night, and should have ended up at Rotisserie Jules and not Manchester.

1991 Chateau de Pommard, Jean Louis Laplanche, 13% Served blind.
There is youngish pinot - cherry/raspberry - fruit on the nose with a lift. Rather attracive, with a nice musky note. Fairly mature appearance. Very direct on the palate, with a real Burgundy character. A nice wine, but unimpressive. Very Good.

1995 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées, Faiveley, 13%
The nose is somewhat reminiscent of stewed raspberries and orange peel. There's a very fresh feel on the palate, and overall it feels much younger than 1995. Very tight, but this is definitely really classy stuff. Far too young, but still delivering in spades. Superb balance. Excellent.

1985 Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, Domaine des Lambrays, alcohol content not shown
A lovely integrated nose with a nice sous bois and truffle character underpinning evolved red fruits. As with the nose, the palate is lovely and balanced too. There's a real bite of acidity on the finish. Silky and caressing in the mouth, with a bit of an acid bite on the finish. Gentle but mouthfilling tannins on the finish. this is top class, and has improved significantly since the bottle was opened two and a half hours earlier. Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

1949 Le Chambertin, Gevrey Chambertin, David Sandeman & Son Ltd
A remarkably young appearance. Is it really 1949? Very mushroomy nose. It has a very volatile feel on the palate. This feels far too young for 1949, though it is quite light and thin. Enjoyable. Very Good.

2001 Marimar Torres Estate, Don Miguel Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California, 14% Served blind.
There's forward raspberry and blackberry fruit on the nose. Ripe and full on the palate. Nice depth. A bit hot and alcoholic on the finish. Nice length. If pushed, I'd be going to west coast America. Very Good Indeed.

1999 Meerlust Pinot Noir Estate wine, W.O. Stellenbosch
A smoky, floral cherry nose. Unusual attack, not terribly attractive. A bit unbalanced on the palate. Good+.

The overall impression I took away was that Burgundy is just too difficult and too expensive to master. The less good wines we had seemed to me a bit average and, while I've not looked them up on wine-searcher, my prejudice suggests they offer poor VFM. The good ones were, it seemed to me, intellectual wines, that is, they did not offer an immediate pleasure - you could appreciate them and admire them, but there's not the immediate - and much more reliably available - hedonistic pleasure you get in other regions.

 The lineup of empty bottles

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Last updated: 11 January 2008