Tasting Notes for Puligny Montrachet Les Enseigneres - Coche Dury, 2001:
Harvested at 13.5 degrees natural potential alcohol, the chewy, sexy 2001 Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseigneres has a nose of buttered toast and spices. Deep, dense, lush, and exceptionally long, this is a velvety-textured wine crammed with spicy poached pear flavors. Projected maturity: now-2009.
*Note: Jean-Francois Coche labels three different wines as ┘Meursault╬, the Vireuils-Dessous, Vireuils-Dessus, and Narvaux. His US importer, Kermit Lynch, typically purchases only the Meursault from the Narvaux vineyard.
By the time I entered the cellars of Jean-Francois Coche, IŇd been tasting in Burgundy for nearly three weeks. The vintage remained perplexing. A plethora of unripe wines had been encountered (with green acid and sharp textures), some plump, delicious, near-term drinkers were located, but only a handful of great offerings had been unearthed. My mind contained many pieces of the puzzle as to why this vintage was so heterogeneous, even within a single estate. Within minutes of my arrival, Coche took all those pieces of the puzzle, rearranged them, and showed me a clear picture of the vintage.
┘People simply harvest too early, and theyŇre thinking about finishing before they even start, so they harvest too early and too quickly.╬ He went on to explain that he takes 11 days to harvest his 9.43 hectare (23.3 acre) estate even though he could do it much more quickly. ┘The key is to wait for each parcel to ripen. I wait seven days between my Vireuils-Dessous and Vireuils-Dessus because thatŇs what it takes. I donŇt simply send the harvesters up the hill just because they happen to be in the vicinity.╬
In a year where many vignerons were whining about the difficulties associated with the vintage, an ecstatic Jean-Francois Coche could be found gleefully slurping his wines, joyfully uttering such comments as ┘magnificent yellow-pink grapes╬, ┘pure and rich╬, ┘incredible flesh, the grapeŇs resin in fact╬. While others bemoaned the rot and botrytis, Coche extolled the virtues of his ┘stunning grapes, without a trace of botrytis.╬
To Jean-Francois Coche, 2001 is a great vintage for whites, ┘because the grapes were healthy, perfectly ripe with golden colors, yields were moderate, certainly lower than 2000 and 1999, and the malolactic fermentations took a really long time, from early winter to September for most of them (one was still gurgling away). These wines will age extremely well, in fact IŇm considering not releasing the top wines for a number of years like IŇve done with the 1996s.╬ On the issue of the red Cote de BeauneŇs (Coche produces a number, none of which were tasted), he said, ┘it was a really tough year, rather mediocre in fact.╬
What sets Coche apart from the worldŇs hordes of winemakers is more than his picking dates and harvesting techniques. It is dedication. With exceedingly few exceptions, producers throughout the world wish for their wines to be tasted between 10am and 11:30am, because somebodyŇs told them the wines showed best during that time-frame. Coche demands that tastings be conducted after nightfall, ┘IŇll be in the vineyards starting at dawn, so we must meet at night.╬ Therein lies the answer as to why Coche has yields low enough that they can ripen, healthy bunches, and the conscientiousness to harvest only when the grapes are fully mature. Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Parker Points: 90-92
Drinking Period: 2003-2009