Four bottles in and I’m just about ready to write about this wine from Anne Gros. From the Combe where Chambolle meets the lofty appellations of Echezeaux and Clos de Vougeot, with Musigny itself in spitting distance, this should be an insight into the ethereal wonder that makes red Burgundy that bit more special than any other liquid known to man. And, as it turns out, it is. It just took me a while to fully recognise it.
Anne Gros has a charmingly French but unusually polished approach to marketing her wine. The case arrived with a beautifully presented guide to her ‘range’, full of charming insights. “Talking about wine is almost as complicated as making it,” we’re told. It must be “explained simply” with “words of love, not the jargon of experts.”
After being fairly bowled over by the first bottle, the last one somehow seemed a little meaner. Finally, I decanted on a hot summer’s day and took my time. Now it’s clear that what’s needed is a couple more years. Question is, who’s going to muster the patience to leave it alone? After a few hours it becomes a pretty intoxicating wine, all candied violets and brambly pudding fruit on the nose with a perfume that’s powerful, yet delicate enough to wear.
In the mouth it’s got that enticingly musty pinot character that knits with the sweet fruit, mineral and tart acidity in an expression of perfect balance. And then it goes on and on. Less with the “check me out, I’m expensive”-type finish of big Bordeaux, rather, it leaves you uncertain whether you can still taste it or the taste itself is so pervasive in your memory that you think you can.
Lush. And yet this isn’t the Burgundy you’d open to initiate the neophyte. And, even now, it’s got a long way to go until it hits its prime.
Just as “Sea Change” draws you into its richly produced, indulgent introspection with acoustic warmth, so the Chambolle draws you in with that sweet, almost blousy, nose. It’s more of an impression, a superficial charm. You don’t find the songs immediately and even then you don’t find their depths until you’ve studied every subtle resolution, allowed it to bathe you in gorgeous, heart-breaking strings, considered the significance of every word. Then… gone back to it some years later.
This might be one of the most compelling parallels between wine and music: that the best often don’t show themselves immediately but unravel with time and careful attention. And, even more than the record (with organic inevitability) the best thing about this wine, is that it will continue to grow and change with time.