By Antonio Galloni

« Two thousand thirteen is in the family of the classic Burgundian vintages, » said Mounir Saouma in November. « It’s a traditional vintage that required chaptalization. We had a combination of low yields and outstanding transparency to soil in the crus. The small crop level gave intensity but not power. » Saouma had his normal very late malolactic fermentations and is in no hurry to bottle the new vintage. On the contrary: « Time in barrel is bringing greater depth to the wines; we see the dry extract coming. » And even hail-affected wines from the Côte de Beaune call for patience, he added. « It would have been an error to rack the Côte de Beaune wines too early. That would have left the wines with an aggressiveness and no depth. » Once again, my tasting here was one of the highlights of my November tour.

From The 2013 Red Burgundies (Jan 2015) by Stephen Tanzer

  • Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru (94-97)
  • Grands-Echézeaux Grand Cru (93-96)
  • Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru (93-96)
  • Griottes-Chambertin Grand Cru (93-96)
  • Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru (93-96)
  • Musigny Grand Cru  (92-96)
  • Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru (93-95)
  • Echézeaux Grand Cru (92-95)
  • Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru (92-95)
  • Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru (92-95)
  • Vosne-Romanée Les Petits Monts 1er Cru (92-95)
  • Gevrey-Chambertin Cazetiers 1er Cru (92-95)
  • Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru (92-94)
  • Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (92-94)
  • Vosne-Romanée Les Gaudichots (92-94.)
  • Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts 1er Cru (91-94)
  • Gevrey-Chambertin Estournelles Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (91-94)
  • Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains 1er Cru  (91-94)
  • Chambolle-Musigny Haut-Doix 1er Cru  (91-93)
  • Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Volnay Clos des Chênes 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Pommard Les Grands Epenots 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru (90-92)
  • Morey-Saint-Denis Les Genavrières 1er Cru (90-92)
  • Volnay Santenots 1er Cru (90-92)
  • Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru (90-92)
  • Corton Renardes Grand Cru (89-92)
  • Volnay Carelle Sous La Chapelle 1er Cru (89-91)
  • Pommard Clos de Verger 1er Cru (89-91)
  • Pommard Chanières 1er Cru (89-91)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru (89-91)
  • Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Ormes 1er Cru (88-91)
  • Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos Des Argillières 1er Cru (88-90)
  • Volnay Chanlins 1er Cru (88-90)
  • Volnay Brouillards 1er Cru (88-90)
  • Beaune Clos Des Mouches 1er Cru (88-90)

Beaune Clos Des Mouches 1er Cru : Palish red. Perfumed aromas of redcurrant, iron, smoke and leather. Juicy and tightly wound if rather lean, showing good cut to its red fruit and spice flavors. Finishes firm and persistent, with hints of chocolate and mint.  — Stephen Tanzer  (88-90) 2019 – 2026

Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru : Bright medium red. Musky aromas and flavors of redcurrant, earth, flint and crushed rock. The palate offers good definition and cut, along with attractive floral lift. Finishes juicy and persistent. Showing well today.  — Stephen Tanzer  (89-91) 2018 – 2025

Pommard Chanières 1er Cru : (from a high-altitude south-facing vineyard): Good medium red. Cool aromas of redcurrant, smoky and spices. Juicy and intense, showing lovely sappy definition to its raspberry, spice and iron flavors. Finishes with firm tannins, a suggestion of cappuccino and an impression of chewy extract. I would have guessed this was vinified with some whole clusters but the fruit was entirely destemmed (but not crushed).  — Stephen Tanzer  (89-91) 2019 – 2026

Pommard Clos de Verger 1er Cru: (from vines located below Chanières but in a cool combe): Healthy medium red. Aromas of leather, red fruits and peppery herbs. A supple, expressive midweight with attractive floral lift to its red fruit and red licorice flavors. Can’t quite match the Chanières for thrust but this will offer considerable early sex appeal.  — Stephen Tanzer  (89-91) 2018 – 2025

Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru : Medium red. Cool, reticent aromas of flowers, iron and nutty oak. Suave on entry, then velvety and intense in the mid-palate, with lovely perfumed lift to the flavors of red berries, spices and mint. Finishes long and firm, with serious tannins supported by solid extract.  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) 2022 – 2032

Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru: (vinified with one-third whole clusters): Full, deep red. Youthfully clenched aromas of dark raspberry and underbrush. Juicy and tightly wound, offering excellent inner-mouth tension to the berry and spice flavors. Finishes bright and saline, with a strong tannic spine and piquant peppery lift from the stems.  — Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) 2022 – 2032

Pommard Les Grands Epenots 1er Cru: (from fruit harvested late): Medium red. Soil-driven perfume of raspberry and rose petal. Suave and aromatic in the mouth, displaying lovely detail to the flavors of wild red berries, flowers and spices. The long, rising finish leaves behind a note of chocolate mint, with the noble tannins perfectly buffered by the wine’s material. Very classy Pommard from totally destemmed fruit that Mounir Saouma said was very easy to extract.  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) 2022 – 2034

Volnay Brouillards 1er Cru : (relatively little hail here): Medium red. More meat and nutty oak than fruit showing today on the nose. Red fruit flavors currently come across as a bit lean, with firm acidity and dusty tannins dominating the wine today. Much harder to taste in its present form than the Pommard Grands Epenots  — Stephen Tanzer  (88-90) 2018 – 2025

Volnay Carelle Sous La Chapelle 1er Cru : (this vineyard was hit by hail): Good medium red. Wild, slightly reduced aromas of blueberry, red raspberry, truffle and game, complicated by notes of menthol and tar. Concentrated and deep, with fat red fruit flavors complicated by a saline element and a continuing suggestion of tarry oak. Finishes with firm tannins and very good length and lift.  — Stephen Tanzer  (89-91) 2019 – 2028

Volnay Clos des Chênes 1er Cru : Bright medium red. Wild, soil-driven aromas of raspberry, humus and underbrush. Fine-grained and vibrant in the mouth, with notes of orange peel and dried flowers giving surprising lift and early sex appeal to the red fruit flavors. Tannins are firm but not dry on the long back end. « This is a normally brutal cru that’s much more likely to avoid being dry and tannic in cool years, » notes Mounir Saouma. « Lots of people overextract Clos des Chênes. »  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) 2020 – 2029

Volnay Chanlins 1er Cru: (a high-altitude east-facing vineyard): Medium red. Red raspberry, truffle and underbrush on the inviting nose. Leaner than the Clos des Chênes, communicating a slightly raw, peppery quality to its red fruit and earth flavors. I find this midweight a bit vegetal in the early going. Certainly an awkward showing today. This was vinified with a bit of whole clusters in the bottom of the tank, according to Saouma.  — Stephen Tanzer  (88-90) 2020 – 2028

Volnay Santenots 1er Cru : Healthy medium red. Reticent but pure aromas of red berries and crushed rock. Juicy, spicy and fresh, conveying lovely inner-mouth tension and cut to the red fruit and mineral flavors. Not a fat style but not dry either. A solid spine of fresh acidity and dusty tannins shapes and carries the broad, slowly building finish. This will need time in bottle to unwind.  — Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) 2022 – 2032

Volnay Caillerets 1er Cru : Good full red. Complex, refined aromas of ripe purple berries, smoke, earth and dried rose. Youthfully tight and fine-grained, showing terrific finesse and intensity without any impression of heaviness. Berry, earth and floral flavors really dance on the palate. Finishes brisk, subtle and long, with tannins in perfect balance with the wine’s fruit. This fruit was completely destemmed.  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) 2023 – 2034

Corton Renardes Grand Cru : Bright, dark red. Wild small red berries, earth and a whiff of caramel on the nose; still slightly reduced following the recent end of the malolactic fermentation in September. Rich, smooth and deep, showing a seamless texture and serious weight to the nicely detailed red fruit, smoke and earth flavors. A bit foxy like the name of the cru suggests. Conveys a strong impression of terroir. Finishes sweet and long, with ripe tannins. I would not be at all surprised if the finished wine merited a score at the top end of my projected range.  — Stephen Tanzer  (89-92) 2022 – 2032

Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Ormes 1er Cru : Palish red. Sexy, ripe nose offers strawberry, dried rose, Asian spices and truffley underbrush along with a leesy nuance. Plush and seamless on the palate, if in a rather soft style, with cherry, saline and earth flavors showing good detail. Finishes with fully ripe, nicely buffered tannins.  — Stephen Tanzer  (88-91) 2017 – 2025

Morey-Saint-Denis Les Genavrières 1er Cru : (from vines just above Clos de la Roche): Bright, deep red. Highly aromatic nose offers scents of bitter cherry and mint. Densely packed and youthfully tight, showing excellent inner-mouth tension and lift to the flavors of black fruits, black tea, mint and tobacco. I love the contrast between the wine’s sweet and dry elements. This sharply delineated wine finishes subtle and long, with firm but well-integrated tannins and plenty of material in reserve. The minty quality suggests that it will be a long ager, notes Saouma.  — Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) 2023 – 2033 

Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos Des Argillières 1er Cru : Good dark red. Ripe black fruits, violet and licorice on the nose. Fat, sweet and rich, with black fruit and saline flavors suggesting a slightly overripe quality. Finishes with serious but fully ripe tannins and good length. This fruit was picked with 13.2% potential alcohol; Saouma notes that it’s necessary to harvest late here in order to avoid making a vegetal, aggressive wine.  — Stephen Tanzer  (88-90) 2019 – 2026

Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er Cru : (from vines facing east and north, according to Saouma): Dark red with ruby highlights. Dark fruits and pungent musky minerality on the nose. Densely packed and pure, with ripe dark fruit and saline flavors driven by powerful Cailles rocky minerality. A lovely expression of this cold/warm terroir. Finishes smoky and long. (The intensely stony Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges was still in the middle of its malolactic fermentation in November.)  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) 2023 – 2034

Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains 1er Cru : Good deep red. Ripe, smoky aromas of black raspberry and dark chocolate. Intensely flavored and balanced from the start, with superb depth of dark berry fruit lifted by limestone and salty minerality. Conveys a strong impression of dry extract and finishes with classy tannins and terrific length. This will be accessible young for Vaucrains but has the balance and stuffing for a graceful evolution in bottle.  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-94) Stephen Tanzer 2019 – 2032

Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint-Jacques 1er Cru : (12% potential alcohol chaptalized to 12.8%): Dark red. Wild small black and red fruits, mint, menthol and rose petal on the nose, along with a whiff of game. At once cool and sweet, offering densely packed but pliant flavors of redcurrant, blueberry, mint and menthol. Finishes with very fine-grained tannins and lingering sweetness Saouma purchases Lavaux Saint-Jacques from two growers.  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) 2021 – 2032

Gevrey-Chambertin Estournelles Saint-Jacques 1er Cru : Bright, full red. Sexy, inviting aromas of raspberry, mocha, smoked meat and sexy oak. Rich, deep and seamless but at the same time juicy and vibrant, with intense purple fruit flavors showing outstanding sappy energy. Best today on the very long, rising finish, which leaves behind notes of cassis, espresso and crushed stone. This fruit was harvested early, at 11.5% potential alcohol, according to Saouma.  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-94) 2020 – 2033

Gevrey-Chambertin Cazetiers 1er Cru : (from 108-year-old vines that produced less than 25 hectoliters per hectare, says Saouma, adding that the berries were tiny and had very strong skins): Good deep red. Terrific lift to the lightly balsamic aromas of purple fruits and brown spices. Seriously dense and fresh, conveying a crystallized fruit character to its flavors of red and black berries. Wonderfully sweet, concentrated, long wine with substantial tannins totally covered by mid-palate extract. Saouma will bottle part of this cuvée in magnums. A great premier cru in the making.  — Stephen Tanzer  (92-95)  2020 – 2035

Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er : Cru Deep, bright ruby-red. Musky aromas of black fruits, licorice, meat and sexy oak; there’s something almost syrah-like about the nose that goes beyond reduction. Tightly wound at present, showing little easy sweetness to the intense flavors of black fruits, flowers and earth. Finishes with powerful but ripe tannins. Suchots in a distinctly serious Flagey style.  — Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) 2022 – 2035

Vosne-Romanée Les Petits Monts 1er Cru : Medium red. Higher-pitched on the nose than the Suchots, offering ethereal aromas of red fruits, flowers and crushed rock. Rich, firmly built and youthfully backward, with strong rocky and saline elements currently keeping the fruit under wraps. Juicy, powerful wine with a serious tannic structure and considerable class. I love the balance here but I still would not touch this wine for at least six or seven years.  — Stephen Tanzer  (92-95) 2023 – 2036

²Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts 1er Cru : Healthy medium red. A liqueur-like essence of dark fruits on the nose. Dense and electric, displaying great verve to its flavors of purple fruits, brown spices and soil-driven salinity. Very intensely flavored, complex wine with terrific sappy persistence. Conveys a powerful impression of terroir.  — Stephen Tanzer ( 91-94)  2022 – 2035

Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru : Bright red. Lovely lift to the aromas of redcurrant, iron and dried rose. Sappy and exuberant on the palate, showing complex soil-driven flavors of red fruits, iron, Asian spices and minerals. Chewy, saline, electric wine with a mounting peacock’s tail of a finish featuring piquant minerality and lingering perfume.  — Stephen Tanzer  (93-95) 2023 – 2038

Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru : (half Charmes and half Mazoyères, from two sources): Deep red. Wild red fruits and oak on the nose. Densely packed and chewy, conveying terrific sappy intensity to its urgent red cherry and raspberry fruit flavors. A compellingly fruity, fresh style of Charmes with a firm tannic spine to support a graceful evolution in bottle.  — Stephen Tanzer  (92-95) 2023 – 2037

Griottes-Chambertin Grand Cru : Medium red. Lovely floral lift to the aromas of raspberry, redcurrant and iron, with complicating notes of sweet pastry and passion fruit. A sappy high-wire act, with its intense raspberry fruit lifted by outstanding limestone-borne energy. There’s something distinctly cool about this grand cru, which totally saturates the palate without leaving behind any impression of weight. Finishes with outstanding energy and subtle length. I love the soft extraction here. A great example of this singular vineyard, which often strikes me as more Chambolle- than Gevrey-like.  — Stephen Tanzer  (93-96) 2024 – 2039

Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru : Good full red. Aromas of dark fruits, menthol, smoky minerals and white pepper suggest a powerful wine. Bright, energetic and youthfully imploded, showing a pronounced rocky character and terrific cut. This extremely young Mazis needs time to expand in barrel and will likely get a late bottling. Should be long-lived.  — Stephen Tanzer  (92-95) 2025 – 2039

Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru : (the fruit was mostly destemmed but not crushed, but a small quantity of whole clusters went into the bottom of the tank): Medium red. Classy soil-inflected aromas of black raspberry, violet and smoky minerals. Wonderfully intense yet almost magically seamless, showing explosive sappiness to its pungent dark berry and salty mineral flavors. The noble tannins are buried under a wave of fruits and minerals on the extremely long, palate-saturating finish. « A beautiful baby today, » says Saouma. This wine, too, received a soft vinification. Brilliant potential.  — Stephen Tanzer  (94-97) 2025 – 2041

Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru : Cuvée #1, from vines on the southern, Chambolle side of the cru: Bright, deep red. Terrific lift and thrust to the aromas of blackberry, violet, licorice pastille and tar. The palate boasts outstanding intensity and density to the powerful flavors of black fruits, pepper and spices: this is almost painful today but already offers considerable sex appeal. Finishes fine-grained and sweet but tight and primary, with substantial late-arriving tannins. Cuvée #2, from vines on the northern Morey side: Musky, soil-driven aromas of red berries and iron. Smoother and sweeter than #1 but with terrific mineral energy framing the middle palate and extending the finish. An approximation of the final blend: Bright, dark red. Knockout nose combines raspberry, mocha, licorice and crushed rock. At once compellingly silky and light on its feet, showing outstanding lift to its saline berry and soil flavors. An utterly seamless Bonnes-Mares with great sweetness and uncanny length. I find the blend better than either of the two components, but there is still a slight chance that there will be separate N and S bottlings of this juice.  — Stephen Tanzer  (93-96) 2026 – 2042

Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru : (three barrels of wine from three levels of the clos): Medium red. Reticent aromas of raspberry liqueur, violet, licorice and spices. Sappy, spicy and tight, with intense, primary red berry flavors accented by fresh herbs and pepper. This tastes like whole-cluster fermentation but this wine was vinified with only a small percentage of its stems. A very fresh, refined style of Clos-Vougeot.  — Stephen Tanzer  (92-94) 2024 – 2039

Echézeaux Grand Cru : (from the climat en Orveaux): Good deep red with ruby highlights. Wonderfully expressive nose combines raspberry, iron and a leesy nuance. Sweet, pliant and suave, with complex flavors of red berries, underbrush, dark chocolate and white tea accented by intense pepper and spice notes. Really caresses the palate on the long, salty back end. A great Echézeaux in the making.  — Stephen Tanzer  (92-95) 2023 – 2030

Grands-Echézeaux Grand Cru : Full red. Much cooler and more reserved on the nose than the Echézeaux, hinting at red fruits and wet rock. Silky, tactile and deep, conveying an impression of finesse with power. Wonderfully subtle, classically dry, soil-inflected flavors of raspberry and smoky minerals. The lively, rising finish features noble, seamless tannins and outstanding lingering perfume.  — Stephen Tanzer  (93-96) 2026 – 2040

Musigny Grand Cru (entirely destemmed; finished its malolactic fermentation in October): Bright medium red. Very ripe but reserved nose shows brooding soil tones, but the fruit is hiding in the deep background. Shows urgent crushed red fruit and floral flavors on the palate, along with a strong note of bloody steak. But very backward and clenched today, conveying little in the way of easy sweetness. Possesses outstanding potential but this is a tough read at present. — Stephen Tanzer  (92-96) 2025 – 2042

(Mounir Saouma actually showed me his Vosne-Romanée Gaudichots at the end of our marathon tasting, following the Musigny. I’m embarrassed to say that my tasting note was more or less illegible, but it does indicate that this wine was vinified with 100% whole clusters; shows a strong chocolate truffle quality on the very ripe nose and outstanding density and ungodly sweetness on the palate; and finishes very long but quite youthfully clenched. My score for this outsized wine was 92-94.)