RED 2008 by Stephen Tanzer

In spite of the early sex appeal provided by the barrels Mounir Saouma uses, crafted by cooper Stephane Chassin from Jupille oak, I found less easy sweetness in a number of the Lucien Le Moine 2007s, not to mention the 2008s. Saouma believes that this is largely because both of these vintages have very healthy acidity levels, and that these are the two most « classic » sets of red wines he has made to date. So old-school Burgundy drinkers who fear that these wines are too voluptuous and alluring in their youth to last in bottle (usually without having had any direct experience of them) should reconsider these wines. For the first time, Saouma didn’t use any SO2 between the time he brought the barrels to his cellar and the end of the malos, some of which lingered into September. The top 2008s here offer great potential and should be long-lived.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Epenots
Good medium red. Sweet cherry, raspberry, chocolate and a whiff of tar on the nose. Sweet and juicy but a bit youthfully tough, with strong acidity showing today. This one got a very long cuvaison, noted Mounir Saouma.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Grands Epenots
Medium red. Riper and more exotic on the nose than the Epenots, with strong smoke and spice notes. Fat, ripe and sweet but with good calcaire lift. This is finer than the Epenots but boasts more volume and substance too. Finishes with substantial fine-grained tannins. This one spent just ten days on the skins.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Rugiens
Medium red. Licorice, iron, flowers and tobacco on the nose. Plush yet energetic, with good energy and lift to the subtly sweet redcurrant and tobacco flavors. Finishes with a mineral firmness, substantial ripe tannins and excellent length.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Santenots
Palish red. Reduced, smoky nose. Creamy and plush in the mouth, with an almost candied flavor of strawberry supported by solid minerality. In a distinctly musky style.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Clos des Chenes
Bright red. Spicy dark fruits, licorice and herbs on the slightly reduced nose. Juicy and detailed but backward, with rather wild raspberry and licorice flavors supported by a firm tannic spine. Plenty of body here but seriously unevolved today and built to age. Finishes long and bright.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Caillerets
Bright medium red. Pungent, sexy, wild aromas of raspberry and smoked meat. Then ripe, sweet and tactile, with a silkiness and mineral perfume that reminded me of a Chambolle Amoureuses. The long, rising finish features a captivating floral topnote.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Corton Bressandes
Good bright red-ruby. Smoky aromas of cherry, redcurrant, smoky minerals and meat. Sweet on entry, then tight in the middle and very firmly built. Best today on the tannic but detailed finish, which offers an intriguing saline quality and considerable energy and class.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Corton Renardes
Good full red. Very sexy aromas of cherry and flowers. Silky, sweet and easygoing, with a much more open-knit, viscous texture than the Bressandes (« this humid, deeper soil always brings more sweetness, » notes Saouma, who added that these vines were harvested late in 2008). Finishes long and sweet, with a subtle mineral nuance. A very good showing today.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Vaucrains
Good full red. Musky aromas of maraschino cherry, chocolate and minerals; very ripe and pure. Then fruity and suave in the mouth, with plenty of black cherry sweetness to support its firm tannic structure. Subtle minerality gives definition to the sweet, long finish.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Saint Georges
Good full red. Cool red fruits on the rather reduced nose (this one finished its malo late, at the end of September). Then aristocratic but very tight and backward, showing terrific intensity and inner-mouth energy but currently dominated by its tannic spine. A distinctly masculine, powerful wine and yet it displays great finesse. This will need a decade of bottle aging.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Cailles
Good deep red with ruby tones. Penetrating, mineral-driven aromas of raspberry, crushed stone, chalk and menthol. Like an essence of dark fruits and minerals on the palate, but with a deep sweetness giving superb lift to the cassis, blackberry and violet flavors. Finishes with a powerful tannic spine and superb rising persistence. Should make a great example of this vineyard.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey Chambertin Estournelles Saint Jacques
Good bright red. Spicy, almost liqueur-like red fruit aromas lifted by flowers. There’s an almost candied quality to the wine’s red fruit flavors but this very backward wine is tight, minerally and quite imploded today, with a firm tannic spine that will require at least several years of patience. This was vinified partly with whole clusters.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux Saint Jacques
Deep red. A real essence of Gevrey on the nose, combining dark berries, rose petal, game and subtly smoky earth tones. Intensely flavored and gripping, with strong acidity giving energy and perfume to the middle palate. Wonderfully long and subtle wine. This fruit came in with 13.4% natural alcohol, according to Saouma, but the dominant impression is of energy and definition. My style of Burgundy.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers
Medium red. Very ripe if reticent nose offers an exotic perfume of red fruits, crushed stone and spices. Broad, dry and tactile, showing little in the way of easy sweetness. Best today on the very long, subtle, slowly building finish. A great example of this vineyard.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Charmes Chambertin
Good deep red. Compelling perfume of pure red cherry and rose petal. A silky, pure fruit bomb on the palate, with lovely tangy lift and precision to the cherry, red berry and violet flavors. Wonderfully floral, detailed wine with a very long, subtle finish.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Mazis Chambertin
Good deep red, one of the darkest of these 2008s. Wild, brooding aromas of game, smoky oak, tobacco and crushed stone, plus a whiff of caramel. Dense and savory, with explosive mid-palate depth and strong supporting minerality. A very dry, classic, tactile wine with superb energy, but this baby will need time to absorb its smoky oak component.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Chambertin Clos de Beze
Full red. Knockout nose combines red raspberry, white rose, minerals, game and crushed rock. Sappy, deep and utterly seamless; quite primary today yet already shows a noble, palate-caressing texture. Thanks to its outstanding tightly coiled energy, this grand cru builds slowly and rises inexorably on the explosive finish.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Vosne Romanee Les Suchots
Good red-ruby. Sappy cherry, minerals and a whiff of game on the nose. Then sweet and chocolatey on entry, with complicating notes of game and herbs. Almost heavy coming after the extraordinary Clos de Beze. Finishes with substantial, slightly dry-edged tannins.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Vosne Romanee Les Malconsorts
Good full red. Expressive nose and palate offer musky raspberry, Oriental spices and minerals. Sappy, intense and vibrant, with superb lift and palate-saturating texture. A strong impression of mineral dust gives this wine great energy, extends the finish and leaves the mouth vibrating.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Echezeaux
Good deep red. Exotic raspberry and smoke on the nose, with a hint of reduction. Lush, creamy and sweet; less detailed than the Malconsorts and very ripe. Conveys an impression of stronger extraction-and plenty of oak too. Finishes very long, with substantial ripe tannins.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Richebourg
Good medium red. Captivating aromas of candied cherry, violet and rose, with a mineral pungency giving lift to the nose. Tactile, savory and vibrant; fills the mouth without leaving any impression of weight. As youthful as the flavors of red fruits, minerals and flowers are, there’s nothing hard about this grand cru, even at this early stage. Perhaps strongest today on the very long, perfumed aftertaste. A beauty in the making.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes
Deep red. Fresh aromas of medicinal red fruits and menthol, plus a ripe whiff of chocolate. Tactile, concentrated and sweet, with impressive fruit intensity and chewy density. Finishes long and stony, with a flavor of maraschino cherry.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Haut Doix
Bright, deep red. An essence of Chambolle on the nose and palate: raspberry, rose petal, blood orange, crushed stone. Wonderfully vibrant and high-pitched on the palate, with ineffable inner-mouth perfume that reminded me of a great Amoureuses. A brilliantly delineated wine that leaves the palate vibrating with mineral dust.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses
Good full, deep red. Ripe raspberry, orange peel, spices and licorice complicated by musky soil tones on the noble nose. Sweet on entry, then much more backward and withdrawn than the Haut-Doix, communicating an impression of brooding power. This very deep, savory wine is as much about earth as it is about fruit, and will require patience once it’s bottled.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes-Mares « S »
Good full red. Very tight, medicinal nose hints at spices, pepper and violet. Densely packed but imploded, with a brooding quality but impressive early clarity to the flavors of black fruits, pepper and herbs.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes-Mares « N »
Good deep, bright red. Brown spices, menthol and earth tones on the nose. Sweet and dense, showing greater breadth but less detail than the first sample. Very long and sweet, with substantial tannins buffered by powerful mid-palate extract.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Clos Vougeot
Dark red. Perfume of wild dark berries, rose petal and licorice. Dense, broad and primary, but with superb early lift to the flavors of red berries, violet and menthol. The vibrant finish saturates the palate with dusty minerality. A noble style of Clos Vougeot.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Morey St. Denis Clos des Ormes
Dark red. Expressive, soil-driven aromas of mocha, iron, brown spices and smoke, with a whiff of gibier Sweet, fat and distinctly animal, but lifted by an element of dried flowers. Finishes savory, rich and long, with lingering notes of truffle and smoke.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Clos St Denis
Barrel #1: Good medium red. Knockout nose combines raspberry, rose petal, crushed stone, game, smoke and flint; an essence of this grand cru. Wonderfully silky on entry, then moderately sweet and very fine-grained, with considerable complexity to the flavors of briary berries, pepper, smoke and earth. Barrel #2: Bright, deep red. Very ripe, more liqueur-like aromas of raspberry and spices; more fruits and less earth here. Then hugely concentrated and sweet; at once more tactile and less noble than the last sample but with more obvious red fruit flavors and plenty of underlying stone. Similarly peppery on the long aftertaste. This is aging in a barrel that received a longer toasting.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Clos de la Roche
Good full red. Outstanding smoky depth to the wild aromas of game and crushed stone; soil is currently dominating fruit here. Then fat, sweet and savory in the mouth, with an umami-like tex ture and a subtle smokiness that is all about terroir Finishes with outstanding smoky persistence. This is more Clos de la Roche than pinot noir: I can imagine a wine lover weaned on New World pinot being utterly mystified by this.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Vosne Romanee Les Suchots
Medium red. High-pitched, slightly high-toned aromas of musky dark raspberry and smoked meat; today this smells more like Chambolle Amoureuses than the Lucien Le Moine Amoureuses! Sweet, deep and sexy, with a powerful spine supporting the tactile, sappy flavors of cherry, raspberry, smoke, chocolate and minerals. This round and seamless wine possesses great fruit and finishes long and harmonious, with very suave tannins. A beauty.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses
Good deep red. Briary black raspberry, menthol, mocha, stone and a whiff of blood orange on the nose. Large-scaled but linear and light on its feet, with dark cherry and brown spice flavors opening nicely with aeration. In a very ripe style, but I find that the oak element here partly masks the nobility of the site.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers
Deep, bright red. Knockout nose combines raspberry, minerals, woodsmoke, cured meat and underbrush. Sweet, spicy and vibrant, with an enticing savory soil perfume contributing to an impression of extract. The palate-staining finish is broad and classically dry, offering excellent structure and lift.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Echezeaux
Good medium red with an unfiltered appearance. The nose began with raspberry, strawberry, tobacco and brown spices but showed a brighter floral quality with aeration. Dense, lush and sweet, with a pungent quality and excellent lift to its red berry flavors. Finishes rich, sweet and long, with light notes of smoke and horseradish.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Clos Vougeot
Good deep red. Dark aromas of black raspberry, cassis, mint and spices; very Clos Vougeot. Densely packed and youthfully tight, even a bit tough for a 2007. The slightly minty flavors of dark fruits and spices are not yet expressing themselves. No easy sweetness here. The tannins are dusty and fine but this backward wine calls for extended cellaring.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Clos de la Roche
Good deep red. High-toned, wild aromas of raspberry, smoked meat, ginger, clove and resiny oak; lots of volatile esters today! Then rich, deep and sweet but at the same time juicy and penetrating, with a saline, smoky element contributing complexity and firm acids giving energy to the middle palate. A big, sweet, silky Clos de la Roche that finishes with outstanding persistence.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes Mares
Good deep red. Vibrant aroma of raspberry, smoked meat, gingerbread, sandalwood, mocha and underbrush, plus a whiff of maple syrup. Dense, sappy and fully ripe, with a powerful smoky minerality dominating the middle palate. There’s an exotic quality here but the overall impression is of a juicy, imploded, soil-driven wine with wonderful clarity. Really resounds on the lush, smoky finish, which displays outstanding grip but little in the way of easy sweetness.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Mazis Chambertin
Deep red. Very dark, pure aromas of black fruits, licorice and violet. Dense, deep and subtle, with chewy flavors of black fruits, game and cola. Finishes rich and long, with palate-saturating breadth, a wonderful subtle sweetness and excellent grip.