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Marquis d'Angerville, Volnay Premier Cru Taillepieds, 2001

At the beginning of this new year, we resolved that we would try, seriously try, to understand Burgundy. We've just about let you down so far, so let's get into it without any further ado: Let's get into this bottle of Marquis d'Angerville, to be precise. One of the great names of burgundy, a second-rank vineyard (first rank would be "Grand Cru"), a vintage that should now have reached good drinking age. Should be a safe bet. Except that it wasn't. Cherry red is what it was, with a brick-coloured edge. Bitingly alcoholic is what the nose was like, with overripe and even a little artificial cherries. The palate somewhat thin, musty and dull, typical wet-earth flavours, but with a worn out and tired overall feeling. Not what I expected, I'm sorry to report. It was better and more lively with food - I can't imagine an ageing Pinot not being a good food companion - but still no more than serviceable. I wouldn't have minded so much for myself, I'm even kind of grateful for the education about what can go wrong with wines, but there was Mrs. Munich Wine Rambler to consider, and a tenderloin of venison with Spätzle, red cabbage and chestnuts that would have certainly deserved something better. To be fair, this was an eBay purchase, so all kinds of dreadful things may have happened to it in the last few years that have nothing to do with winemaking. Even so, a fairly weak showing from down there. I even considered not publishing this review, but should we fail in our quest to understand Burgundy, we need you to know it is not for lack of trying. Lest this debacle - we know you care deeply - spoil the joys of autumn for you, too, here's something to warm your heart. We give you Robert Burns' great love and (anti-)hunting song, as performed authoritatively by the great Dick Gaughan. Take it away with the westlin' winds and the slaughterin' guns...

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