1999 Grands Echezeaux
By Domaine Rene Engel
1999 Grands Echezeaux from Domaine Rene Engel, Burgundy, France
With 40 resplendent years of critiquing nestled within my memories, I’ve noted wines that rise like stately ships setting off on immortal voyages. Among these vinous titans is the poignant 1999 Grands Echezeaux from Domaine Rene Engel, a vintage which was nurtured in the celebrated Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy.
The Terroir's Embrace in a Single Harvest
The 1999 vintage came upon Burgundy with a season akin to an artist capturing their magnum opus on canvas. With a propitious onset of spring and a summer escorting ample sunshine while holding back the harshest heat, it crafted a foundation for perfection. Amidst this climatic symphony, the 1999 Grands Echezeaux unfurled its wings.
In examining the unique tenor of this vintage, I am struck by an earthy sophistication layered over vivacious red fruit encapsulations – a testament to that year's favourable late September harvest. Tannins, by some divine intervention, found a harmony that allows ageing yet entices with immediate approachability, an enchanting duality that frames this offering as both a collector's centrepiece and a poised participant for current enjoyment.
Investment Potential Cloaked in Vinous Velvet
Particularities procure profits when it comes to wine investment. The 1999 Grands Echezeaux articulates this truth splendidly. Domaine Rene Engel, renowned for their precise cultivation methods and deft barrique mastery, finessed this offering to ensure it remained one of profound character, with earthy truffle notes greeting bountiful berries and a discreet vanilla undercurrent.
Today, as this wine strides forth in its maturity, we find an intricate mosaic of supple mushroom and seasoned leather wrapping the palate – both hallmarks of graciously aged Burgundian Pinot Noir. These characteristics endear this bottle to investors seeking multifaceted growth: the kind mirrored not just in value but in flavour profile expansion over time.To indulge in the 1999 Grands Echezeaux from Domaine Rene Engel is to engage with a chapter of oenological narrative that speaks volumes of Burgundy's virtuosity. An investment in such a cuvée is not merely financial; it is an investment in the art of wine's continuum and celebrates an exceptional climatic conjuncture that will be savoured across decades.
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Scores and tasting notes
Deeper in color than the 2002, it is a testament to that younger vintage that side-by-side, the 1999 Grands Echezeaux is no match. It has an intense but paradoxically slightly introverted bouquet with blacker fruit than the 2002, perhaps a little sweeter and here, tinged with licorice. The palate is sweet and rounded on the entry and one is immediately taken by the impressive weight and girth, yet there is not the precision or the transparency that elevates the 2002 above anything else. Still, there are attractive, slightly viscous fruit on the seductive finish and I suspect that another two or three years in bottle will do this no harm. Yet I cannot envisage this wine approaching the 2002.
Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 30 October 2014