‘Tis pity she’s a Beaune … (with apologies to John Ford)


The burgundy glasses were a giveaway. Large, bulbous, tapering dugs of clear glass just waiting to be filled with white wine from my favourite white wine region. The wine, expertly chilled, set the thrill of mist on the outside of the glass. Bright, lemon turning gold, clear and very inviting. First thoughts were of some fine old 1990s Cote de Beaune – possibly Meursault. Ah – the rising expectation. The next sensation – nasal. Honey? Yes. Some lemony acidity? Slightly. But the pleasures ceased there. Stopped by a waft of the flat, broad smell of oxidation.

Undaunted we carried on. The palate? Dry, some sweetness left, even some freshness struggled through, proving that this was, in some earlier life, a well-made wine. But it was oxidised. Old before its time.

2005 Chassagne Montrachet Prem. Cru Les Chaumees (Phillipe Colim) 13.5%. purchased in a mystery Burgundy case from the Wine Society. Suffering from premox [Richard: premature oxidation].

This wine, evidently, was not alone. 2005 seems to have been a classic year in every respect and lots of  excellent wines were produced. But it also appears to have thrown up bottles that – for various reasons advanced by many experts – suffered from this serious fault.

Good for cooking? Well,maybe.

(To explain the rather obtuse title. It was going to be ‘Tis pity she’s a d’Or’, a play on the title of a production by John Ford ‘Tis pity she’s a whore’. Hence the rather suggestive opening paragraph. I realised that the wine was from the Cote de Beaune! I think I’m suffering from premox)

[Richard: very disappointing and, even worse, I’ve got another bottle. The WS mystery cases were always good value (assuming the wine was sound) so not too expensive but…it ended up down the sink. Not even worth cooking with. A rare failure so I can afford to philosophical.]


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