JancisRobinson.com – 17.5
Not yet bottled. Racy and very lively with juicy green fruits underneath. I don’t see any of the almonds I usually see on white Corton but there is lots of interest here even if it’s a bit nervier than some.
Anticipated maturity: 2010-2017
Robert Parker – 95
Like his Chaumees, there are four barrels of Pethel’s 2007 Corton-Charlemagne, which represent the original acreage of his still tiny domaine, a parcel in the En Charlemagne near the edge of the village of Pernand. Asked why there was not more in this of all years, Pethel said with a laugh “the vines and the vintner collaborate to keep the yields on this constant.” Like so many of the best 2007s from Corton-Charlemagne, this is unusually forward and strikingly floral in fragrance for its appellation. Scents of iris, apple blossom, heliotrope, and narcissus usher in a creamy palate that gains contrast from a subtle chew of pit fruit skin while preserving a wafting floral dimension that is practically ethereal. This shows a lightness of touch, buoyancy, and transparency to floral and mineral shadings exceptional even by the exalted standards of this cru. I expect this to be worth following for more than a decade, although ” in the absence of track record ” I don’t wish to go further out on a limb. North Carolinian Blair Pethel ” whose adventures in Burgundy I briefly summarized in issue 180 ” did not start harvesting whites until well into the second week of September (granted, he has modest acreage) and finished by picking his Corton Charlemagne on September 17, though it seemed to surprise him to hear me call that â€œlate.â€ All of his whites were bottled in March, 2009. Among the illustrations of Pethel’s quality-consciousness ” besides what’s obvious in the glass! ” is his selection of two different tonneliers each year to supply his barrels (around one third new annually), as he gradually narrows the field and decides with whom to work on a regular basis in future. â€œI haven’t repeated yet,â€ he says, revealing his determined spirit of controlled experimentation, â€œbut after this year 2009, I’m going to make a choice.â€ For a note on Pethel’s extraordinary 2007 Chablis Preuses, readers are urged to consult my report on Chablis elsewhere in this issue. A Becky Wasserman Selection (various importers), Le Serbet; fax 011- 333-80-24-29-70; also imported by Pas Mal Selections, New York, NY; tel. (201) 567 2028 and Schneider’s of Capital Hill, Washington, DC tel. (202) 543 9300