First, be sure to use a good large glass. And give it time. The wine has a limpid, dark strawberry almandine color, which warms to glowing mahogany at the edge. The classic, fully mature Burgundy nose unfurls with aromas of dried red currants, Earl Grey Tea, chiodini mushrooms, and freshly cut hay moving in and out of the foreground as the wine evolves in the glass. On the palate, the wine has a superfine texture, like a new Hermès scarf, with a solid, mineral-saturated core of sweetly spiced red fruit flavors (especially wild cherries) that fans out like a peacock’s tail as the wine grows more voluminous with time; putting on weight, but always remaining firm, fresh and vibrant. Drink now–2025. No benefit to waiting any longer; this one is already perfectly mature.
About this wine producer: Clive Coates, MW, writing of his first visit to Domaine Ampeau in 1986, called Robert Ampeau “a French vigneron determined to live up to the archetype: surly, suspicious, chauvinistic, doing his best to make us feel uncomfortable, to make us realize we were wasting his time.” But we’d heard from better sources, stories of the five incredible cellars under the rue du Cromin, and that Robert’s son Michel was funny and smart. So I couldn’t resist asking if we’d be welcome when we were in Burgundy in 1991. And I needn’t have worried; we found Robert Ampeau to be as good-natured and generous as I’d heard he was ornery and cold. Our 1991 visit, it turned out, was only the first of many. And for us it was an epiphany. What we’d heard about Robert and Michel Ampeau “holding back wine until it was ready to drink” wasn’t the whole story at all. They simply didn’t care as much about whether or not anyone bought them, as they cared about the weather, and the vines, and their annual struggle with nature to produce them.