When to open the 2009 Maison Ilan wines

Hello everyone
I am writing to you today to speak about the subject of drinking the 2009s. This is a subject that I’ve spoken about previously in general, but now is a good time to discuss my wines specifically.

If you want the cliff notes:

My wines are for drinking after a good amount of years, decades in bottle. If you are drinking them young, you are missing out on what makes these vineyards special. It is perfectly fine to be enthusiastic enough to open a bottle but the 2009s have been in bottle less than 2 years. With only having Grands Crus and Premiers Crus it is necessary to wait to see what is exactly in the bottle.

Ok, so you still want to open a bottle. You’ve purchased each of our vintages and you would like to know if they are worth the effort or capital in relation to the experience. I understand completely. In that case, open the wine, pour it into a decanter and give whichever one of them that you open at least two to three hours in the decanter prior to drinking it.

I know how it tastes now. Frankly, the Charmes-Chambertin has too much of an oaky taste when first opened, the Chaffots has some stems which dominate early on. Neither of them (I don’t open the Chambertin) are pleasant when first opened to my personal tastes. That said, with time in the decanter a different experience comes to the forefront. It isn’t the same as waiting at least 8 years on any of the wines but giving the wines air is really beneficial.

To give a specific example, I opened a Charmes-Chambertin today. I poured out a bit to see how things were. There was a warmth to the wine, not alcoholic, but spicy, too spicy. It seemed to sit on top of the fruit. This wasn’t like it was in barrel. There was also a Lot more structure which in barrel, the wine didn’t show much of one, it was all fruit. So, I checked in at one hour intervals while having the wine in a cheap 10€ decanter…which I usually despise since I think a lot of the fine detail of the aroma is lost in this exercise. The wine changed quite a bit up to the three to four hour mark, but it didn’t seem as pleasant as it once was in barrel. But at the five hour mark, the wine rounded out, the spice tones integrated (they are still there, but part of the wine now) and I can get more of an idea of the type of fruit that it has, instead of feeling that thee is just an overwhelming amount of it coupled with oak. So, while I absolutely deplore the idea of using a decanter with Every other wine that I could possibly open, I am now recommending this method for those that absolutely must open one of my wines today.

Why? Well, they aren’t meant to be consumed so early on. I purposely didn’t add any processes which could aid in early drinking such as racking, pumping over or stirring the less because I figured that it would potentially hurt what I view as the most intriguing time in a wine’s life, its later life. Besides this detail, wines at these particular classification level take time to show what they are all about.If you are drinking a Grand Cru or Premier Cru this early on, you could actually most likely have a better experience with a Village or Bourgogne wine that is closer to its aging band.

Lastly, due to our processes or more importantly lack of processes, there can be a healthy amount of reduction or presence of carbon dioxide in our wines. Both of these aid in the longevity of the wines but can hinder an early tasting experience. If you do decide to open one up early remember to give it air.

I do think that the new oak (up to 58% on Chambertin, 33% on Charmes-Chambertin and 0% on Chaffots) and cluster inputs (10% on Chaffots) contribute to an awkward phase in their youth. To be fair, some may enjoy wines in this awkward phase. But, whether someone enjoys them now or not, the wines aren’t showing who they actually are. These are inputs (tiny bit of stem inclusion and some new oak) which are unique to our 2009 vintage as we have since moved away from these two inputs Entirely.In other words, every wine since 2010 has been raised in Used oak barrels and everything has been completely de-stemmed with even the jacks being micro-sorted out of the bin that collects all of the de-stemmed fruit.

While I hesitate to explain to tasters what they are tasting in their individual experiences with our wines (I’ve made it a point to withhold from doing so) , I thought that my impressions could hopefully be of some use in this rare instance.

Thank you again for reading!

Cheers

Ray

PS Believe me, it does wonders!

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2 thoughts on “When to open the 2009 Maison Ilan wines

  1. Ray, opened a bottle of the 09 Charmes recently. Have four bottles so decided to try one. Per our phone discussion, I decanted for over 3 hours and occasionally swirled. Expectations were high and we were not disappointed. Clearly a young wine but still a wonderful experience. We found a light to medium ruby red wine with balanced red berry flavors. To my wife and I, we experienced a smooth and delightful wine and had no issues with the oak or reduction as we discussed. What we were excited about was the finish — long and savory with a hint of spice to me and more earthy hints to my wife. My wife’s comments sum this bottle up best: My goodness, how great will this wine be in 10 years. I agree, but doubt I will be able to wait 10 years to try the next bottle. Thanks again for a great experience.

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