Nicolas Potel Visits The Union League

March 12, 2015 at 6:36 pm

What better location to sample the current offerings of Burgundy house Nicolas Potel then a French Renaissance style building built in 1865 & encompassing an entire city block in downtown Philadelphia. The Union League of Philadelphia was started as a patriotic society to promote the Union during the Civil war. It is one of the finest private clubs in the nation, additionally, The Heritage Center, located within its walls, runs the League’s three foundations, Abraham Lincoln, Scholarship & Youth Work.

I found this year’s 2013 vintage wines to be more approachable, with less of the typical closeness of young Premier & Grand Cru Burgundies, while the 2008’s poured were really starting to show their potential. The Library Lounge with its beautiful paneled walls, period chandeliers & rare book collection was the perfect backdrop for this event, one of only five held in the United States.

Ottavio Ruggieri, representing the US importer, Wines U & Stephane Schaeffer , National Sales Manager, Nicolas Potel hosted wine professionals from the Tri-state area. I never miss a chance to ask questions of anyone knowledgeable in all things Burgundian, as one could spend a lifetime learning all the nuances of this small but complex wine region. There are 33 Grand & 600 plus Premier reasons why some of the most sought after Chardonnay & Pinot Noir in the world comes from Burgundy.

As wine cannot be tasted in a vacuum, the Union League’s professional staff provided some respite to cleanse and invigorate the palate with Beef Wellington, mushroom risotto, Foie gras & crab with citrus aioli to compliment our Grand & Premier Cru wonderland. My Hats off to the Union League for their glassware, it was a pleasure to see such nice glasses as standard fare for all guests & members alike.

The Wines of Nicolas Potel:

Puligny-Montrachet 2012 $76 Surprising fruit for such a young white. Vanilla, lime & lemon jump out, while hints of tangerine and apricot meld with the acidity on the finish. What a great wine to start the tasting!
Beaune, Premier Cru, Les Vignes Franches 2008 $57 Strawberry Jolly Rancher color, beautiful nose, earth & dark cherry await while the lovely acidity and almost imperceptible tannins combine with oak, tart cherry and licorice on the finish.
Beaune, Premier Cru, Les Airgots 2008 $62 Slightly darker in color, a trio of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger add complexity to the cherry notes. There was more vanilla, spice with balancing acidity on the finish. I felt this still needed a little more time in bottle.
Charmes-Chambertin, Grand Cru 2010 $195 Strawberry in color, with a big cherry nose. Leaning towards jammy cherry fruit with lots of acidity to moderate the present tannins, a hint of licorice is there on the finish.
Chambolle-Musigny, Premier Cru, Les Grands Murs 2011 $95 Cherry cough drop color, nice balance of earth and cherry, closed nose but vanilla comes thru. Big cherry eventually emerges in the glass. Chewy tannins vie for top dog with the acid & nice raspberry notes on the long finish.
Pommard, Premier Cru, La Chaniere 2011 $67 Translucent cherry color, closed on the nose at first but earth & raspberry come around. Tannins and acidity are prominent on the finish; needs a little time to shine.
Volnay 2013 $58 Pretty color, dark cherry, licorice, vanilla & a hint of Ivory soap, with more of the same in the mouth. The acidity is downright mouthwatering, very nice.
Morey-Saint-Denis 2013 $65 A hint of purple in the hue, jammy cherry fruit & oak show thru on the nose. Wow, lots of bright cherry & subtle vanilla continues on the finish. A favorite of the evening and a surprise, considering its youth.
Vosne-Romanee 2013 $100 Dark strawberry color, stinky nose, mineral, licorice & raspberry. Teeth stripping tannins signal you this baby needs time.
Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, Aux Combottes 2013 $108 Light in color, earthy, dark cherry & stone. What a beautifully balanced nose, you know the taste will match. Nice cherry, oak & spice on the palate and another approachable 2013, wow!
Nuits-Saint-Georges, Premier Cru Les Vaucrains 2013 $106 Bright in color, anise, licorice & vanilla bean are prominent, ditto for the tannins, while the tart cherry fruit is in the background. Time will reward.
Nuits-Saint-George, Premier Cru, Aux Bousselots 2013 $101 Deeper in color, licorice, vanilla & chocolate/cocoa, lots going on in the mouth with this one. Lingering cocoa on the finish makes this a very interesting wine.

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