Bertrand Ambroise Nuits Saint George

Looking back at my previous post it is clear that it might have been helpful to provide examples of the styles I now recognise as bona fide expressions of Pinot Noir and Burgundy.  I didn’t partly because of the work involved, and partly because the lines are not always that clear and others might draw them differently.  But what I will do here is give you a good example of Burgundy I do like at lot: the Nuits Saint George of Bertrand Ambroise.

I would like to say that I have found a domaine whose wines I can buy with confidence without trying them first, but I have not reached that point quite yet.  Apart from the Nuits Saint George, I have tried a couple of his cheaper whites, the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 2004 and Ladoix 1er Cru Les Gréchons 2005, both tasted in 2007.  They were perfectly fine *** wines, and decent value for money, but did not excite me enough to want to buy.  I also tried his straight Bourgogne Rouge 2009 in March last year, which I also gave ***, but as I thought this would improve I decided to buy half a case as £15 per bottle.  I am not sure I properly have the measure of this wine yet.  The taster on which I decided to buy was  of the primary red cherry fruit style I like so much, but the bottle which I opened a couple of weeks later was more black cherry and blackcurrant, and seemed to have more dominant oak.  I am not necessarily suggesting bottle variation – taster variation is at least as likely an explanation.  Either way I am not going to fret too much about the difference.  The fruit was good and intense, and tannins were evident, so I am going to tuck the remaining bottles away for a few years and see what happens.

But the Nuits Saint George is on a totally different level.  For the 2002 and 2005, in March and December respectively last year I did the same as for the Bourgogne: I tasted a sample, bought a half case, and opened a bottle from the half case a week or two later.  For these wines, the tasting sample and bottle experiences were very similar, and are described below in one note for each wine.

Nuits Saint George, Bertrand Ambroise, 2002, £26
Medium garnet.  Intense, slightly funky, Burgundy.  Good mature Pinot Noir fruit. Sous bois.  Highish acidity and medium astringency.  Excellent length, with tingly fruit finish.  Excellent all round wine.  Good to drink now or in next few years.  *****

Nuits Saint George, Bertrand Ambroise, 2005, £31
Medium garnet.  Intense beautiful Burgundian perfumed Pinot Noir.  Mainly primary fruit, but with a savoury edge – bacon perhaps.  Sous Bois.  Some spicy oak, but not obtrusive. Medium acidity and astringency.  Sweet, light, delicate fruit.  Extremely long, with tangy perfumed finish.  Great now.  Not sure how much it will improve as I like it so much now, but will certainly last several more years.  ******

Yup, 6 stars is my maximum score – and given to a village level Burgundy.  I was tempted to to knock a star to create what might seem like a more sane assessment, but decided eventually to stick to my guns and say what I really thought.

I was pleased to be introduced to all these wines by the Manchester Wine Society.  The red Burgundies were both tried at excellent tastings lead by Peter Ainsworth, and were bought from his company Delamere Wines (sadly longer trading).

Author: Steve Slatcher

Wine enthusiast

4 thoughts on “Bertrand Ambroise Nuits Saint George”

  1. 14/11/12

    At a recent Manchester Wine Society tasting Peter Ainsworth re-presented the Bertrand Ambroise Nuits St George, but the 2009 this time (I hope you didn’t miss the tasting!). I thought it very good indeed and gave it an enjoyment score of 7(1/2) out of 10. The (1/2) for extra future potential I considered to come. Considering that in a fairly long tasting career I have yet to give any wine more than 8 (you can see I am fairly conservative in my ratings!) this is not a bad score from me. My notes say a BIG nose, cowpat & straw. Good fruit and very complex – a heavy rich style, Burgundy character with hints of cinnamon and clove. It was my joint star of the night, with the Chambolle-Musigny from Dujac!. Regards EH.

  2. I was indeed at the MWS tasting, and I too enjoyed the 2009 Ambroise NSG. It got ***** from me, and was equal favourite of the evening – though for me the Dujac was not its equal. My notes were brief, but I thought it was good all-round – balanced, elegant and represented what I like about Burgundy. It was maybe a little reductive, but it is still young and I didn’t see that as a big problem.

    Didn’t get any cow pat – neither did I get farmyard smells from any of the other wines, though clearly many did.

  3. I think that words to describe smells are usually a very personal and simplified aide memoire to describe experiences in what is a different sense nodality (smell) and one which is not systematically (or culturally) shared in the process of growing up in Western societies.

    I might sometimes describe cowpat as more like pleasant fresh compost (in the best Monty Don of Gardeners World sense) and others might perhaps refer to anything within this group of smells as “sous bois” — although different individuals probably have a different take on what “sous bois” means for them. Within the nodaliity of language and speech it has been possible to define abstract concepts such as fairness, altruism etc only because of intense discussion and exchange over years of formalised shared education — but not so for smell or taste, for which there is no systematic education. For practical reasons, I suspect Amazonian Indian tribes may well have more sytematic education within their social community for smells when growing up..

    I think we are both agreed the Bertrand Ambroise NSG merits the accolade of having a complex smell and taste profile though the description is a conundrum! Regards EH.

  4. You are touching on a subject that interests me greatly, Eugene. Indeed, we use different words to describe the same experience. But different people also actually perceive smells differently. Here is my latest post on the subject.
    The post is brief, but it refers indirectly to a lot of information if you want to follow it up.

    See also

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