Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Review

Looking for a Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Review and tasting notes? Well, you’ve pretty much come to the right place! But first, let me sing you a love song about some of my two favorite things in life.

In my mind, two things more than anything else make life worth living: beautiful women and fine, white wines. As anyone who has seen pictures of my friends in my photo stream on Instagram will know, I’ve certainly been blessed with my fair share of beautiful women. I have, however, in later years thankfully also had the chance to build up quite a collection of white wines, in particular specimens from Champagne and Burgundy.

Collecting vintage Champagnes and white Burgundy wines have by no means been an inexpensive hobby, I assure you, but in many ways the pleasure derived from popping open a fine, expensive, elegant bottle of white wine with some age to it more than makes up for the expense.

There are different shades of expensive, of course, especially within the realm of Burgundy, my favorite spot in the wine world. Good Burgundy wines, sadly, never come cheap, but some come reasonably priced while some come much more fine and expensive than others. To put it simply, there’s Bourgogne and then there’s Bourgogne Grand Cru. Grand Cru being the (in theory) most sublime wines that Burgundy has to offer. This post is about Bourgogne Grand Cru.

Less simply speaking… There’s a lot more to Burgundy classifications than the brief, simplified version above. Classification of Burgundy wine is actually a pretty complex mess, but an exciting one at that. For a brief, but fascinating intro, please check out this article from winefolly.com

For years, I’ve been dying to sample some of the finer specimens that Burgundy has to offer. The bold, beautiful, rare, famed and the downright ridiculously expensive white wines from the slopes of Burgundy’s select Grand Cru vineyards. It’s been a desire and a wet dream of mine for years; I just have never found the occasion or the money for such wine adventures.

Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru BourgogneSometimes we all need Bourgogne Grand Cru by the case…

Well, the latter is not entirely true. A few years ago, I did manage to procure a couple of bottles of 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru from renowned producer Henri Boillot at the price of around $120 a bottle. It seemed somewhat ridiculous at the time, but I was making a decent living and considering that they’re now retailing at around $200 per bottle, I like to think I made a pretty clever acquisition back then.

Corton-Charlemagne is the largest Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy, known for producing white wines of exquisite beauty that mature slowly and carry the ability to age for well over a decade. The vineyard is located in the commune of Aloxe-Corton and named after Roman holy emperor Charlemagne who once owned the hill on which the vineyard now rests – hence the name, Corton-Charlemagne.

Despite rave reviews from various wine critics, I had not until recently found a perfect occasion to sample the goods. For me to have bottles of wine laying around for so long was, until very recently, quite unheard of, but then again, you just don’t open bottles of wine like these without a very good reason to do so. Like this past Saturday, for example, when my friend, Tina, and I had a perfect, little evening of absolute decadence which just happened to also call for some very good white wine and became the excuse to finally pop a bottle of 2009 Corton-Charlemagne.

Whites only! No Reds! Corton-Charlemagne is dedicated solely to Chardonnay grapes, presumably because Charlemagne was quite the wine lover and as such his wife preferred white wines as they did not stain his beard. That’s what legend wants you to believe, anyway. But then again, legends also want you to believe in Santa Claus, Bigfood, eskimos and the Loch Ness Monster.

 

Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Review

Opening up a fine, white Burgundy is by no means an every day thing and always seems a bit of a religious experience, as you meticulously peel away the foil, carefully extract the cork and brace yourself to get hit with a whiff of what’s inside. White Burgundies, like beautiful women are usually perfumed, feminine, seductive and complex and as such, the mere ritual of opening them becomes a tantalizing experience. The 2009 Corton-Charlemagne from Henri Boillot is no exception, by the way.

Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru ReviewThe 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru from Henri Boillot is a thing of epic beauty!

From the moment you pull the cork on the bottle, it immediately hits you with an almost overpowering whiff of chalk, wet stone, minerals, gunpowder, smoke and beautifully subdued almost overly ripe fruit. That may not sound too tantalizing, but believe me, it is! Poured into the glass it shows off an unbelievably attractive golden color and the nose immediately comes alive with even more minerals, flint, wet, earthy notes and a pleasant, elegant somewhat floral undertone. There’s not much immediate fruit in this one, but it does ooze complexity and elegance like no other wine I have ever come across.

Upon taking my first sip, I’ll admit to muttering “what the…?” as my mouth exploded with notes of minerals, chalk, smoke, oak and a profound earthiness. This is a potent and powerful wine built for the long haul and it seems almost overpowering at first, yet remains immaculately balanced, layered and unbelievably complex on the mid-palate. The finish seemingly goes on forever and adds notes of summer truffles, citrus peel, fallen apples, quince and some quite interesting nutty and buttery notes. By forever I do, by the way, mean several minutes: this thing of beauty coated the mouth long after swallowing and just kept hitting you with new impressions. And it just kept on giving, we sipped for hours and kept finding new subtle notes to pick out and describe, many of which have been left out here for the sake of brevity, seldom have I had more fun and enjoyment tasting and reviewing a wine.

Actually, let me put it this way: I’ve had many a great Chardonnays in my lifetime; from Burgundy and from elsewhere. And I’ve never had anything quite like this. It’s still hard to believe that something as complex as this can be achieved with Chardonnay alone. Sometimes the French really do boggle the mind! But the big question remains, of course: was it worth it? Was it worth the $120 I paid for it? You better f’ing believe it! Is it worth the current $200 price tag?  You know what, hell yes, I say! Any product that can make me completely forget the (let’s face it) ridiculous amount of money spent on it and leave you just enjoying the moment and life in general; that, my friends, to me is worth the price tag!

Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru BourgogneIt’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it…

That being said, taste is very subjective, of course. As is the willingness to fork out a couple of hundred dollars on a single bottle of wine. But, if you’re any kind of serious white wine lover, you owe it to yourself to visit the gorgeous hills of Burgundy. The wines from there sadly never come cheap, but there’s very good stuff to be had starting at $20-30 dollars per bottle and upwards into the astronomical figures. With nectar of the Gods such as this effort from Henri Boillot, I see no reason to stop before hitting the top of the hill at Corton-Charlemagne. It won’t be the cheapest white Burgundy you can find, but if it makes you feel any better, it certainly won’t be the most expensive either.

Enjoy Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne with the best and freshest seafood or fish you can get your hands on, preferably lobster or white fish in a rich, creamy sauce. We had our bottle with Sole Walewska (Sole, lobster and truffles in a truffle/saffron cream sauce) – an absolutely majestic match made in heaven.

Overall score: 95+ / 100

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