In contrast to the aromatic fireworks of the Amoureuses, here the nose is equally, indeed stunningly complex and deep but with a discreet and brooding character of mostly violets and blueberry notes against a backdrop of fresh earth that continues on the rich, intense and quite firmly structured big-boned flavors that are hugely long and built to age for decades. This will need at least 15 years to arrive at its majority but as this is one of the longest-lived wines in all of Burgundy, it will still be alive and well in 50 years.
Roumier vinifies separately and later assembles the fruits of white chalk and red (iron-rich) parcels that inform his 2005 Bonnes Mares. At the time of my visit he had retained one pure barrel of each component as an investigation into terroir and the results were as fascinating as the blended wine is fascinatingly and profoundly beautiful. The ferrous lot (55% of the final assemblage) displays ripe blackberry and raspberry berries, along with (red soil-born) pungent smokiness, Chartreuse-like herbal and floral essences. A liqueur-like presentation of black fruits temporarily overshadows the mysterious (white rock-born) meld of chalky minerality and beef marrow that wells up gradually on a creamy palate with tannins of utmost refinement. The tension and energy are riveting – lending the wine a dynamic, fleet-of-foot impression for all of its manifestly huge extract – with incisive brightness of palate-staining fruit and vibrant minerality leading to a finish of sensational clarity and length. Even here, by the way, Roumier employs only around 40% new wood. One senses that Christophe Roumier considers 2005 a high point of his career, and my visit with him was among the high points of my recent trip. He describes this as “a classic vintage lending itself to very calm, classic vinification,” which given the opportunities afforded by perfectly healthy, firm, dry, ripe fruit involved triage almost solely to remove ladybugs, and included around 25% whole clusters in the fermenters at the Premier Cru level and 50% at that of Grand Cru.