Wild Boar Rôtisserie at Le Hameau de Barboron
The new venue for my Burgundy blind tasting group’s biannual meetings is Le Hameau de Barboron, a rustic hunting lodge located in the hills above Savigny-lès-Beaune that’s largely devoted to the pursuit and consumption of wild boar. While it’s only 10 minutes’ leisurely drive from Beaune, the Hameau is a secluded spot, and its charming bedrooms and tranquil ambiance would make it a lovely base for anyone exploring Burgundy’s vineyards. For larger groups, Le Hameau’s resident chasseur and rôtisseur, Marcel, will prepare spit roasted wild boars basted with a proprietary blend of mustards and spices. The cooking takes the better part of an afternoon, and while Marcel (who exchanges his hunters camouflage for a chef’s white coat when he’s tending the fire) was prepared to divulge the rudiments of his approach, the finer details will likely remain a closely guarded secret. In any case, the process is worth the wait, as the end result is flavorful, rich but piquant and remarkably tender for wild boar, a beast that can be unduly toothsome if it’s hunted at the wrong age or prepared in the wrong way.
To celebrate completing our tasting of some 250 red Burgundies from the 2015 vintage, conducted over several mornings, our group ordered up a boar and pulled out a lovely selection of mature wines. We began with a stunning magnum of Vincent Dauvissat’s 2002 Chablis Les Clos, a vintage that I would argue is the domaine’s finest between 1996 and 2008. Deep, satiny and layered, with utterly classic aromas of lemon oil, oyster shell and dried white flowers, I could easily have savored it over the whole evening. I suspect Dauvissat’s Preuses would have been even better. A magnum of Jean-Marc Roulot’s 2007 Meursault Poruzot followed the Chablis, tensile but intense, the racy vintage and Roulot’s incisive style making for a marriage that was the perfect antidote to a day of tasting hearty reds. It was a study in contrasts with a fully mature magnum of Louis Carillon’s 1995 Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, a rich, textural wine marked by some of the honeyed, musky aromas of botrytis. Unfortunately, it arrived a little late in the game, as it would have paired beautifully with the foie gras terrine first course.
With the boar itself, we moved onto red wines, beginning with a duo from the northern Rhône. Two bottles of Clape’s 1986 Cornas were remarkably well-preserved, with no signs of tiring whatsoever: the difficult vintage made itself felt only in the wine’s comparative simplicity, as it lacked the immensely layered structure and irresistible savory complexity of a great Clape vintage at full maturity. My conclusion was that the late Noël Verset likely made the wine of the vintage in the appellation that year, as his rendition—had it been present—would have surpassed the Clape by some margin. Much more dramatic, complex and multidimensional was a magnum of 1976 Hermitage La Chapelle, a deep and concentrated wine with a rich, sun-kissed personality that nevertheless avoids the excesses of sur maturité that one finds in a vintage such as the 1983. Soaring from the glass with extraordinary aromas of candied peel, roasted meats, espresso and cassis, it’s a fantastic La Chapelle in the plenitude of full maturity. After the 1978 and 1972, it’s the finest of the decade.
The evening concluded with two red Burgundies. We began with a magnum of the 1996 d’Angerville Clos des Ducs, a firm, concentrated wine, the austerity of the vintage amplifying the domaine’s wonderfully uncompromising style. This was a year with very elevated levels of malic acidity, and many of the wines became somewhat oxidative in profile while they sat without sulfur dioxide during a protracted malolactic fermentation: today, 1996s often combine firm, still-youthful structure with rather evolved bouquets. The d’Angerville Taillepieds didn’t display those qualities, but it remains a rather uncompromising wine, one to forget for another decade. Two bottles of Domaine Dujac’s 1993 Clos de la Roche followed suit, but sadly neither were representative of what this wine can be from a perfect bottle. The group concluded the evening with some sweet wines from the middle Mosel, but I had to make an early exit, so I was deprived of the pleasure or partaking.
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