Francis Burn
Photo Credit: Stephen Tanzer
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Francis Burn describes this estate '99s as relatively dry wines of finesse, with the strongest acidity of the last four years. "The ripeness came as the berries dried out and shrunk, rather from the concentrating effect of botrytis," added Burn. "In contrast, the 2000s are more powerful wines, although yields were roughly similar in both years." Burn told me he started harvesting only a few days earlier in 2000 than the previous year (October 5 vs. October 8), but in 2000 he picked all the way to the middle of November. "We waited because we didn't want to pick during periods of heat, and for this reason we have less volatile acidity in our wines. It was necessary to practice strict selection and to take our time." He also pointed out that the fruit that was less ripe during the heat of early September was far less likely to have been "pricked" and thus degraded by bees and fruit flies. (A Peter Vezan Selection, imported by North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA; Dionysos Imports, Lorton, VA; Vin Divino, Chicago, IL; and Import!, Madison, WI; also imported by Martin-Scott Wines, Lake Success, NY)

1999 Domaine Ernest Burn Pinot Blanc

Aromas of orange blossom, smoke and spice. Juicy, off-dry and on the lean side. Offers decent intensity but the acids and alcohol have not yet harmonized on the back end.

85

1999 Domaine Ernest Burn Tokay-Pinot Gris

Fruit-driven aromas of yellow plum and peach. Moderately sweet but leavened by rather strong but nicely integrated acidity and firm minerality. More intensely flavored than the pinot blanc.

86

1999 Domaine Ernest Burn Muscat Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de La Chapelle

Fresh aromas of limeade and honeysuckle. Lively, intense and off-dry, with crunchy, nicely focused fruit and floral flavors. Ripe, shapely and persistent. A very good muscat for the dinner table. Includes some replanted muscat d'Alsace in the warmest part of the Goldert vineyard. ("Unripe muscat d'Alsace is awful," notes Burn.)

88

1999 Domaine Ernest Burn Riesling Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de La Chapelle

Subdued aromas of licorice, spice, honey and earth. Fat, soft and smooth; a rather gently styled, loosely knit riesling with moderate fruit intensity and structure. Showing its sweet side now, although the finish also displays surprisingly sound acidity. On the light side.

86

1999 Domaine Ernest Burn Tokay-Pinot Gris Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de la Chapelle

Aromas of apricot, sweet butter, nuts and smoke. Very sweet and round in the mouth, with suave apricot and honey flavors and just enough acidity to maintain its balance. This would be better for a bit more structure and grip to frame its sweet flavors, but it certainly offers an attractive mouthful of tokay flavors right now. Slightly edgy finish. Would go well with foie gras.

88

1999 Domaine Ernest Burn Gewurztraminer Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de La Chapelle

Slightly blurry nose hints at yellow plum and a lactic quality. Rich, sweet, chewy and fat, but needs more precision of flavor. Finishes with a slight bitterness and decent length but could use more thrust.

87

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Pinot Blanc

Bright aromas of peach, spices, herbs and smoke. Juicy, off-dry and fairly intensely flavored. This is fairly generous in the middle yet finishes with more grip than the '99, and comes across as distinctly dryer than its 25 g/l r.s. would indicate.

86-87

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Tokay-Pinot Gris

Pure aromas of butter, spice and game. Lovely sweet fruit shows good density and spice character for a basic tokay. Nicely integrated acids partly buffer the 35 g/l r.s. Finishes with good length. Clearly more successful than a comparatively skinny and somewhat metallic 2000 riesling generique

86-88

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Riesling Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de La Chapelle

Lively aromas of lime skin and flowers. Powerful and penetrating, with firm flavors of candied citrus skin and minerals. Just off-dry. A bit pinched today by the recent pre-filtration, and perhaps richer than it showing. Firmly structured, honest riesling that should age slowly in bottle.

87-91

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Muscat Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de La Chapelle

Perfumed, nuanced nose shows musky citrus notes, mint and spice. Fresh, dense and off-dry, with a flavor of candied citrus peel and adequate supporting acidity. But not as fine as the riesling. Finishes with moderate sweetness. Perhaps best suited as an aperitif owing to its residual sugar. Burn especially likes his muscat from 2000, 1998 and 1995, although he notes that the rain "degraded" the acids in 2000.

87-88

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Tokay-Pinot Gris Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de la Chapelle

Superripe, gamey aromas of yellow plum, pear, quince and spices; distinct suggestions of noble rot. Concentrated, spicy and ripe, with tangy fruit salad flavors firmed by an edge of acidity. Finishes long, bright and fairly sweet, with a suggestion of coriander.

89-91

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Gewurztraminer Goldert Clos Saint Imer Cuvee de La Chapelle

Ripe, highly perfumed aroma of orange blossom. Superripe, thick and chewy but nicely spicy and firm-edged. Rather refined wine. Finishes fresh, chewy and moderately tannic.

89-91

1998 Domaine Ernest Burn Tokay-Pinot Gris Goldert Clos Saint Imer Vendange Tardive Cuvee de la Chapelle

Subtle aromas of flowers, nutmeg and mace. Fat and sweet but penetrating and rather suave. Fairly unctuous and gentle in the middle but quite aromatic, with lovely varietal fruit and spice character. Finishes long and smooth. Offers noteworthy finesse.

90

1999 Domaine Ernest Burn Gewurztraminer Clos Saint Imer Goldert Vendange Tardive

Spicy nose. Spicy and thick in the mouth, with lively acidity and very good but not outstanding intensity. The concentration came from passerillage, not botrytis. Seems a bit loose-knit for VT. Finishes with attractive fruit notes of peach and white plum. More delicate and less rich than the '98, says Burn.

88

1998 Domaine Ernest Burn Gewurztraminer Clos Saint Imer Goldert Vendange Tardive

Pale gold color. Roasted botrytis notes of honey, apricot, cinnamon and earth. Sweet and velvety in the mouth; distinctly more intensely flavored and powerful than the '99. At once silky and chewy: one really tastes the grapes here. Finishes long and harmonious, with ripe balancing acids. Offers compelling sweetness.

92

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Tokay-Pinot Gris Goldert Clos Saint Imer Selection de Grains Nobles Cuvee de la Chapelle

Candied tangerine and orange peel, white raisin, honey and spices on the nose. Very sweet and honeyed, but with racy acidity giving the succulent fruit flavors an almost painful intensity. Extremely young, even a bit aggressive today. This will become increasingly unctuous as the acids are absorbed over the next 10 to 15 years.

92-95

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Gewurztraminer Goldert Clos Saint Imer Selection de Grains Nobles Cuvee de la Chapelle

Roasted, nobly rotten aromas of dried apricot, honey, licorice and nutmeg. Unctuous and extremely sweet (150 g/l r.s.); distinctly high-toned and a bit aggressive in the mouth. But this is very young and shows explosive finishing flavors.

91-93

2000 Domaine Ernest Burn Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles

Pale gold. Pure, high-toned botrytis aromas of quince jam, dried fruits, honey, coconut and spice. Amazingly thick and honeyed in the mouth; texture of liquid velvet but with compelling freshness of fruit. Sweeter and more confiture than the Goldert SGN but kept vibrant by a concentration of acidity. As chewy as a solid in the mouth; finishes remarkably smooth and palate-staining, and not at all cloying. A bit more volatile acidity really lifts the fruit here. Burn describes this wine as a more extreme and concentrated version of the '89, with the difference perhaps due to the more mature vines.

93-96
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