I didn't need validation on the quality of Domaine Duroché, but a tasting in Gevrey Chambertin with Pierre further drove the point home. Duroché's wines are models for the transparency and fine tannins that Gevrey is capable of, with an inherent structure and dark earth signature synonymous with the village.
Duroché wines have a hallmark featherweight texture and racy minerality that are impressively persistent. The Premier and Grand Crus from Duroché are exhilarating, but it's the Gevrey Chambertin lieu-dit that shouldn't be overlooked in this lineup. Le Clos is a minuscule parcel made of less than half a hectare. The grapes are 100% de-stemmed and raised in 15 to 20% new oak, without fining or filtering. It's a benchmark villages level bottling that calls to mind iconic yet understated examples from Mugnier and D'Angerville.
Pierre Duroché is the 5th generation to oversee his family's eight-hectare estate, assisting his father in 2003 and taking full control of operations in 2009. Pierre's home village is often characterized by its dark earth notes and formidable structure; this often leads winemakers to implement more new oak and push for maximum extraction and flash, but Pierre takes his cues from an entirely different playbook. Whether you're a seasoned Burgundy collector or interested in finding under-the-radar superstars, these are not to be missed!
In recent years of La Paulée tastings, one domaine has particularly dominated the overachiever category, and pulling off a sub-$50 attention grabber in a room filled with the most expensive and adored wines of Burgundy is no easy feat.
The tale of magic that Didier Fornerol puts in bottle cannot be told without Burgundy legend Jean-Pierre de Smet. Fornerol worked alongside de Smet at his Domaine de l'Arlot from 1982 until 1998, then leaving to take over his own family's domaine.
De Smet and l'Arlot's famed whole cluster regimen and translucent, traditional style of Pinot Noir is on full display in Didier's 2018 Côte de Nuits-Villages. Six hectares in Corgoloin (between Ladoix and Nuits-Saint-Georges) comprise the vines of the domaine—right in the same relative zone that put l'Arlot on the map with their NSG 1er Crus Clos des Forets and Clos de l'Arlot.
Finding wines that overdeliver for their price point in Burgundy always marks a special day. Considering the pedigree here, the style closely tied to l'Arlot's golden era under Jean-Pierre de Smet, this small-production Pinot Noir deserves immediate attention.
It's Saturday, so I'll keep things extra brief. Denis Bachelet produces a small range each year, but in 2016 it's painfully low. No producer in Burgundy beats Bachelet at his game: Pinot Noir of ruthlessly intense concentration meeting polish and finesse. The wines are so unmistakable. There's almost a painfulness to the tone of the fruit, in the best possible way in their laser-focused style. Bachelet is also famous for his entry levelwines (Bourgogne Rouge and Côte de Nuits Villages) showing lights-out with decades in bottle - Most of this is due to the very old vines in play here. Within these humble designations, Bachelet is THE king.
Today, I'm happy to offer a small grouping of Bachelet's three benchmark wines, complete with a 4-vintage vertical of his Bourgogne Rouge.
Bourgogne Rouge comes from a total of 0.61 hectares. Two lieu dits, Pressonier and Grands Champs, planted in 1977 and 1986, respectively. All destemmed and aged in neutral barrels.
Côte de Nuits Villages comes from a 0.95 hectare parcel planted in 1952. The very old vines are sourced from vineyards just north of the Gevrey appellation. All destemmed and aged in 25% new barrels.
Gevrey Chambertin Vielles Vignes comes from a 1.23 hectare parcel of vines planted in between 1932 and 1937. All destemmed and aged in 20% new barrels.
Bachelet's wines, and particularly these three, have been a staple of my personal collection for years. I cannot think of another producer whose entry level wines still represent a special occasion every single time they are poured.