Domaine Joseph Roty is one of the great houses of Gevrey Chambertin. Operated by the Roty family since 1710, with a tenure of this length, they have achieved greatness working with true old vines. All of Roty's wines come from 60-plus-year-old vines. Their most famous site, a section of Charmes Chambertin, was grafted in 1881. This ancient vineyard was among the first to be grafted after phylloxera wiped out half of France's vines. The cuvée is aptly labeled "Très Vieilles Vignes," or very old vines.
Stylistically, these wines hold nothing back, with concentration and intensity being the name of the game. 100% destemmed fruit undergoes a three-week fermentation at cool temperatures, followed by time in oak (50-100% new) before bottling without fining or filtration. Roty's masterful techniques and careful barrel selection yield red Burgundy with a tight coil of Gevrey's earthy minerality and a stylistic flair melding black fruits with black truffle.
Domaine Trapet is one of Burgundy's most historically significant producers, but now, with their seventh generation at helm, it seems like they're on a roll lately. Gevrey-Chambertin wines are typically known for their powerful construction and dark earth, but Trapet's Pinot Noirs are light on their feet, still finishing with Gevrey's alluring brown spices.
The style here emphasizes aromatic clarity and refined tannins, with wild red berries saturating the palate, and a persistent mineral drive. As much as the whole-cluster approach gives way to bursting fruit on the attack, the palate is lean and chiseled. Stems range from 20% to 50% from Village to Grand Crus. In all, wherever you taste in the hierarchy of cuvées, Trapet is among the greatest producers in the Côte de Nuits. The only weakness is the exceedingly limited amount that comes to California!
In 2011, Claude Dugat was one of the first great tastings that tipped off that my year in Burgundy would be a fruitful one. Visting Burgundy this past December, it was clear this domaine has captured the interest of Burg-purists. I came across the cuvée at top restaurants and even natural-leaning wine shops. The wines are a towering example of Gevrey Chambertin terroir from old vines.
In the 90s and into the aughts, the knock on Dugat (and neighbor Dugat-Py) was that extraction and new oak were obtrusive. Thankfully, they've made a comeback since Claude passed the reigns to his children. "Picking is earlier, the wines are no longer chaptalized, and the use of new oak is a touch more restrained," according to William Kelley, "but above all, simply better integrated, with François Frères supplying barrels that seem to harmonize much more discreetly with the wines raised in them than was sometimes the case in yesteryear."
Vine yields are kept low, of course, but the secret formula might be the very tiny berries that provide an excellent skin-to-juice ratio. What stands out first and foremost is the sheer concentration of fruit, plus the harmony of tannins and acidity—this kind of Gevrey showcases just how good villages Red Burgundy can be. Tasting the 2019 Gevrey Chambertin on its home turf drove home that I'm hard-pressed to find a better villages cuvée there outside of Rousseau and Bachelet.
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!
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.