Gevrey-Chambertin 2016

Looks to be quite good. Savvy buyers should seek village level wines.

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

27 November 2017

Based on a 16 November tasting of village, premiers and grands crus, 2016 appears to be darn good for Gevrey-Chambertin. Many thanks to Fabienne Nicot for the kind invitation to taste so many wines from this vintage at the Caveau Espace Chambertin, and to the vintners who offered their bottles to taste. The name of the tasting is Le Roi Chambertin.

Le Roi Chambertin: a horizontal of many village, premiers crus and grands crus from Gevrey Chambertin, vintage 2016

The vintage is remembered generally in Burgundy for its low crop – at least 20 per cent less than 2015 – and much of the blame comes from a particularly severe frost, as well as hail and mildew in some locations.

Gevrey Chambertin was not as badly affected by the frost as some other regions had been. And what made the vintage work were sunny months in July, August and September, with just a bit of rain at the right times to freshen berries that had to put up with sometimes excessive summer heat.

Due to variable frost damage earlier in the year, yields vary according to vineyard and producer, but the overall sense for Gevrey Chambertin is that of fine ripeness, with little sense of “over maturity”. The fine summer, quite hot at times, did not define the vintage as much as the heat of 2015 did, according to many tasters.

Map of Gevrey-Chambertin …

Gevrey-Chambertin in brief 

As most readers know, Gevrey-Chambertin lies alongside the Route des Grands Crus at the northern end of the Côte which runs from North to South between the Combes of Lavaux at one end and Morey-Saint-Denis at the other.

For travellers coming from Dijon, Gevrey-Chambertin is where Bourgogne’s Elysian Fields begin. At the entrance to the hollowed hill of Lavaux, a château, once a property of the monks of Cluny, resembles a fortified wine-cellar. Gevrey-Chambertin, which dates back to an appellation from 1936, forms a kind of guard of honour to a set of fabulous grands crus whose crown jewels are Chambertin and Clos de Bèze.  

… and the Côte de Nuits

The premiers crus occupy the upper portion of the Côte at heights of between 280 and 380 metres (brown limestone soils, rather shallow). Below are the appellation village vines on brown calcic or limey soils. The vines also reap the benefit of marls covered with screes and red silt washed down from the plateau. These stony mixtures confer elegance and delicacy on the wine while the clayey marls, which contain rich deposits of fossil shell-fish, add body and firmness. Exposures vary from east to south-east.

Of course the grands crus of Gevrey-Chambertin are “iconic Pinot Noir” wines: powerful, virile, complex and intense. They demand equally complex, hightoned dishes to keep the pairing in balance. Feathered game (grilled or, better still, in wine sauce) are worthy companions. The power of the wine’s tannins will withstand the shock of contrasting textures while its aromatic complexity and above all its opulence will bring out the differences.

But as prices scrape ever higher skies, sometimes to the point of absurdity, budget-minded wine lovers should look to the village level wines of this expansive appellation…

Busy tasting and taking notes

Tasting Notes 

As ever, wines in bold I liked in particular. In red and bold even more. And if underlined, too, a potential wine nirvana!

Gevrey Chambertin village level 2016s
This is the section that – as a buyer – interests me the most. Bourgogne prices are scraping ever higher skies, pricing me out of many upper echelons. It has been a long while since I even considered buying an Armand Rousseau, for example. But now many other producers’ premiers and especially grands crus have become untouchable as well; my wallet is not nearly as thick as their pricing.

  • 2016 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin Champerrier Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Very virile and full bodied, with a nose that suggests power. Earthy suggestions already, but with a clean, fresh and long finish: a lovely village level wine. If the price is right, I’m a buyer. 92
  • 2016 René Bouvier Gevrey-Chambertin Racines du Temps – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Very old vines floral and elegant. A bit high toned, to me at least, but the ripeness is there and should be lovely with steak. Michael Apstein got some vanilla oak sweetness, as well. But we both agreed that it is more like a Chambolle, with silky tannins. Another wine I want to purchase if the price is not too crazy expensive (the way of fine Burgundy these days, alas). 92

Excellent village level Gevrey Chambertin

  • 2016 Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Like some other wines at this mammoth tasting, I got a bit of excessive oak derived notes on the nose. The palate is not as nuanced as the Rene Bouvier Racines du Temps, tasted just before, and seems just a bit monotone by comparison. There is juice however and ripeness. So it should be fine, with time the oak should integrate, but not as interesting or fresh.
  • 2016 Philippe Rossignol Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    A fairly recent lieu dit named as an appellation of Gevrey-Chambertin in the commune of Brochon. More oak here that seems to mask the fruit with a rather powerful tannic aspect. Not sure …
  • 2016 Domaine Thierry Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    This has a sweet nose and pleases on the attack with ripe fruit, but ends up just a bit austere on the finish. Give it time, as it should “come around”.
  • 2016 Domaine Thierry Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Vigne Belle – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    What is going on here? While the regular bottling seemed rather promising, here the austerity and dryness dominate, with a certain hollowness on the mid palate.

  • 2016 Domaine Rene Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Juicy, yet intense, too. Almost warm, but there is verve and good fun to this wine which has fine mid palate substance. 91
  • 2016 Domaine Pierre Labet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    This has a bit of oak derived sweetness on the nose, but is not drying on the palate. Purists may not love it, but I think it is a pleasure. 91
  • 2016 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroirs – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Sweet entry, and even just somewhat drying on the finish. But far better than the Thierry Mortets and the mid palate sap appeals. Let’s just see how it integrates with time in bottle.
  • 2016 Domaine Louis Remy Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    From a lieu dit called Les Seuvrées, which I could not add as a “new wine” on Cellar Tracker. A bit strange, sweet and somewhat cloying. Was it a faulty bottle? Note reserved.
  • 2016 Domaine Chevalier Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Oh yes: lovely and rich, with fine earth. I’ll take it! A very good producer somewhat under the radar, and not too pricey. At least last time I checked. 92
  • 2016 Sylvie Esmonin (Michel et Fille) Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    By comparison, tasted just after the Chevalier, this wine comes across just a bit warm. I think I preferred the 2015, if I recall correctly. It is good, mind you, but something about it seems a bit too hefty, at least to me.

I like the Chevalier. Great name, too 🙂

  • 2016 Domaine Pierre Gelin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Meixvelles – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    This one is smooth and rich, with juicy earthy notes. Along with the Chevalier, I’ll take it, too! 92
  • 2016 Domaine Philippe Charlopin Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Quite reductive but taking the time yields juicy fruit and nuance. Promising juice. 91
  • 2016 Domaine Philippe Naddef Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    There is mid palate sap and substance but it dries out just a bit.
  • 2016 Domaine Philippe Naddef Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    More similar to the old vines bottling, this lieu dit En Songe also seems to dry out on the finish. Hopefully it will come together in bottle, but for now my stance is neutral.

Premiers Crus
I did not taste as many of the premiers as I should have, but really liked Bruno Clair Cazetiers as one of my favorites among those tasted.

  • 2016 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    All the Tortochots were performing well at this tasting. This is tasty and rich, with verve and mid palate sap. The length is excellent. Bravo! 94
  • 2016 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Make that “I really like it” … Juicy and rich and yet nicely structured with a touch of spice. Coming back to this after tasting the Clos Saint Jacques, it seems to have more nuance. Certainly more elegance. Should I break the bank and buy it? Seriously considering. 95

A nice pair, but the Les Cazetiers came off particularly lovely.

  • 2016 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Tasted along with Cazetiers, the first the impression is of very much “broader shoulders” and closed in, through to the finish. Has sap indeed. “But oak seems to be winning at this stage,” as Michael Apstein said. This should turn out just great, but hard to gauge at this very early stage. 94
  • 2016 Domaine Rene Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Sap driven and lip smacking juicy. Not at all heavy or concentrated. May not compete with the “bigger boys” but if the price is right, buy it.
  • 2016 Sylvie Esmonin (Michel et Fille) Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    A bit too oak influenced here, when compared to the Rene Leclerc, tasted just before. This estate is not known for too much oak, is it? What is happening? I far prefer the Rene Leclerc. Maybe I am misjudging how well the oak will be integrated later in bottle, but for now: strictly neutral.
  • 2016 Domaine Humbert Frères Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Poissenot – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Lovely sap driven, and not oak driven, with a certain finesse in the earthiness. Nice job. 93
  • 2016 Domaine Humbert Frères Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Estournelles-St.-Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Similar profile of the Poissenot but more concentrated – and just as delicious. 94
  • 2016 Domaine des Varoilles Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos des Varoilles Cuvée Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Tight and not very forgiving. Just give it time in bottle as it is not so easy to gauge now.
  • 2016 Domaine des Varoilles Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru La Romanée – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Even tighter and less forgiving than the Clos de Varoilles.

Grands Crus
Some were truly grand. Pity that pricing has become too grand.

  • 2016 René Bouvier Charmes-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Very agreeable. Focused and with subtle power. Nice job! 94
  • 2016 Domaine Philippe Charlopin Charmes-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    I like the earthy power here. Is it a bit funky? Whatever the case, the concentration is impressive. 93
  • 2016 Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru
    Truly gorgeous, opulent yet structured. One of the top wines of the tasting. 95+
  • 2016 Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
    Better than the Chambertin as this has added opulence. Really gorgeous wine. A top candidate among them all. Bravo. 97
  • 2016 Domaine Perrot-Minot Charmes-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Oddly carbonated aspect. Note reserved.

A pair of truly grands vins.

  • 2016 Domaine Perrot-Minot Charmes-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Very rich and juicy; lovely wine and befitting the name: charming! 94
  • 2016 Domaine Perrot-Minot Mazoyères-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Oddly having too much CO2 aspects. Note reserved.
  • 2016 Domaine Tortochot Mazis-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Starts out very smooth and nuanced but then gets austere and closed in on the finish. Should be very good but needs time in bottle … 93
  • 2016 Domaine Philippe Charlopin Mazis-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
    A bit sweet and concentrated, but delicious. Lacks the gravitas of the Perrot Minots.
  • 2016 Domaine Rossignol Trapet Chapelle-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru
    OK, if you want to purchase great grand cru Gevrey Chambertin, here you go. This is pure elegance and richness as well. No wonder a fellow taster told me not to try it: she wanted it for herself. Svelte and elegant. 96

Greg Love loves Burgundy!

  • 2016 Domaine Rene Leclerc Griotte-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru
    I will visit and perhaps buy some wines if possible. Quite smooth and intense at the same time. Juicy mid palate! Lovely! 94
  • 2016 Pierre Damoy Chambertin-Clos de Bèze – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
    Too tight and too oak driven. I feel it lacks enough fruit expression.
  • 2016 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambertin-Clos de Bèze – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
    Sure, it is marked by the oak but the finish displays lift and juiciness. Indeed this is lovely: just give it time! 95+

A truly grand vin!

  • 2016 Domaine Rossignol Trapet Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru
    Another candidate for top wine of the tasting (as it was last year): Just gorgeous. Very elegant yet strong. There is tightness to this wine, obviously not ready, but the arc – the tension – is impressive! 97
  • 2016 Domaine Pierre Gelin Chambertin-Clos de Bèze – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
    A bit austere and unforgiving. Not sure for now …

As Michael Apstein noted in the video that I include in wine-chronicles.com, it is a bit hard to definitively judge such young wines. For example, will the Bruno Clair Clos Saint Jacques remain somewhat broad and oak driven, as opposed to the currently (far more) nuanced Cazetiers? He does not think so. “These are moving pictures,” he said.

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