Gevrey Chambertin and the 2014 vintage

With improved dollar-to-euro and pound-to-euro exchange rates, savvy buyers should check out 2014 Burgundy

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

30 November 2015

Gevrey Chambertin is one of the most famous wine appellations in the world, full of famous grands crus. The appellation dates from September 1936, but its glory predates the 1930s. Vineyards can be dated back to 7th century AD, evidence of a long and intimate involvement in the history of Bourgogne’s wine industry.

Excellent exposures vary from east, to south-east. The premiers crus occupy the upper portion of the Côte at heights of between 280 and 380 meters (brown limestone soils, rather shallow). Below are the appellation village vines on brown calcic or limey soils. The vines 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.

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Gevrey-Chambertin includes a fabulous set of grands crus with the top of the pyramid being Chambertin and Clos de Bèze. Pinot Noir can be at its peak performance here.

2014s promising

2015 Burgundy may be getting the lion’s share of media coverage, but professionals who travelled to Burgundy during the Hospices de Beaune weekend in November 2015 gave positive reviews to many 2014s that were also assessed at a special tasting of Gevrey Chambertin the Thursday before the auction.

“Media magnet vintages like 2015 get the buzz, and that actually confuses the picture,” said Berry Bros. & Rudd Burgundy buyer and wine author Jasper Morris. “We should be talking about 2014, as it is coming to market.” 2014 is “beautiful” for whites, and a thoroughly good vintage but no as regular for reds, Morris added.

Others not directly in the business, like me, share Morris’ assessment. Take for example positive reviews by American wine writer Michael Apstein: “I was truly impressed by the quality of the red Gevrey Chambertins, from village through to grand cru,” he said. Although village level wines were not always very regular, I found wines from producers such as Pierre Naigeon, Taupenot Merme and Sylvie Esmonin positively delicious with bright red fruit. Higher-level premiers and grands crus were “more regular in quality, and certainly should present excellent price/quality ratios,” said Munich-based wine educator and consultant Stefan Metzner.

As you can read in these notes from an excellent tasting put together at Le Roi Chambertin in Gevrey Chambertin, it was not difficult to discover excellent quality from village level wines, as well as fine showings from the upper echelons. It is true that 2014 whites are particularly excellent, as I had posted earlier this month on a recent master class at Bouchard Pere & Fils, and I will post at a later date impressions of other fine whites that I had tasted over the Hospices de Beaune weekend.

But one should also look with interest at the reds. Burgundy prices have been going up, up and away, but more favorable exchange rates between the dollar and the euro and the pound and the euro mean upward price pressure will be buffeted.

Time to re-examine 2014 Burgundy, especially if prices indeed do not go up too much higher.

TASTING NOTES 

Wines in bold I liked in particular, when red and bold, even more and when underlined, too, some kind of wine nirvana.

First flight of village level Gevrey Chambertins

Some excellent wines here, in particular the 2014 Domaine Pierre Naigeon Gevrey-Chambertin (92 pts)

  • 2014 Bouchard Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Tasted after a somewhat rough Denis Berthaud, the Bouchard was smoother, with ripe red fruit, although not among the most impressive village levels tasted here. It is still a fine and fresh wine! (88 pts.)
  • 2014 Vincent et Denis Berthaut Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Chezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    This falls into the just OK category for village level 2014s. It has freshness and decent body, but I could sense a hint of green as well … (87 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Symphonie – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Clean and fresh, this is a fine example of red fruit driven village level Gevrey Chambertin from the 2014 vintage. Nice job! (90 pts.)

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  • 2014 Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    I reserve scoring this one as the nose seemed a bit off… NR (flawed)
  • 2014 Eugene Ellia Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    This exudes clean red fruit aspects that are pleasurable but there is a sense of flatness that makes it somewhat monotone. Just ok, I would seek out other village level Gevrey Chambertins in 2014. (86 pts.)
  • 2014 Jane et Sylvain Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Just as I had experienced with the Eugene Ellia, but better. This village level wine has fresh red fruit aspects with a bit more concentration and length. Still, it comes across more as a luncheon wine. (87 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Pierre Naigeon Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    This was a bottling actually called “En Sylvie” and it was delicious. Bright and savory, even floral, with red fruit and a seductive palate with a long finish. A wine to seek out! (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Tasted after the Gevrey Chambertin “En Sylvie” by Naigeon, this comes across as more “serious” and tannic by comparison, and not quite as much fun. I suspect it will turn out excellent with time in bottle, but a conservative score for now. (90 pts.)

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Second flight of village level wines
More very good to excellent wines. In this flight, I had a coup de coeur for the 2014 Sylvie Esmonin.

  • 2014 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corvées – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Another excellent village level lieu dit that excels in 2014: there is a visceral animal energy to the wine, earthy and iron like, with tannin and red fruit too, with a lifting finish. (91 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Another earthy village level wine, with an iron like aspect, even a hint of musk. But what made it appealing was a sumptuous mid palate, richness. Not among the most charming, but appealing in its own way. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Alexandrine – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Compared to the old vine wine, this is more linear, a bit more precise, but also a touch metallic on the finish, which detracts a bit… Still, it has concentration and is appealingly vinous. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Philippe Rossignol Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Bright fruit, tannic structure and quite drinkable. Another example of a fine village level red from Burgundy in 2014. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Now you’re talking. Wow, this has the most sumptuous quality of the three that I tasted by Marc Roy. It is rich and seductive, a bit more fresh – and every bit as serious and structured than the other two. Lovely wine. (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Pierre Damoy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Tamisot – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    As fellow taster Greg Love said: oaky, smokey, blokey. I recall serving this brand as a wine steward back in 2007 and 2008 on Nantucket Island. A modern style. Score higher if you like that. (87 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Pierre Gelin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Meixvelles – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Yet another fine example of more than just solid village level Gevrey Chambertin in 2014: the mid palate has pleasing juiciness, sap, it is fruit forward, too, yet shows fine structure and aging capacity. Bravo! (91 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Well, score higher if you like the style. This comes across as very smokey with loads of oomph and dark fruit. A modern style, but, hey! There is fine structure. I just seek more freshness from Burgundy. (88 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Drouhin-Laroze Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    This is really a pleasure! Bright red fruit, some floral aromatics too, with an “earthiness” on the palate, balanced and medium bodied. Good stuff! (91 pts.)

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  • 2014 Sylvie Esmonin (Michel et Fille) Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    An excellent village level in 2014. Bright fruit, tannic spine and opulence all in one lovely bottle of wine. Do not hesitate. (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Rene Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Tasted just after the Esmonin, which I preferred, this comes across as tighter and not as “spherical” as the previous wine. Yet, it is savory and delicious. Nice job! (90 pts.)

This was perhaps my least favorite flight, but still some good wines

  • 2014 Philippe Livera Gevrey-Chambertin en Champs Domaine des Tilleuls – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    A bit over smokey, and somewhat hard. Perhaps, again, a question of style. Modern palates may like it more than I do. (88 pts.)
  • 2014 Philippe Livera Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Village Domaine des Tilleuls – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Well, this just comes across as over extracted, and lacking any charm. (85 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroirs – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    The only thing that detracts is a slightly metallic nose. But the palate is better, with a savory – almost Cote Rotie like – bacon aspect. (89 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Thierry Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Somewhat ordinary, lacking enough mid palate sap to make it interesting. (86 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Thierry Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Vigne Belle – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Certainly a step up from the basic village wine, with more intensity and mid palate sap, but it lacks enough brightness and lift to please my senses enough for a 90s score. (88 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Philippe Naddef Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    While I like this producer’s higher echelon wines, this one just came across as good enough, with medium body and a medium finish, some nice expressions of red fruit, but nothing to write home about.(88 pts.)

A flight of premiers crus, which I maybe underestimated.
Lovely wines here, most in the “90s”.

  • 2014 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    There is a firm aspect to this wine, in a closed phase, but nonetheless much substance and length. Promising indeed. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Wow! I almost felt like I was drinking a young Pauillac… This has loads of substance and concentration without being heavy. There is a sense of tannic foreboding that one would not perhaps so imagine with Pinot Noir. Certainly needs time, but very promising. (93 pts.)

Bruno Claire

  • 2014 Domaine Pierre Naigeon Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Interestingly, I was getting more pleasure from the “En Sylvie” but there is no denying a higher level of concentration and a sensation of more tannin coming from this 1er cru. I suspect that it just needs more time in bottle, hence the same score but perhaps potential for higher notes down the road. (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Bel-Air – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    There is vivaciousness to this wine, and a primary aspect – a hint of Co2 as well. The palate shows weight and density but also lift. A lovely wine in the making. (91 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Well, it probably merits a higher score, but it had a reductive aspect, smoky, and thus a bit hard to assess at this very early stage, but there was substance to the palate and a long finish. (91 pts.)
  • 2014 Serafin Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Fontenys – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Here another structured 2014, coming across as “firm” overall but not aggressive or hard. It had tannin and a substantial mid palate, density and sap. This is a special wine! (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Philippe Rossignol Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Corbeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    This has more substance than the village level, but the tannins feel harder, more extracted. (89 pts.)

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  • 2014 Domaine Rene Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    More rounded and more substantial than the Clos Prieur, yet not among the most concentrated or “serious” 1er crus. Still, a delicious wine! (91 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    A reductive nose, the palate somewhat closed as well, but shows much underlying substance on the palate, with juicy aspects of red fruit and a medium plus body and finish. Nice! (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    A superlative premier cru, here. Why? It exudes floral and fruit driven aromatics and flavors, with a smooth body, that is nonetheless well structured, leading to a long finish. Bravo! (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Philippe Naddef Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    OK, now you’re talking: bright red fruit, seductive flavors and fine length. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine des Beaumont Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    A fine premier cru. Basically combining richness, elegance and a savory quality. If the price is right, I am a buyer – and may be under scoring, as well. (90 pts.)

Finally, the grands crus. I did not taste all of them at the event. Some were hard to evaluate, being so young.
Coup de coeurs for the 2014 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambertin-Clos de Bèze (94 pts) and the
2014 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Mazoyères-Chambertin (94+ pts).

  • 2014 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambertin-Clos de Bèze – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
    Even better than the Clos St Jacques, as it comes across as more spherical and rounded, but with just as much substance and concentration and tannin. A serious wine that will reward cellaring. (94 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Mazoyères-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Wow! This has it all. Sumptuous, structured, rich and tannic. The overall impression is of an opulent wine, contoured and long on the finish. Red and black fruit. Great stuff! (94+ pts.)
  • 2014 Cecile Tremblay Chapelle-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru
    A very impression showing, the wine starts with a juicy attack leading to a mid palate of dark and red fruits, with fine sap and structure. But then it kind of clamps down on the finish, with a certain austerity. I suspect that it just needs bottle age, as the start and middle are so promising. (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Rossignol Trapet Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru
    You may wonder why I only give 91 points to a grand cru. Well, all of these – I also tried the Latricieres and the Chapelle-Chambertin in 2014 – showed very tightly wound tannins, hard enough to really understand them this young. The Chambertin was the smoothest. And I would guess that it (and the others) will be more comprehensible later on from bottle. (91 pts.)
  • 2014 Dominique Gallois Charmes-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Well, this comes across as intense and over extracted, with hard tannins. Really not sure where it is going… (87 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Humbert Frères Charmes-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    It shows 13.5% alcohol, well integrated, with a layered feel on the palate, excellent structure and a long finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Philippe Livera Chapelle-Chambertin Domaine des Tilleuls – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru
    More distinct fruit aspects, red fruit, wild strawberry, and freshness – bravo, certainly an improvement over the village level wines they had for us to taste. Perhaps not as concentrated as other grands crus, but still very good. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Philippe Naddef Mazis-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Here we get more savory qualities, a more opulent palate and very seductive aromatics. I hope the price will not be too much, but this is a lovely grand cru! (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Pierre Naigeon Charmes-Chambertin – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Alas, the bottle I tried was a flawed. NR (flawed)

All in a all, a fine tasting, and many thanks to Le Roi Chambertin!

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