There couldn’t be a bigger honor and pleasure for me than being invited to taste some Burgundy. Ever since my first visit in Burgundy in 2011 this region has captured my francophile and culinary heart, and ever since I got into wine it has captured my taste buds. I have tasted a vast amount of wines from lots of places in this world but I have to admit that my number one favorites have never been replaced. Up until this day my cheeks turn red and my eyes get that silly glance when I get to go to Burgundy.
Living in Champagne, the frequency of my Burgundy visits has become more and more regular, which I consider a huge advantage. This time I was invited to join the Roi Chambertin tasting of the 2015 vintage in Gevrey-Chambertin as a kick-off tasting to the “Trois Glorieuses” weekend, the traditional 3-day event including the famous wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune.
The tasting showcased 41 producers’ wines from all appellations of the region, from Grand Ordinaire, regional and village level to Premier Cru and Grand Cru.
The Influences on the 2015 Vintage
2015 is already considered an outstanding vintage, the first bottles displayed at wine shops in Burgundy are often marked “millésime exceptionnel”. The harvest in Gevrey-Chambertin started end of august in 2015 in the southernmost appellations of the Côte d’Or and finished with the highest maturity levels picked in the Chambertin Grand Cru appellation on september 21st. The grapes were showing loose, well aerated bunches and even though the harvest spread out over a month, there wasn’t any sign of rot and the grapes were perfectly healthy.
Despite the good state of ripeness and flawlessness of the grapes left, there was yet one little bytaste: the quantity of the harvest was below average. A dry summer from june to early august stressed the vines and the rains setting in at mid-august came a bit too late. The véraison – the changing of the colors and start to the final ripening phase – had already set in and from this point on the growth of the grapes stops as the vine puts all its energy into bringing its fruit to ripeness.
The Character of Gevrey-Chambertin Vintage 2015
Vines in northern wine growing regions like Burgundy demand rather warm, dry and very sunny conditions to bring out their full potential and therefore the year 2015 favored especially the northern appellations of Gevrey-Chambertin.
As a result to these circumstances, the 2015 vintage brings out quite dark colored wines with charming and very complex fragrances. Lots of spice, fruit and floral notes impress the senses, smooth structures and tannins please the palate and vibrating textures with a long finish are present in almost all of the tasted wines of this vintage.
While other vintages don”t start revealing their charm before a few years have passed, the range of 2015 wines show a lot of their tempting nature, elegance and complexity already in their state of youth. With lots of power, ripeness and structure, 2015 is most likely to turn into a velvety-smooth, highly charming and classy vintage in a few years.
Favorites of Gevrey-Chambertin Vintage 2015
Picking favorites within such a big range of wines presented is always a challenge as every wine has its special character and unique expression, yet I want to mention the most outstanding wines which have left me very impressed. It’s a non-complete listing and doesn’t include all wines tasted, however it very well portrays the soul of the vintage 2015.
Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Fontenys” 2015
Slightly lighter bodied than other Gevrey-Chambertins of this vintage but with a very dark, deep fruit profile. A lovely point of bitterness peeks through the fruitiness, bringing a serious note to its charming character.
Bruno Clair Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze 2015
Lots of power and strength. Dark nutty notes shining through, fine porosity, smooth tannins.
Pierre Damoy Chapelle-Chambertin 2015
A voluptuously but tightly structured wine full of brambleberry, plushy tannins, minerality showing through. Very nice, slightly bitter point at the end, softly turning its intense fruit into a serious, long finish.
Pierre Damoy Chambertin 2015
A tight and strong wine with lots of cassis fruit, dark spices and a hint of liquorish, great length and a good grip.
Drouhin-Laroze Chapelle-Chambertin 2015
Strong character with a tight structure. Hints of leather and game, lovely earthiness with notes of chocolate mousse and german gingerbread.
Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Clos Saint-Jacques” 2015
A very feminine, fruity, bigarreau cherry driven wine with sweet hints of cinnamon and vanilla as well as very smooth tannins.
Jean-Michel Guillon Mazis-Chambertin 2015
What a treat! Intense nose with dark chocolate, german lebkuchen and clove. Fresh deeply ripe cherry on the palate, followed by chocolate and dry gingerbread. Dense and a long lingering finish.
Jean-Michel Guillon Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Champonnets” 2015
Deep and profound, showing the best of autumn flavors with a slightly oily texture. Hints of truffle and tar, subtle notes of underwood and autumn foliage despite the young age, all covered by a lively acidity to make for a long finish.
Harmond-Geoffroy Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaux Saint-Jacques” 2015
Lots of power, almost strict. Dark late summer cherry and cassis, fine leather and hints of charcoal, topped of with spices such as cinnamon, piment and pepper. Fireworks on the palate.
Harmond-Geoffroy Mazis Chambertin 2015
Feminine, very smooth and elegant with opulent, almost sweet cherry. Showing a some pleasant nut skin bitterness in its length and a touch of liquorish which stays until the very end. Generous and charming with a long finish.
Heresztyn-Mazzini Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Goulots”
Warm and full of spice, bay leaf and sunday roast with cassis anda subtle hint of balsamico. Smooth and gentle, warming the palate instantly.
Humbert Frères Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Poissenot”
The best of winter flavors in a bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin: smooth and generous, warm, german lebkuchen, cinnamon, dried plums and a touch of dried cranberry with deep nut flavors in the long finish which remind me of walnut liquor.
Jane et Sylvain Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Fontenys” 2015
Brilliantly showing the classic earthy notes of Gevrey-Chambertin, surrounded by a touch of cinnamon and clove. Refined and elegant.
René Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaut-Saint-Jacques” 2015
Dark cassis and brambleberry notes, hints of tar and smoke, oily texture with a rich body. Tannins still a bit rough but this wine has everything to go a long way.
Philippe Livera Chapelle-Chambertin 2015
Wonderfully dense and generously smooth. Nice attack of juiciness with lots of intense sour cherry and redcurrant, very animating and vibrant. Classy and cheerful character with refined structure.
Henri Magnien et Fils Ruchottes-Chambertin 2015
Starting off with loads of refreshing and lively sour cherry on the first sip, then shortly revealing some layers of liquorish and cassis with a lovely bitterness in the long finale but still keeping lots of mystery. Soft tannins and a finely porous texture. Way to go for this shiningly youthful Pinot Noir.
Maume Mazy-Chambertin 2015
Plenty of character with loads of dark baking spice and a dense structure. Vibrating acidity and a rich body will make this wine reveal its smoothness in a few years.
Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaut-Saint-Jacques
Soft and well-rounded with dark brown spicy touches, piment and black pepper. Slightly dusty texture.
Denis Mortet Chambertin 2015
Very pure and dark in its character. Smokey, a slight touch of petrol and dark spice dominate, very dark and ripe fruit lusciously builds the sub-layer to the spice. Mysterious and promising for the future yet still a bit reserved today.
Philippe Naddef Gevrey-Chambertin “Vieilles Vignes” 2015
A strict and charismatic wine. Very dominant bay leaf, sour cherry shining underneath, waiting to team up with the herbaceous notes on top. Can’t wait to taste again in a few years.
Philippe Naddef Gevrey-Chambertin “En Songe” 2015
Powerful wine showing juniper and nutmeg as well as other spices. Dark and profound fruit, very dry in its finish, leaving the tentalizing sweet bitterness of crushed juniper.
Christophe Perrot-Minot Charmes-Chambertin 2015
Generous and rich, very feminine in its nature, with the warmth of cinnamon and soft, plushy tannins that add to its voluptuousness.
Louis Remy Latricières-Chambertin 2015
Dark brambleberry and hints of cassis with a touch of chocolate at the start. Very smooth, elegant and complex. Dark earthy notes appear seconds after and make for a lovely long finish.
Philippe Rossignol Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Estournelles-Saint-Jacques”
Good grip and dense backbone with a bit of edgy character. Smokey and nutty with very polished but porous tannins.
Rossignol -Trapet Chambertin 2015
A wine full of power and strength, showing smoke, hints of petrol.
Rossignol-Trapet Latricières-Chambertin 2015
Earthy, herbaceous notes dominate the wine. Bay leaf, pepper and underwood integrated into in a light, elegant body.
Rossignol-Trapet Chapelle-Chambertin 2015
A dense, intense and very tasty Pinot Noir, enrobed in a generously volumed body. Spices and chewy but polished tannins shine the light on this muscular wine full of character. It only needs a few more years to loosen up a bit.
Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin “Cuvée Alexandrine” 2015
Spicy with gentle touches or tar, earth and underwood highlighted by lots of ripe sour cherry with a shining acidity. Tannins are still a bit adstringent, this wine will take a few years to get smoother.
Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Prieur” 2015
Dense, powerful, profound and masculine in its character, with warm notes of baking spice such as cinnamon adding a bit of charm but also with hints of tar, petrol and smoke.
Cecile Tremblay Chapelle-Chambertin 2015
Opulent cherry, very feminine and generous. Tannins are still quite dry on the palate yet not tightened up. Long finish with gentle walnut liquor notes.
Domaine des Varoilles Charmes-Chambertin 2015
Full bodied, round and voluptuous. A very warm, almost wintery wine with intense black cherry and baking spice. Cinnamon, dried orange peel, nutmeg and a touch of peeled nut highlight the charm of the “Charmes”.
All wines were tasted on november 17th, 2016.