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Domaine Denis Bachelet Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012

  • RP99
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The bad news is that this year there are only three barrels of the 2012 Charmes Chambertin Vielles Vignes instead of the usual eight, since the ancient vines were pole-axed by coulure during the season. Denis explained that the soils here are very shallow, 20cm until you hit the bedrock, and the grapes, what is left of them, tend to ripen easily. What makes it special is that Denis’ parcel lies on a part of the vineyard next to Mazoyeres whereby the limestone from the Combe d’Orveau eroded and tumbled into the climat. It has an exquisite bouquet with mineral rich dark berry fruit, blackberry and raspberry leaf, subtle dried violet petal scents, though not as pronounced as others from this vineyard. The palate is beautifully balanced, nonchalant and self-effacing. The black and red fruit are mingling together and there is nigh perfect acidity on the finish that lingers long in the mouth. This is totally entrancing – but these days I expect nothing less from Denis Bachelet.
Barrel Sample: 96-99
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Domaine Denis Bachelet

Domaine Denis Bachelet

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Domaine Denis Bachelet, France
When Denis Bachelet took on the domaine in 1983 it covered just 1.8 hectares. Not much, but what there was, was prime land – grand cru in Charmes-Chambertin, a bit of Gevrey-Chambertin on both village and premier cru level and one parcel in the regional Bourgogne appellation. All planted with old vines. But since his grandparents had retired in 1973 everything had to be built up from scratch again. There was no cellar, no equipment. The most recent acquisitions were in 2011 when more Côte de Nuits-Villages and Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles were added to the domaine. At Domaine Bachelet the work is conducted along the lines of lutte raisonnée, sustainable viticulture. The grapes are 100% destemmed, then crushed for colour extraction. After a cool pre-fermentation maceration for up to a week, the vats get to work fermenting the juice with natural yeasts fermentation. As soon as fermentation has finished the contents of the vats are pressed off and left to settle in tank for a week before putting in barrel.
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Gevrey-Chambertin

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This small village is home to the Grands Crus in the farthest northerly stretches of Côte de Nuits and is famous for some of the deepest and firmest Burgundian Pinot noir.

Gevrey boasts nine Grands Crus, the best of which are arguably Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. As with all of the fragmented vineyards of Burgundy, it isn’t easy to differentiate between the two, which are situated adjacent with Clos de Bèze slightly further up the hill than Le Chambertin. Clos de Bèze has a shallower soil and if you’re really counting, may produce wines less intense but more likely to charm. Some compare Le Chambertin in both power and plentitude only to the prized Romanée-Conti Grand Cru farther south in Vosne-Romanée.

Two other Grands Crus vineyards, Mazis-Chambertin (also written Mazy-) and Latricières-Chambertin command almost as much regard as Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. The upper part of Mazy, called Les Mazis Haut is the best and Latricières-Chambertin offers an abundance of juicy fruit and a silky texture in the warmer vintages.

Other Grands Crus are Ruchottes-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin.

The most respected Pinot noir wines from Gevrey-Chambertin are robust and powerful but at the same time, velvety and expressive: black fruit, black liquorice and chocolate come into play. After some time in the bottle, the wines are harmonious with bright and sometimes candied fruit, and aromas of musk, truffle and forest floor. These have staying power.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

AND382895_2012 Item# 382895