Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 1999
In the vineyard, Christophe Roumier prefers a high vine age and rigorous pruning, resulting in small yields. In the winery, all aspects of the Roumier vinification are completely traditional: a very warm, 18 day maceration, use of 25% new wood barrels (with a slightly higher percentage for the Grands Crus), and egg white fining. Since 1988 the domaine has discontinued the practice of filtration, and the entire cellar has been air-conditioned, allowing a 4-5 day pre-fermentation maceration of grapes.
Domaine Georges Roumier is one of the finest sources of classic, long-lived red Burgundies, with wines that demonstrate fruit, spice, and balance, with substantial tannins. Simply put, Roumier wines are brilliantly made. They are rich, fragrant wines with characteristic aromas of cherries and berries, and often need 4-5 years to show their great depth and harmony. They are also very long-lived, lasting up to twenty years.
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.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”