Domaine Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2016
Red Burgundy might be the world’s most flexible food wine. The wine’s high acidity, medium body, medium alcohol, and low tannins make it very food-friendly. Red Burgundy, with its earthy and sometimes gamey character, is a classic partner to roasted game birds, grilled duck breast, and dishes that feature mushrooms, black truffles, or are rich in umami.
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The Grivot plantings may be in the less fancied bottom half of the Clos, but there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with the wine. This is a smooth, plush, well-balanced red with bright acidity, harmonious tannins, a hint of good reduction and understated power. One of a number of very good examples of the Grand Cru in 2016. 2026-36.
Domaine Jean Grivot is among the great names in Burgundian wine. Étienne Grivot and his wife Marielle (Patrick Bize's sister) took over from Étienne’s father Jean Grivot in 1987. The Grivot family believes in generational change and in 2017, Étienne and Marielle’s daughter, Mathilde, took over for her parents. Mathilde brings a fresh approach while maintaining the longtime traditions of the Grivot family.
The recently renovated winery and cellar is in Vosne-Romanée where most of the Grivot vineyards are located. The domaine has been assembled over several generations to its current size of 15.5 hectares and includes holdings in three grand crus: Clos de Vougeot, Echézeaux, and Richebourg. Mathilde believes in getting quality first thanks to meticulous vineyard work throughout the year. The result of this hard work is healthy, ripe (both phenolic and sugar levels) and depth of concentration and flavor of the fruit. Today, the vineyards are densely planted and farmed organically “sans certification,” while the aim in the cellar is for balance and clear expression of terroir.
Containing the largest Grand Cru in all of the Côte d’Or, Vougeot, the village, takes its name from the small stream flowing through it, called Vouge. Over three quarters of the village retains Grand Cru status, and a single vineyard at that: Clos de Vougeot (or simply, Clos Vougeot). Its mass—over 50 ha—retains the single name chiefly for historic reasons.
But today, Clos de Vougeot contains over 80 owners and shows significant soil and slope variations within its boundaries. The top, bordering Musigny and Grands Echezeaux, is calcareous and gravelly on oolitic limestone and exhibits wonderful drainage. The middle sections are limestone, gravel and clay with less of a slope. The lower part has little slant and is mostly made of clay. Historically the diverse parcels were blended but today the abundance of owners means that everyone has his own style. Exploring and understanding them is part of the allure of Clos de Vougeot.
In general a fine Clos de Vougeot when young will be dense and dark but juicy, with a pronounced austerity, and needs a good ten years to bring it to its full potential.
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.”