The 1999 Chambertin is a magnificent, show-stopping wine. It is black-colored and bursts from the glass with licorice, cookie dough, blackberry and cassis liqueur aromas. This is a massive, full-bodied wine with loads of sweet candied black fruits, licorice, freshly laid asphalt, spice, fresh herbs, and toasty oak flavors. It is mind-numbingly powerful, conquering the taster with wave upon wave of supple, syrup-like fruit whose flavors last throughout its seemingly unending finish. This blockbuster Burgundy should be cellared for a minimum of 10 years and may last up to 20 or more years after that. It is one of the rare wines from this region that I would have no qualms about cellaring for 30 years. Range: 96-98
This legendary estate located in Gevrey-Chambertin has been producing spectacular wines for 13 generations. The wines of Dugat-Py have been praised by Allen Meadows, Antonio Galloni and many great wine critics here in the US. The domaine is also one of only 13 in the Côtes de Nuits to be awarded 3 stars in the very prestigious and respected Revue du Vin De France, next to the likes of DRC, Domaine Leroy and Georges Roumier to name a few.
The domaine is located down the street from Armand Rousseau at the base of the Combe de Lavaux. The exterior of the home takes us back in time with its mid-16th century architecture. It is really the aging cellar that will take your breath away. The aging cellar, or aumonerie, is basically a small abbey that was once owned by the Diocese of Dijon and was built in the 11th century, making it the single oldest active cellar in Burgundy: a real piece of history.
It is in 1975 that Bernard Dugat first purchased vines in Gevrey and began making wine. The Dugat family decided to split in the early 1990’s, paving the way for the creation of 2 individual estates, Domaine Dugat and Domaine Dugat-Py (Py is Bernard’s wife's maiden name) which were created in 1994. In 1996 their son Loïc, now at the helm, joined the family business. In 1999, they started their conversion to organic viticulture with full accreditation by 2003.
The family currently owns 23.5 acres of Pinot Noir and 2.5 acres of Chardonnay. While the original vineyards are located in Gevrey, they purchased vines in Meursault and Pommard in 2003, and added vineyards in Chassagne 1er cru Morgeot in 2004. In 2009, they added Gevrey Les Evocelles and in 2011, both Corton-Charlemagne and Pernand-Vergelesses Sous Frétilles.
Every single wine produced comes from 100% estate vines. While it may seem a bit strange to have parcels throughout Burgundy while based in Gevrey, Loïc is on an obsessive hunt for old vines, and very old parcels of Pinot Fin and Chardonnay.
One of the many strengths of Domaine Dugat-Py is the age of their vines. Every single wine aside from the Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc are either labeled Vieilles Vignes or Très Vieilles Vignes (65 years average vine age, with the oldest vines over 100 years). They tend to their vineyards like a garden, plowing all the 1er Cru and Grand Cru parcels by horse, using a range of biodynamic preparations and teas which are made in-house. As it relates to their viticultural beliefs, they do not believe in trimming the apex of their vines (similar to methods used by Leroy, D’Auvenay & Rayas). As a result, the trellising may sometimes reach upwards of 7 or 8 feet high, with all leafing done by hand in the summer months. This allows the grapes to be protected from direct sunlight, and to acquire their energy from the leaves and the apex of the vines.
The family produces classic Vins de Garde, Village wines need at least 5 years to fully develop, while the 1er & Grand Crus benefit from longer aging and have the potential to age gracefully upwards of 50 years in a well-maintained cellar. They are deep in color, with explosive fruit and chiseled tannins, yet the alcohol is never elevated, and rarely over 13.5%. They tend to harvest on the earlier side to retain freshness and elegance.
Fine whites from Chardonnay are certainly found in the Côte de Nuits, but with much less frequency than top-performing reds made of Pinot noir. The little village of Nuits-St-Georges in its southern end gave the region its name: Côte de Nuits. The city of Dijon marks its northern border.
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.”
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