Domaine des Chézeaux, by a big margin the largest owners of Griotte-Chambertin, have two metayeurs for their holdings (the two parcels were acquired at different times); Domaine René Leclerc and Domaine Ponsot. For a number of years there was confusion about who made the wine that was sold under the Chézeaux label; the first step to improving this was the addition of the metayeur’s name on the front label, the second was to goto just one wine – in this case they marketed only the Ponsot wine and passed a couple of barrels (ex Leclerc) off into the trade. Now for the 2010 vintage they have, once again, decided to sell both metayeurs’ versions. This is the essence of Burgundian complexity, all from one small 1.6 ha microcosm; a Leclerc label, a Ponsot label, this year two Chézeaux labels and some years, négoce labels too – all derived from one owner!
A Griotte-Chambertin aide memoire…
- Vintage 2001 and older – Chézeaux wine could be from either producer
- Vintage 2002, 2003 & now 2010 – name of the producer is found on the labels
- Vintage 2004 to 2009 – only the Ponsot wine under a Chézeaux label
And here are the two ‘Chézeaux’ from 2010, and clearly the moment you cut the foil, you will know which bottle you have. Here is the crux, the grapes come from the same vineyard, but there the similarity ends. Vines are cared for in different ways, yields are not the same, harvesting dates are different, macerations/extractions that differ, one wine made with new wood and sulfur, the other with low sufur and no new wood, bottling at different dates, and finally, sealed with cork by Leclerc and plastic (Ardea) by Ponsot. At least in their youth, I would be amazed if there is any similarity between the two – and clearly there isn’t…
2010 des Chézeaux (Leclerc), Griotte-Chambertin
The cork doesn’t smell all that great – not TCA, but strangely musty – fortunately the wine seems okay. Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a fine advertisement for ‘Griotte’ with a very pretty core of shiny red fruit – more cranberry/redcurrant than cherry – relatively simple in its youthfulness, but lovely. A hint of cushioning to the texture and an understated lick of tannin too. The acidity, like the tannin, seems rather understated but bubbles through as the mid-palate intensity grows, and becomes more mouth-watering. Subtly long. This is a very pretty wine that is also very ‘young Griotte’ in terms of its beauty yet lack of complexity – a perfectly balanced wine to wait for.
Rebuy – Yes
2010 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertin
Previously tasted from barrel. Medium-plus colour – certainly a shade darker than the Leclerc. The nose starts very shy, just a stewed fruit note. The aromas eventually widen a little but it’s far from compelling! In the mouth, however, this is very impressive indeed: A pure essence of intense fruit – it’s cordial-like. Like the nose there is the slightest suggestion of stewed fruit in the mid-palate but it quickly widens to cherry stones and a faint hint of cream that is very long. I preferred this wine from barrel, but Ponsot wines are made to be drunk from 20 years – let’s see! On day two, the nose is much more ‘up my strasse’ with a beam of pure fruit – the stewed aspects now departed.
Rebuy – Yes
Of the two, I think I’d rather drink the Leclerc today, and I should say there is much less rusticity here than there once was (since (son) François Leclerc has been given his head) but the greatest fun will be found in future comparisons!