Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Bernard Bouvier, 27th February 2015.
Domaine René Bouvier
Chemin de Saule Brochon
Tel: +33 3 80 52 21 37
This family estate has 17 hectares of vines spread mainly over Marsannay and Gevrey-Chambertin. Bernard Bouvier is the third generation of the family to run the domaine and was once the head of the Marsannay ‘Syndicat.’ Having bought a small domaine in Gevrey in 2001, Bernard says it was more convenient to move everything to Gevrey – today, since 2006, he’s working out of modern facilities on the other side of the RN74, behind the Super-U supermarket – but he’s in good company with other well known producers too!
The domaine’s 17 hectares run to 20 different cuvees, the heart of which are Marsannay, Fixin and Gevrey. Bernard says that he’s lucky to have a lot of old vines and that since 2013, the domaine is certified Bio – though Bernard notes he doesn’t do it for his labels, so you won’t find note of it there.
Bernard on his approach:
“We use two vibrating tables to sort the grapes, and since 2010, about 20-30% whole clusters too – I think it adds more length, texture and a more interesting aromatic. I prefer to think of my vinifications more as an infusion than an extraction. I’m not really interventionist, so almost no pigeage, and if one tank reaches 29°C and another 33 – well, no problem…
“I generally use about 15-30% new oak, though less in the Marsannay whites. The Marsannay Le Clos – 3 hectare monopole – sees all elevage in 600 litre barrels with one new one per year. Most wines see about 12 months in barrel, up to 18 months for the grandest crus, plus another 6 months in tank before bottling. The whites see similar 12+6 months elevages…
“The most important thing, however, is the importance of good grapes – then there’s less work!”
Bernard on 2013:
“The 2013s were a little complicated but the wines are good. I brought the harvest forward a couple of days at the last moment, we still had excellent phenolic ripeness and not too much potential alcohol. I haven’t bottled yet, but I’m sure the good bottles will keep very well – probably for drinking before the 12s – but only if you want!”
Simply a very high quality range of 2013s. A good address…
2013 Marsannay Blanc Le Clos
On white marl – ‘a proper white terroir.’
Forward, deep and weighty. In the mouth round but with good dimension and energy – an intense line of direct flavour with a little richness. Big but very drinkable…
The real name from the cadastre. No new oak here.
Medium-plus colour. Fresh but with quite some concentration below – dark red fruit. Lithe, fresh and silky too. Still plenty of structure but very, very supple. Very concentrated but elegant. Very impressive Bourgogne!
2013 Marsannay Ouzelois
“In the cone of dejection which brings more finesse and minerality rather than concentration.”
Deep, dark fruit, still with good freshness and a faint spice. Fresh, cool fruit, more intense – less round but also with a good texture from very supple tannin. Fine mid-palate flavour dimension – this is excellent!
2013 Marsannay Champs Salomon
From the mid-slope near the Chateau de Marsannay.
Deep, dark colour. The nose is the same with dark fruit and a little padding. Just a hint of reduction too. Also cool fruit, direct flavour, just a little more tannin but it’s finely grained. A bit more of a finishing intensity and fresh dimension of flavour here. Very good length!
2013 Marsannay Longeroies
Medium, medium-plus colour. Deep and fresh aromas, also with a little reduction. More lithe, more energetic, less weight of texture and concentration. A little more complexity here, particularly in the finish which is long, mouth-watering and very yum! A little more structure and a little less fat.
“Longeroies and Clos du Roi are always the best when tasted blind” says Bernard.
2013 Marsannay Clos du Roi
Just a little deeper colour. Depth of aroma with floral top notes – lots of complexity here and no obvious reduction. Lithe, dynamic, structured but with no sharp or hard edges. Another level of complexity and finishing length with a little herb. Today I’ve a slight preference for the Longeroies but this will probably better it…
2013 Fixin Crais de Chaine
“Harvest ripe and don’t try to extract and you will be fine – extract and it’s too much!”
A bright and floral aromatic, underpinned with darker fruit. A little fuller, a little rounder too but with a fine, direct line of flavour. The structure is a little more serious but still it’s a very fine and ripe tannin but I particularly like the fresh flavour than flows through the middle of this wine. Very yum!
Very fine top-notes with a weight of meatier fruit below. Wide and fresh, cool-fruited with a growing level of tannin, yet it’s ripe tannin that drags across the palate rather than offering any grain. Flavour that intensifies on the tongue and with good energy too. Fine fresh fruit in the finish, almost floral but still with its feet in the same, not-quite drying tannin. This will be lovely, just wait 18 months.
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jeunes Rois
Mid-slope with only 20cm of soil before the mother rock – the last vines of Gevrey to the north of the appellation.
Fresh dark fruit with a tighter weight of fruit below. Again fresh, with plenty of structure too, but there’s also vivacity and energy. The mid-palate flavour has fine intensity and lasts mouth-wateringly in the finish. Again there’s a little tannic dryness of texture in the finish, but nothing untoward. Very tasty.
“Emblematic of the domaine from 80-year-old vines from 2 parcels.”
A fresh but concentrated nose with a depth of dark-red fruit and growing top-notes shaded more to flowers – it’s very inviting. Round and mouth-filling yet at the same time fresh with cool fruit – slowly the tannin grows offering a hint of dry structure, but again, nothing untoward. Fine mid-palate flavour here – very fine. A very nice extra dimension of mid-palate flavour too – just super…
One part of this is purchased, but all the work is done by the domaine.
Not so aromatically overt but still with a floral aspect. Super texture – maybe too-much-so as you have to wait quite a while for the flavour to catch up. Really quite a mineral wine. The finishing flavour is mouth-watering and very good. Discreetly long too…
Very pretty aromatic – floral but with depth too – really the finest yet with a gellied fruit and tons of complexity. Quite some weight of flavour here – this is more Bonnes-Mares style than Chambolle but slowly, slowly from behind the weight of flavour comes delicacy and complexity. Ouf! Lovely…
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Fontenys
Depth of aroma with more vibrant dark red notes above, and a slowly growing freshness. Interesting fruit, slightly herbed but intense and concentrated – excellent in the mid-palate width with fresh fruit underpinned by ripe tannin. An impressive baby!
Combe d’Orveaux, from quite old vines. One third new wood.
Really fine aromatic width – it gets better and better in the glass – really super, depth, complexity and yes, a little spice. Bigger but also fresh and intense, the tannin is at first silky and slowly turns more velvet but always fine. Very fine mid-palate intensity and complexity of fruit – excellent! Long, long…
The nose is a little tighter but there is top to bottom complexity here – just aching to explode from the glass. Slowly adding bass notes – impressively so. Super-lithe, dynamic, complex – a tour de force – I find this brilliant wine with fine texture and equally brilliant complexity.
From above Mazoyères, from almost 60 year-old vines in bio for over 20 years.
Big and wide – full of energy and complexity. Round, with super concentration but delivered with freshness and growing an absolutely super line of fruit through the core. A more up-front wine than the Clos de Vougeot though the latter is more my style, yet still with undeniable brilliance. Very yum!
2012 Fixin Crais de Chaines
Fresh top notes and a deep, depth of gellied dark fruit. Silky and round but with fine freshness and really excellent mid-palate flavour density. Just a little tannic grip in the finish but also accompanied with fresh fruit. Yum!
2012 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jeunes Rois
A big fresh top note, with just a little herb attached, over-laying a tighter fruit below. Lovely fresh wine – flowing across the palate with concentration but also directness and energy. There’s a slightly tighter weight of fruit flavour waiting from the mid-palate. Not completely open today but with a lot of potential I think.