Profile: Domaine Marc Roy (Gevrey)

Update 20.4.2012(30.4.2012)billn

marc-roy-2009

Alexandrine Roy has become a queen of personal marketing with regular updates and lovely photos through her Facebook presence. Of-course that would be self-defeating if the wines were only average – the wines are far from that, however.

I visited Alexandrine, a fan of high-powered motorcycles, as the cool months of winter were about to start – initially greeted by the roundest of cats you are ever likely to see! Orders were being prepared in the cuverie, with the help of Alexandrine’s mother and father – the whole team! Alexandrine is responsible for “ vines, wines, sales and export markets – plus my flying job in Oregon – but my dad still does all the mechanical things with tractors!”

Alexandrine is the fourth generation at the domaine – her great-grandfather started with a few small parcels “more like gardens” but it was her grandfather aided by an inheritance from an uncle who was able to install the domaine virtually at its current size. There are no premier or grand cru vines, but this gives Alexandrine more of a push “so I really do my best to express my Gevrey and show people that there is more to discover.”

Vines and winemaking

Four hectares of vines deliver one white Marsannay and three red Gevrey cuvées; Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes (around seventy years), Gevrey Clos Prieur a villages lieu-dit just below Mazis-Chambertin and, finally, a Gevrey villages called ‘Cuvée Alexandrine’. This latter wine made only with the millerandes clusters taken from all the plots – this wine “is a victim of its own success” says Alexandrine “I have so little for sale”

“We are very, very ‘raisonée’ in the vineyards, just in case we need to make an intervention – but also it means we can do less interventions than may be done by ‘Bio’. We plough the soil, work on aeration through pruning.”

The grapes are hand-harvested then 100% destemmed prior to placing into the fermentation tanks, fermentations mediated only with natural yeasts. Normally Alexandrine doesn’t make a specific cooling (for pre-fermentation) maceration, but had to in 2011 as the weather was rather warm. Alexandrine chooses to punch down or pump-over depending on the raw materials – in 2011 only three punch-downs the rest was remontage. “We make a very gentle press as I don’t want to extract all those harsher tannins that I’ve been avoiding all the way through.”

Cadus is a favourite barrel supplier “It really goes well with our wines – so integrated you cannot detect any oakiness – Cadus is good for that. I want the barrels as containers, not for their flavour.”

I asked Alexandrine what her own description of her style would be: “I think it is a traditional style that we have here – I don’t try to do anything super-modern, super-extracted or super-fashionable. I prefer the wine when it’s just reflecting the place, the grape and the vintage – because this is the unique chance that we have in Burgundy.”

Domaine Marc Roy
8 Avenue de la Gare
21220 Gevrey-Chambertin
Tel: +33 (0) 80 51 81 13
www.canalgastronomie.com/Roy/

The wines

marc-roy-2010

Tasted 10th November 2011.
The smell of 2011 malos was already in the air when we entered the cellar – it’s actually split into two; the warmer part below the house and the cooler (some 4°C) and slightly more humid part where there is also bottle storage. Particularly for restaurant customers Alexandrine likes to keep some older bottles – though her wines have become quite sought-after, so that’s only as far back as 2007.

The 2010 vintage provided 30% less yield Alexandrine notes, but the 2010s , already in bottle, simply confirmed all the other experiences I’ve had with the domaine’s wines; there is a very clever tannin management at play here, delivering beautiful polish and fine grain to a lovely texture. From an aromatic perspective Alexandrine’s wines punch way above their village appellation status – they can be things of beauty – yet she cannot transcend her village soils, so for all their aromas and beautiful textures, the wines cannot deliver the extra dimension of great premier or grand cru sites. This is not a complaint, except from the perspective that it’s really a shame that Alexandrine doesn’t get to work with a little Cazetiers and Mazis…!

2010 Marc Roy, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
“Bottled in August 2011; always the most delicate and approachable of my wines. From parcels in and South of Gevrey.” About one-third new oak and one-third one year-old barrels. This wine shows a cushioned impression to its aromas; elegant, hints of soil and clean red berries. Mmm! Such a charming wine: growing in intensity, perfectly balanced, this is a wine to wallow in. Lovely, yet understated acidity.

2010 Marc Roy, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur
“Bottled in August, always the most delicate and approachable of my wines. From parcels in and South of Gevrey.” Fifty percent new oak here. The nose is more intense and shows slightly riper red fruits but retains complexity, minerality and delicacy. This shows a personality that is more direct and muscular than the VV – lovely length.

2010 Marc Roy, Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Alexandrine
Beautiful aromatics. This has a very classy and lithe density – but retains understatement despite the flavour intensity it delivers. Very, very sophisticated wine. Today it’s not super-complex, neither is it super-wide – so perhaps you can still see its village roots – yet it IS super-wine.

2010 Marc Roy, Marsannay Champs Perdrix (Blanc)
There’s not very much chardonnay here, and interestingly here is a wine that hardly ever goes through malolactic fermentation – one in ten vintages. Fermented in stainless-steel and then about 10% new oak. The nose is direct and mineral, showing hints of pineapple and very faint toast. Silky, with a little fat yet a little spritz on the end of your tongue – here is the malic acid I think. Faintly creamy flavours. Quite pretty…

2009 Marc Roy, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur
More density on the nose versus the 2010s – I won’t go as far as to say clumsy by comparison but clearly there is not the same deft focus. Another very silky wine, whose concentration slowly grows into an understated whole. Very good wine and far from the facile impression that some 09s currently present…

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There are 15 responses to “Profile: Domaine Marc Roy (Gevrey)”

  1. OA30th April 2012 at 1:33 pmPermalinkReply

    Shocked at this write up. Marc Roy are some of the worst wines I have been unfortunate to try. Visited the Domaine last year. Wines are just weird. No sense of place, and the wines could be from anywhere in the world. Shocked that OW Loeb took them on….

    • billn30th April 2012 at 2:46 pmPermalinkReply

      Taste is personal OA – but it seems you may be in a minority on this one…
      Best!
      Bill

  2. Mark Gough30th April 2012 at 3:57 pmPermalinkReply

    Can only second Bill’s comments OA in respect of taste being personal of course – whether you are in a minority/majority though I cannot say.

    Declaring firstly an interest in that I’ve bought a limited quantity of Alexandrine’s wines since 2002, and a few more thro 2008, 2009 & 2010, as well as regarding AR as a friend, I am though fairly shocked at your views. Each to their own but I can honestly say I’ve never come across anything like your reaction from any number of trade, professional, and amateur tasters of Burgundies I’ve mixed with . I’m absolutely sure I can say the directors of Loebs (declaration – I’m a longstanding customer) are very happy indeed to represent the domaine and value having it in their portfolio. I’ll check the Loeb tasting notes when home from work tonight but am pretty sure those notes will refer to the wines having a sense of Gevrey place.

    Until now I wasn’t aware I owned any weird wines but am delighted to have the Roy wines I do – in fact for my limited 2010 purchases Alexandrine’s Clos Prieur and Cuvee Alexandrine were, honestly, the first two wines on my ‘to buy’ list. I’m as happy to have those as many other ‘illustrious’ named wines.

    I also struggle, sorry, to recognise your doubtless honestly held views with the obvious high regard in which Alexandrine is clearly held by her fellow younger generation vignerons (e.g Sylvain Pataille, Thomas Bouley, Greg Gouges, Cyprien Arlaud to name a few ) who I guess would also struggle to share your views. The common reaction I’ve come across any number of times over the years re Alexandrine is one Bill refers to i.e it is a shame she does not have premier or grand cru fruit to work with but I guess you wouldn’t support this view either.

    Not sure if you tried the Marsannay Blanc but, reds aside, that is also a personal favourite (2005’s are lovely now) and I know I’m not in a minority of one here from shared appreciation of this particular wine amongst fellow burg enthusiasts. Tried to get some more of this at the domaine last September but it was so weird it was sold out 🙂

    I would, honestly, like to know if you consider any other burgs as ‘worst wines’ and weird as maybe I need to check my cellar out ! On a serious note I’d be interested what sort / who’s burgs are the one’s you appreciate / go for ?

    Rgds

  3. Michael Warner30th April 2012 at 4:22 pmPermalinkReply

    Maybe a smiley was missing in the original comment ????

  4. Mark Gough30th April 2012 at 6:13 pmPermalinkReply

    Ah, might explain a lot – somehow some additional tongue in cheek smilies I also thought I’d included didn’t make it to the published word from pressing the send button. One of your visits crew then Michael ?

  5. Michael Warner30th April 2012 at 11:12 pmPermalinkReply

    No not at all – don’t have a clue who it is. But that was how I read it – along the same lines as 2010 is a load of rubbish – avoid like the plague.

  6. OA1st May 2012 at 1:30 pmPermalinkReply

    Mark,

    Marsannay blanc 2010 was tasteless, thanks! One sip at Domaine was enough.

    No don’t consider any other wines in Burgundy as ‘weird’, just this one.
    My taste? If it is Gevrey it has to be composed, pure and elegant – Fourrier. In Chambolle, the wines of Mugnier is beautiful. I also like Angerville, Burguet, Bachelet…

    I appreciate your opinion, everyone is entitled to their own tastes. I know it is tough when someone says something you don’t like to hear about a wine you’ve enjoyed and a wine you’ve bought…but this is my experience with the wine.

    I honestly think that the winemakers you spoke with about Marc Roy were being polite. They are modest, and will not speak badly about other winemakers, no matter what they think, especially to a foreigner.

    With regards to OW Loeb taking Marc Roy on, my personal view is that they didn’t have enough Gevrey at that price range and jumped at what was available. Well done to OW Loeb on their marketing. They have an old and trustworthy name so I can understand that someone would buy this wine without tasting it and on their recommendation.

    If the Marc Roy Marsanny 05 blanc is a personal favourite then fair enough. Take a look at Macon if you want value white’s.

    Please do try more of the wines and you will see what I mean.

    I wasn’t being sarcastic, or tongue in cheek, but I can see you were – “so weird it sold out”…

    It is fascinating for me to find out what a Marc Roy fan who’s new to Burgundy likes to drink. Please enlighten me.

    OA.

  7. Mark Gough1st May 2012 at 3:14 pmPermalinkReply

    Thank you OA (and sorry for lacking name info) – interesting comments & appreciate your clarifications.

    As you say, and I also meant, everyone will have their own tastes – guess that’s human beings for us 🙂 . Contrary to what you might think and say I absolutely don’t mind, i.e it isn’t tough at all for me when someone says something adverse about wines I like or have bought. I’m very happy with what I’ve bought and the basis for purchase – guess you will be as well. You clearly know your wines / burgs & it might surprise you but I also like and own wines from 4 of the 5 names you mention – really 🙂 ! There are an awful lot of different wines in the world and many, many different burgundies aren’t there – as perhaps Bill’s latest report edition brings out very well ?

    I don’t have the advantage of having tasted the 2010 Marsannay Blanc at the domaine, only at an EP tasting, but it certainly wasn’t tasteless then – nor is the sold out 2008.

    You may think what you like about the other winemakers but, and I’d rather not go into the why’s and wherefore’s here about what prompted my particular comments, but I’ve seen these guys both with Alexandrine socially and professionally on more than one occasion, including tasting and enjoying her and each other’s wines, and also spoken one to one with a couple of them directly on their opinion of her wines. Every Burgundian winemaker I’ve ever met is scrupulously polite but I’m as sure as I can be they were / are honest with me. I can’t deny I’m a foreigner though – pity about that 😉

    Re Loebs I can only say then I’m sorry but you could not be more wrong. I regret I cannot expand on this. Your comments on price range are interesting though as its been said to me on more than one occasion by various folk associated with burgundies, i.e merchants & private buyers that her wines are expensive – which seems at odds with your inference Loebs took them on as cheap ? My understanding is Loebs don’t need to do much recommending at all or haven’t had to lately. I almost missed out myself.

    I got my 05 blancs at an advantageous price but would have paid more. I do quite regularly drink Macons (really) and enjoy them as well.

    “A Marc Roy fan who’s new to Burgundy likes to drink. Please enlighten me”. I’ll confess I’m puzzled a bit here, sorry. Are you referring to me – guess you must be ? I’m a ‘fan’ of quite a few burgundy winemakers but don’t understand what you mean by “new to” ? I assume you aren’t being sarcastic but would you like to define “new to” so I can respond properly – if you want that ? In terms of “enlightening” I drink/buy/have many different burgundies and don’t always stay with the same vignerons year on year . I’ve already referred above to commonality with your good self around some of the names you mention but otherwise, short of listing the contents of my modest cellar, I did list my 2010 purchases in response to a post on 2010 EP purchases on the forum here. I am also interested, or have been over the years, to a greater or lesser extent across a range of domaines / vignerons from likes of Rousseau, Dujac, Ponsot, Roumier to the likes of Gouges, Arlaud, Dubreuil-Fontaine, Alex Gambal, Lafon, Tremblay, Jouan, PYCM, Ramonet, Niellon, Damoy, Pataille, Comte Armand, Engel, F Esmonin, Maume, Bize, Cathiard, Montille, Lambrays, David Clark, Clavelier, Mugneret-Gibourg, Duroche, Roty, Barthod (G), D Mortet, Grivot, Tollot-Beat, Gachot-Monnot, Rollin, Pierre Morey, Javillier, Roche de Bellene. My most recent purchase was two odd bottles of Faiveley’s 93 Mazis. I do get interested now and then in a particular terroir which can then tend to a buying decision e.g last year Vosne Croix Rameau which led to purchases of Cacheux and Lamarche.

    Hope that helps.

    Enjoy your burgundy drinking & without too many ‘weird’ one’s !

    MG

  8. Wolfgang Frey2nd May 2012 at 5:48 pmPermalinkReply

    I had the opportunity to meet with Alexandrine and taste her wines in March this year. Very elegant, terroir focused wines with a beautiful fruit and not too opulent (depending on the vintage). A fried reminded the wines style wise a bit of Sylvain Cathiard. Well, I will certainly follow the domaine vintage by vintage. The fact that Alexandrine is well respected among her peers in Burgundy will certainly drive her enthusiasm to bring out the best wines from her vineyards that nature will allow.

    With regard to Gevrey I have quite a few bottles from Arnaud Mortet as well as JM Fourrier from the vintages since 2006 and it will be fun to taste some bottles side by side.

    If you know the tasting preferences from the likes of Thomas Bouley or Nicolas Rossignol it would be hard to imagine they drink the wines from Alexandrine out of pure politeness.

    With regard to Monsieur OA, I guess that one should respect individual tastes but you have to ask yourself the question if this forum is the right place for such kind of unbalanced and little informative criticism?

    WF

  9. Rick Dalia2nd May 2012 at 8:55 pmPermalinkReply

    Everyone appreciates debate and healthy criticism, sharing opinions, insights, and such. However, I read the message from “OA” as belittling toward Mark, somewhat of an attack on his personal character.

    “OA” – at least have the courage to use your real name. Should you feel uncomfortable doing so, perhaps you may observe your own character as a problem in need of attention.

  10. Santo Roman6th May 2012 at 3:07 amPermalinkReply

    I’ve been able to taste the Marc Roy wines for several years in a row and now that I have brought them into my shop in the Seattle area, people are amazed at the quality of them. Granted they go from the winery to an importer/distributor then to me, they can be spendy but I’ve also sold through 5 cases of the ’09 Marsannay at $37 per bottle in less than 2 months. Sure you can go out and buy a Gev-Cham from Jadot or Drouhin but they also crank out cases of wine at like 100,000 bottles. Marc Roy’s total production is around 1700 cases.

    I’d much rather sell my clients a wine that I feel is worth it, make less in profits than sell them them something that they can get at any wine shop.

  11. Carl York29th June 2012 at 5:28 amPermalinkReply

    Humm. Heated. As someone who has bought and sold Alexandrine’s wines since her 2005, I have never had anyone ask for their money back but have won over many as fans. I find them lithe and pleasantly touched by oak with clean fruit. They are certainly not in the top tier nor are they weak. I too like Mugnier and Bachelet, who doesnt? You are comparing $800 cases to $400 cases. Further anyone who uses the term ‘weird’ as a descriptor is either a charlatan or hopelessly imprecise. I’m going to keep buying her wine and encourage others to do the same

  12. Lliwiau Llachar13th August 2012 at 10:31 pmPermalinkReply

    Had a visit at the Domaine a few days ago which was fantastic; really impressed with the labyrinth of cellars housing many barrels and bottles below the house.

    Alexandrine was away in the US and my partner and I were hosted by Maman Roy who was a genial hostess. I would echo Bill’s comment about the size of the cat in the main article. I always thought that one of my cats was a little on the round size but I think that two of my cat could have fitted into the Tank that was ‘Chausset’!

    We just tried the 2010s as per Bill’s article above. The three Gevreys were excellent with really beautiful fruit concentration to acid and tannin balance. The pick for me is always the Clos Prieur; it just has a little more elegance and additional complexity than the Vieilles Vignes. The Cuvee Alexandrine is certainly a step up in quality from the Clos Prieur, but personally I don’t feel that it justifies its increased price tag from the Clos Prieur.

    Really enjoyed the Marsannay Blanc; very clean fresh styles with lots of minerality and little obvious oak which is to the wine’s benefit.

    Maman Roy informed us that they have recently taken on a small parcel of Gevrey Chambertin ‘La Justice’; first vintage under their own label will be the 2012 (approx. 1000 bottles).

    Bought a six pack of the Clos Prieur for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages as well as a bottle of the Alexandrine 2010.

    I would echo the majority of the comments made here. The wines are top class and I am very happy that I have some of these wines to share with family and friends. It is very much a family enterprise and I think that good things will continue to come out of the domaine.

    As for OA comments; well not much to be said really. Very much a minority view; probably works for another UK wine merchants and is trying to stir up some tension. I do buy from Loeb myself and if anything I feel that it was a shrewd move on their part taking these wines on. I am a big Gevrey fan and fell that the Roy wines certainly stack up when compared to more well known producers such as Rousseau, Esmonin, Mortet and Fourrier.Interesting that OA has not been heard of since!

    Mark

  13. idrinkwine24th January 2014 at 12:26 amPermalinkReply

    her wines in spectator late last year were the highest rated village wines in the history of their publication

    probably due to tastelessness

    • billn26th January 2014 at 5:35 pmPermalinkReply

      Interesting that some haters choose to come here – the wines are brilliant…
      Though of-course I’m sorry if missed some ‘irony’… 😉

  14. goughie1326th January 2014 at 9:52 pmPermalinkReply

    Little to add to your succinct comment Bill. I’ve already said my piece but should we wonder if ‘idrinkwine’ (presumably the wrong sort of indifferent wines ?) is the former ‘OA’ in disguise or a related ‘agent provacteur’ i.e troll type ?

    ‘idrinkwine’ provides little ‘supportive comment to his/her, imho, baseless comment. Only today on another forum did I see another strong recco for Alexandrine’s 2012 Marsannay Champs Perdrix. I’ll be honest and openly admit I haven’t tasted the 2012’s but plenty of guys I trust implicitly have on the back of which I’ve sought the Clos Prieur and Cuvee Alexandrine.

    So, come on then ‘idrinkwine’, support your assertion further and I’d be interested (honestly, I would) in who’s wines you buy/drink, thanks.

    MG

  15. Carl Steefel6th April 2014 at 6:32 pmPermalinkReply

    Recently tried several of the Marc Roy wines–we had several of the 2011 Marc Roy Burgundies, including the Vieilles Vignes and Clos Prieur, with the Clos Prieur the standout, although much more backward than the relatively accessible VV. Even better, however, is the 2010 Marc Roy Clos Prieur, which shows an extra dimension of elegance, texture, and spiciness, mostly red fruited classic Gevrey. In contrast to OA’s statement(s) above, I would say this is classic Burgundy–I don’t think anybody with a good palate and some experience in this regard could say otherwise. Beautiful red Burgundy, above its Villages classification (although I would not be comparing it to Mugnier Grand Cru, but what sense does that make?).

    Also very good now is the 2008 Marc Roy Clos Prieur, which shows perhaps what a couple more years of bottle age can do, even if the wine does not have the overall complexity and sheer vibrant palate power of the 2010.

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