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
Tel: +33 (0) 80 51 81 13
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…!
“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.
“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.
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.
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…
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…