Tasted in Couches with Jean-Claude Royet, 26th February 2015.
Tel: +33 3 85 49 64 01
“I’m really the last vines and vigneron of the Chalonnaise – over the hill is the Morvan and Charolais” says Jean-Claude Royet of his family domaine, a domaine that was previously worked by both his grandparents and parents. The domaine was created in 1964, Jean-Claude taking responsibility in 2005.
“I really wanted to make something more terroir-specific because the rest of the Couchois is really generic, mainly assemblies of many parcels.
It’s also very difficult to sell wine of any price here, people expect it to be cheap, that’s why the aligote is €4.90 the Maranges €8.50 and everything else somewhere in between…”
Difficult, maybe, but Jean-Claude has being picking up medals and trophies for his wines for a number of years now. The domaine was completely replanted between 1999 and 2002, and now covers almost 13 hectares that produce 30% white wine, 25% red wine, 5% rosés and the rest is Crémant.
Jean-Claude says that he manually harvests, cools his grapes and then after a little maceration warms them back to 20°C in order to speed the fermentation along its way. The domaine’s tanks are all thermo-regulated stainless-steel and all the elevage is done in tank for the whites – except one.
The vast majority – about 90% – of the domaine’s wines are sold in France.
Jean-Claude on 2013:
“A very complicated year with a late harvest, plenty of late arriving porriture too.”
A modest but eminently drinkable selection from this producer – all with even-more modest pricing…
2013 Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir
From vines around Couches, Dracy and various other communes – many different terroirs. Relatively young vines planted in 2000, the ground mainly argilo-calcaire. It was bottled in September.
Medium colour. Some freshness from this slightly narrow nose. Intensity of flavour, rather green-herby flavour but with quite a lot of intensity. The finish holds quite well, with just a hint of tannic dryness in the finish.
2013 Côtes de Couchois
Here is some oak elevage, 20% new, and older barrels too.
A bigger more obvious fruit nose, there are also some herby anecdotes but this is nice. Fuller, with much finer fruit vs the Bourgogne. There’s a reasonable amount of structure and slowly drying tannin, but not in a bad way. Young, structured but rather interesting, particularly the mouth-watering finish.
2012 Côtes de Couchois, Cuvee Expression
Here a longer maceration – and here with 80% new oak – it’s a test! The same young vines as the last wine.
Medium colour. Wide, a little spicy but fresh, with a tighter but warm red fruit in a supporting role. Round, sweet fruit, certainly some tannin – probably some from the oak – and definitely a suggestion of vanilla below – fortunately not too overt. Round, but slowly mouth-watering flavour edged with a little coconut. Rather tasty, actually!
2013 Maranges Clos Roussots
Also modest colour. This was bottled in September. Old vines but right at the bottom by the road where it’s quite damp.
Modest aromas of red fruits, little else to start. Fuller, rounder but with very silky texture and a very lovely finish that’s fresh and mouth-watering. A wine that gets more and more interesting the longer you spend with it. I like!
2012 Maranges Clos Roussots
Much more aromatic intensity with freshness of fruit too. Wide and with plenty of concentration – concentration of tannin too. Plenty of structure here but it’s ripe enough and like the last wine, the last impression is of fine mouth-watering fruit flavour bursting the banks of the tannin, setting free your tongue. Much easier to drink than the 13 today.
A deep quite concentrated nose of lime skin and a faint herb. Good texture and a reasonable weight too. The flavour starts a little light but comes to a very interesting salted, mouth-watering finish. The first impression is so-so, but I liked the finish very much.
There’s also a chardonnay normally, done just in tank, but none commercialized in 2013. But there is a domaine chardonnay with barrel elevage. The whites come from the same terroir as the reds…
2013 Chardonnay ‘Eleve en fut de chene’
No new oak here, barrels of 1-4 years old.
Modest but with some fresh high tones and the faintest suggestion of something barrique behind. A nice weight of flavour on the palate – rather mineral flavour too. There’s some padding of the flavour from barrel but this is a modest but nice and tasty wine, a hint of tannin in the finish but fresh fruit too.
2013 Chardonnay, Cuvée Authentique
The same principle as the red – with 80% new oak.
Medium-pale lemon yellow. Deep, ripe fruit with quite a lot more oak character – a little coconut perhaps – still, it all hangs together well. The palate is lithe and mineral, very little fat and with good balance. Plenty of oak flavour but not aggressively-so, and the balance is good. Despite the oak treatment I’m quite impressed how balanced, transparent and seemingly mineral this is…
2012 Chardonnay, Cuvée Authentique (BIVB selection)
A little deeper colour. Plenty of freshness, underpinned with oak. Bigger, more powerful but very well-balanced and showing a good lithe and energetic mid-palate structure. The flavour is good, half mineral, half fruit and with a little barrel flavour too, but finely textured and with a very good finish. I prefer this texture and finish to the 13, but perhaps still hold a slight preference for the 13 with its more overt freshness and line of flavour.
Cremant is about half the production here, using 4 cepages; chardonnay and aligote with a little less pinot noir and a small amount of gamay.
Cremant de Bourgogne Zero Dosage
A new wine with zero dosage. 12 months sur latte, and whilst no vintage is noted, this is from 2013.
A very pretty, sweet fruit that reminds of gooseberry and apricot tart. Nice fresh flavour that’s mouth-watering, just faintly tannic in the finish and very tasty. This is very good wine.
8 gram total dosage – for info, 15 g/litre is classed as brut.
Again, fresh sweet ‘tarte’ fruit. It’s basically the same wine as the last yet seems to show a little more flavour at the start if similar in the middle – yes a little sweeter.
Half through skin contact half from the press so loses the cremant label – hence, mousseaux. Pinot and gamay in here.
Fresh and I must say, prettier than the rose of Picamelot (though that’s also my least favourite of their range) wide and with good intensity – but a little sweet for me – 12 g/l dosage.