Tasted in Beaune with Pierre Meurgey and Mark O’Connell, 09 March 2018.
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle
3 rue de Grenier à Sel
Tel: +1 816 223 0257
This domaine once had a close relationship with Champy of Beaune, but since Champy were acquired by Advini, there has been a separation. Since the 2017 harvest this domaine is headquartered at the Château de Bligny.
Mark on 2016:
Last year Mark recounted “I don’t even know where to begin. 27 April – my frosted birthday!” This year: “We were very fortunate with respect to the frost, as we not so badly affected as some of our neighbours – maybe that’s simply because our vines are 1er and grand crus. In fact we made more wine in 2016 than in 2015 – the best volume for reds at the domaine since they started – of-course there was the fight against mildew with 13 treatments during the year – tying the record! But growth seemed almost explosive – even some parts that were a little frosted brought 35-40 hl/ha. I was more excited by this vintage than 2015 which I though a little hyped. The juice to fruit ratio reminded me of 2015 though, so it certainly wasn’t easy – I was always worried that we might extract too much.
The 2016s were bottled between the end of January until the end of February. The oak treatment is the same across all appellations – ‘to really see the terroir differences’ – “We aim for 25% but that’s been a challenge with yields in the last years.”
On the money yet again – one of the most consistent ‘high-performers’ in Burgundy over the last three years…
2016 Beaune 1er Les Teurons
0.27 ha. This the one red exception to the good volume, the location was both a little frosted and hit by mildew. Only one barrel – about 20-25% of normal yield.
A deep but silky width of pure fruit aroma. Almost explosive fruit across the palate. Slowly the dark fruit and almost licorice in middle comes through. But with energy and detail. Excellent wine – a great start!
2016 Beaune 1er Champs Piments
0.63 ha, 7 barrels which isn’t fantastic but it’s better than 2015 where they had 5, and 2013 and 2014 when they had zero!
A little less width but quite a vibrant depth of fruit. A more open, more airy width of flavour – really complex – deliciously so, a little bitter tannin in the start of the finish before open fruit at the very end. Excellent again!
2016 Volnay 1er En Carelle
Just below the chapel, same height and exposure as Champans. 0.35 ha planted about 1960. Some brown clay, lots of small rocks on reasonably deep soil. ‘Also down in volume as behind the church, most people got wiped out by the frost and we are not sure why, but us not – but our rows run perpendicular to most others – still a low yield, but there was wine.’
Here’s a little reductive toast. More depth and a suppleness to the depth of fruit. Very modestly reductive but there’s nothing modest about the depth of beautiful flavour. Excellent once more!
Bought in two lots by Victor Boillot in 1865 and them 1870. The Lavalle map of 1855 shows this contiguous with the next vineyard – Pitures – but this is 1m higher and the wall is there, so Mark isn’t sure. Here a lighter, browner, as opposed to redder soil vs En Chapelle. Also planted between the mid-1950s and early 60s. The cabotte is now renovated though seemingly with more paperwork needed than for planting a vineyard! This clos extends to 0.55 ha or 13.2 ouvrees. ‘Slightly higher elevation chalkier with more limestone, really those are the elements that I think you can taste on the mid-palate. Here the vines run east-west.’
A narrower but finer, more perfumed nose – lovely – deep but not reduced. Ooh, sucrosity, layered delivery of flavour – real concentration here – a great Volnay. Bravo.
Much, much lighter soil. Much stonier too. ‘Totally different – 50m higher in elevation with multiple types of limestone. 0.47 ha. We already had declining yields in this vineyard, ignoring the hail, so at the end of 15 I decided to replant 2 sections. I’m working with Jean-Pierre de Smet formally from l’Arlot using his masalle selections. Clos Chapelle started their own masalle selection, but it can take 5-10 years to be in a position to propagate.’ It’s a bottom to top parcel.
Ooh – a vibrant aroma – finer and yet seemingly more guarded. More direct, led with freshness but with a fine depth of floral-accented fruit. This is seriously great wine again – more floral freshness – with super-long, concentrated finishing flavour. Bravo!
On the border of Volnay and Pommard with old vines, and some repicage. 0.25 ha – 4 barrels – ‘Not bad for vines planted in 1930!’
A more cushioned nose, more heavily floral perfumed – lovely. Really concentrated but with mouth-filling volume too. A little grain, perfectly ripe – a hint of bitter chocolate in the finish. Glorious, but wait a little longer than for the last two Volnays…
2016 Pommard 1er Grand Epenots
High and deep-toned but narrower than the previous aromas. Mouth-filling but still direct, primary, long. Not quite surly but it’s an ultra-primary and baby wine – return when 15 years old. Super stuff.
There’s no Rognets any more – part of the separation with Champy – but the domaine got a little more Beaune Reversées which has already been replanted to white – 0.18 ha worth.
A deep nose, dark, almost roasted fruit. A fabulous combination of volume and texture. Melting flavour from the core. Great Corton – super stuff. And fresh finishing for all that!
And les Blancs…
“Reversees was the lowest lying so was badly hit by frost, if that wasn’t enough it then struggled with the mildew so only 2.5 barrels. Sous Fretille was only half a barrel – the mildew was inconsequential as the frost didn’t leave enough for the mildew to affect! Charlemagne was about a third. I think the quality is great but who is going to get enough bottles? We had analytically everything we needed to make great wine – except grapes!”
2016 Beaune 1er Reversees Blanc
The only white from this vineyard that Mark knows of. The previous owner had all the red he wanted so replanted a section in white. This section does have plenty of limestone so it seems not badly placed. Farmed organically for the last 10 years – “People go crazy over it at €20 a bottle!”
Open, attractive, sweet fruit. Lively, with depth of concentration, a little minerality. The nose is a little facile but the palate not – complex and delicious with just the right amount of structure – super!
A tiny plot of just 3 ouvrees – 0.12 ha. This is the last bottle to be opened for a tasting!
Now this has a super nose – complex, almost muscular but with no edges – super inviting. Direct, melting flavour – complex flavour – a suggestion of salinity. Plenty of weight but such transparency. Modestly mineral, immodestly fabulous!
From the Pernand side in En-Charlemagne – Mark particularly looking for leaner, more angular rather than riper style – ‘because you can’t do that in Montrachet. We don’t pick late, we use a Champagne-style, short, 3-3.5 hour press of whole clusters. Debourbage overnight with an early morning racking into barrel with plenty of lees. Once per month batonnage after malo, until about 2 months before bottling.’
Fresh and complex, depth too, a little narrower to start but adding some floral references. More muscled but with energy and so much complexity. This is to wait for, but with anticipation!