Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Louis & Benigne de Surrel, 28 April 2021.
Since the Bouygues family took a 51% stake in the domaine the building of their new cuverie continues – slowly but surely – the stonework for the doorways and windows almost brings warmth to the heart – it’s really of the highest quality.
2019 was the first vintage where Benigne explained that he had had full control of the decision-making – from the date of the vendanges to the elevage, the type of wood, everything. 2019 was also the first vintage without bulk sales of grapes – some barrels of part-finished wine were sold but only those not chosen for the domaine’s final assembly.
Benigne on 2019:
“It’s an interesting vintage at the domaine; we started 10 September – no oïdium or mildew. A vintage that was very ‘proper.’ I decided early that I wouldn’t be using many whole-clusters but the grapes themselves were delicious and clearly the colour extracted so easily – not a priority for us but it was nice to see. I consider the differentiation of the identities of the different plots were striking in this vintage. The vintage only brought about 60% of the normal rainfall but it’s not just a vintage of heat and sun. All the vinifications ran really well – wines with a textbook balance I think. We often treated the vines during the nights and weekends and the weather was ideal for that. The yields were perfect for us in the grand crus – 35 hl/ha, and about 38 in the villages – I did have to limit the 1er crus a little but they came in well under the limit. ”
I have so often visited here and come away with the feeling of ‘great but unfulfilled potential’ – this year I came away from my tasting more than happy with the quality of the wines. Great strides have been taken here, and if the cuverie is finished before next harvest, as they hope, there’s no reason why this trajectory can’t be maintained. Chapeau!
All the wines were bottled:
Pressoniers & Champs Chenys, bottled December.
A width of powerful dark fruit. In the mouth here is freshness and energy – a certain structural and direct side but slowly widening its fruit profile – quite dark, almost a blueberry. Always a structural wine with tannic grain. That’s rather good but it’s for keeping 2-3 years to modestly soften the edges.
Hmm – a more perfumed freshness, a suggestion of reduction which darkens the colour of the fruit a little – but a nose of inviting clarity. Much more sophisticated texture – wide, energetic, silky. Great fruit. That’s a great villages wine, graphite mineral finishing – bravo!
2019 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Corvées
More colour here – ‘there’s more acidity every year too,’ says Benigne. A nose that’s rounder and deeper – a little reduction again – almost some mirabelle in the fruit. Hmm – the structure is a little in-between the previous two but clearly there’s more aromatic energy and freshness, here. Nicely mineral finishing again. Today, only the nose is inferior to the Brunelle – still excellent wine – if the nose improves that would be another great villages…
2019 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Perrières
What a colour – ‘made in a new tank this year – it’s a climat that usually reverts to reduction. Harvested 20 September.‘ Really a nose of concentration, ripe, almost a ripe, warm, gooseberry style. Intense – wide, ingraining flavour – the freshness here is more overt than the aroma. Persistent, that’s a super wine.
A little less colour. Harvested 19 and 20th September.
Just a little more freshness of aroma – redder and certainly shows an extra floral note with a suggestion of white pepper too. Beautiful in the mouth – round – almost spherical – so silky – there is a slight drag to the texture from the tannin but no grain. Really mouth-watering. A width of long-lasting finishing flavour. The potential to be a great Gevrey 1er…
These grand crus were all bottled 4 weeks ago:
Here is a little similar nose to the Perrieres with the gooseberry style – at 13.8° the highest here in 2019 – and more due to the small number of concentrated grapes than waiting longer. Peppery accented again – longer aeration brings some sense of calm to this nose. This eases into the mouth, silken, almost oily in style. Very long. Ripe style but with a very silky shape.
A nose that is more of a width than round, ripe again but a little less overt than the Charmes. Once more there’s the attractive and still subtle peppery accent – all the while improving in the glass. Extra impact, direct, slowly growing in volume – impressive wine – clearly a step up in clarity and finishing mineral intensity. That’s excellent – and it’s always changing/evolving in the glass.
Just under half a hectare of vines – 0.46 ha.
Here the nose is narrower but with a much more concentrated depth – there is so much concentration it’s actually hard to pick out the complexity – almost a little curry leaf instead of the pepper. A more complete textural and shape impression from this wine. The finish is great and concentrated. Just a nose short of being great wine today.
0.33 hectares, separated from the Chambertin for the first time at the domaine. ‘Young’ 35-year-old vines.
Narrower, faintly reductive aromas but with the finest freshness of these grand crus. A little more direct than the Chambertin with beautifully sophisticated texture. The flavour melting, moulding around the palate and my teeth. This is a top wine – give it the 15+ years it deserves…
The last two wines are super wines but I’m not a fan of the approach to labelling; an ordinary (my word) Clos de Vougeot plus an old-vines cuvée. Even if far from ordinary, the first cuvée will always be the ‘little brother’ and I have an expectation that Clos de Vougeot should be one of the great wines of Burgundy, not the little brother of one of the great wines of Burgundy. I know that many people do it and delicious as this first cuvée is, I think that they would be better served, until the new vines reach a certain age, to take the example of de Vogüé and perhaps offer a great Vougeot 1er Cru instead – a label where there is never enough great wine:
2019 Clos de Vougeot
The whole plot covers 2.2 hectares of mainly 1927 vines – but of course, there has been plenty of replanting – this, then, the cuvée with the 9-year-old vines.
An extra aromatic freshness – a certain elegance but not overtly complex. Wide, energetic – that’s really a delicious wine – slightly cushioned but I love the flavour energy here – completely delicious, moreish wine. A cherry-stone impression to this finishing flavour. Should CV be this good from young vines 4 weeks after bottling? Who cares – delicious wine and excellent Clos de Vougeot.
The produce of the vines from 1927
The aromas are again concentrated and a little ripe gooseberry style like some of the other wines, again with the pepper impression. Just a gorgeous, silky, entry into the mouth. The tannin is to all intents and purposes not visible. Wide, mineral, a wine that eases itself into the finish and is very, very persistent. As finely textured as it is and with a structure so perfectly encapsulated as it is, this is a wine for patiently keeping. If the nose improves a little I would say Grand Vin.