Profile: Domaine Gilbert et Christine Felettig (Chambolle)

Update 15.10.2017(27.7.2015)billn

DSC06690Tasted in Chambolle-Musigny with Christine Felettig, 13 May 2015.

Domaine Henri Felettig (GAEC)
13 Rue Tilleuls
21220 Chambolle-Musigny
Tel: +33 3 80 62 40 66

There’s lots of building work at the domaine when I arrive; extending the cellar a little and also renewing all the air-conditioning for the cuverie…

I’d seen the Felettig label for a long time, but with no highly positive or negative thoughts – I thought their wines somewhere in the middle – until I tasted some 2012s. A few 13s in my round-up of 2013 Chambolles in my March report confirmed the 12s – a visit was urgently overdue! I hear that perhaps they had a few tips from Louis-Michel Liger-Belair who is their vineyard neighbour in some plots of Vosne-Romanée…

The domaine today, for the labels, is called Domaine Gilbert et Christine Felettig, though the legal entity (company) remains in the father’s name – Henri Felettig. Henri had been working as a vineyard worker when, in 1965, he received 3 hectares of vines and cassis from his mother. In 1974 he started his own domaine, he also embarked on buying many small parcels to grow this new domaine. Gilbert and Christine are the second generation at this estate, joining in 1993 before succeeding their father. The domaine is now 12.5 hectares, and also includes a few interesting wines from Vosne-Romanée, courtesy of Christine’s father in law, Jean Furois of Vosne.

This domaine is the perfect example of the complexity of burgundy wine – not a particularly extensive range of cuvées, but very many parcels – it seems even worse here in the small village of Chambolle. I ask Christine how many parcels they actually have in Chambolle – she disappears and returns with a list – 72 parcels! Actually that number is based on the cadastres, and sometimes they have 2 or more adjoining cadastre numbers (parcels), so in this case they are obviously worked as one parcel.

Christine on 2013:
“We worked ‘raisonée’ for long time, but eventually chose 2013 to move to Bio – ouch! – what rain! For a time we did treatments almost every week. 2013 was a low harvest, much triage required, some vines almost 50% – it wasn’t at all regular – but on average 35% lower yielding. We’ve lost one vintage in the last 5 despite a ‘normal’ vintage in 2014. We have stopped visiting salons etcetera, to sell wine, as there is none!”

Not much triage is done at the vine, rather this task is completed at the domaine. The grape clusters are always destemmed, followed by 5-7 days of cool, pre-fermentation maceration. The elevage that follows typically lasts 12-15 months and may see as much as 50% new oak, depending on the cuvée. Apparently this domaine now uses quite a bit less pigeage than was once the case.

The wines…

Having previously noted that this domaine doesn’t have a massively extensive range of cuvées, I need to slap my own wrists, because in the context of Chambolle-Musigny, only a handful of domaines can better them. There is some wine available for sale at the domaine, but from what I could see, it was mainly lower appellations – and I didn’t see any Chambolle on the shelves.

These wines were opened the day before, and I chose to taste only the wines that they didn’t present in the March tasting:

2013 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Lots of grapes from the area of Chambolle and just a little from Premeaux too.
Very pretty and forward nose – cushioned, almost. Sweet, supple, just a little anonymous in the middle but then a very good and tasty width of finishing flavour. Almost faintly mineral. Rather good, stony finishing.

2013 Bourgogne Haute Côtes de Nuits
From Villars le Faye. There’s normally a second lieu-dit too, but due to the difficulties of 2013, none of that in this vintage.
Some depth, and pretty freshness above. Fresher, and with less flesh than the Bourgogne but still with a nice line of flavour. A stony and very pleasing wine that really asserts itself only in the finish. Tasty.

2013 Chambolle-Musigny
About 18-20 different parcels in this vintage.
A very modest nose. The palate is fresh, complex and nicely transparent. Fine growing mid-palate intensity of flavour, with a really lovely lingering finish too. Very nice indeed. A wine of line rather than width or weight but it dances across the palate well!

2013 Chambolle-Musigny Clos du Village Monopole
0.5 ha vinified separately monopole, I honestly don’t know how this differs from Antonin Guyon’s Clos du Village monopole – but I believe it is an entirely different parcel.
More weight and much more depth of aroma with a growing floral top note too. More lush, more weight of rounder flavour, very fine balance. This is a large step-up from the basic villages. Lovely lingering flavour that still offers plenty of weight. Again just a hint stony in the finish. Excellent if very primary…

2013 Chambolle-Musigny 1er les Carrières
Direction Chatelots next to village. Felettig are the only bottler; Herve Sigaut has just a little but it’s mixed with other 1ers so no monopole. One part of this vineyard’s vines is over 60 years old.
Wide and mouth-filling. This is a wine with lots of complexity and a modest rusticity – very good dimension of flavour here. This lingers brilliantly. Certainly a wine to wait for so that it rounds out, but a wine of fine character. The nose remains very modest during the time I spend with it…

2013 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
A blend this year of Les Petits Monts, Les Reignots and Les Chaumes. They have 2 small old-vines parcels in Reignots, and do bottle it separately when yields allow – such as 2009 which delivered 3 barrels – in 2014 there was enough for a Reignots cuvée. In total this cuvée represents 0.095 ha of Reignots, and 0.13 ha for the other two combined. These 1ers basically see 50% new oak.
Very fine aromas that are classically Vosne and have a fine and very pretty width. The flavour is direct and strikingly different to the Chambolles. Growing on the palate, this is lovely, lingering well.

There is also a little Echézeaux – enough for 2 barrels – from rented vines.

2013 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc en Vallerot
From Magny les Villiers, about 0.5 hectares.
A good weight a chardonnay aroma – fresh and pretty. Wide and rather mineral, a hint salty and with nice fruit. The best part is the complexity in the finish. Very good!

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