Tasted in Gevrey with Chantal Tortochot, 6th May 2015.
12 Rue de l’Église
Tel: +33 3 80 34 30 68
Domaine Tortochot is a family estate, which from 1865 was easily built up in the face of falling land prices due to phylloxera. Paul Tortochot was the first, followed by Felix, Gabriel and today Chantal, the 4th generation. This domaine owns 12 hectares, 80% of-which are in the villages appellation, 10% premiers and grand crus: They have 7 rows of Clos de Vougeot that usually provide enough for 3 barrels.
Chantal has been at the domaine since 1997, having previously worked in the finance department of a petrochemical company; she returned to Gevrey aged 35 and studied at the Jules Guyot, her father was already 80 years old and died in 2001 so they had just 5 years of working together. It was Chantal who really established the commercialisation in bottle, before that her father hadn’t been so well, so was selling 100 barrels per year to Joseph Drouhin – for a slightly easier life. It was only the villages wines that were sold to Drouhin, so from a potential total of 60,000 bottles Chantal’s father sold about 10,000 from the domaine, predominantly the most important appellations. The clients of Chantal’s father were similarly around 80 years old, so Chantal notes that she had to quickly rebuild her list of clients too – as the list was ‘waning.’ Today all the domaine’s produce is commercialised in bottle.
The bottle storage building which adjoins the cuverie was built in 2000, and as you walk through the cuverie you may notice a wooden St.Vincent who looks remarkably Japanese in expression – Chantal said it brought luck – the first orders came in from Japan after this piece arrived! Also it’s worth noting that the garden of the house has a super view towards the Combe de Lavaux.
The vines and wines…
The domaine is organic certified for their whole 12 hectares – that’s 28 parcels for 11 wines.
Large stainless steel tanks and others with enamel coatings are used for fermentation: 5-7 days of cold maceration after destemming, no auto pigeage. A mix of coopers and there’s no racking. The wines stay in their barrels, on their fine lees, until the following December.
Chantal notes that 2014 was a good yield, finally, after 4 not so good yielding vintages. We had a quick look at some of those latent 14s in barrel – Gevrey Les Corvées, 19 barrels. Gevrey Lavaux St.Jacques, 13 barrels to be bottled in spring, 50% new oak was used. And Mazis – 8 barrels with about 80% new oak.
The last wine, a 2007 was easily my favourite wine tasted; there was a level of delicousness far ahead of my impressions of the young wines – maybe something for me to learn more about here – because generally I found the aromatics of the young wines not especially inviting. Maybe that is exactly the style of the domaine and you should judge their wines more as they mature than in their embryonic phase. So something of a challenge for the first time taster here, but if Chantal allows me to return, I hope to gauge how these wines show with more maturity…
Chantal on the 2103s:
“2013 is very classical, a late harvested vintage. I like 2013 more than 2012 which was rich but less representative of Burgundy. I really like 2013’s purity. 2012 was 40% lower yielding versus 20% lower in 2013. Actually we have lost 1.2 vintages during the 2010-2013 period – if you take 2009 as a standard yield. These 2013s will be bottled between September 2015 and January 2016.”
In Gevrey’s Grand Champs – “The same soil as and subsoil as surrounding villages-rated plots.”
Just a little savoury aroma on the nose. Fills the mouth well, there is good energy too, though I find this wine rather modest until the late mid-palate and finish where there is some weight of good flavour and a nice perfume.
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jeunes Rois
From 30-year-old vines.
Also a little savoury, indeed almost saline aromas. Bigger in the mouth, more intense for sure and with nice balance. I find a slowly growing tannin but it’s well under the radar and fine. Perfumed in the finish again
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Champerrier
60-year-old vines “usually with a low yield – 30 hl/ha.”
Again a little savoury, this time with a slowly growing lift of flowers. Fine texture, plenty of acidity and intensity – good flavour here. The silky tannin is well hidden. Good finishing flavour too, again with perfume this is very tasty.
2012 Gevrey-Chambertin Champerrier
Darker colour. More depth and weight to the nose, less savoury and perhaps will tend toward mushrooms and leaves but a fine fruit note through the middle too. A little richer, perhaps with a savoury element here. But certainly a little more concentrated. Nose gets nicer and nicer.
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux St.Jacques
About 50 years old vines.
A nicely complex nose here; wide and appealing. Mouth-filling with a little richness. A salty impressive mid-palate flavour with a faintly mouth-watering finish. Good intensity of flavour in the finish. I like this!
52 year-old vines, 60% new barrels used in elevages.
A tight aromatic. Round, some energy and complexity – also a little rusticity but this is full flavoured and complex.
Also a little tight but seemingly wider and more complex aromas. Round, complex and with good energy – a fine intensity, indeed burst of flavour in the mid-palate before slowly decaying. Good!
2013 Clos de Vougeot
70 year-old vines.
Modest but fine aromatics with a slowly growing depth. Quite big scale in the mouth, fine balance and with very good energy, very good weight of flavour in the mid-palate too. Nice sweetness to the fruit here, I think this very tasty indeed.
A little more orange to the colour. Lovely aromas, sweet, leaves. Big, and round, lots of flavour and lots of interest, freshness and lovely taste. This is drinking really well right now