Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Florence Heresztyn, 02 May 2017.
27 Rue Richebourg
Tel. +33 (0)3 80 34 13 99
This domaine is to be found right in the centre of Gevrey-Chambertin – you might choose a range of shops in the same street, or like me, prefer to enter their small shop instead. I first visited this producer back in 2005 and later profiled them in my book, but it’s the first time that they have been profiled by me here.
As you might already note from the name, this eleven-hectare estate has the poor economy of 1930s Poland to thank for its existence. France was in need of workers, so Jean Heresztyn left his native Poland; finding work first in Fixin, then Chambolle-Musigny, and finally for Domaine Trapet in Gevrey-Chambertin. Although Jean wasn’t working for himself, he still chose to buy well-placed vines whenever he could, such that in 1959 he was able to start his own business. He bought a large house and cellars – built in 1913 – in the Rue Richebourg where the domaine remains. The two sons of Jean – Bernard and Stanislas – who ran the domaine, together with their families, until Florence and her husband Simon – a Champenois – took on the exploitation.
The old style of the wines was for interesting fruit-forward wines that were quite delicious young, but the bottles I aged in my own cellar seemed to age faster than those of many producers, and certainly lacked a little sparkle. I noticed the change for the first time with the 2012 vintage – during the Roi Chambertin tasting – I noted an extra vibrance and a large stylistic shift with whole cluster notes and more energy. This change has been consistent since then and, I would say, most definitely for the good.
Florence says that they changed their labels in 2012 to show a new approach “a new elan – before was lutte raisonnee but now we are converting to bio but have the esprit of biodynamics, but I do find some things too rigorous so we will stay in the esprit of the treatment, rather than aim for certification. Our approach is more about anticipation, it’s a different dimension, call it phytotherapie. We are not inventing anything new, but we really have a strong focus on our vines. We have a small group of producers – more than a dozen strong – who are sharing experiences with this approach. As for vinification it’s about each wine, we have 12 cuvées and each are different – 2015 was a good vintage to work with stems, but even the clusters are triaged – I don’t really like to see stems that are too green. Even the toasting of each barrel is chosen to reflect the difference of the cuvée. We follow the lunar calendar for bottling.”
And the frost of 2017? “No damage as far as we can see for now – well keep our fingers crossed, but hopefully there will be no more worries about frost in a couple more weeks.”
They finished their bottling of 2015s at the end of March – ‘a low stress time a calm to do the bottling…’
A super range of wines with a style and excellence that has been apparent and consistent over a few vintages now. Note from this 2015 vintage, they will use the Ardea ‘plastic’ seals (right) as pioneered by (amongst others) Laurent Ponsot since 2008.
A single parcel in Champs Francs at the bottom of Gevrey – a part is actually classified as villages here. No new oak used for this cuvée, no whole clusters, and ‘a vinification that is a little different’ – less extraction, more fruit than structure. It’s hard to work these vines in hot years are there are lots of stones that reflect the sun which can burn the grapes.’
Lots of depth and a fine clarity of aroma. Supple, fine texture, just the faintest touch of modest tannin, wide, great acidity. A very tasty almost juicy wine. Yum!
From 2 parcels, in Aux Echanges and Badoit at the bottom of Amoureuses. ‘Normally we do 5-6 days of cool maceration, but this cuvée, almost always the first picked, usually needs about 8 days before it starts to ferment. 55% whole-clusters used in this vintage. Mainly remontage and for all the wines in 2015. About 30% new wood from three different tonnelliers. A terrior that always brings structure, despite the reputation of Chambolle, we have finer more feminine Gevreys!’
Good deep colour. A delicate, floral aroma and beautiful purity to this nose. Much more volume in the mouth, more presence, a little more tannin, but then the depth of mouth-watering flavour starts to take over – as good as the bourgogne was, this has much more of everything. The flavour less airy than the nose. But plenty of material. Very tasty wine.
There are 4 different villages Gevreys here, we looked at two of them; the Gevrey of the north En Songes, whose oldest vines are between 85 and 90 years-old. “In Gevrey we lost some yield in 2015 because of the heat, as much from coulure as from a drying of the grapes.”
30% new oak, again 55% whole clusters.
A medium-plus colour. The aroma needs a little coaxing from the glass, but it has a vibrant and pure aspect – really inviting. Beautiful texture – only the very faintest of drag from the tannin. Wonderful depth and slowly mouth-watering flavour. Really a very super line of flavour that holds tenaciously into the very long finish. Bravo! Really super wine – even in a 2015 context!
From the south of Gevrey – ‘only’ 65 years old vines, 25% new oak and 55% whole-cluster.
A much more open nose – a depth of dark fruit and more than a suggestion of floral accompaniment too. More volume, more freshness, a little less drag to the tannin but there is a slowly arriving texture. More juicy fruit, layers of finishing flavour. Long, more of a layered finish. Really a different expression of flavour. Super in the finish. Another ‘bravo’ but in a very different style!
2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Perrières
‘The most fine 1er, the wine with the most finesse, sited close to Mazy.’ 50% whole-cluster and about 35% new wood.
Lovely depth, if a more modest width of aroma – a little mineral impression here too. A little more volume and more energy too. Perhaps here is a little the taste of the stems – rose flavours – plus a latent muscle but nothing overt. Good shape and a nicely mobile, changing flavour. A more open-ended finishing flavour. Long, long and yes, mineral too. Lovely wine!
2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er 1er Les Goulots
Same wc and oak as the previous wine. The soil was for a long time not worked here in this high part because of worry of erosion and not enough space for a horse to turn, but using a small caterpillar machine and its now being done for the first time in a long time.
Ooh that’s deep! Just a hint of reduction helping that, but the nose has width and interest too – really a very inviting aroma. Ooh, more direct intensity but then the flavour starts to melt – this is very juicy and interesting wine – perhaps the first with a touch of oak flavour in the mid-plate, long slow waves of finishing flavour. Excellent! There’s a special energy here.
60% wc – ‘I hesitate to use 100% but in 2016 I did 70%!’
Ooh, that’s a luxurious nose – I hesitate to use the word grand cru, but… More volume in the mouth, lots more freshness too – the wine with the biggest volume and energy so far – there is modest tannin too, but with a fine grain and a very finely mouth-watering flavour. Long, long… bravo! Super wine.
2015 Morey Saint Denis 1er La Millandes
About 70 year-old vines – 55% wc, and 30-35% new oak.
The nose starts with a certain reticence, but swirling and warming in the hand releases really beautiful, transparent and pure fruit notes – it’s a beauty! A little different shape – there’s more concentration in the core of this wine, layers of flavour, a drag to the tannin. There’s more structure in the finish here but the flavours are bright and show just a little herb in the length too. Very different but also very delicious!
2015 Clos St.Denis
50% new oak and 60% wc from .25 ha – they can get 4 barrels. Vines about 40 yo but with cordon de royat pruning.
Very nice depth and purity – there is a certain presence here, but all remains relatively modest. Oof – super wide, growing concentration, beautifully mouth-watering. More structure for sure, the tannin is again more of a textural drag than a grain, slowly mouth-watering but with plenty of freshness. Flavour adheres to the gums, long, long. Super wine.