Tasted with Boris Champy in Nantoux, 17 June 2020.
Domaine Boris Champy
23 rue de la gare
Tel: +33 670 17 46 37
More reports on Boris Champy
Boris Champy has always been a responsive and energetic contact – whether as technical director at Louis Latour in Beaune, or the same at the Domaine Clos des Lambrays – he is exactly the type of person I’d happily share a pizza and a glass of wine with – and with no need to talk of domaines.
But today Boris has his own domaine in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune, and it was pleasure to see the beginnings of this project for him.
I say ‘for him,’ because this was previously the project of Didier Montchovet who began this domaine in 1984 with 0.5 hectares of rented vines – though his first bottling was of the 1989 vintage. More importantly Didier was one of the pioneers of Burgundian biodynamic farming in the mid-1980s, following on from that other local pioneer, Jean-Claude Rateau. By 2019, Didier had developed this into a 13-hectare domaine – Demeter certified of course.
There came the point when Didier told his children that he was thinking of retiring, giving his kids a year to think about it – the domaine – but in the end, there seemed no succession. What Didier also realised was that the domaine he’d built, for most types of buyers, would disappear; buyers want the vines not the buildings – or vice-versa – but Boris wanted the whole entity, the cellars and vines, so became the next best option for Didier. Boris says “I was lucky too – the financing was possible, if I had been older I wouldn’t have been a good choice for a loan!”
Before signing the contract for the sale, Boris joined with Didier for a test-phase, the two of them working the 2019 harvest together; “All was done as Didier normally worked, I just rolled up my sleeves and did whatever he wanted – of course, I asked a lot of questions! We destemmed and we sulfured post-malo – the extractions were done in Didier’s style. I may try a little whole-cluster in 2020. For their elevage, it has mainly been in older barrels here, I plan slowly renew some of them and already have a few from interesting previous lives. I’m eventually looking for more precision in the winemaking versus before. There was never much extraction here, so I think that we can show a bit more. There will be more single parcel selections of our Hautes Côtes wines too.” And as if by magic, on the same theme, a truck arrived on the morning of my visit, delivering large open-top wooden fermentation tanks. These Taransaud tanks having been sourced from Château Pavie-Macquin in what looked like splendid condition – Boris has plenty of contacts!
“I’m very comfortable with the landscape here,” says Boris. “The nature, it’s wilder than the Côte d’Or. It reminds me of when I used to see bobcats in Napa.” I know that Boris is something of a perfectionist in the vines, so when he tells me “there is nothing to do in the vines, they have been beautifully kept, I only need to continue,” I take notice.
Of the 12 hectares of vines here, 10 are located in the Hautes Côtes with 0.7 ha of Pommard En Beouf plus another 1.21 hectares from Beaune: Choucherias and Vignes-Franches. There are 3 hectares of whites with Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune appellation. “2019 was a good vintage,” says Boris, “Our ‘Champs Perdrix’ is a parcel of white which brought in 40 hl/ha – a good yield – there weren’t the millerandes of the Côte de Beaune up here as the flowering was just a little later and in better conditions.”
Boris has landed on his feet. This is a more than competent start to his ‘adventure’ – there are already many wines I’d love to have in the cellar. For the future it will be fascinating to see him make his mark.
A nicely floral width of aroma. Supple, beautifully textured on the palate, layered flavour too. Completely delicious – bravo. Black pepper confiture, delicious.
2019 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune
As noted, Didier made one cuvée of this, Boris is planning to make 3 cuvées in the future – this from the higher altitude vines.
The nose starts a little deep and reductive but becoming more floral with aeration. Incisive, good purity, layers of flavour, no overt oak. Delicious.
2019 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune En Bignon
A parcel with 420 metres of altitude between Nantoux and Bouze
Plenty of aromatic depth. Lovely texture again, fine finishing. Super – despite barrels from Pomerol 🙂
2019 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune Le Clous
4.5 ha of mid-slope vines, was once owned by the Château de Nantoux and was called the Clos des Château once – some of the old vines dating from 1900.
More depth to the red fruit. Touched with faint reduction, wider, more open and a more velvet texture vs the silk of the last. More finishing intensity here.
2019 Pommard En Boeuf
A cool place for Pommard. Unsurprisingly, given the name of the climat, it’s neighbour is called La Vache!
A nicely vibrant width, a subtle flower aroma. More structural style but attractively so, finishing with layers and salinity.
2019 Beaune 1er Vignes Franches
High, between the Clos of des Mouches and Ursules
Higher-toned aroma, perhaps the wood showing here. Nice in the mouth, open, lovely energy. Yum…
2019 Beaune 1er Aux Coucherias
‘Always windy here, near the Route de Bouze, so it’s a cool area.’
Less higher-toned – the barrels to blame for the last. There’s more core to this wine – there’s more in the middle, but that flavour is also radiating out in the ever-wider finish, a little grain showing here from the tannin.