Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Sarah and Guillaume Bastien, 17 July 2015.
Domaine Henri Richard
75 Route de Beaune
Tel: +33 9 62 08 00 17
In 1938, Jean Richard, a former cooper, bought the family’s first parcels of vines in Gevrey-Chambertin – and grand cru parcels at that – in Mazoyères and Charmes-Chambertin. The seller was the writer and historian Gaston Roupnel. There was a follow-up purchase of a house and the vines behind the house (still the domaine’s home today) – two hectares of Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corvées.
Jean’s son, Henri, joined his father at the domaine in 1939. Jean Bastien arrived at the domaine in 1977, was married to Henri’s daughter Margaret, and worked with Jean Richard, until his father-in-law’s death in 1985. Between 1992 and 2012 Jean and Margaret employed a viticulturalist who, from 2000, began the conversion of the domaine’s vineyards to organic management, so that the domaine eventually became certified in 2005.
The most recent succession came when Richard and Sarah Bastien, the children Margaret and Jean, took on responsibility for the domaine.
The domaine today is a modest 4.5 hectares, and also includes a little aligoté, Côte de Nuits Villages blanc, Côteaux Bourguignone and Marsannay. Their large Aux Corvées parcel runs alongside the 7 hectares of villages of their neighbour, Rebourseau. Sarah and Guillaume still sell a lot of their produce as grapes, some appellations up to 80%, but are year by year increasing the amount that they commercialise in bottle – that currently stands at about 50%. Starting with the 2014 vintage, the team here are now labelling their wines as ‘AB’ (agriculture biologique).
I had the pleasure of tasting these young wines at the syndicat de Gevrey-Chambertin tastings for the last couple of years, and found them very good when sat with their peers – this was my first visit in isolation. We started with a quick tour of some 2014s in barrel, before a look at the most recent bottling, the 2013s…
Since 2013, the domaine has been experimenting with the inclusion of some whole clusters in their fermentations. The percentages vary, but to-date they have never gone the route of 100% whole-cluster.
”We are non-interventionist, respecting the vintage, a little sulfur is added, but there’s no pre-fermentation maceration, mainly just a little remontage, not a particularly long cuvaison, maybe 21 days, but no more.
”Wood is a support for the wine but no more… We use virtually no new oak, just a couple of barrels per year for the larger Aux Corvées cuvée, the rest is mainly 1-5, years old. So also no new barrels even in the grand crus…”
2014 Aligote Corvées de l’Eglise
From Morey St.Denis.
It warms in the glass and becomes more interesting as does so. A hint of creaminess but also a lovely core of fresh fruit – really yummy.
2014 Côte de Nuits Villages Blanc
A little reduction which blows away. More cut and structure to this wine – lovely freshness – a pinot blanc wine but really lovely.
2014 Côteaux Bourguignone Corvées de l’Eglise
A lovely aromatic of fresh pinot fruit. Lovely fruit flavour, slightly framed by its strucure but with really mouth-watering fruit. Lovely perfume in the finish. Super value wine.
From Aux Larrets, with only about 30cm of topsoil then ‘dalle calcaire’ hard limestone below.
Less overt, with pretty top notes. A more serious wine with some minerality and fine tannin – a more direct presentation, but I’ve no doubt that this will be super.
The Gevrey and grand crus have their own cellar for elevage. The domaine’s 2 hectares of Gevrey Aux Corvées has different vine ages, so two cuvées are produced from that:
2014 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Corvées
Deep, beautiful fruit. A wide and slightly lush palate with good depth of flavour. Excellent material here – very lovely wine.
2014 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Tuilèries
This cuvée exists since 2013 and reflects the old name of the house. It’s made from vines of one soil type which has a high component of millerandes. Despite only being planted in 1980s the quality is excellent, though delivers only 25-30 hl – so they keep more whole clusters here to augment the fermentation volume.
A similar aromatic to the Aux Corvées, but with more flowers, indeed accented with whole-cluster roses. A wide, almost chalky texture, lovely flavour – very yum indeed. Super length, really fine and long this wine.
A little more discreet, yet still a pretty aromatic. Relatively masculine structure for Charmes, but the fruit is pure Charmes with a little griotte in the mix – yum! An extra weight of flavour too – very long. Yum again! The most unready wine so far, but tons of potential – faintly oaky in the finish.
About one hectare of vines but with two very different soil types and multiple planting ages.
Deep – a gorgeous nose – really a beauty. More intensity, more weight, a leading edge of salinity too – very lovely indeed. There’s also some minerality, here. Excellent.
Wide round, pretty pinot fruit. The same in the mouth, this is almost lush and very pretty – lovely concentration of flavour too. Just a brilliant bottling…
High-toned, pretty and floral. Wide and fresh with high-toned fruit and lovely flavours. A mouth-watering finishing flavour too: like biting into fresh fruit. Super yum!
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Corvées
A slightly tighter nose. But this is big, flavourful wine in the mouth. A little more structured but very silky on the gums. Good wine here. A fine extra burst of flavour in the finish too. Just a lovely wine.
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Le Tuilèrie
Also a little discreet aromatically but with a slightly deeper register of fruit. Much wider on the palate, mouth-watering fresh fruit with a nice discreet plushness too. Lovely flavour in the mid-palate peak. Super again – lovely wine.
Fresh top notes over a rather tighter depth. Really mouth-filling. There’s a modest texture to this one, but super flavour, edged with a little darker notes. Clean, mouth-watering finish with just a hint of bitter extract. Excellent!
More open aromas of rose petals from whole-clusters – wide and inviting. Lithe, intense not an obvious padding but slowly it grows a little into the mid-palate. More weight of extract here, but no hard edges, just a young but relatively voluptuous wine. Super finishing flavour – really!