Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Gilbert Hammel, 29 April 2016.
Domaine des Varoilles
11 Rue de l’Ancien Hopital
Tel: +33 3 80 34 30 30
It’s quite a long time since I actually visited Domaine des Varoilles but that doesn’t mean that I’ve been ignoring them – each year a few bottles have made it chez-nanson – but I really have the impression that the wines have become ever-more impressive – certainly based on this tasting it’s the case!
Originally the domaine was owned by two french families, one sold their share, and since then, the French and Swiss ownership has endured 26 years. There are 10 hectares of vines today – 6 of which are the Clos des Varoilles – plain south-facing, once owned by the monks, it was then split up, but over time was reconstituted.
I visited very shortly after the 2016 headline weather event – the frost. Gilbert explained that “There’s not so much frost in the domaine’s 1er crus, a little more in Champonnets, but the Clos de Couvent was protected by its walls, the Gevrey Clos Meix des Ouches too. The domaine’s 0.8 hectares of Charmes-Chambertin not touched.
There is also a Clos de Vougeot here – the first time I’ve seen it – it’s actually a metayage exploitation.
The cuverie utilises thermo-regulated stainless-steel tanks, where the destemmed grapes see a cool maceration for a week at 7-8 degrees, before the onset of fermentation. They have an impressive warren of cellars, indeed their Charmes-Chambertin having one of its own.
These 2014s were bottled just the week before my visit – 20-25% new oak was used, depending on appellation, with 17-18 months of elevage. Gilbert notes that “The 2014s didn’t deliver a big rendement – we have averaged only 30 hl/ha in the last vintages – and this was 31 hl/ha.”
Such a strong set of wines!
2014 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Meix des Ouches
1 ha walled vineyard – no frost this year – 10% new oak.
Great colour. Ouf – floral but with deep dark fruit too – super attractive – and that’s just the first wine. Round with some lovely waves of flavour – mid-intensity but much more than mid pleasure. Very faint finishing texture and a lovely line of flavour. You could start to drink this already – and really with pleasure too!
15% new oak.
Again great colour. More depth of aroma, less floral intensity, yet it’s still there. A little more freshness too. Beautiful silky texture, a hint of minerality, lots of flavour complexity leaching from the gums, a little direct in character and with an earthy impressive finish. The nose gets bigger and bigger in the glass – fresh, gorgeous fruit. Excellent!
2014 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er La Romanée vieilles Vignes
20% new oak.
This nose is less floral, almost a truffly dark smoky fruit. Wide, lovely layers of flavour darker yet also rather fresh too – a little more tannin. This has a much darker-fruited personality – the nose is beginning to blossom with dark but also finely floral fruit. A wine of more structure and serious-ness, but no sharp edges and plenty to wait for…
Starting a little tighter – discreet, fresh pretty top notes with a more guarded but richer depth of fruit aroma. Much wider more opulent, a richer weight of fruit – plenty of concentration here though. Here are waves of fine flavour – certainly much more open complexity after Romanée. The nose is now filling the glass. Super, silky but round gorgeousness. Excellent.
60% new oak – from Mazoyères mainly though a little proper Charmes too – the parcel directly facing Latricières.
Deep colour to match the deep, dark-fruited nose. Round, weighted, rich and beautifully velvet textured wine. A width of concentration only slowly releasing points of complexity – some salinity in the mid-palate. Long, slowly fading in the finish. A wine of contemplation today rather than overt energy – but as delicious as the first wine – super! The beautiful last drops in the glass almost suggesting a hint of tobacco…
2014 Clos de Vougeot
50% new oak – do some of the work in the vines here.
Starts fresh and wide – lots of complex notes here; aniseed, licorice. A fresh wine, a direct wine – its mineral too – less rich and comforting than the Charmes, maybe also less concentrated than that wine, but really a super and mineral personality. The nose is now fabulous with a much broader floral dimension – Yum!