Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Benigne & Louis de Surrel, 1 July 2020. Image right with Louis, as Benigne had to leave for an appointment…
It is clear to see the changes at the state here since Martin & Olivier Bouygues took a 51% stake in the domaine. The house has a new roof and a two-year project is underway to build the new cuverie of the domaine – in a much more sympathetic style to the 1960s building that was previously in use. Louis has set up a camera to make a timelapse of the construction – maybe I might get the chance to share it with you – but not before next year!
Benigne and Louis de Surrel on 2018:
“The vintage was relatively easy in the vines, some stress during flowering but that passed okay. The biggest question we had was ‘when to harvest?’”
So the investment in the fabric of the domaine is easily apparent, and 2018 was, for the first time, the vintage where the brothers made all the winemaking decisions. It’s a shame then that the 2018 vintage when allied to those decisions has delivered wines that emphasise such strong maturity – not in all cases – that the potential of this domaine is still somewhat hidden. The use of 100% new oak not really taking the blame. I’m still waiting to see in the glass the obvious potential of this estate – but I expect that the 2019 (below) vintage will be the first to really showcase the new approaches here.
First, a quick look at some 2019s from barrel – there will be another winter in barrel for these wines before bottling:
2019 Gevrey-Chambertin La Brunelle
20% wc – A big punchy nose, some spice and lots of depth. Wide, energetic, spicy from the oak and very long – I look forward to this.
2019 Gevrey-Chambertin Fontenys
From ‘young’ 1986 vines – A freshness of redder fruit and the spice of the barrel – slowly a floral note too. Mineral, direct, super energy – ooh that makes an excellent impression…
Deep, fabulous, less spiced. Supple, beautifully textured, complex saline. This has the potential to be great!
Just under half a hectare of vines – A little more width, showing more of the barrel than the Mazis today. Direct, very mineral, hyper-complex, tons of concentration and great length – many parts of this are showing greatness – they just, hopefully, need the time to come together.
2019 Chambertin Clos de Bèze
0.33 hectares, separated from the Chambertin for the first time at the domaine. ‘Young’ 35-year-old vines – The nose starts brusque but opens in a fabulously floral and complex way – wow! More mineral, a little oak, slowly growing in intensity. Vibrant finishing.
All the following were in bottle since the beginning in December, finishing with the GCs in January. These wines were served a little too warm, which will have accentuated the ripeness and volatility – I would suggest you cool your bottles:
2018 Gevrey-Chambertin La Brunelle
That’s a deep nose, lots of high-tones and some impression of volatile. Nicely mouth-filling, not too overtly extra-ripe in the first flavours and actually beautifully finishing – it’s great here. I’m not a great fan of the nose, but the middle and finish are excellent.
2018 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Fontenys
A more compact nose but with an impressive depth – still a slightly alcoholic impression though. Rounder, more mouth-filling than the Brunelle. Beautifully textured, open, melting and with a lovely depth of flavour. Excellent in the finish. That’s a lovely wine.
This is higher-toned and seems quite volatile – it’s not an invitation to me. Here is volume in the mouth again, a certain growing intensity too, but like the nose there’s an intensity of high-toned flavour that seems too much for me… A shame, as I think Charmes-Chambertin at many domaines generally outperformed the vintage in 2018.
Again an alcoholic almost volatile nose but not to the level of the Charmes. Mouth-filling again, a good texture here. Finishes quite well.
Beze and Chambertin blended – ‘but the parcels are next to each other.’ 0.46 Chambertin 0.33 Bèze, but the yield is generally lower in Chambertin.
A little fewer high-tones, a little more barrel spice too. Mouth-filling, a certain complexity and depth to this flavour. Very long, but there’s still very little here that I find attractive today – of-course, Chambertin is not a wine for today…
2018 Clos de Vougeot
2.2 hectares of mainly 1927 vines but, of course, there has been plenty of replanting.
That’s the best nose of all these wines – not a big nose but there’s a clarity, a fineness that’s lacking today in the others, a suggestion of the floral in here too. Lots of depth of flavour and a great, still quite high-toned quality. Easily the best showing of these wines today. I would say excellent!
1999 Clos de Vougeot
Here is concentration and complexity, though less overt clarity of aroma versus the younger wine. Direct, energetic, big finishing, still a grain of tannin – enjoyable, not quite ready but long and exciting. Even with the volatile impression of the 2018s they have more clarity, so there is clearly progress here…