Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Loïc Dugat-Py, 21 November 2017.
Domaine Bernard Dugat-Py
Rue de Planteligone
Tel: +33 3 80 51 82 46
This is an old Gevrey domaine, and Loïc Dugat-Py is the thirteenth generation of the family to be associated with the vines. The domaine is housed outside the centre of the village but in the oldest part towards the Combe de Lavaux. Above ground there is nothing particularly notable about the collection of buildings, but below ground can be found the old cellars of the Aumônerie – the name given to a small abbey – which belonged to the St.Benigne Abbey of Dijon. The fabulous underground pillars are reminiscent of those of Jaffelin in Beaune, perhaps even higher and Loïc explains that they are partly Byzantine and Gothic a transition of the 11th century.
The domaine has only 12 hectares – 2 in white – I say ‘only’ because there are a wide range of cuvées here, including 5 grand crus, half a dozen 1er crus and the same again of village wines from mainly Gevrey-Chambertin but there is also Vosne, Pommard and Meursault. It was the marriage of Fernand Dugat and Jeanne Bolnot in 1923 that resulted in the creation of the first Domaine Dugat, Loïc’s Father Bernard made his first vintage in 1975 – and it was in the 1970s that they began domaine bottling, before that Maison Leroy had long been a client for wines such as their Gevrey-Champeaux and Charmes-Chambertin. In 1979 Bernard married Jocelyn Py but it wasn’t until 1994 that the name of the domaine changed to Domaine Dugat-Py. Loïc joined his parents from 1996 and it was he that made his first trials with organic viticulture in 1999, the whole domaine moving to organic principles in 2003. Loïc, whose first ‘all alone’ vintage was 2005, explains that despite working in Bio for 15+ years (it depends on the plot), the domaine has only been certified for 2 years – “It wasn’t a priority before,” says Loïc, “But I really decided to push for it, and today we also work 2 hectares only with a horse.”
Loïc Dugat-Py on 2017:
“In 20 years I never saw such full vines – and we certainly have wine in 2017, but not lots for 12 hectares of vine. I think that we have a great vintage but let’s wait to see if it’s exceptional. They were super grapes – it was really a magnificent harvest. We started 2nd September, and whilst we have a triage table, we hardly needed it. The grapes came in at 13° natural in the old vines – we don’t look for 14°.”
Loïc Dugat-Py on 2016:
“The bottom in Gevrey was frosted, so we’ve no Cuvée Halinard, we had to group two cuvées together to have a minimum to sell. To be honest it was hard to stay Bio in 2016, but we did the maximum to ensure it was possible – it was a lot of manual work. Fortunately we’ve a great selection of plants – my great-grandfather was a nurseryman – so old vines, small grapes. I think the characteristic of the vintage is its balance.”
The cellar is all François Frères barrels – “I think they are the best!”
For a long time they have work with whole-clusters here, more or less, depending on the vintage, and you will rarely note their overt presence in the wines, it is more about the energy that they provide. There is a special level of concentration and texture with these wines that has to be experienced to be believed, that needs that energy, and largely they have exactly that in 2016. They are very hard to come by, but there are wines of potential greatness here.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Vielles-Vignes
From 30-50 yo vines
Of course a deep colour. Tight but a little floral. Wide, mineral, but hyper-fine structure, saline and direct, long, long, long…
2016 Pommard Les Levrières
A parcel bought in 2004 with vines of more than 70 years-old.
A nose that’s a hint more open, a suggestion of flowers. Rounder, more supple, very fine structure again. Just a modest suggestion of salinity, but really mouth-watering with attractive sweet salivation. Excellent. I would certainly buy this ahead of the Gevrey VV!
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Coeur du Roy
‘Très Vieilles-Vignes.’ A mix of parcels between 50 and 105 years of age. Mainly from Combe du Dessus, Les Marchais (below St.Jacques) and Les Epointures plus a couple of smaller ones.
Still a little tight but going deep with some cassis – dark fruit here but very pure. More muscled – relaxed but present – concentration with freshness a little extra weight behind the tannin but so ripe. Really an intensity without pain. What length too!
The domaines old vines in Vosne-Romanée were frosted, there is a little but not for tasting.
Three parcels opposite Chapelle-Chambertin, 60-70 year-old vines.
A much deeper nose, here with some reductive notes. Super-silky. Wide, layered, mouth-watering flavour. Bravo! If this was served up to me as Chapelle-Chambertin I would be happy. Finishing mineral and multi-dimensional.
The domaine’s Fontenay, Perrière and Les Corbeaux were once all assembled for a 1er Cru cuvée, but no more.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Corbeaux
From vines opposite Mazis, average 65 year-old vines in two parcels
Faint reduction and spice but great aromatic volume. Bright, fresh wide and with a super combination of energy and depth. Complex, dark fruited, great wine.
Les Evocelles wasn’t tasted as it was still in malo. This a terroir where the owners are pushing for 1er cru status – the domaine has 7 parcels here.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Champeaux
Here only 29-30 cm of soil, and an average vine age of 70 years.
Really deep, no overt reduction. Silk, freshness of fruit, slowly growing concentration. A flavour that recalls the whole clusters a little more. Wide, mineral finishing but a comfortable minerality! Super wine!
Really an impressive volume of aroma – framed with a little reduction today. Opening, opening – wow! Silk that’s silkier than silk. Wide, melting with fresh flavour. This is a grand cru quality wine. Great finish wide, wide…
Was frosted a little in 2016. The domaine have 7 parcels in both Charmes and Mazoyères. One-third of their Mazoyères is in this cuvée
A massive and deep nose but a little too reduced. Much less to see on the palate but here is fabulous texture and indeed a little more of everything after the Lavaux. Really impressive in the finish.
2 parcels, 100m from that in the Charmes, but a very different soil
Less depth but less reduction – fresh, deliciously attractive width, with a floral side. Supple, even more beautifully textured. Lovely in the finish.
Three parcels, the largest has vines of more than 80 years old with 12k planting density worked by horse. ‘This is a massive wine when young but gains amazing subtlety with age.’
Not the biggest nose, but one that envelops the senses. Not much reduction, just a growing vibrancy on complexity. Gorgeous texture and cool fruit – in volume and texture I’d place this between the Charmes and the Mazoyères but the flavour character is different, it’s complex and it’s broad finishing – bravo!
There’s only half a barrel of Chambertin this year.