Tasted in Mercurey with Amaury Devillard, 18 November 2018.
Château de Chamirey
Rue du Château,
Tel: +33 3 85 45 21 61
The Château de Chamirey is actually home to a number of domaines, each keeping their own label and personality – but if you pay a visit mid-morning, you are going to miss your lunch appointment – such is the extent of the portfolio. For me, it was a piece of pizza in a bakery rather than La Soufflot! Fortunately, the Chalonnaise has provided some captivating wines in 2018!
Today the tasting room at Chamirey is the old 18th century winery of the château – since 2011. Amaury explains that on his mother’s side of the family they had vineyards here since the 12th century. In 1932 his great-grandparents bought the château as a gift for grandparents. In 1934, the Marquis de Jouennnes d’Herville, became the first to bottle wine here. Domaine de Perdrix, in the Côte de Nuits, came in 1936. Domaine de la Ferté in Givry came, en fermage, in 2009, Domaine de la Garenne in Mâcon-Azé was bought in 2009. Finally Domaine Rolet in Arbois (Jura) is the 5th estate of the family, though in this case shared with 2 other investors.
Amaury explains that the estates are all independent, the link being his father, himself and his wife – only the distribution of the wines is connected. “But in all cases, we aim to have grapes in tanks in under 30 minutes from picking!”
France accounts for 50% of the sales, mainly restaurants – but no supermarkets. 82 countries, the US (pre-Trump-tax) is the largest single export market.
We take a tour of the estates…
A first visit and clearly much high-class winemaking here. For me, only the Domaine de la Garenne wines lacked a little energy, the rest were simply excellent!
We miss a few Bourgognes – just as well, or there would also have been no time for pizza. But this a very representative selection of the family domaines:
Domaine de la Ferté
2018 Ferté, Givry
This is bottled. Manual picking, small cases for the fruit, all triaged on the table, no pumping, all wine moved by gravity – ‘but we love concrete, we try to cool the vats before adding the fruit – hopefully around 13° and all the fruit is destemmed, hoping for a slow start to fermentation and not exceed 28-29°C, then by gravity to the barrels.’ 1.7 ha, planted in 1992. 1 year of aging, 20% new barrels but a cold cellar. This has been bottled.
Round, good and full aromatic impression. Supple, silky, concentrated. The faintest grain of tannin below. This is wide and rather delicious, mouth-watering, Givry with a perfumed, floral, spice in the finish. Super Givry.
2018 Ferté, Givry Clos des Mortières
A plot bought 4 years ago and also mainly replanted and so young vines. More limestone here
A more vertical nose, high and low tones but narrower. Open, fresh, airy; an elegant wine but also with a faintly tannic base – but no dryness. A deliciously mouth-watering wine.
All destemmed fruit from vines a little over 60 years old. 20% new barrels and 15 months of aging.
A little more colour. A bigger, extra complexity, more freshness and complexity of aroma. Pure, complex, beautiful pinot. Mouth-watering, almost juicy. That’s super wine. Bravo Givry
Château de Chamirey
2018 Chamirey, Mercurey
A blend of 7 different vines around Mercurey, vinified separately with 1-year elevage, larger format barrels of 400 litres. 10,000 cases.
A big nose – wide, faintly cushioned with oak, darker red fruit. Supple, concentrated, the same small grain but ripe tannin as previous wines but plusher and more mouth-filling. Lots of finishing complexity, a little floral, a little graphite, fine complex, delicious wine.
2018 Chamirey, Mercurey Chavances
30% whole clusters in this but still a much darker colour. This not yet bottled but they have the space to wait, but probably will bottle at the end of the year.
A little darker, reductive and floral too. Very wide, silky, the tannin rises a little the depth of flavour is very impressive, spiced, complex. Hmm – a lovely finale.
Vines bought by grandfather 70 years ago and replanted at that time.
Deep colour, all destemmed. A more confiture width of fruit, textured, of depth – still an invitation. Supple, weighted but with a nicely bubbling, mouth-watering complexity of flavour. Depth of texture and the finish is really great – love the delicious complexity here, lush!
2018 Chamirey, Mercurey 1er Clos du Roi
Own 3 of this 11 hectare premier cru. 4 plots, complicated by different soils and exposures, multiple plantations but close to 40-year-old vines on average. All are elevaged together before blending ‘like ratatouille. It’s maybe the one of our 5 red 1ers that tastes really great young.’
Hmm, a little extra mineral component, no impression of confiture – nice… Energy, more structural, there is tannin to fade but not too much. Energy and complexity – very, very different. Excellent!
2018 Chamirey, Mercurey 1er Clos l’Évêque
The Clos of the Bishop – most of 1ers get about 18 months of aging. 3 different plots all with separate vinification, to be blended at the end, also gives the opportunity to rack at different times as needed.
A bigger, rounder nose, red-fruited, very faintly spiced. Nice energy, there’s depth to this wine with a faint padding to the texture. More oak flavour. Lovely, width of flavour, more mineral here.
2018 Chamirey, Mercurey 1er Champs Martin
Bought with father 10 years ago and then the day after took out the vines. So young vines in a mix of limestone and clay. ‘We have big expectations’ says Amaury.
Starts with a little reduction, but clears to offer a complex, herbed, spiced and open aroma, slowly growing a textured depth of fruit. Supple – width, layered, really complex – impressively so – not yet the most delicious but super wine with great potential.
A plot with perhaps the most slope, there’s iron in the soil here too with the limestone. 20% whole clusters used here.
A faint reduction slowly lifts to show some wc perfume. Hmm – nice structured again with a little padding and a growing juicy impression. Properly structured in the finish – practically a complete wine. Bravo!
Monopole, 2.53 ha. Mid-slope, south-facing part east-west planted the other north-south, with different times to ripening.
A width of saline, mineral, finely complex aroma. Supple, layered, nicely fresh, growing in width, complex in the mid and finish. Fresher, more herbed – but in a great way – finishing energy. Now I don’t know if I prefer the Sazenay or this!
Domaine des Perdrix
“My parents took over the estate in 1986. The cellar is actually in Gevery-Chambertin – freezing cold cellars – but then we never have to pump the water out of the cellars like in Premeaux!”
2018 Perdrix, Nuits St.Georges
One hectare of vines, close to Vosne, next to Damodes 1er. Own compost from the château’s 15 horses – not ploughing horses! 15% wc.
A big width of fresh aroma – sophisticated. Sophisticated on the palate too, nice drive and direction, elegant yet with some power all the same. Elegant, sophisticated Nuits!
2018 Perdrix, Vosne-Romanée
2 plots, one next to the cemetery and the other near Réas.
Even an extra little fineness, but this is not so forward a nose – slowly growing in complexity though. Faint gas. More drive, a little more energy – the tannin showing more. Beautiful fresh flavour to finish – but more structure than the Nuits shows today.
2018 Perdrix, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Perrières
An acquisition in 2014, under the road from Mazis.
Wide, very floral, beautiful violet flowers. There is a width of concentration here, very faintly grained with tannin, but practically no dryness to the tannin. This is a super wine – maybe it could have a little more character but I find it delicious all the same.
2018 Perdrix, Nuits St.Georges 1er Terres Blanches
One part in white, this part in red – from the highest part of Premeaux.
Hmm, certainly more airy. Ooh, that starts with a lovely line of flavour, faintly padded but melting with flavour – more character than the Gevrey and very fine finishing.
3.45 ha planted 1922-1970s, 13k planting density – one of the original high density plantations here.
A beautiful aromatic clarity – modestly floral, fine small, dark, berries. Extra width, extra fineness of texture. Lovely waves of finishing flavour – really the velvet glove here – gorgeous. Bravo!
2018 Perdrix, Echézeaux
They now make a distinction between this and the Dessus which is on the slope. 90% new barrels except the press juice. 60 yo vines here, made with 30% wc.
Not a big nose but one that grows and grows with very fine florals – that’s a perfume. Bigger, a little more structure, a faint lick of tannin dryness – but energy and mouth-filling complexity. Where are the 90% barrels? Well-done.
This separated for the first time in 2015.
Lots of colour. More airy more complex, less ready. Bigger volume but with less impact – the balance is super – this clearly more complex and higher-toned and fresh. I like the more demonstrative finish here today, faintly drying today. What a super wine!
2018 La Garenne, Mâcon-Azé
35-year-old vines from an estate bought in 2008. Bottled before harvest
Vibrant, rich, almost quince fruit. Fresh, layered, rich but always mouth-watering, indeed almost juicy. Sweet finishing, and long. Easy to drink, easy to enjoy – despite a little richness, it’s not heavy.
2018 La Garenne, Mâcon-Solutré
Deeper yellow colour – from 2 plots bought in 2014. This the second vintage. A width of almost chalky-mineral impression. Full, layered, contemplative – this is very tasty, I’d like more energy, but it’s not a heavy wine.
2018 Chateau de Chamirey, Mercurey Blanc
Bottled in late august from 4 plots.
A nice vibrant width of aroma here. It’s ripe but it’s more citrus than exotic fruit. Ooh – but this has fresh, cool fruit with drive and energy. That’s a very tasty glass – excellent wine!
2018 Chamirey, Mercurey En Pierrelet Blanc
A 3ha plot.
Hmm – a bigger, fresher nose – lots of volume and energy here. This has a beautiful combination of energy and depth but not richness of texture. Vibrant wine.
2018 Chamirey, Mercurey 1er La Mission Blanc
Monopole 1.8 hectares, 80-year-old vines with some repicage.
Another big nose, one of freshness, and some lime citrus in there. Drive, mineral energy and freshness, some salinity too. The oak needs to fade in the middle, but this will be super wine.
This is all chardonnay not ‘pinot gouges’. The estate was bought in 1996 and the vines all replaced in 1998. 1/3 ha.
A depth here – yellow fruit, cushioned oak impression below, but not just that, there’s minerality too. This is big, a wave of acid-led flavour – more bubbling with energy than actually acidic. Very wide in the middle – dynamic wine. The finish is clean, wide, long, accented with oak for sure, but only as a secondary characteristic. Oof – keep this one! Bravo!